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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 10-01-06, 06:40 PM   #1
Marleetet
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Any 20" that fold as small as a DT Mini out there?

Killing time and enjoying the last of the daylight, I rode my wife's Mini around the house in the yard. Except, for not being able, to not pop a wheelie going up a steep section, I was having fun. Then I hit a small hole, and I mean small- seven years of mowing the grass there and I didn't even know there was a hole there. The Mini's 16" front tire dipped in and stopped me like I had thrown out an anchor. Hurt my wrists, but no real damage.

My wife loves the Mini as is and I was going to make some mods to expand the cockpit for me. But-this is the first 16" tire bike I have riden since I was 5. I absolutely need a small folder: but now I am a little more than nervous of riding in low light, at night, grassy areas, etc... I do not think of this as a Mini problem- just 16" wheels.

The DT VIIIH fold is not quite small enough for my needs, so what are my options for a really small folder other than a Mini?

Marl
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Old 10-01-06, 07:10 PM   #2
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Many bikes in the Dahon line fold into slightly larger packages than the Mini, but much smaller than the DT (the website has the folded package size). My Dahon Mu SL is light and small when folded, but pricey. The best folders tuck the tire under the frame, though. So your best bet would be an 18" Birdy (but very expensive). There is nothing out there as competatively priced as a Downtube, so be prepared to fork out some $$.
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Old 10-01-06, 07:33 PM   #3
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You would be very well served with a Merc, Brompton or GoBike. GoBike is the only one with 20" wheels, but Bromptons are around for several years and is an approved design (besides titanium forks, the 2007 models are exactly the same of 2000.

Good luck on your search, let us know what you picked. After several atempts to get a small packed 20" folder, I decided to get smaller wheels and know I have a Merc (and my gf a Brompton).
The riding style is very similar to a 20" folder.

Here is how these models look like:

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Old 10-02-06, 09:44 AM   #4
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>>>I was having fun. Then I hit a small hole, and I mean small- seven years of mowing the grass there and I didn't even know there was a hole there. The Mini's 16" front tire dipped in and stopped me like I had thrown out an anchor. Hurt my wrists, but no real damage.<<<<

This is the problem with the 16' inch wheel in general. You have to very careful where you ride because the small wheel gets sucked up easily in potholes and waves. Small rocks can jar the front wheel right from under you.


>>>
I absolutely need a small folder: but now I am a little more than nervous of riding in low light, at night, grassy areas, etc... I do not think of this as a Mini problem- just 16" wheels.
<<<<<

What's wrong with a slightly longer wheelbase? Where are you going that require a minimalist bike?

There are no 20' inch wheel folders in production that are smaller than 16' inch wheel bikes. A 20' inch folder that size would be made all wrong with the geometry off by a wide margin. It would be a poorly designed bike indeed.
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Old 10-02-06, 10:25 AM   #5
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Thanks for the responses so far- As with most of my purchases, I am looking for the best of both worlds. I have a small plane with a cargo door opening of 22" x 15.75". We like to land at small out of the way airports all over the U.S. to refuel. Some are in the mountains, plains, by rivers, etc... Most are outside of town by a few miles. Some airports have courtesy cars to borrow, but my wife and I really want to start using bikes. The Mini fits through that opening, just barely: the DT VIIIH not at all (unless I were to take it apart).

So we will be riding on gravel to paved.

Marl
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Old 10-02-06, 12:01 PM   #6
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I suggest a Brompton or a Merc. The smallest dimension is 24.4, but I think you can fit it sliding into your cargo door diagonally. It has bigger wheels than the DT Mini, the geometry is a little more broad (longer bike if you will) and it's a design that has been around for a while. It's also a model that I've seen frequently at local gliderports in Florida (i'm into sailplanes).






Again, let us know what you decide and good luck.

Rafael
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Old 10-02-06, 07:13 PM   #7
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Rafael- Thanks. That would work for me, I have a 182. I am having a problem finding info on the Merc: any suggestions for websites? Also, looking at what different people have said on this website- the Bromptons have their fans and non-fans. You have one- what are the problems with the ride or maintanence I should expect?

Mark
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Old 10-02-06, 08:15 PM   #8
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I have a Merc that was purchased second hand and I had to work on it a little to make it rideable due to (what I want to believe to be) shipping damage.

You can find more info about the Merc at the horribly designed and poorly constructed web site;

http://www.mercbike.co.uk/

I recently purchased a brompton for my girlfriend's Birthday (Oct. 12th) and it will be arriving on Oct. 3rd (TOMORROW). I really can't talk much about the brompton, but as far as I know besides the brakes that are worse than the Merc, everything is is evry similar. It was a HUGE investment (at least for me, 1200 bucks is a huge investment) but hopefully this bike will cost less than a buck/mile.

Contact Merc Bikes, they are not as professional as the Brompton dealers, but they seem to work hard to make their customers happy. In case you go Brompton, BFold in NYC would be my recommendation:

www.bfold.com

Take lots of pictures either way.
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Old 10-03-06, 11:00 AM   #9
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The brompton arrived today. Merc and Bromptons are EXACTLY what I was looking for but didn't want to pay the price. A small, easy to carry without coming apart, yet functional bike that could be ridden for 30 miles or so, even a century with proper training if you will. Average speed will be lower than carbon-fiber road bikes, but that's what carbon-fiber road bikes are for.

Besides some fine tuning upgrades (maybe non-folding pedals, the Merc clip to avoid rear wheel to fold and some better shifters), my search for the compact bike now came to an end.
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Old 10-03-06, 11:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marleetet
Rafael- Thanks. That would work for me, I have a 182. I am having a problem finding info on the Merc: any suggestions for websites? Also, looking at what different people have said on this website- the Bromptons have their fans and non-fans. You have one- what are the problems with the ride or maintanence I should expect?

Mark
You should talk to Anita at Merc. If you ask nicely, they are willing to build a special edition of the Merc like the one Rafael has. I recall that it would be something like $1100-1200. But it would be a major upgrade to the standard Merc.

If you want to see some maintenance issues and the such, search the forums for some Merc threads in the past year.
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Old 10-04-06, 01:47 AM   #11
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Maybe one of those bikes that breaks into 2. If you cannot find one and cost of bike + $500 is no problem try sandsmachine.com .
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