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Old 06-09-08, 11:29 PM   #1
veggie_lover
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Once you have had folder do you ever go back?

My first real bike has been a folder, and having ridden it 3000 miles, I have no desire to buy a full size bike. The other week I was out of town and rented a full size commuting bike. I hated it. I found it too difficult to maneuver . What I disliked most was the center bar that prevented me quickly hopping on and off it. I also found it slower to accelerate because of the bigger wheels, which is a big disadvantage for city riding. Speed wise, it seemed the same as my 20" folder, if not slower.

What are other people's experiences?
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Old 06-09-08, 11:49 PM   #2
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I have no interest in going back to a "full-sized" bike.

Folders are far easier to transport, easier to maneuver in the city and, yes, accelerate faster than full-sized bikes. Besides we are are now in our mid-60's and likely too old to learn new habits.
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Old 06-10-08, 02:31 AM   #3
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I have three bikes and admit I went back to 'big' for a little while after my first folder - converting an old 80s roadbike to fixed gear (it was originally my sisters and I forcibly 'inherited' it]. Most times I ride my folders though - the full size isn't as bling though and I sometimes use it if I know I'm going to have to lock it somewhere where it might be under threat from stealing. I suppose it's my beater of sorts.

My view is there's different bikes for different jobs and a good folder is as good a solution as any to a lot of problems; A big fixie wins on some points in simplicity and elegance though so I don't think I'd be entirely folder-exclusive - I like the barge-like ride of a full size every now and again - it makes a nice contrast to the knife-accurate zippy handling of a folder.
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Old 06-10-08, 02:37 AM   #4
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I do easy cruising on paved bike paths and light dirt paths. My folder works fine for that. I gave away my old Nishiki 10 speed. I might not ever buy another full size bike.

This is also my first time having an internal gearhub. I am never going back to derailliers.
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Old 06-10-08, 06:37 AM   #5
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Let me put it this way: after using folders exclusively for about a year, I don't use them anymore. I'm selling my Swift and only keeping my junky old Dahon as a beater bike.

I think folders have several advantages, but have found that I prefer the handling, speed, gearing, comfort and stability that I get with my 700c bikes. I also vastly prefer drop bars, and converting my folders to drops would compromise the fold and/or cost more than it's worth.
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Old 06-10-08, 08:51 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veggie_lover View Post
My first real bike has been a folder, and having ridden it 3000 miles, I have no desire to buy a full size bike. The other week I was out of town and rented a full size commuting bike. I hated it. I found it too difficult to maneuver . What I disliked most was the center bar that prevented me quickly hopping on and off it. I also found it slower to accelerate because of the bigger wheels, which is a big disadvantage for city riding. Speed wise, it seemed the same as my 20" folder, if not slower.

What are other people's experiences?
I still use and enjoy full size bikes. I think that the biggest penalty to small wheels is associated with fast riding: (1) that getting high and granular gearing is difficult and (2) finding premium wheels/tires. I still did a 5:15 century with ~5000-6000 feet of climbing last year. So it isn't much of a ceiling.
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Old 06-10-08, 09:18 AM   #7
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This is a question I've asked myself, and can't answer yet.

My folding bike has become my main commuting machine, and I put more miles on it in a month than I put on all my other bikes in a year. Though I might replace it with another folder, I wouldn't dream of replacing it with a 'regular' bike, even if I changed job locations and changed my commute. Now over the year since I've had my Downtube Mini, it's taken me a while to get it set up for maximum comfort, which has entailed changing the way I ride, and also making changes to the bike that are unrelated to the fact that it folds. For example, I've changed to short crank arms, which I did because I tried the Kent Ultralight folder for a while and realized that its short crank arms were one of its best features.

Last Sunday I had to make a quick 6-mile ride (my son's choir was about to perform and he needed a pair of black socks) so for the first time in a few years I got on my road bike, which I used to be my favorite recreational vehicle. It's light, with an aluminum and carbon frame, carbon fork, 700c wheels, 120 psi tires, stretched out aerodynamic position, STI shifters, and so on. At first I was amazed how quick it felt; but almost immediately I found my legs getting much more tired than they do on my folding bike. By the time I got home I had to slack off my pace, and I was thinking the bike was all wrong. I looked it over and realized my crank arms are 175's! Until I change that --which may be impossible-- there's no fair comparison between the bikes. I also didn't like using derailleurs.

I'm in the process of setting up my old touring bike with an 8-speed hub, short crank arms, and so on. It should end up a fair comparison to the folder. I'll let you know how it turns out!
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Old 06-10-08, 09:55 AM   #8
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I grab my Tikit more often than any other bike I own. I can see some circumstances where I'd be happy with just a folder [or two!], but my full size bikes are quite useful in ways the Tikit isn't - ie carrying cargo like my Big Dummy or long tours like my Surly LHT or Thorn Sherpa.

I don't really see it as choice between one type of bike or the other. I use a variety of bikes and enjoy them all.
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Old 06-10-08, 02:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veggie_lover View Post
My first real bike has been a folder, and having ridden it 3000 miles, I have no desire to buy a full size bike. The other week I was out of town and rented a full size commuting bike. I hated it. I found it too difficult to maneuver . What I disliked most was the center bar that prevented me quickly hopping on and off it. I also found it slower to accelerate because of the bigger wheels, which is a big disadvantage for city riding. Speed wise, it seemed the same as my 20" folder, if not slower.

What are other people's experiences?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BB49 View Post
I do easy cruising on paved bike paths and light dirt paths. My folder works fine for that. I gave away my old Nishiki 10 speed. I might not ever buy another full size bike.

This is also my first time having an internal gearhub. I am never going back to derailliers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhm View Post
This is a question I've asked myself, and can't answer yet.

My folding bike has become my main commuting machine, and I put more miles on it in a month than I put on all my other bikes in a year. Though I might replace it with another folder, I wouldn't dream of replacing it with a 'regular' bike, even if I changed job locations and changed my commute. Now over the year since I've had my Downtube Mini, it's taken me a while to get it set up for maximum comfort, which has entailed changing the way I ride, and also making changes to the bike that are unrelated to the fact that it folds. For example, I've changed to short crank arms, which I did because I tried the Kent Ultralight folder for a while and realized that its short crank arms were one of its best features.

Last Sunday I had to make a quick 6-mile ride (my son's choir was about to perform and he needed a pair of black socks) so for the first time in a few years I got on my road bike, which I used to be my favorite recreational vehicle. It's light, with an aluminum and carbon frame, carbon fork, 700c wheels, 120 psi tires, stretched out aerodynamic position, STI shifters, and so on. At first I was amazed how quick it felt; but almost immediately I found my legs getting much more tired than they do on my folding bike. By the time I got home I had to slack off my pace, and I was thinking the bike was all wrong. I looked it over and realized my crank arms are 175's! Until I change that --which may be impossible-- there's no fair comparison between the bikes. I also didn't like using derailleurs.

I'm in the process of setting up my old touring bike with an 8-speed hub, short crank arms, and so on. It should end up a fair comparison to the folder. I'll let you know how it turns out!
Many comments mirrored my own experiences of all my folders (except I went a little further and create/maintain several Web sites more or less devoted to these little wonders). I do not see me buying/using/owning a full size bike-especially one with no folding feature offered-now or in the future. These folders I own now and in the future has and will continue to be far more practical for me to use in my situation.
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Old 06-10-08, 02:36 PM   #10
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I gave up a very nice full sized bike, a Specialized Crossroads Elite in Aug 2007. Having got a new Bromptom and already owning a Downtube I'd never give up the versatility and freedom of these bikes. A lot of strangers seem fascinated by them too. I call it the 'foldinitis' virus and it's becoming a pandemic! it's the future.....
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Old 06-10-08, 03:33 PM   #11
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I have a decent mountain bike which is better suited to it's purpose than my folder, and a road bike that I now only ride on long distance charity events. But mostly the big wheels hang on a hook. I only envision buying folders in the future.
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Old 06-10-08, 03:43 PM   #12
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I still did a 5:15 century with ~5000-6000 feet of climbing last year.
Holy crap! That's pretty darn good!

Which folder were you on?

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Old 06-10-08, 04:02 PM   #13
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What are other people's experiences?
I must confess to owning and riding a variety of bikes. My wife is also an avid biker, so, many bikes in the basement causes no friction with Mrs. Speedo.

I ride folders and full sized bikes. They all have their place in the fleet. My Bike Friday NWT is the most comfortable, but that is probably because it is sporting a Brooks saddle. I may replace the saddle on my fast (if somebody else rides it) bike.

In terms of speed, I can't say that my Friday is much slower than my fast (if somebody else rides it) bike on the flats, or going up hills. It may be marginally so, but I don't really notice it. It is much much slower descending. I was riding with a couple of friends on an upsy downsy route last year. They were on a LeMond Ti, and a Serotta steel respectively. I was able to ditch them on the ups, but they caught me on all the downs. Partly it was the lack of a high gear and partly it was that I didn't feel as comfortable descending on the NWT.

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Old 06-10-08, 04:16 PM   #14
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I have a Scott mountain bike that rarely gets any use……

Bought my first folder last November (Titan Mountain from this guy: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=280232465063&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAIC&ih=018) and used it every day for work until 2 weeks ago when I bought the Dahon MU SL. The titan is better suited to the disused railway trails than the Kojak slicks on the MU SL… but the MU SL is so light and fast.

The only “problem” with folding bikes is that I keep seeing others that I’d like to add to the collection… a BF pocket Llama, Birdy Speed, Airnimal Rhino, Brompton…….
They are addictive!




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Old 06-10-08, 05:50 PM   #15
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Holy crap! That's pretty darn good!

Which folder were you on?

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Thanks Speedo.

I was on a NWT. I did swap the tires for Stelvios ... but the biggest advantage that I got for the ride was my mouth. Essentially, I just can't shut up and keep from striking up conversations. I ran into some guys with pink TEAM BBC -- which in this case stands for Baltimore Bike Club -- struck up a conversation and they let me into a small paceline. So instead of riding at 17-18 mph I pushed into 20 for a good deal before I started teetering out at the last five miles or so.

The ride was totally over my head.

And I felt like it to at the end.

Note that those guys pushed me to my limit and I was fairly quiet for much of the ride.

-G
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Old 06-11-08, 10:55 AM   #16
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Thanks Speedo.

I was on a NWT. I did swap the tires for Stelvios ... but the biggest advantage that I got for the ride was my mouth. Essentially, I just can't shut up and keep from striking up conversations. I ran into some guys with pink TEAM BBC -- which in this case stands for Baltimore Bike Club -- struck up a conversation and they let me into a small paceline. So instead of riding at 17-18 mph I pushed into 20 for a good deal before I started teetering out at the last five miles or so.
That's really great. A good paceline is a big help, but to make 5:15 there is very little room for dilly dallying. Maybe I missed it, but you should have had a thread bragging about this accomplishment. The folder forum probably needs a sticky: "Kick ***** rides done on a folder".

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Old 06-11-08, 11:00 AM   #17
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That's really great. A good paceline is a big help, but to make 5:15 there is very little room for dilly dallying. Maybe I missed it, but you should have had a thread bragging about this accomplishment. The folder forum probably needs a sticky: "Kick ***** rides done on a folder".

Speedo
I thought Jur and Steve carried the "folders are fast" banner. From what I recall, I would be pretty far behind either of them on my best day.

We skipped a few stops and stayed for short periods to keep the blood flowing. I didn't want to miss the fast train to the finish line!

The sticky is an interesting idea. But it would be filled with rides from the aforementioned forum members.
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Old 06-11-08, 04:20 PM   #18
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The sticky is an interesting idea. But it would be filled with rides from the aforementioned forum members.
No doubt. Maybe it would have to be "Rides on your folder that you're proud of". That way some of us less epic people could contribute!

Back on topic with this thread: As a practical matter, it's easier to get low gears on a small wheeled bike. My NWT has a pretty low low. Somewhere around 18 inches. Road bikes with standard gearing are usually nowhere near that low. As a result, when it comes to picking a bike from the fleet to go away on any trip that's going to involve seriously steep hills, the NWT gets the nod. At over 200 pounds I'm not a natural climber, but I'm fearless about big hills when I'm on the NWT.

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