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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 02-07-07, 12:23 AM   #1
DVC45
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Anyone had gone exclusively to folding bikes?

I'm comtemplating on this, since I'm giving my road bike to my brother. He called me the other day and he expressed some interest on bicycling for health and leisure. I offered him my road bike and he gladly took my offer (I've been needing an excuse to get a new one for awhile now ). Anyway, I'm debating on wether to get another road bike or get a folder. I know there's the option of getting both, but my budget and my home space will only allow for one right now...hhmm..okay, 2 folding bikes could fit! But my wallet say's just one for now!

My type of riding is mostly recreational and occasional commuting to and from work. I have no intention in racing. Maybe a group ride with the local bike club someday, but that's it.

None of my LBS carries a folder, so trying one out is not an option. But based on what I read here, the ride quality on a folder is really not bad (depending on which one I get, of course).

Will I be limited somehow by going exclusively to folders? Are there things I should consider?
Thanks in advance for your opinions!

Last edited by DVC45; 02-07-07 at 12:33 AM.
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Old 02-07-07, 03:37 AM   #2
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For recreational riding and commuting, I can't think of any reason why you would run into issues by going exclusively to folders. Even if you decided to do more than that, you'll find that many of them are very capable of handling whatever you throw at them. If you're planning very aggressive or off-road riding, a folder may not be the best choice, though there are certainly folders that can handle this (Airnimals). More precisely, a folder in that case would not be your most cost-effective choice.

Whatever you decide to do, good luck and happy riding!
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Old 02-07-07, 06:55 AM   #3
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If you do not intend to go on agressive offroad rides a folding bicycle will suit you very well. As gbcb told you, you have airnimals that go offroad, a bit pricy though. If you what to go for a road bike or commuting I suggest bicycles like these

http://www.khsbicycles.com/10_F20r_06.htm
http://www.dahon.com/us/speedprott.htm
http://www.airnimalfoldingbikes.com/...manceSport.php
http://www.bikefriday.com/node/1667

Despite offroad folding bicycle is more or less limited to airnimal white rhino, that costs lots and lots of £ I suggest you costumise a Raleigh 20. There are many projects in the net you can take some ideas from and you can enjoy from the project.

http://littlepixel.info/twenty/Anoth...enty/Home.html
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/raleigh-twenty.html
http://www.rhizomes.nl/twenty.html

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Old 02-07-07, 07:04 AM   #4
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One thing to be aware of, although it's not necessarily a problem, is gearing range. With most stock folders, you will end up with a narrower total range, and a lower top gear, than with many stock road bikes. There are several ways around this: double or triple chain ring setups with an extra large chain ring, dual drive systems, and Capreo gears, for example. These can be expensive, and aren't available on all folders.

Most riders do just fine without the super high gears. There are even people who are perfectly happy with a single gear. Just be aware of this, and consider it when you're evaluating folders.

Personally, I ride my folders almost exclusively, although I've kept a couple of bikes with 700c wheels.
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Old 02-07-07, 07:06 AM   #5
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Except for one off-road ride, I've used my folder exclusively since I bought it a year ago.
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Old 02-07-07, 08:14 AM   #6
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I currently only use folders, but may pick up a road bike for use with fast group and century+ rides. Other than that and off-road, a good folding bike should do the trick.
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Old 02-07-07, 09:59 AM   #7
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My wife prefers her Bike Friday over her full size road bike. There are instances where I prefer the full-size bike over the folder; but the differences are minimal.

With the Capreo cassette and SRAM Dual Drive, gear range is not an issue in my opinion. The SRAM Dual Drive has the advantages and disadvantages of a hub gear.

If you want to avoid any personal tinkering and are looking for a road bike--with drop bars--replacement for casual rides and the occasional club ride then your best options are the Bike Friday and Airnimal.

If you are willing to do some minor modifications, then you can include a Peter-Reich Swift Folder build with the Dual Drive; but when I last spoke with him, he would only work produce a flat-bar setup. So you would have to get the drop bars and brifters and have them installed (or install them yourself). Both the Airnimal and Bike Friday can be easily modified.

If you want to do a complete build, then you can get the Airnimal and Swift Folder as a frameset. As far as I know, Bike Friday only sells complete bikes. Although I have heard stories where people acquire frames or provide the parts for Bike Friday to build.

Note that you pay a premium for a folding bike compared with its full size counterpart. Roughly, I would say that the premium is about $500 ... plus or minus $200.

EDIT: To answer your question directly, no I have not gone to riding folders full-time. The main reason is that I already have a full size bike that I enjoy and I still occasionally ride during evening hours. However, if the Jamis dies and I buy another bike, I could certainly see myself just riding folding bikes.
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Old 02-07-07, 10:25 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DVC45
Will I be limited somehow by going exclusively to folders?
You will if you want an Xtracycle.
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Old 02-07-07, 11:24 AM   #9
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I had a Merc as my only bike for a nice while. No offroad adventures, but besides that, no limitations either.
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Old 02-07-07, 12:26 PM   #10
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"...None of my LBS carries a folder, so trying one out is not an option. But based on what I read here, the ride quality on a folder is really not bad (depending on which one I get, of course).

Will I be limited somehow by going exclusively to folders? Are there things I should consider?"-DVC45

Ride Quality is a subjective opinion and I prefer to leave that to the individual him/herself. But yes I find that the more quality brands do have a better all around feel than the cheapies do (better design, components, etc.). But there is one thing I encourage anyone considering buying a folding bike-especially the first time-is to actually go to the shop that has the brand(s) you are interested in and try them out, even for a short period of time. The weakest link of folding bike purchases actually occurs from the selection of the bike shop and the first month or two if any problem, whether a minor one or especially a major one occurs, when the bike shop does not advocate for it's customer and does something about the problem. That is why I no longer go to any LBS in my area. I now go farther and farther out (and I live in the middle of a huge urban area, passing by countless bike shops) to get the best folding bike's selection and maintanance I could find. I know it might be an hassle to many people. But if you don't ride a popular bike style (mountain, road, cruiser, beach bike around here), you might get a mechanic or salesperson that either does not take you seriously or does not know how to service the folding bike. For more information about this, read my Geocities Web site below-Selection pages 6-8.

And yes, I now pretty much ride all three of my family's folders now. I still do own a 26" Phillips three speed Ladies Frame bike, but I rarely ride it now.

If you need more help, just ask.
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Old 02-07-07, 02:27 PM   #11
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Since getting into cycling 3-4 years ago, I have only ridden folders. I am now in the process of buying a road bike for the sole purpose of doing some racing (not yet, though. I'm still fat, but getting thinner every day. 15lbs lost since January 1st) . If this wasn't the case, I would probably stay with my folders.

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Old 02-08-07, 12:24 AM   #12
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Thanks to all of you for taking the time to respond. I really appreciate all your info.
So, my original thought was right. So long I stay away from off road ridding and racing, a DT or a low end Dahon will do just fine (<$600 budget ). Low gear range is not much of a concern, since its mostly flat here in my area. I don't travel by plane much, so weight is not a concern either. I just like the fact that I can fold 'em and take it with me almost anywhere I go (My first bicycle got stolen when I left it, chained and all, outside a mall).
All that said, I still can't make up my mind. So far, I'm leaning more towards getting a folder.

Last edited by DVC45; 02-08-07 at 12:34 AM.
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Old 02-08-07, 12:57 AM   #13
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Hi--

Everyone always recommends their fav. folder without any concern as to what the user's needs are! The folder recommended here range from small to large. If Poor DVC45 took your advice and bought a BF or a Joey, but needed to fold it 4 times a day like I do, he would be screwed. Why not pin a buying advice thread to the top that discusses bikes according to need?
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Old 02-08-07, 01:05 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pm124
Why not pin a buying advice thread to the top that discusses bikes according to need?
Good idea! That would help a lot of inquiring minds....like mine.
The BF's are nice but they're waay out of my budget.
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Old 02-08-07, 03:44 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaFriMon
One thing to be aware of, although it's not necessarily a problem, is gearing range. With most stock folders, you will end up with a narrower total range, and a lower top gear, than with many stock road bikes. There are several ways around this: double or triple chain ring setups with an extra large chain ring, dual drive systems, and Capreo gears, for example. These can be expensive, and aren't available on all folders.

Most riders do just fine without the super high gears. There are even people who are perfectly happy with a single gear. Just be aware of this, and consider it when you're evaluating folders.

Personally, I ride my folders almost exclusively, although I've kept a couple of bikes with 700c wheels.
I am beginning to think the gear range "problem" is really not a problem, except only in the minds of some.

Consider: I have a flat bar roadie Giant CRX2, with a gear-inch range from 30GI to 114GI (380%). Then I have a modded Raleigh 20, 8 speed hub gear with 34GI to 105GI (304%). And my wife's upgraded 9-speed Yeah (rebranded Dahon Helios) has a range of 29GI to 90GI (309%). Only the roadie triple has a bigger range, and the extremes are very seldomly if ever actually needed. SUre I sometimes shift into highest gear on a downhill, but then it is only to pedal slowly, resting.

So the gear "problem" is only a phurphy.
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Old 02-08-07, 07:38 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jur
I am beginning to think the gear range "problem" is really not a problem, except only in the minds of some . . .
So the gear "problem" is only a phurphy.
A "phurphy"? Had no idea what you meant, so I Googled it, and came up with this, http://tinyurl.com/2aej4n Hadn't heard of a "furphy", either, but I guess it's the same?

As I said, the gear range will probably not be an issue for most people. However, for people thinking of ordering a folder without trying it out, it's something to be aware of. It's one thing to think it out ahead of time, and decide you don't need the extra gears. (Or pay extra money for a dual-drive bike to get them) It's another thing to overlook the difference when ordering, and try to justify it to yourself afterward.

Last edited by DaFriMon; 02-08-07 at 07:44 AM.
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Old 02-08-07, 08:17 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pm124
Hi--

Everyone always recommends their fav. folder without any concern as to what the user's needs are! The folder recommended here range from small to large. If Poor DVC45 took your advice and bought a BF or a Joey, but needed to fold it 4 times a day like I do, he would be screwed. Why not pin a buying advice thread to the top that discusses bikes according to need?
Yeah, what's up with that?
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Old 02-08-07, 09:53 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pm124
Everyone always recommends their fav. folder without any concern as to what the user's needs are!
I disagree. I don't own a BF or a Brompton, and would not really call either of them my "favorites." But I still recommend them where appropriate.

Most of the time, the REAL issue is that whoever is posting does not give enough info about their needs. (DVC45, by the way, is pretty straight-forward.)


Quote:
Why not pin a buying advice thread to the top that discusses bikes according to need?
1) Unless there is a consensus on which bikes are best for which purposes, such a thread would sprawl into a nearly unreadable length.
2) Posters and n00bs would likely ignore the sticky anyway.
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Old 02-08-07, 01:02 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pm124
Why not pin a buying advice thread to the top that discusses bikes according to need?
Well, typically it takes several iterations to get enough information and details to figure out the person's situation and concerns. And some of the permanent threads can quickly become unmanageable due to the number of posts. Just go to the Advocacy group and try to read through the post about helmets.

For $500 or $600 without a real need for a wide gear range, it sounds like the Dahon Speed 8 or Downtube look like your best bets for a road bike.
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Old 02-08-07, 01:09 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pm124
Everyone always recommends their fav. folder without any concern as to what the user's needs are!
Not too sure about that.

After some time, most people conclude that Bike X is probably the best folder for Job Y. So when people post the same question every few weeks or so, the same answer is given.
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Old 02-08-07, 04:32 PM   #21
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I only have one bike, a folder. I bought it for commuting, but now i just ride it for fun. Off-road i may have sort of pounded it a bit too much (one or two dings on the frame that i am keeping an eye on) and its not as fast as a road bike, but it is what it is...

I don't want to go road racing or hucking, it gets me about, and if it didn't fold out of the way my gf would let me keep it in the house.. :_D
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Old 02-08-07, 09:58 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by DaFriMon
A "phurphy"? Had no idea what you meant, so I Googled it, and came up with this, http://tinyurl.com/2aej4n Hadn't heard of a "furphy", either, but I guess it's the same?

As I said, the gear range will probably not be an issue for most people. However, for people thinking of ordering a folder without trying it out, it's something to be aware of. It's one thing to think it out ahead of time, and decide you don't need the extra gears. (Or pay extra money for a dual-drive bike to get them) It's another thing to overlook the difference when ordering, and try to justify it to yourself afterward.
Agreed.

Re Phurphy/furphy, I have to admit I wouldn't be able to write a dictionary description. Having heard it in conversation a number of times makes me think it means "perceived, not real".

[/hijack]
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