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  1. #1
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    Good bike bags, and the future repurposing of my Downtube Mini

    Ok, so my Downtube Mini just isn't doing it for me anymore. It's a good little bike, but I'm just too big for it. I ride my other Downtubes for most purposes, and only use the Mini when I need a bike I can bag up and take on the train. Trouble is, that generally means when I'm away for several days, and loading it up just gives me headaches. By the time I have 3 days worth of clothes, books, laptop, and work materials on the rack, it's a little hairy. Today, it was so finely balanced that the slightest touch under the handlebars would send it up on it's end - the short wheelbase doesn't work well with my rack. Add to that the fact that I'm over the weight limit for it on my own, and that I've got this big load cantilevering out beyond the back wheel, and it's not surprising that I keep popping rear spokes.

    So, I need a good solid bag for my IXFS, one capacious enough to swallow bike, seatpost rack and drop bars, and which can be carried on my back. It's time to let the 20"ers do the work on loaded trips. What are your recommendations?

    As for the future of my Mini, I have thoughts. I think the wheels are going to come off and be donated to my Mini Moulton. The only holdup with doing that bike, which should be fun and fast and very silly, is a wheelset, so I could just get the thing built. The Mini, though, I don't just want to ignore. It's a cool little bike which simply suffers from a riding position which doesn't suit me, coupled with crappy tyres which go together to make it feel slow, and me overloading it. I'm thinking that the right thing to do would be to build it back up in a stripped down way. I'm thinking bullhorns, and perhaps one of those fixed gear Sturmey Archer 3 speeds, if they ever make it to market. Might need a bit more extension on the stem too, but maybe not. Whaddya reckon?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Lalato's Avatar
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    There's this sticky thread at the top of the forum, Sammyboy...

    Back packs/ruck sacks for Foldaway bike?

    Good luck finding the perfect bag.
    --sam

  3. #3
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    dont do that - sell it to me !

  4. #4
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    Iam thinking TRAILER when read your post. I know you asked about a bag for a 20", but sometimes a 16" is really so much easyer.. Also if youare on the heavy side loading up a 20" only on the rear rack is a challenge.

    Since you already are in the UK you know the CITY. Your bike can be strapped on top so no need to carry. Just saying.
    °Empty drums make a lot of noice... (Old Hungarian proverb).

  5. #5
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diode100 View Post
    dont do that - sell it to me !
    That's an option, I suppose. It really is the perfect wheelset for my Moulton Mini though.......

  6. #6
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by badmother View Post
    Iam thinking TRAILER when read your post. I know you asked about a bag for a 20", but sometimes a 16" is really so much easyer.. Also if youare on the heavy side loading up a 20" only on the rear rack is a challenge.

    Since you already are in the UK you know the CITY. Your bike can be strapped on top so no need to carry. Just saying.
    I'm not sure I follow you. Carrying the bike is not a problem, really. The problem is that the bike needs to be folded and bagged to take it on most train services North of London. I live in Southampton, and the journey to London is no problem - the trains all have bike slots, and I don't generally need a folder at all. When I need to travel on from there, for instance this week to Kendal in Cumbria, I end up on Pendolinos which only allow folded bagged bikes. If I take a trailer on my 16" bike, I have something nearly impossible to lock up, and the folded package is bigger than if I just took my 20"er. The 20" bike is not perfect loaded up, but it's much less unstable than the Mini, because the back wheel is that much further back. It's more comfortable to ride, I'm faster on it, and it's generally more satisfactory. What do I win by having an (expensive) trailer?

  7. #7
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sammyboy View Post
    I'm not sure I follow you. Carrying the bike is not a problem, really. The problem is that the bike needs to be folded and bagged to take it on most train services North of London. I live in Southampton, and the journey to London is no problem - the trains all have bike slots, and I don't generally need a folder at all. When I need to travel on from there, for instance this week to Kendal in Cumbria, I end up on Pendolinos which only allow folded bagged bikes. If I take a trailer on my 16" bike, I have something nearly impossible to lock up, and the folded package is bigger than if I just took my 20"er. The 20" bike is not perfect loaded up, but it's much less unstable than the Mini, because the back wheel is that much further back. It's more comfortable to ride, I'm faster on it, and it's generally more satisfactory. What do I win by having an (expensive) trailer?
    I think this s what I responded to:

    Quote Originally Posted by Sammyboy View Post
    Ok, so my Downtube Mini just isn't doing it for me anymore. It's a good little bike, but I'm just too big for it. I ride my other Downtubes for most purposes, and only use the Mini when I need a bike I can bag up and take on the train. Trouble is, that generally means when I'm away for several days, and loading it up just gives me headaches. By the time I have 3 days worth of clothes, books, laptop, and work materials on the rack, it's a little hairy. Today, it was so finely balanced that the slightest touch under the handlebars would send it up on it's end - the short wheelbase doesn't work well with my rack. Add to that the fact that I'm over the weight limit for it on my own, and that I've got this big load cantilevering out beyond the back wheel, and it's not surprising that I keep popping rear spokes.

    So, I need a good solid bag for my IXFS, one capacious enough to swallow bike, seatpost rack and drop bars, and which can be carried on my back. It's time to let the 20"ers do the work on loaded trips. What are your recommendations?

    As for the future of my Mini, I have thoughts. I think the wheels are going to come off and be donated to my Mini Moulton. The only holdup with doing that bike, which should be fun and fast and very silly, is a wheelset, so I could just get the thing built. The Mini, though, I don't just want to ignore. It's a cool little bike which simply suffers from a riding position which doesn't suit me, coupled with crappy tyres which go together to make it feel slow, and me overloading it. I'm thinking that the right thing to do would be to build it back up in a stripped down way. I'm thinking bullhorns, and perhaps one of those fixed gear Sturmey Archer 3 speeds, if they ever make it to market. Might need a bit more extension on the stem too, but maybe not. Whaddya reckon?
    The trailer is a bag you can carry on your back and a frame that can be folded flat and locked together with the bike. Must be easyer and maybe also cheaper than the other plan, but then only you know what you want to do so I guess you are "thinking out loud" more than asking?
    °Empty drums make a lot of noice... (Old Hungarian proverb).

  8. #8
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sammyboy View Post
    I'm not sure I follow you. Carrying the bike is not a problem, really. The problem is that the bike needs to be folded and bagged to take it on most train services North of London. I live in Southampton, and the journey to London is no problem - the trains all have bike slots, and I don't generally need a folder at all. When I need to travel on from there, for instance this week to Kendal in Cumbria, I end up on Pendolinos which only allow folded bagged bikes. If I take a trailer on my 16" bike, I have something nearly impossible to lock up, and the folded package is bigger than if I just took my 20"er. The 20" bike is not perfect loaded up, but it's much less unstable than the Mini, because the back wheel is that much further back. It's more comfortable to ride, I'm faster on it, and it's generally more satisfactory. What do I win by having an (expensive) trailer?
    I guess this is what I responded to:

    Quote Originally Posted by Sammyboy View Post
    Ok, so my Downtube Mini just isn't doing it for me anymore. It's a good little bike, but I'm just too big for it. I ride my other Downtubes for most purposes, and only use the Mini when I need a bike I can bag up and take on the train. Trouble is, that generally means when I'm away for several days, and loading it up just gives me headaches. By the time I have 3 days worth of clothes, books, laptop, and work materials on the rack, it's a little hairy. Today, it was so finely balanced that the slightest touch under the handlebars would send it up on it's end - the short wheelbase doesn't work well with my rack. Add to that the fact that I'm over the weight limit for it on my own, and that I've got this big load cantilevering out beyond the back wheel, and it's not surprising that I keep popping rear spokes.

    So, I need a good solid bag for my IXFS, one capacious enough to swallow bike, seatpost rack and drop bars, and which can be carried on my back. It's time to let the 20"ers do the work on loaded trips. What are your recommendations?

    As for the future of my Mini, I have thoughts. I think the wheels are going to come off and be donated to my Mini Moulton. The only holdup with doing that bike, which should be fun and fast and very silly, is a wheelset, so I could just get the thing built. The Mini, though, I don't just want to ignore. It's a cool little bike which simply suffers from a riding position which doesn't suit me, coupled with crappy tyres which go together to make it feel slow, and me overloading it. I'm thinking that the right thing to do would be to build it back up in a stripped down way. I'm thinking bullhorns, and perhaps one of those fixed gear Sturmey Archer 3 speeds, if they ever make it to market. Might need a bit more extension on the stem too, but maybe not. Whaddya reckon?
    The trailer is a bag you can carry on your back and a frame that can be folded flat and locked together with the bike. Must be easyer and maybe also cheaper than the other plan, but then only you know what you want to do so I guess you are "thinking out loud" more than asking our opinion?
    °Empty drums make a lot of noice... (Old Hungarian proverb).

  9. #9
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    No, I was genuinely asking. I'll grant you I was asking about bags, rather than other options, but this sounds interesting. I'm not sure if I'm imagining it right....

    Are we talking about a trailer which allows you to haul luggage behind the bike, then converts into a carry bag for the bike, with wheels on it? In a number of ways, that sounds ideal, but there are two things that worry me. 1), price. 2) riding through London traffic with a trailer MIGHT be tricky, I don't know.

    Where does one find such a trailer?

  10. #10
    Senior Member Lalato's Avatar
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    Maybe something like the Carry Freedom?

    http://www.rad-innovations.com/Carry...y_freedom.html

  11. #11
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sammyboy View Post
    No, I was genuinely asking. I'll grant you I was asking about bags, rather than other options, but this sounds interesting. I'm not sure if I'm imagining it right....

    Are we talking about a trailer which allows you to haul luggage behind the bike, then converts into a carry bag for the bike, with wheels on it? In a number of ways, that sounds ideal, but there are two things that worry me. 1), price. 2) riding through London traffic with a trailer MIGHT be tricky, I don't know.

    Where does one find such a trailer?
    Carry freedom it is, the "city". http://www.carryfreedom.com/city.html
    It is a frame w a bag attached. Bag can be remowed and used as a backpack when on a train and similar. Then frame can be folded flat.

    Innside a shop or a building the trailer can be hand pulled becouse it looks more like a suitcase on wheels than a trailer. When you do this the bike can be folded and strapped to the top of the trailer. When you do this it is best to use a light bag w a drawstring to protect peopels chlotes from the dirt on your bike.

    My friend bought the trailer, and rode it both around London and around Europe.

    I am suprised you live in the UK and do not know about the city. Great trailer.

    Price: Your hobby is not cheap my friend, but if this is the thing you need it is worth it.

    Wheels are 12,5" and that sounds small, but the whole wheel is UNDER the frame, axel of the wheel is not attached to the frame as usual on most trailers.

    Look at the Carry freedom site and you`ll get it!
    Last edited by badmother; 10-29-09 at 01:45 PM.
    °Empty drums make a lot of noice... (Old Hungarian proverb).

  12. #12
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    You're right, it's not cheap, but it IS cool. I wonder which of my bikes would fit in that? I might try to find one. Thanks! (and I totally misunderstood when you wrote "you know the CITY". I thought, yes, I do. It has potholes. Now what is this trailer you're talking about?)

  13. #13
    Senior Member gringo_gus's Avatar
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    Sammy, like you, I am a big guy become slightly disillusioned with my mini. Think truth to be told its a great value for money bike if you live in the US and pay USD, but by the time its in the UK less so. For commuting, I am going Brompton. But the mini is cool as an errand bike - a latterday raleigh shopper I guess - it is easy to manouevre in and out the house, or through the garden, I have a bag on the front and basket on the back. Also, my daughter is being encouraged to use it, and my wife... so it is a fallback bike I suppose. Maybe we all had greater expectations of it than it could ever be reasonably expected to deliver....
    it aint the size of your wheels, its the rhythm of you cadence. And I got powergrips too.

  14. #14
    Raleigh20 PugFixie, Merc LittlePixel's Avatar
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    Is there a way you could shift the weight forward a bit by doing one or more of the following:

    1) Fit a long horizontal stem to push the bars forward. Perhaps some bar ends too.
    2) Fit a brompton L-shaped saddle adapter to push the saddle forward by a few inches
    3) Find some way of lowering the centre of gravity, with panniers at either the back or front. Or divide your load equally around the bike with handlebar bag, frame bag and pannier combinations.

    Saw a [great] pic of you on your Wedding Tandem over at Retro Rides - Small world Sammyboy!

  15. #15
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittlePixel View Post
    Is there a way you could shift the weight forward a bit by doing one or more of the following:

    1) Fit a long horizontal stem to push the bars forward. Perhaps some bar ends too.
    2) Fit a brompton L-shaped saddle adapter to push the saddle forward by a few inches
    3) Find some way of lowering the centre of gravity, with panniers at either the back or front. Or divide your load equally around the bike with handlebar bag, frame bag and pannier combinations.
    Adding a long stem certainly helped me to be more comfortable on the bike. I also "beefed up" the saddle post by inserting a wood dowel inside the post, which allows me to raise it past the min. insertion line. These two steps made the riding position much more comfortable. I'm 6'0", and it's comfy for me. I've ridden up to 40 miles on the Mini.

    I think Sammyboy is even taller than I am, so perhaps there's not a need to shift his saddle forward.

    Think some of the ideas might help you, Sammyboy?

    Here's what she looks like with the long stem:

    Last edited by SesameCrunch; 11-05-09 at 09:27 AM.

  16. #16
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    I'm another 3 inches taller SesameCrunch, and a LOT heavier I suspect, at over 250 lbs. I could futz with the riding position to improve it, but I suspect nothing I do will really make the Mini viable for me AND all my luggage. I've been using it exclusively because of the fact that it fits in the bag; without that factor, there is no reason not to use on of my 20" bikes, and sourcing a decent bag for one of those is probably easier and cheaper than making extensive changes to the Mini.

    The final nail in the coffin of this decision is that I totally unexpectedly swapped a nearly 40 year old bus, which I long ago converted into a motor home, for the motorcycle below! I now need to liberate some room in my garage (I need to get rid of about 4 of my 20+ bikes), and also to raise some money for equipment and training for my bike license! I got the Mini originally as a demonstrater, and since Downtube no longer make them, I don't have the need for it in that role any more. Therefore, I'm going to replace the broken spokes, and put my Mini up for sale. I will still be looking for an alternative bag for my IXFS, but I think the likelihood of me having £250 for a trailer in the near future is small.....


  17. #17
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sammyboy View Post
    You're right, it's not cheap, but it IS cool. I wonder which of my bikes would fit in that? I might try to find one. Thanks! (and I totally misunderstood when you wrote "you know the CITY". I thought, yes, I do. It has potholes. Now what is this trailer you're talking about?)
    For sure it would fit your bike, if not MAKE it fit

    I am slow at responding these days, I am mving to a new house, and by now it is driving me mad. It is like mowing a bike shop..

    ...but the new house is just 1 km away from the dumpster...

    and it is bike heaven. Plenty storage space and work space.
    Last edited by badmother; 11-10-09 at 10:05 AM.
    °Empty drums make a lot of noice... (Old Hungarian proverb).

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