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  1. #1
    rhm
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    Will small wheeled bikes last as long?

    It has been mentioned, in this forum, that small tires wear out faster than large ones; and that has indeed been my experience.

    It has also been mentioned that brakes are less efficient on small wheels. That, too, has been my experience.

    What other effects can we expect with small wheels? I expect the hubs, rims, and brake shoes to wear out faster than those on large wheels. What else?

  2. #2
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    You'll be nimbler slaloming through traffic. You will become addicted to rapid twists and turns. You will begin to evangelise about smallwheeled goofy-looking bikes. You will slowly bore your friends to death and lose them, eventually becoming single, and owning your own bottom bracket wrench.

    As Stage II sets in, hairs will grow on the palms of your hands and out of your ears. You will take your folding bicycle into the bathroom with you, because you can. You may start to anthropomorphosise it and call it 'her'. You might even give it a quaint-sounding female name, like 'Mildred'. Soon, you will be replacing every single component on your folding bicycle with upmarket parts, thus preventing any wear at all.

    Once the bicycle has been rebuilt completely in carbon fibre twice, you will be beyond the obsessive compulsive stage, and start collecting entire upmarket models in pairs - one to ride - the other to polish.

    At that point you should seek urgent medical help. Never mind the tires wearing out.
    Last edited by snafu21; 06-13-08 at 01:56 PM.
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  3. #3
    Building a better Strida
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    snafu21 - that was hilarious. If I ever get the liking to name my bike, I will call her, "Mildred" in your honour. James May must read this.

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    Snafu21 is 100% right. My bikes are Daigoro and FoxyB.

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    My bike Friday Pocket Rocket is a 1993. If you buy a good folder they last just fine. Roger

  6. #6
    Senior Member stevegor's Avatar
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    LittlePixel named my R20 "The Wasp"......does that mean he is at Stage 3 in the obsessive level of this terminal small wheel bike illness?

  7. #7
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    Cannot agree that brakes are worse on small wheels.
    The first time I used the brakes in anger on my Dahon Curve SL, when faced with the dreaded White Van Man, I went straight over the handlebars. WVM escaped without a sccratch of course.
    Admittedly I have been used to crap brakes on my R20.

  8. #8
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Oddly enough I haven't noticed too many parts wearing out any faster due to the smaller size. Most of the components are the same as on larger bikes anyway.

    Lifespan of hubs, rims etc will depend more on the overall quality of those parts, and user abuse, rather than whether they're attached to a small bike.

  9. #9
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    Small tyres wear out quicker because every patch of tread hits the road more often per mile travelled, simple as that. My son put himself neatly over the bars of my DT Mini the first time he applied the brakes, so I don't really accept the brake thing. The only other thing I'd expect is that the very long seat and stemposts would be more prone to breakage. That aside, I'd expect my Downtubes to last as long as any aluminium bike of comparable quality. Wheels, if anything, should be tougher.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by snafu21 View Post
    You will take your folding bicycle into the bathroom with you, because you can.

  11. #11
    jur
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    Just back from shaving my palms...

    My R20's back tyre is now nudging 12,000km and it's still eager for more. But I admit it is now so shredded it will earn a few piccies soon for the most shredded but still going tyre EVAH. Front tyres will last much much longer again.

    Braking efficiency is only very slightly down, it is the ratio of the braking surface radius versus the rolling surface radius.

    Back cogs and chains will wear faster since the chain passes quicker through the rear derailer where most of the wear takes place.

    Personally, I find I wear out far quicker. Hardly a year is gone before the uncontrollable urge to get another folder gets the better of me.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  12. #12
    Explorer CaptainSpalding's Avatar
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    There are other symptoms as well. I caught myself looking at a big-wheeled bike the other day and thinking how strange and unweildy those big wheels looked.
    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

  13. #13
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    The only thing wearing out here is the patience of my bank manager. I'm at the 'one to ride, one to polish' stage....
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  14. #14
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    I ride a 35 year old Phillip's Twenty that is showing no signs of failing any time soon.

    He (Forrest) has of course received a facelift and some cosmetic work.


  15. #15
    Hauja
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    I do

    Quote Originally Posted by makeinu View Post
    Regarding taking a bike into the bathroom ,doesn't everyone do that when using a porta Potty to prevent theft?
    Last edited by James H Haury; 06-14-08 at 03:13 AM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    "He (Forrest) has of course received a facelift and some cosmetic work."


    Is that a peened & anodised aluminum seat post? <wags finger>

    Very nice though.



    My neighbour used to have an MGB GT sports car circa The Deluge. It was called 'Maurice' . (Geddit?)

    He'd constantly point at my Toyota and say "That won't still be going in thirty years like my Maurice." Then when male neighbours came round he'd tell them that he'd fitted two new engines, four clutches, and three gearboxes since new, refitted out the interior, 'popped in' four new shocks and a body shell.

    I think only the wheels were original.

    Hairy palms, see.

    In my g/f's mum's garage, hoisted from the rafters is her first 'proper bike' (700mm wheels though). It's from 1950 something, and in a state of perfect preservation - that is to say almost rusted through, with everything seized up, and busted Sturmey Archer gears as it was when it was hoisted up there twenty years ago.

    It's English, doncha know? It's only still there because it might fall to bits if we move it.
    Last edited by snafu21; 06-14-08 at 04:38 AM.
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  17. #17
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    I'm thinking the hinges on folders have to be less durable than straight pipe.

    Good thing Bike Friday offers a lifetime warranty I guess.

  18. #18
    Bicycling Gnome
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhm View Post
    It has been mentioned, in this forum, that small tires wear out faster than large ones; and that has indeed been my experience.

    It has also been mentioned that brakes are less efficient on small wheels. That, too, has been my experience.

    What other effects can we expect with small wheels? I expect the hubs, rims, and brake shoes to wear out faster than those on large wheels. What else?
    I can't see any reason why the brake shoes would wear any faster. For the same speed as a 26 inch wheeled bike, the brake shoes rub exactly the same amount of rim surely.

    On my Merc, the front tyre is still good at 3000 miles. This is what it was like at that mileage ->



    I did replace the rear at about 1700 miles, but there was still tread on it. These tyres only cost 6. I have three brand new spares. I doubt I'll live long enough to use them.

  19. #19
    Bicycling Gnome
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    Quote Originally Posted by snafu21 View Post
    You'll be nimbler slaloming through traffic. You will become addicted to rapid twists and turns. You will begin to evangelise about smallwheeled goofy-looking bikes. You will slowly bore your friends to death and lose them, eventually becoming single, and owning your own bottom bracket wrench.

    As Stage II sets in, hairs will grow on the palms of your hands and out of your ears. You will take your folding bicycle into the bathroom with you, because you can. You may start to anthropomorphosise it and call it 'her'. You might even give it a quaint-sounding female name, like 'Mildred'. Soon, you will be replacing every single component on your folding bicycle with upmarket parts, thus preventing any wear at all.

    Once the bicycle has been rebuilt completely in carbon fibre twice, you will be beyond the obsessive compulsive stage, and start collecting entire upmarket models in pairs - one to ride - the other to polish.

    At that point you should seek urgent medical help. Never mind the tires wearing out.
    You might even end up keeping it in your bedroom like I do with my TSR. I have only ridden it once this year so far fearing that it will catch a cold and begin creaking in the cranks.

  20. #20
    Bicycling Gnome
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sammyboy View Post
    The only other thing I'd expect is that the very long seat and stemposts would be more prone to breakage.
    Hey, we've all seen you naked and we have considerable sympathy for every part on any bike that you ride, let alone the seat and stem posts

  21. #21
    Junior Member
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    One reason the rear tire wear out faster is that most folder shift much of the weight to the rear. I ride my folder a little more aggressive, more braking, and maneuvering. One other thing, my Schwalbe Marathon Racer rear tire failed after 1 year of use. The side wall nylon to rupture. I can see that the constant compression\decompression even at high pressure caused the wear on the tire compared to the front tire. I am using 20x1.5 primo comet. It's not as smooth as the marathon but I think it's more durable.

  22. #22
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvilV View Post
    Hey, we've all seen you naked and we have considerable sympathy for every part on any bike that you ride, let alone the seat and stem posts
    Couldn't agree more! I tend to think of myself as a robustness tester for Downtube bikes.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Fear&Trembling's Avatar
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    Rim and (particularly rear) tyre wear are the things that I have noticed over the years. FWIW, I have also had more frame failures on folders.

  24. #24
    Senior Member cyqlist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fear&Trembling View Post
    Rim and (particularly rear) tyre wear are the things that I have noticed over the years.
    Hub and disc brakes would seem to make sense for this reason. I figure with no rim caliper brakes the wheels are also likely to be less dirty for when you bring the bike inside. My Mobiky has a cute front disc brake and a rear band brake, which work fine. I notice that the A-bike also has hub brakes. What other small wheeled folders have hub or disc brakes?

  25. #25
    Senior Member Fear&Trembling's Avatar
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    Very few folders come with hub or disc brakes as standard.

    It doesn't surprise me that many bikes don't utilise disc brakes, but hub brakes would make a lot of sense, for a lot of riders.

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