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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 06-09-08, 04:14 AM   #1
gringo_gus
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best folder for hill climbing?

Ms Gringo-Gus and I have been scoping a house move, to much hillier countryside that the flat-city where we live now. Storage space would be at a premium, so Ms G-G, of her own volition, has suggested we get another folder to go with my HH7. Managed to hide my delight....

But, fellow folders, which folder would people recommend for a hilly country/commute to an urban centre mix, out of interest?
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Old 06-09-08, 05:29 AM   #2
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I did Skyline Road in Portland, OR this weekend climbing up from Water Front Park. Originally my friend and I where going to take the tram up to OHSU so we would only have to climb part of the way up but the tram was shut down till 1:00 pm. So climb we did. The Dahon Smooth Hound did well on this ride.
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Old 06-09-08, 05:41 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by gringo_gus View Post
Ms Gringo-Gus and I have been scoping a house move, to much hillier countryside that the flat-city where we live now. Storage space would be at a premium, so Ms G-G, of her own volition, has suggested we get another folder to go with my HH7. Managed to hide my delight....

But, fellow folders, which folder would people recommend for a hilly country/commute to an urban centre mix, out of interest?
I would say just pick the folder that you prefer and gear it appropriately. All you need to do is switch out the front chain ring (to achieve a super-low gear) which is a very inexpensive mod ($15-20?)
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Old 06-09-08, 05:55 AM   #4
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Spot on. This was what I did exactly to my tikit. Switched it to a 42t. Climbs beautifully!

http://lovethefold.blogspot.com/2008...it-for-30.html

Last edited by OldiesONfoldies; 06-09-08 at 06:34 AM.
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Old 06-09-08, 06:03 AM   #5
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My only input besides ensuring a good range of usable gears would be choose a folder that has some degree of adjustment in the stem and bars;

Some folding stems can be a bit high and a bit flexible for more arduous use than commuting in a flat city so something where you can dial in a good position, add barends, or swap to include more interesting bar choices could well be worth looking at. Also in this dept - not all aluminium folding stemposts are that hardy (they can fail under load) so a bike that comes with more forgiving steel in this crucial part is probably a good idea too.
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Old 06-09-08, 06:19 AM   #6
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A Hammerhead 5.0 would be the perfect partner for an HH7. They could nuzzle up together in the hallway, and take up hardly any room. Or, for the touristas - the Dahon Smooth Hound could be deliciously un-heavy.

No new ones in the UK, though, I hear.... What about one of those posh curvey Dahons with alloy frames?
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Old 06-09-08, 06:28 AM   #7
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For me, a good hill climbing bike has several properties:

1. Low enough gearing for the steepest bit, to be able to stay seated while spinning at reasonable cadence. Standing while climbing is of course a personal preference; I do both on very long climbs. The gear for standing is 10-20% higher than for seated. Lugging groceries uphill will require a lower gear again.

2. High enough gearing so that on downhills, I don't run out of gears, to keep pedalling. On downhills I usually switch to a much higher gear, pedalling quite slowly, to rest the legs. You can of course free-wheel, but it's better to have a wide enough gear range which can do it all. It's not so nice to have gears that can do all the uphills but prevent a nice fast flat cruise without the legs spinning madly. At least 300% for fit riders, but 350% for average riders.

3. A reasonably light bike. Although bike weight is a small portion of overall bike+rider weight, it does feel that much better to ride with light, agile wheels and a light frame which doesn't feel like you've got a dead kangaroo strapped on the back.

4. A stiff frame, handlepost and seatpost that you can throw around when you want to without it flexing like like raw sausage under you. This is especially important on uphills when you're pulling hard on the handlebars, or standing on the pedals.

5. Good brakes.

Last edited by jur; 06-09-08 at 06:32 AM.
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Old 06-09-08, 09:08 AM   #8
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One further point. I've noticed that on particularly steep grades different folders respond differently. My Giant Halfway RS becomes very 'light' at the front and it's sometimes tough to keep the wheel on the ground. My KHS Westwood, however, stays firmly put. Not sure why this should be, but I guess it's something to do with the frame geometry. Anyway, it's something to bear in mind if you live in an area of short steep slopes.
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Old 06-09-08, 04:48 PM   #9
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I'm with Jur and LP on this one.
A lot of riders pull very hard on the stem/bars and rock their bodies from side to side and have a vice-like grip on the bars when climbing steep hills, whereas letting the legs do the work, spinning a low gear, and keeping the upper body fairly still and a relaxed grip on the bars is the correct technique. Even when standing, keep the upper body movement minimal.
Why am I boring you with these details?....because certain brands of folding bikes are notorious for snapping the hinges on the stem when only a reasonable amount of pulling pressure is applied to them, if you buy that brand, then use the right climbing techniques.

IMHO, a Moulton, Swift or a Bike Friday would be ideal.
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Old 06-09-08, 06:06 PM   #10
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I've tried the Swift out at the SoCal folding bike ride, and it feels like it'd be a good climber. The stiff frame helps a lot with that.
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Old 06-09-08, 06:22 PM   #11
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I've tried the Swift out at the SoCal folding bike ride, and it feels like it'd be a good climber. The stiff frame helps a lot with that.
Heh heh, you saw right through me. I was describing my Swift...
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Old 06-09-08, 10:21 PM   #12
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Not knowing the budget, a properly geared Birdy would fit the bill as well. Very stiff frame, front and rear suspension, stiff handlepost, and light weight with a compact fold as well. You can also get a handlepost to fit a stem to if wanting a bit more reach. The nine speed comes fairly low geared out of the box, so a chainring change would improve the downhill in conjunction with a wider cassette.
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Old 06-09-08, 11:27 PM   #13
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Unless you're going steeper, this works well.

Climbing a wall
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Old 06-14-08, 10:58 AM   #14
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I should add my Dahon TR has GEAR INCHES of 21" to 114". I have yet find any hill that I have had to walk up when I'm riding it.
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Ms Gringo-Gus and I have been scoping a house move, to much hillier countryside that the flat-city where we live now. Storage space would be at a premium, so Ms G-G, of her own volition, has suggested we get another folder to go with my HH7. Managed to hide my delight....

But, fellow folders, which folder would people recommend for a hilly country/commute to an urban centre mix, out of interest?
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Old 06-18-08, 12:36 PM   #15
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I have a Bike Friday Pocket Pilot with a 39 on the front and a 27 on the rear and it is a real tree climber

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