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Old 12-06-09, 02:03 PM   #1
kamtsa
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Which full suspension folder should I buy?

Last week I rode SesameCrunch TSR30? Moultons (thanks SC!) and now I appreciate the benefits of full suspension on small wheel bikes.

What other good FS 20 folding/separable bikes are available in the US in addition to the Moultons?

Having a large gear range is a big plus for me (my current bike has SRAM DD 2x9 and I use the entire range).

I typically ride on roads (some of them around here are very rough), trails, and rarely unpaved trails. I mostly use the bike for 20-50mile recreational rides, not for cummuting, so as long as it fits the trunk of my car it should be fine folding wise.

Thanks,

Kam
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Old 12-06-09, 04:46 PM   #2
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downtube
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Old 12-06-09, 04:48 PM   #3
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downtube.
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Old 12-06-09, 05:02 PM   #4
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Downtube
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Old 12-06-09, 05:52 PM   #5
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downtube.
Can the drive train be upgraded to Dual Drive or triple chain ring?

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Old 12-06-09, 06:04 PM   #6
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+100 on Downtube!
I'm still regretting I sold mine.

If $$ is no object, I'll recommend the Birdy or Airnimal.

I think both Dahon and Xtoor Swift sells FD attachments. ' not sure if it will work with the DT FS, though.
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Old 12-06-09, 06:32 PM   #7
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Birdy
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Old 12-06-09, 06:44 PM   #8
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I don't have any personal experience with full suspension folders, but here are the ones that I have noticed with good reviews, in order by price...

Downtube 9FS (derailleur) or 8FH (internal)
Dahon Jetstream P8
GoBike (may be difficult to find)
Birdy (all models)
Airnimal Rhino
Moulton (of course)

Again... I have no direct experience with any of these, but that should at least get you started on your search. Good luck. :-)

That said, of that list, my fave is the Dahon Jetstream. It really looks the business.
--sam
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Old 12-06-09, 08:14 PM   #9
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Bear in mind the Birdy is not 20".

Another 20" FS folder is the Pacific Reach. But again that is 451mm so a different 20".

I tend to favour the Dahon Jetstream as well. Looks quite sturdy; they placed extra welds & reinforcements at all the weak spots.

The Downtube FS is of course very versatile; who remembers the Mauna Kea bike? (there is a thread by that name.)
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Old 12-06-09, 08:48 PM   #10
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Bear in mind the Birdy is not 20".

Another 20" FS folder is the Pacific Reach. But again that is 451mm so a different 20".
Is there a down side for the 451 other than the slightly larger size? (e.g. tire and tube availability)

Thanks,

Kam
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Old 12-06-09, 10:18 PM   #11
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Is there a down side for the 451 other than the slightly larger size? (e.g. tire and tube availability)

Thanks,

Kam
the lack of tire choice and availability is the problem. Personally i like the slightly larger size.
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Old 12-06-09, 10:48 PM   #12
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The Downtube FS is a great value for the price, but not in the same league as the Moulton or Kamtsa's current ride, a Bike Friday NWT. The Downtube is much heavier, the components are not in the same league, the front suspension is not that great. I had one, and I liked it, but it is not as refined. It's more of a starter bike.

I think the Reach is worth a good comparison test ride.
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Old 12-07-09, 01:18 AM   #13
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How about Big Apples? As suspension they are unbeatable. And a Thudbuster might also be worth considering...
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Old 12-07-09, 10:38 AM   #14
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I know that you can get a Bike Friday with a front suspension ... pocket gnu. And in addition to Big Apples, there are a few street BMX tires -- kevlar bead too! -- that have a lot of volume.

Can a Birdy fit 20" wheels? I know it comes with ERTO 355. Every once in a while I hear about a Birdy with ERTO 406 wheels, but don't see one regularly offered.
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Old 12-07-09, 04:33 PM   #15
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How about Big Apples? As suspension they are unbeatable. And a Thudbuster might also be worth considering...
Last week I put back the Marathons (used to be Kojaks with 90psi) but have not had the chance to ride it. Once I test rode a Dahon with Big Apple. It was heavy and sluggish and I attributed it to the tires but maybe I should give BA a second chance. As for the thudbuster, I am using one and last week I changed one of the elastometers to a softer one. I could not give it a real good test yet.

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I know that you can get a Bike Friday with a front suspension ... pocket gnu. And in addition to Big Apples, there are a few street BMX tires -- kevlar bead too! -- that have a lot of volume.

Can a Birdy fit 20" wheels? I know it comes with ERTO 355. Every once in a while I hear about a Birdy with ERTO 406 wheels, but don't see one regularly offered.
I could not find the Pocket Gnu on the BF site but they have the Air Glide http://community.bikefriday.com/airglide . Anybody knows how ride quality of the AG compares with a Moulton (especially or rough roads)?

As for the wheel size, when I said that I want 20" wheel I just assumed that they ride better from smaller wheels. Actually I don't care if the wheel is smaller than 406 if the ride quality is good.

Thanks,

Kam
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Old 12-07-09, 04:40 PM   #16
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Certainly my Birdy gives a very soft ride. It is just a matter of smoothing out the sharpness in the road surface. But even on the Birdy it makes a difference what I pump the tyres to. Very hard say 100psi, the suspension does its work but the entire frame experiences those high frequency hits. A bit softer and it's just smoothness all the way. I think there is way too much emphasis on running hard tyres these days.

You might give the fatter Primo Comets a go too. And pump to a judicious pressure.
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Old 12-07-09, 06:55 PM   #17
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The extra weight of tyres like BAs does make the ride a little less responsive, that's why I've been keeping an eye out for lightweight folding tyres. There's new folding Primo Comets at 2.2 x 20 which weigh something close to 400 grams, and Maxxis Grifters that are cheap and light. Sometime in 2010 there'll be the Liteskin BAs.

But part of the impression of sluggishness is purely down to the fact that you're not feeling the high-frequency vibrations that feel, er, crisp.
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Old 12-07-09, 08:18 PM   #18
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But part of the impression of sluggishness is purely down to the fact that you're not feeling the high-frequency vibrations that feel, er, crisp.
+1 !
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Old 12-07-09, 08:24 PM   #19
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The Pocket Gnu is not on Bike Friday's website, but at my last inquiry they were still available.

I agree with the notions about Big Apples and other fat tires, they provide excellent suspension of their own.
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Old 12-08-09, 10:46 AM   #20
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The Pocket Gnu is not on Bike Friday's website, but at my last inquiry they were still available.

I agree with the notions about Big Apples and other fat tires, they provide excellent suspension of their own.
True enough. Having met the OP, though, he plans rides of 30 to 50 miles. Personally, I would prefer not to
do rides like that with 2.25 tires at 60 psi. Not as much fun.
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Old 12-08-09, 04:43 PM   #21
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True enough. Having met the OP, though, he plans rides of 30 to 50 miles. Personally, I would prefer not to
do rides like that with 2.25 tires at 60 psi. Not as much fun.
If those 30-50 miles are partially on dirt tracks with some sandy spots and so on, then narrow ones would be even less fun.
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Old 12-08-09, 06:27 PM   #22
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If those 30-50 miles are partially on dirt tracks with some sandy spots and so on, then narrow ones would be even less fun.
Mostly on paved roads. With my Kojaks /90psi I never had significant traction issues except for one time on a steep unpaved heel where I pedaled forward and was sliding backward. I had to walk the rest of that hill ;-)

However, many paved roads around here are very bad. This is at least how it feels with small wheels, skinny tires, high pressure, and no suspension.

Test riding the Moulton gave me a new perspective. When I mounted the bike my first reaction what that it has a flat in the front wheel because of the front suspension gave in. However when I rode it over unpaved surfaces and a paved stone surfaces, it handled very well without those sharp jolts each time you hit a bump. The Moulton had skinny tires and no thudbuster.

I presume that the experience is similar with other good quality small wheel full suspension bikes.

Kam

Last edited by kamtsa; 12-20-09 at 09:42 PM.
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Old 12-10-09, 06:30 AM   #23
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If you're looking at Downtube, best to go with the 9FS over the 8FS which is said to be the weakest bike in the lineup.
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Old 12-20-09, 09:41 PM   #24
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Thanks everybody for the info. I picked today a used black TSR27 in good condition.

The frame is amazingly stiff (good) and the front suspension is very soft (very good). The rear suspension however is harder than I would like to have. I will take it this week for a long ride to determine if I need to add suspension in the back (thudbuster, springy brooks, etc). The bike came with Marathon tires. I may switch them later to Kojak, depending on the ride quality.

Other mods that I consider are smaller chain ring (e.g. 40T, as I have on my NWT) GP1 grips, handlebar horns, and a rack to install for special occasions.

Kam
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Old 12-20-09, 10:21 PM   #25
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Congratulations! Let's see some pictures!
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