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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 03-22-07, 03:14 PM   #1
Akugluk
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I think I'm in love...

with the Raleigh 20. I saw one for the first time on craigslist last night and have completely fallen for it. I've never felt this way about a bike before. Unfortunately the post was a day and a half old and it's been taken down since I wrote to the seller.

My question, now, is how hard is it to find one in decent condition, and how much should I expect to pay for it? (the one I saw was $20 and a fixer-upper) I've never seriously looked at or ridden folders before... they just seemed so... funny looking. but I love to travel and I would love to have a bike I could make small enough to bring along when I wasn't riding it exclusively. And the raleigh is just so sexy!

Thanks for your time

-Akugluk
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Old 03-22-07, 04:15 PM   #2
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Don't look at LittlePixel's site that's for sure!

If you're thinking of traveling with a 20, good luck with the disassembly and weight issues.
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Old 03-22-07, 06:25 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akugluk
. . . My question, now, is how hard is it to find one in decent condition, and how much should I expect to pay for it? (the one I saw was $20 and a fixer-upper) I've never seriously looked at or ridden folders before... they just seemed so... funny looking. but I love to travel and I would love to have a bike I could make small enough to bring along when I wasn't riding it exclusively. And the raleigh is just so sexy! . . .
As for taking it with you anywhere, someone is bound to bring up this page, so we might as well get it out of the way now. As far as everyday folding goes, without disassembly, I think you'll find that the Twenty is kind of a large and awkward package, compared to more recent models. Heavy, too, unless you do some major upgrading.

People have done some amazing jobs fixing these up. My own falls far short of amazing, but it's still a serviceable utility bike with a kind of retro chic, at least in my eyes. You can end up spending quite a lot of money upgrading these, though. Depending on what kind of bring along bike you want, it would be a good idea to look at Downtubes, Dahons, Swifts, well, there are a lot of threads along the lines of "what kind of folder should I buy?" already.

Ebay prices seem to run from about $70 to $200. Not sure about Craigs list or garage sales.

Last edited by DaFriMon; 03-22-07 at 07:30 PM.
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Old 03-22-07, 08:45 PM   #4
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Thanks for the links! I found the super modified page last night looking up everything I could about them (that and Sheldon Brown's page). I'm not looking at huge upgrades quite yet (I'll wait until I've graduated for that) but its something to dream about.

Yeah, i know they aren't ideal for travel, but they seem to fit what I have in mind. they'd fit in a trunk, it looks like they can be fitted with a rack, and they seem pretty sturdy. If I was going to go by plane/train/bus... it looks like it could be done with a little more work. Someone on bf had a picture of their 20 in a standard hard sided suitcase for airline travel. Impressive.

About how heavy are they?
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Old 03-22-07, 08:58 PM   #5
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One guy got his single speed Twenty down to under 23lbs. Mine is a portly 31lbs with a dual drive hub, suspension fork, and bag of tools. Without the tools, it's probably just barely under 30lbs. It's a real fun ride, though. And quick, so long as your not going uphill! Of course the 219lbs I carry could also effect the whole climbing thing.

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Old 03-22-07, 09:31 PM   #6
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Akugluk in "Nome"town.... Alaska? I think you'll find that unusual items of all sorts, including older folding bikes, are catch-as-catch can up by you.

It'd be a bit of a trip, but if you travel yearly, it may be worth checking out the centers of population around some of the western Canadian provinces.... particularly Vancouver/Victoria Craigslist ads. Raleigh was a British company, and the Twentys/Shoppers seem to be fairly commonplace in the UK. I've noticed them pop up fairly regularly in and around Canadian CL ads, I'm guessing due to lower shipping costs back in the day for Commonwealth businesses. Because they were ideal for boaters, I would tend to predict that they'd pop up for sale more often in places like Seattle or Vancouver.

Or, just post a "wanted" ad on Craigslist yourself. You may be surprised at the results
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Old 03-23-07, 02:38 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by bookishboy
Akugluk in "Nome"town.... Alaska? I think you'll find that unusual items of all sorts, including older folding bikes, are catch-as-catch can up by you.

It'd be a bit of a trip, but if you travel yearly, it may be worth checking out the centers of population around some of the western Canadian provinces.... particularly Vancouver/Victoria Craigslist ads. Raleigh was a British company, and the Twentys/Shoppers seem to be fairly commonplace in the UK. I've noticed them pop up fairly regularly in and around Canadian CL ads, I'm guessing due to lower shipping costs back in the day for Commonwealth businesses. Because they were ideal for boaters, I would tend to predict that they'd pop up for sale more often in places like Seattle or Vancouver.

Or, just post a "wanted" ad on Craigslist yourself. You may be surprised at the results
Yeah, Alaska it is. Fortunately for bike-shopping purposes, I am in Oregon for the time being. Thanks for the Canada/seattle tip. I'll definitely keep my eyes open.
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Old 03-23-07, 09:41 AM   #8
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I bought one on E-Bay last month for $120.00 plus shipping. It's in very good condition and cleaned up really nice. I've seen some go for $200-300.00 on E-bay so I grabbed this one before it disappeared. These things are a blast to ride!!! Almost more fun than my full-sized bikes. I bought mine with the idea of taking it on trips so that I can ride along beach cycle paths, quiet roads by the B&B's that we stay at etc. It's not the smallest nor lightest folder but it is reasonably inexpensive. I'd like to have a Brompton M6series but don't want to spend $1,000.00 before I know if I like the folding bike thing.
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Old 03-23-07, 12:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akugluk
My question, now, is how hard is it to find one in decent condition, and how much should I expect to pay for it? (the one I saw was $20 and a fixer-upper)
They are 30 years old, and generally not considered a "thing of beauty" to be preserved. So what's your definition of "decent"?

I bought mine in Texas for $125, after a wanted ad in the local Craigslist. But I was offered one for $150 and another for $250 (said to be pristine). I didn't want a perfect one since I knew I was going to replace so much of it.

Mine was rideable, with all it's original parts, but the brakes are poor by todays standard. At a minimum, I think you should be prepared to replace the rims with modern alloy BMX ones, and replace the tyres and brake pads. If you don't do this yourself but get it done at the LBS, I guess that's going to cost ~$100.

I don't think you should get a R20 if what you want is a compact folder - it's not. My thought process was:

1) I want a folder I can just put in the trunk of my car (and keep there) so I can take it to the park with no fuss, and have it available for a spontaineous ride.

2) I'm now almost 300lbs after a years poor mobility brought on by a stroke (I was quite fit at 240lbs). There is NO modern folder which is rated for my weight so I could spend >$500 on something that might collapse and have no warranty.

3) I don't know what the weight limit is on a R20, but it's heavy steel and has a strong, unique joint.

4) If I spend $500 on parts for the R20 and it collapses, I still have $500 worth of parts than can be transfered to another R20 or sold on.

5) I'm still having fun solving the upgrade problems and part selection :-)

6) My wife now refers to me as "Bicycle Repair Man" !

Currently trying to solve the cotterless BB problem, and fit my 20" suspension forks.
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Old 03-23-07, 12:56 PM   #10
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Another sucker falls for the Twenty's charms... Welcome to the club!
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Old 03-23-07, 02:02 PM   #11
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Hello Akugluk and Welcome!

I wanted a Twenty myself a few years ago. I chose not to buy one since I decided to buy a Dahon Boardwalk S1 and modified it to my own specification. (see signature below for links to photos and more written information about this). I think this is a great step to deciding if folding bikes in general is for you and also get a great challenge to create a one-of-a-kind bike. Good Luck and do post again about your new bike!
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Old 03-23-07, 03:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juan162
One guy got his single speed Twenty down to under 23lbs. Mine is a portly 31lbs with a dual drive hub, suspension fork, and bag of tools. Without the tools, it's probably just barely under 30lbs. It's a real fun ride, though. And quick, so long as your not going uphill! Of course the 219lbs I carry could also effect the whole climbing thing.

Nice bike Juan.

So where do you think the big weight savings are? It looks like you have front suspension. But what would go after that?
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Old 03-23-07, 03:42 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Akugluk
Yeah, Alaska it is. Fortunately for bike-shopping purposes, I am in Oregon for the time being. Thanks for the Canada/seattle tip. I'll definitely keep my eyes open.
I saw that $20 20, but it went fast. That's the perfect price range for a fixer-upper. I paid $145 for the one I'm riding, it sat on craigslist for a while at $175. In Portland, my experience is that $150 is on the high side, but anything under $100 goes pretty fast.
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Old 03-23-07, 03:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by invisiblehand
So where do you think the big weight savings are? It looks like you have front suspension. But what would go after that?
1) Aluminium.

Rims.
Stem.
Bars.
Seatpost.
Cranks.
Nuts

2) Go singlespeed. Or fixed.

That should save you a bit.
You can even 'go carbon' on some parts but who'd do anything like that?
(looks left, looks right)

Susp forks weigh *more* than the stock ones but help with the ride. I've got some 451 sized Pashley Trike forks to put on mine some time soon as I've tired of my cheapo boinger forks and think a Pantour suspension Hub / lightweight forks combo (and gel gloves) will be plenty enough. Heck - Stock Bromptons don't have any suspension and their wheels are t i n y...

Lastly - to the Twenty fans who lament the empty technical sections on my site. I'm working on it. It'll be a new Wiki site so we can all add to it and share the Twenty Love... Watch this space.

Over and out. (for this evening anyway). Say is that a Bear in the Air?
</end CB stylin'>
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Old 03-23-07, 09:30 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by invisiblehand
Nice bike Juan.

So where do you think the big weight savings are? It looks like you have front suspension. But what would go after that?
Thanks. I think if I ditched the suspension fork, replaced the 40+ spoke front wheel with a 32 spoke or even less, ditched the suspension seatpost, and went with a standard rear hub, I could get the Twenty around 25lbs or so. That would put it right in the realm of many of the modern day folders, although the folded size would still be fairly large. Of course, I could go crazy with carbon parts and drop more weight, but even I have my limits. It'd still probably way more than 23lbs, even with the carbon. I am still considering doing some of the changes I mentioned (namely switching to a conventional double chainring and switching out the wheels and hubs), but I've found that the 30+ lbs of weight I've lost off of my own frame has made a much bigger impact on performance. Going to the Schwalbe Stelvios also has made a difference in the feel of it. I don't know if there is any actual difference, but the Stelvios make the bike "feel" faster.

Juan
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Old 03-24-07, 08:13 AM   #16
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The twenty is hard to resist. I bought one last spring and it is the most fun I have ever had while riding a bike. I paid $75 canadian, it is all origianl but in great shape. I think I will try to track another down at garage sales this summer.
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Old 03-25-07, 01:12 AM   #17
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[QUOTE=LittlePixel]1) Aluminium.

Rims.
Stem.
Bars.
Seatpost.
Cranks.
Nuts


Don't forget to remove the stainless steel pump as well, that can definately slow you down, especially when it falls off and you have to go back for it...
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Old 03-26-07, 09:17 PM   #18
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Another sucker falls for the Twenty's charms... Welcome to the club!
Sign me up too!! I'm still searching for mine, but like Akugluk it was love at first sight. I can't wait to get my hands on one and do a little bit of upgrading and take him on a trip.
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Old 03-26-07, 09:23 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Akugluk
with the Raleigh 20. I saw one for the first time on craigslist last night and have completely fallen for it. I've never felt this way about a bike before.

-Akugluk
Hi Akugluk:

I'm in the same boat - I was in the market for a folding bike and a friend recommended that I look into the vintage Raleigh Twenty. I've been obsessed ever since. No luck in locating one yet. Still searching.
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Old 03-27-07, 09:14 PM   #20
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A search for "folding" on vancouver.craigslist.org/bik reveals multiple raleigh twenties for sale on there, some as low as $100.

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Old 03-27-07, 10:27 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bookishboy
A search for "folding" on vancouver.craigslist.org/bik reveals multiple raleigh twenties for sale on there, some as low as $100.

My bike was originally from Vancouver BC, someone hauled it down to PDX. I think there were probably several original dealers in the Vancouver area.
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Old 03-28-07, 03:44 PM   #22
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"how hard is it to find one in decent condition"

If the bike is cheap $50-$75, it will probably need a full overhaul. I have seen them cleaned up in bike shops for $150. They are not an uncommon bike. There may be an issue with putting a modern bottom bracket in.
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