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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 02-28-08, 08:08 PM   #1
guitarded118
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What to look for in a folding bike

Hi everyone,

I'm new to this forum. I was wondering what I should look for in a folding bike. Like what are the important factors I should be looking at (unfolded size, folding size, folding time, weight, tire size, number of speeds, etc.)? and what is a good spec number (eg. good folding size 2 cube ft? good weight 20 lbs?)? I know there maybe a thread like this already, but i didn't want to sift through the entire forum to find it, so i thought i'd just ask. Any advice is much appreciated, thanks!
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Old 02-28-08, 11:15 PM   #2
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I think that the factors that you should look for in a bike, are very much going to be tied to your needs/wants. Can you tell us a little more about what you are looking for from a folding bike? How do you plan to use a folder? e.g. do you plan to try a multi-modal commute daily (bike + train/bus) or do you just plan on hitting the boardwalk recreationally on weekends? Are you looking for something to fit in your hatchback, or something you can fly to the Cote d'Azur with? What prompted you to consider a folder? You get the idea, tell us a bit about yourself and your plans, the kind of environment in which you plan on riding (urban vs. dirt paths, flat vs. hills?), your fitness level, back issues (ie. is lifting an issue?) etc
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Old 02-29-08, 09:00 AM   #3
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I think that the factors that you should look for in a bike, are very much going to be tied to your needs/wants. Can you tell us a little more about what you are looking for from a folding bike? How do you plan to use a folder? e.g. do you plan to try a multi-modal commute daily (bike + train/bus) or do you just plan on hitting the boardwalk recreationally on weekends? Are you looking for something to fit in your hatchback, or something you can fly to the Cote d'Azur with? What prompted you to consider a folder? You get the idea, tell us a bit about yourself and your plans, the kind of environment in which you plan on riding (urban vs. dirt paths, flat vs. hills?), your fitness level, back issues (ie. is lifting an issue?) etc
Excellent points. That is, it is more important for you to do the writing.

By the way, at some point, you should also bring up a budget.
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Old 02-29-08, 09:30 AM   #4
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I want a folding bike for rail trails and unpaved roads with >15% grades. This would be to replace my GF's 26" 1991-technology "mountian bike". Want a bike with a more comfortable hand position since she has wrist pain. The old mountain bike was too far forward with its straight bars. I overhauled my mountain bike with drop bars and bar end shifters and came up with a great combination. I suppose that "comfort" can be had with some swept handlebars and a more upright seating position. Drop handlebars would never fold up neatly anyway.

I want bicycles that will fit in a modestly sized car that gets 30mpg highway that I will buy when my minivan goes kaput.

thanks for having me--my first post @ bike forums --Tom
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Old 02-29-08, 10:26 AM   #5
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I want a folding bike for rail trails and unpaved roads with >15% grades. This would be to replace my GF's 26" 1991-technology "mountian bike". Want a bike with a more comfortable hand position since she has wrist pain. The old mountain bike was too far forward with its straight bars. I overhauled my mountain bike with drop bars and bar end shifters and came up with a great combination. I suppose that "comfort" can be had with some swept handlebars and a more upright seating position. Drop handlebars would never fold up neatly anyway.

I want bicycles that will fit in a modestly sized car that gets 30mpg highway that I will buy when my minivan goes kaput.

thanks for having me--my first post @ bike forums --Tom
There was just a thread on a Pocket Llama (labeled "PL" in the thread title). Sounds like the bike for you since folded size nor folding speed seems to be a concern. Although price may be a concern.

-G
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Old 02-29-08, 12:09 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by guitarded118 View Post
Hi everyone,

I'm new to this forum. I was wondering what I should look for in a folding bike. Like what are the important factors I should be looking at (unfolded size, folding size, folding time, weight, tire size, number of speeds, etc.)? and what is a good spec number (eg. good folding size 2 cube ft? good weight 20 lbs?)? I know there maybe a thread like this already, but i didn't want to sift through the entire forum to find it, so i thought i'd just ask. Any advice is much appreciated, thanks!
See my Geocities Site located on the link menu below for General Information On Folding Bike Purchase on the Selection Section.

See the Flickr Site for photos of the bikes in action below.
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Old 03-03-08, 10:07 AM   #7
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There was just a thread on a Pocket Llama (labeled "PL" in the thread title). Sounds like the bike for you since folded size nor folding speed seems to be a concern. Although price may be a concern.

-G
Thanks, Invisiblehand. My hunch is that I should modify my Raleigh R20 folder with some lower gearing to take the 15% hills. Tires would be wide enough. Want new rims, though.

A buddy gave me the R20. Somebody was going to scrap it so he grabbed it. Years later, he handed it off to me. I rode it around the neighborhood a few times for fun. My GF hates that garage queen: I now have four bicycles. Do you think we could fit an R20 and a new folder into a Toyota Matrix hatchback? If we were set up for a camping vacation, things would start to get tight in there.
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Old 03-03-08, 12:47 PM   #8
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Thanks, Invisiblehand. My hunch is that I should modify my Raleigh R20 folder with some lower gearing to take the 15% hills. Tires would be wide enough. Want new rims, though.

A buddy gave me the R20. Somebody was going to scrap it so he grabbed it. Years later, he handed it off to me. I rode it around the neighborhood a few times for fun. My GF hates that garage queen: I now have four bicycles. Do you think we could fit an R20 and a new folder into a Toyota Matrix hatchback? If we were set up for a camping vacation, things would start to get tight in there.
Well ... I have actually never seen a folded R20 in person. But if you were willing to remove a wheel, I am pretty confident that you could fit two in the back of a relatively big hatchback.

What are your plans for the lower gearing; how low do you have to go? I assume that you have a three speed hub.
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Old 03-03-08, 12:59 PM   #9
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Thanks, Invisiblehand. My hunch is that I should modify my Raleigh R20 folder with some lower gearing to take the 15% hills. Tires would be wide enough. Want new rims, though.

A buddy gave me the R20. Somebody was going to scrap it so he grabbed it. Years later, he handed it off to me. I rode it around the neighborhood a few times for fun. My GF hates that garage queen: I now have four bicycles. Do you think we could fit an R20 and a new folder into a Toyota Matrix hatchback? If we were set up for a camping vacation, things would start to get tight in there.
How will the the Matrix be configured when camping? Lots of space with the back seat folded. Not much space for bikes clothes and camping gear if you want seating for 4.
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Old 03-04-08, 01:49 PM   #10
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It is pretty common to put a bicycle into a small car or hatchback. Usually all one has to do is to take the front wheel off Piling two of these in starts to get tricky and I start imagining pedals crashing into spokes and other nightmare scenarios. The bikes that fold up tiny seem like a major operation what with taking handlebars off &all.

As for camping, she wants a roomy tent, not some backpacking mini. Then there has to be a thick Thermarest--make that two Thermarests. Double stove, cooler, two big folding chairs, no clammy old log will do. Cars fill up fast.

As for gearing, I bought a 27 speed Campy-equiped Bianchi and its lowest gear was ~31 gear inches. That means that Mr. Rider has to be in buff shape to take a 16% grade at a good spin. I would have to put out hundreds of watts of power to take the hill at a crank speed greater than 30 rpm. I don't wanna do that. So, I am looking for 25 gear inches or less. Small wheeled bicycles are natch for that. If I am spun out before 30 mph, I don't care.
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Old 03-04-08, 03:24 PM   #11
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That is right ... it is easy to put a single bike in the back. Getting two in the back easily can be a bit trickier. Two folding bikes should be straight forward. With the a Bike Friday, you might even be able to pass on removing the swan stem. But taking off the handlebar stem is really no big deal if you are not commuting.

You might want to sit down and figure out the gears that you need to ride up those hill yet still be able to pedal at say 25-30 mph. A 3-sp range is somewhat narrow (175% maybe? ... I can't remember at the moment). Assuming that my memory is correct, if you have a 25 GI bottom then your top will be ~69 GI.
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Old 03-05-08, 12:02 PM   #12
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...You might want to sit down and figure out the gears that you need to ride up those hill yet still be able to pedal at say 25-30 mph. A 3-sp range is somewhat narrow (175% maybe? ... I can't remember at the moment). Assuming that my memory is correct, if you have a 25 GI bottom then your top will be ~69 GI.
thank you greatly!

Let's talk about new bicycles. As for gearing, how about one of these 7, 8, or 9 speed internal hubs with the lowest gears starting at 25 gear inches? The SRAM iMotion product has a 340% range, so my "low geared wonder" have an effective range of 25 to 85 gear inches. When she does end up on a paved road with a downhill, she would spin out pretty quick.

"I'm not hear on business, baby, I'm only here for fun", like Bruce Springsteen said.

Does this big Dahon folding bike in the LL Bean catalog look like a good product? It's application is to pull it down the hatch into your yacht. $399.00

http://www.llbean.com/webapp/wcs/sto...Search&feat=sr
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