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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 03-16-07, 12:22 PM   #1
dty
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malfunctions with folding bikes

do they generally stuff up more than regular bikes like with more moving pieces and the constant opening and shutting?
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Old 03-16-07, 12:27 PM   #2
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Not within my sphere of knowledge. I am an experienced biker for over 20 years and I can compare folder to non folders. Folders do not stuff up more than regular bikes.
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Old 03-16-07, 01:01 PM   #3
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do your knees or legs ever accidentally bump a switch and your bike collapses as u ride along?
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Old 03-16-07, 01:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dty
do your knees or legs ever accidentally bump a switch and your bike collapses as u ride along?
I'll treat that as a serious question.

Never happened to me. The latches I've seen on folders are all pretty well designed not to release by accident. Of course, if you don't fasten them properly in the first place, all bets are off.

It's possible for something to break while you're riding, and I'm sure it's happened to some people. Stuff can break while you're riding a non-folder too. I have no statistics to show which is more likely, but a lot of people have found folders to be very reliable in the long run. Pick a decent brand, and do regular maintenance, just like any other bike.
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Old 03-16-07, 04:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dty
do they generally stuff up more than regular bikes like with more moving pieces and the constant opening and shutting?
Depends on the model.

Dahons definitely fail more than regular bikes -- enough that a mechanic I know derides them as "bike-shaped objects" (while regarding Bike Friday as a "real" bike). Most of the failures are in the handlepost, which are very flexy and can eventually crack / break if you pull back on them, e.g. standing in the saddle, climbing etc.

Also, you do have to make sure that the hinges on the Dahons are at the right tension. Even if you use Loc-Tite, they can loosen up a little bit as you fold / unfold it.

However, even with the Dahons, as long as you don't pull back on the bars constantly and add one action to your regular maintenance (namely, check the hinges) the extra maintenance can be minimal.

Other designs, like Bike Friday, Brompton, Swift etc should not have issues like this. Not sure about other manufacturers.
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Old 03-16-07, 06:43 PM   #6
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Short answer yes. I have heard of problems with those mast like steerer tubes.
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Old 03-16-07, 06:51 PM   #7
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If you have too much time on your hands, go to the U. S. Patent Office Search Page and type in "folding bicycle" in "Term 1:" and "Title" in "Field 1:"... There are some very scary folding mechanisms as well as some very secure and well thought out ones.

I like the Brompton frame and handlebar hinges/latches; they're fast and secure.

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Old 03-16-07, 10:40 PM   #8
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I would say, yes, a bit. As far as my own Fridays go, the fold and the cable routing tend to put the shifting out of adjustment. It doesn't bother me, but it drives some riders nuts.

For other bikes, I've heard a few tales from riders of other models about things like cracked or misaligned frames. All anecdotal, but I would pay attention to the stated rider weight limits of any folding bike if I were a larger guy. (or larger girl, but you know, guys tend to be larger large...)
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Old 03-17-07, 04:09 AM   #9
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This is one advantage to the old, reliable Raleigh Twenty folding mechanism. I once rode 15 miles before realizing I had not tightened the bolt on the folding mechanism. The only thing I noticed was that it was a little "loose" feeling in the turns. Sheldon mentioned this aspect of the Twenty design but I never thought I'd end up testing it!

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Old 03-17-07, 07:19 AM   #10
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Id think a design with nuts and bolts loosely tightened would work good rather than a lever?
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Old 03-17-07, 07:24 AM   #11
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There are bikes out there without hinges. After a bad experience with my "bike shaped object," I forked out serious cash for a used Birdy (spending about as much for Alivio groupo as I would have for a SRAM 9 Dahon). The bike is quirky, but rock solid. The only hinge is the handlebar post. There have been 2/60,000 folding stem failures (known) on a Birdy, but these occured on older models. They now weigh more, but are rock solid. (I still don't pull on mine when climbing, though! And I wouldn't pull on a BF either.)
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Old 03-17-07, 09:45 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dty
do your knees or legs ever accidentally bump a switch and your bike collapses as u ride along?
NO!
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Old 03-17-07, 11:11 AM   #13
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3 out of 4 bikes that my family owns are the folding variety. 2 are Dahons and one is a Brompton. The Dahon's Piccolo did give me some trouble about securing one of the latches and keeping the right tension pressure on the same latch when new. After a month or so (and changing the same lower stem's hinge to a new one), it is simply a matter of checking them before I leave the house-and making sure that I also have the secondary latch in use over the primary latch. The Brompton (as mentioned above) never gave me a bit of worry over it's own wingnut latches. So go figure.
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