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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 10-23-07, 10:43 PM   #1
makingmark
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Calling Dahon Curve & BF Tikit owners

So I have a Brompton M3L and like it a lot. Except for one thing. It's a pain to lug around folded. Too heavy.

To get to my desk, I have to walk a fairly long distance from the outside, and through security gates. (My office building is in something of a mall complex). Wheeling the bike unfolded is not an option - they don't allow non-folding bikes inside (and unfolded bikes count as that). I could wheel the bike by unfolding the handlebars, but it's not an attractive option to me. It makes me too "big". I take up too much space in the elevators. This is New York City, so there's a lot of people around. I'd like to be as unobtrusive as possible.

So I'm starting to wonder whether a Tikit or a Curve would be a better option. What I need to know is:

a) for Tikit owners, is it comfortable to wheel around folded? (I'm not even sure if it's possible, but possible isn't good enough. It has to be comfortable). I.e. you don't have to bend your body significantly, exert a lot of effort to keep the bike balanced. Relevant details - I'm 5'6". I'd say the distance I'd be wheeling the bike is about 100 yards.

b) for Curve owners, can the bike be wheeled comfortably when it is folded except for having the seat up?

Let me define "comfortable" a bit further - you can walk with a normal gait, not focusing much on the bike. In other words, like wheeling a carry-on suitcase. It's arguable, I know, but I don't feel the Brompton meets this criteria, because the handlebars, by not being straight up and down, and also by being wide, take up a lot of space. Using the seat as a handle doesn't work because then the package is not locked together.

Folder Fanatic had suggested putting the bike on a luggage cart - an inventive idea, but I tried it, it takes up too much width of space, along with the extra hassle of the cart.

I've also thought about a Titanium Brompton, but it's just not a significant weight savings @ 2 lbs. (The 3+ pounds that you appear to save on stock bikes is also because of different equipment, e.g. 2 speed deraileur instead of 3 speed hub, lighter tires that are more puncture prone).

And by the way, I've thought of the Strida or Mobiky. Not desirable because they're not, in my mind, close enought to be being real bikes.
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Old 10-23-07, 11:18 PM   #2
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I personally never had a Tikit, but I've seen one up close (including folding, unfolding and carrying it folded for a short time) during an airplane convention and I had a Curve before (just to make sure I qualify to give an educated opinion). If your brompton is too "big" with unfolded handlebars for you, you will not be satisfied with the folded sizes of either of the 2 options you offered. If riding quality is less important than comfort while wheeling the bike, the Strida would be a good option if you haven't excluded them on your last sentence.

I suggest unfolding the handlebar for toll'ing the bike, but leave it unlocked so you can fold it quickly in case you bump into a crowd.

Besides the strida, I can't see anything as efficient and as small as the Brompton. Others may not agree though.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUfSJ1sG--c
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Old 10-23-07, 11:35 PM   #3
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OK so maybe not size, exactly

It's size + the dimension of extension.

With the handlebars unfolded, the Brompton gets both wider and longer.

The seat extension would be ideal - because then it only gets longer. But again, that doesn't work well because the folded package is unlocked and can come apart.

I'm thinking that with the Tikit, it's definitely a larger package overall, but mostly vertical when you roll it.

Let me try to explain another way: my experience with New York pedestrians is that they're much like New York drivers (or any drivers). They're only looking out for what they're used to seeing. If you have stuff extending out from you, they're likely to walk into it / over it.

If the bulk of the bike is close to your body, it's like it makes you bigger, like a larger person. You get avoided. If the bike is hanging out behind you or has handlebars getting to the side - people don't see it and thus can get hung up on it.

As for the Curve - I'm know it's wider than a Brompton, but that width is down low. 14R - does the Curve roll folded, if the seat is up?

(I know next step is go check these out at a dealer, which I can do in NYC.)
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Old 10-23-07, 11:43 PM   #4
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Oh and thanks for the video. I'd seen that, and tried it. But my experience is that the Brompton doesn't roll that well, even with EZ wheels (but no, I haven't tried the rack) and it's largely behind you. I want it to "heel" more.

I'm inspired by this video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4Z2wDEPJQA

I know the tikit is bigger, but I'm thinking if it "heels" better, that offsets the size difference.
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Old 10-23-07, 11:56 PM   #5
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My Brompton has a rack. It trolleys quite close to me when I tow it by the seat and rolls better with larger rack wheels. You can't do that on the mudguard wheel.
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Old 10-24-07, 12:11 AM   #6
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Thanks LWaB. I've thought of the rack too (separate thread on that). That's my other possibility. Yes, the mudguard wheel is poop.

I do like the luggage options of the Brompton and would hate to give those up for the Tikit.
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Old 10-24-07, 03:06 AM   #7
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I was in exactly the same situation as you, makingmark, I still have my brompton which i use where ultimate smallest cubic folded is needed. I find the 'drag with bars out' option pretty much useless as the bike sort of sticks out too much.

I got a Strida3 which has to be THE best bike to handle when folded - ie corridors, shops, station platforms, office etc. So tends to be my no.1 folder for commuting via trains. I am lucky - i have plenty of storage space so for long rides where dont need a folding bike I take a 700c [ its probably sacrilige to say on this forum - but you just cant beat the feeling of 700c's pumped up to 120psi ].
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Old 10-24-07, 07:25 AM   #8
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Both the Tikit and the Curve can be rolled once folded like you see on the Tikit video you posted. The only problem is that they both require you to keep the weight of the bike on one wheel, and your forearms will complain about that in 30 seconds or less (and I consider myself someone fit aboev average). Keeping the Curve together even with the Dahon magnet can be hard from time to time.

I still believe that a Brompton with rear rack and Roller Blade wheels (not the skinny easy wheels) might be the best for your needs. Anything that rolls better will not be a better bike once unfolded (A-Bike or Strida). Tikit or Dahon will be part of the problem, not a solution.
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Old 10-24-07, 08:06 AM   #9
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although I find that the curve rolls easier than most Dahons on one wheel.
It is a balancing act you are not going to like ....

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Old 10-24-07, 08:36 AM   #10
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If you haven't ridden a Strida, you probably shouldn't dismiss it so easily. Your requirements for ease of rolling and walking through NYC makes Strida a good solution - provided you are only riding the flat streets of NYC.

The riding position of the Strida is just fine for this 6 footer. Sure, it's not the same as my road bikes, and I'm not going to be doing a century on it, but for a short commute - it's great. The folded, walking position is unbeatable. I have a Strida3 and am going to order the Strida5, which has stronger wheels and bottom bracket. I think the Strida5 will stand up to a daily commute better.
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Old 10-24-07, 09:15 AM   #11
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i own a Curve and it isn't that wheelable. I got a Dahon El Boso bag to carry it though, and it does the trick. The Curve fits in it with lots of room to spare. You can carry by the handle or sling it. Quite comfortable.
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Old 10-24-07, 11:06 AM   #12
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Good stuff

More ideas - thanks all.

Strida - well, my commute is 6.5 miles along the Hudson River Greenbelt. Mostly flat, and I'm not trying to win any races (my average speed on my Brompton is 13 mph). Though I was hoping for a bike that would be a good commuter and also fun to ride in Central Park (which is hilly). Maybe it would be good to check out. I'm short (5'6" so perhaps it would work well for me).

I'd also thought of the bag carrying option. Radical Design makes a transport bag that has shoulder straps.
http://www.radicaldesign.nl/en/produ...n/brompton.php
They don't sell it in US or UK though, and I once before tried to contact them about a different bag & got no response. But it's likely a lot cheaper than a new bike, so worth more effort.

Two things I'm thinking now

1. As has been pointed out in other forum discussions, every option is a compromise...and we all have different situations for evaluating those compromises. Which brings me to 2:

2. This forum's useful, but it's hard to figure out what will work without actual in-use testing. (For example, I thought the Brompton was heavy from the start, but that I might get used to it. And it got better, for sure, but it's still annoying.) So I may have to just try buying a second bike and seeing how that works vs my Brompton. Luckily it seems like folders have decent resale value.
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Old 10-24-07, 11:13 AM   #13
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a) for Tikit owners, is it comfortable to wheel around folded? (I'm not even sure if it's possible, but possible isn't good enough. It has to be comfortable). I.e. you don't have to bend your body significantly, exert a lot of effort to keep the bike balanced. Relevant details - I'm 5'6". I'd say the distance I'd be wheeling the bike is about 100 yards.
Yes. With the stock bars it is well balanced around the front wheel. There is a little handle for rolling it on the front wheel. It goes over bumps and uneven surfaces easily because it rolls on the 16" wheel instead of a skateboard wheel or the like. You can see the handle in this photo (it is in the upper left corner of the bike):


The bike stays locked together when folded, and the rear wheel is about an inch off of the ground. The handle and front wheel also stay exposed if you use the "shower cap" bag to hide that it is a bike.

My Tikit has drop bars and that makes it a little less balanced when folded, so it likes to steer to one corner.

There are Tikit dealers in many cities now, I'd suggest playing with one in person to see if you like how it rolls when folded.

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Old 10-24-07, 11:16 AM   #14
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Quote:
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..... 1. As has been pointed out in other forum discussions, every option is a compromise...and we all have different situations for evaluating those compromises. Which brings me to 2:

2. This forum's useful, but it's hard to figure out what will work without actual in-use testing. (For example, I thought the Brompton was heavy from the start, but that I might get used to it. And it got better, for sure, but it's still annoying.) So I may have to just try buying a second bike and seeing how that works vs my Brompton. Luckily it seems like folders have decent resale value.
Actually I find that using bikes in an rather hostile-to-bikes enviroment like an office one involves a bit of an experiment(s) on your part. In addition to luggage carts and shopping carts/trolleys, I use a skateboard with my Brompton. I tie it to the underside of the wheels, and tow it along. It is not as nice as the carts, but it does work in a rather interesting way. Give it a try before you give up on your own Brompton. I went to Target's toy section a bought a skateboard for under $10.00.

By the way, I also own a 2006 Dahon Piccolo (the predessesor to this year's Curve). It can be wheeled about like a baby carriage. But the space is taken up in the front, rather than in the back like the luggage cart does. So the compromises continues.......

Last edited by folder fanatic; 10-24-07 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 10-24-07, 11:27 AM   #15
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The Strida can actually carry a remarkable amount on its tiny rear rack. You can also hang a bag, like a plastic grocery bag, off the top of the seat -- though this is probably an option with the others 16" wheel bikes as well.

Strida is easy to ride at 13 - 14 mph, above that is a bit tiring. I used to ride mine 5.5 miles to the station pretty frequently.

Is there a reason you're not looking at the Downtube Mini? It's in the same class as the Tikit and Curve (and it rolls pretty well when folded; you keep the seat extended, tilt a little to one side so the weight is on the front wheel).
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Old 10-24-07, 11:58 AM   #16
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Downtube mini; Tikit

Re the mini: yes there is. I think they're ugly, both the frame and the color. A silly reason, perhaps, but that's it.

Separately but related (to the thread as a whole) - I'm surprised I haven't seen a Bike Forums review from a Tikit owner. I know there's not that many out there relative to other options, but still. And I've read the other reviews on the web, but they seem a bit first-impressionish. I want to hear from someone who's used the thing for commuting on a regular basis.
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Old 10-24-07, 12:04 PM   #17
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Alex - just missed your post. Thanks for addressing that very specific question. Particularly adding that you can still roll the bike while "showercapped" - that's cool.

I don't suppose you commute with the bike and roll it folded regularly?
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Old 10-24-07, 04:22 PM   #18
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I've posted a few reviews of my Tikit on my blog. They are first impressionist, but I also haven't changed my opinion after owning the bike for 3 months, so I haven't had to post a second impression.

It folds fast, it packs into a suitcase easily, it is easy to modify for drop handlebars, it rides pretty nicely. My #1 complaint is the flex is the stem riser. My #2 complaint is that their front rack design isn't ideal, but I built a couple of custom ones that work much better for me.

I have two Tikits (one for experimenting with) and will be converting the experimenter over to an internal gear hub (SRAM S7) in a couple of weeks. The parts are on order at my LBS.

You can see all of my Tikit stuff on my blog here:
http://blogs.phred.org/blogs/alex_we...t/default.aspx

A friend borrowed the Tikit for a trip last weekend and enjoyed it. He had the same comment about the flex in the steering, but otherwise he said "it was the perfect tikit for this trip" (pun intended).

I'm not going to post reviews just on bikeforums because there blog is easier to find and reader by a wider audience. I haven't heard from many other members on here who have the Tikit and there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of interest in it.

I've also owned a Tandem Two'sday, Swift Folder and New World Tourist, so I consider myself fairly well educated about folders. I think I built one of the first fixed gear Swift Folders back in 2000, now that is a fairly common setup.
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Old 10-24-07, 04:26 PM   #19
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Alex - just missed your post. Thanks for addressing that very specific question. Particularly adding that you can still roll the bike while "showercapped" - that's cool.

I don't suppose you commute with the bike and roll it folded regularly?
I don't. I take a bus as part of my commute. There are two route options that I use, one of which is very busy (Sound Transit 545) and taking a folded bike onto the bus sometimes means that a walk on passenger won't fit. It is almost always standing room only by the time I get on. So I tend to use full size bikes for my commute. I also have good bike parking at work.

The Tikit gets used when I'm travelling or when I'm riding to meet my wife somewhere. The fast folding makes it easy to put it into the car. As an example my last Tikit ride was on Saturday where I rode to a friends house in Greenwood. My wife met me there a couple of hours later and we went to a different friends house in Queen Anne, then went home. With the Tikit I don't need to put the roof rack on the car and bother taking the bike on and off of the car.

I've only commuted on it a couple of times.

alex
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Old 10-24-07, 04:33 PM   #20
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Re the mini: yes there is. I think they're ugly, both the frame and the color.
Harrumph! That's my favorite folder you're talking about there! I'm sorry, we can't be friends after this .


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Old 10-24-07, 05:24 PM   #21
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I have to admit it looks pretty nice in the picture! but I think the backdrop helps a lot.
On the website, on my monitor, the bike looks more limey; here it looks more like mint.

Still not a big fan of the frame though, it just looks purely functional. Not that I think the tikit is great - someone described it as looking like Frankenstein, which I think is funny and appropriate. But it is at least interesting.
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Old 10-24-07, 06:05 PM   #22
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I agree that the Curve's curvy frame looks much more stylish. However, the Mini is very cute in real life. Also, it's a sturdy little beast, and rides really well. As I said, of my five current folders, it's my favorite, from a practical perspective. (The Strida is my favorite stylistically. My Brompton clone (Merc) is my favorite from an engineering standpoint. When it comes to folders, I'm just easy...)

Good luck in your selection process.
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Old 10-24-07, 06:09 PM   #23
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In comparing the Tikit and the Curve it is very obvious that the Tikit took a complex no holds barred approach to solving the problem while the Curve took the simplest possible approach to solving the problem. Both are good options depending on budget and goals in riding performance.

The mini and Curve are too short in top tube for me to ride comfortably. The Tikit fits just like a full sized road bike or hybrid, it just happens to have small wheels and fold. With three top tube lengths (in 3cm increments) they can fit almost everyone without the compromises of a "one size fits all" bike.

It's too bad that many of these bikes are hard to find in a retail environment. You really need to ride and fold the bikes in a store to appreciate the subtle differences. Seattle is lucky to have Folding Bikes Northwest (which stocks the Brompton, Dahon line, Tikit, Giant Halfway, and some other folders).
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Old 10-24-07, 07:25 PM   #24
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The mini and Curve are too short in top tube for me to ride comfortably. The Tikit fits just like a full sized road bike or hybrid, it just happens to have small wheels and fold. With three top tube lengths (in 3cm increments) they can fit almost everyone without the compromises of a "one size fits all" bike.
Just curious about top tube length - couldn't you solve that at least partially with a longer stem? Reason I ask is, last night I measured all my folders' eq. top tube length horizontally, and they all come to about 55cm. This holds for the Raleigh 20, the Swift and the DT Mini. I thought that was remarkable somehow.

Too long a stem might handle weird but I wouldn't know since I am now so thoroughly used to 55cm top tubes.
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Old 10-24-07, 08:54 PM   #25
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The Dahon Curve doesn't use different lengths of stems. The stem angles forwards and the saddle angles backwards, so as you raise each the reach between them increases.

55cm is too short for me if I'm running flat bars, but okay with drop bars (although 57-58cm is better). It would be way too long for my wife with drop bars and borderline with flat bars. It's good to have sizing options.
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