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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 05-18-04, 12:35 PM   #1
nabwong
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Any opinions commuting on a folding bike?

Hey guys,

Here is my situation. I'm ready to start bike commuting and i'm thinking of getting a folding bike so i can mix it up with travelling on bus or train. I'm in college and a trumpet major in Boston. So i have some concerns.

I live about 2 miles from school. Commuting from home to school is not a big deal i think. Just 1 or 2 small hills. Thing is i need to ride to Symphony hall for my trumpet lessons. I'm looking for a good way to secure my trumpets on a rack.

Any musicians have similar experiences?

Thanks,
Nab
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Old 05-18-04, 01:29 PM   #2
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I'm no musician, but I have the Bike Friday for my international trips, but I'm about to order a Steve Dahan folding bike for those trips I take out to the suburbs when I'm visiting family. Here in Chicago, bikes are limited to non-rush hour on the trains, but all folding bikes are allowed at any time on all trains. It's all good in my book.

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Old 05-18-04, 01:45 PM   #3
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you could also look at the Brompton- it folds amazingly small (the best of any folding bike I have seen) but does not ride quite as well as a Bike Friday (and is quite expensive unless you can get one second hand)-depends on your priorities and bank balance
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Old 05-18-04, 02:00 PM   #4
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I'm a violinist and the only good way I've found to transport my violin on my bike is with a backpack. My backpack has straps on the back that can be threaded through the violin case's handle and strapped around the case so it can't fall. As far as a rack is concerned, I think I'd be out of luck. For trumpets, though, you might be able to manage by using one of those plastic crates I used to see everybody use in Quebec. they're (approximately) cube-shaped and about 16 inches to a side. People just fasten them to the top of a rear rack and then they can throw whatever they want onto the back of their bike.
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Old 05-19-04, 11:29 AM   #5
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Is the Bike Friday a folder or a take-down transportable bike ?
My LBS has just started stocking Dahon, in addition to Brompton. They look really good, and come with racks.
Bungie-chords will secure most things to racks. A layer of stiff foam (sleeping mat) between rack and trumpet may reduce vibration and shocks.
You may want to consider a lightweight case like
http://www.headcaseuk.com/headcase-b...es.asp#trumpet
and carry it in a messanger bag, shoulder strap or backpack.
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Old 05-19-04, 04:15 PM   #6
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It's a folder. I don't distinguish. I take off the pedals, unscrew the handlebars, take off the seat and front wheel, and fold. Bingo, it's folded and neatly packed into the suitcase. Easy does it.

Me like!


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Old 05-19-04, 06:50 PM   #7
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Thanks for the tip guys.... Now i'm kinda undecided about getting the folding bike. I was looking at the Bromptons and Dahons... they freaking expensive. I mean, i can't justify spending $800 for a folding bike. So now, i'm actually looking at used road bikes. It's also faster. Dilemma dilemma.
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Old 05-19-04, 06:57 PM   #8
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Whichever bike you get, the folding bikes are awesome! And you could always go to the Bike Friday website and see if they have used bikes for sale. That could help to keep your costs down when purchasing a folding bike. Or just check ebay. Sooner or later, a folding bike will show up there. I saw two Bike Fridays going on ebay a few days ago, and if I didn't have the one I have now, I think I would have went for it.

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Old 05-19-04, 09:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelW
Is the Bike Friday a folder or a take-down transportable bike ?
My LBS has just started stocking Dahon, in addition to Brompton. They look really good, and come with racks.
Bungie-chords will secure most things to racks. A layer of stiff foam (sleeping mat) between rack and trumpet may reduce vibration and shocks.
You may want to consider a lightweight case like
http://www.headcaseuk.com/headcase-b...es.asp#trumpet
and carry it in a messanger bag, shoulder strap or backpack.
I heard these bikes are hard to get parts for. Also I'm always looking for a fast ride TO work. How fast can these bikes go over say 15mile distance?
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Old 05-19-04, 10:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nabwong
Hey guys,

Here is my situation. I'm ready to start bike commuting and i'm thinking of getting a folding bike so i can mix it up with travelling on bus or train. I'm in college and a trumpet major in Boston. So i have some concerns.

I live about 2 miles from school. Commuting from home to school is not a big deal i think. Just 1 or 2 small hills. Thing is i need to ride to Symphony hall for my trumpet lessons. I'm looking for a good way to secure my trumpets on a rack.

Any musicians have similar experiences?

Thanks,
Nab
Just get a road bike & tough it out... It works. Sometimes you will be cold & wet (especially with the Boston weather).
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Old 05-20-04, 06:44 AM   #11
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I did a lot of research before I ordered my Bike Friday and for your purposes the best bike is the Brompton L6 with the optional rack (around $925) or the Dahon Boardwalk D6 (around $350 with a rack).
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Old 05-20-04, 11:18 AM   #12
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About 20 tears ago I had a cheap imitation of the Raleigh Folding 20, that I used as a winter commuter. It was very heavy but fine for rides up to about 30 miles. The short wheelbase made it incredibly manoeuvrable in traffic. It had a 3 speeds but it only had a normal chainring so the top gear was less than 70 gear inches - really great spinning practice and I had to watch out that I didnt do wheelies in bottom gear on steep hills. How many trumpets do you want to carry at a time - if its only one I think the backpack would provide the best shock protection.
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Old 05-20-04, 01:26 PM   #13
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I usually carry my wolfpak, so 2 trumpets and also my messenger bag. I don't think it's safe to carry the trumpets on my back in boston traffic. If i had a million mulas....................
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Old 05-21-04, 11:32 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nabwong
Thanks for the tip guys.... Now i'm kinda undecided about getting the folding bike. I was looking at the Bromptons and Dahons... they freaking expensive. I mean, i can't justify spending $800 for a folding bike. So now, i'm actually looking at used road bikes. It's also faster. Dilemma dilemma.
If you're budget is limited, get the Dahon Marriner or Boardwalk D6! It's chromoly steel and costs about $299.00. Forget the Brompton as used ones sell for $800.00 dollars and you're really paying for the high British Pound Sterlling. Dahon folds faster and better than the Bike Friday but the BF is overall a better made cycle. There is no way you're going to get a Bike Friday for $300.00 dollars and used ones sell for 7 or 8 hundred!

Goto the Dahon website. There are internet dealers but you can get real bargains on Ebay! Those bikes are new too!
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Old 05-21-04, 11:57 AM   #15
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I agree with Steve. I'm putting an order in on Saturday for my Dahon Boardwalk 6. The Dahan is infinately easier to fold, but I do say... that Bike Friday is a nice bike, and higher quality, so will travel better than the Dahan. For city commuting to the suburbs, when I need to take the train, the Dahan will be my bike of choice, but when I travel to other states or out of the country, I'll not consider anything but my Bike Friday.

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Old 05-21-04, 01:41 PM   #16
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Hey, count your blessings, I used to carry my euphonium to school, balanced on my handlebars.
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Old 05-21-04, 09:30 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Applehead57
Hey, count your blessings, I used to carry my euphonium to school, balanced on my handlebars.
Euphonium? HAHAHA.... *friendly laugh*

Now, that IS funny. The only thing that'll top that is a biker with a tuba backpack. Well, it is the summer now, and i'm gonna take my time to save up and buy the right bike. Thanks for all the tips guys. It's really great to be in the market!
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Old 05-23-04, 01:48 PM   #18
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I have a Boardwalk 6. It is ok. I know that sounds like a back handed compliment. But if your ride is fairly flat, it will be fine. It doesn't climb very well primarily because of the flexibility of the handlebars. It is a bit heavy when you want to carry it around. My longest ride last year (a 50 miler on the Silver Comet) was actually on my Dahon.

The rack works reasonably well. It is a bit twitchy because of the short wheelbase and any attempt at hands off is almost suicidal.

Mine was about $260 shipped.

I like it.
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Old 05-23-04, 03:53 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nabwong
Hey guys,

Here is my situation. I'm ready to start bike commuting and i'm thinking of getting a folding bike so i can mix it up with travelling on bus or train. I'm in college and a trumpet major in Boston. So i have some concerns.

I live about 2 miles from school. Commuting from home to school is not a big deal i think. Just 1 or 2 small hills. Thing is i need to ride to Symphony hall for my trumpet lessons. I'm looking for a good way to secure my trumpets on a rack.

Any musicians have similar experiences?

Thanks,
Nab
I take my Dahon Boardwalk Single-Speed to work everyday (that I work)... I recommend it over the custom made folders because it is very functional, sturdy, easy to fold, lowest in price.

My Dahon was $189 at the LBS (no gears)... it's great. A 2004 Dahon model with gears will probably be at least $300 though, but it is much less to pay than around $600 for a Bike Friday and is easier to fold (mine folds in less than 10 seconds)

If you have a bungee cord you can strap the trumpet to the rack, or get a big messenger bag or backpack
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Old 05-24-04, 10:11 AM   #20
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I have a Dahon Boarwalk D6 bike. I use it for commuting in NYC and I love it. My commute is paved and fairly flat so I can't say how the bike would handle hills or dirt roads. I think its a really great choice for commuting (about $350 including kick stand, rear rack etc..) but the best part to me is that I can fold it up outside when I get to work, put it in the bag (which I bought for an extra $60) and bring it inside. It stores under my desk at work.
Its true that you can't ride hands free with the bike and it can be a little twitchy, but otherwise its a great city bike.
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Old 05-24-04, 01:09 PM   #21
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Man, the coolest setup is one that allows you to use the trumpet as a horn when you ride....
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Old 05-24-04, 10:41 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vrkelley
I heard these bikes are hard to get parts for.
Bike Friday's use regular bike parts - drive train, shifters, handle bars, seats, pedals, etc. What part(s) are you referring to?

Accessories, however, are a different matter -- i.e. standard fenders and rear racks need modifications unless you're willing to pay for those made specifically for the bike. Other hard to find accessories for me included a long wire harness for a Sigma computer: found one at a place I buy recumbent parts from. Also, 20 X 1.25/1.35 inner tubes are not that easy to come by; you're better off ordering those online or through your lbs. 20" tires have really become advanced and robust; again the problem is finding an lbs which stocks good selections. You're better off getting these online as well.


Quote:
Also I'm always looking for a fast ride TO work. How fast can these bikes go over say 15mile distance?
Depends on how fit you are. 20+ mph are not unhear of. Me? I can only sustain 17+ barring headwinds on my Bike Friday (mostly minor grades). But 20+ is easy on my recumbent.

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Old 05-24-04, 11:24 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by spambait11
Bike Friday's use regular bike parts - drive train, shifters, handle bars, seats, pedals, etc. What part(s) are you referring to?



Depends on how fit you are. 20+ mph are not unhear of. Me? I can only sustain 17+ barring headwinds on my Bike Friday (mostly minor grades). But 20+ is easy on my recumbent.

-
My LBS said the Dahon parts were hard to get. Like hub and bottom brackets stuff.
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Old 09-30-04, 11:30 AM   #24
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My LBS said the Dahon parts were hard to get. Like hub and bottom brackets stuff.
I've never had problems ordering from Dahon California.
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Old 09-30-04, 11:36 AM   #25
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Just don't do the ordering during the busy season. Those specialty bikes can be pretty overwhelmed. I almost lost it when I couldn't get a rear rack, and it was something like a 2 month wait at that point (early May).

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