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Old 02-25-09, 05:26 AM   #1
AntwerpGuy
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Which bike to buy? Suggestions?

Hello,

I live in Antwerp (Belgium). Because our (little) house has a very narrow hallway (where we put our bikes) I am thinking of buying two new bikes for me and my girlfriend. The bikes whe own now take up too much space and block the entrance. So most important feature of our new bikes should be that the handlebars and pedals can fold (or handlebars that quickly turn 90 degrees so the bike is flat).

I can put folding handlebars and pedals on our bikes. But folding bikes often have these options and they are smaller, so they take up even less space. And we like the possibility of taking them on public transport (although we don't need to on a daily basis). We do use our bikes every day in the city and Antwerp has a lot of bumpy roads.

I have read a lot of info on the internet.
For me I like the Pacific Reach but also a Brompton S, Downtube and Dahon p18 look like possibilities (and Birdy, but it's is a bit expensive)
My girlfriend also likes Brompton, but also the Dahon vitesse, Giant Halfway and Airnimal Joey are possibilities. And it woul be nice that (in time) an extra seat for a child could fit on the bike.

My question: what do you advice. Does anyone heve any very good or bad experiences with these bikes? I am pretty tall (1,88 metres) is that a problem for these bikes? I wish I could test them all. But in Belgium I can't seem to find bikes such as Pacific, Airnimal, Downtube (we do have Brompton and Dahon). So I was thinking about buying online in the UK (foldingbikes.co.uk). Thanks for your suggestions!
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Old 02-25-09, 05:44 AM   #2
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i am very very happy with my airnimal joey. the handlebars are very easy to turn to make the bike flat. i have mks removable pedals and those are nice too and allow the bike to go right up against the wall. the joey is fine for a tall person. you may also want to consider the xootr swift, with similar features and a similarly nice ride. maybe one of each? i know that is what i would do if i were buying two folders for the purpose you describe! you may also want to consider just instaling some bike hooks and hanging your bikes off the cieling.
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Old 02-25-09, 09:01 AM   #3
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i am very very happy with my airnimal joey. the handlebars are very easy to turn to make the bike flat. i have mks removable pedals and those are nice too and allow the bike to go right up against the wall. the joey is fine for a tall person. you may also want to consider the xootr swift, with similar features and a similarly nice ride. maybe one of each? i know that is what i would do if i were buying two folders for the purpose you describe! you may also want to consider just instaling some bike hooks and hanging your bikes off the cieling.
Never really looked in to the xootr swift untill you suggested it. Read some pretty good reviews just now. Thanks for the hint!! Looks like a very good possability! (and indeed maybe in combination with the joey). I have thought about the ceiling hooks, but I doubt if anyone pulls their bikes up and down several times a day. Looks fine if you don't allways use your bike.
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Old 02-25-09, 10:25 AM   #4
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I'm 6 foot 1 inch tall and I just barely fit on the DT Mini.
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Old 02-25-09, 11:15 AM   #5
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AntwerpGuy:

You should tell us a little of what kind of riding you do, so we can give you better advice. How far do you normally ride? Do you like to ride fast? Do you plan to take your bikes on public transportation?
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Old 02-25-09, 12:18 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by AntwerpGuy View Post
Because our (little) house has a very narrow hallway (where we put our bikes)... Thanks for your suggestions!
Folding bikes typically become wider when folded.

For narrow, you might consider a Dahon "shark" bike like the Wobbegong or Smooth Hound.

Best,
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Old 02-25-09, 02:35 PM   #7
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Folding bikes typically become wider when folded.

For narrow, you might consider a Dahon "shark" bike like the Wobbegong or Smooth Hound.

Best,
tcs
You have a good point, but the folded packages is typically not wider than the handlebars of a big bike. They're also smaller in the other dimensions.
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Old 02-25-09, 03:15 PM   #8
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Folding bikes typically become wider when folded.

For narrow, you might consider a Dahon "shark" bike like the Wobbegong or Smooth Hound.

Best,
tcs
Or, a standard bike with quick-off handlebars and folding pedals?
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Old 02-25-09, 03:33 PM   #9
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Antwerpguy,

I'm just a fraction of an inch shorter than you & I ride two Dahons regularly (my Speed P8 & my fiance's MU XL). Both fit me fine & I don't have the seat post extended all the way. I prefer the MU XL over the P8. With the short chain stays, the straight chain line & internal hub on the MU XL is smoother & quieter than the P8 with a derailleur. I also prefer the MU's frame over the P8 and the finish is nicer & seems to be more durable. Plus the lights, generator, fenders, & rack work great on the MU XL if you're primarily using it for transportation. For the bumpy roads that you mention, whatever you decide on, consider Schwalbe Big Apples. They smooth the bumps out a lot.
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Old 02-25-09, 05:44 PM   #10
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I have a Pacific Reach and it has the ability to fold the handlebars sideways quickly. Of course it also folds once you remove the front wheel, but not as compactly as say a Dahon, although it doesn't double up the width. The Reach also has front and rear suspension which works really well. I don't know about the Reach's top tube length, I can't measure right now, so I can't immediately say about the size suitability. 1.88m does require a larger sized bike, and the majority of folding bikes are sized medium (approx. 55cm top effective tube length). As far as I know, only the Bike Friday has large options.

The Xootr Swift, while a fantastic bike in its own right, has been assessed as harsh, which is not surprising because its good riding properties come from a stiff frame, which also makes for a harsher ride. And of course it is a medium size; I am 178cm and I need a size large; I make do with a 120mm long stem wich is perfect for me. But it depends on whether you like a more forward body posture (body and arms both at 45deg to horizontal), or a bit more upright such as a dutch oma-fiets.

Big Apple tyres will smooth out any ride harshness, they work as well or even better than suspension.

A bike that folds small like a Dahon, will allow you to put 2 bikes behind each other, occupying the same or less floor space as a single conventional bike. All Dahons are medium, as far as I know.
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Old 02-26-09, 07:51 AM   #11
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AntwerpGuy:

You should tell us a little of what kind of riding you do, so we can give you better advice. How far do you normally ride? Do you like to ride fast? Do you plan to take your bikes on public transportation?
Hi, I Usually don't ride very far. It's just a few kilometres (15 minutes ride) to work and also just a few minutes to the pub/the grocery store/friends ... But I do use it every day and i do like to ride fast in the city (and over bumps and curbs and stuff). I don't need to take the bike on public transportation a lot. But I would like the possability to accasionally take it on a trip to another City (in Belgium or abroad) or to my family who don't live near me. I do own a car, but I almost don't use it. So if I would one day sell it, I would like to take the bike on public transport, but I don't need to do that very often and not in rush hours. And sometimes (often in summer) I like to ride around in the city and just outside the city. So I do make larger trips but never more than for instance 50 kilometres. But no real road racing or actual mountain biking. Somewhere in between.
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Old 02-26-09, 07:59 AM   #12
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I have a Pacific Reach and it has the ability to fold the handlebars sideways quickly. Of course it also folds once you remove the front wheel, but not as compactly as say a Dahon, although it doesn't double up the width. The Reach also has front and rear suspension which works really well. I don't know about the Reach's top tube length, I can't measure right now, so I can't immediately say about the size suitability. 1.88m does require a larger sized bike, and the majority of folding bikes are sized medium (approx. 55cm top effective tube length). As far as I know, only the Bike Friday has large options.

The Xootr Swift, while a fantastic bike in its own right, has been assessed as harsh, which is not surprising because its good riding properties come from a stiff frame, which also makes for a harsher ride. And of course it is a medium size; I am 178cm and I need a size large; I make do with a 120mm long stem wich is perfect for me. But it depends on whether you like a more forward body posture (body and arms both at 45deg to horizontal), or a bit more upright such as a dutch oma-fiets.

Big Apple tyres will smooth out any ride harshness, they work as well or even better than suspension.

A bike that folds small like a Dahon, will allow you to put 2 bikes behind each other, occupying the same or less floor space as a single conventional bike. All Dahons are medium, as far as I know.
Hello. You own the Reach and the Swift? Nice! Those or the two bikes I like the most (for now and for my situation/purposes). Do you have a preference?? It's mainly for shorter rides and city use and occasionally for a little larger trips and just once a month or so for public transport (but no rush hours) I like them both and they cost about the same. On the Xootr website they suggest a longer seat post and stem for a person my height. But it seems to be available and even no extra cost. I don't know for the Reach.
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Old 02-26-09, 10:00 AM   #13
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Is a Birdy more expensive than an Airnimal Joey?
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Old 02-26-09, 10:44 AM   #14
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Get a Strida or a Strida copy maybe?

You won't ride fast on it or jump kerbs, but the thing is tiny. You could fold the handlebars down and one pedal and leave the bikes standing in your hallway. It is the smallest useful bike I have ever ridden.

You couldn't carry a child on one though I think, but honestly, I've done that years ago (my youngest son is now 22) and it isn't that safe on the road. You might be prepared to risk your life, but do you have the right to risk your child's life - I don't think so, even though I did do it.

The Strida is a great urban tool and quite a lot of fun, but most important for you, it will fit in your small house without taking up room.

EDIT:

Do you have any place at the back of your house where you could construct a small storage place for your present bikes? It may be that an economical lockup shed can be built. One of my sons is still at university and he has a lockup wooden shed in his back yard where bikes can be stored quite safely. Doing this might remove your need to buy new bikes if you are happy with the ones you have apart from the room they take up in the hallway. Or - you could keep the current bikes outside under secure cover AND buy a couple of Strida type bikes for romping around the town and putting them on buses or trains. Then you have the best of both worlds..... Just a thought.



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Old 02-26-09, 02:45 PM   #15
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Is a Birdy more expensive than an Airnimal Joey?
Airnima Joey costs 695 pounds.
Birdy (cheapest version) 1099 pounds.
Both without any extra options.
prices found on http://www.foldingbikes.co.uk/
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Old 02-26-09, 02:59 PM   #16
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Get a Strida or a Strida copy maybe?

You won't ride fast on it or jump kerbs, but the thing is tiny. You could fold the handlebars down and one pedal and leave the bikes standing in your hallway. It is the smallest useful bike I have ever ridden.

You couldn't carry a child on one though I think, but honestly, I've done that years ago (my youngest son is now 22) and it isn't that safe on the road. You might be prepared to risk your life, but do you have the right to risk your child's life - I don't think so, even though I did do it.

The Strida is a great urban tool and quite a lot of fun, but most important for you, it will fit in your small house without taking up room.

EDIT:

Do you have any place at the back of your house where you could construct a small storage place for your present bikes? It may be that an economical lockup shed can be built. One of my sons is still at university and he has a lockup wooden shed in his back yard where bikes can be stored quite safely. Doing this might remove your need to buy new bikes if you are happy with the ones you have apart from the room they take up in the hallway. Or - you could keep the current bikes outside under secure cover AND buy a couple of Strida type bikes for romping around the town and putting them on buses or trains. Then you have the best of both worlds..... Just a thought.


The problem is not really the house, but just the hallway. We do have enough rooms. But I don't want to put the bikes in my living room or take them upstairs every day (it's an old 19th century house with narrow hallway and narrow stairs). And we do have a little place at the back. But the bikes would take up too much space there as well (we would lose our little space outside where we now have a table and chairs) and to get there we would have to go through our living room and kitchen every time. Not very practical in a "wet" country as Belgium. I find the Strida a bit expensive for its qualities. But it is indeed a nice goofy design. Thanks for your opinion and ideas!
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Old 02-26-09, 03:02 PM   #17
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Thanks for all the info. I won't be able to check this forum in the next week (going abroad), but feel free to give your opinion.
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Old 02-26-09, 03:21 PM   #18
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Airnima Joey costs 695 pounds.
Birdy (cheapest version) 1099 pounds.
Both without any extra options.
prices found on http://www.foldingbikes.co.uk/
Interesting. There must be some type of distorting effects happening across the Atlantic ... either there or here. Until recently, you could often find the cheapest Birdy for ~$900 USD and an Airnimal Joey frame kit for ~$700 USD.
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Old 02-26-09, 07:15 PM   #19
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Folding bikes typically become wider when folded.

For narrow, you might consider a Dahon "shark" bike like the Wobbegong or Smooth Hound.

Best,
tcs
neither the airnimal joey nor the swift become any wider when folded. neither does the pacific reach, i believe. the brompton, which may be another really good choice for the OP, does get a bit wider due to the main tube folding, but not much...
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Old 02-26-09, 09:23 PM   #20
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By the way, if you're going to cycle in cities like Ghent or Brugge, the cobblestones will be murder if you use a 20" wheeled folder. (I know from experience.) So make sure it has suspension if you plan to ride on cobblestones.
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Old 02-28-09, 01:42 PM   #21
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What about a Dahon Jack? http://www.dahon.com/intl/jack.htm
26" wheels, shod with Big Apple tyres, so not a problem on cobbles, and the bars can fold sideways.
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Old 03-01-09, 06:09 AM   #22
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What about a Dahon Jack? http://www.dahon.com/intl/jack.htm
26" wheels, shod with Big Apple tyres, so not a problem on cobbles, and the bars can fold sideways.
Bars can only fold sideways on a jack if removing the stem with an allen wrench and hanging it by its brake/derailleur cables. It can work and the stem adaptor makes this possible to not need to adjust the aheadset after, but it's a bit annoying.
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Old 03-02-09, 08:28 PM   #23
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It doesn't sound to me like you need a folding bike. It sounds to me like you need the bike of your choice with folding pedals and either folding handlebars (http://www.tuvie.com/retrofit-folding-handlebars) or an old school quill handlebar stem. (Which you can loosen with an allen wrench and then rotate the handlebars so that they are parallel to the wall).
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Old 03-03-09, 08:48 AM   #24
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You can loosen new school Ahead stems with an allen key and rotate the bars too, and they stay the same height.
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Old 03-03-09, 11:05 AM   #25
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It doesn't sound to me like you need a folding bike. It sounds to me like you need the bike of your choice with folding pedals and either folding handlebars (http://www.tuvie.com/retrofit-folding-handlebars) or an old school quill handlebar stem. (Which you can loosen with an allen wrench and then rotate the handlebars so that they are parallel to the wall).
Did those tuvie's ever go into production?
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