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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 03-31-06, 02:39 PM   #1
MillCreek
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Where to go to learn about folding bikes?

I have been riding road and mountain bikes seriously for some 30 years now. I am intrigued by the concept of folding bikes. I know nothing about folding bikes. My LBS do not stock folding bikes. Where would you suggest I go or what would you suggest I read to learn more about folding bikes, with an eye towards possible purchase some day? I am sufficiently new at this so as to be unable to even identify my primary use for one, except for general recreational riding. I don't mind paying for quality.

Thanks for any suggestions.

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Old 03-31-06, 02:48 PM   #2
Wavshrdr
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Why here of course! Best place to start your search and we are somewhat brand neutral.

I would suggest going to some of the companies websites as well.

www.bikefriday.com
www.swiftfolder.com
www.Xootr.com
www.dahon.com

These will be good for starters. Read them and come back and I'll give you more homework. We'll start with the basic and move into the more esoteric models. Class is now in session.
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Old 03-31-06, 03:19 PM   #3
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I like forum member Chop's page for the most comprehensive site I've seen on folders.

http://long-john.com/pagefoldlinks.htm
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Old 03-31-06, 03:22 PM   #4
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You might also want to look here: http://www.foldsoc.co.uk/.

Another site that's four years out of date, but still has some interesting stuff: http://nordicgroup.us/fold/

Chop's site has a lot of links to different folder manufacturers: http://www.long-john.com/
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Old 03-31-06, 03:54 PM   #5
MillCreek
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Hmm, that Xootr and some of the Dahon models, like the MU SL look very interesting.
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Old 03-31-06, 04:04 PM   #6
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I have a Swift which the Xootr is derived from. Great bike. Read through the thread on it. My bike is on page 9. I went retro, not racy. Sort of an XKE Jaguar surounded by Miatas.
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Old 03-31-06, 04:10 PM   #7
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Don't overlook "full-size" folders like the Montagues.

http://www.montagueco.com/productpara.html
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Old 03-31-06, 05:36 PM   #8
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Although it's not as in-depth as reviews by people/groups that have individually owned multiple folding bikes, Transalt.org has a great intro article to folding bikes, including links to several major manufacturers:

http://www.transalt.org/features/foldingbike.html

Wikipedia also has a nice write-up, and if you look closely you may notice that it's authored primarily by one of the forum members here. So, grain of salt, if you think the folks here are biased. It was the wikipedia article that originally led me to bikeforums.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folding_bicycle

I'd recommend reading these two articles, and then start to set your personal priorities:

-Main use of bike.... commuting? Light/heavy touring? Off-roading? Plane-travel?

-Main reason for a folding bike.... small storage size? Security (bring it inside your apartment or work)? Multi-mode commute on public transit? Fit in a car trunk? Multi-size bike (many folders can fit multiple sizes of riders because of their telescoping seats/handlebars)?

-Tolerance for strange stares, comments, questions, "riding a wierd-looking bike".

-Wheel size, 26"/20"/16" (these seem to be the main sizes.) This will be the biggest area of trade-off... smaller sizes fold more compactly, but sacrifice ride comfort, unless suspension is added to the mix (shocks, sprung saddle, etc). 20" wheels with some sort of suspension seems to be a middle comromise for many.

-Size of folded bike

-Quickness of fold

-Price. If you're looking to purchase *new*, then many of the folks in here seems to think that $250-$300 is the minimum you can spend and get a folding bike of any quality... Not even everyone in here agrees on that, and each person has a different idea of what "acceptable" is based on their riding habits, expectations and income. If you're willing to buy used, you can shave some off the low end.

-Upgrade path/customization. How many parts of the bikes can be replaced with standard parts? Are you willing to accept a bike with lots of nonstandard/proprietary parts if it meets your other needs best? How available will the tube sizes be without having to order them over the internet? etc etc

-(I saw this in one of Wav's posts, and agree) Total Cost of Ownership.... based on *your* priorities. A less expensive bike, that can be upgraded later, or a custom-sized-and-kitted bike that is rather expensive but *exactly* matches your biking needs? Is resale value important to you? Include "time spent" in TCO.... if you plan on having to find odd parts, have to mail-order custom tire sizes, etc.

I hadn't heard of folding bikes before two months ago, and only have my first one on order right now....so take everything I say with a grain of salt. I feel qualified to post here because this is the same information-filtering process I had to go through.
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Old 03-31-06, 07:41 PM   #9
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I got most of my information from this folder forum. It has has a lot of friendly and helpful members sharing their knowledge and opinions. With their help, I was able to make a decision to buy a Swift folder.
Good luck
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Old 04-01-06, 05:52 AM   #10
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I would also 2nd Chop's list - the nice thing about this is it has no bias .... it is just a comprehensive list for you to choose from.

You will find there are many loud opinions on this forum - but please remember that unless your needs, wants and circumstances are the same as such posters, THEIR choices may not be suitable for YOU.

For example I am sure a swift would be a brilliant bike for me <IF> I lived in the country and didn't have to fit daily on a tight london communtor train. As it is a Strida fits my need perfectly with a brompton (or copy ;-) ) a close 2nd.
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Old 04-01-06, 06:39 AM   #11
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Folding is an accessory you pay for. Why do you need one?
1) You plan on folding it and carrying it around. Smaller Dahon (needs smooth road surface), Strida (very short distances), Xootr.
2) You plan to put it inside a car. 26" folders from Dahon or Montague (crummy parts and other problems), Xootr.
3) You need easy storage at home. 20" Dahon or Downtube (if you can handle replacing parts), Xootr. A regular bike with folding pedals gets very narrow if you loosen the handle bars.
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Old 04-01-06, 09:39 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geo8rge
Folding is an accessory you pay for. Why do you need one?
2) You plan to put it inside a car. 26" folders from Dahon or Montague (crummy parts and other problems), Xootr.
Or you plan to stow it in the baggage compartment of your Cessna or Piper for local transportation at your destination.

Care to elaborate on the "crummy parts and other problems"? My 1991 Montague BiFrame has held up extraordinarily well over the years and came equipped with mid-range Shimano and SunTour components.
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Old 04-01-06, 12:40 PM   #13
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http://dev1.boomersdomain.com/cgi-bi...y_2/00840.html

Location of the book "It's In The Bag" by Tony Hadland. It is sold by the Pedaling History Bicycle Museum In New York State.
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