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  1. #1
    Senior Member Gotte's Avatar
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    best (cheaper) 20" folder for touring

    I notice there's a question for 16" folders for touring. What's regarded as the best 20" folder for touring?

    I have a Specialized Globe, which is a rebadged Roo. It's 8 speed (105), and while it folds small enough to fit in a big suitcase with some disassembly, I'm thinking of getting another. I'm not sure of the merits of steel vs aluminium - I'd like something light, so it's easy to ride all day, but am aware there's a greater chance of frame failure at seatpost or headstock (Dahons, anyway). That said, my Globe weighs in about the same as a Dahon D7, the Globe being aluminium and the D7 steel.
    I'm also not looking at spending a fortune. I seem to remember that the Bike Fridays are about 1000+ which I simply haven't got.

    So what are your suggestions?

  2. #2
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gotte View Post
    I notice there's a question for 16" folders for touring. What's regarded as the best 20" folder for touring?

    I have a Specialized Globe, which is a rebadged Roo. It's 8 speed (105), and while it folds small enough to fit in a big suitcase with some disassembly, I'm thinking of getting another. I'm not sure of the merits of steel vs aluminium - I'd like something light, so it's easy to ride all day, but am aware there's a greater chance of frame failure at seatpost or headstock (Dahons, anyway). That said, my Globe weighs in about the same as a Dahon D7, the Globe being aluminium and the D7 steel.
    I'm also not looking at spending a fortune. I seem to remember that the Bike Fridays are about 1000+ which I simply haven't got.

    So what are your suggestions?
    There are thousands of threads on aluminum vs. steel. No need to rehash them here. I personally enjoy and prefer steel frames; but unless you have developed a lot of experience testing the two, this shouldn't be a primary decision-maker, IMO.


    Roughly, you want a bike that has wide gearing which means ...
    1. a derailer drivetrain with a triple crank
    2. SRAM Dual Drive
    3. a double crank with a normal internal hub
    4. Rohloff internal hub
    ... and that has brazeons for racks and/or other mounts. The Rohloff is really expensive and robust, but fails your price constraint. Most builds with wide internal hubs will probably go over your price constraint.

    I don't know what the effect of taxes are on a Bike Friday in the UK, but the stock touring model is $900 USD. Front and rear racks will increase the cost by another $100-150; although they are high quality chromoly racks.

    Dahon makes a few models with the SRAM dual drive that with accessories would probably run you around the $1000 USD mark. I'm thinking of the Speed TR which is a very good value if it fits you -- both physical dimensions and weight limit -- since it includes fenders + racks.

    You could go with a Xootr swiftfolder and plop on a front derailer. You'll see a bunch of posts in the monster Swiftfolder thread by Paul Braitwait among others that demonstrate different touring/day trip setups.

    Note that people can sometimes get away with a single or double chainring if they sacrifice some of the range of the typical touring drivetrain and are willing to walk up steep hills/spin out on the downhill/very strong rider/blah blah blah. Jur, for instance, is a pretty strong rider and has gone touring with low gears in the 30s. Most tourers want a gear in the low-mid 20s or even lower. With a load and a tough ride, I don't leave the door without a 21" gear. If you can use a single chainring, then there are more cheap options available.

    For instance, if you go with a compact double and plop on a cassette with a 32 or 34 tooth cog, then you will have a low gear around 19-20 gear inches. But your high gear will be around 50/11 * 18.7 ~ 85-90 gear inches (18.7 is the approximate radius in inches of most ERTO 406 wheels + tires). So you can probably get up any hill but will spin out on the downhills.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Gotte's Avatar
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    Thanks for that. I was thinking of a single chainring. I more often than not go touring in Germany, usually down the rivers, so it's pretty much on the flat.
    I don;t really want to rehash the Alu/steel thing. I'm confident that I prefer steel on my big bikes, but I'm relatively new to folders, and as such, am a bit confused by the use of Alu in that circumstance. Based only on my Globe and the Dahon D7, the weight seems about the same, 27lbs to 28 (I think), and yet there seem enough posts about dahons cracking at the seat post, or the hinge, or the headstock, that I can;t see why anyone would choose to use it.
    Ideally, if I were to choose an alu folder, it would be maybe 20lbs, there at least would be some benefit to using Alu, then. I suppose the difference is that the frame has to take a lot of stress from the leverage from seatpost and handlebars, and as such, has to be made thinker/stronger.
    Anyway, again, thanks for the input.

    All the best

  4. #4
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    The Dahon Mu XL can take Big Apple 2,35" tires. As far as I know, this is the only folder that can fit this tire size. And for me the 300% gearing of the Nexus hub is just good enough for most situations. Makes a good bike for touring.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Gotte's Avatar
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    I do like Mu. Call it shallow, but on looks alone, it gets my vote.

  6. #6
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gotte View Post
    Thanks for that. I was thinking of a single chainring. I more often than not go touring in Germany, usually down the rivers, so it's pretty much on the flat.
    I don;t really want to rehash the Alu/steel thing. I'm confident that I prefer steel on my big bikes, but I'm relatively new to folders, and as such, am a bit confused by the use of Alu in that circumstance. Based only on my Globe and the Dahon D7, the weight seems about the same, 27lbs to 28 (I think), and yet there seem enough posts about dahons cracking at the seat post, or the hinge, or the headstock, that I can;t see why anyone would choose to use it.
    Ideally, if I were to choose an alu folder, it would be maybe 20lbs, there at least would be some benefit to using Alu, then. I suppose the difference is that the frame has to take a lot of stress from the leverage from seatpost and handlebars, and as such, has to be made thinker/stronger.
    Anyway, again, thanks for the input.

    All the best
    If you think that a single chainring will be acceptable for the vast majority of riding, you might consider having a double chainring setup in the front whereby you manually change the chainring if and only if the climb ahead is steep.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Gotte's Avatar
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    That's a good idea. I'd never thought of that.

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