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  1. #1
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    How strong are modern folders?

    I'm looking to get a modern folder. I bought an old Dahon "Da Bike" off craigslist recently. I love the portability, but it is way too small (need the seatpost to be 6" longer) and really quite flexy.

    My basic question is: Will a Vitesse stand up to out-of-the-saddle climbing? I'm on the larger side of average at 5'11" and 200 lbs. I like the looks of the Vitesse, though the Speed TR caught my eye just now as well.

    I'm considering selling my "good" road bike to fund this purchase, so I'm looking for a replacement that can stand up to normal commutes or centuries with equal aplomb. Any other suggestions for strong sub $1000 folders will be appreciated. A buddy has a Downtube, but I've not gotten a chance to try it out yet (he's 500 miles away).

    Somewhat related, can an internally geared bike be converted to belt drive? It seems like it would be pretty straightforward to me, but the pulleys would need to be available or fabricated.
    The will to win is nothing without the will to prepare. -Juma Ikangaa

  2. #2
    New usename ThorUSA brakemeister's Avatar
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    where do we start ?



    no
    no
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    hate to do this but there is no folder who can do all of this. Why do you want to stand up and ride a folding bike like a mountain bike ? A folder has long stems seatposts etc which means long leverages
    which doesnt translate into stiff like a regular bike ... You sit down and peddle faster ..higher cadence will make you a better bike rider and will get thet folder up the hill ....

    I telling you that knowing that I sell the vitesse and the speed tr ..both are in stock
    but unless you want to change your riding style I would strongly suggest not to buy a Dahon ...
    or anything else by that matter, despite the fact that at least one manufacturer claims he has a special model for heavier riders ....

    And the weight aint the problem .... the standing up is ... combined with your full extension of seatpost and stem ( most likely)

    I havent been succesfull obtaining the parts for a beltdrive Prototype for a MU . You need a bike without chainstays to think about this.... I think I could get something together but the gear ratios would be totally off and hence not worth it ... Best bet is to start with a MU xl sport ( with the internal 9 speed Nexus hub )

    But again .... first you need to keep your butt on the saddle ...lol



    thor

    ( and again my big mouth has scared a potential customer far far away ....lol )

  3. #3
    babylon by bike Standalone's Avatar
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    I have an Espresso that could handle standing up and pedalling, but why bother? Get in the right gear and roll up the hill....

    My little curve holds my 195# (at purchase- 185 now) frame just fine, with everything extended for my 6 foot four self.
    The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets. Christopher Morley

  4. #4
    jur
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    I suggest looking at the Xootr Swift. No belt drive possible on this one though.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  5. #5
    Senior Member Foldable Two's Avatar
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    Is there any belt drive bike out right now that is designed for this type of riding???

    Jur is right, the Swift is likely the only under $1,000 Folder (OK, semi-folder) that is stiff enough and could stand up to that riding style.

    Lou

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foldable Two View Post
    Jur is right, the Swift is likely the only under $1,000 Folder (OK, semi-folder) that is stiff enough and could stand up to that riding style.
    How about a Paratrooper?

  7. #7
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foldable Two View Post
    Is there any belt drive bike out right now that is designed for this type of riding???

    Lou
    Check out this guy - he rode around the world on a belt drive.

    http://www.bikeradar.com/news/articl...elmaster-23585

  8. #8
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    I, too, have been on a long and protracted search for a folder that performs like a roadie. I've gone through about 15 or more folders along the way. I ended up with a great collection of folders, but guess what, I still have my road bike for those energetic rides with the group.

    The Pacific Reach may come close to your desires. It's just a tad over $1000, though. Got the ride quality, got the gearing. Folds, but not as small as others. It's worthy of centuries for sure, even triathlons. It's a little heavier than a carbon roadie, though, so I wouldn't use it to race crits or time trials.

    BruceMetras on the forum is an expert on it. Check out his write up here: Pacific Reach Road after 600 miles
    Last edited by SesameCrunch; 10-28-09 at 08:56 AM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member kamtsa's Avatar
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    "Sub $1000" budget gets you close to Bike Friday territory http://community.bikefriday.com/2009

    Kam
    Last edited by kamtsa; 10-28-09 at 10:38 AM.

  10. #10
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    As others have said, Montague, Swift and Bike Friday are probably your best bets for high-performance folders. There's a pretty healthy used market for Bike Fridays, too, which helps with the budget.

    Also consider Airnimal, or Dahon's Jack and Cadenza.

    If you end up with a small-wheeled folder, here's a tip: I have the feeling Moulton got it right when he had the idea to put suspension on his bikes. It's not just a comfort thing, but a speed things. Small wheels ride harshly enough that on imperfect roads they actually slow you down-- they bounce. The bouncing itself wastes energy, but equally important is that you end up riding slower because the bike gets unpredictable at high speeds. Fat tires help with this, but suspension is really the best solution.

  11. #11
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    +1 on the Xootr Swift, it offers an amazingly stiff and fast ride.

  12. #12
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayfrmbklyn View Post
    +1 on the Xootr Swift, it offers an amazingly stiff and fast ride.
    Can you get a front derailleur on Swifts nowadays?

  13. #13
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    Yes but it will cost ya about a buck twenty four extra from the xootr website.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sturmcrow View Post
    ...Will a Vitesse stand up to out-of-the-saddle climbing? I'm on the larger side of average at 5'11" and 200 lbs. I like the looks of the Vitesse, though the Speed TR caught my eye just now as well...

    Somewhat related, can an internally geared bike be converted to belt drive? It seems like it would be pretty straightforward to me, but the pulleys would need to be available or fabricated.
    Thor is right, it isn't a good idea to ride out of the saddle but it can be done if you're careful. Try and make all pressures on the handlebar post vertical because it will flex alarmingly otherwise. I do it regularly but it's at my own risk.

    I have converted bikes to belt drive but the cost of doing it costs more than the improvement is worth. Budget around $4-500 for a very minor improvement. Once belts become OEM equipment prices will drop dramatically and make it worthwhile.

  15. #15
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    Thanks for all the great replies. I had thought that since some folders are available as singlespeeds that they almost have to be strong enough for cranking up a hill with clipless pedals. I ride a fixed gear most of the time, so sitting and spinning is something I can handle if need be.

    I'm glad to hear the justification for suspension, as I too thought that it was more of a "trick the unaware into buying a heavier bike" sorta thing.

    I need to look into the Swift, Montague, and Bike Friday. I also need to make the trek to test ride a Vitesse to make up my mind on that one. There's little use in spending $700 on a bike that I don't like enough to ride if jumping up to $1000 buys something that I do.

    I'm surprised it costs that much to make the change to belt-driven. In my ignorance, I thought I could just slap on a pulley at each end (though I realize that the belt and pulleys would have to be toothed).
    The will to win is nothing without the will to prepare. -Juma Ikangaa

  16. #16
    New usename ThorUSA brakemeister's Avatar
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    very cool
    I hope I havent shocked you away from folders in general ....
    belt drive.. you cant open the belt like a chain so you need a monostay in lack of better words, those can only fit on a regular bike when you can open the chainstays or seatstays ......

    Yeah your idea of testriding is a very good one. Most certainly will show you first hand what I mean.
    Having said that we have some mighty strong folks here with all kinds of different folders which can ride at a mean pace ...... ( sitting down ..lol )

    when you try out a Dahon make sure you try a vitesse ( internal hub with height adjustable handlepost) but also one with a non height adjustable like the mu SL ( they have a syntace stem ) and see if you can detect a difference ... :-)

    all the best Thor

  17. #17
    Senior Member Foldable Two's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SesameCrunch View Post
    Check out this guy - he rode around the world on a belt drive.

    http://www.bikeradar.com/news/articl...elmaster-23585
    Definitely nswers the question about long distance riding with belt-drive. However, the question is: Did he pedal all the way standing up??? ...lol...

    I am amazed that belt drive bikes are rare birds today given the 20+ years of motorcycle and automotive (valve trains, usually) applications. Would agree, the lack of off-the-shelf parts makes conversions like this expensive, unless you can design and machine your own parts.

    Noticed yesterday that 11 months of living at the beach has caused substantial rust to the chains on our Bike Fridays. If I continue to live here, I might just become a big belt-drive booster.

    Lou

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foldable Two View Post
    Noticed yesterday that 11 months of living at the beach has caused substantial rust to the chains on our Bike Fridays. If I continue to live here, I might just become a big belt-drive booster.

    Lou
    I think you can get a full stainless chain for $30 or so (Wipperman I'm thinking?), though that's 2005 dollars
    The will to win is nothing without the will to prepare. -Juma Ikangaa

  19. #19
    Senior Member kesroberts's Avatar
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    I just got a Dahon Mu Uno (singlespeed) and yes it's flexy, but much stiffer than I expected and I've been cranking up a few hills on it standing every day for the past few weeks. (I'm 190# and 6'2") I wouldn't want it as my only bike, but it's great for what it is.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Foldable Two's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sturmcrow View Post
    I think you can get a full stainless chain for $30 or so (Wipperman I'm thinking?), though that's 2005 dollars
    Try $103.96 for a Wipperman 100% SS, 9-speed chain - and that is supposedly at a 20% discount!

    Multiply that times 2, and you have a Dahon S1...lol Think we will just replace the chains next year with normal ones. Should be $ ahead by the time we leave here. Thanks for the idea, though.

    Lou

  21. #21
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brakemeister View Post
    You sit down and peddle faster ..higher cadence will make you a better bike rider and will get thet folder up the hill ....

    And the weight aint the problem .... the standing up is ... combined with your full extension of seatpost and stem ( most likely)

    But again .... first you need to keep your butt on the saddle ...lol
    if this is really the way you're supposed to ride a folder, the manufacturers should be equipping them with much shorter crank arms. 170mm crank arms are way too long to keep you butt on the saddle all the time, it would be much easier with shorter - say 150mm - cranks.

    but I must say I've never had trouble standing on the pedals on my Raleigh 20, and I'd be disappointed if I couldn't ride any other folding bike the same way.

  22. #22
    jur
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    I have stood on the pedals regularly on all of my folders. Some do it better but none have broken. It does help to learn to spin even while standing, even I don't dare to grind at 0.1rph.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  23. #23
    Senior Member edwong3's Avatar
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    I think it's not the mere act of standing on the pedals for that extra power to sprint or climb a steep hill that's the issue. It is more like being mindful of not putting too much lateral pressure (front to back, side to side) on the handlepost while doing so.

    It would be a scary experience for one to be sprinting like a madman right after the traffic light turns green, and to find that all of a sudden the QR locking mechanism fails, and causes you a bad fall in the middle of the intersection. Or it happens while cranking up a steep hill.

    It's even possible to injure (impale?) yourself with the lower portion of the handle post should you fall towards the front of the bike as you come down Of course this is a major consideration if you've got a bike with long stemmed, folding handleposts.

    +1 for bikes like the Xootr Swift that are made for more aggressive riding, and there are more like that.

    Edward Wong III
    Qile Duo 5 Speed 20" Folder

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sturmcrow View Post
    I'm looking to get a modern folder. I bought an old Dahon "Da Bike" off craigslist recently. I love the portability, but it is way too small (need the seatpost to be 6" longer) and really quite flexy.

    My basic question is: Will a Vitesse stand up to out-of-the-saddle climbing? I'm on the larger side of average at 5'11" and 200 lbs. I like the looks of the Vitesse, though the Speed TR caught my eye just now as well.

    I'm considering selling my "good" road bike to fund this purchase, so I'm looking for a replacement that can stand up to normal commutes or centuries with equal aplomb. Any other suggestions for strong sub $1000 folders will be appreciated. A buddy has a Downtube, but I've not gotten a chance to try it out yet (he's 500 miles away).

    Somewhat related, can an internally geared bike be converted to belt drive? It seems like it would be pretty straightforward to me, but the pulleys would need to be available or fabricated.
    Will a Vitesse stand up to out-of-the-saddle climbing? You are not increasing your weight just its distribution. A problem with many folders is the long steering tube. That puts a large bending stress at the base of the steering tube.

    road bike replacement - If you were pushing your road bike to its maximum performance, a folding bike will not match it except maybe on a straight smooth road surface.

    normal commutes or centuries - Normal commutes is what it is made for. Centuries, I don't understand the question, the bike will not fall apart due to the distance. You will complete it in about the same time as a full sized bike. The big difference is the ride quality of small wheeled bikes is inherently less comfortable, and have a pot hole problem. You can add suspensions, sprung saddles ect. I have done 80mi or more or less flat and smooth road on a strida. Back in the olden days people rode across completely undeveloped areas on bikes that would be considered jokes today, including wooden wheels.

    strong sub $1000 folders will be appreciated. - If you can work on the bike you might find an old folder on craigslist or ebay for $100. Sometimes on ebay you may see decent frames or closeouts. Otherwise the usual suspects are downtube, dahon, Xooter swift, maybe strida, Birdy may have something too.

    If your road bike is Steel it may be able to be 'hacked' see sandsmachine.com
    2000 Montague CX, I do not recommend it, but still ride it.
    Strida 3, I recommend it for rides < 10mi wo steep hills.
    2006 Rowbike 720 Sport, I recommend it as an exercise bike.
    1996 Birdy, Recommend.
    Wieleder CARiBIKE (folding), decent frame.

  25. #25
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geo8rge View Post
    I have done 80mi or more or less flat and smooth road on a strida.


    Are you serious!? 80 miles in one go?! That is heroic. Do you at least have a sprung saddle? Tell us more!

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