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Old 12-07-11, 10:38 AM   #1
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Folder as Only Bike

Now that my kids are grown my wife and I have been doing a serious round of downsizing and simplifying. I've gone from seven bikes, to five, and now three. I beginning to think I may be able to live with just one. And if I'm only going to have one bike why not make it a folder that way I could take it everywhere.

So has anyone else replaced a sizable stable with just one folder?
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Old 12-07-11, 11:21 AM   #2
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I went from 3 to 1 (a Swift). Now two, but could easily see myself going back to one and being quite happy.
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Old 12-07-11, 11:28 AM   #3
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yeah... I basically sold my Snayspe 5, Trek 7.3 and coda for a Dahon hammerhead as my every day bike. It was hard to do... but I really did not ride them all that much anymore and most of my riding is less than 15 miles.
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Old 12-07-11, 12:01 PM   #4
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I've been using the Bike Friday Pocket Llama to the exclusion of all others , since I
got it, but its an N+1,
previous N was a Brompton & a mountain Drive crankset.
Rohloff Koga WTR, world tour is fill the panniers with groceries of late. and 4 others..
managed to keep my DIY frameset a bike I built in the mid 70's.
re purposed thru several component changes, over time
that one would be hard to part with
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Old 12-07-11, 12:10 PM   #5
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It all depends on the bikes that are being given up, and the folder. The more specialised the bike, the harder it is to replace -- provided that you are using it for its intended specialism. Same for folders, some are better all rounders, and others are more specialised. Brompton vs. Bike Friday Pocket series, for instance.
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Old 12-07-11, 12:13 PM   #6
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It all depends on the bikes that are being given up, and the folder. The more specialised the bike, the harder it is to replace -- provided that you are using it for its intended specialism. Same for folders, some are better all rounders, and others are more specialised. Brompton vs. Bike Friday Pocket series, for instance.
I would be giving up my homemade commuter (ridden often), my road bike (ridden rarely) and my three speed Schwinn (very rarely ridden but I love it so).
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Old 12-07-11, 12:18 PM   #7
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Do you have a folder in mind?
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Old 12-07-11, 12:26 PM   #8
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Do you have a folder in mind?
I like the Brompton for it's small size and quick folding. It's primary purpose would be multi-modal commuting and some light touring but I really want to be able take a bike with me everywhere. When I'm traveling with my wife I often find myself wishing I had a bike so that I could do a little exploring.
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Old 12-07-11, 01:34 PM   #9
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Although I have multiple bikes, 99% of the time I am riding my folder. The only time I may switch out of necessity is for snow biking (and that's mostly due to me only having slicks for my folder).
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Old 12-07-11, 01:36 PM   #10
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My Bike Friday Companion was purchased after my other bike was destroyed when I was hit by a truck. I intended to get another bike later on, but a year+ later, I haven't really found the need. I haven't done much multi-modal commuting - I don't think it folds neatly enough for that, but otherwise it's great. I don't think a good folder would "hold you back" in terms of riding.
Besides, you can always get another folder to fulfill the N+1 ideal : ) I toy with the idea of getting Swift as well as the BF.
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Old 12-07-11, 01:38 PM   #11
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There are 406 studded tires , but no 349, so far.. DIY screw fitting
not withstanding..
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Old 12-07-11, 03:28 PM   #12
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No, it's not possible. Once you buy a folder, an incurable condition called folderitis sets in resulting in uncontrollable folder buying.

Seriously it is definitely possible. I have had only folders for a number of years now. I have a Brompton for uber-commuting and I foresee touring, a Birdy which is the Brompton's predecessor (ie touring and commuting) and a Swift which is for long road rides. If there were no long road rides, then the Swift would be redundant.
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Old 12-07-11, 04:21 PM   #13
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I think you should keep the Schwinn that you love so much, and maybe replace the other two with a folder. Even if you don't ride the Schwinn often, you'll probably regret giving it up just because it means a lot to you, and it sounds like you may not be able to replace it.
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Old 12-07-11, 04:54 PM   #14
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As long as you aren't doing a ton of off-road stuff and you don't care about keeping up with the roadies a Brompton can be a very capable general purpose bike. It does make some concessions to the small fold. Mostly they are harder to modify because of the tight clearances needed to achieve such a tiny fold. Even something as simple as mounting a water bottle can be problematic.

Something like a Swift is more capable of taking on different roles -- mostly down to a greater choice of tires and handlebar options, but you lose the versatility of a smaller fold. That, and compared to a Brompton, the carrying luggage on a Swift (if you are going to fold it a lot) is a bit of kludge. Workable, but hardly elegant.
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Old 12-07-11, 05:13 PM   #15
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A modified Brompton with hub gear of choice makes for a very versatile bike. The reason I still own a few folders is because I'm effectively still auditioning them; they have such a range of functions that it's not immediately clear how they're going to work. Well, I only really use two, a Dahon and a Brompton.
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Old 12-07-11, 06:21 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikebuddha View Post
I would be giving up my homemade commuter (ridden often), my road bike (ridden rarely) and my three speed Schwinn (very rarely ridden but I love it so).
What's the advantage in reducing the number of bikes? Do you have serious storage space issues so that an extra bike or two is really a problem?
Otherwise it seems to me that having at least one spare bike makes life simpler rather than more complicated. With a spare bike available a problem with the primary bike is just a minor inconvenience that I can deal with when I find the time rather than something that must be solved immediately. And usually the second (or third) bike has some different capabilities that make it better than the primary bike for at least some trips.

For a few years my folder was essentially my only bike, so it was used for utility shopping trips, fast group rides, and camping tours in addition to travel or multi-modal trips where the folding feature was essential. But I've since added a road bike and a touring bike so the folder is now used almost exclusively for trips where the folding characteristic is important. Getting by with only the folder was certainly doable - but the other bikes do have some advantages for their respective applications. And having them available makes me much less concerned about any mechanical problem that they may develop since I know that I have redundancy in the form of the folder.
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Old 12-07-11, 07:29 PM   #17
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What's the advantage in reducing the number of bikes? Do you have serious storage space issues so that an extra bike or two is really a problem?
Otherwise it seems to me that having at least one spare bike makes life simpler rather than more complicated. With a spare bike available a problem with the primary bike is just a minor inconvenience that I can deal with when I find the time rather than something that must be solved immediately. And usually the second (or third) bike has some different capabilities that make it better than the primary bike for at least some trips.

For a few years my folder was essentially my only bike, so it was used for utility shopping trips, fast group rides, and camping tours in addition to travel or multi-modal trips where the folding feature was essential. But I've since added a road bike and a touring bike so the folder is now used almost exclusively for trips where the folding characteristic is important. Getting by with only the folder was certainly doable - but the other bikes do have some advantages for their respective applications. And having them available makes me much less concerned about any mechanical problem that they may develop since I know that I have redundancy in the form of the folder.
Now that the kids are grown my wife and I are trying to just reduce the amount of stuff we have and move to a smaller place. I have a real tendency to hold on to things as evidenced by the thousands of books and dozen cameras I have lying around, so I see the value in downsizing. Also, having fewer bikes should mean fewer excuses to buy bike stuff.
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Old 12-07-11, 07:36 PM   #18
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I've gone from more than 3 bikes down to one folder and stayed with folder (tikit followed by a brommie) for a year. Then, last summer I sold off the Brompton to buy a Surly Pugsley (a bit drastic), because I missed mountain biking. Long story, short...now I have a Tout Terrain Boulevard which is a great bike, but I miss the versatility a folder provides. I'm trying to figure out how to replace it with a NWT.

I'm on a self-imposed N=1 for bikes for a few reasons, but I definitely think it can be done with the right bike, providing it doesn't need to satisfy the extreme ends of bike performance limits.

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Old 12-07-11, 07:37 PM   #19
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as a one year brompton owner. who replaced it with a swift. and has been riding it for 2 years. all the time, with only one folder as my all in one bike, and 80% carless, i would say definitely. though every 4 or 5 months, i have a little urge to get something like surly LHT, but dismiss it as pointless consumerism. really, the only pressure in my head of late to buy a full size bike is sometimes i jsut dont' feel like sticking out all the time. on occasion, i wonder if i could go a tiny bit faster on a road bike. i rode an old steel ross road bike for 2 years before the brompton, don't know if i was any faster.

Quote:
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...
Something like a Swift is more capable of taking on different roles -- mostly down to a greater choice of tires and handlebar options, but you lose the versatility of a smaller fold. That, and compared to a Brompton, the carrying luggage on a Swift (if you are going to fold it a lot) is a bit of kludge. Workable, but hardly elegant.
but i take offense to the luggage is kludgy. i have a beautiful luggage setup and that is without even installing a rear rack, which would be complete overkill. the front block mount on the brompton is awesome, but you can even compensate for that, if you talk with HPM, they will weld in a dahon or brompton plate in front of a swift for your mounting block of choice. i highly recommend that HPM setup to anyone.

but anyways, my luggage setup - carradice SQR (with super c saddlebag, but plenty of choices) on seatpost (a lot of brompton users use the SQR too). and klickfix front stem mount with klickfix backpack. ultimately, i don't like the shape or utility of any of the brompton front bags, just the mount.
.
i have done more multimodal long distance commuting than anyone i know. 2-3 times a month, 100-200 mile roundtrip bus and train rides. along with daily local bus commuting. i wouldn't want to have to carry the swift onto a crowded subway or bus, that is the only time i would rather have a brompton in hand.

i sometimes consider making my swift an ebike, but everytime i consider it, the lifting weight sounds too heavy. it woudl just be nice sometimes, when i'm in a hurry to go a little faster.
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Old 12-08-11, 04:40 PM   #20
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but anyways, my luggage setup - carradice SQR (with super c saddlebag, but plenty of choices) on seatpost (a lot of brompton users use the SQR too). and klickfix front stem mount with klickfix backpack. ultimately, i don't like the shape or utility of any of the brompton front bags, just the mount.
Please pardon the temporary thread hijack>

I never tried the SQR on my Swift. Can you put the seatpost all the way down with the block attached?
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Old 12-09-11, 01:38 AM   #21
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I have five small wheeled bikes but am about to sell one. If I could only have one it would be my Brompton.

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Old 12-09-11, 03:50 AM   #22
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Hi
As you tend to ride a commuter bike the most I would imagine a folder would be an acceptable replacement. However, it may depend on your style of riding. If you like to be out of the saddle and pounding on the pedals a folders might feel a little strange. The smaller wheels may give an odd ride but you will soon adapt.
For me, the key to any comfortable bike is the right fit. If you are in no rush try to ride (or at least sit on) as many folders as possible and see which feels right.
I only use a folder these days. For me, the Xootr Swift has been a great buy. I can use it for a cardio workout, tour or commute. The Brompton has a great fold and Bike Fridays are very well regarded. Dahon has a great range of quality and price.
The tricky part is not CAN a folder be your only bike but WHICH folder will you choose.
Of course, you are asking in the folder forum so expect slightly biased answers. I wonder what reaction you would receive from the road forum?
Good luck
Rob

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Old 12-09-11, 05:39 AM   #23
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I never tried the SQR on my Swift. Can you put the seatpost all the way down with the block attached?[/QUOTE]



Yes, no problem. Just place the SQR block tight under the seat and it will not interfere with the seatpost at all.
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Old 12-09-11, 10:09 AM   #24
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Swift has the opton of purchasing just the frame and fork and you can build it up yourself.
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Old 12-09-11, 02:48 PM   #25
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Now that I've put a few hundred miles on my new Swift -- and made my 700c bike unrideable by stealing parts off it to upgrade the Swift -- I'm not finding myself missing the 700c really at all. I've already camping-toured on the Swift with panniers (and carried it aboard Amtrak for the ride home) and frequently use it to pull my son on the tagalong. If I weren't also a mountain biker, I could easily get along with the Swift as my only bike. Besides being a very good performer on the road, the Swift is also surprisingly capable on "in-between" gravel and dirt, and I would even consider it for moderate dirt-road touring. But it will never be a great performer on technical singletrack, let alone the beach and snow riding that I also enjoy, so two bikes is as low as I will go.

More bikes = more stuff to maintain and store. It really is true that whatever you own, owns you. Personally I don't have "serious storage space issues", but the bike stuff does take up a LOT of room in my garage: besides my three bikes, my wife also has a mountain bike and a city bike, we have a cargo bike that takes up a TON of room, my son has two bikes and we also have a BOB cargo trailer and a Burly tagalong. ALL of these get used, and none of them is surplus with the exception of my third bike, so getting myself down to two will be the most practical way to cut the clutter. (That, and selling our Chariot Sidecarrier trailer, which my son has now outgrown).
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