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Old 04-03-07, 02:09 PM   #1
Creakyknees
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Packable (airline) road racer for under $1000

Ok I admit this is a bit of a troll... but after looking at most of the usual suspects, I'm seeing an un-met need in the market (market = me).

I fly for work so I want a bike that's airline checkable preferably in an off-the shelf hard suitcase.
The reason I want the bike is to train and stay in shape for road racing while traveling. Everything else is secondary.

I could afford the Friday's etc... but that's a lot of $... surely there's something that will:
- match my road bike position (I'm 5'11" ride a 58 standard road frame)
- handle hard riding / sprints / steep hills out of the saddle without acting like a wet noodle
- be as fast or only moderately slower than a road bike
- for less than $1k?

I am willing to start with a cheaper model and swap parts, I am technically competent. I am aware of S&S couplers but again, too much $.

Am I dreaming?

Thoughts? Suggestions?

Thanks
Creak.
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Old 04-03-07, 02:26 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Creakyknees
I fly for work so I want a bike that's airline checkable preferably in an off-the shelf hard suitcase.
The reason I want the bike is to train and stay in shape for road racing while traveling. Everything else is secondary.
Only the smallest folders (Brompton and clones or very small wheeled folders that would not be at all suitable for your intended purpose) are airline checkable without surcharges. Even a conventional road bike with S & S couplers would probably not fit in an airline checkable case unless you had a separate case for the wheels.

I think you're dreaming.
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Old 04-03-07, 02:34 PM   #3
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For a similar purpose (a portable roadie), I took a Downtube bike ($299), upgraded with SRAM X.7 rear derailleur and shifter, SRAM chain, Truativ BB ($200 or so). I put on some FSA carbon cranks and Velocity wheels that I had lying around, adjusted the handlebars so I got an "aero" position.

I would routinely ride this bike on my weekend group rides (30-50 miles with hills). Kept up with the guys all the time. Only big difference is on the hills where this 25 lb folding bike did not feel the same as my 16.4lb carbon Fuji . That, and the top end gearing was a little less than standard drivetrain. I wouldn't race with this bike (not that I race anyway), but it's great for training purposes. I am 6' and 185 lbs. I could pull on the bars and stomp on the pedals without any concern on this bike.

This bike fits into a Samsonite Oyster 29, airline legal. You have to remove the wheels and handlebars and some minor stuff, but it works.

Point is that I believe you can achieve what you're looking for if you start with a frame that uses standard components and do the wrenching yourself.


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Old 04-03-07, 02:49 PM   #4
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Cooool SesameCrunch... that's exactly what I was fishing for. Glad to hear the Downtube will stand up to hard riding.

So what kind of bikie has 406 Velocity wheels just laying around? (grin)
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Old 04-03-07, 03:49 PM   #5
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Sesame is right. In your price range, you're probably looking at a cheaper Bike Friday, a stock Swift with a few mods, or further down, a slightly tweaked Dahon or Downtube.

I prefer 406 rims because of the easy availability of parts, but it seems that a lot of the folding roadie crowd has a liking for 451 rims.... especially in the Bike Friday community.

If you're comfortable with making aftermarket changes to your bike, you'll probably be comfortable disassembling/reassembling it for your trips.
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Old 04-03-07, 04:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bookishboy
Sesame is right. In your price range, you're probably looking at a cheaper Bike Friday, a stock Swift with a few mods, or further down, a slightly tweaked Dahon or Downtube.

I prefer 406 rims because of the easy availability of parts, but it seems that a lot of the folding roadie crowd has a liking for 451 rims.... especially in the Bike Friday community.

If you're comfortable with making aftermarket changes to your bike, you'll probably be comfortable disassembling/reassembling it for your trips.
He could get the Swift frameset ...
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Old 04-03-07, 05:59 PM   #7
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Yeah, I also feel like I'm in an underserved market, since I'd love to have a new road bike with a 105 groupset for $700.

Anyway, there are several options. For starters:



Cheaper than any bike out there. You'll get fit very fast if you take up running, much more convenient too (especially if you fly frequently). Unless lugging a bike around is part of the training regimen.

Second:



Stock Xootr Swift, around $700ish. Very solid and light frame, no suspension to slow you down, highly adjustable, excellent components (SRAM). Fits into a hard-shell Samsonite. You wouldn't need to swap out any components other than the saddle.

On the upper end, there is the Reach bike, although I haven't used it and cannot personally vouch for it:

http://www.nycewheels.com/reach-comp...road-bike.html

$1500, drop bars, Tiagra, front & rear suspension, double front chainring, Primo Comet 110psi tires.

Keep in mind, by the way, that folding bikes take 30 - 45 minutes to pack, and the same time to unpack; S&S takes longer. The ride is also harsher on a 20" wheeled bike than 700c, so you might not be too happy with high PSI tires if there's no suspension.

Last edited by Bacciagalupe; 04-03-07 at 06:05 PM.
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Old 04-03-07, 06:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Creakyknees
Ok I admit this is a bit of a troll... but after looking at most of the usual suspects, I'm seeing an un-met need in the market (market = me).

I fly for work so I want a bike that's airline checkable preferably in an off-the shelf hard suitcase.
The reason I want the bike is to train and stay in shape for road racing while traveling. Everything else is secondary.

I could afford the Friday's etc... but that's a lot of $... surely there's something that will:
- match my road bike position (I'm 5'11" ride a 58 standard road frame)
- handle hard riding / sprints / steep hills out of the saddle without acting like a wet noodle
- be as fast or only moderately slower than a road bike
- for less than $1k?

I am willing to start with a cheaper model and swap parts, I am technically competent. I am aware of S&S couplers but again, too much $.

Am I dreaming?

Thoughts? Suggestions?

Thanks
Creak.

You could check out an Airnimal Joey Frameset.. these bike roll on 24" (520mm) wheels ... a very fast folder could be built up.

Bruce
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Old 04-03-07, 06:12 PM   #9
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Bacciagalupe,

Yep, I've been packing the running shoes for years now, and it is a good workout, but my knees are old and frankly I'm a cyclist, it's what I do.

As for the $700 105 bike, I was about to point you to www.bikesdirect.com but their so-called 105 bikes are actually Tiagra and other stuff blended with a single 105 part. Oh well...

The Xootr does look very interesting.

But come on - "30 - 45 minutes to pack" ? No offense but I used to work in a bike shop and we built bike from the factory box to the showroom floor in 30-45 minutes. Why would it take that long to take off the wheels and a couple of parts and arrange in a suitcase?

thanks
Creak

Had to cut my ride short tonight in Dallas due to hail. "Aw hail" as we say in Texas.
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Old 04-03-07, 06:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Creakyknees
So what kind of bikie has 406 Velocity wheels just laying around? (grin)


I don't know, but my family is threatening intervention if I don't go into rehab soon .

Last edited by SesameCrunch; 04-03-07 at 07:00 PM.
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Old 04-03-07, 06:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Creakyknees
As for the $700 105 bike, I was about to point you to www.bikesdirect.com but their so-called 105 bikes are actually Tiagra and other stuff blended with a single 105 part. Oh well...
I'm an LBS man, no Bikes Direct for me. I've seen several bikes with the "but it's got the 105 rear derailleur!" trick though. Lame....



Quote:
But come on - "30 - 45 minutes to pack" ? No offense but I used to work in a bike shop and we built bike from the factory box to the showroom floor in 30-45 minutes. Why would it take that long to take off the wheels and a couple of parts and arrange in a suitcase?
A few things. You have to remove the wheels, handlebar, pedals, and with some the rear derailleur. I sometimes break it down a little further to make things fit better. Not a big deal.

However, you have to pack the bike in a certain order to make it fit most suitcases. You also don't want the components to fly all over the place and/or scratch up the frame, so you need to use some padding and/or secure the items inside the case. Some people also fit in compression tubes to minimize impact.

Also your friendly neighborhood TSA staffers will want to take a look, and may well take everything out of the suitcase. Personally I zip-tie the components together and put in a packing guide, so they can't really mess it up. So that, too, takes a few extra minutes.

Oh, and not all of us used to work in bike shops.
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Old 04-03-07, 07:10 PM   #12
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A picture is worth a thousand words - Here are two pictures of a DT in a Samsonite hardcase, originally submitted by Mcgurme:





I think you can get it down to 10-15 minutes after some iterations.
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Old 04-03-07, 07:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SesameCrunch
I think you can get it down to 10-15 minutes after some iterations.
If you are REALLY good and experienced, 45 minutes minimum time (including adjusting gears) before you ride. Not bad at all if you do it once in a while, but gets old really quick, I can tell.
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Old 04-04-07, 08:37 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Creakyknees
The Xootr does look very interesting.

But come on - "30 - 45 minutes to pack" ? No offense but I used to work in a bike shop and we built bike from the factory box to the showroom floor in 30-45 minutes. Why would it take that long to take off the wheels and a couple of parts and arrange in a suitcase?
With a little practice, one can speed up the process. But I would say that the difference is that the bikes usually have to be packed in a particular way. And remember that most of these parts are somewhat loose and can move around. So there are good and bad ways to pack the bike if you want to avoid bent chainrings, derailers, scratches from hell, and so on.
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Old 04-04-07, 01:53 PM   #15
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Of all of the performance bikes, the Birdy is easiest to fit into an airline legal suitcase (http://www.gaerlan.com/bikes/birdy/birdypk.htm). It takes me 5" to pack it.

The Dahon Mu SL and Speed (their road bike models) ride great, but you'll need a bigger suitcase. As you can see, the Downtube needs a large suitcase and is a huge hassle to pack. We only take our Downtube NS (the smallest one) on the train. The Birdy flies.

All the above bikes run under $1,000. There is an older Birdy on ebay now (not mine and no affiliation).

Last edited by pm124; 04-04-07 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 04-04-07, 03:22 PM   #16
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Incidentally, I've ridden the Mu SL quite a bit and the Birdy, and feel as though the Birdy rides better and is just as fast, at least when you put Schwalbe Stelvios on it. I can put 100mi in on the Birdy and walk away from it, which is more than I could say for a road bike. Also, my mean speed is approximately the same as on bigger wheels. (Of course, that's pretty unscientific. Seasonal changes, etc. play a role.)

The downside is the cost. $900 for the entry model with Alivio components. The frame is worth the cost of the bike though.
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Old 04-04-07, 07:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pm124
Of all of the performance bikes, the Birdy is easiest to fit into an airline legal suitcase (http://www.gaerlan.com/bikes/birdy/birdypk.htm).
Link that works:
http://www.gaerlan.com/bikes/birdy/birdypk.htm
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Old 04-05-07, 11:44 AM   #18
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Airnimal Joey

Here's my Airnimal Joey. With the specification I have it would come in over your 1000 dollar limit, but there's no need at all to spec your bike as I have. You can get something lightweight and good quality for under 1000.

There is absolutely no compromise in the ride. It's fast and perfectly adept at hard training. You can give it hell and you won't hear a squeak from it. It also feels extrememly stiff, though very comfortable.

The whole bike, with it's 24" wheels will fit inside a standard checkable suitcase (with the regular European airlines anyway - as I'm aware the US airlines are even less stringent).

Of course, considering some of the extras you can see in the pictures, mine isn't set up be the lightest, but in your case, you could go for the very slightly larger denomination of 24" wheels which suit skinny tyres better, and go without bar ends, rack, etc. etc.
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Old 04-05-07, 01:12 PM   #19
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That's a beautiful bike. But how in the world do you fit it in a 29" suitcase? Especially with oversized wheels.
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Old 04-05-07, 01:24 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pm124
That's a beautiful bike. But how in the world do you fit it in a 29" suitcase? Especially with oversized wheels.
The Airnimal has its own airline legal suitcase ... The dimensions are noticeably different from the Oyster.
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Old 04-06-07, 03:22 PM   #21
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As another person with several folders and also looking for the optimum solution, there are a few things to take into consideration:

get something with a lifetime or very long warranty, these things are going to break or bend

get something that doesn't require loosening real nuts to get it inside the suitcase (ie, removing cranks, removing handlebar from a stem, etc.), only quick releases

I have 2 S&S bikes and that only works in the case of wanting to move them somewhere for weeks at a time as it's so time consuming to get it inside and i've been lucky in not having that dense mess crushed. But that doesn't have to be an expensive solution. I bought a jamis nova ($250 ebay) frame and $400 couplers + ~$300 to get it on the road. The other one is a ti s&s and that cost more.

My latest addition to the fold has been a bike friday pocket tourist i'm upgrading with better components (I got the stock). List on that is $700, and you can upgrade it really nice for another $200 (stem/bars/stelvios/seat/mks pedals). For short stays in other places and getting something that can fit even taller people, this is the best option. Downtube didn't work for me because poor quality in certain fabrication points (BB improperly tapped on both, no mfctr sympathy in me being able to install other BBs)and warranty period is strictly adhered to and very small (30 days - 1 year). Also it never could fit very well for anyone 6' or above for seat post extension and no practical way to increase this.

Getting bike friday in a case is around <10 minutes and I haven't done it much yet to get good.
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Old 04-06-07, 06:06 PM   #22
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airnimal suitcase link

Quote:
Originally Posted by invisiblehand
The Airnimal has its own airline legal suitcase ... The dimensions are noticeably different from the Oyster.
http://www.airnimalusa.com/accessori...essories1.html
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Old 04-06-07, 09:01 PM   #23
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Way too much money; BFriday is same price or less with better fit and better warranty.
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Old 04-06-07, 09:11 PM   #24
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One other thing about packing the Birdy is that the Gaerlan instructions are a bit overkill. If you run Stelvios on the bike and have relatively low profile clip-on pedals (e.g. Eggbeaters), the only thing you need to do is take off the wheels to fit it in a 29" Oyster. No removing pedals or deflating tires. (The latter is nice when you only have a hand pump with you.)

The SRAM X7/Deore XT-level model is cheaper and lighter than the corresponding 105 Airnimal, but I'd bet that the Airnimal rides better than a full sized road bike. Plus, bigger wheels are nicer when you aren't paying attention and fall into a pothole.

I'm glad I have a small apartment, or else I'd be tempted to spend another months wages on one of those beauties!
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Old 04-10-07, 04:28 PM   #25
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Check out Swivel-Head looks like it comes in 700c (as well as 26"). Its from the same company as Strida (but here in UK they dont seem to know much about it).
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