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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 12-20-07, 02:19 AM   #1
jss273nyc
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Swift Folder or Bike Friday NWT

Just got my insurance money from my stolen Dahon Helios P8, wanted to try something new. Have riden and loved the Swift, but am also drawn to the Bike Friday NWT, although have never ridden it. The Swift was such a joy to ride, but the fold isn't so great. The NWT folds a bit better. Is the ride on the NWT just as good as the Swift? Any thoughts?
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Old 12-20-07, 09:06 AM   #2
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Just got my insurance money from my stolen Dahon Helios P8, wanted to try something new. Have riden and loved the Swift, but am also drawn to the Bike Friday NWT, although have never ridden it. The Swift was such a joy to ride, but the fold isn't so great. The NWT folds a bit better. Is the ride on the NWT just as good as the Swift? Any thoughts?
What type of drivetrain do you want?

What do you want to do with the bike?
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Old 12-20-07, 10:48 AM   #3
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I own a BF Metro (it's actually my wife's, but I ride it more than she), which is comparable to the NWT. I also own a BF Crusoe. I have ridden a Swift folder for about 20 miles and have seen the way it folds. I believe that the NWT will give you about the same ride as the Swift, and that actually, the fold of the Swift is better than the NWT. My Crusoe is a better ride than both, but folds the same way that the NWT does, so it's a GREAT riding, not so great folding bike.
2 suggestions if you decide to go Bike Friday:
1) look at the BF pre-owned and stock section on their web site.
2) think about a Tikit, which rides like a BF, but folds more like a Dahon.

Good luck;
Jamie.
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Old 12-20-07, 11:44 AM   #4
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Invisible Hand:
Drivetrain: Having derailleurs is ok. It doesn't bother me if I don't have a hub gear. (8spds fine, 16 would be ok too, 24 or 27 might be overkill) I used my Helios mostly for commuting and will use the new bike for the same, but like to go fast on occasion. Swift seemed so much faster, but really the fold is always the concern. My apartment is small, so folding really counts.

I'm interested in the BF cause I've heard so many good things. Afraid of the Tikit,(but love the design!) seeing as I was never fond of the Brompton, and although I liked the Curve SL the wheels are even smaller, and not sure I would be able to go as fast as I would like without pedaling like crazy.

Thanks Jamie.
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Old 12-20-07, 02:02 PM   #5
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Invisible Hand:
Drivetrain: Having derailleurs is ok. It doesn't bother me if I don't have a hub gear. (8spds fine, 16 would be ok too, 24 or 27 might be overkill) I used my Helios mostly for commuting and will use the new bike for the same, but like to go fast on occasion. Swift seemed so much faster, but really the fold is always the concern. My apartment is small, so folding really counts.
If you are looking for a fold small enough for an apartment, in my opinion, almost any folder will do. 16" wheel folding bikes definitely have a smaller package than 20" folding bikes. But if you are not ...
  1. taking the bike onto public transportation during a multi-mode commute
  2. sneaking a bike into a non-bike building
  3. carrying the bike into restaurants/shopping

... then I think that the extra compactness comes at a high price with respect to ride quality. From what you have written to date, it seems like a 20" wheel bike is probably the better choice for you.

I have only ridden the swiftfolder a few times. From these brief experiences, I would say that both bikes have excellent rides. Whether one thinks that one or the other is better is subjective as opposed to something measurable.

The swiftfolder has a faster fold but not a compact fold. With the drop bars and front derailer, which makes folding a little cumbersome, I fold my NWT under a minute. My guess is that the NWT has a smaller fold.

If you were interested in an internal hub drivetrain or fixed gear/single speed, I would recommend the swiftfolder since it comes with the horizontal drop outs and is cheaper. If you are interested in a derailer drivetrain more typical of road/touring bikes, then I think that the Bike Friday is the way to go. If you need/want unique sizing ... then go with the Bike Friday. If you are only interested in an 8-speed bike, then I would probably go with the internal hub.

Note that if you think that the SRAM Dual Drive is the optimal drivetrain for you, then you can go with either frameset.
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Old 12-20-07, 02:26 PM   #6
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jss273nyc,
You still haven't told us what you're going to use the bike for. Loaded touring? commuting? When will you need to fold it? When will you need to carry it? Where will you store it at home and at work? Unless you give us more criteria, you'll just get recommendations based on other people's needs.
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Old 12-20-07, 08:02 PM   #7
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I wrote this along time ago when I owned both bikes:
http://phred.org/~alex/bikes/bf-vs-swift.html

I also have a Tikit. I'm not sure why you are scared of it. The wheels are only 2" smaller in diameter (406mm vs 349mm rims, 25.4mm to the inch), the fold is much better, and it rides about the same. You don't pedal faster, the gearing is higher to make up for the smaller wheels.

The Swift Folder basic fold is faster than the NWT and stays together better. The NWT fold is smaller. The Tikit is smaller and faster than either of them, and holds itself together nicely.

I didn't like flying with the Swift Folder, that was my primary reason for selling it. Packing it into a 29" Oyster suitcase takes a long time. I never tried packing it into a F'Lite suitcase, that is probably better.

All are good bikes, you just need to decide your reasons for having a folder.

alex
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Old 12-21-07, 01:44 PM   #8
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If the nyc in your name indicates that you live in New York City then you have the opportunity to see all your candidates up close and personal at bfold.

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Old 12-21-07, 10:38 PM   #9
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Awetmore - Great comparison review. Thanks!
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