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  1. #1
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    Main Tokyo Station vs Dahon XX vs GoBike vs Birdy

    Greetings all -

    Long time peeper, finally a joiner.

    There is a real possibility of relocating to Japan sometime in the future, so have been streamlining the necessities of life. As the two main forms of transportation over there are rail and bicycle, folders seemed like a natural. Not to mention the size of an average apartment.

    I happened to acquire a Dahon XX awhile back, which I believe was the lightest folder at the time. It's a nice bike that rides well and looks sharp, but I'm not sure if it would be the best thing for hammering through the Japanese rail system on a daily basis. Anyone who has dealt with the Tokyo main station will understand. Nothing like having to make your way through a stirred up ants nest of humanity to make your next train, which is at the other end(several hundred meters) and three levels up. And you better get there in time, as the train will leave exactly as scheduled. It's the one place where the famous Japanese politeness slips a bit and is no place for the timid or frail.

    The last couple of trips over I payed particular attention to the obstacle course one needs to run at most stations, turnstiles and the like, as well as the crowds, and have started thinking the XX is just a bit too bulky.

    I think this will be the case for most of the frame hinged bikes, at least the 20" wheelers. I'm very attracted to the aesthetics and engineering of the GoBike and it seems to be very robust in construction, if Chop's photos of him and his bike having a lay-down are any indication. Looked like the bike came out of it better than him. I know it's heavier than the Helios, but it seems that the fold would compensate in terms of carrying maneuverability. And it looks like it would hold up better to daily thrashing. Wondering if anyone has had a chance to put one through it's paces in a busy rail environment.

    I would be doing a fair amount of regular riding in the countryside and maybe a little touring as well, which is why I've been mostly interested in 20" wheeled bike. However, I've been seeing lots of good things about the Birdy and have started to consider them as well.

    Would appreciate any feedback from folks with experience. I'm not partial to any brand, but need something that will be able to handle a fair amount of abuse and hills. Not much is flat over there.

    Another consideration is that the XX has low milage in very nice condition, and it would be painful to watch it deteriorate as a daily driver. I think it would be happier in the hands of a more casual user.

    Cheers

  2. #2
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    I don't think the lack of a frame hinge is going to make it easier to carry through a crowded train station. In fact, your XX should be much lighter than any of the bikes you mentioned, which will definitely make the XX easier for carrying through the crowded station.

    If I were you, I'd just keep the XX. Otherwise I'd get two bikes, one for the commute (see the thread "Overcrowding crisis on our trains") and one for the countryside. Can you get to the countryside without a folder (perhaps just ride there)? Moreover, how about just locking up a low end nonfolder for the commute (I hear bike theft problems aren't nearly as bad over there)?

    Also, if you're going to buy a folder I would definitely buy it in japan and consider the much wider selection available to you there (as opposed to the limited selection available to the western members of this forum).
    Last edited by makeinu; 07-20-07 at 02:48 PM.

  3. #3
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    If you're intersted in the Birdy (BD-1 in Japan) then go for the Bianchi Fretta instead - they can be had online for about 126,000 yen, or 154,000 in the shops - much better value than the BD-1 in my opinion. If you are looking for a good all purpose folder that you don't need to carry at rush hour the the Fretta may be it, although I'm still surprised at how quickly 10.5kgs gets heavy

    Makeinu makes a good point about keeping a nonfolder as bike theft isn't much of a problem, when I was there i very rarely locked my bike in 2 years or so. The occasional mamachari goes missing from stations when drunk salarymen see it as a quick way home.

  4. #4
    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    I'm with Solution_63 and makeinu on this. However, your XX is worth some $$ and it will get pretty thrashed on the commute. Since those are collector bikes and very fragile, you might want to commute with something sturdier. However, the Go Bike is probably not what you are looking for, as it will be too heavy.

    Bikes in Japan are cheaper than anywhere else. Whatever you do, bring a Fretta back and sell it when you arrive. You will make a handsome profit where ever you are from. If you are from here, you'll make the handsome profit off of me!

  5. #5
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    Fretta .... hmmmm good.

  6. #6
    Explorer CaptainSpalding's Avatar
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    If you happen to go to Japan again before you officially relocate, it might be a good idea to see what's available there. You might find that you have a much different selection in Japan than elsewhere.
    I came to say I must be folding . . .
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  7. #7
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    Thanks for the input folks, guess I should clarify a bit further.

    Being a bit long in the tooth for the salaryman bit, I'll be doing freelance work and not commuting to a regular gig or going to a consistent destination. Need something that would work well with the train system as well as being practical for a wide range of riding conditions, both in town and out. There is also a distinct possibility that the move will be permanent.

    The concern with the Dahon isn't so much that the frame folds as that having the two wheels come together produces a wide package. Folks over there get fairly upset if you bash them with something that you're carrying, whether intentional or not. Luckily I'll be able to chose my travel times and avoid the white glove periods. The doors on the Shinkansen's are also rather narrow and it may be a bit of a struggle to get it on board, especially if others are pushing to get on or off and you've got a bulging backpack as well. One must remember that the train will not wait 'till you've gotten on or off board. If it leaves at 10:24, by god it will leave at 10:24.

    So far, it looks like the Birdy may be my best bet. The low end Fretta is only about $150 cheaper than the comparable Birdy here at today's exchange rate. Do like the colors offered over there, but other than that there's not much difference that I can see. The move is not going to be before sometime next year, so will see what the deal is then. The fact that a search came up with quite a few Fretta(Birdy) retailers is encouraging from a parts and maintenance standpoint.

    Yeah, lots of bikes over there. I've seen a few very interesting high tech folders, but most are klunky looking third world junk. Next time over I'll do a more serious investigation of the bike market. From what I've seen so far, the higher the tech, the steeper the price curve compared to the US.

    In the meantime, if I do plan on replacing the XX, the sooner the better while it's still in primo condition. I usually purchase used anyway, so will keep an eye open for a good deal on a used Birdy. This will give me some time to check out it's suitability.

    Had been hoping someone with actual experience with these bikes on trains would pipe up. While Tokyo is the extreme, any large metropolitan system would present similar situations. And while the Brompton/Merc would provide the best train solution, I don't think it would work as well for the bulk of the riding.

    Cheers

    PS - Solution_63, sounds like you speak from experience. Are you actually using the Fretta in the Japan system? Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Clownbike View Post
    ...Folks over there get fairly upset if you bash them with something that you're carrying, whether intentional or not.
    Funny, that one. There have been times I would have liked to have inserted a pedal into the knee into some cow-like dimwit standing at the very front or rear of a jammed train/subway car... the ideal place for park a large bundle of bike. But instead, I ask politely whether they would move slightly in the precious seconds when the doors first open at the next stop. I try never to travel with a bike during rush "hour", but rush "hour" in Kanto goes on for 3 to 4 hours weekdays and most of Saturday.

    Bike friendliness in Kanto, from most to least: 1) private rail (surface); 2) JR (surface) 3) subways vary by line, vs. by company (Toei, Tokyo Metro), and time of day. The newer subway lines, like Namboku, have elevators in the stations (++++), and the older lines don't. The worst norikai I have is 800 meters at Akasaka Mitsuke... I actually unfold and "coast" if the corridors are not crowded... playing the hen na gaijin card.
    Last edited by maunakea; 07-21-07 at 02:56 PM.

  9. #9
    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clownbike View Post
    Thanks for the input folks, guess I should clarify a bit further.

    Being a bit long in the tooth for the salaryman bit, I'll be doing freelance work and not commuting to a regular gig or going to a consistent destination. Need something that would work well with the train system as well as being practical for a wide range of riding conditions, both in town and out. There is also a distinct possibility that the move will be permanent.

    The concern with the Dahon isn't so much that the frame folds as that having the two wheels come together produces a wide package. Folks over there get fairly upset if you bash them with something that you're carrying, whether intentional or not. Luckily I'll be able to chose my travel times and avoid the white glove periods. The doors on the Shinkansen's are also rather narrow and it may be a bit of a struggle to get it on board, especially if others are pushing to get on or off and you've got a bulging backpack as well. One must remember that the train will not wait 'till you've gotten on or off board. If it leaves at 10:24, by god it will leave at 10:24.

    So far, it looks like the Birdy may be my best bet. The low end Fretta is only about $150 cheaper than the comparable Birdy here at today's exchange rate. Do like the colors offered over there, but other than that there's not much difference that I can see. The move is not going to be before sometime next year, so will see what the deal is then. The fact that a search came up with quite a few Fretta(Birdy) retailers is encouraging from a parts and maintenance standpoint.

    Yeah, lots of bikes over there. I've seen a few very interesting high tech folders, but most are klunky looking third world junk. Next time over I'll do a more serious investigation of the bike market. From what I've seen so far, the higher the tech, the steeper the price curve compared to the US.

    In the meantime, if I do plan on replacing the XX, the sooner the better while it's still in primo condition. I usually purchase used anyway, so will keep an eye open for a good deal on a used Birdy. This will give me some time to check out it's suitability.

    Had been hoping someone with actual experience with these bikes on trains would pipe up. While Tokyo is the extreme, any large metropolitan system would present similar situations. And while the Brompton/Merc would provide the best train solution, I don't think it would work as well for the bulk of the riding.

    Cheers

    PS - Solution_63, sounds like you speak from experience. Are you actually using the Fretta in the Japan system? Thanks
    At 126,000 yen and the 123 to the dollar exchange rate, that puts you within reach of a $1000 monocoque frame. I think the older style frames are a better deal, but your resale value will be much higher if you go that route. You should be able to get over $1000 for the used Fretta in the US, provided it's in fair condition. (If you are in the UK, even better.) The $650 Caprio model has a much lower price differential.

  10. #10
    Explorer CaptainSpalding's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clownbike View Post
    Need something that would work well with the train system as well as being practical for a wide range of riding conditions, both in town and out.
    Sadly, the dichotomy of folding bike design - bikes that tend to be best for fussy rail systems seem to make out-of-town jaunts a bit of a struggle, while the best folders for long distance rides on lesser groomed roads tend to be a little clumsy on the train.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clownbike View Post
    The concern with the Dahon isn't so much that the frame folds as that having the two wheels come together produces a wide package. Folks over there get fairly upset if you bash them with something that you're carrying, whether intentional or not . . . So far, it looks like the Birdy may be my best bet.
    I'm sure you can find lots of reasons to replace your Helios with a Birdy, but folded width isn't one of them.

    Birdy:
    Folds to 30" x 23" x 11" (see here.)
    Dahon Helios XX:
    Folds to 33" x 22" x 11" (see here.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Clownbike View Post
    And while the Brompton/Merc would provide the best train solution, I don't think it would work as well for the bulk of the riding.
    If that's your honest opinion, my advice is to stick with your XX. The reasons?
    • It's a sweet riding bike.
    • It's light.
    • It's as narrow as your top contender to replace it.
    • You already own it.

    If you think a Brompton won't meet your expectations for the bulk of your riding, I'd say anything that folds smaller than your XX won't either.
    I came to say I must be folding . . .
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  11. #11
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    bike on train

    Specs: kg, folded cm, m3 volume (% cubic meter), folded inch

    Birdy: 10.5kg, 79x30x61cm = .144cbm ... 28x15x24 inch
    + http://www.mizutanibike.co.jp/bd-1_07/bike_01.html

    Helios SL/XX: 7.8kg, 28x56x81 = .127cbm ... 11x23x33 inch
    + http://www.dahon.com/archive/2005/heliossl.htm

    Brompton M3L: 11/5kg, 60x58x30 = .104cbm ... 24x23x12 inch

    Pacific CarryMe: 8.1kg, 91x30x27 = .073cbm ... 36x12x11 inch
    + http://www.hometec.com.tw/prod.asp?catid=3&pid=16#

    Panasonic Traincle: 7.5kg, 55x32x58 = .102cbm ... 22x13x23 inch
    + http://www.cso.co.jp/bikeshop/panasonic/fdb/index.html

    The Traincle is of course made for JR lockers, but the geometry doesn't suit larger riders. The only bike that both rolls folded and is lightweight for lugging on staircases is the CarryMe .. where the vertical folded footprint would also be of max value.

    Interesting to note, while Dahon international dropped the Helios SL in 2005, a variant is still available at the Dahon JP distributor, weighing 8.5kg with some other components including a front Pantour suspension hub.
    + http://www.akibo.co.jp/dahon_content..._sl/index.html

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bangkok View Post
    Specs: kg, folded cm, m3 volume (% cubic meter), folded inch

    Birdy: 10.5kg, 79x30x61cm = .144cbm ... 31x15x24 inch
    + http://www.mizutanibike.co.jp/bd-1_07/bike_01.html

    Helios SL/XX: 7.8kg, 28x56x81 = .127cbm ... 11x23x33 inch
    + http://www.dahon.com/archive/2005/heliossl.htm

    Brompton M3L: 11/5kg, 60x58x30 = .104cbm ... 24x23x12 inch

    Pacific CarryMe: 8.1kg, 91x30x27 = .073cbm ... 36x12x11 inch
    + http://www.hometec.com.tw/prod.asp?catid=3&pid=16#

    Panasonic Traincle: 7.5kg, 55x32x58 = .102cbm ... 22x13x23 inch
    + http://www.cso.co.jp/bikeshop/panasonic/fdb/index.html

    The Traincle is of course made for JR lockers, but the geometry doesn't suit larger riders. The only bike that both rolls folded and is lightweight for lugging on staircases is the CarryMe .. where the vertical folded footprint would also be of max value.

    Interesting to note, while Dahon international dropped the Helios SL in 2005, a variant is still available at the Dahon JP distributor, weighing 8.5kg with some other components including a front Pantour suspension hub.
    + http://www.akibo.co.jp/dahon_content..._sl/index.html
    I don't mean to nitpick, but since we're talking primarily about the Birdy I thought I'd note the correction in your conversion from cm to inches.

    One of these days I gotta get my hands on a traincle.

  13. #13
    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    I have to say up front that I've never measured these bikes, but my old Mu SL is about the same size at the Heilios XX (it replaced that bike), and it was definitely bigger than my Birdy in all dimensions. The cover fit tightly on the Dahon and loosely on the Birdy. The other thing is that the Birdy shrinks vertically as the wheels fold under the bike. Still, there isn't *that* much difference.

    Does the Brompton really come in larger than the CarryMe or Traincle? That seems potentially like an error.

    One consideration is that the Dahon is consistently easy to fold. The total folding time is about the same between the two bikes, but the Birdy sometimes likes to give you a hard time. On the other hand, it is less bangable.

    In terms of a durable small folding performance bike that is a pleasure to ride, the Birdy is tops. But the Brompton is significantly smaller and the Helios XX is notably lighter out of the box. Japan offers such a great array of bikes, you can have a look when you get there.

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    More grist for the mill

    Thanks for Keeping up with this.

    I figured that with the smaller wheels and fold style that the Birdy would have been a rather smaller package. I have been looking at specs, but after awhile the brain glazes over. It has also been noted that the manufacturers have a tendency to cook their numbers a bit and wanted to get some real world feedback. Unfortunately here on the northern Left Coast there are few folder dealers and the ones that do exist have meager stock if any, so haven't had a chance to check out a Birdy in the flesh.

    It seems that there isn't that much difference in the folded size of the XX and the Birdy. The XX has always seemed a bit awkward to manage the few times that I have lugged it around folded, and was wondering if the Birdy's folding style made it a bit easier to handle despite the extra weight. And according to pm124 it is a bit smaller overall in reality.

    Hmmmmmm. As one of the things that started me in all this was the the thought of the XX getting trashed as a daily driver, another consideration is to keep my eyes peeled for a 2005 Helios SL or Mu SL. The Helios is very close to the XX in weight and has braze-on's for a rack. I would have to figure out a rack situation for the XX if I kept it, which would further contribute to it's gradual deterioration. While my collecting days are over, my appreciation of rare, finely realized objects has not waned. If I had a '61 Porsche Spyder I certainly wouldn't convert it to a pickup to use for my lawn care business.

    Cheers

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    Quote Originally Posted by pm124 View Post
    I have to say up front that I've never measured these bikes, but my old Mu SL is about the same size at the Heilios XX (it replaced that bike), and it was definitely bigger than my Birdy in all dimensions. The cover fit tightly on the Dahon and loosely on the Birdy. The other thing is that the Birdy shrinks vertically as the wheels fold under the bike. Still, there isn't *that* much difference.

    Does the Brompton really come in larger than the CarryMe or Traincle? That seems potentially like an error.

    One consideration is that the Dahon is consistently easy to fold. The total folding time is about the same between the two bikes, but the Birdy sometimes likes to give you a hard time. On the other hand, it is less bangable.

    In terms of a durable small folding performance bike that is a pleasure to ride, the Birdy is tops. But the Brompton is significantly smaller and the Helios XX is notably lighter out of the box. Japan offers such a great array of bikes, you can have a look when you get there.
    Hi -

    Have you had a chance to use both with public transportation, and what's your impression of the two in regards to carrying them about folded? Is the folding style of the Birdy which makes it "less bangable"(no...must resist)?

    Also curious as to your impression of the suspension ride verse's the non suspension.

    Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainSpalding View Post

    If that's your honest opinion, my advice is to stick with your XX. The reasons?
    • It's a sweet riding bike.
    • It's light.
    • It's as narrow as your top contender to replace it.
    • You already own it.

    If you think a Brompton won't meet your expectations for the bulk of your riding, I'd say anything that folds smaller than your XX won't either.
    Hi

    Actually, never having ridden a Brompton, the only opinions I have are based on what I've come across in various forums and sites like The Folding Society. I know the Brits love their Bromptons, but even most of them seem to feel that it's main strength is as a commuter and that larger wheeled bikes perform better insofar as general cycling is concerned, especially if dealing with loose or uneven surfaces..

    Didja ever figure out how that elephant got in your pajamas?

  17. #17
    Explorer CaptainSpalding's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clownbike View Post
    I would have to figure out a rack situation for the XX if I kept it, which would further contribute to it's gradual deterioration. While my collecting days are over, my appreciation of rare, finely realized objects has not waned. If I had a '61 Porsche Spyder I certainly wouldn't convert it to a pickup to use for my lawn care business.
    But would you convert an XKE into a hearse? Seriously, I'm sure you could adapt a rack to your XX and leave enough of the bike intact for posterity. You seem to be afraid to use your bike as intended. I understand. It's a nice bike. The Birdy is a nice bike too, though. Won't you be just as reticent to use it as your daily ride?
    I came to say I must be folding . . .
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    Dahon Helios SL
    Strida 5.0
    Twenty project


    or not . . .
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    Merlin Road flat bar project
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  18. #18
    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clownbike View Post
    Hi -

    Have you had a chance to use both with public transportation, and what's your impression of the two in regards to carrying them about folded? Is the folding style of the Birdy which makes it "less bangable"(no...must resist)?

    Also curious as to your impression of the suspension ride verse's the non suspension.

    Thanks
    In my opinion, the Birdy is more durable. It also doesn't swing open as the Dahons do, and there is no magnetic latch to break. The ride is far superior; it takes up road vibration very well, and is comfortable on 100 mile rides. However, this is an even fancier bike than the Dahon, and as the Captain points out, you might be even more afraid to use it.

    When I say fancier, I mean that the frame is hand crafted by seasoned frame builders and the wheels are hand built. However, I find the Capreo group-o used on the Birdy to be inferior to the SRAM X9/American Classic used on the Dahon. This difference in componentry accounts for the difference in weight. The Japanese Dura Ace-equipped Birdies are probably lighter than the Dahon! Also, some on the Birdy forum (groups.yahoo.com) have them down to sub-8Kg, but those are the 1990s era Birdy frames that hadn't been lugged for luggage.

    With respect to carrying capacity, it rocks. Provided you are willing to spend cash on Orlieb panniers, it's truely a great touring bike. Check out the Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birdy_%28bicycle%29

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainSpalding View Post
    But would you convert an XKE into a hearse? Seriously, I'm sure you could adapt a rack to your XX and leave enough of the bike intact for posterity. You seem to be afraid to use your bike as intended. I understand. It's a nice bike. The Birdy is a nice bike too, though. Won't you be just as reticent to use it as your daily ride?
    AH, but did they make just three hundred Birdys? The XX was a limited production bike(mine is #297) that will never be replicated. It's also a bit on the fragile side and the paint chips if you just look at it hard. This bike has very few miles on it and is in excellent cosmetic condition. Not afraid to use it, just think it might be better to pass it on to someone who wont be beating it into the ground. Once it's paint job is sufficiently damaged to prompt a repaint it just becomes another Helios, so may as well start with one of those.

    And if I had an E-Type hearse(looked kinda cool actually), I sure wouldn't run it off a cliff. At least they didn't use a D-Type, which would be more akin to the XX.

  20. #20
    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    In that case, it's a no brainer. I'd bet there are a lot of folks that would love to have that bike.

    I forgot to mention that I use the Birdy on public transport all the time, including on crowded trains. In a crowd, you just have to smile and be apologetic and get it on. Other people have shopping bags that are almost as big. I've also brought it on Amtrak, etc., but that you can do with even the big folders.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pm124 View Post
    I have to say up front that I've never measured these bikes, but my old Mu SL is about the same size at the Heilios XX (it replaced that bike), and it was definitely bigger than my Birdy in all dimensions. The cover fit tightly on the Dahon and loosely on the Birdy. The other thing is that the Birdy shrinks vertically as the wheels fold under the bike. Still, there isn't *that* much difference.
    According to Dahon specs the Mu is larger than the Helios. However, I suspect the majority of the size difference you note comes from the natural orientation of the folded bike. In order to stay balanced Dahon-type frames seem to need more footprint, which might not necessarily correspond to the orientation of the advertised dimensions.

    Quote Originally Posted by pm124 View Post
    Does the Brompton really come in larger than the CarryMe or Traincle? That seems potentially like an error.
    Why do you say that? I would be seriously surprised if any bike with 8" wheels wasn't significantly smaller than the Brompton, even a poorly designed one. It's shameful enough to Dahon and Strida that the Brompton is actually smaller than their 16" offerings, despite the Brompton's larger wheels. But smaller than an 8 incher? Come on.

    Also, for the record, I find that the Carryme is, in practice, significally smaller than spec. A significant amount of the bike width comes from the pedals. Furthermore, the depth is largely due to protrusions from the tiny rear wheel and the nose of the seat. Dahon and Brompton specs ignore such protrusions. So the Carryme should more accurately be compared as (according to my measurements) 35"x9"x6". Lastly, the Carryme's footprint is really more triangular than rectangular (it's actually almost exactly the shape and size of a standard bike saddle). So the true volume is actually half the volume calculated by assuming a 35"x9"x6" rectangular box (remember the area of a triangle is 1/2xlengthxwidth as opposed to lengthxwidth for a rectangle). Way smaller than a Brompton. I could wear two Carrymes on my back while riding another bike.
    Last edited by makeinu; 07-23-07 at 06:59 PM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member JeremyZ's Avatar
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    I don't think you're being realistic by expecting to find one bike that will do it all. A bike that's as portable as you're hoping for will not be very good for the wide variety of tasks you're asking of it.

    A bike that will do those tasks acceptably well will not be very portable.

    So rather than trying to find the perfect folder, you'll have to find the perfect compromise.

    One of those that folds such that the wheels are not side-by-side but end-to-end and that has smaller wheels (than 16") to begin with will probably end up being right. It might be a single speed, and it might not be very quick when you've got more than a mile to go between places, but it should still beat walking. Also, remember that a very portable bike will allow you to use all manner of public transit, not just trains.

    I'd probably be thinking of an A-bike or something only slightly larger.

  23. #23
    Explorer CaptainSpalding's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeremyZ View Post
    I don't think you're being realistic by expecting to find one bike that will do it all. A bike that's as portable as you're hoping for will not be very good for the wide variety of tasks you're asking of it.
    Exactly. My point since the get-go.

    Quote Originally Posted by JeremyZ View Post
    One of those that folds such that the wheels are not side-by-side but end-to-end and that has smaller wheels (than 16") to begin with will probably end up being right. It might be a single speed, and it might not be very quick when you've got more than a mile to go between places, but it should still beat walking. Also, remember that a very portable bike will allow you to use all manner of public transit, not just trains.
    Very insightful, the bit about having the wheels end-to-end. For a daily mixed-commute bike, I would consider essential the ability of the bike to roll while folded (and also to be able to stand on its own.) I recently got a Mobiky Genius. It's no lightweight, but I never have to pick it up, except to go up stairs. The wheels are end to end, and the bike supports it's own weight and rolls in both a folded and semi-folded configuration. While it only has 12" wheels, the Genius does have 3 speeds. Not a speed demon, but not a slow-poke either.
    Last edited by CaptainSpalding; 07-23-07 at 10:33 AM.
    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

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by makeinu View Post

    Why do you say that? I would be seriously surprised if any bike with 8" wheels wasn't significantly smaller than the Brompton, even a poorly designed one. It's shameful enough to Dahon and Strida that the Brompton is actually smaller than their 16" offerings, despite the Brompton's larger wheels. But smaller than an 8 incher? Come on.
    Er...Brompton wheels are 16"

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeremyZ View Post
    I don't think you're being realistic by expecting to find one bike that will do it all. A bike that's as portable as you're hoping for will not be very good for the wide variety of tasks you're asking of it.

    A bike that will do those tasks acceptably well will not be very portable.

    So rather than trying to find the perfect folder, you'll have to find the perfect compromise.

    One of those that folds such that the wheels are not side-by-side but end-to-end and that has smaller wheels (than 16") to begin with will probably end up being right. It might be a single speed, and it might not be very quick when you've got more than a mile to go between places, but it should still beat walking. Also, remember that a very portable bike will allow you to use all manner of public transit, not just trains.

    I'd probably be thinking of an A-bike or something only slightly larger.
    Like most things in life, this will be a compromise. And as there is no such thing as perfection in the universe I occupy, I'm just trying to find the best combinations of compromises to attain my goal.

    The bike will spend much more time being ridden than being transported, so it needs to work well over a wide range of different conditions. For the times that it will be necessary to take it on public transportation, it would be nice if it folded to a light weight, fairly easy to deal with package. Quite a few stations involve stairs and escalators that are frequently crowded.

    As I will only have the one, I'm looking at all aspects to find the combo that comes closest to my requirements. It will not be perfect, but I'm not expecting perfection.

    I appreciate all the input from you folks. Every added bit of advice helps in the decision process.

    Thanks

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