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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 09-29-07, 04:12 AM   #1
mibmab
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folding bike for big and tall rider

Hi,

*warning* longer post...

I'm planning to buy a folding bike. I've looked around quite a bit for reviews and posts from other users. In terms of value for money, I'm quite tempted by some of the Dahon models. Yet there are some remaining questions. The main use of the folder will be commuting via train - and potentially also serving as a general purpose bike for town and country. My budget is somewhere up to 500 pounds, potentially a bit more. Yet there are some constraints to the choice available. As the subject line indicates, I am a bit taller than the average rider with 1.92m (just under 6'4") and currently a bit on the heavy side with a weight of about 100kg (15.7 stone, ), yet I plan to go down to 90kg (14.2 stone). With all winter clothes and the rucksack with laptop, it could currently be up to 110 kg that the bike needs to carry. According to what I have found so far, the only folder brand that gives an indication of weight limits is Dahon. For their 20" models they indicate a maximum rider weight of 105kg. I guess the other issue is the size of the frame. On my current bike the length from the lowest point of the pedal to the saddle surface is 98 cm. I guess I could cope with a bit less as well. For the Dahon models the maximum distance is 96cm or 98cm with suspension seat post. I have not found any similar specs for other folders.

My current favourites from the Dahon range are all equipped with hub dynamo light system, mudguards and a rack - all essential for any utility bike that I would consider (IMHO).

- Dahon Speed D7, very cheap around £300, yet fairly simple low quality gears,
- Dahon MU XL, more pricy around £530, low maintenance Nexus 8 Premium hub gears, slightly higher seat post,
- Dahon Impulse TR, around £500, very wide range Dual Drive gears plus front/back rack, Big Apple tires for suspension.

At the moment my favourite would be the MU XL. My only concern would be the Aluminium as a frame material. I've always had steel frames on my previous bikes, which might be less likely to get a sudden crack. The Speed D7 would be an option just for the commuting. I would then get an extra bike for longer rides.

Has anyone got experience with the models above, especially for heavy tall riders?

How easy do they fit into trains? I would also consider other folder brands such as Brompton/ Riese & Müller Birdy, yet I’m not sure if these smaller wheeled bikes are suitable for my size and weight.

Does anyone know a good shop for folding bikes around Liverpool that allows test rides?

Thanks,
Andreas
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Old 09-29-07, 04:19 AM   #2
jur
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I want to answer just one concern, that of smaller wheels. Smaller wheels are actually stronger than big ones, so +1 on that score for your application. So you don't need to hesitate at a Birdy or Brompton.
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Old 09-29-07, 04:31 AM   #3
mibmab
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I want to answer just one concern, that of smaller wheels. Smaller wheels are actually stronger than big ones, so +1 on that score for your application. So you don't need to hesitate at a Birdy or Brompton.
Yes, I know that smaller wheels are in average stronger. My concern was more the overall dimension of the frame and how well they cope with heavy riders. On a normal bike I would consider a frame size of around 60 cm, which I guess is around 23"/24".
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Old 09-29-07, 07:29 PM   #4
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I met a person in Bethesda who is a few inches taller than me ... at least 6'2" ... that rides a Birdy Red to and from work. I think that they advertise as being compatible with 6'4" riders. You might as well try a test ride.

A Brompton has a telescoping seatpost option that will take care of the leg extension. However, the handlebars are not height adjustable. I recall that the P-type has the tallest handlebar. If that isn't tall enough for you, then there are no stock bikes that will be acceptable.

However, I would go to Brompton Talk if you want a more informed answer regarding the Brompton.

While I have no desire to get into a frame material debate, if the aluminum frame is engineered to support a fellow like you, then in all likelihood you will be fine.

Can't help you with the Dahons. Send an e-mail to Thor (Brakemeister). He will give you straightforward answers on the Dahons and their capabilities.
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Old 09-29-07, 08:38 PM   #5
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I have owned a Dahon & Brompton. Personally , I wld check out the Brompton with extended seat post. Actually ride the bike to see if it works for you. I believe they are more durable than Dahons.
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Old 09-29-07, 10:43 PM   #6
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I too, have some reservations about Dahons for longterm reliability. I think they are very good bikes for the purpose for which they were designed, that is foldable and ridden in an average way, but I wonder about heavy-duty use. But there are users who use them like that also. Steveroot over in the Dahon forums, for example, has commuted daily for years on his 2 Dahons. But he does check them very regularly for wear and adjustment, and he has had major failures like once his frame cracked up at the seat tube.
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Old 09-29-07, 11:49 PM   #7
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I too, have some reservations about Dahons for longterm reliability.
Understatement of the year.
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Old 09-30-07, 05:36 AM   #8
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I ride a Dahon D7 quite frequently. I'm very long-legged, and should ride about a 64cm conventional road frame. To get the proper leg extension I had to special order an extra-long telescoping seatpost from Dahon.

It was quite a relief to finally get to a proper setup.

As for the long-term reliability of the Dahon, time will tell, but I will say that in a year's time the stock bottom bracket self-destructed (replaced that el-cheapo with a Shimano for $17, no problem).

I paid about $300 delivered to my door for the bike, and it has already paid for itself in my ability to board the DC Metro subway with it any time I want.

See ya,
Bob

Last edited by thereverendbob; 09-30-07 at 05:44 AM.
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Old 09-30-07, 08:05 PM   #9
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Hi,

I'm 6' 2" tall and ~$260 pounds!

So far, I havent had any troubles with my Xootr Swift.

FYI: I did switch the stock stem with a longer one and I did change stock tires with...
Schwable Marathon's (1.75 KevlarGuard Reflex Allround 45-70 PSI)

http://www.xootr.com/xootr/swift/bikes.shtml

Hope this helps.
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Old 10-01-07, 04:01 AM   #10
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I test-rode many folders recently, and at 6'1" (with longish legs), wanting an upright commuting posture, I found that:

- the Brompton was nice but too small
- the Dahon 16" Curve was too small
- the Birdy fit well
- the Dahon 20" models fit well

The Birdy was more bike than I needed, so I bought a Dahon Mu P8 - good price, and good bike so far.

Hope this helps.
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Old 10-01-07, 07:32 AM   #11
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I would second the above opinions that hinge-less frames will be best for you, particularly Birdy/Bike Friday. Bike Friday is custom made, so you can go for a stronger frame.

The Birdy can, without question, handle 110Kg off road/curb jumping. In my opinion, it is a bit over engineered for the average rider, with a 36 spoke 355 rear wheel. (You definitely don't have to worry about the wheel going out of true!) When they added full luggage capacity to the bike in 2002, they reinforced the frame to the tune of 1.5Kg of aluminum. I would like to see a model for petit folks (besides the Frog). Otherwise, little people are asked to lug around more bike than they need.

I think newer Swift models have been greatly reinforced, but there have been scattered reports of frame breakage on the older models. Never heard of problems with Downtubes, though the weld quality looks good but not outstanding.
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Old 10-02-07, 08:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
I met a person in Bethesda who is a few inches taller than me ... at least 6'2" ... that rides a Birdy Red to and from work. I think that they advertise as being compatible with 6'4" riders. You might as well try a test ride.
As much as I would like to support a bicycle brand from my old home country, the Birdy - as many other Riese&Müller bikes - is a bit too expensive for my taste.
Quote:
A Brompton has a telescoping seatpost option that will take care of the leg extension. However, the handlebars are not height adjustable. I recall that the P-type has the tallest handlebar. If that isn't tall enough for you, then there are no stock bikes that will be acceptable.
I'm fine with low handlebars, if I want to sit upright, I would use a Dutch bike. My only concern would be if the distance between saddle and handlebar is big enough.
Quote:
While I have no desire to get into a frame material debate, if the aluminum frame is engineered to support a fellow like you, then in all likelihood you will be fine.
Oh, I thought the Bromptons had a steel frame.
Quote:
Can't help you with the Dahons. Send an e-mail to Thor (Brakemeister). He will give you straightforward answers on the Dahons and their capabilities.
OK, but I think I'm more tempted now by the Brompton.
Thanks
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