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Old 10-12-06, 09:16 PM   #1
guruguhan
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Can I get a folder for touring in S.E Asia under $1000?

Hello all,

I was initially dreaming of a Bike Friday (NWT or Air Glide), but I've woken up now (still a little hazy, considering the $1330 NWT still). I really can't be certain that I'll use my folder enough to spend that much money. I like to travel and I want a bike that can take a bit of abuse from the road. Suspension would be a great thing, but I don't know if it falls in my price range.

From looking at bikes from KHS, Dahon and others, I'm finding it easy to understand the componentry (I have gained some familiarity in this area), but determining which are good frames vs bad is still foreign to me.

Here are some other things I'd like (but willling to make sacrifices):

I prefer to lean forward a bit while riding.
I would like touring-style gearing if possible (as low/lower than 21 gear inches would be nice).
Not picky about STI vs bar ends, though I do like drops (not necessary though).
Would like to have v-brakes.
Rack(s)
Suspension

I'm leaving out the level of componentry out (Tiagra/105/Ultegra/etc) because I'm willing to upgrade in the future (though I'd like to get the best in this price range). In case I've stepped into possible mocking territory - please understand I'm just writing what I'd like to get (ideally). I understand things don't always go ideally.

Thanks in advance! To anyone taking a trip anytime soon: have fun!

Last edited by guruguhan; 10-12-06 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 10-12-06, 09:59 PM   #2
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I just recently met a guy riding a Dahon Jetstream P8 2005 with a full pannier load on it (while I was riding my hyper-road modded version of the same model) and asked how he liked it as a tourer. His answer was that the frame was plenty stiff enough to feel secure under the load and tha the only worry he had was denting, or othewise stressing the top tube (Dahon calls it a 'Sonus' tube and it is multishaped, with pretty thin gauge sidewalls). He had it wrapped in thick tape and seemed happy enough. No problems with balance reported but, looking at the condition of the bike, it was obvious that it had been through more than a few US States.

So, contrary to earlier hesitation I've had thinking of my bike as a natural touring machine, It's now been proven to me. In terms of ride quality, stability and speed to effort ratio, I haven't yet ridden a finer folding bike. It's _far_ better than the 04 Jet XP I had. And though it is a pound or two heavier, the suspension fork has great road feel, is diveless and sheds any doubt that the Pantour on the XP is a workable alternative.The hinge mech is built to a much tighter tolerance, the welds are far better, the riding position is unthinkably superior. No bouncing down the street, like my Birdy tends toward.

I'd say, go for a Magura Hydraulic equipt jet P8.

DG1
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Old 10-12-06, 11:44 PM   #3
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touring in Asia? steel frame. you can weld them anywhere. nice ride, too. the difference in frame weight vs. Alu, if loaded for touring, is inconsequential.

"lean forward". few folders beat a Swift for roadie like cockpits. TT bars and w/TT brake levers on a steel Swift and a long stem probably produce the longest cockpit in folderdom. finding a steel Swift is more difficult than dialing it in for touring.

If no steel Swift, rebuild a Speed TR to your liking and you'll still be way south of a BF.

option 3, if you have lots of time, less money, and don't mind smog: simply take your camping gear to Taipei, the folder capital of the world, and build up a frame. There are brands and options there unknown to the anglophone world. Helps to speak a bit of Mandarin, if only to get around.
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Old 10-13-06, 10:26 AM   #4
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Hi--If you can afford the time, pop over to China. The Dahons there are *very* cheap...about half price of the ones here in the US or less. The offerings differ from those here. Try them out and see what fits. There is another thread on buying bikes in SE Asia here, but the conclusion is that there is very little outside China, Japan, and Taiwan.
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Old 10-13-06, 02:31 PM   #5
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Here is that thread: Folding bike shop in Thailand ?
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Old 10-13-06, 02:55 PM   #6
guruguhan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maunakea
touring in Asia? steel frame. you can weld them anywhere. nice ride, too. the difference in frame weight vs. Alu, if loaded for touring, is inconsequential.

"lean forward". few folders beat a Swift for roadie like cockpits. TT bars and w/TT brake levers on a steel Swift and a long stem probably produce the longest cockpit in folderdom. finding a steel Swift is more difficult than dialing it in for touring.

If no steel Swift, rebuild a Speed TR to your liking and you'll still be way south of a BF.

option 3, if you have lots of time, less money, and don't mind smog: simply take your camping gear to Taipei, the folder capital of the world, and build up a frame. There are brands and options there unknown to the anglophone world. Helps to speak a bit of Mandarin, if only to get around.
thanks guys - I've actually just come back from living in Taiwan for four years. Yes, I know that folders are popular there, unfortunately after four years of living there I question the QA at times. I don't restrict myself to non-taiwanese products (how hard would that be), but I am weary at times. If you really think the smog in Taipei is bad, you should go down south into the industrial areas of the country. But it didn't compare to Delhi/Mexico City.

I'll look at the swift (but I said I like to lean forward a bit...not TT style, I don't think I could stay in that position for a tour). I'm not going to be buying an aluminum frame, would rather put S&S couplers on a steel frame if need be. Not going to depend on aluminum in SE Asia (for the reasons you mentioned).

Thanks again, take it easy

Last edited by guruguhan; 10-13-06 at 04:15 PM.
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Old 10-13-06, 05:59 PM   #7
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Why not try the BF Pocket Tourist? The model below has 24 speeds and is $860. I think just about all of the components are standard: you will be able to upgrade the components later.

http://www.bikefriday.com/bikespecs99.cfm?BF=57&Gp=486
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Old 10-13-06, 07:35 PM   #8
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Hi,
Check this used one out:
http://www.bikefriday.com/usedbike99view.cfm?id=787
It's $300-400 less than it would normally be,
juan
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Old 10-13-06, 10:57 PM   #9
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You can Swift steel frame from Jan on the Westcoast or wait for Peter to introduce his smaller steel frame version of the Swift.

Jan http://www.catoregon.org/hpm/index.htm

Peter http://www.swiftfolders.com/index.html

I was lucky to get a used steel Swift from Peter to take with me overseas. I am going to Thailand this coming November.
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Old 10-15-06, 05:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juan162
Hi,
Check this used one out:
http://www.bikefriday.com/usedbike99view.cfm?id=787
It's $300-400 less than it would normally be,
juan
Canadian here, can't buy a used one (though if I do go the NWT maybe I could go used and pick it up in person)

I just noticed they have far fewer sample configs of the NWT on BF's site. Anyone know why? Any rumours of new ones?
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Old 10-16-06, 08:37 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guruguhan
Canadian here, can't buy a used one (though if I do go the NWT maybe I could go used and pick it up in person)

I just noticed they have far fewer sample configs of the NWT on BF's site. Anyone know why? Any rumours of new ones?
I noticed the same thing this morning. I do recall a time when BF had some web problems and a similar thing happened. A few days later, they re-posted a bunch of configurations.
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Old 10-21-06, 04:21 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guruguhan
Yes, I know that folders are popular there, unfortunately after four years of living there I question the QA at times.
Living on the mainland, I look at a "made in Taiwan" sticker as a guarantee of high (or higher) quality!
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