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Thread: Folding Newbie

  1. #1
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    Folding Newbie

    Hi All -

    I am new to the world of Folding Bikes! I will soon be traveling around the world on an Architectural Travel Fellowship and want to use biking as a primary mode for getting around new places and spaces!

    In general I am looking for a versatile, durable, manageable (in terms of portability) bike. I am 5'4 and 135 lbs. I plan to carry some baggage so I need a bike that can carry a decent load. I am looking for a bike that is able to handle (both physically and aesthetically ) a front basket, rear shelf, and possibly side bags.

    I will be traveling across a number of different terrains. I.e. Dense Cities, deserts, woodlands, hills/ mountains, etc...So I need a bike that can handle it all!

    Currently I have been looking at the Dahon Glide and Ciao. Of course functionality is most important to me - however I am a bit of a sucker for the more 'classic'/'vintage' look. Althought I have been eying these I am totally open to considering other options... I'd love to hear any advice and/or opinions you guys have regarding my needs!

    Anxious to fold...!
    Nrb9

  2. #2
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Boy, this sounds like the perfect job for the Downtube Mini. Rugged to take a beating. 8 speeds for different terrain. 16" wheels for easy packing. The right size for you. Standard, easy to get components for field repair, if necessary. Under $500.

    You can go from this:



    to this:



    ...in about 10 minutes.

    There have been many, many discussions on the Mini. You'll find them if you use the Search function.

    Sounds like a great experience. Wish I was going with you .
    Last edited by SesameCrunch; 06-18-08 at 10:08 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member stevegor's Avatar
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    If folding into a suit case for air travel is not a prime objective and you like the classic vintage look, then buy a Raleigh 20 and mod it to your needs. They are very robust and can handle heavy loads and long tours with relative ease, unlike some cheap and flexy modern folding bikes. Use quality components and you wont have the problems some folding bike brands experience because of questionable comps.

    If the thought of building your own bike is not your thing, then Bike Friday's New World Tourist is an excellent choice for touring...and it will break-down into a suitcase.

    I would be hesitant on any serious touring with a Dahon, though their owners would disagree, IMHO, they are not strong enough.

  4. #4
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    Hey Guys! Thanks for the responses! I was also looking at the Bike Friday Models. The NWT does seem like a possibility. The gearing options are pretty impressive!

    I like the idea of the Raleigh Twenty (It's so hard to find a quality built bike these days!) but I sometimes worry about maintenance with such an old bike.

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    I'd recommend the Birdy Touring over the Bike Friday NWT. See review on:
    http://www.foldsoc.co.uk/Mike/birdytouring.html

  6. #6
    Senior Member stevegor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nrb9 View Post
    Hey Guys! Thanks for the responses! I was also looking at the Bike Friday Models. The NWT does seem like a possibility. The gearing options are pretty impressive!

    I like the idea of the Raleigh Twenty (It's so hard to find a quality built bike these days!) but I sometimes worry about maintenance with such an old bike.

    If you mod a R20, then all you really use is the frame and maybe the forks, so maintenance is not an issue. As I said earlier, if you use good quality comps like alloy rims, high end cranks etc, then you won't have too much trouble, you'll have an old classic bike with nice shiny bits.

    Mulleady's suggestion of a Birdy is a good idea too if you want to buy "modern"

  7. #7
    Building a better Strida
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    one thing u'll learn quick fast is that modding an R20 with high end stuff can quickly start adding up. sticking with a downtube/dahon will provide a very comparable package right-out-of-the-box.. so take a look.

    another thing with the R20 is the time spent looking for parts and installing them... its a lot of fun, but can sometimes take up more than you expect!

    make sure you get fenders on ur bike as ur first mod, should they not come with any.

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    Yeha I like the idea of modding an R20 but I'm not sure if I have the time, patience, and knowledge for it! Hehe...It seems that theDownTubes are made with standard components which I assume may make it a bit eaiser to customize and repair. Repairability is quite important to me since I will be traveling in foregin lands for at least 9 months. Any thoughts on this issue?!?

    PS - Thanks for all your wonderful advice!

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    you should look at the downtubes.. im currently deciding on which one to buy as well, and the downtube 8H looks like a good one for you as it comes with the rack. although it doesnt have that retro look that you like..

  10. #10
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    The bigger the load and more you care about the ride, the more I would lean towards the Bike Friday NWT. The smaller your budget the more I would lean towards modifying a Downtube.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nrb9 View Post
    Hey Guys! Thanks for the responses! I was also looking at the Bike Friday Models. The NWT does seem like a possibility. The gearing options are pretty impressive!

    I like the idea of the Raleigh Twenty (It's so hard to find a quality built bike these days!) but I sometimes worry about maintenance with such an old bike.
    NWT with a Rohloff is the perfect travel bike. Very versatile hub, nice efficiency, very low maintenance, and solid as a rock. NWT also is a beast and can be loaded up. You can get a Birdy with a Rohloff, too, but not in the U.S. Actually the way Birdy is sold in the U.S. leaves much to be desired in my opinion. I'm also not too keen on the way they fold (small package, but awkward to do).

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    So it seems that you all are suggesting either a DownTube or a NWT...I am curious...in your opinion(s)...waht are the pluses and minuses between these two? There's a significant price difference. I wonder why??

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