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  1. #1
    Explorer CaptainSpalding's Avatar
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    Okay. What is it about the Raleigh Twenty?

    There are a lot of threads on this board about the R20. With all the new quasi-exotic folders out there, what is it about this 30-year-old bike that gets people's blood up?

    On Sheldon Brown's Twenty page he said:
    A stock Raleigh Twenty offers performance comparable to that of a 26 inch wheel 3-speed "sports" bike, but, due to their robust, well designed frames, they lend themselves to being "hopped up" in performance by upgrading components. With suitable equipment, they can approach the performance of a Bike Friday at a much lower price.

    Is the appeal of the Twenty simply that it can serve as a basis for a quality folder at a cheap price, or is there more to it than that? I know that there are a lot of R20 Zealots out there. Convey to me, please, the ethos, pathos, and logos of the Twenty. What is the essence of that je ne sais quoi that seems to infuse it? I must admit - I'm curious . . .

    As you compose your replies, please consider your audience (me.)
    I don't get fixies.
    I prefer platform pedals.
    I don't know why people think Merryl Streep is such a good actress.
    I own a generation 1 iPod and have no intention of upgrading while it's still serviceable.
    I drink drip coffee.
    I tend to wear earth tones when riding.
    I've never seen one episode of American Idol, 24, Grey's Anatomy, Lost, blah blah blah.
    I loathe the idea of squeezing a gelatinous engineered food product out of a tube and into my mouth while riding.
    I came to say I must be folding . . .
    Dahon Jetstream XP
    Dahon Helios SL
    Strida 5.0
    Twenty project


    or not . . .
    Fisher Mt. Tam (c.1988)
    Merlin Road flat bar project
    Schwinn Twinn Deluxe

  2. #2
    jdownie
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    The moderators are cowards.
    Last edited by jdownie; 05-22-08 at 08:30 PM.

  3. #3
    jur
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainSpalding View Post
    As you compose your replies, please consider your audience (me.)
    I don't get fixies.
    I prefer platform pedals.
    I don't know why people think Merryl Streep is such a good actress.
    I own a generation 1 iPod and have no intention of upgrading while it's still serviceable.
    I drink drip coffee.
    I tend to wear earth tones when riding.
    I've never seen one episode of American Idol, 24, Grey's Anatomy, Lost, blah blah blah.
    I loathe the idea of squeezing a gelatinous engineered food product out of a tube and into my mouth while riding.
    There you go! You have summed it up yourself!
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  4. #4
    my nice bike is at home kraftwerk's Avatar
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    You can lock it to a solid object and go have apple strudel and you don't have to worry about it. It really has a calming presence, like a small old dog> its just an old bike. Thieves overlook it.
    even though it is of great value to humankind. It is quite an international phenomenon....Doesn't matter the country..
    Meryl Streep rides one?
    Last edited by kraftwerk; 05-07-08 at 10:27 PM.

  5. #5
    Velocommuter Commando Sirrus Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainSpalding View Post
    There are a lot of threads on this board about the R20. With all the new quasi-exotic folders out there, what is it about this 30-year-old bike that gets people's blood up?

    On Sheldon Brown's Twenty page he said:
    A stock Raleigh Twenty offers performance comparable to that of a 26 inch wheel 3-speed "sports" bike, but, due to their robust, well designed frames, they lend themselves to being "hopped up" in performance by upgrading components. With suitable equipment, they can approach the performance of a Bike Friday at a much lower price.

    Is the appeal of the Twenty simply that it can serve as a basis for a quality folder at a cheap price, or is there more to it than that? I know that there are a lot of R20 Zealots out there. Convey to me, please, the ethos, pathos, and logos of the Twenty. What is the essence of that je ne sais quoi that seems to infuse it? I must admit - I'm curious . . .

    As you compose your replies, please consider your audience (me.)
    I don't get fixies.
    I prefer platform pedals.
    I don't know why people think Merryl Streep is such a good actress.
    I own a generation 1 iPod and have no intention of upgrading while it's still serviceable.
    I drink drip coffee.
    I tend to wear earth tones when riding.
    I've never seen one episode of American Idol, 24, Grey's Anatomy, Lost, blah blah blah.
    I loathe the idea of squeezing a gelatinous engineered food product out of a tube and into my mouth while riding.
    There is just something about them. You can lay one out a field of bikes and it will stand out like a gorgeous redhaired woman in a sorority of ordinary brunettes.

  6. #6
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    My P20 folds and is fixed to boot.

    I love it.

  7. #7
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    It's the awesomness of taking what has so long been regarded as a granny bike, and building something which not only looks great, but also, in the words of Sheldon, and quoted by you, "can approach the performance of a Bike Friday at a much lower price."

    A key factor for me, in the UK, was also that I could purchase one for $30-40

  8. #8
    Explorer CaptainSpalding's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdownie View Post
    I will ignore the evidence of your poor decision-making evinced in your question and simply say that there is not another bike that I am aware of that will support a (heavy) rider over thousands of miles without failure.
    Thanks for your patience, and your very constructive comment.

    Quote Originally Posted by kraftwerk View Post
    Meryl Streep rides one?
    No, I'm not implying that Meryl Streep rides one. I mean to say that my perceptive limits prevent me from discerning the difference in talent between her and less acclaimed actresses. By extension it is further implied that I may not innately possess the ability to appreciate the subtleties or mystique of the R20.

    Here are some more examples of my lack of finesse.
    I prefer CDs to vinyl, because the hiss and pop of vinyl bother me and I can't discern the "steps" in digital recordings.
    My loutish physical constitution laughs at homeopathic remedies. (Keep your arnica. Gimme an aspirin.)
    I tend to believe that while everyone is entitled to their point of view, not all points of view necessarily hold equal merit.
    I came to say I must be folding . . .
    Dahon Jetstream XP
    Dahon Helios SL
    Strida 5.0
    Twenty project


    or not . . .
    Fisher Mt. Tam (c.1988)
    Merlin Road flat bar project
    Schwinn Twinn Deluxe

  9. #9
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainSpalding View Post
    I don't get fixies.

    I drink drip coffee.
    Do you take your coffee black?

  10. #10
    Explorer CaptainSpalding's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sammyboy View Post
    It's the awesomness of taking what has so long been regarded as a granny bike, and building something which not only looks great, but also, in the words of Sheldon, and quoted by you, "can approach the performance of a Bike Friday at a much lower price."

    A key factor for me, in the UK, was also that I could purchase one for $30-40
    Right. So are the folks that are buying them on eBay for USD$200 out of their minds? I mean, by the time you upgrade the rims, hubs, fork, bars, seat, etc. etc., you could have bought a pretty decent modern bike. So if you are buying one at that price, aren't you just paying for the rebel image?

    Quote Originally Posted by roadfix View Post
    Do you take your coffee black?
    Nope. Lots of sugar. Lots of cream.
    I came to say I must be folding . . .
    Dahon Jetstream XP
    Dahon Helios SL
    Strida 5.0
    Twenty project


    or not . . .
    Fisher Mt. Tam (c.1988)
    Merlin Road flat bar project
    Schwinn Twinn Deluxe

  11. #11
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    Besides the heavy rider that doesn't have an option, I don't get it either.

  12. #12
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainSpalding View Post
    Nope. Lots of sugar. Lots of cream.
    I don't even own a folder.

  13. #13
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    My "non exotic" folding fixed gear 20 is only a pound heavier than a new Dahon 8, far more sturdy, and a wickedly nice ride... and it will get a little lighter yet when I convert the crank to cotter-less.

    My other P20 is going to get a 24 inch wheel conversion so I have a folding bike that will be well suited for longer rides and hitting the trails as an SS.

    No-one else has a bike like this and that too is appealing and just a little exotic.


  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    Put your finger on the middle of a map of the USA... Thats me standing next to the COW:) (the cow is my sister)
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    There are many facinations with the 20, and this question has been asked before... here are some that can think of off the top of me noggin...

    -inexpensive (relatively)
    -able to be personalized (able to be highly modified) its about taking something and making it your own...
    -a green alternative (to make that which was old, new again)
    -it isnt the statis quo
    -it takes a true commitment to want to modify one for maximum performance
    -it takes inginuity to deal with some difficult issues
    -for me, in my region, it's RARE... REALLY RARE...
    -it is a solidly designed folder. (horizontal fold)
    -it's steel
    -a lot of us dont have 500-1000 dollars to spend on a folder...Up Front but can sfford to have the R-20 bleed us over an extended period of time
    -R-20 riders are a fun bunch...
    -They are too small to get laid on, but when you get off of it, You will get laid
    HA!



    Your question also isnt necessarily about the bike, but it for some it's more about the individual. The EASY way usually isnt the fun way. Some of use need to be challenged. some of us need to express ourselves, Some of us like Jur want to be on the the lil' engine who could. You asked a big question, and I guess all I can give you a lil' answer... -if you dont have one, you wouldnt know...

    come check the progress...
    http://web.mac.com/phatatude/Green_S...enty_Blog.html

    R-20's : Many ask, few know...
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    Phatatude- Ride em' till the wheels fall off, or your jewels go numb...


    Come check the progress...
    http://web.mac.com/phatatude/Green_S...enty_Blog.html

  15. #15
    jur
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    I suspect Sheldon Brown has infused the general cycling community with enthusiasm for the R20... this has led to them being a popular thing in the US, but here they fetch less, perhaps $100 for an average condition one. Peugeot folders actually fetch higher prices than R20s here on ebay.

    If you buy a folder new, you more or less ride it as it is spec'ed, perhaps with upgrades here or there or none at all.

    But if you get an R20, many see it as a bare canvas on which to paint their masterpiece.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  16. #16
    Senior Member
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    Just know that some of those bikes being sold for 200-300 on Ebay might be kept original (collectors) or may only be slightly modified (rims, brakes, tires). Also here in the states they arent nearly as common as acrossed the pond.

    come check the progress...
    http://web.mac.com/phatatude/Green_S...enty_Blog.html

    R-20's : "Yep, that's your girlfriend on my bike"
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    Phatatude- Ride em' till the wheels fall off, or your jewels go numb...


    Come check the progress...
    http://web.mac.com/phatatude/Green_S...enty_Blog.html

  17. #17
    Senior Member
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    Those TV shows you mention...they wear out the batteries in my TV remote....as when Im looking through the channels I see the name on the screen....next please.

    I like small wheels.
    I think the simplicity of the frame design is good.
    As some other bikes are needlessly complicated and ugly.

    Dont get what the film academy see in most of the actors and films they give oscars.
    Ok I think that some one like Jackie Chan isnt the best actor. But his films are entertaining and you can remember what he did. Cant remember anything that a proper actor like Merlyl has done.

    I ride bikes that are unusual. I had a 3 speed BMX that I rode. I remember thrashing past some kids on mountain bikes up a hill. One shouted to another....hes overtaking us on a BMX.
    Thats cool. A bike is a bike. People pigeon hole bikes for single use. Small bikes like the 20 are ussually used by Grannies that go slowly to the shops on them. But it neednt be the case.

  18. #18
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    Appeal of the R20? A few years ago I remember coming across Sheldon Brown's site (as you do) and laying my eyes on his hot rodded R20 for the first time, damn that thing is hot!! There is just something about 'left of centre' sexiness (OK I said it!) that appeals. Different and practical? Can't get any better than that!

  19. #19
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    The R20 is a great utility cycle. Whether highly modified or modestly upgraded, the R20 is stable, strong and a true multi-tasker. It is comfortable enough to ride to the store, around the neighborhood or on the MUP. If you want to go fast, you can with confidence. If you want to tour, the R20 can carry a load. The fact that it folds and can be thrown in the trunk is a bonus. My R20 has pedals that are platform on one side and clipless on the other. That says it all for me!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  20. #20
    Senior Member psykoocycle's Avatar
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    I think of the r20 this way... she's like the lovable grandma that spawned all my capable folders... just because she's old doesn't mean we get rid her... in fact we honour her with nice titanium upgrades so that she can keep up with the grandkids!

  21. #21
    Senior Member
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    CaptainSpaulding, the R20 is, as folks have noted, a kind of blank canvas. It's versatile and timeless: upgrades make it a thoroughly modern creature while retaining a simple beauty in the frame lines. Just look at the difference between Tarik's 20 (http://www.tariksaleh.com/bike/twenty/twenty.html) and Sheldon's (http://sheldonbrown.org/raleigh-twenty/) to see such variability.

    You've mentioned what's not particularly special or impressive to you as well as what you prefer from a practical standpoint:

    I don't get fixies.
    I prefer platform pedals.
    I don't know why people think Merryl Streep is such a good actress.
    I own a generation 1 iPod and have no intention of upgrading while it's still serviceable.
    I drink drip coffee.
    I tend to wear earth tones when riding.
    I've never seen one episode of American Idol, 24, Grey's Anatomy, Lost, blah blah blah.
    I loathe the idea of squeezing a gelatinous engineered food product out of a tube and into my mouth while riding.


    But out of curiosity, what do you find special? Is there anything you really like that requires a relatively convoluted explanation for why you like it? What do your "perceptive limits" allow you to discern? I know they've barred you from appreciating Meryl Streep and Espresso, but are there any (particularly bike related) subtleties that you do enjoy?
    Last edited by Jagee; 05-07-08 at 06:27 PM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    Geesh... you guys are flippin' smart!

    (that's not some smart a## remark, you guys really are)




    R-20's : Socrates would have had one...
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    Phatatude- Ride em' till the wheels fall off, or your jewels go numb...


    Come check the progress...
    http://web.mac.com/phatatude/Green_S...enty_Blog.html

  23. #23
    Senior Member stevegor's Avatar
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    ....where to begin??

    The Brits have a talent for small quirky things, (no offence LittlePixel),
    remember Alex Moulton? He was the designer of the Moulton bicycle and also worked on the suspension of the mighty Mini motor car in the 60's, of which the Mini Cooper S was a giant killer in rallies like the Monte Carlo and on race tracks worldwide. We R20 owners love the thought of these great little bikes being able to thumb their noses at the scoffers and after 30 years still carry the shopping, tour the world and ride very briskly in a racing guise.

    The appeal of the R20 is, as has been already stated, a blank canvas to which one's imagination has no constraints, make it simple...fixed or SS, make it complex...rear and front derailluers, make it semi-traditional...8 spd SA or Nexus hub gears or keep it totally original. You get a very deep sense of personal satisfaction of "making" a bike from your own imagination, seeing it all come together after all the hard work and the knowledge of not being limited to buying an "Off the shelf bike".

    I own a modern expensive road bike and MTB, but nothing gives me more pleasure than turning up to the Saturday morning HAMMERFEST on my weird little Pommy bike and riding the legs off the R20'S critics.

  24. #24
    Luddite
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    I think to own and enjoy an R20, you need to be a tinkerer and a lover of mechanical stuff. You have alot of options with an R20. Hot-rodding a 20 is more difficult than hot-rodding the average bike, but not so difficult that it's out of the range of a normal person with normal tools. And, when you're done, complete strangers are impressed (maybe not with your skill, but certainly with your maverick tastes). If you just buy stuff and use it until it's no longer fashionable, then I wouldn't recommend an R20. But then, in that case you wouldn't find an R20 attractive in the first place

  25. #25
    Bicycling Gnome
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    My "non exotic" folding fixed gear 20 is only a pound heavier than a new Dahon 8, far more sturdy, and a wickedly nice ride... and it will get a little lighter yet when I convert the crank to cotter-less.

    No-one else has a bike like this and that too is appealing and just a little exotic.

    To be honest, you could spend a ton of money and get something not much better than this, and it might be worse.

    That bike looks like it could do some serious biking action.

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