Replacing non-folding bikes + lock with a folder.
Many times I find myself not stopping at a store or a shopping mall to pick something up because I don't like locking my bike up. Recently I became very interested in getting a folder (I have no experience with folders, hence the question).
Is there anyone out there that always takes their folders in with them when they go shopping? Any sort of errands? I imagine this sort of use should be possible since you can stash the folder in a nylon carry bag, but is it feasible? Does anyone use a folder in such a way?
Was thinking of getting a 20" with a lot of nice things that I'd be reluctant to lock up outside. I'm eying the Dahon Helios XL, with a hub dynamo etc. Since I'd be bringing it inside with me, I wouldn't feel anxious with nice expensive parts on it.
Good to hear you use your folder that way af895.
jakub.ner: I tested a similar Dahon and liked the ride.
One of the reasons I was sold on a folder was the theft deterrence.
I know folks in New York City who say, even the cheapest, crappiest beater of a bike WILL get stolen, eventually, while locked up.
I'd rather just get a nice bike and bring it inside than go through endless $50 beaters that are hell to ride. The other thing is, even if you have "the perfect lock," the jerk who couldn't steal the bike will just get frustrated and break stuff - maybe take the bell, cut cables etc. Who wants to come outside to find their bike vandalized?
Folding bike junkie!
jakub.ner, the Helios XL is a good choice. Depending on what type of weather you plan on riding in you might want to consider NOT buying a hub dynamo and going with a Lightspin bottle dynamo. It is more efficient and has absolutely NO drag when you aren't using it. I was seriously considering going the hub dynamo route and decided against it as I don't ride in enough snow to really need it. PLUS the Lightspin will power 2 lights pretty well. Another plus is you can move the light to another bike if you ever sell your folder.
I have 2 Dahons and have been quite happy with them. Of course what brand to buy is a contentious issue as well. I just seen to buy them all. Well maybe stretching it a bit but I have I have bought from 3 different firms and and ordering from a 4th.
The biggest downside I see to the Helios XL is I wish it had the 8 spd Nexus instead of the 7 spd. The 8 spd has a wider range and is more efficient. I think the 7 spd's range is about 244% and the 8 spd is about 307%. The Thudbuster is a nice touch and I have it on 3 of my bikes. Definitely worth the money.
You might want to consider something like a fully suspended Downtube bike and add a good internal hub (8spd) to replace the derailleur and add a Thudbuster. You'd save a few hundred dollars over the Helios XL AND have full suspension. You might not even need the Thudbuster due to the fact it is fully suspended. That might be a good option for you. I am not knocking the Dahons mind you just suggesting alternatives. You could also go with a Swift and have a 8spd hub as well. That is what I am in the process of ordering. Peter will pretty much build you a Swift any way you want and it is quite a fun bike to ride. You can have it stripped and fast or kit it up to something lilke a touring spec machine. Definitely one of the best riding folders I've ridden was the Swift. It goes like a Bike Friday or Airnimal for less $$$. Fold is a little different but the efficiency is awesome.
I agree with af895 that even a crappy beater will get stolen almost anywhere given enough time especially in the bigger cities. I definitely like the 20" wheeled folders as a great compromise. Good performance and still portable and I can pack them in my suitcase when I travel.
Thanks for the info Wavshrdr. In your experience, would you say the Dahon XL is decent enough for quickly folding to step into the post office to pick up a package etc? Or is it a pain? From what I understand the Dahons have a way to snap together such that once you fold it, you grab it with one hand and go without hitting your schins by bike components flying all around .
I think the XL comes with everything I want in a bike, except I'd like for the front break to be internal to the hub (I'm assuming the rear break is a coaster). If I find out that it folds quite effectivelly for the errands I describe, I will be a real happy camper.
Folding bike junkie!
Jakub.ner, the Dahons do fold quickly BUT the little magnetic catch isn't all that great sometimes and it flops around a bit. I keep a piece of velcro to keep it more secured. I made the mistake of trusting the magnet and it took a nice chunk of paint out of a rental car that cost me 240 Euro to repair.
The Helios XL has v-brakes no internal as far as I can remember. I forgot too that it has the SRAM 7spd which has almost the range of the Nexus 8spd but with bigger jumps. Most of the Dahons fold pretty well. Most of the time I don't break the handlebars down, just the frame fold and that is it. It is looks nice in person if just a little dowdy or frumpy. I know that is a contradiction but once you see it you will know what I mean. The parts look nice and of good quality but the design (style) looks sort of old. It looks like your father's Oldsmobile. What sort of kills it for me is the upper bar that extends across. It just doesn't look like it should be there after looking at my SpeedPro and Gotham City. It is a nice bike and I one point I seriously considered it.
You might want to wait for the 2006 Dahons. The Helios XL is being replaced by the Mu XL. It has a different frame and definitely looks spiffy. Here is a picture from a catalog prepared for a trade show that was posted on a forum.
rdh, thanks for that. After talking with Dahon they pointed out the Mu as well, but I'm not fully sold on this pretty bike, as its lack of the rear triangle makes me wonder if I can hook up a trailer to it; should I want to (I have a two wheeler that attaches to the frame).
I have to say that a shopping mall would be the worse place to bring a folder. Here's why.
Originally Posted by jakub.ner
1. Security -- More often then not, security will not allow you to bring even a folder inside. If they see the wheels, many will ask you to attach it to the bike rack. You would only do that if the bike was a rusting Huffy worth about $20.00 USD!
2. Carrying the bike --- Even a 18 lb folder gets real heavy and cumbersome carrying for more than 100 yards! You'll be drenched in sweat in no time and mall shopping usually requires a lot of walking. If you're going to carry the bike, it will have to be in a bag which means your arm, neck and shoulder will be hurting the next morning. OH. Did I mention people will stare at your circumstance. There is no way you can just 'roll' the bike unfolded in a mall because security and store management will not agree and consider your folder a bicycle. Unless you can put the folder in a bag and move it along in a childs' carriage, it will be too heavy to do any shopping. Mall shopping should be a relaxing experience but I find the folder is just a bear that gets in the way. Futhermore, carring a 25 lb folder in one arm and shopping bags in a another is just too uncomfortable.
A folder works well in a supermarket only because you can put the folder inside the carriage and in situations where you don't have to bag it and carry the whole thing on your arm for long distances.
In my opinion, mall shopping with a beater bike and lock/chain is preferable than having to carry a folder. But you would never lock the beater to a bike rack. Here's where I lock my beater.
1. Back of the mall -- Only store employees and drivers work behind and these tend to be motorist and not utility cyclist.
2. Garbage dump -- Most malls have a garbage dumps and they tend to be good places to hide the bike.
3. Stop signs next to the highway -- Lock the bike on a sidwalk that leads to nowhere.
4. Attached to a fence with trees or bushes in the background. Your bike will blend in easily.
Thanks for the candid response. Just as I figured, shopping is alright, as long as it doesn't involve too much "boutique" shopping. I'm usually in and out with a specific target store/place in mind, and most of the time I'm in a larger store with shopping carts anyways. I guess going to the movies with a folder is out .
LOL, yeah, nothing like popping into a market with your helmet on your head, your glasses with an eye glass mirror still on, and the orange reflective vest as a fashion statement. An added folder under my hand may explain to some that I'm not really a cyborg.
Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
The folder is the only bike for me and my family now. Let me outline the reasons why:
1. Portability These bikes are made to be taken with you almost anywhere.
2. Ride Sensation People's opinion on how these bikes may be subjective, but my
folder is like riding my full size non folding bike. With added
pluses such as excellent manuverbiliy, acceleration, low center of
gravity, stronger rims, etc. due to it's smaller wheels.
3. People Magnet These bikes are eye catching that people constantly stop me
to ask questions about the bike.
4. Lock Problem My former Schwinn World was a target of a thief a few years
Eliminated- ago. The Master U-Lock held up but was unusable after the
(Pretty Much) attack. I chose to purchase folding bikes in the future to not
be so dependant on locks for security. I still use them for light
duty-cable locks when my hands are not actually touching the
bike (to prevent snatchers in high crime areas). Just remember
locks are good deterents, but may not work in a real life situation
in the way the maker or you intended
I feel very strongly that the folder is the best for the real life living in any tough urban area you find yourself in. The choice is yours what style of folder you wish to ride.
While I'm quite happy to take my folder, in a bag, into any store, I don't walk through malls but shop at local markets or a grocery store where I can put the bag into a shopping cart.
If you want a machine that's just easy to roll around an urban environment, Brompton is the bike.
Much as I prefer 20" to 16" wheels, Bromptons fold TINY and have rollers for carting the bike around on.
16" as a city bike is fine. My 20" pref is because this is my touring bike and 20" wheels and tires are easy to find in rural Canada - 16" not so much.
It sounds like this is a city bike for you though - is that the case?
No security guard in their right mind would argue with you for tugging a folded Brompton behind you; they're small enough to be carry-on luggage. (let me dig up some pics of the Brompton being rolled - I'll edit in a bit)
Here's a great link for Brommy's: http://www.triketrails.com/brompton.htm
Last edited by af895; 12-09-05 at 04:15 PM.
Originally Posted by af895
I remember seeing only one person roll a Brompton at a bike festival a couple of years ago. Here's the problem.
Too roll the Brompton, he had to bend over and push the bike all the time as the cycle was very low to the floor. Pushing it along every 5 or 10 feet was kind of funny to see him do that but it does work. I'ver never seen anyone do this in a mall but I'm sure people have done it. It would sure attract alot of attention. Certainly not for the shy! ;-)
I reckon a Strida is a good bet, You can roll it along very easily with just one hand, and carry your shopping in the other, it looks like a folded push-chair (child buggy?) so it could fool the average security guard (no offence if you are a security guard!)