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  1. #1
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    Bikefriday Llama vs a conventional MTB?

    Serendipity has brought me to a folding bicycle as an option for my next bike. I ride a Co-Motion Mocha tandem and a Schwinn Fastback Comp road. To complete my bike riding I will at some point get an MTB which can double as a touring bike. At this point all my touring has been on the tandem, which is the most fun you can have on two wheels, but stoker is not a fan of the really hard rides.

    So I'm thinking a mid level mountain bike, rim brakes, front suspension fork, and keeping a spare non-suspended fork around for touring. Aluminium frame, Simano XT group I suppose, or some SRAM configuration.

    As a mountain bike it will see everything from good pavement to bad gravel roads, no real technical rides. As a touring bike it would see more of the same, self supported with front and rear panniers. In both cases it should be ready to climb and descend decent mountain passes. I do not expect to do extended tours, more like a week or two at a time.

    But then I though, why not a Bikefriday Llama? Bikefriday seems to claim that the Llama is capable of anything, and there are clear advantages to a folding bike in getting to the ride, however I'd like to hear about what are the disadvantages of a Llama vs a conventional MTB.

  2. #2
    Seņor Mambo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xanti Andia View Post
    But then I though, why not a Bikefriday Llama? Bikefriday seems to claim that the Llama is capable of anything, and there are clear advantages to a folding bike in getting to the ride, however I'd like to hear about what are the disadvantages of a Llama vs a conventional MTB.
    For one, Bike Friday uses cromoly; don't know how stuck you are on aluminum. Another would be tire clearance issues: the bigger the wheel, the easier to clear.

    BF makes quality bikes, but it won't be fast folding. There are other full-sized folding bike options around which will allow you to attach standard racks etc. This is not to say that Bike Friday won't allow you to attach such racks, but their custom racks always fit their bikes better.

    Anyway, you might also want to google the Dahon Matrix or Dahon Jack and the Montague Paratrooper as well.

  3. #3
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    Read posts about 20" vs 26" wheels. Wheel size is the deal killer, not to mention no suspension on BF. You might find that with sufficient disassebly you can get a MTB into a compact form.
    2000 Montague CX, I do not recommend it, but still ride it.
    Strida 3, I recommend it for rides < 10mi wo steep hills.
    2006 Rowbike 720 Sport, I recommend it as an exercise bike.
    1996 Birdy, Recommend.
    Wieleder CARiBIKE (folding), decent frame.

  4. #4
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    "As a mountain bike it will see everything from good pavement to bad gravel roads, no real technical rides"
    I don't see any real need for a suspension fork if that's the type of riding you will do.

    The Pocket Llama can do most things, but obviously some things it will not do as well as a full size suspended mtb.

    I have a PL, and it's great on pavement & gravel, but if you go off the beaten track (say rough single track) then you need to pick your way through the obstacles (slowly) and not just attack everything like you can on a decent full size mtb.

    Also, I don't even think about jumping the PL like I did on my previous mtb and I am way more careful about potholes with the smaller wheels, and even cautious in jumping kerbs as the basic sram rear derailleur on my 8 speed setup hangs low.

    Also a PL (or any BF) will cost more than a similarly equipped full size mtb or road bike.

    IMO the Pocket Llama would be as good as a decent 26" mtb for touring & commuting, but not as good out in the forest.

    I love riding my PL so much that I've sold my full size mtb & given up going into the forest as I get all the fun I need just general commuting riding on the PL.

    Check out the milk crate:

  5. #5
    Raleigh20 PugFixie, Merc LittlePixel's Avatar
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    Nice Crate!
    It looks up to the job. For a more high-end folding mountainbike one might look in the direction of the Airnimal Rhino. Possibly overkill but certainly bombproof; Lockout the forks and put on slicks for the road and job's done.




    More here:
    http://www.airnimalfoldingbikes.com/M_RhinoBlack.php

  6. #6
    Seņor Mambo
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittlePixel View Post
    Nice Crate!
    It looks up to the job. For a more high-end folding mountainbike one might look in the direction of the Airnimal Rhino. Possibly overkill but certainly bombproof; Lockout the forks and put on slicks for the road and job's done.




    More here:
    http://www.airnimalfoldingbikes.com/M_RhinoBlack.php
    And where, pray tell, is he supposed to attach his panniers?

    j/k

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Thanks.

    Could not find posts comparing 20" to 26" wheels, but the Llama poster answers some of these issues.

    Airnimal Rhino looks nice, but out of my budget, and in any case I might lean towards 26" I am not really looking for a foldable as much as travel bicycle.

    Dahon Matrix might make more sense, and the price is very atractive, don't know enough about the component choices in this bike, any owners out there care to coment (I'll start another thread on this question)?.

  8. #8
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xanti Andia View Post
    Airnimal Rhino looks nice, but out of my budget, and in any case I might lean towards 26" I am not really looking for a foldable as much as travel bicycle....
    Unfortunately, you can't fit a 26" folding bike into an airline-legal suitcase.

    Fortunately, S&S couplers are an option. You can retrofit any steel MTB frame of your choice. Because the frame actually separates, it will pack smaller and you can use 26" or 700c wheels.

    You may want to consider the Surly "Traveler's Check," which is a cyclocross bike with couplers. As a 'cross bike it will work very well for non-technical off-road uses, and will work very well on the road. It should handle short tours almost as well as a true touring bike. (Not sure when it's out though)

    One other thing about 20" wheeled bikes and offroad is that the rear derailleur is pretty low to the ground. BF raised the bottom bracket on the Llama, but the derailleur may still get whacked at some point.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Itsa - How is the crate attached to the rack?

  10. #10
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    I test rode a Pocket Llama for a day over rough terrain, and it was a lot of fun. However, like itsahobby said, you have to pay more attention to obstacles than with a 26"er.
    But I much preferred the handling of the NWT over the PL after loading the bikes with 35 lbs in front and rear panniers. The PL felt a little squirrely, where the NWT's lower center of gravity felt more stable. I didn't have a problem with heel strike on the NWT because I don't ride technical stuff with small wheels. Plus the NWT can still fit tires up to 1.75 width, which is the widest tire I'd want to use anyways, assuming most of my miles are on pavement.

    After riding my NWT for 5000+ miles, I still really like the bike, but I've figured out that there are situations where I prefer standard wheels; the bigger wheels are smoother and faster on rough terrain and more stable on fast descents.
    But for someone who likes to take shorter trips with an airplane/bus/car/train, I think the packability of the folder outweighs these things.

    If you want to see some pics of my NWT on a cross country tour, here's my journal: www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/2391

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by werewolf View Post
    Itsa - How is the crate attached to the rack?
    Its attached with 2 small pieces of wood (light) & wing nuts - very stable.
    (you can see the wood on the underside of the rack)

  12. #12
    Senior Member sprockets's Avatar
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    I took a Pocket Llama down the world's highest active volcano. No problems. Check out the thread and bike pr0n here: BF Pocket Llama in Ecuador
    *************************
    As god as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly

  13. #13
    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    Here, I'm all for bigger wheels. I'm fine on the deeply rutted roads here, but I go slow. Then again, there are those who are bolder:

    http://72.14.203.104/translate_c?hl=...%3Den%26sa%3DX

  14. #14
    jur
    jur is offline
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    I'm now very sorry I didn't take pics on my recent ride where I took the Downtube Mini on the Breedtsnek Pass. The road was severely damaged by recent rain and rough even by MTB standards. While I certainly didn't go as fast as on a dually, the Mini & I handled it just fine, none of the issue of the wheels getting swallowed up by wheel-sized holes. I did pull the front wheel up to jump some of the bigger ditches.

    Going downhill was more of a problem due to the handlebar vibration.

    So my take is the Lama will do just fine but won't be as fast. But hey, who's racing anyway?
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    Thanks everybody, I ended up tossing the idea of a foldable and went for a 2000 Specialized Stumpjumper hardtrail bike, bought in the Bay Area thanks to Craigslist. Packed the bike in a bike box reduced in size by taking both wheels, seat and hadlebars off, and flew to Buenos Aires. American Airlines did not hit me with a surcharge, bike arrived fine.

    So now with my four bikes in the garage (two tandems, road and MTB) wife will not allow for a foldable without getting rid of something. I know some of you might keep your foldable under the bed, but I have a massage table there.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]www.tangotandem.org

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