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-   -   Downtube FS on public transport? (http://www.bikeforums.net/folding-bikes/452369-downtube-fs-public-transport.html)

chagzuki 08-10-08 07:17 AM

Downtube FS on public transport?
 
I'm not getting on as well with my 20" Dahon as I'd hoped and I'm considering something that'll smooth out the often mangled London road surfaces better. I've more or less gotten used to getting my Dahon through ticket barriers and other obstacles and I'm wondering if the Downtube FS will be significantly less adept in that area. Things that I'm concerned about are:

Probable greater width when folded combined with the fact that, as far as I know, there's no locking system on the handlebars which are on the outside when folded. I can imagine this causing some trouble and perhaps has more chance of getting tangled. Though looking at the official stats the Downtube claims to be a smaller fold, with 9cm off the height and equal width and length. Something is odd there, unless the Downtube wheelbase is much shorter than the dahon there's no way it could be the same length when folded as it rests differently on the ground.

I don't know how secure the bungee cord lock system is for the frame when carrying and wheeling when folded. I wouldn't want the bike to be flapping around when I'm trying to wheel it through awkward spaces (it's awkward enough already with 20" bikes just due to the size). The Dahon is good in that department: the magnet system works well and the handlebar is secure, sandwiched in the middle.

Then there's the weight factor. I don't know how accurate official stated weights are. According to the Dahon website my Vitesse is 11.9 kg, but I don't know whether that includes all accessories such as the ludicrously heavy rear rack which I've removed. I've tried weighing my bike in its slightly modified state on standard bathroom scales and I think it's closer to about 10.7. The stock pedals were very heavy and I've shaved about 300 gms off there.
According to the downtube website the 9FS is 27 lbs or 12.24 kg. That's only marginally more heavy than the Dahon's official weight, but I don't know if that weight includes rear rack. If, as I suspect, my Dahon with mods/upgrades is more like 10.7kg, then that's a significant difference and I can imagine that extra weight make the Downtube awkward to shift around on trains and the like. On top of that I've seen the weight listed as 28 lbs elsewhere, though perhaps that was the 2008 version, but leaves me uncertain. I don't think I'd be able to lose any weight by component change as the pedals on the 2009 model are already light and the seat looks less chunky than the stock Dahon seat. I'm looking at the Downtube FH with the internal gear hub and the stated weight is also 27 lbs: that can't be right. There must be some inaccuracy in these figures somewhere.

To summarise, I don't know the real weight difference between bikes so any incite there would be appreciated, and I'd like some views on the Downtube fold and it's portability.

Lalato 08-10-08 07:39 AM

I can't speak specifically about the Downtube, but I can comment on bungie. I use a bungie cord to keep my Giant Halfway together when folded. It works rather well and only takes an extra couple of seconds to put on. A velcro strap will likely work just as well.

--sam

invisiblehand 08-10-08 07:46 AM

How crowded is your public transport?

Personally, I always recommend one of the 16"-wheel bikes -- or smaller -- for public transport.

mulleady 08-10-08 07:58 AM

I recommend Schwalbe Big Apple tyres for your Vitesse. It's a very good bike and these tyres are designed to smooth the ride.

The only proviso is that the brakes and mudguards (fenders) have the clearance for the thicker 20" x 2" dimensions. Anyone more expert to say categorically if the Vitesse will fit Big Apples easily in this case?

chagzuki 08-10-08 09:03 AM

Invisiblehand, I wouldn't be battling through peak-time London transport, no way. That'd be a real pain even with a 16" folder, I think. Well, it's a real pain anyway.

mulleady 08-10-08 09:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chagzuki (Post 7242802)
Invisiblehand, I wouldn't be battling through peak-time London transport, no way. That'd be a real pain even with a 16" folder, I think. Well, it's a real pain anyway.

Doable with a Brompton! I get on packed Paddignton bound peak hour trains quite a bit. The Brompton's compact fold handles it with aplomb!

chagzuki 08-10-08 09:10 AM

Your bike combo, Brompton plus FS is an ideal one, I think. There's no way I could afford a Brompton though. Poor me.

Karlgw 08-10-08 09:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mulleady (Post 7242579)
I recommend Schwalbe Big Apple tyres for your Vitesse. It's a very good bike and these tyres are designed to smooth the ride.

The only proviso is that the brakes and mudguards (fenders) have the clearance for the thicker 20" x 2" dimensions. Anyone more expert to say categorically if the Vitesse will fit Big Apples easily in this case?

Big Apples clear the Black SKS mudguards provided you use the 20 x 2" (406-50) version. There is also a 20 x 2.5" (406-60) version available, which will not clear the mudguards. I am told that if you have the silver mudguards then neither size of Big Apples fit.

I fitted the 406-50 BAs to my Vitesse and they do make a big difference to the ride quality - they also have a very low rolling resistance compared to other 'fat' tyres - comparable to many low profile tyres. You can find more information about these tyres on the folding society website (www.foldsoc.co.uk).

folderster 08-10-08 10:11 AM

My Downtube FS experience was that it was not good in crowded transit situations. Getting it up the Embarcadero staircases in SF during morning rush (wall to wall people and packed trains) was 100% no fun. It's an extrememly awkward fold for carrying in crowds or for long distances, and fussing with a bungie to hold it together seemed silly compared to the easy fold of the Dahon (FWIW, people here say that the Downtube Mini is better).

I think you've already got a really good bike for the price, keep modding the Vitesse. The Big Apples are excellent on my Speed P8, that's a great idea too.

chagzuki 08-10-08 10:24 AM

I've been perusing a few threads here and saw that a few people had swapped their Downtube front suspension for rigid, keeping the rear suspension. Whilst riding today I was trying to work out whether the shocks to my hands/arms or spine were significantly different in the degree to which they bothered me, but I couldn't really tell, experientially they all blurred into one. I don't think I'll figure it out until I've tried the various permutations. I'm hoping I'll be happy with the Big Apples, but I'll also give a suspension seat post a try. Thing is, dahon components are hugely overpriced and hard to get hold of in the UK. I was looking into the possibiliy of buying an aluminium tube and inserting a standard suspension post in the end, but the closest match I could find in diameter was 34.9mm which I assume is too large.

mulleady 08-10-08 11:17 AM

That's where a Dahon at 199 plus 25 is such a good proposition. If you use a bungee cord the fold is fine. While a very good bike I'd use it for other purposes than overcrowded trains though. It will also tell you what you want from a bike in the longer term. The dual suspension works well actually and doesn't give too plush a ride.

There's been an odd one recently 2nd hand on ebay UK too and one now but its orange. Orange ones tend to get snapped up by Snafu25 :P Anyway it's an 8 speed, the 9 speed is a better system and drivetrain.

mrbrown 08-10-08 11:35 AM

Big Apples are very good for the Vitesse. I used to ride an 2006 model and the Big Apples made the ride totally smoother on uneven roads. Do know that BAs are heavier tires and will add some weight to your bike. I still think they are worth the extra weight.

The Thudbuster is also a very good suspension seatpost if you want some nice suspension. You will lose some power on the slopes though. Oh, and it is heavier than the regular seatpost.

I guess there is usually a tradeoff between weight and comfort.

May I also suggest Ergon grips. I have found them very comfortable to ride with. Much better than the stock grips.

I've done mixed mode with both 20-inch and 16-inch Dahons, and in crowded conditions, the 16-inch one is slightly easier to get onboard though the 20-inch model is fine with non-peak crowds.

I'd tweak the Vitesse, if I were you. Do you carry the bike through your station? I usually roll my bike so I am less concerned about the weight. Although I have taken the Tube in London and I've noticed you need to climb stairs a lot.

mulleady 08-10-08 11:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mrbrown (Post 7243422)
Big Apples are very good for the Vitesse. I used to ride an 2006 model and the Big Apples made the ride totally smoother on uneven roads. Do know that BAs are heavier tires and will add some weight to your bike. I still think they are worth the extra weight.

The Thudbuster is also a very good suspension seatpost if you want some nice suspension. You will lose some power on the slopes though. Oh, and it is heavier than the regular seatpost.

I guess there is usually a tradeoff between weight and comfort.

May I also suggest Ergon grips. I have found them very comfortable to ride with. Much better than the stock grips.

I've done mixed mode with both 20-inch and 16-inch Dahons, and in crowded conditions, the 16-inch one is slightly easier to get onboard though the 20-inch model is fine with non-peak crowds.

I'd tweak the Vitesse, if I were you. Do you carry the bike through your station? I usually roll my bike so I am less concerned about the weight. Although I have taken the Tube in London and I've noticed you need to climb stairs a lot.

:thumb:Some good advice there!

chagzuki 08-10-08 12:11 PM

I checked the weight difference with the tyres and I think they'll be adding something like 130 grams extra in total, so it's acceptable.


Are ergon grips good at soaking up vibrations? They look sort of hard in images I've seen, but I think that's merely due to the style of photography.

mulleady 08-10-08 12:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chagzuki (Post 7243576)
I checked the weight difference with the tyres and I think they'll be adding something like 130 grams extra in total, so it's acceptable.


Are ergon grips good at soaking up vibrations? They look sort of hard in images I've seen, but I think that's merely due to the style of photography.

I added them to my Brompton (I had to cut them down a little for the Brompton M bars). Yes they are excellent, not only in terms of comfort but arguably do insulate the wrists and hands.

chagzuki 08-10-08 12:24 PM

As for rolling the bike, I've not found a way to do it that works very well. I've just been looking at this thread: http://www.bikeforums.net/folding-bikes/439561-9ns-dahon-d7-can-any-2-rolled-while-folded.html and I'll have a go with the handlebar method. So far I've been using the saddle; the most comfortable way for me has been to reverse the saddle, hold onto the seat post and let the indentation/cut-away section in the centre of the back of my saddle (not the stock one) lock into my forearm. Makes it easier to balance on one wheel (I'm going to try a Rido saddle this week and that has a similar shape). But should I have to get through a ticket barrier or something like that, I have to lower the seat post, and all the adjusting gets awkward, so I tend to just carry the thing. Which is also somewhat awkward. Which is why potentially the weight/comfort ration might be breached with a full suspension bike: I can imagine it being too cumbersome to carry, but it all depends on what the real-world weights are.

chagzuki 08-10-08 12:27 PM

In the past, before my biking abstention, I was fond of ODI Yeti dual density grips, I think intended for the downhill market. Standard shape, i.e. not ergonomic, but extremely soft on the outside.

snafu21 08-10-08 12:33 PM

I had a Dahon D7, and I currently have a DT IX FS. I would hate to carry either very far, especially on the Tube in the rush hour.

If the other gripe is comfort, then you're sort of limited to new grips, suspension seat post, gel saddle, or a different bike. Big Apple tyres help too, but not as much as you might hope for. Or rather, I hoped for when I had my D7.

Bikes with suspension are excellent for urban adventures...., but they add weight.


Hmmmm. Downtube mini?

chagzuki 08-10-08 01:03 PM

I did state that this wasn't for rush hour journeys. Watching videos of 16 inch wheeled bikes I'm just not convinced, particularly those with a shorter wheelbase like the Curve and Mini. Of course, I'd like to give them a test ride, and perhaps I'd find a combination like mulleady's Brompton & DT FS ideal. But I don't have a lot of money to be chucking about.

chagzuki 08-10-08 01:09 PM

Is there a forum for 2nd hand bike/component sale, specifically for folding bikes? I'm after a Dahon suspension seat post and this site doesn't seem to be the place for that sort of thing. It's a UK problem - if I was USA I'd buy one new but I haven't been able to find one in stock here, and I've been told that 'Dahon are on holiday' (?) at the moment so I'll have to wait up to 3 months, plus the prices here are unreasonable.

Karlgw 08-11-08 04:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chagzuki (Post 7243811)
Is there a forum for 2nd hand bike/component sale, specifically for folding bikes? I'm after a Dahon suspension seat post and this site doesn't seem to be the place for that sort of thing. It's a UK problem - if I was USA I'd buy one new but I haven't been able to find one in stock here, and I've been told that 'Dahon are on holiday' (?) at the moment so I'll have to wait up to 3 months, plus the prices here are unreasonable.

The Cane Creek Thudbuster suspension seatpost is manufactured in a size to fit the Dahon seatpost tube and is available direct from the manufacturer. They have many rave reviews and the Thudbuster is the leading suspension seatpost. They are in the states but will ship internationally. They make 2 seatposts, both of which can be ordered in the size to fit the Dahon seatpost tube. You need to decide whether to go for the short travel or long travel version. The long travel version will provide a better effective suspension at the expense of having a taller folded package (both systems will increase the height of the folded bike). For the Dahon you should order the following: 33.9 x 510mm (LT model) or 33.9 x 460mm (ST model). Shipping costs are $39.50 (they say to expect 5 days) and the posts themselves cost $139 (both LT and ST) so your total cost will be $178.50 (about 93). Of course theoretically you should also pay import duties - I don't know how that works or how much it would add to the cost. The website is here: http://www.thudbuster.com/.
I've thought about buying one of these myself but put it off for now. If you get one I'd love to hear how you get on with it.

Karlgw 08-11-08 06:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chagzuki (Post 7243811)
Is there a forum for 2nd hand bike/component sale, specifically for folding bikes? I'm after a Dahon suspension seat post and this site doesn't seem to be the place for that sort of thing. It's a UK problem - if I was USA I'd buy one new but I haven't been able to find one in stock here, and I've been told that 'Dahon are on holiday' (?) at the moment so I'll have to wait up to 3 months, plus the prices here are unreasonable.

The Thudbuster suspension seatpost is available direct from the manufacturer. They have many rave reviews and are the leading suspension seatpost. They are in the states but will ship internationally. They make 2 seatposts to fit the Dahon seatpost tube. You need to decide whether to go for the short travel or long travel version. The long travel version will provide a better effective suspension at the expense of having a bigger folded package (both systems will increase the height of the folded bike). You should order the following: 33.9 x 510mm (LT model) or 33.9 x 460mm (ST model). Shipping costs are $39.50 (they say to expect 5 days) and the posts themselves cost $139 (both LT and ST) so your total cost will be $178.50 (about 93). Theoretically you should also pay VAT and possibly import duties - VAT would bring it up to 109.28 and, if I understand it correctly, import duty, charged at 3.5% would be below the 7 minimum and thus would be waived - but I may have interpreted this wrongly - see this website for details: http://tinyurl.com/5b4873). The Thudbuster website is here: http://www.thudbuster.com/

SesameCrunch 08-11-08 07:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chagzuki (Post 7243780)
Watching videos of 16 inch wheeled bikes I'm just not convinced, particularly those with a shorter wheelbase like the Curve and Mini.

You don't need to worry about the ride quality or stability of the Mini. I'm 6' tall, 190 lbs. I have ridden my Mini under very "aggressive" conditions - 40 miles, 1,000 feet of climbing, downhills up to 38 mph. It's a very stable bike, I never felt uncomfortable, not even at 38mph down hill. The only reason I didn't go faster is because I ran out of gearing, not because I was afraid of the bike.

I do run Big Apple tires on mine, and I think it's a significant upgrade.

Sammyboy 08-11-08 07:30 AM

I've used my FS on peak hour services to and from Waterloo, and it's fine - you can always find some corner to stow it in. I wouldn't want to take it on the underground however. The Downtube Mini, I've got to tell you, is even better in either situation, though still a bit cumbersome on the deep lines. If the extra 125 is on hand, I'd go with the Mini.

mrbrown 08-11-08 08:35 AM

Ergons are softer, and the wider grips mean you can rest on them instead of having to grab them. So yes, they help with vibrations a lot.


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