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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 05-10-10, 03:21 AM   #1
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Folder for a tall guy?

I'm 6'5" and mostly legs, a 35 1/2" inseam (US pants sizing). Hardly an NBA or Guinness book mutant, but just tall enough that I can't seem to find a folder that fits.

I travel to Europe a handful of times a year and am getting pretty sick of not having a bike handy to just go out and poke around town like I do when I am home. I half considered something like a Traveler's Check but I think I want something a bit more compact. The ideal bike for me would fit in a regular hard sided suitcase, have larger wheels, be easy to fold up for in-and-around stuff during the day (not just one big assemble / disassemble operation for embarkation) and not feel like I was riding my kid's bike when it was unfolded.

I'm a fan of IGH, fenders, and rack. But at this point I'm just looking for something solid, functional, and expeditionary to see if I get any use and enjoyment out of it. I'd spend a couple 1000 later, now I'm in the couple 100 zone.

Any recommendations?
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Old 05-10-10, 10:11 AM   #2
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I am a bit shorter (6'3"), but set up my folders with a pedal to seat distance of 39", so my legs are fairly long. Both my custom Bike Friday NWT and my BF Pocket 8 (large sized frame) fit me perfectly. The Pocket 8 is $898. It's not IGH, but rack and fenders are easy (I use the ones from my NWT on the Pocket 8). There are three other stock "pocket" bikes. You might even want to check out the BF tikit.

These are the "stock" bikes: http://community.bikefriday.com/2010
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Old 05-10-10, 02:08 PM   #3
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If you're in the couple 100 zone, you'll be hard pressed to find a folding bike that fits you. Bike Friday can make something custom, but then we're talking serious money.

If you're still in the DC area, there are a couple of dealers that stock many different brands of folding bikes. I suggest giving a few a test ride to see which offers the best comfort for someone as tall as you.
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Old 05-10-10, 09:39 PM   #4
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Any recommendations?
This screams Bike Friday. If you're in MD suburbs of DC, I suggest you drive up to Mt. Airy Bikes in Frederick, who probably have the largest selection.
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Old 05-11-10, 02:17 AM   #5
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Thanks for the specific suggestions. It gives me some direction in the homework I'll do after this trip and before the next one.
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Old 05-11-10, 04:31 AM   #6
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Folders? Bike Friday Tikit or Brompton. $200 range? Fahgettaboutit. I have a 38.5" pedal to saddle dimension. I typically ride Raleigh Twentys that have been modified. Brompton is the only off the shelf bike that I can fit on, and that requires a seat post upgrade. Bike Friday gives you more options with their lines, outside of the Tikit they are are not true folders, more like a compact bike that will fit in a suitcase. Great bikes and outstanding customer service. I had an NWT years ago and regret selling it at this point.

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Old 05-11-10, 06:56 AM   #7
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Bike Friday gives you more options with their lines, outside of the Tikit they are are not true folders, more like a compact bike that will fit in a suitcase.
The quick-fold mast has changed that a bit: though I think BF should rethink the design of the NWT to make it more convenient to fold.
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Old 05-11-10, 10:18 AM   #8
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We always pay a premium for being tall.

Bite the bullet and buy a bike that fits!!! You'll be happier and more comfortable.

I remember when I was a 6'4" teenager (with size 13 shoes) in the late 50's & early 60's - stuff for a tall, skinny kid was almost non-existent. Thankfully, it's a lot easier today.

Lou

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Old 05-11-10, 02:12 PM   #9
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I'm 6' with a 33" inseam...this is my IGH Bike Friday NWT...rides like a fullsize bike and I never feel like I'm on a "clown bike". If you get the fast fold stem it will fold in less than a minute for storage or transport.

My NWT photos.

My NWT blog posts.



This is a great bike for a big guy because Bike Friday will build it to your specs and will use stronger tubes so it will be stiff. I can stand up and hammer on my NWT and it feels solid. The smaller wheels aren't slow and they are uber strong so you won't be dealing with broken spokes after rough handling at the airport.



The IGH is great in a folder...low maintenance and hard to break when traveling.

You would also fit fine on a Tikit, but based on your stated needs I think sacrificing the uber fast fold of the Tikit for the stiffer "bigger" bike feel of a NWT [or similar BF model] makes sense.



Here are a couple Tikit pics so you get an idea of the size of the bike with a taller rider on it.

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Old 05-12-10, 10:30 AM   #10
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Why not try an Airnimal Joey (trekking) or Chameleon (racy) or Rhino (MTB)?
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Old 05-17-10, 06:32 AM   #11
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Thanks for the insights. I think some test riding and tinkering at Mt Airy or College Park is in order (feijai). I see they have the Brompton, Bike Friday, Airnimal, etc.? lines.

I'm bitter the $250 Dahon that I see everywhere just won't do.

Vik, thanks for your thoughts on the tradeoffs between Tikit and NWT, and all the pics. At 6', you're within their design range. I'll have to tinker on their fringe. Thank God I'm only 2 s.dev out, not 5. Unless that 5 s.dev came w/ an NBA contract, then custom would be no problem.
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Old 05-17-10, 12:21 PM   #12
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Dahon has a two piece seat post that gives an additional 1.5 inches http://www.gaerlan.com/dahon/misc.htm
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Old 05-23-10, 04:37 AM   #13
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So I'm hearing the Tikits are too flexy. (6'5", 230 lbs) Wasn't able to take one for a spin, too small.

Test rode a Brompton. Couldn't really test drive it without the telescoping seat post. It seems the seat height would not be an issue, but I'm a bit concerned about the reach / stem height. Anyone have the chance to compare the M and P types? From the data, it seems the M is almost as high. Not sure which would rotate further forward. It appears the S type is too low.

I like the easy fold of the Brompton. Still need to really check out a BF NWT. And get a better look at the Dahons.
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Old 05-23-10, 07:54 AM   #14
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So I'm hearing the Tikits are too flexy. (6'5", 230 lbs) Wasn't able to take one for a spin, too small.
I weigh about 187 lbs and my medium Tikit is not too flexy at all. Nice and solid. The large Tikits (and all of the larger BF bikes) are made with with heavier tubing, I believe.
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Old 05-23-10, 08:34 AM   #15
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So I'm hearing the Tikits are too flexy. (6'5", 230 lbs) Wasn't able to take one for a spin, too small.
???

Are you saying you couldn't test-ride a size-Large Tikit? Neither Bikes@Vienna nor Mt. Airy had one? A size-Large is the proper size for you.

You're right at the Large Tikit's weight limit (230 pounds). If you're getting a custom version from BF, you can get a weight limit upgrade (to 260 pounds) for $50.

You will find the reach of a Dahon better than then Bromptons, but still nothing like a size-Large Tikit, which starts at a significantly larger reach than either of them and can have its stem changed to boot. The size-Large is also significantly stiffer than the size-Medium and size-Small.

An NWT will be stiffer than all of them.
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Old 05-23-10, 09:42 AM   #16
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An NWT will be stiffer than all of them.
+1 -

Given your stats and how you plan to use the folder I'd be looking at a Bike Friday NWT. It will built to your size/weight and with the new folding stem will fold reasonably fast - although not as fast as a Tikit. You seem to be after a travel bike and the NWT is an excellent one.

I used my NWT yesterday to collect groceries and was once again impressed with how stiff and solid this bike is not to mention a ton of fun to ride...
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Old 05-23-10, 11:22 AM   #17
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Are you saying you couldn't test-ride a size-Large Tikit? Neither Bikes@Vienna nor Mt. Airy had one? A size-Large is the proper size for you.
Only in my first two look-sees. The saga will continue! I will keep looking, and I appreciate the extra info. I'll be sure to take a good look at the large Tikit and not go off the hearsay I've heard said.

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You seem to be after a travel bike and the NWT is an excellent one.
Not to split too many hairs, but I think I'm leaning more to a good folder (commuter-ish) that can travel (Tikit, Brompton, etc.), rather than a good travel bike that can fold (NWT). However, there's plenty of overlap and nuance in there and I'm not going to die on either hill.

I feel the pull of the BF custom and might wind up there eventually. Possibly via the ~$300 REI Dahon with the mod'd seat post Dynocoaster pointed out -- just to confirm to myself that there's a spot in my stable and checkbook for a folder before I make the $$ commitment.
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Old 05-23-10, 11:28 AM   #18
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Not to split too many hairs, but I think I'm leaning more to a good folder (commuter-ish) that can travel (Tikit, Brompton, etc.), rather than a good travel bike that can fold (NWT). However, there's plenty of overlap and nuance in there and I'm not going to die on either hill.

I feel the pull of the BF custom and might wind up there eventually. Possibly via the ~$300 REI Dahon with the mod'd seat post Dynocoaster pointed out -- just to confirm to myself that there's a spot in my stable and checkbook for a folder before I make the $$ commitment.
If you think you'll fold the bike a lot the commuter style bikes are the way to go. I started with a Dahon [$450] and used it for a couple months before I bought my Tikit. The Dahon has been pretty idle ever since so I need to sell it. The only thing I would confirm is that you fit well enough on the Dahon to actually ride it. At 6' 33" inseam I feel like I'm on a bike that's too small and you are quite a bit taller than me.
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Old 05-24-10, 08:06 AM   #19
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The quick-fold mast has changed that a bit: though I think BF should rethink the design of the NWT to make it more convenient to fold.
The drivetrain has a big impact on how long it takes to fold their 20" models. Skip a front derailer and use the appropriate chainguards inside and outside a single chainring -- and you can fold the bike in a reasonable amount of time.
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Old 05-28-10, 01:43 PM   #20
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The quick-fold mast has changed that a bit: though I think BF should rethink the design of the NWT to make it more convenient to fold.
I've got a NWT and a Tikit. The NWT has a Nexus 8 drivetrain. I can fold it in about 40 seconds [without the quick fold stem]...not nearly as fast as my Tikit, but the NWT is a travel bike. They really fill different functions and have different pros and cons. I wouldn't want to trade off on the NWT's stiffness and touring performance to shave a few seconds off the fold.
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Old 06-03-10, 10:51 PM   #21
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