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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 12-04-07, 06:47 PM   #1
destro713
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220-pounder on a folding bike?

I've been imagining how awesome it would be to check a bike inside a suitcase and use it to cruise around the streets of Stockholm or Oslo or Rotterdam or any of the other cities I'd like to travel to in the near future. So, I'm kinda-sorta in the market for a folding bike... except I currently weigh 220 pounds, and most folding bike manufacturers seem to say the weight limit for a folding bike is 230. I guess this is no problem if I'm riding with some summer clothes on and nothing else, but if I'm traveling I very well might have to bring boots, a coat, or a small backpack along with me. The likelihood that the total weight of me + everything attached to my person would exceed 230 is pretty high, I think.

How accurate is that 230-pound limit? Has anybody ever heard of a folding bike seatpost buckling under someone's weight? (I'm talking about metal posts here, not carbon.) Or, are there other key places on the bike, besides the seatpost, that would be in danger of giving out?

Any other "fat" and/or "big" guys here ride a foldie?
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Old 12-04-07, 06:58 PM   #2
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Safest bet is a Bike Friday custom made for you. Now is a good time to order too! (No, I don't work for them...)

The mass-produced ones (Dahon, etc) claim the 230 lb limit, but there should be a decent safety factor in there. However, these are typically made in China with less than 100% quality. If you get a frame with a defect, you'll find it far sooner than a featherweight. If you go this route, the first thing to do will be to ensure that your wheels are good. Otherwise, you'll start popping spokes left and right. (Been there, done that... ) Then, keep a close eye on the frame for cracks starting to appear.

I was 210+ and had a Dahon, which I broke (it had a bad weld). Been on a Bike Friday for 1800 miles now.
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Old 12-04-07, 08:13 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by destro713 View Post

Any other "fat" and/or "big" guys here ride a foldie?
I'm not that big (6'3"/205 lbs riding weight) more slim and athletic, I guess. (Age 65)

I rode a 2005 Boardwalk D7 for 2 1/2 yrs, and still own a 2005 Boardwalk single-speed I use as my going to the store bike. The 1st week of Oct I took delivery of a Bike Friday New World Tourist. Tremendous difference in my opinion. Fits great and is almost effortless to ride. (I have 27-speed Dual Drive set-up.)

Hope to pass it down to my grandson some day (like in 20-30 yrs). He's 10, growing fast and a bike fanatic, too, so by then he should really appreciate it........lol.

Downside: It doesn't fold as slick as a Dahon, but will pack into a suitcase very easily.

Definitely suggest you check out BF, I've seen used ones rated as high as 275 lbs. Your weight, height, inseam and any personal preferences will be cranked into your custom design.
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Old 12-04-07, 08:30 PM   #4
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I'm 235 over the Dahon limit. My weight hasn't been a problem for my Raleigh Twenty (? mileage over the the five years Ive had it) or for my 2007 Dahon MUP8 (550 miles over the past year). The Dahon is as still rock solid as the day I got it; no creaks and very little flexing. I average 5,000 miles a year total on a number of bikes, mostly recumbents, and never have had a problem due to weight. However, all my riding is on paved roads.
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Old 12-04-07, 08:34 PM   #5
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Read "I'm 235, over the Dahon 230 weight limit." After grading a million term papers this week, you't think I'd catch my own writing erorrs.
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Old 12-04-07, 09:21 PM   #6
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I'm in about the same boat as the original poster. I'm 220 pounds, and I'm lookiong for a folder that I can load up with batteries and put an electric motor on it. I'll keep an eye on this thread...
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Old 12-04-07, 09:39 PM   #7
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A Bike Friday might be nice, but I forgot to mention that cost is one of the most important variables for me. Perhaps when I mentioned traveling to Stockholm and Oslo and Rotterdam you probably assumed, quite rationally, that I could actually afford do go on those travels. Ha! I'll be going into debt for it, so every penny I can save helps. In fact, I won't even be paying for lodging.

For the record, I went into this thread thinking that a Dahon Speed P7 or P8 would be the best choice. The P8 price point is pushing it for me.
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Old 12-04-07, 10:00 PM   #8
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Swift is supposed to be good over 250 lbs.
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Old 12-04-07, 11:12 PM   #9
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Whatever bike you end up getting, especially if it is a Dahon, get the spokes tensioned properly. Ping them individually by hand to make sure the LBS didn't skip any. Low tension spokes will break quickly for a heavy load. I mention Dahon specifically since they are supposed to be tensioned up by LBS before delivery, but some LBS may gloss over this essential service. Also don't go for a bike with low spoke count wheelset. 28 per wheel is minimum. More is better.
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Old 12-04-07, 11:30 PM   #10
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Near future? There will be snow here for several months. I don't remember when it end. Mars or April?

I weight around 95Kg which maybe is 210Lb. I use an old Swedish folder Microbike and that one seems to not bet overloaded with my weight, but I ride it very light.

That one are not sold anymore but the second hand market sell them rather affordable. There are bike for rent all over Stockholm now. Maybe that would work for you. Most likely such exists both in Copenhagen and Oslo?
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Old 12-04-07, 11:54 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by vekling View Post
Near future? There will be snow here for several months.
This reminds me of a quote.

Quote:
Rebel trooper: "Your tauntaun will freeze before you reach the first marker."

Han Solo: "Then I'll see you in hell!"
Schwalbe Marathon Winter tires are sold in the 20-inch size.

Good to know that I can always rent a bike if I don't get a foldie by the time I get to Scandinavia. I would feel sort of bad, though, knowing that I'm paying a daily fee that could have gone towards a bike that I would own and be able to use on as many backpacking trips as I please, and in my own city as well. Those fees can add up, especially when you factor in the weakness of the US dollar.

Last edited by destro713; 12-05-07 at 12:00 AM.
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Old 12-05-07, 02:28 AM   #12
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Yes, sorry. I should not discourage you. You could ride in winter too. I do but it could be slippery in early mornings in February. So when do you arrive to Scandinavia then?

I could tell about your trip to the local Human Power Vehicle association and they could maybe help you out with tip on how Commuter train works and such. And give tip on which bike would work here.

So you buy it and put it in a bag that airplane accept. Are there such big bags that protect the bike?

Would a Downtube Mini be small enough. A-bike would be too small? Not pleasant to ride on?

Strida and Carryme are maybe too tall or long when folded. A Brompton would maybe be ok if it had a bag that protected it during flight? Doesn't the air traffic handling get very rough?

Maybe me not right person to give advice. I tell the others that I make a fool of myself here so maybe they join the thread. They will remember about weather also them using bike the year around.
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I try to link to this thread in their forum.
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Old 12-05-07, 02:39 AM   #13
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I told a bit about this thread here:
http://rosnix.net/hpvs-forum/index.p...=4566&start=0&

Hopefully they get interested in telling about local rules here on Bus, Train, subway, transportation and such.
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Old 12-05-07, 02:40 AM   #14
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I'm 220 & have both a Swift and a Dahon. The Swift is solid. The Dahon has a noodle-like front end and the wheels are crap.
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Old 12-05-07, 02:45 AM   #15
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I vary between 210-220 and have successfully owned 3 Bromptons and a Dahon Speed Pro. I carry a lot of luggage and even ride off road and have never had any problems.
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Old 12-05-07, 07:28 AM   #16
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Thanks for all the help.

My tentative plan is to fly to Oslo in mid/late February and ride the train from there, but nothing is definite.

The Swift definitely seems like a really nice machine, and I also like the fact that it's aluminum so I don't have to stress out about rust. But the price is steep for me. Decisions, decisions.
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Old 12-05-07, 07:45 AM   #17
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For a lower cost machine that will handle your weight, maybe a Downtube Full Suspension? The carrying limit is 245lbs. It's a very sturdy bike and at $359 is definitely in your price range.

http://www.downtube.com/product531.html

Here's a picture of my 2006 model:
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Old 12-05-07, 08:29 AM   #18
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I'm a bigger guy (6'3" and 210 lbs) and decided to get the Bike Friday Pocket Llama (the mountain bike version). The frame strengeth was my major concern, that and I've read about some quality issues with the Dahons. After reading the Bike Friday's web site I decided to go with them. I like their environmental policy, I also like that the bike is custom made for me. I've always loved bicycling and know that I always will so I decided to do it once and do it right. It'll be delivered on the 18th or 19th of December...I can't wait!

I also rode 10 km home from my girlfriend's place at 4:00 this morning...-10 C and icy. I'm going to have to check out those Schwalbe winter tires for sure! Maybe I should get my head checked at the same time.
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Old 12-05-07, 10:54 AM   #19
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Hi,

A Xootr Swift isn't a good traveling/carrying folder...but I'm a 6'1" 260+- pound load and my Xootr Swift with Schwable Marathon Size: 20" 1.75 KevlarGuard Reflex Allrounds (45-70 PSI) has been serving me well without any problems so far. (I had trouble findng a folder for someone my weight)
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Old 12-05-07, 12:05 PM   #20
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The steep price plus the fact that it really doesn't get that compact mean the Swift is probably not the bike for me.

So far the bike I'm most attracted to is the Downtube 9, with silver body, cassette gearing, and front suspension. I must admit, though, that the thread about a Downtube frame splitting mid-ride has me very spooked, even though I know logically that a defect like that is probably very rare.
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Old 12-05-07, 12:08 PM   #21
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I belong to the Clydes/Athena group, and I have put about 2500 miles on my Dahon Boardwalk. I had to swap out the rear wheel, more spokes, in order to be able to ride it at all. (out of the box, broke within a week). I love it, and although I am tempted by others, I probably will replace it with another Dahon when the time comes (plus a rear wheel upgrade). the quick folding is cool for me... i use bus and lite rail often. I purchased an A-bike, on Ebay, and broke the rear stroke of the 'A' within a week: Metal failure. i hope to upgrade it, but as is, it is worthless.

I have lost some weight since starting to commute, but my weight seems to be more dependent on my medical history than my exercise. On the other hand, I am still much stronger and healthier than I was pre-bike-commute. So I will settle for upgrading my bikes so I can enjoy what I want to.
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Old 12-05-07, 12:35 PM   #22
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I must admit, though, that the thread about a Downtube frame splitting mid-ride has me very spooked, even though I know logically that a defect like that is probably very rare.
Don't be too spooked. Downtube has a good reputation, and from what I gather through these forums is pretty decent with their customer service.

I don't know about buying Downtubes, but if I were to buy another Dahon (and yes, it's on my mind...), I'd either go with a local shop or someone like ThorUSA - people who know what needs to be carefully checked on the new bikes (like the wheels), and to whom I could return if any issues pop up.
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Old 12-05-07, 03:12 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by destro713 View Post
So far the bike I'm most attracted to is the Downtube 9, with silver body, cassette gearing, and front suspension. I must admit, though, that the thread about a Downtube frame splitting mid-ride has me very spooked, even though I know logically that a defect like that is probably very rare.
Destro:

Please don't be put off by that thread. DTs are very reliable and are actually quite solidly built. There's a lot of funny business about that thread. I suspect there's a lot he hasn't told us about how the frame broke. The fact he hasn't bothered to ask the manufacturer for any resolution says a lot.
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Old 12-05-07, 05:55 PM   #24
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Another 220# rider chiming in.

I have a Dahon Jetstream XP, a Dahon Helios, and a Mobiky Genius. They all hold up just fine under my girth, with no complaint whatsoever.

One suggestion I might make is that if you do carry a load, put it on a rack rather than in a backpack. Keeping the weight over the wheels lets the wheels carry the load instead of the frame.
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Old 12-05-07, 08:34 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by destro713 View Post
So far the bike I'm most attracted to is the Downtube 9, with silver body, cassette gearing, and front suspension. I must admit, though, that the thread about a Downtube frame splitting mid-ride has me very spooked, even though I know logically that a defect like that is probably very rare.
If you keep checking more threads, you will get spooked by a lot of threads. At one point or another, a lot of frames/bikes break.
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