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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    OK, so let's talk about Bike Fridays for a moment....

    As some of you know, I've used both a low-end Dahon and an aluminum Swift for touring. I am becoming less and less enamored with the alloy Swift for that particular task. It's very solid and adaptable, but harsh and a PITA to pack.

    I probably fly with my bike once a year, maybe twice. Other than that, I do not use the fold for anything else.

    I'm considering three options:
    • ye olde Bike Friday
    • a separatable touring bike
    • a full touring bike, and just pay the occasional airline fee

    So, can anyone fill me in on the following?
    - How easy is it to pack a BF compared to other folding bikes and/or separatables?
    - How comfortable is the NWT, compared to a 26" / 700c touring bike?
    - How well does a NWT handle when loaded, compared to something like a Surly LHT, Trek 520 etc?

  2. #2
    Small wheels ARE better! OldiesONfoldies's Avatar
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    I have a Tikit and it packs in 5 minutes. Out with seat post, handle post and QR off front wheel. A screw to adjust and presto, cat in the bag (Samsonite)!

    But not sure what type of touring you going for... Tikit can do light touring but its a commuter bike with 16" wheels. But folding in 5 secs and packing in 5 mins. Amazing!

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    Senior Member skinny's Avatar
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    I was on the road 24/7 for about 9 years. I bought a Bike Friday Metro the first year they came out and kept it in my trunk with a set of Kreitler rollers. Kreitler made an adapter for 20" wheels so BMX riders could use them. The bike worked great on the rollers. I sold it as soon as I went off the road and almost got my money back for it. Good resale. Very easy to break down and set up. I mean very easy. I was breaking it down and setting it up every day. I was very happy with it.

  4. #4
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    Absolutely nothing will be more convenient to travel than a Brompton or equivalent ("Brompton clone" such as the Merc). 16" is not the optimum tire size for touring though. I am feeling my hands after less than 100 miles on less-than-adequate asfalt in Rio de Janeiro today. If your destination involves not-so-smoothy paths, consider the full touring bike, and just pay the occasional airline fee.

    I travel about 6 times a year, so the Brompton is my best match. Just ordered a new one today since someone fell in love with mine while down here in south america.

  5. #5
    jur
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    Quote Originally Posted by 14R View Post
    I travel about 6 times a year, so the Brompton is my best match. Just ordered a new one today since someone fell in love with mine while down here in south america.
    Do you feel like a trip to Melbourne with a DT Mini so someone here can fall in love with it?

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    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    LOL. I heard the girls are pretty down there. I might consider in a near future. But for now, absolutely nothing is better than the combo Brompton-Brazil (and a digital camera, so people can actually believe it's true).

    Too bad Alessandra Ambrosio is not Australian (lol).

    14R

  7. #7
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    So, can anyone fill me in on the following?
    - How easy is it to pack a BF compared to other folding bikes and/or separatables?
    - How comfortable is the NWT, compared to a 26" / 700c touring bike?
    - How well does a NWT handle when loaded, compared to something like a Surly LHT, Trek 520 etc?
    I have a Bike Friday NWT.

    I would say that packing could be easy with some practice. I've done some test packing, and I'm down to about half an hour working slowly and carefully. If speed were important I know I could do it faster.

    I find the NWT to be pretty comfortable. The stalky seatpost has some spring to it and I think that helps. I've done three centuries on the NWT this year, and felt good on all of them. The down side of the springiness is that it takes something out of you when you are really trying to crank. At a comfortable cruise (say 15-16 MPH) I can't really tell the difference from my big bike. Trying to ride fast in a pace line, I notice the difference.

    Haven't ridden it loaded yet, so I can't answer question 3.

    Speedo

  8. #8
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    So, can anyone fill me in on the following?
    - How easy is it to pack a BF compared to other folding bikes and/or separatables?
    - How comfortable is the NWT, compared to a 26" / 700c touring bike?
    - How well does a NWT handle when loaded, compared to something like a Surly LHT, Trek 520 etc?
    Before picking up our Bike Fridays, I talked with a bunch of touring guys and gals with separable frames and Bike Fridays. From these conversations, I gather that a separable full size bike typically takes 45 minutes to pack or unpack. Likewise, the typical Bike Friday pack or unpack is about 30 minutes. I can pack/unpack my and the boss' Bike Friday in 40-45 minutes. Essentially a little practice goes a long way and, since I do the work for both bikes, I get a lot of practice.

    I have ridden the Trek 520 and the Cannondale tourer unloaded. I believe that my Bike Friday is lighter--only relevant when riding unloaded--and definitely more nimble. I have only done some light touring with the Bike Friday. Panniers up front with an SQR bag on the rear. Having bags on the front slows the steering somewhat. I also think that same size bags are lower than other touring bikes used on group trips. In addition to the above models, someone had a Bob Jackson. I can tell you that the people with the Trek and Cannondale were pleased test riding my Bike Friday. Another old-timer bud of mine asked whether Bike Friday made a non-folding version of the bike.

    With regards to comfort, I did four organized centuries this year on the NWT and another two one-hundred-mile rides with some buds. Obviously, I think the bike is comfortable since I typically choose it over my "big" bike which is a cyclocross-geometry (more relaxed than a typical road bike) steel Jamis Nova. Although I did two one-hundred-mile rides with the Nova too. I enjoy both rides but the NWT fits a bit better. Mind you ... there are differences. But the net effect is that I choose the NWT ... as the ride get flatter and faster, I would go with the Nova.

    In my opinion, the only place one loses with the small wheels is when doing sporty rides with less than ideal gearing. This past weekend, I the the Potomac Pedaler Century (in 5:15 ... my personal best!! Woo-hoo!!) and hooked up with some people from a local bike club. There was a racer in the pack and I latched onto rear wheels like a tick. It would have been helpful to have a tight cluster on the rear for the ride. Often it was the case that finding the perfect gear was a little difficult with the wide capreo cassette.

    Regarding whether it is worth the premium to get a travel bike--i.e., either a separable or a folder--my first reaction is that it is a toss-up given how little you are going to travel with it. I can tell you that an extra perk of the folder is the ability to use any rental car when you decide to drive instead of cycling from one location to another.

    I know that some people use the Airnimal as a tourer. You might want to keep that in the back of your mind too.

    Alex Wetmore has a NWT and had a Swift folder. I believe he wrote a webpage comparing the two. He also appears in this forum every once in a while.

    -G

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    My Swift vs NWT page:
    http://phred.org/~alex/bikes/bf-vs-swift.html

    I've owned the following (in order):
    * S&S coupled bike
    * Swift Folder
    * Bike Friday New World Tourist (NWT)
    * Bike Friday Tikit

    The S&S and Swift folder had similar packing times. Both required me to remove both wheels, split the frame, remove the cranks, fenders, rack. Both fit in their suitcase in exactly one way. Packing time was around an hour. My Swift Folder required me to remove the fork where the S&S bike required more protection (due to thinner and more dentable tubing).

    My NWT required less disassembly and fit into the case more easily, so packing time was about 30 minutes. I had to remove the right crank, front wheel, fenders, rack. The rear wheel and fender could stay in place. The frame didn't need to be split.

    My Tikit (which is unusual for having drop bars and a custom front rack) packs into the suitcase in about 15 minutes. I don't need to remove the cranks, worry as much about the handlebars, and everything folds and fits much more quickly.

    The full size bike with S&S couplers had the best ride, the NWT was second. The Tikit rides well but I wouldn't want to tour on it for a month at a time (and it wasn't built for that). It's great for commuting, half day rides, that sort of thing. For my travel the Tikit is the best bike.

    For fully loaded touring once a year I'd just fly with a full size bike and pay the penalties. I only travel once or twice a year, but the folding bike is worth it for day trips while my wife is doing something else. It's less hassle than renting or borrowing a bike and I know that the bike fits. I do use the folding around town too -- it is really handy when I'm riding to meet someone and know that I'll be driving home with them. I use it this way a couple of times a month.

    alex
    Last edited by awetmore; 09-19-07 at 10:29 AM. Reason: add opinions about travel

  10. #10
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    If only the harsh ride is the main problem for you with the Swift, i wonder whether buying a new high end folder/tourer isn't perhaps jumping the ***...

    By that i mean: Have you tried mounting a Sprung Brooks (Flyer?) And Schwalbe Big apples on the swift to smoothen the ride..? Either one of those can make a huge difference.. If you really want to go crazy you might even add a thudbuster, foam handlebar "tape" and one of those old skool MTB 'elastomer' handlebar stems that feature a bit of suspension up front. Perhaps even one of these measures might do the trick. Most will set you back $ less than $ 50, the handlebar foam only $ 10. Even if you did them all you would still be spending less than half of what a BF would cost...
    http://www.rhizomes.nl/twenty.html
    My Tweaked and modded Raleigh Twenty. Lots of pictures and lots of general info on for example a different & Cheap Bottom Bracket solution as well as fork solution.

  11. #11
    Commuter Ericx25's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    As some of you know, I've used both a low-end Dahon and an aluminum Swift for touring.
    - How easy is it to pack a BF compared to other folding bikes and/or separatables?
    I also own a low-end Dahon, an aluminum Swift and a BikeFriday NWT

    I travelled in Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand with my NWT (pics http://www.dramaix.com).
    Packing it to get on buses/planes was a pain....

    I don't think it is easier to pack a NWT than a Xootr.

    I have modified the routing of the cables on the Xootr (I don't use the brazed guides on the left side of the frame anymore), so that it is very easy to split the frame in two parts.

    I remove the wire from the front brake
    I unscrew the main pivot bolt
    I release the lever for the stem

    Total time < 4 minutes

    I pack the rear triangle / stem / front wheel in my suitcase and only wrap the front part of the frame with thick plastic as a second piece of luggage.
    ( to use an even smaller suitcase I now also remove the cranks, which takes less than 25 seconds -Campagnolo Centaur cranks set -)

    Eric
    Last edited by Ericx25; 09-19-07 at 03:07 PM.

  12. #12
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    OK, so now for the follow-up questions....

    I think a Tikit or Brompton are not the optimal choices for my uses, I don't think they'd be great for 70+ mile days with a load. I'm knocking out the Airnimal mostly because, for the price, I can get a fully custom-fit BF....


    awetmore: Any impressions on differences in handling with a loaded Swift, NWT and 700c?

    v1nce: It's comfort + packing + lack of drop bars + insufficient gearing. Considering my uses it's still borderline, unless a BF or 700c is truly head & shoulders above a Swift for this purpose.

    Ericx25: Any special tips on removing the hinge bolt (e.g. lubricant, grease)? And why do you need to move the cable routing to do this?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    OK, so now for the follow-up questions....

    I think a Tikit or Brompton are not the optimal choices for my uses, I don't think they'd be great for 70+ mile days with a load. I'm knocking out the Airnimal mostly because, for the price, I can get a fully custom-fit BF....


    awetmore: Any impressions on differences in handling with a loaded Swift, NWT and 700c?

    v1nce: It's comfort + packing + lack of drop bars + insufficient gearing. Considering my uses it's still borderline, unless a BF or 700c is truly head & shoulders above a Swift for this purpose.

    Ericx25: Any special tips on removing the hinge bolt (e.g. lubricant, grease)? And why do you need to move the cable routing to do this?
    A few Questions:

    Comfort

    I've not ridden a Bike Friday so I have no direct knowledge but my expectation is that to equal or surpass the comfort of a good full size bike on imperfect roads, a small wheeled bike needs to have suspension like a Birdy or perhaps a Moulton. Certainly my experience with a Birdy is that its the most comfortable bike for road use that I've ever ridden on. I guess this leads me to the following questions:
    Will a Bike Friday be as comfortable as a good touring bike with full sized wheels?
    Will it be significantly more comfortable than a Swift? (Assuming equal fit, tires etc.)
    Is there a suspended bike that would be a better option?

    Load

    How much load you wish to carry when touring and do you have any preferences on how its carried that are so strong that they might limit the choice of bike?

    Drop Bars

    I would not think that drop Bars are very compatible with a compact fold on any bike. Adjustable height stems are. Do you think that an adjustable height stem might work for you?

    Birdy

    I'm not sure why you don't have the Birdy on your short list? It offers comfort, light weight, good speed, a compact fold, durability and high resale value. The only downside I can think of is that figuring out how to set up the load carrying in a way that is ideal for you may require a bit more thought than with an unsuspended bike.

    David

  14. #14
    Señor Mambo
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    Quote Originally Posted by energyandair View Post

    Birdy

    I'm not sure why you don't have the Birdy on your short list? It offers comfort, light weight, good speed, a compact fold, durability and high resale value. The only downside I can think of is that figuring out how to set up the load carrying in a way that is ideal for you may require a bit more thought than with an unsuspended bike.

    David
    For one, you always have to carry your own tires and tubes because of the 355 rims.
    Second, Birdy does not offer good solutions for loading touring, and whatever they do offer, they're pretty proprietary to the Birdy and expensive.
    Lastly, some Bike Friday models are specifically geared towards touring, so the above issues are taken into consideration. Also, I did not think my Birdy was that much more superior a ride to my Bike Friday. However, I will admit that I spent a lot of time fine tuning the Friday to get it to that point. And believe it or not, a Bike Friday may be cheaper and also has good resale value.

    To a certain extent, I think Baccia has a good idea about what he's looking for; he already has folding bike touring experience.
    Last edited by spambait11; 09-20-07 at 10:20 AM.

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    I have a BF Pocket Pilot road bike. I have ridden century's and metric century's on it and it is very comparable to my full size road bike. I can pack it in the suitcase in 20 minutes and have it assembled in 15.
    I have only good things to say about BF. I throw it in my trunk and ride it without a hitch.
    Kenal0

  16. #16
    Senior Member Nachoman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kenal0 View Post
    I have a BF Pocket Pilot road bike. I have ridden century's and metric century's on it and it is very comparable to my full size road bike. I can pack it in the suitcase in 20 minutes and have it assembled in 15.
    I have only good things to say about BF. I throw it in my trunk and ride it without a hitch.
    Kenal0
    +1
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    Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by spambait11 View Post
    For one, you always have to carry your own tires and tubes because of the 355 rims.
    Wouldn't you often do this with a BF also?

    Quote Originally Posted by spambait11 View Post
    Second, Birdy does not offer good solutions for loading touring, and whatever they do offer, they're pretty proprietary to the Birdy and expensive.
    Lastly, some Bike Friday models are specifically geared towards touring, so the above issues are taken into consideration.
    I agree that this is an area where the BF is very well set up. I think that you could sort it out with a Birdy (not necessarily using their racks) but it would probably be more effort and it may (or may not) cost more.

    Quote Originally Posted by spambait11 View Post
    Also, I did not think my Birdy was that much more superior a ride to my Bike Friday. However, I will admit that I spent a lot of time fine tuning the Friday to get it to that point. .
    You have ridden both and I have not so I hope that you don't mind a few questions. Did you compare them on rough surfaces? Had the Birdy tires been changed for something better? Is comfort on rough surfaces something you are particularly sensitive to? (I am, and I got the impression that comfort was a major motivator for the OP)

    Quote Originally Posted by spambait11 View Post
    And believe it or not, a Bike Friday may be cheaper and also has good resale value.
    My impression is that price and resale value of both bikes would be of the same general order.

    Quote Originally Posted by spambait11 View Post
    To a certain extent, I think Baccia has a good idea about what he's looking for; he already has folding bike touring experience.
    I think that he mentioned the possibility of a Birdy for this role a while ago and I'm not sure why he does not seem to be considering it any longer. Perhaps it is the load carrying issue but depending on his needs and preferences that may not be as hard to solve as many people seem to think.

    David

  18. #18
    Señor Mambo
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    Quote Originally Posted by energyandair View Post
    Wouldn't you often do this with a BF also?
    Sorry for the confusion; I should have been more clear. I meant obtaining ETRTO 355 tires and tubes may not be easy depending on where you tour and the length of your tour, whereas 406s are somewhat easier to find in general.


    Quote Originally Posted by energyandair View Post
    I agree that this is an area where the BF is very well set up. I think that you could sort it out with a Birdy (not necessarily using their racks) but it would probably be more effort and it may (or may not) cost more.
    The old style frame is still not that well suited to attaching a rear rack, right? I know the monocoque frames are better in this regard, but if this is true, you're looking at spending over $1k just to obtain a monocoque frame. I suppose their front pannier attachment is the same for both bikes, but you still have to buy Birdy's attachment. I'm not sure an off-the-shelf solution would work.


    Quote Originally Posted by energyandair View Post
    You have ridden both and I have not so I hope that you don't mind a few questions. Did you compare them on rough surfaces? Had the Birdy tires been changed for something better? Is comfort on rough surfaces something you are particularly sensitive to? (I am, and I got the impression that comfort was a major motivator for the OP)
    I never rode the Birdy off road (I'd use another bike anyway), but I regularly commuted on the streets of San Francisco around the Ingleside area near the Sunset District. Much of the roads around that area were rough with occasional potholes and railway lines to deal with. I used Marathons about 3 months into ownership due to newsgroup suggestions, and because these were some of the best 18" tires around at the time (ca. 1999).

    In terms of comfort, here is where I differ from a lot of people: I actually like a somewhat harsher ride having gotten used to road buzz and vibration from my college days of riding my unsuspended cromo mountain bike everywhere. I like the "feel" of the road. The Birdy was my first full-suspension bike and strangely enough, I never got used to the ride. In addition to the squeaking and rattling (of my Birdy in particular it seems), I did not like the fact that it would dampen some of the road vibration on some parts of the road (I suppose the smoother parts), but would give (what I felt was jerky) feedback on rougher parts of the road. In other words, it took away the constant rhythmic road feel of my mountain bike. I remember on one particular down hill, I was riding smoothly along, very relaxed, when I must have hit a particularly big rough patch or something (though I don't remember seeing anything out of the ordinary) such that my front end all of a sudden dipped hard (due to the suspension) and I almost let go and fell - I guess you can say I was lulled to sleep by the smooth ride, kind of like the effect of using cruise control. This is not to say I like to ride my bike with my teeth rattling, but I like to have some regularity in road feedback. My Bike Friday gives me this feel. If this explanation seems pretty incomprehensible to you at this point, let me just say it's pretty hard to explain...


    Quote Originally Posted by energyandair View Post
    I think that he mentioned the possibility of a Birdy for this role a while ago and I'm not sure why he does not seem to be considering it any longer. Perhaps it is the load carrying issue but depending on his needs and preferences that may not be as hard to solve as many people seem to think.
    You may be right about the load carrying issue, but only the OP could say for sure. I know one thing though, it's not because the OP likes harsh rides.

  19. #19
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Regarding ERTO 406 tubes and such ...

    My experience is that most bike shops with recumbents of Dahon folding bikes will have the appropriate tube available. However, unless the shop is also a Birdy dealer, they have no reason to carry the ERTO 355 tube.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by spambait11 View Post
    The old style frame is still not that well suited to attaching a rear rack, right? I know the monocoque frames are better in this regard, but if this is true, you're looking at spending over $1k just to obtain a monocoque frame. I suppose their front pannier attachment is the same for both bikes, but you still have to buy Birdy's attachment. I'm not sure an off-the-shelf solution would work.)
    Apparently all Birdies since 2003 are configured to take the current Birdy racks so the tube style frame should be fine. Here is the manual for the rear rack. http://riese-und-mueller.de/uploads/...2006-01-20.pdf

    My NOS Birdy Red is older than 2003 so I didn't have the option of the current Birdy but I found it fairly easy to mount an old general purpose rack I had onto the trailing arm. The rack feels quite solid and so long as I avoid heavy unbalanced loads it doesn't seem to cause handing problems or place any undue stress on the bike. Admittedly I have not tried really heavy loads or gone long distances or at high speeds when heavily loaded. An example of an unbalanced load would be a 4L jug of milk (just over 1 US gall) with nothing on the other side. That is enough to affect handling but not as badly as it did on my Cannondale Super V

    If mounting a rack directly on the trailing arm suspension, I think that the following things are important:
    - The rack should be strong and rigid
    - Choose a rack that can be mounted low for stability and fold size
    - To avoid heel strike, choose a rack that can be mounted far back, panniers that can mount far back on the rack and use front panniers on the rear. I have Vaude panniers but Ortlieb should also be good and I believe that there are also less costly pannoers that will do the job.
    - Positioning the stay(s) at the front of the rack needs a bit of care if you want to be able to push the seatpost right down when folding the bike.

    Re comfort vrs road feel

    It's interesting how we have our individual preferences. I've found that as I've got older, my butt and hands have voted more strongly for comfort but I understand your preference. It's perhaps worth mentioning that it's inexpensive to change the Birdy to stiffer front and rear suspension options and its so easy that you could do it halfway through a ride if you wanted to.

    David

  21. #21
    Señor Mambo
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    Quote Originally Posted by energyandair View Post
    Apparently all Birdies since 2003 are configured to take the current Birdy racks so the tube style frame should be fine. Here is the manual for the rear rack. http://riese-und-mueller.de/uploads/...2006-01-20.pdf
    Smart. Good to know.


    Quote Originally Posted by energyandair View Post
    ... but I found it fairly easy to mount an old general purpose rack I had onto the trailing arm.
    How did you do this? Did you mount the adjusting rack arms through the seat quick-release?


    Quote Originally Posted by energyandair View Post
    It's perhaps worth mentioning that it's inexpensive to change the Birdy to stiffer front and rear suspension options and its so easy that you could do it halfway through a ride if you wanted to.
    At the time, I could find almost no one in the U.S. who stocked the rubber suspensions let alone basic Birdy parts/accessories. I was about to order the stiffest one from a shop in the UK, but balked at the shipping price. I had to special order the Marathons through an lbs in SF. Times have changed for sure.

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by spambait11 View Post
    How did you do this? Did you mount the adjusting rack arms through the seat quick-release?
    See the attached photos.
    The rack is supported on the holes for fender attachment and is stabilized with a piece of bent aluminum bar connected to the bolt that holds the suspension elastomer in place. I need to move this bar to allow the seatpost to be fully dropped when folding the bike but its not a priority for me given the way I use the bike at present. There are alternative attachment points for the aluminum bar both on the rack and the swing arm and I haven't yet decided which combination to use.

    I used this particular rack because I had it, its rigid and I could set it up to be lower and further back than most others.

    David
    Attached Files Attached Files

  23. #23
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Hrm, no follow-up to my follow-ups so far.

    Load can be anywhere from 25 to 50 lbs, depending on whether I'm camping and carrying food.

    I vastly prefer drop bars. I can put up with flat bars for a week, but if I'm going to get something new drops will be a plus. Folding compactness is irrelevant, all that matters is packing.

    The Birdy (or the Pacific Reach Racing) will only make it to The Short List if they can be packed easily and can go for 60+ miles, day after day, with the same efficiency and comfort as a 406-wheeled bike.

    How much do you have to disassemble a Birdy to fit it into a Samsonite 31" Flite, for example?

  24. #24
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    Bacciagalupe,

    - How comfortable is the NWT, compared to a 26" / 700c touring bike?
    I like the handling of a big wheel touring bike a bit more than the NWT with 20", but not by much. So on a short tour, I think the convenience of packing the folder outweighs the diff in ride, but on a long tour i'd rather have the big wheels.

    - How well does a NWT handle when loaded, compared to something like a Surly LHT, Trek 520 etc?
    The NWT handles great with a load. I actually prefer the ride once weight is put on the front rack. I had 30-50 lbs on my NWT this summer, no problem.
    In case you didn't see my thread, here's a link where i talk about my 3450 mile tour with a NWT.
    tour of the National Parks

    btw, even tho the NWT does not have suspension, the ride is still pretty comfortable on gravel with a Pantour front suspension hub and using wider tires and letting some air out when the road gets bad. I also had a suspension seatpost and a softride suspension stem which helped too.

  25. #25
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    Hrm, no follow-up to my follow-ups so far.

    Load can be anywhere from 25 to 50 lbs, depending on whether I'm camping and carrying food.

    I vastly prefer drop bars. I can put up with flat bars for a week, but if I'm going to get something new drops will be a plus. Folding compactness is irrelevant, all that matters is packing.

    The Birdy (or the Pacific Reach Racing) will only make it to The Short List if they can be packed easily and can go for 60+ miles, day after day, with the same efficiency and comfort as a 406-wheeled bike.

    How much do you have to disassemble a Birdy to fit it into a Samsonite 31" Flite, for example?
    You will find some answers re the birdy on the birdybike forum.

    I found this thread and some of the photos it referenced very interesting. http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group...e/message/6923 I recommend reading the whole thread. Here are some photos it references http://sports.ph.groups.yahoo.com/gr...os/browse/bf77 but there are also others that are worth looking at.

    Somewhere I saw a post showing both a Friday and a Birdy in 31" cases. The Birdy was the easier fit and I think it also required less disassembly but I'm less sure of that.

    I would expect the Birdy to be more comfortable than any non suspended bike regardless of the distance travelled but I've not ridden a Friday or done long distances on my Birdy so my expectation is based on extrapolation of how the Birdy has felt to me on shorter lightly loaded rides. I'm sure you should be able to find better qualified opinions. I would try searching on the birdybike forum among other places.

    David

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