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  1. #1
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    Newbie wondering: Do folding bikes break in half?

    Hi All

    I've been obsessed with folding bikes in the past few months. I love the idea that I can carry it around and keep it in my trunk. I don't have one, but I've been reading up a lot about it. Lately, two fo my friends tell me that folding bikes break easily, and I should avoid it. They know people who have folding bikes that broke in half.

    I have read the folding bike thread for a while now, but haven't heard about this problem before. I suspect this is a problem among cheaper folders ($200 or less). What are your thoughts? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by niania
    Hi All

    I've been obsessed with folding bikes in the past few months. I love the idea that I can carry it around and keep it in my trunk. I don't have one, but I've been reading up a lot about it. Lately, two fo my friends tell me that folding bikes break easily, and I should avoid it. They know people who have folding bikes that broke in half.

    I have read the folding bike thread for a while now, but haven't heard about this problem before. I suspect this is a problem among cheaper folders ($200 or less). What are your thoughts? Thanks!
    I personally always have been a bit suspisious about listening to or paying too much attention to "friend of a friend" second or third hand stories. I prefer to check out the true facts myself. Or directly communicate to others with first hand experience with the device. As you have done here.

    I have 3 folding bikes at present. I have been using them exclusively for over three years now. One is a 2003 Dahon Boardwalk 20" wheel size, the next one is a 2005 Brompton C type, the last one purchased is a 2006 Dahon Piccolo 16 inch wheel size. I never felt like any of my bikes even threatened to break apart or come apart at the folding joints. I ride with complete confidence providing that I check to make sure that the latches and other such devices are firmly set (locked) and in place. I do check to make sure that I am well in the suggested weight allowed for the particular bike I am buying. For example, Dahon does not recommend that a person weighing over 230 pounds (including luggage) ride any of it's bikes. Some makers have higher weight range than Dahon, some might have lower weight range than Dahon. Or ride the bike over curbs or other such harsh or extreme enviroments. Just as long as you follow these guidelines, you should be fine. A frame could crack or break apart in any bike, no matter what style it is.

    In the past, there were instances of folding bikes breaking apart. With modern technological methods, this is a rare occurance indeed. Although I do read that someone has experience this from time to time, I never have.

  3. #3
    Dr Kickstand
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    Maybe in the past but i have never heard of modern day folders breaking in half.
    www.bikesTHATfold.com - All about Folding Bikes
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  4. #4
    CARFREE, THE LIFE FOR ME Autokat's Avatar
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    It also depends what your doing on one there not built for downhill racing or stunting ,, that said I can wheelie mine for ages and the folding and locking mechanism is very strong and I have complete faith in mine .
    I'm not myself today. Maybe I'm you.
    SPEED P8

  5. #5
    Member, Schmember DaFriMon's Avatar
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    If you mean, could the folding mechanism separate somehow while riding, well, anything is possible. It's not very likely, though, with any major brand that I know of. Just make sure you understand how the folding mechanism on your specific folder works, and how it needs to be fastened. Inspect it regularly.

    If you mean, could the tubing itself break, it's not impossible. Someone on the Dahon forum was just talking about this happening, and how he got a warranty replacement. It's possible for tubing to break on a non-folding bike as well. It could happen if there was a manufacturing defect, if there was severe corrosion inside the tubes, or of course, in a bad accident. I don't know of anything to suggest that this is more of a problem on folders than on non folders.
    You're right, I do have more bikes than I need.

  6. #6
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Only if you use a large axe or chain saw.

  7. #7
    jur
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    I they really did, they would not be popular as they are. Something that easily breaks does not become popular. For long.

    There are a lot of myths out there, even among folder fanatics. Like the one about smaller wheels making it more difficult or easier to pedal.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  8. #8
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    Some do break. Mine did, same yr, make and model as the following.
    Same break too.
    http://www.tomw.net.au/blog/labels/F...20Bicycle.html

  9. #9
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    All bikes brake in 1/2.

  10. #10
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    Tee hee...I guess my friends' friends are either more than 230lbs or trying to do summersaults with their folders.

    But seriously, I only have two friends who know what I was talking about when I said 'folding bike' (the rest asked me what that was...). The first reaction from both of them was 'No! Buy a normal bike. those things break!'. And proceeded to tell their stories.

    Nothing very positive...

    I'll share a stupid story. There is only one person I know of who owns a folding bike in Raleigh NC. I don't know her personally, but she was featured in the NC DOT Bicycle and Pedestrians division website. See http://www.ncdot.org/transit/bicycle...g_folding.html .

    That was the FIRST and ONLY time I've seen someone in Raleigh with a folding bike, and since then I was fixated on having one. One day, I saw her at a coffee shop, and ...I was too nervous to talk to her. It's so stupid! On hindsight, I should've asked her for a test ride, or at least touch the bike!!

    Anyway, now after I hear from other people who have folding bikes, I'll take your word that folding bikes don't break! Thanks a lot!

  11. #11
    Explorer CaptainSpalding's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by folder fanatic
    I personally always have been a bit suspisious about listening to or paying too much attention to "friend of a friend" second or third hand stories.
    Right! Advice from anonymous strangers on the internet is much more reliable.

    Seriously though, Folder Fanatic is right when he recommends following the manufacturer's guidelines for weight limits and curb hopping and stuff. I'm close to the 230 lb. limit he describes, and my Dahon hasn't complained yet.

    BTW, non-folding frames can break too.
    I came to say I must be folding . . .
    Dahon Jetstream XP
    Dahon Helios SL
    Strida 5.0
    Twenty project


    or not . . .
    Fisher Mt. Tam (c.1988)
    Merlin Road flat bar project
    Schwinn Twinn Deluxe

  12. #12
    jur
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainSpalding
    BTW, non-folding frames can break too.
    +1

    In fact I know of more cases of normal bikes cracking/breaking.

    All I need to do now is calculate the folder/normal ratio...
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainSpalding
    Right! Advice from anonymous strangers on the internet is much more reliable.
    I agree there are no guarantees, but have you ever had a large group of netizens give you bad collective advice? I personally haven't and I generally find that as the size of the group grows the multitude of opinions very quickly becomes more useful than even the opinion of a certifiable expert.

    Just my 2c.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Fear&Trembling's Avatar
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    All I need to do now is calculate the folder/normal ratio...
    My ratio is 2/1 - Two MTB frames trashed and only one folder (Birdy). How's that for a stat analysis?

  15. #15
    Bicycling Gnome
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fear&Trembling
    My ratio is 2/1 - Two MTB frames trashed and only one folder (Birdy). How's that for a stat analysis?
    I think it's called anecdotal.

    God, but some of you folks are hard on your bikes. I've never managed to trash a frame yet, though one of my teenaged sons managed to bend my 1992 Marin ATB by riding it down a steep hill in the woods and then baling out and letting it crash into a tree. He didn't tell me he had trashed my bike, I just noticed that the wheels didn't quite run in line anymore - bugger. It still rode ok, surprisingly. I gave it to an 85 year old man last year that I noticed was having a damned hard time riding his single speed up hill with a shopping basket on it. He's still riding it, but he has gone down to a grandpa gear now - about 30 inches, I'd guess. The guy loves it - says that cycling is all that keeps him alive.

  16. #16
    Mr. Maximan1 maximan1's Avatar
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    I've had a folding bike actually fold under me, but never break.

  17. #17
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maximan1
    I've had a folding bike actually fold under me, but never break.
    Good thing that you are Gumby ... otherwise it might have hurt.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by folder fanatic
    I personally always have been a bit suspisious about listening to or paying too much attention to "friend of a friend" second or third hand stories.

    ....

    For example, Dahon does not recommend that a person weighing over 230 pounds (including luggage) ride any of it's bikes. Some makers have higher weight range than Dahon, some might have lower weight range than Dahon. Or ride the bike over curbs or other such harsh or extreme enviroments. Just as long as you follow these guidelines, you should be fine. A frame could crack or break apart in any bike, no matter what style it is.
    Agreed, but unfortunately it does instil doubt in a prospective purchaser.

    When I was looking for a folder last year, I visited a major bike chain to get a short ride of a couple of bikes, & both examples they had in stock they told me were in their workshop for repair of hinges!

    I think the "harsh environments" is a bit tougher. Sometimes hitting a pothole or small obstacle may be unavoidable (else an accident ensues) so realistically a bike has to be able to withstand such rigours or it's not going to be viable.

    One can of course do something about rider & luggage weight :-)

  19. #19
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    Not quite half but I had a significant break yesterday. The stem which holds the handle post broke at the weld while I was riding. I can't emphasise how dangerous this is. You can read the entire post and see photo here.

    Dangerous failure on Dahon Speed P8

    My confidence in Dahon Speed P8 is a little shaken but other owners are not reporting the same problem so for the times being it does appear to be a deffective part I was stuck with.

    For a complete frame break check out this link:
    http://www.tomw.net.au/2005/bbb.html

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