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Old 08-12-06, 12:01 PM   #1
cooker
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Opinions please: bike for larger flyer.

I work out of town for a couple of days about once a month, and would like to take a bike on the plane sometimes.
Here are my folder issues:

Geometry. what is it with that forward jutting Brompton seat? I'd like to sit a little farther back like on my tour bike. Can you "flip the clamp" on Brompton to move the seat back? Does that interfere with folding? Is the seat tube or post strong enough?

Seat height. I'm not huge (33" inseam) but some cheaper folders I've checked out in stores don't seem to have a long enough post.

Weight. I'm 220 lb/100 kg, so for example, I'm at the limit for a Bike Friday Pocket Pilot, and would have to go to a Pocket Rocket. A bunch of other manufacturers also specify a maximum weight in this range. Which bikes can carry a heavier rider like myself, plus maybe 10-20 lbs of gear?

Flying. It has to fit in the 30" suitcase, and I hope it won't take 1/2 hour to do it. Do I really want to remove the rear derailleur every time as described by Xootr?

Test riding. Bike Friday and Swift (original, not Xootr) are made to order so they'll fit, but how do you know you'll like the ride?

Cost. I was hoping to spend under $1000 but that seems unlikely.

Any opinions on which way I should go?
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Old 08-12-06, 12:41 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cooker
Geometry. what is it with that forward jutting Brompton seat? I'd like to sit a little farther back like on my tour bike. Can you "flip the clamp" on Brompton to move the seat back? Does that interfere with folding? Is the seat tube or post strong enough?
The seat position for the standard Brompton saddle is somewhat adjustable fore-and-aft, and it appears to me from the brochure you linked that the saddle clamp is "flipped".

Here's a picture of my M6L, and my saddle is adjusted much farther aft than the one in the brochure. I've also attached a close-up of the saddle adjustment.

I'm 6' tall with a 34" inseam, and I bought the optional telescoping seatpost. The way the seat is adjusted in the photo is very comfortable for me, even on long rides, and there's still plenty more seatpost available for even taller riders. Channell Wasson is the local dealer, and I believe he weighs about 225 pounds. His weight is easily accommodated by the Brompton. HERE'S a thread in which Channell responded to a question about weight.

If you're serious about packing it into a 30" piece of luggage, I don't believe you have a lot of choice.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Brompton Saddle sm.JPG (45.0 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg CIMG1625sm.JPG (69.5 KB, 20 views)
File Type: jpg CIMG1623sm.JPG (51.9 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg Brompton Folded R sm.JPG (54.9 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg Brompton Unfolded sm.JPG (40.1 KB, 8 views)
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Last edited by Scooper; 08-12-06 at 06:47 PM.
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Old 08-12-06, 04:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cooker
It has to fit in the 30" suitcase, and I hope it won't take 1/2 hour to do it. Do I really want to remove the rear derailleur every time as described by Xootr?
It does suck but it's a good idea. If you leave the derailleur on a packed bike, you have a much higher chance of it getting a serious whack and bending the derailleur hanger. On my test packing of a Swift I've had no problems removing & reassembling the derailleur. (iirc there's at least one person 'round here who prefers internal hubs to avoid this issue)

Unless you get a Brompton or are very competent at breaking down a bike, almost anything will take about 30 minutes to pack & unpack.

Not sure a Swift will fit a 30" suitcase, depends on the other dimensions. It barely fits a 31" F'Lite.


Quote:
Bike Friday and Swift (original, not Xootr) are made to order so they'll fit, but how do you know you'll like the ride?
I'm not sure the Swift customized in the same fashion as the BF. Unless you know your riding position, you may need to play around a little bit with stems etc. My understanding is that BF will be a little more precise.

Most folder manufacturers have a 30-day return policy.


Brompton is a decent choice for shorter rides (20 miles maybe?) and is more or less in your price range. Otherwise if you travel frequently (more than twice a year), save up a little more and get a BF.

Don't forget you will have to deal with your suitcase when traveling. If this is a touring setup, the BF trailer solution is likely the optimal solution.
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Old 08-12-06, 04:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooper
The seat position for the standard Brompton saddle is somewhat adjustable fore-and-aft, and it appears to me from the brochure you linked that the saddle clamp is "flipped".
I'm 6' tall with a 34" inseam, and I bought the optional telescoping seatpost.
If you're serious about packing it into a 30" piece of luggage, I don't believe you have a lot of choice.
Thanks. Your seat clamp is "flipped" compared to the ones in the catalogue and at the dealer, so that helps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
Unless you get a Brompton or are very competent at breaking down a bike, almost anything will take about 30 minutes to pack & unpack.

Not sure a Swift will fit a 30" suitcase, depends on the other dimensions. It barely fits a 31" F'Lite.
Is that F'lite checkable?

Thanks very much, guys.
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File Type: jpg Brompton Saddle sm.JPG (45.0 KB, 4 views)
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Old 08-12-06, 06:39 PM   #5
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F'lite is checkable. Brompton would have no problem for you as Scooper says. It is very easy to fit in a suitcase without a lot of pieces parts.

Swift is a great travel bike too but it will take you longer to bread down. You might want to consider an internal hub so as to not have to worry about derailleurs but that is up to you.
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Old 08-12-06, 09:40 PM   #6
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Bike for larger flyer

Check out gaerlan.com before you make your decision. They are experienced flyers and their website has good info.for you.
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Old 08-13-06, 10:18 AM   #7
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If the rear derailer is the problem get an internal hub. Perhaps a DT mini if you like that style of bike.
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Old 08-13-06, 11:23 AM   #8
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My M6L 6-speed Brompton uses a 3-speed Sachs internal hub with a two cog freewheel and derailleur. While the derailleur is well protected and shouldn't be susceptable to damage if the bike is reasonably packaged in a hard case, it is somewhat kludgy IMHO. I'm considering changing to an 8-speed S-A hub and getting rid of the derailleur altogether.
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Old 08-13-06, 01:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geo8rge
Perhaps a DT mini if you like that style of bike.
The problem is that at 220 libs I'm pretty much at their weight limit.
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Old 08-13-06, 02:14 PM   #10
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You can usually put an internal hub on any bike with horizontal dropouts. Vertical dropouts take a bit of skill. I have seen internal hubs on a Swift. Owners had no complaints.

If you are going to pack a bike up alot, an internal gear hub would be a plus. You will need a wrench to remove the rear wheel, I do not think there are QR work on internal hub wheels. Try Dahon, 7 speed $150:
http://www.campingworld.com/.
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Old 08-14-06, 08:32 PM   #11
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The problem with putting an internal or fixed hub on a bike with a floating rear triangle like the Swift and Brompton (or Merc) is that when you fold it all the chain tension goes and you are liable to drop the chain. This is why internal hubbed Brompy's still have that utilitarian chain tensioner.

It's a shame they don't design/engineer the 'hinged' part of the triangle right around the bottom bracket of the bike so that it could pivot without changing the physical length between the chainring and sprocket. This would make for such a simple, elegant and more usable/durable fold I can't see why no-one has done it yet.

That's what I'd do if I was working on an update to these sort of bikes. (If only so I could run a fixie titanium Merc/Brompton. THAT bike would rule!)

Regarding that seat. I've ridden a Brompton and feel the saddle cheapens the experience greatly looking (as it does) like it's been retrofitted from a cheap catalogue exercise bike. If I was getting a Brompton for anything more than occasional use I'd make the seat the first upgrade even if it makes for a slightly higher/longer collapsed size.

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Old 08-14-06, 10:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittlePixel
Regarding that seat. I've ridden a Brompton and feel the saddle cheapens the experience greatly looking (as it does) like it's been retrofitted from a cheap catalogue exercise bike. If I was getting a Brompton for anything more than occasional use I'd make the seat the first upgrade even if it makes for a slightly higher/longer collapsed size.
Brompton offers a very nice Brooks B-17 leather saddle as a $118 option. It uses the same Brompton Pentaclip seat clamp as the stock saddle.
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