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  1. #1
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    Downtube questions (suitcases, suspension)

    I am considering the purchase of a Downtube bike for commuting, light touring, and use while travelling. It seems that it would be something of a hassle to add racks and fenders to the FS or the Mini, and I definitely want an SA hub, so that leaves the 8H and the 8HN. (I really like the Mini but the racklessness is a huge minus and I'm not sure I could find useful panniers for it.)

    Can 20" Downtubes be packed into a box/suitcase small enough for airline use? If so, how? I haven't flown for many years, and prefer trains to planes when possible, but I'm planning a trip to the west coast this summer and I definitely want to take a folder with me (without paying a hefty fee for oversized luggage).

    I have never used a bicycle with suspension of any kind, and I don't plan to do any off-road riding. Would riding the 8HN be noticeably rougher than riding a full-sized road bike due to the small wheels? Does the front suspension reduce efficiency much? I suppose front suspension might be useful for riding on dirt paths and bad roads but I'm not sure it's worth $50.

    Can anyone recommend a front fender for the 8H/8HN (I assume I'll want one for all-weather riding) and small panniers suitable for the small wheels?

    (I am also willing to be convinced that the Mini is suitable for light touring use if this is the case and I'm overestimating the difficulty of installing racks and fenders.)

  2. #2
    The Metropolis, UK
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    See
    Downtube Mini Questions re. rack options/mods for Mini and review of Mini:
    Review of Downtube Mini with internal hub

    I have the 8H and find it's very efficient and that the front suspension smooths out road bumps etc making for a very nice ride. The Mini has the same 8 speed hub gears and is also very versatile. It would be better for travelling in a suitcase as it would fold into one whereas the 8H would require some dismantling.

  3. #3
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    Front suspension

    The front suspension does smooth out the ride, and side benefit is if you brake the front first by accident, you are less likely to be thrown off the bike. Not saying you won't if you brake the front hard enough, especially going down hill. Have fun on the west coast w/ your DT.

  4. #4
    Senior Member cmcanulty's Avatar
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    I just finished a tour with the NS and it was very smooth, felt like my full sized bike, just slower

  5. #5
    Senior Member cmcanulty's Avatar
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    Downtube Tour

    Oops forgot the pics
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
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    I am currently playing 2 months on the national tour of Annie, and starting Feb '10 will be playing 18 months on the national tour of Beauty and the Beast; my stuff lives in a storage unit in Northridge, CA and at a buddy's house in Cedar City, UT :)
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaetzchen View Post

    Can 20" Downtubes be packed into a box/suitcase small enough for airline use? If so, how? [oboeterry question: can it be done by removing the front wheel but not the rear?] I haven't flown for many years, and prefer trains to planes when possible, but I'm planning a trip to the west coast this summer and I definitely want to take a folder with me (without paying a hefty fee for oversized luggage).

    Can anyone recommend a front fender for the 8H/8HN (I assume I'll want one for all-weather riding) and small panniers suitable for the small wheels?
    Hi all,

    I am resurrecting this topic (and modified/removed a bit that didn't apply to what I'm hoping to learn)

    I am getting an 8HN (*yay!*), so I actually have the same questions kaetzchen had... I read the whole thread and the questions weren't really answered... thanks again so much, everyone! These forums are awesome!

    Terry

  7. #7
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oboeterry View Post
    Hi all,

    I am resurrecting this topic (and modified/removed a bit that didn't apply to what I'm hoping to learn)

    I am getting an 8HN (*yay!*), so I actually have the same questions kaetzchen had... I read the whole thread and the questions weren't really answered... thanks again so much, everyone! These forums are awesome!

    Terry
    This should answer the question of packability. It's a VIIIH in a 29" Samsonite Oyster. The VIIIH is larger than the 8HN, so you'll have no problems. Full descriptions on the Downtube website:
    http://www.downtube.com/How_To_Pack_...in_a_Suitcase/


  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    I am currently playing 2 months on the national tour of Annie, and starting Feb '10 will be playing 18 months on the national tour of Beauty and the Beast; my stuff lives in a storage unit in Northridge, CA and at a buddy's house in Cedar City, UT :)
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    Quote Originally Posted by SesameCrunch View Post
    This should answer the question of packability. It's a VIIIH in a 29" Samsonite Oyster. The VIIIH is larger than the 8HN, so you'll have no problems. Full descriptions on the Downtube website:
    http://www.downtube.com/How_To_Pack_...in_a_Suitcase/
    Very cool... thanks so much! (I guess that I could have found that with a little more looking, huh? oops!) Much appreciated!

    Terry

  9. #9
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    Suspension adds comfort - even on-road, which reduces fatigue, and adds weight. Suspension bikes are rarely ultra-lightweight.

    Suspension can absorb some rider power and thus compromise top speed - should you ever get near your top speed, and can feel boingy when you're pushing.

    Fork suspension requires maintenance ranging from not much - air suspension - to every 100 hours dealer tear-down - Dahon MTB suspension.

    I have a IX FS. It's about the most comfortable all day bike I have, especially with a gel saddle. The basic fork needs repacking with grease every so often, I'm told.

    I haven't ridden an 8HN.

    Is suspension worth fifty bucks? It's your fifty bucks.
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by oboeterry View Post
    Hi all,

    I am resurrecting this topic (and modified/removed a bit that didn't apply to what I'm hoping to learn)

    I am getting an 8HN (*yay!*), so I actually have the same questions kaetzchen had... I read the whole thread and the questions weren't really answered... thanks again so much, everyone! These forums are awesome!

    Terry
    Terry, I have nothing useful to add, but wanted to say I'm getting one, too (*yay!* also)! It will either be here Friday or early next week.

  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    I am currently playing 2 months on the national tour of Annie, and starting Feb '10 will be playing 18 months on the national tour of Beauty and the Beast; my stuff lives in a storage unit in Northridge, CA and at a buddy's house in Cedar City, UT :)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Solstice+1 View Post
    Terry, I have nothing useful to add, but wanted to say I'm getting one, too (*yay!* also)! It will either be here Friday or early next week.
    *haha!* That's great! Maybe we'll all have to start an 8HN Review Post soon!

  12. #12
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    Sniff. Sadly, the internet shop I ordered through found out today that there is no more stock of the 8HN. So I'm looking again. Will probably finish up going with the Mini (a very good bike by all accounts) but still looking around with different specs for now.

    I particularly noticed the Gekko off the French website that someone posted recently, and a thing called the Tempus 20-inch. If anyone has any comments (particularly: don't buy those!), I would appreciate hearing from you.

    I decided against the other Downtubes because of weight. I also would like to stick to a 320 pound/400 euro limit.

    Still sad about the bike that got away...

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