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  1. #1
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    all around bike ideas?

    Hello all,


    I've long considered the idea of an all around multipurpose bike that is a folder to be a positive development. My requirements would be a comfy ride on many surfaces, but not necessarily off road capabilities(by off road I mean what a modern mountain bike is made for). I don't need the off road capabilities of a mountain bike or the speed of a road bike. I have a Swift, but it's not cutting it as far as multipurpose is concerned. The ride is really rough with the surfaces I ride. I need something that can carry a great deal of weight(maybe 100 lbs.) without the need for a trailer. With 26" or higher tires I prefer steel frames for the comfort so suspension would probably be necessary for my purposes. With suspension an aluminum framed folder should be fine, but for non-suspended it would need to be steel. I would prefer steel and no suspension for simplicity, but either or would do.

    I would need racks front and rear with a load capacity of at least 50lbs front and 50 lbs. rear. Fenders would also be a necessity.

    Do they exist at a reasonable price? This has been sparked by the debate between folding and non-folding bikes.

    I should state that I don't need to commute on a folding bike, I have a place to store a normal sized bike. I don't travel on a train or bus and am not limited within the space or the constraints that a normal sized bikes would carry. My interest is purely out of convenience.

    The Pacific reach tekking seems OK, but it's $1000 USD. This seems like a great deal of money for something that still needs the wheels to come off when folded. The components are also crap for the price compared to a normal bike. This is also a concern. Also, by adding racks would it be a problem with the fold of the bike?

    A little help would be appreciated. The Downtube FS looks interesting due to its price, but the lack of fender and rack mount capabilities seems like a gamble. I'm also not sure it would survive the abuse I normally put on bikes if fenders and racks could be mounted, let alone with the added weight I normally expect on racks. I'm not careful at all when I ride, hence my problem with the Swift on irregular surfaces.

    I love the idea of folders and am looking for the justification to look further into one.

    Thanks for reading, Todd

  2. #2
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    jur, your comments are appreciated. Levity is a concern. No sarcasm here. You seem to have a unique opinion on everything. Thanks, Todd.

  3. #3
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    Is a full size folder a consideraion?
    http://www.thorusa.com/dahon/2007/matrix.htm
    20" internal gears, fenders and rear rack, front rack available
    http://www.thorusa.com/dahon/2008/vitessed7.htm
    http://www.thorusa.com/dahon/accessories/racks.htm

  4. #4
    eight spokes somnatash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by imeself View Post
    ... I have a Swift, but it's not cutting it as far as multipurpose is concerned. The ride is really rough with the surfaces I ride... I'm not careful at all when I ride, hence my problem with the Swift on irregular surfaces.... Todd
    Its a pity that the Swift does not come in steel any more. Did you try thudbuster for the rear? Pantour suspension in front, ergon in front?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Lalato's Avatar
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    Sounds like you want a full suspension folding bike. The Downtube might work for you... and you can't beat the price. You'll have to find the racks and panniers that will work with it though as I'm not sure anyone has outfitted one for touring.

    You might also look into the Birdy (which has a touring version with all the accessories you said you want).

    Finally, you might also take a look at the suspension models from Dahon. They would be somewhere between the Downtube and Birdy in price. Accessories are readily available for Dahon bikes, but their stated weight allowances may be too low for your needs.

    --sam

  6. #6
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    The Butt Buddy is a cheap suspension, try that for your Xootr.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dynocoaster View Post
    The Butt Buddy is a cheap suspension, try that for your Xootr.
    Where can I order a Butt Buddy. I tried amazon and google shops but I couldnt find it. I did find thudbusters but they cost more than my bike!

    Is it known by another name... something less racy. Who manufactures them anyway?
    Last edited by noob_island; 09-28-08 at 07:42 PM. Reason: forgot to add

  8. #8
    Senior Member Lalato's Avatar
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    Butt Buddy is available from Sidetrak...

    http://www.sidetrak.com/Catalog/comp...l#Butt%20Buddy

  9. #9
    jur
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    That seems like quite the bike you want. I don't know if it exists, even potentially, in a folder. Clearly if you don't need a folder specifically for this sort of job, then you would be better served elsewhere. About the only benefit I see for your application is the ability to fold and put it into the car instead of lugging it along on a bike rack.

    Note re harshness: The fairly uniform consensus about smaller wheels having a harsher ride, has made me think a lot about why I don't seem to have the same problem. I have reached a conclusion that perhaps my tyres are softer compared to what others ride with, and/or I have gotten used to it, and/or my riding style has subtly changed so that unconsciously I use my legs a lot when rolling over rough terrain. So on that score I would seem to be the wrong person to ask (I seem to be on some potent Kool-Aid, clouding my analytical thinking ). I do think, after analysing the math of wheel movement over bumps, that it is generally exaggerated, and a bike's ride quality comes from everything, not only wheel size; however wheel size is often blamed for everything.

    Note re steel: for a frame to be compliant enough so you would notice any particular frame to be more comfortable, it would need to flex vertically a similar amount as tyres do, which would be several mm at least. It seems to me folding frames, or rather frames with small wheels, have shorter front fork tubes so these would flex less leading to increased harshness. Rear forks due to their triangular profile would not flex any meaningful amount unless the seatstay tubes are wavy side-to-side. I'm not aware of any folding bike with snake stays. So my conclusion is that folding bike frames do not flex any meaningful amount for this to be noticable as providing a softer ride. Therefore frame material has a negligible contribution in this regard. (This conclusion about frame material is shared by some very knowledgable people.)

    Just for the sake of comparing apples with oranges, my steel R20 is quite as rigid as my aluminium Swift, or more so, since the seatpost flex accounts for a large amount, and the Swift has a much longer post. I had an Easton EC70 carbon seatpost on my Swift and the suspension properties it gave were *very* significant indeed. So the seatpost is a very important area where you can introduce suspension on a given frame. The Thudbuster has my strong recommendation. Anyway, I don't think the assumption that a steel frame will provide a softer ride is a valid one.

    By far the best place to introduce suspension is at the tyres. Point for point, a fat tyre beats every other system easily - it's much cheaper, it is much lighter, it has essentially zero unsprung weight, it is easily adjustable for load and preference, it usually does not require a bike mod. Big Apples pumped to a sensible value, say 40psi (unloaded bike case) would perform very well indeed. Primo Comets also come in 2" IIRC. These have supple casings resulting in not too big a rolling resistance penalty.

    To carry the sort of weight of 50lb each front and back will require a strong racking system, which you probably couldn't buy at the big chain stores, and which would interfere with folding as you point out.

    The Reach Trekking is not a bad choice; the latest models AFAIK have bosses and threaded inserts for racks. There is also a folding rack (mine has one) with side braces for panniers. I don't know what the weight limit is. The componentry isn't all that flash; but for quite a modest amount you can start upgrading to nicer shifters and derailer as these wear out. the wheels are strong and will last long especially if you try not to brake too much using the rear brake.

    The Birdy has loaded racks designed-in but I don't know if they are rated for the sort of load you have in mind. Plus they are poorly supported in the US, I understand, quite besides being a whole boatload of money dearer than the Reach.

    You might be able to mod a R20 into a carry-all but that bike while steel and very sturdy indeed, requires loads of ingenuity, handiness and doesn't fold small at all. Mine fits into my Rav, that's about the best I can say for its folding.
    Last edited by jur; 09-29-08 at 08:59 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member GTALuigi's Avatar
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    I'm quite happy with my Mu SL, with Off Road tires, and suspension upgrades, and rear rack to carry my back pack.

    how i ride with ease, and go on / off road, jump off edges, with no problem at all.

    the back pack now is tight securely to the rear rack, so it no longer throws me off balance, when i corner hard, or jump off the road.

  11. #11
    Senior Member alhedges's Avatar
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    There are ways of getting what you want, but I don't think that there are easy, practical solutions.

    A BF NWT or Llama should both be able to carry 100 lbs on the racks - the rear is rated for 60, the front can carry 40...but at some point your weight would matter, too. I.e., the max weight for a non-upgraded llama is 260 lbs. That's not the total bike weight; there is an allowance for gear...but the allowance is not, I'm sure, 100 lbs. If you weigh ~160 lbs, of course, there is no issue; there is probably not an issue with 180 lbs, but you'd want to check. Add big apple tires and you probably don't need a suspension, although you could always get a thudbuster seatpost. But by now you'll looking at - very roughly - $1,800.

    The second issue is that racks make the folding less convenient. I have a NWT that I use for loaded bike camping (the panniers fully loaded; me slightly loaded); it takes me about 10 minutes to remove or replace the racks on the bike. This is perfectly acceptable if you putting the bike in the car and driving several hours, but less useful if you want a buddy to give you a ride home from the bar.

    The other question is how much sense a folding bike with that much carrying capacity makes. If I had a bike with a large carrying capacity, I can think of a lot of uses for it around my city, but I can't think why I would want to take that bike with me when I visit friends in other cities. And even the 10 or so minutes you would spend converting the bike from one use to another would become a little annoying, I think - if you're going to ride you bike to the grocery store, you probably don't want to spend 10 minutes before you leave adding your racks to the bike - and if you are going somewhere where you might want to fold the bike, you won't want to spend 10 minutes removing them.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jur View Post
    I do think, after analysing the math of wheel movement over bumps...
    I sincerely and respectfully would really like to see this calculation if you wouldn't mind sharing it. I think you think I was attacking you personally (in fact you stated that), however I really wasn't. There are far more than you on this site rabidly in love with folders, and that's fine. Some cold hard numbers on the smaller wheels could present an irrefutable case.

  13. #13
    jur
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    Here are the results only - I don't have the math in a nice convenient publishable form, I did it on scraps of paper and programmed the computer to run with the math.

    Later in that thread the deceleration effect of a bump was questioned; I didn't include that into the sim and haven't given it further attention. The sim treated vertical displacement and acceleration only since I was wondering about harshness.

    I have to apologise for going on the attack. I have no excuse. Sorry.

  14. #14
    40 yrs bike touring
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    You might consider a Pashley/Moulton APB[All Purpose Bicycle]. It does not fold but separates into several pieces. It is not inexpensive but used ones appear with some regularity on sales lists.

    My Moulton ATB was the prototype for the APB and could carry significant weight front and rear in comfort due to the 406/20 inch wheels and front and rear suspension. I do not know the weight limits for the Pashley rack version.

  15. #15
    eight spokes somnatash's Avatar
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    Did you consider to use a steel 26" wheeler which can be very sturdy, bear the heaviest loads and can be cheap - and mount S&S couplings? Really, if you don't need to fold for busses and trains, a separable bike could be more what you need for convenience. And this would be more likely to be doable in your budget. Did you search in the utility forum for bikes for heavy loads?
    Or perhaps you can get a steel swift? Still, if I were you, I would try to improve the swift and smooth the ride by giving it the suspension by the already named means.

  16. #16
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    It would be helpful if you mentioned what about the Swift proved unsatisfactory and what steps you already tried to improve the situation.

    Was it how racks were mounted?
    Was it just comfort? --> What tires did you try? Perhaps the thudbuster attachment would be a cheaper alternative than a new bike.

    I recall that if you got a custom Swift from Peter Reich or Jan VanderTuin that he would braze on rack mounts and the such. So if you liked everything about the bike except that -- or the frame meterial -- perhaps that would be your answer.

    Alternatively, a BF Llama might fit you better -- and consequently be more comfortable. It can fit wide tires and be purchsed with a front suspension (Pocket Gnu).

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by imeself View Post
    Hello all,


    ...The ride is really rough with the surfaces I ride. I need something that can carry a great deal of weight(maybe 100 lbs.) without the need for a trailer. ...I would need racks front and rear with a load capacity of at least 50lbs front and 50 lbs. rear. Fenders would also be a necessity.

    ...The Pacific reach tekking seems OK, but it's $1000 USD. This seems like a great deal of money for something that still needs the wheels to come off when folded. The components are also crap for the price compared to a normal bike. This is also a concern. Also, by adding racks would it be a problem with the fold of the bike?

    I have the Pacific Reach, and for your uses I would stick with a steel framed full-sized bike with a non-suspension fork with braze-ons for a lowrider rack on the front and a heavy-duty rear rack.

    The Reach has decent parts for the money... for a folder. The frame is very good, the ride is great, but I don't think that suspension and heavy frame loads go together unless you can keep the weight on the wheels before the suspension gets involved. With the Reach that is easy on the rear wheel, but the front suspension doesn't seem to be well suited for an extra 50 pounds. As for the fold, you only take off the front wheel, but if you don't have the fancy folding Reach rack (about $100), conventional rear racks make the fold larger.

    For any folder, having a large load pretty much destroys the ability to fold without taking the load off the bike racks. You could fold the Reach if you had panniers on, but the rear ones would be upsidedown when folded. The front would be OK, since you just remove the front wheel. For side-folders like Downtubes and Dahons the panniers would keep the bike from closing up on the folder-side unless you removed them.

    You also probably don't want the same amount of weight front-and-rear, bikes handle better if it is more like a 60-40 or 70-30 ratio between rear and front. Lots of weight on the front wheel makes steering quite challenging

    A 100-pound load on a bike is a more than I would want on a regular basis. I used to put 50 pounds of groceries on my old fixed wheel beater Chiorda back when I was carless, but if you really want to load the bike down you can't beat an old steel bike or a aluminum-framed touring bike frame like this Nashbar one.

    http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...Frames%2FBikes

    Good luck on your quest... there has to be a reason to get a folder if you think about it enough

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jur View Post
    Here are the results only - I don't have the math in a nice convenient publishable form, I did it on scraps of paper and programmed the computer to run with the math.

    Later in that thread the deceleration effect of a bump was questioned; I didn't include that into the sim and haven't given it further attention. The sim treated vertical displacement and acceleration only since I was wondering about harshness.

    I have to apologise for going on the attack. I have no excuse. Sorry.
    That's very interesting... I have limited knowledge of MechE software (more inputs than I have brain cells), but even if the vertical accelerations are lower I have a theory of why the displacement felt by the user might be muted if all else the same. Since deflection increases exponentially with member length, the extra length on the fork might deflect up to an 1/8th of an inch (uh...4 millimeters without looking it up?) or more providing lateral damping on a larger wheel set depending on the material/cross section geometry. Just a thought... Something like this could probably be the topic of a dissertation for a multidisciplinary team. In any case, thanks, and if you ever get around to compiling the math I'd like to see it since my familiarity of what exactly the program is doing and what was inputted is very limited. I would imagine perception of how "harsh" each rides is individual and dependent on riding style as well as tires, wheel set, and a whole lot more... My main trouble with my tikit is fit and I'm tired of dumping money into it trying to fix it. I have two sizes (medium and large stock) and can't seem to get either of them dialed in after a lot of effort. I never really considered the wheel size itself to be an issue, just the annoyance of an expensive bike with lots of expensive add-ons that doesn't meet my personal expectations. Anyone want to buy a tikit for $4k so I can at least break even? (exaggerating)

    No need to apologize. My wife knows I have limited tact, and she deals with it. She often looks like this: But over the years she has gotten much better at knowing what I meant and overlooking what I said. I expect very few could do that.

  19. #19
    jur
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Smith View Post
    ... and if you ever get around to compiling the math I'd like to see it ...
    It's quite simple actually. The vertical displacement can easily be visualised by taking the wheel and drawing a horizontal line next to it 25mm off the ground... the section of wheel below the line (a shallow arc), inverted, equals the vertical displacement of the axle when rolling over a thin edge-like bump. So that geometrical shape (plus a short horizontal section between the edges) was inputted to a damped sprung mass system. That's all. The spring-like behaviour of a pumped tyre is reasonably accurate; for damping I picked values that seemed close to what I observe.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Lalato's Avatar
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    I love how you say... "it's quite simple" and then you write all this stuff that makes my head spin until I'm dizzy.

    --sam

  21. #21
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    So, I'm a little confused. Are you looking for an all-around bike? Or a cargo bike?

    If you mean "I want a general purpose bike," lots of folders can do that.

    But if you are regularly hauling 100lbs of gear, really you're after a specialized cargo bike. You should ditch the folder concept and look into a Surly Big Dummy (200lb cargo capacity) or some other type of Xtracycle, which are explicitly designed to haul big loads. Or reconsider the trailer option. Especially since, as Jur points out, you're not likely to fold the bike when it's got 4 heavy bags on it.

    As to whether a cheap off-the-shelf folder can haul 100 lbs of stuff and an unknown amount of rider weight.... Kind of hard to say. The single biggest issue is that most folders list a max weight allowance of 250 lbs; so if you weigh more than 150, you might be fine but you also might start breaking stuff.

    The next issue is ground clearance; 20" folders are low to the ground, which can be good in terms of affecting ride feel, but also means that pannier size can be limited. Use big bags, and they'll scrape on the ground continuously. Not good.

    Normally I'd point out how 20" wheels have more responsive handling, but if you're throwing 100 lbs of gear on it, that's going to radically alter the handling in ways beyond my experience.


    Finally.... If you're going to throw $1000 at a folder and have a total weight over 250 lbs, I'd talk to Bike Friday, tell them what you want to do with the bike, your budget and see what they can do for you.

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