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Old 10-04-08, 06:21 PM   #1
beni2200
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Looking for a Bulletproof Folder

I travel all over the place with my folding bike and the thing is really taking a beating! The reflectors are broken off, the rack is cracked and the frame is even bent in a spot. It’s not that I’m a hard rider; it’s just that it gets thrown around by baggage handlers and stacked under hundreds of pounds of luggage. With the way I travel, a hard case is not an option so I need something that will stand up to a beating. I would prefer something with multiple speeds but not a derailleur. Any advice is appreciated! If you want to check out my travels, go to: http://www.foldingbikedestinations.blogspot.com/
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Old 10-04-08, 10:07 PM   #2
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a brompton will fit in a standard suitcase. so get a hard shell samsonite and get a brompton

and
it also when it is folded up a brommie is more
immune to damage from the suitcase being stacked and squeezed

brompton. been all over the planet with it. zero issues
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Old 10-04-08, 10:59 PM   #3
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travering with a dahon is a breeze.
just pack it up into any normal suitcase and you a good to go
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Old 10-04-08, 11:42 PM   #4
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brompton. been all over the planet with it. zero issues [2]
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Old 10-05-08, 02:58 AM   #5
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a brompton will fit in a standard suitcase. so get a hard shell samsonite and get brompton. been all over the planet with it. zero issues
There's no current Samsonite suitcase that the brompton will fit into, as far as I know, unless you consider significant disassembly. The Delsey Axiom was a discovery another forum member made (search threads) being the only (that I've read of) case that the brompton will fit in. I have a flite 31 (Samsonite's biggest I think) and it won't fit in there. I have the Axiom and it does, but it's aided by having the telescoping seatpost so you can pull out the seat and only the nub is present on top. Physical disassembly, as you know, of the brompton can take some time.
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Old 10-05-08, 03:55 AM   #6
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But guys, the OP said "no hard case":

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Originally Posted by beni2200 View Post
... With the way I travel, a hard case is not an option so I need something that will stand up to a beating....
and that's a thing I can understand very well, who wants to carry a hard case when biking around? Still I would double: brompton.
Protect the rear roller wheel stays with cardboard, change the sticking out shifters for a grip shifter, change perhaps (not sure of that) the plastic chain-tensioner for a merc alu, loosen the brakelevers and for the rest a soft case should do.
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Old 10-05-08, 09:05 AM   #7
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I'm wondering about the "no hard case" limitation. Do you mean that you don't want an extra case just for the bike. That you just want to pack the bike in the same luggage as your clothing? Or that you just want to check the bike in without a bag or anything covering it up?

--sam
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Old 10-05-08, 09:30 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by GTALuigi View Post
travering with a dahon is a breeze.
just pack it up into any normal suitcase and you a good to go
Having packed a Dahon P8 series for international travel many times, I may assure you: not a breeze.

Bikes that are a breeze to pack: Brompton (of course), Tikit, certain other Bike Fridays, Dahon Curve.

Last edited by feijai; 10-05-08 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 10-05-08, 09:47 AM   #9
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First, if your frame is already bent then you need to fix or replace the frame ASAP. A bent frame is likely to fail, in which case you will end up kissing pavement.

Second, unfortunately there is no bike that can handle multiple trips in airplane baggage in a soft bag or soft case without sustaining some damage. Using an internal hub does remove one item from the equation, but plenty of other parts can get damaged -- as your bent frame already proves. The best you can do is find some sort of padded bag and protect the components as best as possible.

The only other changes I could possibly think of is to pick up a relatively cheap folder like a Downtube. DT's have very solid frames and cheap but standard parts and a few models with internal hubs (i.e. don't use derailleurs). That way, you have the budget to fix or replace it at will.

By the way, it's a bit unclear on why a hard case isn't an option. You probably have good reasons for this, but it's just not obvious.
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Old 10-05-08, 10:08 AM   #10
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...By the way, it's a bit unclear on why a hard case isn't an option. You probably have good reasons for this, but it's just not obvious.
I can not speak for the OP of course. How I imagine myself to travel when combined airline and bike travel is with all my gear on the bike (panniers, small backpack) while riding. Imagine you fly somewhere, bike directly out of the airport to your next hostel or to a camping somewhere. You stay not at one hotel and do bike trips from there but do a round trip including rail travel and fly back from another destination. What are you doing with a hard suitcase then? Okay Bike Friday trailer suitcase is an option but riding with a trailer is not everyone's cup of tea, mine definitely not.
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I'm wondering about the "no hard case" limitation.... That you just want to pack the bike in the same luggage as your clothing?...--sam
I would like to have a kind of soft case (or ultra light rimowa like policarbonate bag) where I can put the bike and plastic bagged clothes - which then give some protection - and which splits in kind of two panniers after the air travel.
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Old 10-05-08, 10:32 AM   #11
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Would it be possible to use a hard case, but store the case in a locker while traveling?
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Old 10-05-08, 10:32 AM   #12
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Somnatash's post was exactly right! I fly to my destination, then I unfold my bike and have to take the case with me. You can see why it would be dificult to strap a huge suitcase on my back and bike through the city. With my bike bag, I simply fold it up and put it in my backpack or paniers. The downside of course is that the bike takes a beating in transport. So far, I'm hearing a lot of Brompton, Anyone else feel their bike would be up to the challenge?

Lalato, great idea, but there are many destinations where that isn,t an option. Last week I flew into Parowan Utah. A tiny little town. No lockers, not even an airport terminal and no place to store a bag. Really a softshell case is the best option for me.

Any advice is appreciated!

http://www.foldingbikedestinations.blogspot.com/

Last edited by beni2200; 10-05-08 at 04:15 PM.
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Old 10-05-08, 11:07 AM   #13
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I thought that the Brompton hard case was pretty small in its own right. From a quick internet search, it is pretty expensive. However, it looks like it would strap down pretty easily onto the rear rack or perhaps into a large front bag.

The linked webpage also reads that the case is 23 pounds. That makes the combination of the two awfully close to the common oversize/overweight limit (50 pounds).
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Old 10-05-08, 11:10 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beni2200 View Post
Somnatash's post was exactly right! I fly to my destination, then I unfold my bike and have to take the case with me. You can see why it would be dificult to strap a huge suitcase on my back and bike through the city. With my bike bag, I simply fold it up and put it in my backpack or paniers. The downside of course is that the bike takes a beating in transport. So far, I'm hearing a lot of Brompton, Anyone else feel their bike would be up to the challenge?

Lalato, great idea, but there are many destinations where that isn,t an option. Last week I flew into Parowan Utah. A tiny little town. No lockers, not even an airport terminal and no place to store a bag. Really a softshell case is the best option for me.

Any advice is appreciated!
Downtube Mini w/Sturmey 8spd! .. strong frame.. strong 16" wheels.. inside fold handlepost.. no dangly bits .. comfortable ride... mostly non-proprietary parts that count.. not expensive.
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Old 10-05-08, 11:40 AM   #15
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Final question about a hard case... how about the option of a hard case that converts into a bike trailer? Just wondering...

As for bulletproof bike options... Personally, I think you need the least expensive bike you can get that fits your needs. I believe the suggestion for a Downtube is probably the best. If something drastic happens to it, you can get a replacement for relatively small amount of money. Most of the parts are pretty standard so if something breaks you can get it fixed more easily.

--sam
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Old 10-05-08, 12:18 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Downtube Mini w/Sturmey 8spd! .. strong frame.. strong 16" wheels.. inside fold handlepost.. no dangly bits .. comfortable ride... mostly non-proprietary parts that count.. not expensive.
I have not seen the mini in person and sure from posts here, it must be a gorgeous little bike, certainly worth a close look for the task...but from pics I get the impression that "minis more sticking out parts" when folded are in more danger...no big difference. See in this post the bikes are in pictures compared (here the handlebar in outside, was the hinge turned for handlebar inside?):
Review of Downtube Mini with internal hub
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Old 10-05-08, 12:34 PM   #17
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Yes, I believe the 2009 Downtube Mini has the handlebar folding inside.



--sam
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Old 10-05-08, 01:00 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by beni2200 View Post
Somnatash's post was exactly right! I fly to my destination, then I unfold my bike and have to take the case with me. You can see why it would be dificult to strap a huge suitcase on my back and bike through the city. With my bike bag, I simply fold it up and put it in my backpack or paniers. The downside of course is that the bike takes a beating in transport. So far, I'm hearing a lot of Brompton, Anyone else feel their bike would be up to the challenge?
If we're talking taking bikes on airplanes, the company to beat is Bike Friday. All of their bikes were specifically designed to go onto airplanes. Here's a video of Packing the Tikit in a standard Samsonite oyster shell suitcase. Bike Friday's bikes can also be set up to tow their own suitcases.
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Old 10-05-08, 01:43 PM   #19
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Somnatash's post was exactly right! I fly to my destination, then I unfold my bike and have to take the case with me....
I figured as much. The alternative, in case it isn't obvious, is to take a taxi to a hotel and have them hold the hard case for you until you get back. Assuming you're doing a round-trip flight, of course.

I know it's a different method, but unfortunately without a hard case it's possible that you may arrive at your destination with, for example, a busted spoke. If that's the case, you're not cycling out of the airport anyway.

I will say, though, that even a hard-shell case doesn't offer perfect protection. You'd have to use compression members and hope that if the TSA opens the suitcase, they put things back the way you packed 'em.

But let's face it.... At this point, both common sense and experience is clear that any bag that you can carry with you on your tour is not going to offer very good protection. Perhaps you could learn how to deal with the occasional damage, so it doesn't cause major issues? E.g. take as many classes as possible on bike maintenance, thoroughly inspect your bike after each flight, and bring spare parts & tools with you. It's a handy skill set to have anyway if you tour a lot.
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Old 10-05-08, 01:45 PM   #20
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Bike Friday's bikes can also be set up to tow their own suitcases.
FWIW, any bike that fits in a hardshell case can do this. Bike Friday just has all the pieces in one place at their website.

I have traveled with my Swift in a hardshell Samsonite case, and it works fine. Putting it back together once I take it out of the case is a little annoying, but that's because I suck at bike mechanicking.
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Old 10-05-08, 01:55 PM   #21
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So it sounds like someone needs to invent a folding hard case.
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Old 10-05-08, 02:48 PM   #22
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So it sounds like someone needs to invent a folding hard case.
Yes please: ultra light and transformable to 2-3 bike-panniers

A "folding case" disposable at destinations and comparatively easy to get again could be the cardboard box for TV/microwave/folding bike/..
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Old 10-05-08, 04:13 PM   #23
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It would be nice if someone made a bike bag with plastic tile-like pannels so it could still be folded and put in a backpack and give more protection than a regular soft-shell bike bag.

http://www.foldingbikedestinations.blogspot.com/
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Old 10-05-08, 04:33 PM   #24
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There's no current Samsonite suitcase that the brompton will fit into, as far as I know, unless you consider significant disassembly. The Delsey Axiom was a discovery another forum member made (search threads) being the only (that I've read of) case that the brompton will fit in. I have a flite 31 (Samsonite's biggest I think) and it won't fit in there. I have the Axiom and it does, but it's aided by having the telescoping seatpost so you can pull out the seat and only the nub is present on top. Physical disassembly, as you know, of the brompton can take some time.
well I have a hard shell samsonite and all i do is pop the brompton saddle off and it all
fits in so if they don't sell one that fits anymore then don't go with samsonite
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Old 10-05-08, 04:35 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Lalato View Post
Final question about a hard case... how about the option of a hard case that converts into a bike trailer? Just wondering...

As for bulletproof bike options... Personally, I think you need the least expensive bike you can get that fits your needs. I believe the suggestion for a Downtube is probably the best. If something drastic happens to it, you can get a replacement for relatively small amount of money. Most of the parts are pretty standard so if something breaks you can get it fixed more easily.

--sam

bromton. my hard case can convert to a trailer and be towed behind the brommie. all parts fit inside
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