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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 11-12-10, 08:51 PM   #1
GLA
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Folding bike for long distance riding

Hi

I'm thinking of getting a folding bike to ride Paris Brest Paris (1200km) next year. I'm totally new to the world of folding/pull apart bikes so would value any suggestions.

Some of the ones I've started to look at on the web are the Bike Friday Pocket Rocket, or the Pro or the Air and the Airnimal Chameleon


The main reason why I'm looking at a folder is that my wife has fallen in love with cycle touring on our tandem and so we'll be taking the (a) tandem and a solo bike.


We may also look at a folding/pull apart tandem as well so we can have the bikes in three cases.

thanks

Greg
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Old 11-12-10, 09:08 PM   #2
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Bike Friday builds a tandem that can also be used as a solo when the tandem isnt being used.
http://community.bikefriday.com/travelerqsport
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Old 11-13-10, 03:40 AM   #3
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You are looking at most of the sensible options IMHO. Some less usual choices are Moultons (some are packable into standard sized luggage) and Bromptons (finished PBP, LEL and Mille Miglia).

Figure on carrying a spare tyre with you. Your biggest problem is working out how to stay within the restrictive weight limits of flights between Oz and Europe with bike, packaging, ride clothing and off-the-bike clothing. USA-ian flights have a much larger baggage allowance.

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Old 11-13-10, 04:14 AM   #4
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weight limits of flights between Oz and Europe with bike, packaging, ride clothing and off-the-bike clothing. USA-ian flights have a much larger baggage allowance.
These are less than 23kgs / 50lbs (Australie->Europe)?
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Old 11-13-10, 04:42 AM   #5
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Google doesn't work for you? Airlines' baggage allowances vary but generally flights to/from USA use a piece allowance, to/from other destinations are a more restrictive weight allowance. That is part of the reason Yanks are so keen on heavy bike cases.
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Old 11-13-10, 11:02 AM   #6
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Kent Peterson did PBP on a Friday. I am not sure where his write up lives these days, but you could contact him through his blog:

http://kentsbike.blogspot.com/

I've done a few brevets, but nothing longer than 300kms so I don't have the perspective to give you all the advice you need. I designed my Bike Friday NWT to fit just like my full size Surly LHT 700c bike. It feels great and is very comfortable. Being comfortable is key and you can get all your existing bike's dimensions ported over to a Friday as well as any components you have to have such as bars, saddle, pedals. Being comfortable is key for a long ride.

Greenspeed Scorchers are fast comfortable 406 tires. They provide a lot of efficiency for small wheels by absorbing bumps and rough surfaces. I wouldn't run a narrow tire on a small wheel thinking you'll go faster - you won't....you'll be less comfortable and be slower.

You can use any gearing you like so that won't be a problem. Fenders and a bar bag or a rack and tail bag or a saddle bag will all work depending how you carry your rando gear. I use a dyno hub and light on my Friday which wors well and battery LEDs on the rear.
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Old 11-13-10, 12:18 PM   #7
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I'm reluctant to give any sort of advice to PBP rider, but ....

I would normally say a Bike Friday is your best bet for a solid bike that can provide the comfort and reliability for such an undertaking. However I noticed you're writing from Australia. I'm not sure if they are readily available there? If not, Moultons can be a good alternative. They have the same heritage for riding efficiency, comfort and reliability as Bike Fridays.

Maybe we'll hear from Jur and Stevegor who are folder fans from Australia....
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Old 11-13-10, 12:24 PM   #8
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Here are some Bike Friday PBP links:

http://community.bikefriday.com/pbp-twinair

http://community.bikefriday.com/pbp
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Old 11-13-10, 02:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GLA View Post
Hi

I'm thinking of getting a folding bike to ride Paris Brest Paris (1200km) next year. I'm totally new to the world of folding/pull apart bikes so would value any suggestions.

Some of the ones I've started to look at on the web are the Bike Friday Pocket Rocket, or the Pro or the Air and the Airnimal Chameleon


The main reason why I'm looking at a folder is that my wife has fallen in love with cycle touring on our tandem and so we'll be taking the (a) tandem and a solo bike.


We may also look at a folding/pull apart tandem as well so we can have the bikes in three cases.

thanks

Greg
The Chameleon rides well on relatively long test rides. The big shortfall is tire availability and choice.

I've done a few centuries with my Bike Friday NWT. You might consider Bike Friday's options with 406 tires since both tires and tubes are much more common than 451.
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Old 11-13-10, 03:50 PM   #10
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... Your biggest problem is working out how to stay within the restrictive weight limits of flights between Oz and Europe with bike, packaging, ride clothing and off-the-bike clothing. USA-ian flights have a much larger baggage allowance.
This year two of the airlines are offering 30kg limits in economy as part of the early bird specials. That will give us 60kg between us. That is really going to help us, otherwise we would be up for some pretty significant excess baggage costs.
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Old 11-13-10, 04:05 PM   #11
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I came across a thread from a couple of years ago (here) and it talks in part about small wheeled bikes transmitting more road shock through to the rider.

On a long distance ride this does not seem a great thing. Have others that have ridden long distances experienced this?

Also:

Quote:
Originally Posted by vik View Post


... I wouldn't run a narrow tire on a small wheel thinking you'll go faster - you won't....you'll be less comfortable and be slower.

.
That leads me to another big question I have. What size tyres would you recommend? Are the 451s much better on the road, or does the advantage of the availability of the 406s outweight that. Also how narrow (or not) is the best for the longer distances?

So many questions, but I appreciate the feedback
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Old 11-13-10, 08:07 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GLA View Post
I came across a thread from a couple of years ago (here) and it talks in part about small wheeled bikes transmitting more road shock through to the rider.

On a long distance ride this does not seem a great thing. Have others that have ridden long distances experienced this?

Also:



That leads me to another big question I have. What size tyres would you recommend? Are the 451s much better on the road, or does the advantage of the availability of the 406s outweight that. Also how narrow (or not) is the best for the longer distances?

So many questions, but I appreciate the feedback
I run 40mm GS Scorchers on my 349 and 406 bikes. I wouldn't go narrower. There is no benefit to doing so. You'll get more road shock transmitted to the rider and you won't go faster. Inflate your 40mm tires so you get 6mm of vertical drop with you and your rando gear onboard - that will give you optimized comfort and speed.

406 tires are light so I'd probably carry a spare since a high performance spare is not likely to fall into your hands in the French country side at 2am.
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Last edited by vik; 11-13-10 at 08:11 PM.
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Old 11-14-10, 08:17 AM   #13
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Agreed. Vik, do yourself a favor and order a Big Shot Mini Polo. Its insanely light and for a rigid bike with 20" wheels, it rides great on Greenspeed Scorcher tires. It just tracks the road really well.

I didn't think a mini velo can handle distance but this is one of those things the bike does well - even in single speed configuration.
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Old 11-14-10, 10:57 AM   #14
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Suspension affects the minimum tyre width needed for small wheels. Bike Fridays are (mostly) not suspended, so fat tyres are very helpful. A Moulton's suspension means that a 28 or 32 mm tyre is fine. My experience: 1xPBP on 349 tyres, 1xPBP on 406 tyres, 5x1200+ (including 1xPBP) on 700x23-28C.

Bike Fridays are available in Oz from a couple of shops, you can order them direct from the USA anyway. If you want to consider a Moulton in Oz, chat to Michael Kater.
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Old 11-14-10, 11:12 AM   #15
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I originally got slick, skinny road tires for my Bike Friday and it was a bad idea - way too rough on any kind of damaged pavement. The smaller diameter wheels jolt more on any ruts and ridges, and the smaller airspace inside the tire provides less hydraulic dampening. So roads that my large wheel bike could hande, were too rough for the Friday even at the same psi of around 100.

So I got a Big Apple tire for the front and I run it at 70 psi, and I dropped the pressure in the rear to 80 psi and that helped. As soon as that rear slick tire wears out I will switch it to Big Apple too. I made the changes when I was intending to ride on a packed trail, but it really improved the ride on pavement as well.
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Old 11-14-10, 11:30 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GLA View Post
I came across a thread from a couple of years ago (here) and it talks in part about small wheeled bikes transmitting more road shock through to the rider.

On a long distance ride this does not seem a great thing. Have others that have ridden long distances experienced this?

Also:



That leads me to another big question I have. What size tyres would you recommend? Are the 451s much better on the road, or does the advantage of the availability of the 406s outweight that. Also how narrow (or not) is the best for the longer distances?

So many questions, but I appreciate the feedback
The longest distance I've ridden on my BF Pocket Rocket (451 1.1 in Primo Comet Kevlar tires) is about 80 miles. It maybe slower than my CF scott road bike but it is very comfortable. I think it really feels more like a steel road bike than a folder. If you want to carry an extra tire consider that there are no 451 folding tires (AFAIK). So a 406 size bike like Vik's NWT would allow you to carry extra tires easily. I get around this by twisting an extra 451 tire in a figure 8 and tying it down to my carradice saddle bag.
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Old 11-14-10, 01:44 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GLA View Post
That leads me to another big question I have. What size tyres would you recommend? Are the 451s much better on the road, or does the advantage of the availability of the 406s outweight that. Also how narrow (or not) is the best for the longer distances?
The advantages of skinny tires are lighter weight and better aerodynamics and the disadvantages are higher rolling resistance and less comfort/durability. But since small diameter wheels are already light and aerodynamic and suffer from high rolling resistance and poor comfort the incentives are basically reversed.

Therefore, if large diameter skinny tires represent an optimal compromise then to approximate the same with a small diameter wheel you want to get the widest tire possible.
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Old 11-14-10, 05:24 PM   #18
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The advantages of skinny tires are lighter weight and better aerodynamics and the disadvantages are higher rolling resistance and less comfort/durability. But since small diameter wheels are already light and aerodynamic and suffer from high rolling resistance and poor comfort the incentives are basically reversed.

Therefore, if large diameter skinny tires represent an optimal compromise then to approximate the same with a small diameter wheel you want to get the widest tire possible.
This needs to be qualified: Wider tyres may be better IF you are comparing two tyres with otherwise identical construction ie carcass. It's bad to go for a slow wide tyre instead of a fast medium tyre (almost no narrow tyres are available in 406 or 451 anyway - the narrowest ones easily available are 28mm). 32mm is also commonly available. Then there is tyre weight - I find there is benefit in running lighter tyres, the bike seems more nimble which I think reduces fatigue ion the long run.
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Old 11-14-10, 06:56 PM   #19
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Suspension affects the minimum tyre width needed for small wheels. Bike Fridays are (mostly) not suspended, so fat tyres are very helpful. A Moulton's suspension means that a 28 or 32 mm tyre is fine. My experience: 1xPBP on 349 tyres, 1xPBP on 406 tyres, 5x1200+ (including 1xPBP) on 700x23-28C.

Bike Fridays are available in Oz from a couple of shops, you can order them direct from the USA anyway. If you want to consider a Moulton in Oz, chat to Michael Kater.
LWaB,
Would you mind posting some pics on your PBPs please or start a new thread?

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Moulton Classic Bicycles: contact Michael Kater, ph 03 5348 7874, fax 03 53487974

Sydney Moultoneers meeting on the third weekend of every even month. Paul Copeland 02 95247965 copeland@mail.smarkchat.net.au. Perth meeting for Moulton owners: Fremantle every second Sunday Geoff Law 08 94463196 geofflaw@bigpond.com. Melbourne Bicycle touring Club: Every Thursday night at the MBTC clubrooms at BV house. Adelaide Moultoneers: Sam Powrie 08 8449 9902 savvas@newave.net.au
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Old 11-14-10, 09:32 PM   #20
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correct me if i am wrong but isn't narrower tire supposed to be faster than wider tire as what is mentioned on this article :

Why do road bikes have such narrow tires?

Road bikes have skinny tires because they are fast. The narrow profile creates less contact with the road and thus less rolling resistance. Moreover, the lighter weight wheels require a lot less energy to drive and accelerate.
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Old 11-14-10, 10:03 PM   #21
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correct me if i am wrong but isn't narrower tire supposed to be faster than wider tire as what is mentioned on this article :

Why do road bikes have such narrow tires?

Road bikes have skinny tires because they are fast. The narrow profile creates less contact with the road and thus less rolling resistance. Moreover, the lighter weight wheels require a lot less energy to drive and accelerate.
What mainly makes skinny tires fast is the high internal air pressure which means they don't deform much as they roll. Fat tires could be just as fast if they are pumped up to high pressure, but they are more likely to rupture due to the pressure. So fat tires generally have a lower recommended psi, and that's the main reason they are slow.

As someone explained to me in another thread, very high pressure tires can also have negative effects on speed, if they make the ride too bumpy, making you bounce around too much on the bike. That costs you energy. So high pressure tires are only good on smooth roads.

Last edited by cooker; 11-14-10 at 10:09 PM.
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Old 11-14-10, 10:56 PM   #22
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correct me if i am wrong but isn't narrower tire supposed to be faster than wider tire as what is mentioned on this article :

Why do road bikes have such narrow tires?

Road bikes have skinny tires because they are fast. The narrow profile creates less contact with the road and thus less rolling resistance. Moreover, the lighter weight wheels require a lot less energy to drive and accelerate.
I have also read that because the contact patch area is a function of tyre pressure, the above statement is actually incorrect. So a fatter tyre, having the same contact patch area, has less sidewall deformation than a skinny tyre, because the contact patch is shorter, thus involving a shorter piece of sidewall. Since it is sidewall deformation that causes rolling resistance, having a shorter piece that deforms is better. (All this goes out the window if the fatter tyre has a poorer sidewall.)
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Old 11-15-10, 04:00 AM   #23
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LWaB,
Would you mind posting some pics on your PBPs please
I rarely take photos during long brevets but here are a couple of photos found with a Google image search.
http://frank.harvard.edu/~coldwell/b...rg/moulton.jpg
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1360/...b830328dce.jpg
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Old 11-15-10, 06:28 AM   #24
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i wanna buy a folding bike too.
oyama have you heard about it?
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Old 11-15-10, 06:34 AM   #25
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I rarely take photos during long brevets but here are a couple of photos found with a Google image search.
http://frank.harvard.edu/~coldwell/b...rg/moulton.jpg
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1360/...b830328dce.jpg
Thank you,
I envy your achievements..... and your proximity to France for the PBPs

One day...... one day!!
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