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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 11-04-09, 05:44 PM   #1
davidansley
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Which folding bike? dt 8fh, swift, or modified brompton?

Alright, I know everyone is probably getting sick of comparing folding bikes, lol, but this is what I'm up against right now. And if there is a thread already going that anyone thinks can help me then by all means direct me to it please Here's the issue...I already have a Dahon Curve d3 which I like a lot and since I live in Phoenix Arizona only having a 3spd hub gear isn't an issue for commuting due to everything being flat here in the city. Now I'm looking into a folding bike for more of a multipurpose bike, using it more for touring and recreational riding, but still using it for commuting if need be.

My options that I've narrowed it down to so far are the Downtube 8FH, Xootr Swift, and a Brompton. for the Brompton it would be either the m6r or the s6r. Here are my reasons for considering each. The Downtube 8FH from what I've read is an outstanding bike for the price. The full suspension makes it especially suitable for light mountain biking and possibly even some light touring if the proper racks were added. While a little heavy for its size the features and the price more than make up for it in my opinion.

The swift is another option because it is famed to have the ride of a real bike which is important because I would be using it for the same reasons as the Downtube. I know the folded size of the swift makes it a bit impractical for multimodal commuting so if i were to get the swift it would most likely be a noncommuting bike and i would stick with the Curve for that purpose.

Now the third option is the Brompton. I haven't decided yet if I want to go with the s type bars or the m type bars. While the s type bars look cooler and are more suited for longer riding I could easily attach some stubby bar ends to the m bars(which looks pretty cool as well in my opinion) and have the option for both an upright riding position and a lower, stretched out riding position. Now I know that a factory Brompton has limitations when it comes to touring and longer riding so if I were to go that route I would be spending extra money to outfit it with a mountain drive to give it more gearing options, as well getting a brooks saddle and better pedals.

If I were to go the "Super Brompton" route then it would be my only bike and I would be selling the Curve. Anybody have experience with a modified Brompton to be able to attest to its long distance riding abilities? Or would it be better to go with the Swift or Downtube to use for longer rides and continue to use the Curve for commuting? any folding bikes I'm leaving out of this that I should be including? I know this is a lot of info to be throwing out there at once but I figured if I can't get some good feedback here then no one can lol.

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Old 11-04-09, 05:49 PM   #2
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Paragraphs. Learn how to use them. (Sorry, had to get that off my chest.)

As to your question... of the bikes listed the Swift is probably the best for the multi-purpose use you describe. I think you can even use it for multi-modal depending on how tight the space is on the train/bus.

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Old 11-04-09, 06:30 PM   #3
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Sorry didn't realize we were in english class lol jk. I'll add paragraphs. I had thought of that. As a general rule the buses aren't fully packed since Phoenix's mass transit is not used as much as in a bigger city like, NY or LA. The problem that goes along with that is the bus driver may be less likely to take the swift seeing as folding bikes are not as common an occurrence here than the bigger cities so he/she may not be willing to allow a bike on the bus unless it is smaller than the swift when folded up.

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Old 11-04-09, 07:12 PM   #4
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My Website Series (see below) is at your service as the Websites are fully up and running now. My Selection section on the new updated text version will outline the steps I feel are the best to choose the bike/brand for you. The Flickr ones are great to see the bikes in the actual physical environment that I use them in.

Oh and by the way, I myself don't mind the lack of paragraphs. I do mind bad attitudes and flaming which I see even here from time to time.
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Old 11-04-09, 07:43 PM   #5
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Now I know that a factory Brompton has limitations when it comes to touring and longer riding so if I were to go that route I would be spending extra money to outfit it with a mountain drive to give it more gearing options, as well getting a brooks saddle and better pedals.
A Schlumpf MountainDrive is a 2.5:1 under-drive geared crank.. on a 16" wheeled Brompton, that would give you unreasonably low gears and do nothing for top end.. you'd probably want either the SpeedDrive (1.65:1 overdrive) or the HighSpeedDrive (2.5:1 overdrive). If you need more gear range, I really like Schlumpf drives for small wheeled folding bikes. You could also install it on your Dahon and have a Super Curve ..
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Old 11-04-09, 08:20 PM   #6
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folder fanatic, were you referring to me about the bad attitude and flaming? if so, I wasn't meaning to come across that way. at any rate, thank you for the links!
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Old 11-04-09, 08:23 PM   #7
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Sorry didn't realize we were in english class lol jk. I'll add paragraphs. I had thought of that. As a general rule the buses aren't fully packed since Phoenix's mass transit is not used as much as in a bigger city like, NY or LA. The problem that goes along with that is the bus driver may be less likely to take the swift seeing as folding bikes are not as common an occurrence here than the bigger cities so he/she may not be willing to allow a bike on the bus unless it is smaller than the swift when folded up.
Check your local transit agency's official policy on folding bikes. If it says yes to folding bikes on buses then I think you should get the Swift and carrying the policy in writing in your back pocket.
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Old 11-04-09, 08:26 PM   #8
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Check your local transit agency's official policy on folding bikes. If it says yes to folding bikes on buses then I think you should get the Swift and carrying the policy in writing in your back pocket.
I'm not concerned with them not allowing folding bikes, more concerned with the size of the folding bike. If it is too big even when folded, they may require it to go on the bike rack. So I would need to check on the biggest allowable package instead it seems.
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Old 11-04-09, 08:34 PM   #9
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I'm not concerned with them not allowing folding bikes, more concerned with the size of the folding bike. If it is too big even when folded, they may require it to go on the bike rack. So I would need to check on the biggest allowable package instead it seems.
There will always be people, bus drivers, etc that will give you a hard time about a folding bike no matter how small it is. My advice is to lean on the official policy; if it explicitly says that that folding bikes are allowed (and many transit agencies do) then the driver will simply have to allow it. In my experience, package size policies tend to be less exact so it will be a great boon if folding bikes are explicitly allowed. I suggest even if they don't have an explicit folding bike policy that you request that they make one and get it in writing.

As you noted, you won't be taking up the space of another passenger in a city like phoenix no matter how big the bike is so it's just a matter of navigating around the bureaucratic red tape.
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Old 11-04-09, 08:41 PM   #10
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There will always be people, bus drivers, etc that will give you a hard time about a folding bike no matter how small it is. My advice is to lean on the official policy; if it explicitly says that that folding bikes are allowed (and many transit agencies do) then the driver will simply have to allow it. In my experience, package size policies tend to be less exact so it will be a great boon if folding bikes are explicitly allowed. I suggest even if they don't have an explicit folding bike policy that you request that they make one and get it in writing.

As you noted, you won't be taking up the space of another passenger in a city like phoenix no matter how big the bike is so it's just a matter of navigating around the bureaucratic red tape.
Good point chucky, I did check the website for the buses down here and it said that folding bikes are allowed as long as they are folded prior to boarding. No mention was made as to size requirements so I emailed them and asked. Provided that they don't reply back with a size smaller than the swift I should be golden. Who knows, it may replace the curve if I get it lol.
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Old 11-04-09, 08:44 PM   #11
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I must say, even after I bought my curve I am still looking at reviews of the swift. The folding is so simplistic and having the ride of a real bike while still having the folding convenience without having to shell out over $1000 for a bike friday would be nice.
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Old 11-04-09, 08:50 PM   #12
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http://www.xootr.com/ploggerb3/image...mutertrain.jpg

just found this pic in the photo gallery on xootr's website. with that thin of a profile the swift could very easily slide under the average bus or train seat i'm thinking. take up even less space than it is in the pic..any thoughts?
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Old 11-05-09, 02:28 AM   #13
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Why do you need a second folder ? If you all ready have a Curve and are happy with it, why not use that fot commuting and buy a fixed frame for your other cycling activities ? I would have thought that dollar for dollar you will get more bike going the non-folding route. Just a suggestion, but I know sometimes you just have to have what you want, for instance, I'd really like a steel Swift, for no other reason than it looks like a great bike.

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Old 11-05-09, 10:36 AM   #14
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The opportunities of traveling with a Brompton are unique: No other bike will provide the ability to pack and fly as fast/efficiently as the Brompton.

I've done 75+ miles on my S6-E, had a downtube and a curve in the past. Can't say anything about the swift, but if I were you, I would further research a Brompton.
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Old 11-05-09, 09:00 PM   #15
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Why do you need a second folder ? If you all ready have a Curve and are happy with it, why not use that fot commuting and buy a fixed frame for your other cycling activities ? I would have thought that dollar for dollar you will get more bike going the non-folding route. Just a suggestion, but I know sometimes you just have to have what you want, for instance, I'd really like a steel Swift, for no other reason than it looks like a great bike.
Point taken, not the first one to say that. However, I am seeking another folder to have a more multiuse folder. The curve is limited to commuting on flat streets with the current set up. I do agree with you about the swift. Just not sure if I wanna shell out the extra few hundred dollars to get the steel one made in the U.S. or not. The swift would fit that bill while still giving me the convenience of a folding bike.
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Old 11-05-09, 09:02 PM   #16
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The opportunities of traveling with a Brompton are unique: No other bike will provide the ability to pack and fly as fast/efficiently as the Brompton.

I've done 75+ miles on my S6-E, had a downtube and a curve in the past. Can't say anything about the swift, but if I were you, I would further research a Brompton.
I will admit there is nothing quite like a brompton as far as portability goes...just don't know about that $1000+ price tag. Not to mention the extra money spent in order to get it up to par for long distance riding/touring so it could be my only bike.
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Old 11-06-09, 12:36 PM   #17
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I will admit there is nothing quite like a brompton as far as portability goes...just don't know about that $1000+ price tag. Not to mention the extra money spent in order to get it up to par for long distance riding/touring so it could be my only bike.

If you already have the Curve, I would buy a Swift. The Brompton is too close to the Curve. Either the Curve and a Swift or a Brompton and a Swift in my opinion

I already have a Brompton and love it for general riding in the city, however my next bike will be a custom
Swift purely for the pleasure of the ride and handling. It would be my sports bike.

Re: Folding, I think Jur and others have pointed out that as far as footprint goes ( since the Swift fold flat and high) it occupies less floor space than other folding bikes --- probably less floor space than a Brompton even-- and it's not such a big deal to remove the front wheel to make it smaller if it came to that. The Swift is my favorite riding bike as far as folders go.
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Old 11-06-09, 01:01 PM   #18
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If I could butt in for a second, I'd just like to say that on public transit, the Swift's not that great. I own one and I love it, and it's tempting to claim that it's awesome for riding buses but it's not.

It does occupy very little floorspace, which is nice for inter-city rail and storage at the office. But on the bus, the critical dimension is not floorspace but length, from front to back. The swift is long enough when folded that it sticks out in front and behind you when you're standing, and when you're sitting and holding it in front of you it's wider than you, so it bothers the people sitting next to you. And no, sliding it under the seat will not happen.

This isn't to say that it's impossible to take on the bus or even that it's unpleasant; to the contrary, dealing with the folded size is only a very slight hassle and I find the Swift to be worth that hassle for the improvement in ride quality and fit over my Dahon. But then again, I don't have a multimodal commute and only ride the bus occasionally. If I had to ride the bus with my bike every day (especially during rush hour), my priorities might be a bit different.

Edit: Also, if your budget is such that you're considering a Brompton, you really ought to look at the Bike Friday Tikit. It's often considered an alternative to the Brompton, because it folds very quickly and rides more like a "real bike" than the Brompton does.

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Old 11-06-09, 01:11 PM   #19
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(...) just don't know about that $1000+ price tag. Not to mention the extra money spent in order to get it up to par for long distance riding/touring so it could be my only bike.
Believe me, since 2003, I have been trying every single economic option to have a portable bike consistent with "real bike" riding quality and some level of portability. To mention just a few, I tried Dahons, Downtubes, Giant Halfways, even a Super Merc. Absolutely nothing compares to the Brompton.

The US$1000.00 price tag is expensive. But it is VERY cost-effective.
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Old 11-07-09, 11:03 PM   #20
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If I could butt in for a second, I'd just like to say that on public transit, the Swift's not that great. I own one and I love it, and it's tempting to claim that it's awesome for riding buses but it's not.

It does occupy very little floorspace, which is nice for inter-city rail and storage at the office. But on the bus, the critical dimension is not floorspace but length, from front to back. The swift is long enough when folded that it sticks out in front and behind you when you're standing, and when you're sitting and holding it in front of you it's wider than you, so it bothers the people sitting next to you. And no, sliding it under the seat will not happen.

This isn't to say that it's impossible to take on the bus or even that it's unpleasant; to the contrary, dealing with the folded size is only a very slight hassle and I find the Swift to be worth that hassle for the improvement in ride quality and fit over my Dahon. But then again, I don't have a multimodal commute and only ride the bus occasionally. If I had to ride the bus with my bike every day (especially during rush hour), my priorities might be a bit different.

Edit: Also, if your budget is such that you're considering a Brompton, you really ought to look at the Bike Friday Tikit. It's often considered an alternative to the Brompton, because it folds very quickly and rides more like a "real bike" than the Brompton does.
the only way i would be getting a brompton would be if i saved up for a year or so and then sold my curve. and i have looked at the tikit but i figured if im gonna spend that much i would just get a brompton so i could have the smaller package and set it up for long riding. the problem with the tikit, just like the brompton is that it still has the small bike geometry and would need upgrading to set up for long distance riding.
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Old 11-07-09, 11:07 PM   #21
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Believe me, since 2003, I have been trying every single economic option to have a portable bike consistent with "real bike" riding quality and some level of portability. To mention just a few, I tried Dahons, Downtubes, Giant Halfways, even a Super Merc. Absolutely nothing compares to the Brompton.

The US$1000.00 price tag is expensive. But it is VERY cost-effective.
more so than a swift? i havent ridden one yet but im told as far as folders go nothing else compares to it for a "real bike" ride.
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Old 11-08-09, 03:38 AM   #22
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more so than a swift? i havent ridden one yet but im told as far as folders go nothing else compares to it for a "real bike" ride.
Well, no cheap ones at any rate. But Bike Fridays, Moltons, and (of course) big-wheel bikes like Montagues maybe.

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the problem with the tikit, just like the brompton is that it still has the small bike geometry and would need upgrading to set up for long distance riding.
??? Actually the tikit's geometry is unusually good compared to other folding bikes; and, true to BF tradition, you can customize its size and geometry in ways you can't on other bikes. Of the various folding bikes, I think it's among the better ones for long-distance riding. (IMHO, this includes the Swift, which I understand can be somewhat punishing, particularly in aluminum. Jur is better positioned to comment here.).

Disadvantages with the tikit compared to the Swift: it's somewhat more flexible in the stem, which will make it less efficient going up steep hills (though this is hardly an issue). Because it's 53x11 with 16-inch wheels, even with Greenspeed Scorchers (which you should immediately buy) the top end is about 81 gear inches. I find it'd be nice to have another 10 inches: this can be done by going internal hub or Capreo, both of which BF provides. And of course it's more expensive than the Swift.

But for you, the Tikit has one big advantage: it folds differently and (for your situation) better. It's well supported, and its a technical marvel. Assuming you can afford it, you should definitely test it heavily before making a purchase.

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Old 11-08-09, 11:11 AM   #23
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you're leaving out the 20" Dahons like the Speed, Mu XL sport (IGH) and Vitesse D7 (also IGH).

At some point I'll get around to writing a comparison review of the two bikes I've recently bought and started riding, a Dahon Curve D3 and a Downtube 8FH.

Since you are considering the 8FH, I'll give you a little teaser: I like this bike a lot and it rides surprisingly like a big bike. The major downside from my perspective is that the handlepost and the stock adjustable bar stem are quite flexy. I've also found that the stock 46x25 gearing is a bit high for the moderate hills where I ride, and I switched out the chainring for a smaller 42 tooth ring. I also had to invest in a kickstand, fenders and new saddle (Brooks B68). I'm probably also going to switch out the stock 65 PSI Kenda tires for 100 PSI Kenda Kwests or Schwalbe Marathons.
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Old 11-08-09, 11:29 AM   #24
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folder fanatic, were you referring to me about the bad attitude and flaming? if so, I wasn't meaning to come across that way. at any rate, thank you for the links!
Oh, no!!!!! I just was discussing bad attitudes and flaming that I and others seem to experience here in the past, on other posts, not you or or this particular thread. I am glad you like my links and hopefully found them to be helpful.
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Old 11-08-09, 11:30 AM   #25
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Believe me, since 2003, I have been trying every single economic option to have a portable bike consistent with "real bike" riding quality and some level of portability. To mention just a few, I tried Dahons, Downtubes, Giant Halfways, even a Super Merc. Absolutely nothing compares to the Brompton.

The US$1000.00 price tag is expensive. But it is VERY cost-effective.
The thing is even at $1000 (and you'll prolly pay more than that for a decent Brompton), you can't lock it outside and it's still not really small enough to always take with you (at least not without being an occasionally massive pain in the ass).

I know for your purposes in particular the Brompton is basically the only choice, but for those that can manage it seems much more reasonable not to put all their eggs in one basket. For the cost of a Brompton the OP can buy two bikes and be guaranteed to not lose more than ~$500 in a single theft; Plus he'll get a better ride on those days he doesn't need the compactness.

Once again, your needs are very narrow in that you require a compromise which rides well, packs small enough for air travel, and packs quick enough to not be a hassle, but why compromise if you don't need all of these features simultaneously? As the saying goes, "the jack of all trades is a master of none".

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more so than a swift? i havent ridden one yet but im told as far as folders go nothing else compares to it for a "real bike" ride.
Personally I can't understand why having a "real bike" ride is the holy grail of folding bikes. I guess it makes sense that bicycle enthusiasts prefer to stick with what they know (ie "real bikes") because if they weren't looking for something familiar then why would they be riding at all (as opposed to some other different activity)? However, IMO "real bikes" are by no means unequivocally superior to folding bikes, just different, and even if they are better "all-arounders" I'd much rather have a variety of very different bikes in order to have the right tool for every job.

My bicycle stable consists of an 8" folder, a 20" folder, and a 700c recumbent and I would never consider replacing any of them with a "real bike" because it would destroy the balance of the team and by itself a "real bike" couldn't hold a candle to a well rounded team of specialty bikes. Frankly, I don't think the traditional "real bike" is even a sweet spot in bicycle design and if I had to have only one bike it'd be a 20" folder.
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