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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 09-22-08, 07:21 PM   #1
tedi k wardhana
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normal bike vs folding??

originally posted this in the commuting board, but got little respons.

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Originally Posted by tedi k wardhana View Post
dear all,
I have been bike commuting for almost 4 years now.
used a hybrid bike, a normal bike, until recently.
2 years ago we moved farther from the capital city. and it is about 40-50km away from jakarta.
since I don't own a car, nor a motorcycle (most indonesians own a motorcycle),
I had to reinvent the commute.
first tried to bring my hybrid bike on the train.
the trip to work was ok, since I am freelancing, can avoid the morning rush.
but the problem was, when coming home. train is so full, cannot get my bike into the crowded train.
so pedalling home 40km was the only option. (or sleep at my father's house.)
then tried a mountainbike with quick releases on the wheels, and put in luggage compartment of the bus.

but then, a month ago, bought myself a folding bike.
and now, eventually I am riding my hybrid less and less often.
(except to drop and pick up my 5year old daughter to school.)
when going to jakarta, I ride my folding bike. for more practical reasons...

anyone here, ditch their normal bikes, and ride their folding bikes more???
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Old 09-22-08, 07:43 PM   #2
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There seems to be a general agreement that folding bikes are more practical and more fun to ride. Lots of people including me have ditched their large-wheeled bikes. Despite the general views that small wheels are slow, harsh and prone to get stuck in pot-holes, IMHO these views are wrong or at least poorly understood. Small wheels offer significant advantages and almost no disadvantages.

Folding bikes are usually heavier due to heavier frames and low quality components; but can often be made significantly lighter by selecting lightweight quality components.

So yes you can go ahead and get rid of your hybrid if you want to and use the folding bike exclusively.
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Old 09-22-08, 07:55 PM   #3
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i think a lot depends on what you are used to. i actually found my folder didn't end up meeting any of my needs so i barely use it.
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Old 09-22-08, 08:08 PM   #4
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i think a lot depends on what you are used to. i actually found my folder didn't end up meeting any of my needs so i barely use it.
What folder did you buy and what specifically were your unmet needs?
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Old 09-22-08, 08:23 PM   #5
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That's a nice way for Tim to say "I don't want to look like a total dork" (I think).
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Old 09-22-08, 09:01 PM   #6
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That's a nice way for Tim to say "I don't want to look like a total dork" (I think).

there must be a difference between dork and dorky
I'd prefer dorky (as in nerdy)
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Old 09-22-08, 11:56 PM   #7
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i think a lot depends on what you are used to. i actually found my folder didn't end up meeting any of my needs so i barely use it.
I have a Bike Friday tikit. Initially I used the bike a lot, almost exclusively and thought maybe this was the answer to my gripes of chains and locks. Now I use it less than a third of the time. Folders have their purpose and they fill a niche other bikes can't, like the ability to sneak them into mass transit and buildings. Deciding on a whim one day to pull out a road bike on my commute just for something different I shaved 20 minutes off my normal time and had none of the pain and discomfort I usually get from my tikit when I'm on it too long (tried all sorts of crap to make it comfortable and a lot of $$s wasted, so don't go there). It's also amazing how less bumpy the ride is. To top it off, that particular road bike was about half the cost of my tikit plus all the components I've added onto it trying to get it to behave like the "higher end" bike it's sold as. Going a few blocks down to the grocery, it's the tikit most of the time, and I love it for that purpose. Also going to the beach and throwing two bikes in the trunk of a car is great and they cruise the boardwalk attracting a lot of attention, especially when you fold them up to check out a shop. Trying to get somewhere in a hurry or across town, or even just for some exercise, it's always a different bike. My general impression: buy some ridiculously expensive folding thing if you want, but if you have legs on you you'll probably always dust your times on a folder with a road bike for the same or maybe even less money. There are a LOT of people on this forum drunk on some really strong kool-aid that can't read other forums or ride other bikes anymore, but that's alright. Ride what makes you happy. As long as it is possible for you to use a full size bike, which in the poster's comments is not the case, full size bikes are usually a better choice for most people, especially the 98% of the population that owns one bike. In the biking world it baffles me why anyone would spend their money on something that folds and weighs 30 lbs stock over something that doesn't for less money that weighs only 20 lbs stock unless it was specifically for the benefits a folder can offer in convenience. Folders ARE a compromise to serve a unique purpose, and you're kidding yourself if you don't realize that.
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Old 09-23-08, 12:03 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by tedi k wardhana View Post
there must be a difference between dork and dorky
I'd prefer dorky (as in nerdy)
Really? When my friends say "you're suck a dork....take off those sunglasses, they make you look extra dorky", it's the same for me. In SE Asia, the term is: "same same"?
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Old 09-23-08, 12:10 AM   #9
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Folders ARE a compromise to serve a unique purpose, and you're kidding yourself if you don't realize that.
I agreed 100%. Actually, ALL bikes serve unique purposes and all come with their own compromises.

Road bikes are very aero and allow for high speed. But, you hit dirt, time to get off and walk it.
Mountain bikes are great for dirt & sand & grass, but on a nice black top, you'll be left behind
Hybrids offer great riding position, but they're not as fast as road bikes and can't handle trails like a mtn bike.
Folders are great for what they are, but if they're the "ultimate" bike to have, everyone & their mothers will have one.

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Small wheels offer significant advantages and almost no disadvantages.
I'm not going to argue that point. However, I just want to point out that there are MANY MANY other attributes to think about that are far more important than wheel size when considering a bike (like components, bike weight, frame material, frame geometry, frame stiffness, etc).
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Old 09-23-08, 12:37 AM   #10
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I don't have the problem with crowded trains, so I naturally favor a normal bike.. The question of the small wheel base and stability. I rode one once for half a day, did not like it.. If that is not a problem for you , I sure can see the benefit with their compact size.
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Old 09-23-08, 01:28 AM   #11
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I have a Bike-Friday Pocket-Rocket, which is a high end road bike as far as folders/packable bikes go. I am a freight pilot and travel a lot, so my Rocket sees a lot of use. But it is still only my travel bike. When I am home the Rocket stays in the suitcase unless I need to perform maintenance. I still prefer my full sized road bike.
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Old 09-23-08, 03:14 AM   #12
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My D3 Curve is my main bike at the moment (I live and work close to a train stations) but if the weather is nice i pedal home from work (9 miles mostly along canel and river paths). I'm spending quite a bit to make it more comfy and my riding position is a compromise but still, the situation suits the bike and me.

If I lived somewhere else I would be using my hybrid bike for the commute as it's much more comfortable and faster with less effort (for me at least).

All things in life are some sort of compromise which makes it interesting
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Old 09-23-08, 05:36 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by cyclezealot View Post
... The question of the small wheel base and stability. I rode one once for half a day, did not like it.. .
What folder did you try? Not all folders have a short wheel-base.

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Old 09-23-08, 06:19 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Mr. Smith View Post
... none of the pain and discomfort I usually get from my tikit when I'm on it too long (tried all sorts of crap to make it comfortable and a lot of $$s wasted, so don't go there). It's also amazing how less bumpy the ride is.
Mr Smith, it might help readers considering a Tikit to know the origin(s) of your pain(s) on that bike.

The straight bars which are stock on my Xootr Swift do give me a lot more jolts than the drop bars on my 1980s era Motobecane touring bike; but this is the result of the Swift's semi-upright riding position combined with my torso and arm length: the bones of my arms are out straight (i.e. almost locked at the elbow) and happen to form nearly a continuum with the front fork. I must bring the bars a little higher and sit a little more upright, or lower them and assume a more road-bike posture; in either case, the arms will be bent at the elbow and the muscles can act as springs to absorb the jolts, instead of having the jolt transmitted by bone up to my shoulders. The Xootr Swift is also somewhat bumpier in the rear than my Motobecane tourer, which had a more extended rear triangle; but a Thudbuster (short travel) has solved that problem. The Thudbuster ST does not make pedaling bouncy and inefficient as a rear shock can, and I'm pleased with the price/performance.

Regards
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Old 09-23-08, 06:52 AM   #15
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What folder did you buy and what specifically were your unmet needs?
i got the dahon vitesse 5 speed. i just found it too heavy, too cumbersome to lug around on foot, and the components were disappointing.

i still haven't given up on the idea of a folder, but i would need to get something a little nicer next time.
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Old 09-23-08, 08:27 AM   #16
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i got the dahon vitesse 5 speed. i just found it too heavy, too cumbersome to lug around on foot, and the components were disappointing.

i still haven't given up on the idea of a folder, but i would need to get something a little nicer next time.
So, if you're somewhere in between extremely easy totability and ride-quality...

The least cumbersome to tote around on foot are the Mobiky, the Strida, and the Carry-Me, but you sacrifice gear range for that easy toting, and there are few upgrade components and accessories to choose from because of their highly proprietary designs. The Brompton and the Dahon Curve SL are somewhat more difficult to tote around on foot than these three, but offer a broader gear-range and a wider range of upgrades and accessories.

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Old 09-23-08, 09:23 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by tedi k wardhana View Post
originally posted this in the commuting board, but got little respons.
I thought about it at one point, but was not impressed with the folder I bought (Helios P8) as an only bike. It was great for short trips and to take on travel in a suitcase though.

Most of the time folding isn't an advantage for me and I can buy a lot more bike in a non-folder for the same money as a real high end bike like Bike Friday.

Don't get me wrong, folders are great, but they are a compromise like any bike and if folding isn't needed in a given application I don't see the point. Different strokes though.
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Old 09-23-08, 10:45 AM   #18
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Despite the general views that small wheels are slow, harsh and prone to get stuck in pot-holes, IMHO these views are wrong or at least poorly understood. Small wheels offer significant advantages and almost no disadvantages.
I agree the many advantages of a good folding bike far outweigh any disadvantages, in fact I have yet to come across any disadvantage. I put 3400 miles on my Dahon D7 and have not intention of every buying a road bike. This bike is plenty fast, easily capable of 25+ mph . So sacrificing all the flexibility of the folder for the 2-3 mph faster speed of a road bike ain't worth it!
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Old 09-23-08, 05:52 PM   #19
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...There are a LOT of people on this forum drunk on some really strong kool-aid that can't read other forums or ride other bikes anymore, but that's alright...
I am going to assume you are (at least partly) referring to me. Yours is a typical response of the ignorant who haven't carefully considered what's involved.

The worst part of your poorly thought -through response is that you have ONE folding bike (the quite heavy tikit), and compared that to ONE road bike (seemingly much lighter from your description), and concluded your test case of ONE immediately confirms a universal truth. It doesn't - it merely confirms YOUR case.

I have/had 7 folders and several large-wheeled bikes ranging from slow heavy comfort bikes to light roadies; I won't be foolish enough to ride my Mini, compare the time to that on my last roadie, and conclude ALL folders are necessarily slower than road bikes. No, of my current bikes I can easily see that my Mini is slowest, followed by the R20, then the Yeah and fastest is the Swift which I cannot distinguish from the roadie.

You can't consider one small aspect and immediately draw a universal conclusion. Utter rubbish.
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Old 09-23-08, 07:22 PM   #20
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You can't consider one small aspect and immediately draw a universal conclusion.
We're Americans, mister. Not only can we draw conclusions from near-zero evidence, but we can declare war over it.
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Old 09-23-08, 08:00 PM   #21
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haha noteon, very apt observation. Can i also add that once we are shown the truth, we can keep insisting that we never drew the wrong conclusion in the first place. "I can do no wrong, and did no wrong in the past"

I ride a Tikit, and I have to say its as comfortable and fast as my hybrid ever was...but then again I wasnt a very fast rider, so its probably not the first thing i would notice. In fact i think all my tikit would need to really fly would be for me to gear it a little higher in the future. still it chews up the miles, 9-10 miles and i barely notice ive just been sitting at all. love it!
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Old 09-23-08, 08:04 PM   #22
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We're Americans, mister. Not only can we draw conclusions from near-zero evidence, but we can declare war over it.
Hey, I pass by you frequently. I commute from Chinatown to Washington Heights. I'm the guy on the yellow Birdy. I'll wave tomorrow. I hear Aussies are all Islamacismists. If you try to refute me, people will just believe my words more strongly.

I think my folder is more comfortable and about as fast as a road bike (on a flat). But it is a lot more expensive and a little heavier than a road bike. If I had a bigger place, I would be tempted to put some seat suspension on one of those Titanium generic knock off bikes you can pick up online for $1600. The Birdy equivalent will run over twice as much and still be heavier. Plus, my tires wear out twice as fast. But to take it in the office, throw it in a shopping cart, and tuck it in a home...that makes it all worth the cost and hassle.
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Old 09-23-08, 08:21 PM   #23
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GeneticFlea, I think my much-tinkered-with Swift is a faster bike than my stock Trek hybrid ever was, and my near-stock Trek road bike is faster than either--though not by much. But really, who cares? The folder is plenty fast, and I'm very comfortable doing regular 30-mile days on it. If someone claims a folder's only good for trips to the market, I hear "My bike isn't set up very well, and/or was the wrong bike for me to start with."

pm124, cool! I don't think I'll be out tomorrow (and the rest of the mornings this week are looking bleak too, for annoying logistical reasons), but please do wave if you see me, and I'll do the same.

Wait, who commutes from Chinatown to Washington Heights? Are you a bookie?
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Old 09-24-08, 11:00 AM   #24
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We're Americans, mister. Not only can we draw conclusions from near-zero evidence, but we can declare war over it.
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Old 09-24-08, 11:22 AM   #25
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Folders ARE a compromise to serve a unique purpose, and you're kidding yourself if you don't realize that.
Sure ... and I think that most people on the forum have written as much. But one compromises much less than is suggested by your post, IMO. The comparison is a particularly poor one since one can often say the same thing about their road bike and hybrid. Or a well fitting bike and a generic bike among many possible examples.

If you are interested in making the tikit work better for you, it sounds like you might want to tinker with (1) tire make/pressure and (2) fit. My personal experience is that tires and the pressure used can make a big difference in ride quality. I also mention fit since the optimal fit for your road bike might be suboptimal for a non-road bike. Alternatively, I would put it on EBay since it doesn't seem like you are getting enough out of the bike to warrant its price.

Good luck.
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