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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 05-03-09, 03:16 PM   #1
bokes
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Should Bike Friday develop a 24" roadie?

It seems the biggest challenge that BF has is the common prejudice against small wheels. Unfortunately a lot of people think the bike looks silly and/or assume the ride quality is poor without giving it a chance.
I think perhaps BF should develop a 24" folder because to me that wheel size looks more like a smallish, full size wheel. Bike Friday could then target a large market of people who have a bias against 20" wheels, who don't necessarily want a travel bike nor a super compact fold, but would love to have a road bike that could fit in the trunk of their car or on a commuter train.

You might say that Airnimal covers this market niche. I think Airnimals are interesting, but by having to remove the front wheel to fold and also being aluminum are both deal breakers for me. BF has done such a good job with their 20" bikes, I'd think they would come up with a stellar 24" folder.

There would be the drawback that it would confuse the BF motto. It would be silly to say, "Performance, that packs, most of the time*" (* for 20" folders) I'm sure they would adapt tho. Also tires are more limited in this size, but for me, not a deal breaker.
Personally I'd love to use the 20" NWT for traveling, and a 24" Pocket Rocket at home.
So, good idea? bad idea?
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Old 05-03-09, 03:44 PM   #2
rhenning
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If you want a 24" wheeled bike Seven will make you one. This is my wife's Seven and uses S and S couplers to travel with it and 24" wheels to avoid toe overlap. You don't want to know what it cost. Roger
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Old 05-03-09, 04:16 PM   #3
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Meh.... Seems to me that anyone who wants larger wheels is going to end up with an S&S or similar arrangement. Setting up a line of bikes with 24" wheels would require extensive testing, marketing and changes to their manufacturing infrastructure.

They'd be better off overhauling their marketing department, IMO....
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Old 05-03-09, 06:33 PM   #4
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No.
My 16" Speeding Tikit rides so well and packs/unpacks so easily, my S&S coupled bike stays home.
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Old 05-03-09, 09:54 PM   #5
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If you need packable 24" road bike you can choose airnimal.
However 24" wheels are still way smaller than 700c. Even 650c bikes cannot escape the common prejudice of being inferior too...
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Old 05-03-09, 10:39 PM   #6
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Old 05-03-09, 11:34 PM   #7
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+1 to all who have said no
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Old 05-04-09, 12:02 AM   #8
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I also say no,and I think Bike Friday should do more for the European market
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Old 05-04-09, 02:35 AM   #9
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i think it would be a waste of r&d dollars for a small company like bike friday. as cool-looking (IMO) as they are, airnimals aren't exactly selling off the shelves, from what i've seen. pricewise, most people still think $1000 is an absurd amount to spend on a bicycle of any sort, and i don't think a BF model with 24" wheels is going to be the decision-maker. a lot of people just aren't going to go for a small wheeled bike, whether it's 20" or 24", until they've become a mainstream thing.

i think a bigger company like dahon would be in a better position to try to tackle that problem, but i still have doubts as to whether it would ever be profitable for them. and i bet people on this very forum would decry whatever company tried it for selling out to the masses.
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Old 05-04-09, 08:25 AM   #10
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The selection of tires in either ERTO 507 or 520 is pretty bad. There are a few decent tires but finding them is not easy and I would hate to be on the road and have to find a tube.
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Old 05-04-09, 03:20 PM   #11
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I don't think it's worth it. But that is only a guess on my part & not backed up by any marketing stats. The 20" wheels on my Pocket Expedition work perfectly fine, even in a very fast road pack (which that model really isn't designed for). I doubt that I will ever buy from any other bike manufacturer as long as Bike Friday continues to produce quality bikes like they are now.
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Old 05-13-09, 04:12 AM   #12
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The Airnimal Joey seems to be a very good design. The fold is quite flat (so this is an advantage over BF asymmetric fold). And although having larger wheels it folds slightly smaller than a quick folded Dahon or BF. But looking on that pic:

shows:

* the wheels are already much bigger than the folded frame. I would prefere 451mm wheels. I think there is an optimum sweet spot of fork length, handlepost length, and tire size, where all together meets best riding performance, stiffness, least weight, and folded size (suitcase fold). I think this sweet spot is at 451mm wheels. This way, rear wheel can be kept in for the suitcase fold. Compared to a Bike Friday this folds a little bit taller due to the main tube on top of the wheel but therfore much thinner. In fact it is a near optimum package.

* Taking out front wheel is just a matter of some seconds. The overall package does not hold together nicely but this isn't a big issue as it can be solved by some velco strap. If you care mainly for the best possible suitcase fold, both these issues are irrelevant anyway.

* Looking into the details: The fork tube sticking out front will be difficult to fit in suitcase or trunk of a car. Here an improvement is needed. Probably an inserting handlepost (quill stem design) could get rid of the protruding tube. Or some Dahon-like foldable handepost to make the fold quicker.

* rotate the fork 180 would give an even neater fold. Then built the rear such that front wheel axle doesn't conflict with rear stays.

* I also don't like telescoping seatpost. Just ads complexity. Is this really necessary?

Last edited by pibach; 05-13-09 at 04:32 AM.
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Old 05-14-09, 03:38 AM   #13
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I would have originally said yes, but I've been riding my 20" folder for a while now, and find it just as good as my 700c tourer. The ride is different, slightly more responsive, my not massively so ( I was riding no handed, yesterday), and curbs, though not potholes, are something to be taken with more care (I have added 20x1.95s though).
Of course, I cruise at about 10mph, and never really exceed about 15mph, so the answer would be maybe different if I were looking for real speed (though I've read that that is debatable).
As far as I understand it BF's need some disassembly to fly with. I imagine they would need equal disassembly for a 24"BF, if not more, so you might as well get an Airnimal. Commuting and train use might be different, though I imagine the package wouldn't be as compact, and so might lead you to wish you had a 20".
I suppose for me, it boils down to the fact that I've found the ride to be just as good on a 20" as a 700c, and so I can;t see that a 24" would make any real difference other than increasing the size of your folded bike, and making it more difficult to pedal (rotational weight - or whatever its called).
Prejudice to 20" bikes is another thing entirely. I must admit, I was a little concerned that I would get looked down on for my "kid's bike", but then again, I enjoy the ride so much, I don;t really care.
As someone else noted, perhaps BF should just save R&D money and market their bikes as cool and funky. I honestly think that Dahon succeeds not only because of its pricepoint, but because it markets its bikes not just as practical but with a certain urban flair.
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Old 05-14-09, 07:48 PM   #14
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I have found the Joey to be very impractical for commuting, as the fold takes 4 or 5 minutes and inevitably gets you dirty.
as for packing into a suitcase, I don't know why Airnimal doesn't build a specific suitcase that you can just drop the folded bike into, that would really make it nice. As it is, you have to disassemble the bike, removing all racks and fenders, pedals, seat, etc, to force it into a very large and heavy case that actually exceed US airline size limits. The suitcase itself is a cheap Chinese plastic thing that breaks in a new place on every trip (5 so far).
Although the Joey rides really nice, I have hardly used it since I got my Tikit. even four touring, and especially for commuting or flying, the Tikit is better hands down, and the 16" wheels do not negatively affect the ride in any way I can perceive...

Last edited by ChiapasFixed; 05-14-09 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 05-14-09, 08:37 PM   #15
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I think yous are right, if you can't easily fly with it, and there aren't enough tires avail, a 24" Pocket Rocket (or Tikit) will probably never be built.
I guess I'm just curious how well the theoretical bike would ride. I like the agile feel of my 20" BF very much, but I also like how my 700c roles a bit smoother over rough pavement and potholes, and feels a little more stable on high speed decents. So I was kinda hoping for a 'best of both worlds' type bike.

Last edited by bokes; 05-14-09 at 08:41 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 05-16-09, 02:27 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiapasFixed View Post
I have found the Joey to be very impractical for commuting, as the fold takes 4 or 5 minutes and inevitably gets you dirty.
Is this due to rack and fenders? Others report a 30 sec fold.

Quote:
I have hardly used it since I got my Tikit. even four touring, and especially for commuting or flying, the Tikit is better hands down, and the 16" wheels do not negatively affect the ride in any way I can perceive...
Thats astonishing.
Isn't the Joey a lot stiffer and more stable on high speed? On climbs? Out of the saddle? Jumping the curbs? Lighter?
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Old 05-16-09, 08:38 PM   #17
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my Joey weighs the same as my Tikit, they both have Shimano IGH, but the Tikit also has disk brakes and a dynamo hub, still weighs the same, (about 12kg).
The Joey's stem is deff. stiffer, but the difference in ride quality is outweighed by the practicality of the Tikit. At high speeds (about 50km/h) I have not noticed the Tikit to be any less stable, in fact it rides great!
I used to lock the Joey everywhere I went, the Tikit I just fold and roll inside.
The 5min folding time is a bit exaggerated, closer to 2 min including taking off the quick release fenders. But the fact that you have to take the front wheel off and get your hands dirty, and then carry the bike, which is uncomfortable and hard on the hands as it has no handle or strap.
The Joey is a great bike, and would work really well as a boat or car trunk bike. As a commuter, it has severe limitations, and even as an air travel bike its merits are questionable. It is a joy to ride, but not really a folder per se, at least not in my book.
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Old 05-17-09, 02:18 PM   #18
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Thanks for the detailed reply.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiapasFixed View Post
I used to lock the Joey everywhere I went, the Tikit I just fold and roll inside.
Yeah, thats true. There is some critical size, weight and folding speed for that.
I took my Mu Sl always inside. Because it folds in seconds and is so light. The Mu XL isn't as light, 2,5 kg more, ~12 kg. Makes all the difference (although I can roll it when folded) Has to wait mostly outside, locked.
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