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  1. #1
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    A Taxonomy of Folders (Commuter, Lifestyle, and Packing)

    I'd say there are three main types of folders out there: commuter, lifestyle, and packing. Each gives a different order of priority for the ideal folding bike qualities of compactness (usually defined as the volume of the smallest box the bike can fit in), ride quality (comfort, speed, handling, and generally the ability to immitate a conventional bike...even in those controversial aspects where conventional bikes may actually be inferior), ergonomics (the folded package's ability to mesh well with life situations without needing to be abandoned on the wayside). In terms of these qualities the priorities are:

    Commuter:
    1. Compactness
    2. Ride quality
    3. Ergonomics

    Lifestyle:
    1. Ergonomics
    2. Compactness
    3. Ride quality

    Packing:
    1. Ride quality
    2. Compactness
    3. Ergonomics

    And here is a short list of folders which fit into each category:

    Commuter:
    -Most Dahons
    -Brompton
    -Birdy
    -Downtubes

    Lifestyle:
    -Strida
    -A-bike
    -Carry Me
    -Mobiky

    Packing:
    -Most Bike Fridays
    -Large wheeled Dahons
    -Xootr Swift
    -Montagues
    -Moultons

    Now this isn't to say that all of these bikes have exactly these priorities (many of them probably have #2 and #3 reversed), but I think a lot of the disagreement and confusion in this forum boils down to a misunderstanding over which subclass of folding bike is most important or of primary interest.

    In particular I think a lot of the criticism directed at particular folders or folders in general is really intended for one subclass (for example, I've read comments that "folding bikes do not offer a good compromise compared to conventional bikes" or that "the Brompton is the best overall") or even the wrong subclass ("the Strida is unrideable"). Also I think a lot of contradictory advice is given to people who don't understand the distinctions between these subclasses (often people are given suggestions from the Stridas to Dahons to Bike Fridays because they say they want a good ride, a small fold, and good ergonomics without specifying their priorities). So I think we would all do well to keep these subclasses in our discussions.
    Last edited by itsajustme; 09-30-08 at 04:51 PM.

  2. #2
    ...poet... timo888's Avatar
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    These categories are somewhat inchoate and your prose is rather vague, if you don't mind my saying so -- "mesh well with life situations" -- what isn't a "life situation"? The whole scheme could be improved by greater concreteness.

    Transit Folders could encompass those compact/maneuverable enough to be taken on public transit (and that may vary by geographic region). Least emphasis on ride quality and utility accessories.

    Commuting Folders could encompass those robust enough to be ridden on poorly maintained city streets and small enough to be taken into the workplace, with greater emphasis on utility accessories (briefcase racks)

    Recreational Riding could encompass those bikes that are quickly and easily folded and small enough to be transported in car trunk or on a boat. Greater emphasis on ride quality and terrain/gearing issues (except for flatlanders) with little or no emphasis on utility and touring accessories.

    Packing/tourist could encompass the slowly folded bikes and bikes requiring tools for disassembly that are small enough to fit in a suitcase, and airline-related issues. Greatest emphasis on ride quality and terrain/gearing issues and touring accessories like pannier racks.

    There is some overlap. Clearly a recreational bike, if it's small enough, and can be outfitted with racks, could go into the packing/tourist category. And there's no reason why a commuter bike, if its ride is good enough, couldn't go into the recreational category.

    Regards
    T
    Last edited by timo888; 09-30-08 at 09:29 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timo888 View Post
    These categories are somewhat inchoate and your prose is rather vague, if you don't mind my saying so -- "mesh well with life situations" -- what isn't a "life situation"? The whole scheme could be improved by greater concreteness.

    Transit Folders could encompass those compact/maneuverable enough to be taken on public transit (and that may vary by geographic region). Least emphasis on ride quality and utility accessories.

    Commuting Folders could encompass those robust enough to be ridden on poorly maintained city streets and small enough to be taken into the workplace, with greater emphasis on utility accessories (briefcase racks)

    Recreational Riding could encompass those bikes that are quickly and easily folded and small enough to be transported in car trunk or on a boat. Greater emphasis on ride quality and terrain/gearing issues (except for flatlanders) with little or no emphasis on utility and touring accessories.

    Packing/tourist could encompass the slowly folded bikes and bikes requiring tools for disassembly that are small enough to fit in a suitcase, and airline-related issues. Greatest emphasis on ride quality and terrain/gearing issues and touring accessories like pannier racks.

    There is some overlap. Clearly a recreational bike, if it's small enough, and can be outfitted with racks, could go into the packing/tourist category. And there's no reason why a commuter bike, if its ride is good enough, couldn't go into the recreational category.

    Regards
    T
    I like this version better.

  4. #4
    eight spokes somnatash's Avatar
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    For fast information a list of qualities (more than 3 and more precise) important to a folder is imho more useful than categories (and try to put the overlapping bikes therein) with perhaps controversial names like "lifestyle" or commute (which varies a lot between persons). The list of these qualities could be found in discussion. In a second step each for of "the usual suspects" could be rated in how far it has that quality. Some attributes will be obvious- some will provoke discussion
    Some important qualities concerning fold that come to my mind are:

    • folded size


    • folded form (compact square; stick-like; flat; cumbersome)


    • folding speed


    • ease of folding


    • will the piece stay together


    There are probably more and some are not important to many. Another quality strongly connected to the above could be "handling when folded/carrying" which depends on:

    • will the piece stay together


    • folded form


    • can it be rolled


    • does it stand alone


    • weight


    • has it a handle or how easy can it be grabbed


    • is it one or more parts


    • will it stain clothes

    ...
    ...
    The above give hints of the ability to go in public transport but also commute and lifestyle. Then one could go on with less specific issues like (the very subjective!) riding qualities and then maintenance, prize range, value of components, supply ... ...

    That as far as pure info is concerned. But:
    I don't see that much severe disagreement and confusion in this forum actually. For me, to read posts like "Brompton is the best overall" or "Strida is unrideable" is entertaining and I welcome those posts. I don't take them too serious and they are a very personal statement which says more about the poster, his likes and dislikes and circumstances than about the bike. For me they are "the salt in the forum-soup". A forum is a community that lives from different views and is more than a sheer information-hotline. I take it that any questioner/reader is intelligent enough to filter from contradictory answers what suits him most. In some cases the newbies priorities will only become clear due to the discussion. So actually, I am myself not so sure if I want to have my proposed list and have it such tidy and analysed
    But then again thanks to imeself for this try to clarifiyng things also.
    Last edited by somnatash; 09-30-08 at 12:39 PM.

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    I did a taxonomy here. Five classes. The last one was somewhat of a grab-bag.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by timo888 View Post
    These categories are somewhat inchoate and your prose is rather vague, if you don't mind my saying so -- "mesh well with life situations" -- what isn't a "life situation"? The whole scheme could be improved by greater concreteness.
    I don't think it's vague at all. A life situation is obviously any common situation in life and I precisely defined "meshing with life situations" as the opposite of "leaving it by the wayside". In other words, the closer to your person a folder can easily be in any situation the more it meshes with life situations. Folders which must be placed 1, 4, 15 feet away from your body are increasingly less "ergonomic" (by my definition). So, for example, a Strida is more ergonomic than a Brompton because it can be more easily kept in contact with the body (such as between the legs) as opposed to next to, underneath, or over your seat.

    How could you say the scheme isn't concrete when I unambiguously classify most of the folders on the market?

    Quote Originally Posted by timo888 View Post
    Transit Folders could encompass those compact/maneuverable enough to be taken on public transit (and that may vary by geographic region). Least emphasis on ride quality and utility accessories.

    Commuting Folders could encompass those robust enough to be ridden on poorly maintained city streets and small enough to be taken into the workplace, with greater emphasis on utility accessories (briefcase racks)
    These both depend heavily on taste and locale. Therefore, I disagree with your presentation of them as categories intrinsic to the bikes themselves.

    Quote Originally Posted by timo888 View Post
    Recreational Riding could encompass those bikes that are quickly and easily folded and small enough to be transported in car trunk or on a boat. Greater emphasis on ride quality and terrain/gearing issues (except for flatlanders) with little or no emphasis on utility and touring accessories.

    Packing/tourist could encompass the slowly folded bikes and bikes requiring tools for disassembly that are small enough to fit in a suitcase, and airline-related issues. Greatest emphasis on ride quality and terrain/gearing issues and touring accessories like pannier racks.

    There is some overlap. Clearly a recreational bike, if it's small enough, and can be outfitted with racks, could go into the packing/tourist category. And there's no reason why a commuter bike, if its ride is good enough, couldn't go into the recreational category.

    Regards
    T
    Not only is there overlap but I don't even see any distinct groups of these categories in the pool of actual folders available. Your groupings also completely ignore the the degree to which one bike can be substituted for another. Clearly in your taxonomy a Brompton and a Strida would be in the same category, yet they obviously can never be substitutes for each other. Hogwash.

    My taxonomy is mutually exclusive with only a few bikes not fitting into any category (for example, the tikit seems to be a cross between a lifestyle folder and a commuter).

    Quote Originally Posted by somnatash View Post
    For fast information a list of qualities (more than 3 and more precise) important to a folder is imho more useful than categories (and try to put the overlapping bikes therein) with perhaps controversial names like "lifestyle" or commute (which varies a lot between persons). The list of these qualities could be found in discussion. In a second step each for of "the usual suspects" could be rated in how far it has that quality. Some attributes will be obvious- some will provoke discussion
    Some important qualities concerning fold that come to my mind are:

    • folded size


    • folded form (compact square; stick-like; flat; cumbersome)


    • folding speed


    • ease of folding


    • will the piece stay together


    There are probably more and some are not important to many. Another quality strongly connected to the above could be "handling when folded/carrying" which depends on:

    • will the piece stay together


    • folded form


    • can it be rolled


    • does it stand alone


    • weight


    • has it a handle or how easy can it be grabbed


    • is it one or more parts


    • will it stain clothes

    ...
    ...
    The above give hints of the ability to go in public transport but also commute and lifestyle. Then one could go on with less specific issues like (the very subjective!) riding qualities and then maintenance, prize range, value of components, supply ... ...
    Your list of attributes is overly confounding because in reality the relative appeal of each attribute is correlated. For example, no user is going to want standing, rolling, ease of folding, or speed of folding without also wanting the others equally. So it makes more sense to simply lump them together in "ergonomics" to whatever extent their sum actually improves the end goal of keeping the bike by your side.

    Likewise with riding attributes like comfort, speed, handling, etc. Most users will value them all together and, thus, it makes sense to group them as "ride quality".

    Lastly, "compactness" seems to be an attribute that speaks for itself.

    Once these natural attributes are recognized a clear patterns appear with most bikes on the market in terms of the way they prioritize the attributes. The natural pattern is exactly my taxonomy and there is no other! I will however, agree that the names of my classes are perhaps too controversial. Call it "multimodal", "sidekick", and "performance" if you like, but I think the three distinct priority lists are undeniable.

    Quote Originally Posted by feijai View Post
    I did a taxonomy here. Five classes. The last one was somewhat of a grab-bag.
    Your taxonomy makes too much of an issue out of wheel size and you ignore the fact that the bikes in your "grab bag" class have clear commonalities (namely the sacrifice of both the traditional qualities of ride and compactness for superior ergonomics).

    If you merge your 20" performance with bikes that happen to fold (because, let's face it anyone considering a bike from one of these categories is considering bikes from both) and you merge your 20" compact with 16" compact (because, let's face it anyone considering a bike from one of these categories is considering bikes from both) and you flesh out what the bikes in your grab bag have in common then you end up with exactly my taxonomy.

    My taxonomy is impeccable.
    Last edited by itsajustme; 09-30-08 at 04:55 PM.

  7. #7
    ...poet... timo888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by itsajustme
    These [i.e. Transit Folders and Commuter Folders] both depend heavily on taste and locale. Therefore, I disagree with your presentation of them as categories intrinsic to the bikes themselves."

    Whether a bike is compact enough to be taken on a populated commuter train (e.g. one without "bike car") or is built robust enough for poorly maintained city streets, has nothing whatsoever to do with "taste". If your bike exceeds size limitations (cf. Caltrain) or if you taco your wheel, throw your chain, or crack your frame riding into a pothole, the issue is not one of personal preference but of suitability of design.
    Regards
    T

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by timo888 View Post
    Whether a bike is compact enough to be taken on a populated commuter train (e.g. one without "bike car") or is built robust enough for poorly maintained city streets, has nothing whatsoever to do with "taste". If your bike exceeds size limitations (cf. Caltrain) or if you taco your wheel, throw your chain, or crack your frame riding into a pothole, the issue is not one of personal preference but of suitability of design.
    Regards
    T
    Yes it does. Some people are more comfortable rudely taking up space than others and hard/fast rules on commuter trains vary by locale (and are generally not enforced very strictly either). Moreover, what is robust enough for city streets depends on preference of riding style and weight of the rider. These issues have almost nothing to do with design and almost everything to do with the user: what kind of person the user is, their disposition, and where they live.

    Compactness, ergonomics, and ride quality are all concrete which leaves personal preference to simply prioritize them so the user can pick a bike aligned with those priorities.
    Last edited by itsajustme; 09-30-08 at 05:08 PM.

  9. #9
    jur
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    I haven't thought of folders in classes such as those presented in the OP. I tend to think more in terms of ride quality and build quality. So you get everything from really bad folders (cheapies on ebay which quickly become landfill) to the other end of high quality folders (Birdy, BF, Reach etc), with Downtube and Dahon a bit more in the middle, although Dahon have a much wider spectrum almost reaching both ends.

    You would find folders with varying folding functionality at both ends of the spectrum.

    So I suppose the message is that since there are quite a few different opinions here, folders can't very well be divided into separate bins. Wheel size is probably as good as any other which is also the most frequently used.

  10. #10
    ...poet... timo888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by itsajustme View Post
    I don't think it's vague at all. A life situation is obviously any common situation in life and I precisely defined "meshing with life situations" as the opposite of "leaving it by the wayside".
    The statements above make me realize that to pursue this much further would be to piss into the wind, but I'll give it one more shot.

    If you would like to become more persuasive in your prose, the first step would be to accept and not deny that you have a vague sense of The Vague. All that flatulent "life situation" and "any common situation in life" fluff-stuff can be dispensed with, because it's all-encompassing -- it doesn't focus your remarks. You would still be able to make your valid point without such ad-man verbiage:

    Quote Originally Posted by itsajustme
    ... a Strida is more ergonomic than a Brompton because it can be more easily kept in contact with the body (such as between the legs) as opposed to next to, underneath, or over your seat.
    though if you would not wish to mislead a reader who is new to folding bikes, you should qualify such a broad remark by saying something like "a Strida is easier and more ergonomic to tote around than some other bikes by virtue of its upright shape when folded; it can be kept close to the body." That would be much better than assigning a special idiosyncratic meaning to the word "ergonomic" ('ergonomic' <> 'kept close by'). No need to create jargon. A bike that rolls when folded can be more ergonomic than one which has to be lifted.

    Quote Originally Posted by itsajustme
    How could you say the scheme isn't concrete when I unambiguously classify most of the folders on the market?
    You do NOT "unambiguously classify most of the folders on the market". The classes are themselves ambiguous and indefinite. What is "Lifestyle"? Your placement of individual bikes is questionable. Why is the Mobiky not in Commuter? It certainly can be used as a commuter bike. A woman in the town where I live manages to take one on the crowded train every day.

    Quote Originally Posted by itsajustme
    These both [i.e. whether a bike is suitable to be taken on public transit or is capable of being ridden on city streets in disrepair] depend heavily on taste and locale. Therefore, I disagree with your presentation of them as categories intrinsic to the bikes themselves. ...
    Some people are more comfortable rudely taking up space than others
    There are many possible classification schemes. Those that are founded on the question "What kind of riding is intended?" will be the most practical. One shouldn't have to say to the person inquiring, "Tell us how RUDE you are, because ANY of these bikes can be taken on the train if you're rude enough... or a scofflaw."

    Suitability-to-task is not primarily a personal riding style/taste/preference issue but a design issue. It's absurd to maintain that the differences between, say, the CarryMe and the Airnimal Rhino boil down to riding style or whether one is rude enough to take the Rhino on the commuter train. To make the example less extreme: if a bike's forks are delicate and narrow and its stock rims are meant for a 1" tire, and it cannot accommodate a wide tire even with a change of rim, it would be unsuitable for riding on poorly maintained streets; or if a bike has very small diameter wheels, weak braking, and lacks braze-ons for disc brakes, it could be unsuitable as daily commuter in the Pacific Northwest where it rains often.

    The virtue of my classification scheme is that the task is clearly set out, and so it is possible to draw up a comprehensive list of bicycle design and component features appropriate to each task, and compare specific bikes against the optimal feature-set (pace forum member jur, who takes his Swift up the mountain scree).

    It's to be expected that someone might ask, "I want a folding bike for riding to work that could fit under my desk, but would also like it to be fun to ride on weekends. My ride to work is flat, but on weekends, I'd like to take it to a park outside the city that has some long steep hills." Then the decision might be to buy the bike better suited to steep hills (e.g. a multi-speed vs a single-speed, pace masochistic forum member makeinu, who has dispensed with gearing) but which also folds small enough to be tucked under the desk.

    Regards
    T
    Last edited by timo888; 10-01-08 at 07:01 AM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member gringo_gus's Avatar
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    Can I propose this borrowed taxonomy for everything, which includes folding bikes therefore:

    a) belonging to the Emperor
    b) embalmed
    c) tame
    d) sucking pigs
    e) sirens
    f) fabulous
    g) stray dogs
    h) included in the present classification
    i) frenzied
    j) innumerable
    k) drawn with a very fine camelhair brush,
    l) et cetera
    m) having just broken the water pitcher
    n) that from a long way off look like flies.'
    it aint the size of your wheels, its the rhythm of you cadence. And I got powergrips too.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by timo888 View Post
    The statements above make me realize that to pursue this much further would be to piss into the wind, but I'll give it one more shot.

    If you would like to become more persuasive in your prose, the first step would be to accept and not deny that you have a vague sense of The Vague. All that flatulent "life situation" and "any common situation in life" fluff-stuff can be dispensed with, because it's all-encompassing -- it doesn't focus your remarks. You would still be able to make your valid point without such ad-man verbiage:

    though if you would not wish to mislead a reader who is new to folding bikes, you should qualify such a broad remark by saying something like "a Strida is easier and more ergonomic to tote around than some other bikes by virtue of its upright shape when folded; it can be kept close to the body." That would be much better than assigning a special idiosyncratic meaning to the word "ergonomic" ('ergonomic' <> 'kept close by'). No need to create jargon. A bike that rolls when folded can be more ergonomic than one which has to be lifted.
    Fair enough. I'm not arguing for my writing style. I'm arguing for my taxonomy.

    Quote Originally Posted by timo888 View Post
    You do NOT "unambiguously classify most of the folders on the market". The classes are themselves ambiguous and indefinite. What is "Lifestyle"? Your placement of individual bikes is questionable. Why is the Mobiky not in Commuter? It certainly can be used as a commuter bike. A woman in the town where I live manages to take one on the crowded train every day.
    How in the world are the classes ambiguous or indefinite? The classes are defined by an order of priorities, which is about as pure and definite as it gets. Either one thinks that attribute A is more important than attribute B, or they think that attribute B is more important than attribute A, or they think that the two are equal. I can't even imagine anything more well defined than that.

    As per the attributes themselves, they are, by and large, directly linked to concrete physical measurements. Compactness can be measured with a ruler, "alacrity to staying close to the body" (I'm using this term for your benefit even though "ergonomics" would be a much simpler and direct way to describe it in this context) can also be measured with a ruler over the course of usage (every time you take the bike with you somewhere, measure the distance and take the average), and there are a number of ways to measure ride quality in its various incarnations (whether it be speed with a stopwatch, comfort via measuring vibrations, or handling by measuring trail, etc).

    Tell me, what could possibly be less ambiguous?

    Also, there is nothing questionable about the placement of the bikes at all. Any bike can be used to commute just as any bike can be used for any other task. Therefore, using such definitions for a taxonomy would be useless because it would offer no distinction, discrimination, or comparison.

    On the contrary, a useful taxonomy must define categories which are both exclusive and based on concrete unambiguous attributes to give clear boundaries with which to compare different bikes. It's useful to have a "commuter" category because that is a task many people are interested in and since certain attributes are more desirable for commuting than others it makes far more sense to assign the "commuter" moniker to those bikes as opposed to nebulously defining it as all the bikes which can or are used for commuting (ie all bikes).

    So there's absolutely no reason to question the placement of the Mobiky in the commuter category. Yes, it can be used for commuting just as any other bike, but since it sacrifices ride quality for small compact wheels and the compactness of it's fold for the ergonomics of a quickly folded package that can be rolled alongside, it is generally less optimized for the task of multimodal commuting than if its design had prioritized ride quality over ergonomics and compactness over ride quality. Are there some people that might find the "lifestyle" order of priorities better for there commutes? Yes, which is why I'm not married to the names of the categories as much as the categories themselves, but in the interest of brevity it's nice to be able to refer to each category by some name and since I believe that the priorities of most commuters on folding bikes are most closely aligned to the priority list which I've referred to by the "commuter" moniker that's the name I chose. If you can think of a better name then post it.

    Quote Originally Posted by timo888 View Post
    There are many possible classification schemes. Those that are founded on the question "What kind of riding is intended?" will be the most practical. One shouldn't have to say to the person inquiring, "Tell us how RUDE you are, because ANY of these bikes can be taken on the train if you're rude enough... or a scofflaw."

    Suitability-to-task is not primarily a personal riding style/taste/preference issue but a design issue. It's absurd to maintain that the differences between, say, the CarryMe and the Airnimal Rhino boil down to riding style or whether one is rude enough to take the Rhino on the commuter train. To make the example less extreme: if a bike's forks are delicate and narrow and its stock rims are meant for a 1" tire, and it cannot accommodate a wide tire even with a change of rim, it would be unsuitable for riding on poorly maintained streets; or if a bike has very small diameter wheels, weak braking, and lacks braze-ons for disc brakes, it could be unsuitable as daily commuter in the Pacific Northwest where it rains often.

    The virtue of my classification scheme is that the task is clearly set out, and so it is possible to draw up a comprehensive list of bicycle design and component features appropriate to each task, and compare specific bikes against the optimal feature-set (pace forum member jur, who takes his Swift up the mountain scree).

    It's to be expected that someone might ask, "I want a folding bike for riding to work that could fit under my desk, but would also like it to be fun to ride on weekends. My ride to work is flat, but on weekends, I'd like to take it to a park outside the city that has some long steep hills." Then the decision might be to buy the bike better suited to steep hills (e.g. a multi-speed vs a single-speed, pace masochistic forum member makeinu, who has dispensed with gearing) but which also folds small enough to be tucked under the desk.
    I agree completely, except you don't seem to understand what the task is. If riding was all the task entailed then there would be no reason to ever consider folding bikes at all.

    This is exactly the kind of confusion and disagreement I was referring to in my original post. The design of a folding bike as would be ridden is only the primary concern for a limited class of folders (the class which I've referred to as "packing"). Most folders consider a more complicated task for which stowing the bike or carrying it at ones side compete for importance with riding. The problem is that people like you come along trying to compare bikes based only on the ride while not giving enough attention to the rest of the task (which can be the number one concern for some kinds of folders). This is exactly why I have proposed this taxonomy, so that before you consider the merits of the various bikes you can identify the task the bike is best suited for. Then you can consider the riding aspects which you've outlined (and consider them indepth in the case of "packing" folders for which ride quality is a high priority of the task or only briefly in the case of "lifestyle" folders for which ride quality is almost irrelevant to the task), but the foremost top level taxonomy must first identify the task and that's what mine does.

    The fact that you go into such detail about rims, hills, and so many other riding aspects while simply glossing over the folding aspect as merely "fitting under my desk" shows that my classification scheme is essential to give folders for which ride quality is a lower priority a fair examination. Your taxonomy is secondary and it's also redundant because there are already plenty of useful taxonomies of riding which can always be applied to a folding bike after the importance of riding in the overall task has been identified.
    Last edited by itsajustme; 10-01-08 at 10:44 AM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Lalato's Avatar
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    Just wondering if your attributes... ergonomics, compactness and ride quality... couldn't be better named as Function, Form and Ride. Anyway... just throwing that out there.

    --sam

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lalato View Post
    Just wondering if your attributes... ergonomics, compactness and ride quality... couldn't be better named as Function, Form and Ride. Anyway... just throwing that out there.

    --sam
    About "function" and "form", let's look at an example outside of folding bikes: bags and boxes.

    Which storage device gives a higher priority to function and which gives a higher priority to form? Intuitively bags seem to have more function (boxes seem more static and "function" seems active), but I don't think it's fair to say that either has better form.

    Boxes have a great form for minimizing volume and being stored on, in, and around other boxes, but bags clearly have a form that has better harmony with the form of the human body. Harmony with the human body = ergonomic (by definition).

    Seems that we have the same situation with folders. Brompton has a square form analogous to a box, but Strida has a form that can better mate with the form of the human body. Yes, the Strida's fold is probably also more functional, but that function is really ergonomic function anyway (because humans generally move around being able to roll the bike is a function in pursuit of harmony with the human function). So the Strida is ergonomic in both function and form, but the Brompton clearly has something going for it....its form is compact:
    Compactness vs Ergonomics

  15. #15
    Senior Member Lalato's Avatar
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    I think you're just stuck on the words you came up with... which is fine. They're fine words. I'm just always looking to simplify.

    As for the basic categories: Commuter, Lifestyle and Packing... There is definitely something missing there that I can't quite put my finger on. Timo's suggestions work a little better, but I'm not sure if they quite get it either.

    Tell you what... I'll think about this and post again.
    --sam

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    Purchasers of armoured fighting vehicles classify their new toys on a 3-axis chart: firepower, armour, mobility. usually you have to chose one at the expense of another but sometimes you can expand the triangle.
    Folding bikes are pretty similar (except you cant blow up stuff with them). My suggestion for a 3 axis scatter graph would be:
    Rideability, Foldability, Carry-ability.

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