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  1. #1
    Bluegrass Atheist silverwolf's Avatar
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    Another crazy folder idea: portable bike on the cheap

    I had an idea, so bear with me- I was thinking that a BMX bicycle, with an extended seat tube and extended steerer to give reasonable height, just might work as a "folding" portable bike. Now obviously, it wouldn't actually fold, but a mid-size BMX frame might (?) meet the requirements for bringing it on a bus, train or aeroplane and of course it has the small 20" or maybe even 16" wheels of a folder. So for the "folding" (actually stowing) action, I was thinking-

    Using an allen key and a quick release front wheel and seatpost- loosen the steering stem, drop the bars and flip them to be horizontal. Loosen the seat post, drop it as far as possible. Release the front wheel, and using a cable lock, tie it to the back one.

    It's conceptual, but if it works it would be a good way to get a very cheap stowable bicycle. All you would need is a 16 or 20 inch BMX bike (on craislist or garage sales all the time), an extended steering stem and seat tube (on ebay or LBSes) and a light for the front, and there you have it, a ghetto folder.

    Any problems you can forsee with this? Will the average BMW frame just be too long without folding, or maybe there's better type of frame out there such as an old steel kid's bike frame (minus the "princess" or "rocketship" decals of course )

  2. #2
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    Well, we're talking Mini-velos here, but that's ok. The Cannondale Hooligan appeals, and of the road-going BMX of which you speak, there are a couple of models, exactly as you described, with 'proper' seatposts and gears and everything. A pic of one went through the office the other day, but danged if I can find it.

    The jump-bike frames are a bit odd for distance riding though, if you've tried one. Although nothing is impossible.

    The Mk 1 Dahon Hammerhead was 'portable'; to make it stowable the stem was loosened, the bars turned to 90 degrees or removed altogether, and the pedals folded. You'll need folding pedals - they're cool.
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  3. #3
    Bluegrass Atheist silverwolf's Avatar
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    ^ Forgot the pedals- shorter bars could help too, but only to a degree. Otherwise, it looks like a good idea and thanks for the references. Good to get some feedback from another member, my ideas are a bit crazy sometimes and it helps to know they are somewhat sane before throwing money around...

  4. #4
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    by the time you make all these mods you're probably not saving any money over a cheap folder and the cheap folder will probably ride better and you have the option to fold the frame if you need it.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by chucky View Post
    by the time you make all these mods you're probably not saving any money over a cheap folder and the cheap folder will probably ride better and you have the option to fold the frame if you need it.
    Yes, perhaps true, but think of all the fun, and pride, when your very own creation eventually hits the highway !

  6. #6
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    Folding pedals are good for multi-modal interfaces with other passengers. They knock four inches off the ability of the bike to scrape other people's ankles, and your shins while boarding. And they are nerdily uncool

    I'm still looking for the BMX with gears, it was from one of the bigger manufacturers, too.
    Last edited by snafu21; 06-24-10 at 01:36 AM.
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  7. #7
    Bike Nerd Mr. Jim's Avatar
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    Been done, I almost bought it, still available my local dealer says about 3 left.

    http://www.khsbicycles.com/09_KF20_07.htm

    Handle bar folds, rest is rigid.

    Come to think of it, I still might get this, just for the unique factor
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  8. #8
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snafu21 View Post

    I'm still looking for the BMX with gears, it was from one of the bigger manufacturers, too.
    A BMX bike strickly speacking is bycycle moto cross. Ie a BMX racing bike. I am sure you know this already. Anything other than a race BMX bike usually weighs a ton.

    Race BMX bike can not have gears in the UK for competion and in the US they can (or could),although US riders hardly ever use them.
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

  9. #9
    Pedaling fool ShinyBiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chucky View Post
    by the time you make all these mods you're probably not saving any money over a cheap folder and the cheap folder will probably ride better and you have the option to fold the frame if you need it.
    So many kids go through BMX bikes that there's probably a lot of used BMX bikes and parts on craigslist. More supply. That probably means lower prices overall. With folders, you're talking about a high initial cost, even though you have better fit and finish. The BMX route may be good if you're on a budget.

  10. #10
    Senior Member edwong3's Avatar
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    Come on guys, nothing is impossible.



    Quick release mechanisms make life easier.
    Edward Wong III
    2008 Qile Duo VSTII Single Speed 20" Folder (Converted from a 5 speed)
    2012 Greenzone Value Edition 7 Speed 20" Folder

  11. #11
    Senior Member edwong3's Avatar
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    Wow that's nice! Looks like it would make a great compact commuter or light duty tourer. How much is your dealer selling these for?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Jim View Post
    Been done, I almost bought it, still available my local dealer says about 3 left.

    http://www.khsbicycles.com/09_KF20_07.htm

    Handle bar folds, rest is rigid.

    Come to think of it, I still might get this, just for the unique factor
    Edward Wong III
    2008 Qile Duo VSTII Single Speed 20" Folder (Converted from a 5 speed)
    2012 Greenzone Value Edition 7 Speed 20" Folder

  12. #12
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    "Race BMX bike can not have gears in the UK for competion and in the US they can (or could),although US riders hardly ever use them. "

    Ya. The press release for this mysterious danged bike I can't find billed it as a 'BMX' for the rider who wanted to road-ride during the week, and break their necks at the weekend. Sound idea I thought. If the Cannondale Hooligan is selling, and it is , then it's a far more desirable toy than I ever imagined.

    There are some guys in Moab putting Sturmey Archer hub gears into 24" frames, too. Food for thought?

    Unless I find the news release though, I could be talking out of my inkwell. Maybe Silverwolf could build one. Then we'd all want one. Jump bikes are fun.
    Last edited by snafu21; 06-24-10 at 09:27 AM.
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  13. #13
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShinyBiker View Post
    So many kids go through BMX bikes that there's probably a lot of used BMX bikes and parts on craigslist. More supply. That probably means lower prices overall. With folders, you're talking about a high initial cost, even though you have better fit and finish. The BMX route may be good if you're on a budget.
    This option appears to be as I am seriously thinking to do with at the very least a front rim/hub combo for my "new" Twenty. I like the easy availability of new/used BMX parts. And they are made to take kiddie abuse. I know it will last forever the way I ride bikes now.

    The frame & major parts will still be for a folding bicycle though.

  14. #14
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Come to think of it, nearly all my folders have gone on a BMX track at some stage, Dahon Curve has preformed the best.
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

  15. #15
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhkyte View Post
    Come to think of it, nearly all my folders have gone on a BMX track at some stage, Dahon Curve has preformed the best.
    I've had the Dahon Vitesse over the local BMX half-pipe a couple of times, it's scary looking down.
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  16. #16
    rhm
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    multimodal commuter rhm's Avatar
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    ^^ you guys!

    Future folding bike races should include some BMX style obstacles. Anyone tried the half-pipe on a Strida?

  17. #17
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    ^^^^

    Oh, wait a minute....
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  18. #18
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snafu21 View Post
    I've had the Dahon Vitesse over the local BMX half-pipe a couple of times, it's scary looking down.
    Did you "drop in"?
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

  19. #19
    Bike Nerd Mr. Jim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edwong3 View Post
    Wow that's nice! Looks like it would make a great compact commuter or light duty tourer. How much is your dealer selling these for?
    It's gonna be $339, I went down and ordered it this morning after posting, I decided that I couldn't justify buying a Brompton this year, so this is my compromise. I have quite a good relationship with the shop, hence the great deal.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhkyte View Post
    Did you "drop in"?
    No, scared me witless. I actually fell over twice, not having the power to get up the danged thing, much to the mirth of the local urchins. BMX is for the unbreakable.
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  21. #21
    Senior Member stevegor's Avatar
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    [Quote]There are some guys in Moab putting Sturmey Archer hub gears into 24" frames, too. Food for thought? [Quote]

    I have a 24" frame in my shed that is identical to a R20, I also have spare SA 3 and 8 spd hubs AND new 24" Velocity rims...... what should I do?
    Last edited by stevegor; 06-25-10 at 01:17 AM. Reason: DOH!!
    I'm lame,
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    I'm stonkered.

  22. #22
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=stevegor;11016058][Quote]There are some guys in Moab putting Sturmey Archer hub gears into 24" frames, too. Food for thought?

    I have a 24" frame in my shed that is identical to a R20, I also have spare SA 3 and 8 spd hubs AND new 24" Velocity rims...... what should I do?
    8 speed half-pipe burner. MTB/BMX short stem, alloy riser bars, saddle perched on the frame. BMX geared stunt bike. Black frame, fluoro green detail:

    Niiiice.

    how-to-paint-a-BM&#.jpg
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  23. #23
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edwong3 View Post
    Come on guys, nothing is impossible.



    Quick release mechanisms make life easier.
    Think I remember seeing this on ebay UK. Nice wheels, but look at the rest of the bike,one piece crank,dubious stem......
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

  24. #24
    smallwheelsonly
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    not a crazy idea at all for a "portable" bike I would categorize this as a 'small wheeled bicycle' instead of folder
    in UK they have such groups like Small Wheel Society or Small Wheeled Bikes that rides old or early Moulton Bikes that does not have separable frame
    Raleigh made a model called Raleigh Shopper 20" wheels and it does not fold

    I did acquire a kids bicylce at a garage sale as this one had a plain silver scheme and front shocks and other parts that i was thinking of using on my Raleigh twenty hence the purchase
    when i got it i did intend to use the bicycle as a cheap commuter but the common issue with kids geared bicycle like this one is the frame dimension is designed for kids....way too short wheelbase top tube for us adult users.

    a good 'portable bike' can also be had by using what they call BMX CRUISERS basically a BMX using 24" wheels or kids bikes that use 24" wheels i've seen them and can be easily converted.

    A used Raleigh Twenty can be had for around $100 and up locally or ebay[plus expensive shipping costs] I know not as cheap as a $10 BMX from a garage sale but at least it looks like an adult bike when configured.

    below is a Raleigh twenty an $100 ebay find. got it as a bare frame only. I added bmx wheels single speed coaster brake and some parts added to it so now its a single speed cruiser


    Small wheel Bike=kids 5 speed mountain Bike a garage sale find $20


    My non folding Small Wheel 'Portable' Bike from Raleigh a 1968 model
    upgraded with alloy parts/rims/brakes/post/bars etc. w/ 3 speed SA AW3


  25. #25
    Bluegrass Atheist silverwolf's Avatar
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    ^Nice bikes! I love the Twentys, used to ride around on one when I was a kid. I wish I still had it. What's the ratio on the singlespeed, considering the small wheels?

    Also, this thread has been very interesting to read but it might- if I'm lucky- not be necessary. Met a guy who's selling a basic Dahon five-speed rigid with 20" wheels for $60 yesterday, and if I can snag it that'll be all for my bikes right now (even two is almost too many for my limited living space). I love the look of the portable small-wheelers though.

    There seems to be a lot of buzz for folders/small wheels on one end, and "big-wheeled" (29") ATBs in the UK but not so much in the USA. I like both kinds of bikes but no-one around here owns anything but kid's bikes, 700c road bikes, or 26" MTBs- is there some kind of group for portable and/or big wheeled bike owners around here in TX?

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