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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 11-08-10, 09:31 PM   #1
bennery
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What the best Folding Bikes should be?

Hi, I'm thinking about how to design the best Folding Bike.
So, what terms and standards should be considered?
Any advices would be appreciated.

TKS!
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Old 11-08-10, 10:18 PM   #2
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It should ride like a Swift, fold as small as a Brompton, fold as fast as a tikit, weigh less than 10kg, last forever, and cost less than $1000.
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Old 11-08-10, 10:48 PM   #3
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Most desireable folding bike is one that uses as much standardized bike parts as possible so upgrading/customization would be made effortless and cheaply. This makes the Swift the best for me b/c of it's use of standardized parts. Although I will never own a aluminum version one after reading of frame failure.
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Old 11-09-10, 08:40 AM   #4
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It would be a full ti Brommi.
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Old 11-09-10, 09:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bennery View Post
Hi, I'm thinking about how to design the best Folding Bike.
For taking to a distant triathlon competition? Starting a long adventure tour out the door of a turboprop? Daily bi-modal commuting?
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Old 11-09-10, 09:11 AM   #6
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Foldiness, Ridyness and Portability are the three factors you need to balance.
This is a bit like the performance triangle for tanks (mobility, armour, firepower). Good ones have a bigger triangle, special requirements need an odd shaped triangle. There is no one BEST solution, depends on your requirements.

There are so many foldy bike around that you will have to come up with something pretty special to compete. You also need to factor in cost and manufacturability, hence no full-Titanium Brompton on the market.
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Old 11-09-10, 01:22 PM   #7
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It should ride like a Swift, fold as small as a Brompton, fold as fast as a tikit, weigh less than 10kg, last forever, and cost less than $1000.
Pretty good summation!
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Old 11-09-10, 02:36 PM   #8
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Pretty good summation!
Indeed, but he should've added "look as good as a Moulton"
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Old 11-09-10, 07:52 PM   #9
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You gotta balance all the following:
Ride quality
Folded size
Ease of fold
Weight
Luggage carrying space
killer looks
price
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Old 11-09-10, 08:07 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by bennery View Post
Hi, I'm thinking about how to design the best Folding Bike.
So, what terms and standards should be considered?
Any advices would be appreciated.
Uh huh....

1) There is no one single bike that is the best in all classes. Even a $6,000 carbon fiber road bike will not be "best" at doing all things. I.e. refine your scope.
2) Spend a few months owning and riding all sorts of folding bikes.
3) Learn how to build bikes.

Is this helpful?
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Old 11-10-10, 12:24 AM   #11
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It should fold as small as a Swift, have the standard parts and gearing options of a Brompton, be as stiff as a tikit, ride as sporty as a Strida, cost as little as a Moulton, have the beauty of a Mezzo, fold as cleverly as a Dahon, and have the all-terrain handling of a Carry-Me, the durability of a Citizen, the elegance of a Worksman, the packability of a Montague, and the customer support of a Go-Bike.
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Old 11-11-10, 01:39 AM   #12
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People own folders for different reasons, to design the perfect folding bike you need to know who you're aiming at:

People who want very small folding bikes for commuting using public transport for part of the journey?
People who want a bike that rides well but don't have storage for a full sized bike?
People who have contracted mild folderitis and just want a cool folding bike?
People with Severe folderitis who want a rusty old Raleigh twenty to spend a fortune doing it up?

Any of these groups will give you different priorities for how to make the perfect folding bike (the last group are too far gone and you will never be able to make them a perfect bike). Folding bikes are no different to normal bikes in their variety. No-one has ever made the perfect bike. You wouldn't take a carbon framed road bike to pop to the shops, you wouldn't want a childs tricycle to do downhill mountainbiking (hmm or would you? ) and a tandem would be rather a poor choice to take on a skate park ramp.
Before you do anything else you need to decide what the folding bike will be used for and by whom?
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Old 11-11-10, 02:02 AM   #13
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I am in the process of designing and building a collapsible bike... getting it built so that it weighs less than 10 kg is one of my goals and aside from being light it also needs to be stiff, strong, and offer an outstanding ride.

I am not asking for much here.
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Old 11-11-10, 02:04 AM   #14
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I also have folderitis severitis... have put an inordinate amoount of work into my P20 and figure it is one of the more heavily modded out 20's out there but have not spent a fortune doing it unless you factor in the hours I have spent modifying things.
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Old 11-11-10, 08:37 AM   #15
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I have the answer to your question, however I am wondering what the salary for a consulting job of this nature would be ?

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Old 11-11-10, 12:01 PM   #16
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Len Rubin has tried, so far missed the price target discussed here by 9000, though,
and still hasn't gotten the funds up [just writing software]
for a manufacturing start up, past, so far, making of more than a couple prototypes..

http://www.ufbusa.com/

get your order deposits in early.. it's still pre-production early, from what I gather.. ..
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Old 11-11-10, 01:40 PM   #17
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Although I was initially attracted to folders b/c of portability, I gravitate to them because of their maneuverability. I guess I would like to try a mini velo out. However, no lbs around me carries them.
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Old 11-11-10, 02:45 PM   #18
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IMO, the frame and fork doesn't have to last forever. They just need to last for a decade or so, but not be difficult or expensive to replace, should they break. And when they do break, they shouldn't break catastrophically.

Think modular frame.
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Old 11-11-10, 04:53 PM   #19
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Think modular frame.
Hmm a modular folding bike might be good, swap out the front and back of the bike to change from lightweight speed machine to full suspension off roader or to change to a small wheeled space saver for that train/bus journey. Imagine having all your bikes use the same basic frame so you only have to store the front and rear sections in order to turn it into whatever type of bike you want.
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Old 11-11-10, 08:11 PM   #20
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I don't know about the suspension part.
20" wheels have a distinct disadvantage in tire selection compared to 26". Sure, the wheel is stronger, but the drive train sits lower than MTB, which, to me, sounds like snapping metal bits.

I was thinking of a general purpose rear triangle that will cover commuting, cruising, touring and light off road. Then there will be the longtail attachment, which can be used with other folding bikes as well. Obviously, room for 20x2.0" tires with fenders and proper mounts so that you can use caliper brakes with ISO451, V-brake/canti with ISO406 and disc tab for both sizes. The long tail would only have disc brake mounts.

The front end, which should be cheaper to make, can have a few different lengths and head tube angles, which should give a good selection for proper fit. Two things that the folding bikes have a problem with, are accommodating a variety of sizes with proper fit and steering stability. Lots of people complain about how twitchy a folding bike can feel at first. For me, I think there's a bit of a problem with the telescoping parts designed to fit a variety of rider sizes, because the top tube length doesn't scale too well at the extremes.

The fork can be off the shelf, but the main problem with the newer forks is the rake it offers, so having a slack head tube to adjust for a good caster angle is nice to have.

now getting a general purpose frame or bike under 10kg can be a bit of a challenge, so I suppose a lighter version with a slightly more aggressive geometry should be offered.
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Old 11-11-10, 11:37 PM   #21
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Quote:
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It should fold as small as a Swift, have the standard parts and gearing options of a Brompton, be as stiff as a tikit, ride as sporty as a Strida, cost as little as a Moulton, have the beauty of a Mezzo, fold as cleverly as a Dahon, and have the all-terrain handling of a Carry-Me, the durability of a Citizen, the elegance of a Worksman, the packability of a Montague, and the customer support of a Go-Bike.
These already exist and cost $39 on ebay.
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Old 11-12-10, 10:01 AM   #22
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These already exist and cost $39 on ebay.
what?! please link to this magical item you speak of!
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Old 11-12-10, 08:28 PM   #23
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Bike friday seasons tikit with alfine 11 and gates belt drive. The only downside, the price! If it was 2500 with the hyperfold included- my order would be in already. Damn I want that bike!
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Old 11-13-10, 06:02 PM   #24
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Bike friday seasons tikit with alfine 11 and gates belt drive. The only downside, the price! If it was 2500 with the hyperfold included- my order would be in already. Damn I want that bike!
Doesn't have the gates belt drive, but I just saw a Rohloff Tikit on ebay for $2300.
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Old 11-14-10, 02:35 PM   #25
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Tikit w/ rohloff already sold. That was quick! 2300 was a good deal considering the price of a rohloff.
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