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  1. #1
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    Advice On Touring Europe with Bike Friday NWT

    I was hoping to get some advice on some experienced touring types here. I'm an avid road cyclist who will be doing my first touring trip in September. I will be doing two weeks in Italy with a bunch of relatively experienced touring cyclists, averaging roughly 50 miles of riding a day at a 15-16mph pace. I am about 6' 2" and 220 lbs (although I hope to be closer to 210 by the trip).

    I do not have a touring bike yet and the question I have is whether a Bike Friday New World Traveler is a realistic option for me. I want a folding bike to use when I am traveling and was hoping to kill two birds with one stone. I've read some stories of people doing some serious touring with Bike Fridays but wasn't sure if they could keep pace with other regular touring bikes. Just in terms of some additional info, I don't expect that I'll be a heavy packer/need lots of clothes. I use icebreaker and other merino wool garments so will probably have 50% of the clothing others will have (just thinking in terms of the weight and or space restriction of using a smaller bike/panniers).

    Thanks in advance.

    Jeff

  2. #2
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    Hi
    don t think to much and get a bike friday new world tourist ,the are very good bike,I gott my bike last november and in december I went to cambodia and made 1500km on a very bad routes and with 4 ortliebs,I didn thave any problem
    Here you can see some pictures
    http://www.der-radladen-mannheim.de/Cambodia/
    http://www.shutterstock.com/cat.mhtm...umb_size=small
    regards
    www.colmanlerner.zenfolio.com
    http://submit.shutterstock.com/?ref=60183
    “No Sueñes Tu Vida, Vive Tus Sueños“
    There is a driving force more powerful than steam, electricity and nuclear power: the will.
    A.Einstein

  3. #3
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jignall
    I will be doing two weeks in Italy with a bunch of relatively experienced touring cyclists, averaging roughly 50 miles of riding a day at a 15-16mph pace.... The question I have is whether a Bike Friday New World Traveler is a realistic option for me. I want a folding bike to use when I am traveling and was hoping to kill two birds with one stone. I've read some stories of people doing some serious touring with Bike Fridays but wasn't sure if they could keep pace with other regular touring bikes.
    Yeah, it should work, especially if you're not carrying tons of stuff. I have no problems hitting those speeds with a lightly loaded Swift.

    But touring bikes are not really about speed. The main qualities you're looking for in any touring bike are:

    - appropriate gearing (usually low)
    - handles well with moderate or heavy loads (20 - 70 lbs)
    - comfortable for all-day riding
    - robust and reliable
    - most people will also want a more upright position, so they can soak up the surroundings

    The New World Tourist geometry is designed with this in mind (e.g. long wheelbase, more relaxed seatpost angle etc), and fortunately touring-style bikes can be used for other recreational or general use, including century rides, as long as you're not in a big hurry.

    The only thing about a Bike Friday is that they can get a little expensive, depending on how you spec it. So I recommend you set your budget ($1000 - $1500 minimum, I'd think), call them, say "this is what I want out of the bike, here's my budget, what can you do for me?"

    I also highly recommend the following:
    - get whatever touring bike you're going to use fairly soon. The more you train on it, the better off you'll be.
    - make sure to train with the loaded bike, especially climbing hills.
    - taper a bit the week before you go.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jignall
    I was hoping to get some advice on some experienced touring types here. I'm an avid road cyclist who will be doing my first touring trip in September. I will be doing two weeks in Italy with a bunch of relatively experienced touring cyclists, averaging roughly 50 miles of riding a day at a 15-16mph pace. I am about 6' 2" and 220 lbs (although I hope to be closer to 210 by the trip).

    I do not have a touring bike yet and the question I have is whether a Bike Friday New World Traveler is a realistic option for me. I want a folding bike to use when I am traveling and was hoping to kill two birds with one stone. I've read some stories of people doing some serious touring with Bike Fridays but wasn't sure if they could keep pace with other regular touring bikes. Just in terms of some additional info, I don't expect that I'll be a heavy packer/need lots of clothes. I use icebreaker and other merino wool garments so will probably have 50% of the clothing others will have (just thinking in terms of the weight and or space restriction of using a smaller bike/panniers).

    Thanks in advance.

    Jeff
    Heck, is this a tour or a race? Assuming you're as fit as your riding partners, you should have no trouble keeping up if this is a tour. The NWT is a very competent touring bike.

    If this is a race, the NWT can hang with othe bikes under most any circumstance where weight is not an issue. It'll be a pound or so heavier than a standard touring bike, and 7-10 pounds heavier than a good road bike. But you'd be missing the point of touring, which is to go slow enough to appreciate the scenery.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by noahj
    Heck, is this a tour or a race? Assuming you're as fit as your riding partners, you should have no trouble keeping up if this is a tour. The NWT is a very competent touring bike.
    I hear your point. This is no doubt a tour and my fitness level will be as good, if not better than the people I am touring with. But this is a seasoned group of touring cyclists and I'm basically just concerned this is my first tour and given all the variables, if it's wise to add another variable and try it with a folding bike (i.e. Bike Friday NWT). I need to buy a new bike either way (I only have a road bike right now), so again, I'd love to kill two birds with one stone (touring AND folding bike for when I travel). So basically the decision is whether to buy a dedicated touring bike (which I'd basically only use for touring) or the NWT (which I can use for touring, casual around town stuff and general travel purposes).

    Thanks for your help.

  6. #6
    Senior Member caotropheus's Avatar
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    Jignall

    If you expect touring often, a nice investment would be a trailer travel kit, like this

    http://www.bikefriday.com/newtravelsystem
    Last edited by caotropheus; 05-07-07 at 10:02 PM.

  7. #7
    jur
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    I expect you will have no trouble, but with 220# plus baggage you'll need trustworthy wheels.

    I recently toured Tasmania on a Raleigh 20 and a Dahon Yeah. If you can tour on those, you can probably tour on anything.

    Keeping up with the group is almost entirely a function of your own fitness, not the bike specs.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  8. #8
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    I just ordered a NWT and the delvery date is early July, so you'll need to decide fairly soon. My understanding is they are as fast as a full size bike, since the gearing is adjusted for wheel size and the smaller wheels are actually slightly more aerodynamic than full size ones.

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    No worries. The NWT is a very sweet all-around bike. I love mine dearly. I got myself a Pocket Rocket Pro only because my commute involves carrying the bike up and down several flights of stairways, and saving 7 pounds was the only way to save my old knees. But the PRP is no good for touring.

    The blue NeWT has been to Europe twice, and hopefully will tour Oregon this fall. Great freakin' bike.

  10. #10
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    NWT is a great touring bike. The standard NWT has a 265# weight limit; but they can beef-up the frame to increase the limit.

  11. #11
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooker
    I just ordered a NWT and the delvery date is early July.
    Mind you they do have the option of paying an extra rush delivery fee.

  12. #12
    Prodigal Son
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    I did the Bike Friday PACTour run by Lon Haldeman and Susan Notorangelo....there were several dozen Bike Fridays of various models....we all averaged about 50 miles per day. I think you'll be fine. BF is a great product

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooker
    I just ordered a NWT and the delvery date is early July...
    I ordered a NWT back in March and the delivery date is early May. Which is, oh I'd say... somewhere about now? Keep checking my e-mail a couple of times a day to get the tracking number.

  14. #14
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jignall
    This is a seasoned group of touring cyclists and I'm basically just concerned this is my first tour and given all the variables, if it's wise to add another variable and try it with a folding bike (i.e. Bike Friday NWT).
    It's really not a big variable. The biggest single difference is that the smaller wheels will make the ride a little rougher.


    I need to buy a new bike either way (I only have a road bike right now), so again, I'd love to kill two birds with one stone (touring AND folding bike for when I travel). So basically the decision is whether to buy a dedicated touring bike (which I'd basically only use for touring) or the NWT (which I can use for touring, casual around town stuff and general travel purposes).
    You can actually use a touring bike as a general purpose or recreational bike. The big plus of the folding bike is, uh, that it folds.

    By the way, if the lead time on a BF is too long, you should consider getting a stock Xootr Swift. I would then do the following:

    - lower the gearing, first with an 11-32 cassette (11-34 needs a chain tensioner, and therefore sucks). If that isn't low enough, swap out the front 52T, maybe to a 49 or lower.
    - add bar-ends and/or ergonomic grips.
    - consider swapping out the tires, maybe to Schwalbe Marathon Racers?
    - consider using front racks, since that may handle better than putting everything on the rear.

    I do think the NWT will have better geometry for touring, but the Swift costs less ($700ish), is solid as a rock, can certainly maintain those speeds and will still be good for general purpose use when not on tour.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jignall
    I want a folding bike to use when I am traveling and was hoping to kill two birds with one stone. I've read some stories of people doing some serious touring with Bike Fridays but wasn't sure if they could keep pace with other regular touring bikes.
    I bought a Bike Friday NWT this past winter and have been putting serious miles on it now. I wouldn't want to try and keep up with any hammerheads on this bike, but no sweat keeping up 16-18 MPH pace.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
    The biggest single difference is that the smaller wheels will make the ride a little rougher.
    I was expecting this to be true, but have found that it is not true on my NWT. It has the 406 wheels and 32 mm tires, so I should be feeling the rough ride. I cannot say for sure why this is the case, but I have a theory. I have noticed that the stalky, unsupported, seat tube has some flex to it. I believe that that flex is providing some shock absorption. Kind of like a sof-ride bar. The flex is not really noticable as flex unless I spin very fast. Then I'm finding that there is a little bit of bounciness. All in all I think the NWT is a very comfortable ride.

    Oh, for reference, I am 6'3" 200 lbs.

    (edit) There is the exception that the definition of a "wheel eating pothole" is slightly smaller with 20 inch wheels. I've found that I am a little more vigilant about big potholes.(end edit)
    Last edited by Speedo; 05-09-07 at 02:06 PM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedo
    I bought a Bike Friday NWT this past winter and have been putting serious miles on it now. I wouldn't want to try and keep up with any hammerheads on this bike, but no sweat keeping up 16-18 MPH pace.
    Not that it matters, but I can and have kept up with hammerheads on my Pocket Rocket Pro (including some pretty serious types in Paris, France).

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by unkchunk
    I ordered a NWT back in March and the delivery date is early May. Which is, oh I'd say... somewhere about now? Keep checking my e-mail a couple of times a day to get the tracking number.
    My NWT is supposed to ship by Friday! I'm so used to the rapid delivery internet order (not for bikes, but other stuff) that this waiting has been killing me

  19. #19
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ICU Doc
    Not that it matters, but I can and have kept up with hammerheads on my Pocket Rocket Pro (including some pretty serious types in Paris, France).
    Well, I wish I could say that this was the only reason, but my NWT, being a touring bike, has a top gear of about 95 inches. I spin out at around 25 MPH. In my hammerhead days all it would have taken was a slight downward incline and I'd have been shaken off the paceline...

  20. #20
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedo
    Well, I wish I could say that this was the only reason, but my NWT, being a touring bike, has a top gear of about 95 inches. I spin out at around 25 MPH. In my hammerhead days all it would have taken was a slight downward incline and I'd have been shaken off the paceline...
    What is your drivetrain setup Speedo?

    -G

  21. #21
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand
    What is your drivetrain setup Speedo?

    -G
    Ultegra crank 52-42-30, 11x32 9 speed cassette.

    Now don't go convincing me to get taller gears! I never was much of a basher. My "fast" bike only has a top end of 104 inches. In the olden days, under the right circumstances, I did spin out, but I have always been happy to trade a little off the top for more gears at the bottom.

    The low is 19 inches. That seems incredibly low to me, but I have been assured by posters over in the touring forum that there is no such thing as a gear that is too low on a touring bike.

    If you run the numbers for the gears they turn out very nice. That is, not a lot of repeat gears, and a good shift pattern between the chainrings so you can get just the right gear. I find that "getting just the right gear" more important to me than the big top end for riding with groups.

    Speedo

  22. #22
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedo
    Now don't go convincing me to get taller gears! I never was much of a basher. My "fast" bike only has a top end of 104 inches. In the olden days, under the right circumstances, I did spin out, but I have always been happy to trade a little off the top for more gears at the bottom.
    Never even crossed my mind! My right knee is tempermental so I have a pretty low and wide gear range too.

    I have a 105 crank (50-39-30) and Capreo hub on the back. The bottom gear is ~21 gear inches. The top is something like ~104.

    I have thought about putting a smaller granny chainring on for those long climbs while loaded. But so far, the 21-inch granny has worked out for me.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand
    I have a 105 crank (50-39-30) and Capreo hub on the back. The bottom gear is ~21 gear inches. The top is something like ~104.
    I was a little hesitant to go with the Capreo because it is "different". I bought a Betamax the last year they were manufactured. I am very negative on "different".

    My wife, who, despite refering to the NWT as my "clown bike", seems to be interested in getting one herself. She likes to push bigger gears, so I've been thinking about that exact combination for her.

    Speedo

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheMadBrewer
    My NWT is supposed to ship by Friday! I'm so used to the rapid delivery internet order (not for bikes, but other stuff) that this waiting has been killing me

    You might as well go for the full effect then. Pull out the Christmas albums... or maybe Carly Simon's "Anticipation".

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by unkchunk
    You might as well go for the full effect then. Pull out the Christmas albums... or maybe Carly Simon's "Anticipation".
    I was thinking of handing out cigars to friends -- but She Who Must Be Obeyed said that was too far over the top

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