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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 05-11-09, 02:11 AM   #1
BikeManDan
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My next tourer will be a FOLDER!

Hey all

Just returned from a 4 month tour in SE Asia, which can be read about on my blog in my signature , and have decided that I have no desire to travel with a full size bike ever again.

I'm sold on the folder but there are still a few things that I find necessary that perhaps you could review and tell me if there is a folder out there that would suit me. Here is my laundry list of criteria:
  • Accomodates wide tires
  • Has wheels in a size where tubes and tires are available worldwide
  • Has mounting points for racks
  • Relatively long wheelbase
  • Can possibly accomodate "north road" style bars (Dont know about this one)
  • Double chainring up front with "normal" chainring and bail out ring for serious hills, 9 speed in the back (This is more of a thinking out loud item really, I'd add this custom setup to any bike I ended up getting)

Also, doing some reading, it seems that its encouraged to load the front of a folder more than the rear for stability. On my last bike I ran rear panniers but not front. Would that be a problem on a folder? If so, could I get away with running only fronts?

Thanks in advance for your help
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Old 05-11-09, 02:38 AM   #2
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Solutions depend on budget and needs

Depending on your budget, Dahon's Smooth Hound http://www.dahon.com/intl/smoothhound.htm or Dahon's Speed TR http://www.dahon.com/us/speedtr.htm
fit your needs. Include Schwalbe 'Big Apple' tires in your search.

Bike Friday and others have great bikes also, it all depends on your budget.

Whichever direction you choose, traveling off the beaten path means you need to carry appropriate spare tires/tubes, spokes, cables, etc. This doesn't require much effort or excess weight for piece of mind.

Where did you go in SE Asia?

DLW
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Old 05-11-09, 04:43 AM   #3
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this is timely because I am thinking of kitting out my Hammerhead 7 to be more like a smoothhound so I can tour it; and also get more day to day use out of it, store trips etc. Anyone gone down this route, or got advice / I guess fenders/mudguards and the tour rack would fit. Am wondering about a different saddle (but that gets expensive, swapping out the I-Beam stuff). So, ideas and suggestions welcome. Cheers

Last edited by gringo_gus; 05-11-09 at 04:50 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 05-11-09, 05:23 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BikeManDan View Post
...tell me if there is a folder out there that would suit me. Here is my laundry list of criteria:
  • Accomodates wide tires
  • Has wheels in a size where tubes and tires are available worldwide 20" (406mm) BMX size available everywhere
  • Has mounting points for racks BF has them
  • Relatively long wheelbase Yep BF
  • Can possibly accomodate "north road" style bars (Dont know about this one) BF I think
  • Double chainring up front with "normal" chainring and bail out ring for serious hills, 9 speed in the back BF is one of the very few out there with front derailers (This is more of a thinking out loud item really, I'd add this custom setup to any bike I ended up getting)
You're describing a Bike Friday, perhaps a NWT. See above in red
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Old 05-11-09, 05:25 AM   #5
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Or maybe a pocket llama, for the wide tires requirement.
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Old 05-11-09, 05:52 AM   #6
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All Dahons can handle 2.0" Big Apple tires.
The Mu XL with vertical dropouts can even handle 2,35" Big Apples.
Dahon Mu Ex comes with a dual chain ring setup.
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Old 05-11-09, 06:08 AM   #7
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All Dahons can handle 2.0" Big Apple tires.
The Mu XL with vertical dropouts can even handle 2,35" Big Apples.
Dahon Mu Ex comes with a dual chain ring setup.
I would hazard a guess (as in, not sure ..., but would be glad to be proven wrong) that the Dahons don't have a long wheelbase, and the handlebar would be too close to put a north road style handlebar on it. The rear rack also looks like it would have problems with heel strike.

Just to be clear, the Mu XL has no dual chainring.
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Old 05-11-09, 07:25 AM   #8
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fmattheus, Dahon Mu has 103cm wheelbase which is quite long. Actually all Dahons have the same (its called Biologic II geometry). You can easily put an ahead stem on the telescoping part of Dahon handlepost (with an 1-1/8" to 1" reducer). Strong enough to hold a drop bar or a bullhorn (bullhorn can be mounted such that fold isn't compromised). BTW, Dahons can accept caliper brakes if you install 451mm wheels.
Mu XL does come with Nexus hub. Mu P24 comes with dual drive.
Generally, to mount a dual chainring you'll need to find a front dereilleur to fit the bigger seatpost diameter.
Regarding heel strike you have two options. Either use the low rack and pack things on top. Or use a higher touring rack (slightly bigger package when folded) with standard geometry. There are also front racks for side panniers available.
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Old 05-11-09, 11:11 AM   #9
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Bullhorns is great, I like it on folders. you could do the stem thing and try northroads, but did you look into mousache bars? Good for shorter top tube bikes.
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Old 05-11-09, 12:37 PM   #10
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Bike Friday NWT
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Old 05-11-09, 12:56 PM   #11
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I too would suggest a Bike Friday NWT.
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Old 05-11-09, 01:09 PM   #12
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+1 For Bike Friday.
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Old 05-11-09, 01:26 PM   #13
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NWT...it's designed for touring.
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Old 05-11-09, 02:29 PM   #14
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Xootr Swift

Buying a frameset and adding custom parts will suit you better, or you can go the Bike Friday route and have them do all the work for you.
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Old 05-11-09, 04:04 PM   #15
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At the price of a BF you can get 3 Dahons, 2 Swift or 1,5 Airnimal Joey, equally equipped.
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Old 05-11-09, 05:35 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pibach View Post
At the price of a BF you can get 3 Dahons, 2 Swift or 1,5 Airnimal Joey, equally equipped.
Nothing against those. They're all fine bikes. The BFs are designed for exactly what the OP wants. The others can certainly be outfitted for touring fairly easily, but it really depends on what the OP likes and his budget.

Just because the BFs are more expensive doesn't mean they aren't worth every penny. Just sayin'.

--sam
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Old 05-11-09, 06:10 PM   #17
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At the price of a BF you can get 3 Dahons, 2 Swift or 1,5 Airnimal Joey, equally equipped.
You can equip a Joey with easily found tires, especially in places like Southeast Asia?

You can equip a Dahon with proper sizing?

And you can equip a Swift with easily repaired steel and easy packability? Also, I was not aware that a Swift cost $450. It seems to say $699 on their website.

Most bikes have a niche. This is BF's niche. The Swift, Joey, and various Dahons are fine bikes for their purpose. But Bike Friday's Pocket Companion or NWT match this guy's request the best I think.
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Old 05-11-09, 11:10 PM   #18
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Besides the Tikit, I don't think Bike Friday makes any other folding bike.
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Old 05-11-09, 11:39 PM   #19
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Call Bike Friday, talk with a salesman and they will set you up with whatever you need.

Here is a link with sample configurations

http://www.bikefriday.com/2009

Kam
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Old 05-11-09, 11:42 PM   #20
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Besides the Tikit, I don't think Bike Friday makes any other folding bike.
Now you're just joshin' with us, aren't you.

Last edited by feijai; 05-11-09 at 11:45 PM.
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Old 05-11-09, 11:54 PM   #21
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+1 Bike Friday

my NWT is WAY more fun to ride than my Dahon P8 (same frame as the TR)
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Old 05-12-09, 12:32 AM   #22
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Now you're just joshin' with us, aren't you.
I consider the non Tikit BF's as small bikes that separate at certain points in the frame. A folding bike needs to fold/unfold with ease such as with the Dahons, Brompton, Tikit, etc.
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Old 05-12-09, 12:43 AM   #23
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+1 Bike Friday

my NWT is WAY more fun to ride than my Dahon P8 (same frame as the TR)
Why specifically?
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Old 05-12-09, 07:30 AM   #24
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I consider the non Tikit BF's as small bikes that separate at certain points in the frame. A folding bike needs to fold/unfold with ease such as with the Dahons, Brompton, Tikit, etc.
If you would like to define folding in terms of ease, you are welcome to. Let me ramp that ease thing up. Since my Tikit folds in five seconds and my Helios P8 folds in 35 seconds minimum, I'm going to declare that Dahons and Bromptons aren't folding bikes. I consider them small bikes that separate at certain points in the frame. :-)

However we like to redefine terms, I'm not sure if it gets us anywhere. It seems to me that this guy's not looking for a quickie commuter folder. He's looking for a conveniently packable long-distance tourer. The NWT seems to be made for that, "folding" or no, don't you think?
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Old 05-12-09, 08:03 AM   #25
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What about a Montague?

Read this on their blog the other day: http://www.montagueco.com/blog/2009/...-folding-bike/

You can pretty much customize them as you see fit. They may not fold the smallest but it's small enough to get onto trains and into hotel rooms. They can take pretty much any tire you want too.
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