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  1. #1
    Senior Member Gotte's Avatar
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    would I miss my big bike?

    I'm in a quandry. I'm going touring in Germany in September, only 250 miles - at longest 50 miles in a day - and I can't stand having to take my 700c tourere apart for the flight, put it back together again, break it down again to come home. It takes about an hour each time, and so I'm thinking about a Dahon speed 7.
    I've had a look at one, and it seems with a few mods (cutting the top off the stem and fitting an ahead set style stem- this apparently makes it less twitchy - and different handlebars - can't ride long distance on flat bars- and a new rack) it could work okay.
    The only trouble is the only experience I've had of one is riding it up and down the isles of the local Bikehut (they won;t let you outside). I felt the ride was a bit twitchy, but don;t know if when riding it outside where I can get a bit of speed up it would feel more so.
    Anyway, what the thinking on the difference between the Speed 7 and a big bike. Is it noticible? How different is it, and in what way? Also, anyone fitted a longer stem and different bars and found it makes a difference.
    I don;t want to buy the thing only to find out it is unsuitable, but, of course, the only way I can find out is to buy the thing.

    BTW, here's the piece where I found out about the stem change

    http://greenbikemonkey.blogspot.com/search/label/Dahon

    Any input is gratefully welcome.

  2. #2
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    I've had both Dahons & a Bike Friday. If you want something to ride that will definitely keep you from missing the 700c bike, then go with a Bike Friday. My Bike Friday handles excellently & the handlepost is very stiff. The Bike Friday will cost more than a Speed D7 but I think it is very worth the difference. However, The Dahon will handle good. Mine was fine at speeds over 30mph, twitchy yes, but still stable enought.

  3. #3
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    If you're riding on smooth pavement, and give yourself sufficient time to get used to a 20" bike, you probably won't miss the 700c bike.

    The D7 is, well, kind of a crappy bike. That said, it would still be fine for a short tour and for some sort of beater/utility usage upon return. A Bike Friday is more of an investment, and worth it if you either fly frequently with your bike and/or are willing to invest in a dedicated touring bike.

    However, it's going to take you the same amount of time to break down a folding bike as a 700c bike. It's just as dirty a job, too. There are plenty of valid reasons to use a folding bike, but saving 15 minutes or so doesn't really sway me.

    I don't recommend that stem mod, unless the D7 really doesn't fit. I find it rather unlikely that the bike folds better that way, and am a bit skeptical of the idea that it dramatically alters the handling, especially when riding faster. (The faster you go, the more you turn by leaning rather than turning the bars.)

    Riding up and down the aisles of the LBS is not a test ride. If they won't let you do a real test ride, shop somewhere else.

    Have fun, whatever you choose....

  4. #4
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    I agree with the comments above. In addition, I want reassure you about small wheels. I have 20" and 16" wheeled bikes. I regularly ride over 50 miles on my 20" wheels. Longest ride so far is 80 miles. Will be doing a century on one this weekend, though. The longest I have ridden on 16" wheels is 40 miles, on a Downtube Mini. I will be doing a century on my Tikit later this year.

    Size of wheels is simply not a concern in long distance riding. It's about fit and gearing (and your fitness). Small wheels are slightly twitchier, but you get used to it in 20 minutes, then you don't even notice it anymore.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Gotte's Avatar
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    Thanks for that - much appreciated.

    I'm a little confused by your comments, though, Bacciagalupe concerning breaking the bike down for flying? What would it involve with a folder?
    With my 700c, I have to remove wheels, remove racks, remove mudguards, remove seat, remove pedals, remover handlebars, remove deraillier, then strap everything together in a bundle with cableties so it makes one big parcel, then wrap in cardboard and fit in bag.

    I kind of just assumed that with a folder you'd, well, fold it.

    Also, is it some inherrent design flaw that makes the D7 crappy, or is it just componentry/build issues?

    Many thanks
    Last edited by Gotte; 04-18-09 at 04:11 AM.

  6. #6
    hipster traffic dodger ChiapasFixed's Avatar
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    getting a folder into a suitcase can require just as much work as boxing a full size bike: remove racks and mudguards, remove wheels and saddle etc. etc... the main difference is you can often avoid the airline costs with a folder, and the suitcase is much easier to travel with than a bike box.
    It also depends on the folder, the Tikit is probably one of the easiest/fastest to pack and unpack, Bromptons are the only bike as far as I know that you can just fold and pack, but arent great for touring. The Airnimal Chameleon can even fit in a carry on pack (wheels not included) but doing so requires a fair bit of dis-assembly, including removing the fork.
    I think the bike you are looking for has not been invented yet.
    That being said, I think you would do well with Tikit....
    IRO Mark V Pro, home made bamboo track bike, eddy merckx corsa extra, Airnimal Joey, UGADA Tikit

  7. #7
    jur
    jur is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by SesameCrunch View Post
    I agree with the comments above. In addition, I want reassure you about small wheels. I have 20" and 16" wheeled bikes. I regularly ride over 50 miles on my 20" wheels. Longest ride so far is 80 miles. Will be doing a century on one this weekend, though. The longest I have ridden on 16" wheels is 40 miles, on a Downtube Mini. I will be doing a century on my Tikit later this year.
    I see.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  8. #8
    jur
    jur is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gotte View Post
    I'm a little confused by your comments, though, Bacciagalupe concerning breaking the bike down for flying? What would it involve with a folder?
    With my 700c, I have to remove wheels, remove racks, remove mudguards, remove seat, remove pedals, remover handlebars, remove deraillier, then strap everything together in a bundle with cableties so it makes one big parcel, then wrap in cardboard and fit in bag.

    I kind of just assumed that with a folder you'd, well, fold it.
    Dahon sells a suitcase, the Airporter, that you can put the folded bike in. This case is a fair bit larger than the airline standard so it is possible that you would get charged for oversize, but apparently that is not likely.

    You can get many folding bikes including the Dahon into a standard 29" suitcase with some disassembly such as removing wheels and handlebars. With the slightly bigger 31" suitcase this task becomes a lot easier. But the rack and mudguards will have to be removed.

    Also, once you get to the other side, you will have to find a place to store the suitcase. One used to be able to store luggage at airports but this is no longer possible except in some rare instances. You might be able to find a hotel who would keep it for you. Failing that, train stations often have lockers (or used to).
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  9. #9
    Senior Member Gotte's Avatar
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    Thanks for that, Jur.

    I looked at your photo essays - great shots, btw. I know that feeling of staring at a bed with all my stuff on it



    I notice you seem to be riding on an old 24" shopper (not sure what they're called in your country).
    I see quite a few of those around at charity shops/ebay. I was once half thinking of buying one to convert into a light tourer. I figured, swap out the BB, put on a deraillier, change the chainrign, wheels (everything except the frame, I guess).
    I've got enough bits lying around to do it.
    How do you find yours - is it comfortable to ride? How does the geometry feel compared to say the Dahon your wife (?) rides?

    Ideally, I always figured a 24" folder would be ideal; easy to fold and get in a standard bike bag, sturdy, but not too small as to affect the ride that much.
    I know there's a dahon out there (though looks more like a runaround), and the arinimal (which is too expensive for me).
    It's a real shame there isn;t a wider choice for 24" bikes. I think they'd be an ideal trade off between practicality and ride.

  10. #10
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    Photo of my D7 on tour. Main problems for me: seat doesn't go up quite high enough (I have long legs) and I needed lower gears for Dartmoor hills. You have to factor in that it doesn't feel too safe standing up on this bike. Otherwise I think its a good bike for the money (I only paid 200 new) - I wouldn't say 'crappy' at all. I guess it depends what your expectations are.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  11. #11
    jur
    jur is offline
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    Gotte:

    No that is a Raleigh Twenty with 406 (20") wheels. I have not ridden it for a while now but I always come away from it thinking that's my most comfortable bike.

    I have never considered why there aren't more 24"-ers... perhaps market demand is one reason. The folder niche is pretty small so the returns are not guaranteed especially for a niche-in-a-niche...

    I think the old Peugeot folding bike is 24" or close to it. Runs a derailer so should be fairly easy to upgrade. They fetch good prices over here.

    OTOH, we have the odd debate about whether small wheels are worse or not... the opinion is pretty divided... I know from experience that the road conditions will determine how well any particular small-wheeler will perform. On typical smooth tarred roads, the difference is negligible. As the surface deteriorates, the smaller wheels experience more rolling resistance. In practice, this is only a concern if the surface becomes really deep and loose such as the roads on my tour of Kangaroo Island. The Birdy struggled there while my wife's reach with 451 wheels rolled more easily.
    Last edited by jur; 04-18-09 at 08:20 AM.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  12. #12
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jur View Post
    I see.
    Jur:

    You don't miss a thing, do you?

    Yes, just got it, haven't even done good ride on it yet. Will reveal more later.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Gotte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teapot View Post
    Photo of my D7 on tour. Main problems for me: seat doesn't go up quite high enough (I have long legs) and I needed lower gears for Dartmoor hills. You have to factor in that it doesn't feel too safe standing up on this bike. Otherwise I think its a good bike for the money (I only paid 200 new) - I wouldn't say 'crappy' at all. I guess it depends what your expectations are.
    How far were you touring, and what was your average daily milage?


    I have to say, I like your pannier setup. Where was that big bag on the back from?

  14. #14
    Senior Member Gotte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jur View Post
    Gotte:

    No that is a Raleigh Twenty with 406 (20") wheels. I have not ridden it for a while now but I always come away from it thinking that's my most comfortable bike.

    I have never considered why there aren't more 24"-ers... perhaps market demand is one reason. The folder niche is pretty small so the returns are not guaranteed especially for a niche-in-a-niche...

    I think the old Peugeot folding bike is 24" or close to it. Runs a derailer so should be fairly easy to upgrade. They fetch good prices over here.

    OTOH, we have the odd debate about whether small wheels are worse or not... the opinion is pretty divided... I know from experience that the road conditions will determine how well any particular small-wheeler will perform. On typical smooth tarred roads, the difference is negligible. As the surface deteriorates, the smaller wheels experience more rolling resistance. In practice, this is only a concern if the surface becomes really deep and loose such as the roads on my tour of Kangaroo Island. The Birdy struggled there while my wife's reach with 451 wheels rolled more easily.
    I took a closer look at your Raleigh 20 on your site, and you've done an excellent job on it. I'm impressed. I quite often see 20s around and you've got me thinking. How much do you think it cost you to get it to that state of impressiveness? Also, how much does it weigh?

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