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  1. #1
    Senior Member JeremyZ's Avatar
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    Reasons not to have folders as your only bikes?

    In an earlier thread, Loch said

    Quote Originally Posted by Loch
    I just love folders in general, wish I could have one of each.
    The more I think about it, the more I think this makes sense for many people.

    Example - Urban bike
    For an urban bike, aside from cost and maybe a pound of weight, is there any reason to choose a stiffy over a folder? Remember, we can get folders with 26" wheels... In an urban environment, I'd sooner have the folding ability than one less pound.

    Now for extreme lightness, speed, or riding-over-boulders ruggedness, I think the stiffy has the advantage.

    For super-rugged off-road biking, a good moutain bike can't really be replaced by a folder.

    For super-competitive or ast road biking, a dedicated, lightweight road bike is desirable.

    But what about for us mere mortals, who don't need to look at lap times or win races, what is the point of this ultra-focused approach?

    For everything other than the above, why not just have folders?

    1) Road folder, such as the Swift for road riding. Has a slightly higher rolling resistance due to the smaller wheels than a proper road bike, but who cares?

    2) Mountain bike, such as a Montague or Dahon Jack folder for light mountain or hybrid biking. (26" wheels and all) For super rugged stuff, that joint may not hold up, but I'd think by that point, you'd be more worried about your own personal injuries than the bike, no?

    3) Choice of small-wheeled folders for multi-mode commuting

    Is there something I'm missing, or do many people just feel like they need to have race-caliber bikes even if they don't race?

    Not having to worry about a bike rack is so liberating, from fuel costs, to the cost of the rack...

    This is the Folders forum, I understand, so I may get biased answers, but I think a lot of your are also into stiffies too. I'm afraid to ask in a stiffies forum, for fear that the answers may be a bit militant.

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    folders cost more

  3. #3
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeremyZ
    In an earlier thread, Loch said



    The more I think about it, the more I think this makes sense for many people.

    Example - Urban bike
    For an urban bike, aside from cost and maybe a pound of weight, is there any reason to choose a stiffy over a folder? Remember, we can get folders with 26" wheels... In an urban environment, I'd sooner have the folding ability than one less pound.

    Now for extreme lightness, speed, or riding-over-boulders ruggedness, I think the stiffy has the advantage.

    For super-rugged off-road biking, a good moutain bike can't really be replaced by a folder.

    For super-competitive or ast road biking, a dedicated, lightweight road bike is desirable.

    But what about for us mere mortals, who don't need to look at lap times or win races, what is the point of this ultra-focused approach?

    For everything other than the above, why not just have folders?

    1) Road folder, such as the Swift for road riding. Has a slightly higher rolling resistance due to the smaller wheels than a proper road bike, but who cares?

    2) Mountain bike, such as a Montague or Dahon Jack folder for light mountain or hybrid biking. (26" wheels and all) For super rugged stuff, that joint may not hold up, but I'd think by that point, you'd be more worried about your own personal injuries than the bike, no?

    3) Choice of small-wheeled folders for multi-mode commuting

    Is there something I'm missing, or do many people just feel like they need to have race-caliber bikes even if they don't race?

    Not having to worry about a bike rack is so liberating, from fuel costs, to the cost of the rack...

    This is the Folders forum, I understand, so I may get biased answers, but I think a lot of your are also into stiffies too. I'm afraid to ask in a stiffies forum, for fear that the answers may be a bit militant.
    Quote Originally Posted by makeinu
    folders cost more
    I think that the average folder user is only interested in not having his/her bike stolen while he/she is running errands or working. That is why I am willing to pay more for the folding feature. The other things that you talk about is nice, but not necessary when I or others simply need to get around.

  4. #4
    rhm
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    multimodal commuter rhm's Avatar
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    Yeah, I have what I consider a decent road bike, but I haven't been on it since I don't know when. I think I'll sell all my non-folders as soon as I can get around to it, probably in the fall. Well, maybe before I do that I'll get on my road bike and see if I can remember what it was I liked about it....

  5. #5
    Senior Member DVC45's Avatar
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    Because I already have non-folders when I started. Otherwise, it will be all folders for me.

  6. #6
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhm
    Well, maybe before I do that I'll get on my road bike and see if I can remember what it was I liked about it....
    As much as I love my folders, I'm not ready to part with my roadies, especially the 16.4 lb, carbon, DuraAce Fuji.

    I love to hammer, and the rush that comes with a gut-busting acceleration and exceeding 30mph on a straightaway with my heart pounding out of my chest is not something that I think folders can replicate with the smaller wheels and shorter wheelbase.

  7. #7
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    If one is interested in going really fast then full size bikes are probably a better choice. Besides the better choices in hi-end tires and frames, setting up the appropriate gearing--tall gearing with a tight cluster in the rear--is much easier with full size wheels.

  8. #8
    Bicycling Gnome
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeremyZ
    In an earlier thread, Loch said



    The more I think about it, the more I think this makes sense for many people.

    Example - Urban bike
    For an urban bike, aside from cost and maybe a pound of weight, is there any reason to choose a stiffy over a folder? Remember, we can get folders with 26" wheels... In an urban environment, I'd sooner have the folding ability than one less pound.

    Now for extreme lightness, speed, or riding-over-boulders ruggedness, I think the stiffy has the advantage.

    For super-rugged off-road biking, a good moutain bike can't really be replaced by a folder.

    For super-competitive or ast road biking, a dedicated, lightweight road bike is desirable.

    But what about for us mere mortals, who don't need to look at lap times or win races, what is the point of this ultra-focused approach?

    For everything other than the above, why not just have folders?

    1) Road folder, such as the Swift for road riding. Has a slightly higher rolling resistance due to the smaller wheels than a proper road bike, but who cares?

    2) Mountain bike, such as a Montague or Dahon Jack folder for light mountain or hybrid biking. (26" wheels and all) For super rugged stuff, that joint may not hold up, but I'd think by that point, you'd be more worried about your own personal injuries than the bike, no?

    3) Choice of small-wheeled folders for multi-mode commuting

    Is there something I'm missing, or do many people just feel like they need to have race-caliber bikes even if they don't race?

    Not having to worry about a bike rack is so liberating, from fuel costs, to the cost of the rack...

    This is the Folders forum, I understand, so I may get biased answers, but I think a lot of your are also into stiffies too. I'm afraid to ask in a stiffies forum, for fear that the answers may be a bit militant.

    I kind of agree with your central thesis - for me, it works. I have a road bike (my son's really, but he's abandoned it here, two mountain bikes, one very good, a hybrid and a Brompton clone. The only one I use is the folder. Last week, I blew the tyres up on my expensive mountain bike. It was expensive by my bike spending standards at £600. I rode it down the street about two hunded yards and thought, 'No way,' turned it around and put it back in the garage in favour of my little workhorse folder. I'm riding that about a hundred miles a week at the moment.

  9. #9
    Bicycling Gnome
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeremyZ
    In an earlier thread, Loch said



    The more I think about it, the more I think this makes sense for many people.

    Example - Urban bike
    For an urban bike, aside from cost and maybe a pound of weight, is there any reason to choose a stiffy over a folder? Remember, we can get folders with 26" wheels... In an urban environment, I'd sooner have the folding ability than one less pound.

    Now for extreme lightness, speed, or riding-over-boulders ruggedness, I think the stiffy has the advantage.

    For super-rugged off-road biking, a good moutain bike can't really be replaced by a folder.

    For super-competitive or ast road biking, a dedicated, lightweight road bike is desirable.

    But what about for us mere mortals, who don't need to look at lap times or win races, what is the point of this ultra-focused approach?

    For everything other than the above, why not just have folders?

    1) Road folder, such as the Swift for road riding. Has a slightly higher rolling resistance due to the smaller wheels than a proper road bike, but who cares?

    2) Mountain bike, such as a Montague or Dahon Jack folder for light mountain or hybrid biking. (26" wheels and all) For super rugged stuff, that joint may not hold up, but I'd think by that point, you'd be more worried about your own personal injuries than the bike, no?

    3) Choice of small-wheeled folders for multi-mode commuting

    Is there something I'm missing, or do many people just feel like they need to have race-caliber bikes even if they don't race?

    Not having to worry about a bike rack is so liberating, from fuel costs, to the cost of the rack...

    This is the Folders forum, I understand, so I may get biased answers, but I think a lot of your are also into stiffies too. I'm afraid to ask in a stiffies forum, for fear that the answers may be a bit militant.
    I kind of agree with your central thesis - for me, it works. I have a road bike (my son's really, but he's abandoned it here) two mountain bikes, one very good, a hybrid and a Brompton clone. The only one I use is the folder. Last week, I blew the tyres up on my expensive mountain bike. It was expensive by my bike spending standards at £600. I rode it down the street about two hundred yards and thought, 'No way,' turned it around and put it back in the garage in favour of my little workhorse folder. I'm riding that about eighty to a hundred miles a week at the moment.

  10. #10
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    I bought a Downtube front suspension folder last year as my first adult bike to be used as a commuter. I bought it initially because i thought a folder would fit in my flat and that a downtube was cheap compared to other folders. I figured that I would use it until I found out what type of 'proper' bike i would like at which point i would put it on ebay. now the only thing stopping me from buying a 'proper' bike is that i might not like it as much as my folder.

    with the addition of shwelbe marathon tyres i have a fast, stable and comfortable bike. I have a post rack and panniers for luggage and also take the bike over rougher toe paths/tracks. If you find a folder you like you might never go back.

    I have a small car and managed to fit all my luggage and two downtubes in the back for a holiday recently which was great.

    it does depend on your idea of urban riding though, I can't/dont jump curbs or ride down steps. its only because i have a gadget fixation that I would even think of another bike.

  11. #11
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    meh

    If you're a casual cyclist, of course you can get by with a folding bike. I exclusively used folders for about 2 years and I usually ride 150+ miles a week. Nowadays I vastly prefer my $350 steel 700c road bike for the superior ride, lower position and drop bars. I doubt I'd do another century on a folding bike, unless it was top-notch (e.g. a custom Bike Friday).

    And afaik, the Dahon and Montague 26" bikes are, well, not exactly stupendous quality. You'd be much better off with a $400 hardtail.

    If you do centuries, fast club rides, MTB or any kind of racing, you are far better off with a regular bike. Otherwise folders are fine.

  12. #12
    Señor Mambo
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    Non-hinged full-sized bikes are fun to ride and are usually cheaper to customize.

    Non-hinged full-sized bikes usually do not attract unwanted attention, unless your ride has manufacturer ads all over it (hint: many of those nasty looking OCP things in other subforums).

  13. #13
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    I picked up my first folding bike 3 weeks ago, and I've used my moutain bike (kona cross country) twice since then and I found it hard to ride. It wasn't as comfortable and for the first three or so turns i took i took them very wide. However I find its easier to lock up and I worry about it less even though it cost 8x as much as the folder.

    Im still intrested in picking up a road bike though.

  14. #14
    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand
    If one is interested in going really fast then full size bikes are probably a better choice. Besides the better choices in hi-end tires and frames, setting up the appropriate gearing--tall gearing with a tight cluster in the rear--is much easier with full size wheels.
    Hey, IH, I thought you were a Bike Friday guy. You don't have that kind of setup?

    Sesame, what is the rough cruzing speed difference between your modified Downtube and your road bike.

  15. #15
    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
    meh

    If you do centuries, fast club rides, MTB or any kind of racing, you are far better off with a regular bike. Otherwise folders are fine.
    I do long rides and fast rides on my folder, and find it to be more comfortable. I still have no idea if it's faster or not, and am perpetually curious as to whether there is really any difference in efficiency (with the obvious exception of a hill climb).

  16. #16
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pm124
    Hey, IH, I thought you were a Bike Friday guy. You don't have that kind of setup?
    I do have a NWT; I love and recommend the bike to others with certain caveats.

    The best option, in my opinion, with a derailer drivetrain is some standard crank with the capreo hub/cassette in the rear. One can still maintain good STI shifting with the front derailer and have a decent upper end (~106 GI with the Sheldon Brown calculator). However, the capreo cassette is pretty wide in the rear. So finding the "perfect" gear with so little granularity can be difficult. Generally, I don't find this to be a problem.

    However, as I approach the upper limit of my ability and try to ride with the better roadies in pacelines and such, the lack of granularity usually means that I am either slightly spinning more or mashing more than I am comfortable. Not a big deal for a short and fast ride. But as the mileage approaches 50-60, it begins to wear thin and I get dropped.

    I am still working on the engine; but I figure that as the engine improves I will just find another group of riders that a bit faster than me over the long haul.

    Just to be complete, after I finish the Mini mods ... I am building the wheels this and next week ... some drivetrain changes to the Nova are beginning to cross my mind. At the moment, I have the stock triple on the front (52-42-30) with a Harris Cyclery 13-30 cassette on the rear. But I am thinking that a trekking crank (48-36-26) with a narrow cassette (say 12-23/25) would fill a niche in the bike fleet. I would still have a low enough gear to protect my fragile knee; but a fine enough set of gears to keep up with the paleton on these club rides. The best part is that if I need to really climb with the bike or pull a baby trailer, I can swap the 13-30 cassette back on with a standard road rear derailer on the rear.

    Any thoughts from the gang?

  17. #17
    jur
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    I am using my lightweight Swift for centuries, and even though some people look disparagingly at the small-wheeler at the start, they soon change their tune when they find I keep up and/or drop them.

    For commuting and low maintenance, my Raleigh 20 can't be beat.

    More folders are on the plan, for one thing I need a fall-back bike if the R20 breaks (like at present, I am forced to take my Swift for commuting).

    While I don't have a Downtube , these can be used on milder off-road adventures, and even the rough stuff if you take care with not getting wheels stuck in wheel-sized holes.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  18. #18
    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand
    I do have a NWT; I love and recommend the bike to others with certain caveats.

    The best option, in my opinion, with a derailer drivetrain is some standard crank with the capreo hub/cassette in the rear. One can still maintain good STI shifting with the front derailer and have a decent upper end (~106 GI with the Sheldon Brown calculator). However, the capreo cassette is pretty wide in the rear. So finding the "perfect" gear with so little granularity can be difficult. Generally, I don't find this to be a problem.

    However, as I approach the upper limit of my ability and try to ride with the better roadies in pacelines and such, the lack of granularity usually means that I am either slightly spinning more or mashing more than I am comfortable. Not a big deal for a short and fast ride. But as the mileage approaches 50-60, it begins to wear thin and I get dropped.

    I am still working on the engine; but I figure that as the engine improves I will just find another group of riders that a bit faster than me over the long haul.

    Just to be complete, after I finish the Mini mods ... I am building the wheels this and next week ... some drivetrain changes to the Nova are beginning to cross my mind. At the moment, I have the stock triple on the front (52-42-30) with a Harris Cyclery 13-30 cassette on the rear. But I am thinking that a trekking crank (48-36-26) with a narrow cassette (say 12-23/25) would fill a niche in the bike fleet. I would still have a low enough gear to protect my fragile knee; but a fine enough set of gears to keep up with the paleton on these club rides. The best part is that if I need to really climb with the bike or pull a baby trailer, I can swap the 13-30 cassette back on with a standard road rear derailer on the rear.

    Any thoughts from the gang?
    No specific comments on the gearing. I'm the kind that doesn't mind larger jumps. But for the delicate knee, I find that shorter cranks and good float work wonders.

  19. #19
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pm124
    Sesame, what is the rough cruzing speed difference between your modified Downtube and your road bike.
    I can't say that I've done an apples-to-apples comparison between my road bike and folders, so I can't answer your question with any veracity. Usually, my folders are for schlepping around town, running errands, etc., not sporty recreational rides or centuries (although I secretly harbor a desire to take the Mini on an organized century).

    I've taken my highly modified Front Suspension (my portable roadie) on road rides and done pretty well with it. On rides of 35-50 miles, I stayed with the group just fine on the flats. On downhills, I would max out my gearing often, since top gear was right around 100. I felt a big difference climbing though, since the folder is much heavier.

    I have since converted that to the Cruzbike recumbent, so I don't have a "portable roadie" any more.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Kabir's Avatar
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    Because I haven't tried other types of bikes, like full-suspension MTBs, roadies, hybrids, bikes with internal gear, bikes with shaft drive, etc. I wonder whether some stores are renting all kinds of bikes for people to experience.

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    I did an informal test this week. On Monday I rode to work (8 miles mostly up hill) on my friend's mountain bike with road tires. Today I rode my DT Mini. Total time difference = exactly zero. I liked the MTB's front shocks, but not the forward leaning "road bike" style seat handlbar arrangement. The Mini has a much more comfortable seating position for me even though I haven't yet received my new stem to really dial things in height wise (I'm 6'3"). I'm curious to see what differences, if any, I notice on the mostly downhill way home. At this point both bike seem comparable in performance with the weakest link being the motor

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