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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 03-06-12, 11:21 AM   #1
Pinigis 
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What is most important to you in a folding bike?

I know that we all chose our folding bikes for different reasons, and I am curious to know what the most important considerations were in your choice. Was it the weight of the bike, the dimensions when folded, ease of folding, asethetics, componenets, or something else?
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Old 03-06-12, 11:42 AM   #2
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I got a Brompton, used, because I wanted to try one..
the take it in with me fast fold up to a small size, and pragmatic solid design.
... then being a Mechanic, I changed components
grips, Brake pads, cog , crankset, to make it work best, where I live..

liked it so much When I found a Bike Friday with the slightly bigger more common wheel.
and found, with the Ebay spotters, here, giving me a heads-up,
that a BTO for another customer, one, was on the market for a reduced price.


Knew the Principal Owner of BF from the years I lived in Eugene, mid 70's~90's,
while doing the College thing.. Off and On,
before my GI bill Funding, to make it affordable, hit it's time limit.

why, what is important for You?

Last edited by fietsbob; 03-06-12 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 03-06-12, 12:16 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
I got a Brompton, used, because I wanted to try one..
the take it in with me fast fold up to a small size, and pragmatic solid design.
... then being a Mechanic, I changed components
grips, Brake pads, cog , crankset, to make it work best, where I live..

liked it so much When I found a Bike Friday with the slightly bigger more common wheel.
and found, with the Ebay spotters, here, giving me a heads-up,
that a BTO for another customer, one, was on the market for a reduced price.


Knew the Principal Owner of BF from the years I lived in Eugene, mid 70's~90's,
while doing the College thing.. Off and On,
before my GI bill Funding, to make it affordable, hit it's time limit.

why, what is important for You?
I drive about 30,000 miles per year, so I have a small fuel-efficient car. I can't fit a regular bike inside, and I don't like the idea of leaving a bike unattended on a rack and just hoping that it will be there when I return, so I wanted something that would fit in my trunk and still leave room for luggage. I found that a folding bike would not only meet those needs, but also takes up very little space at home (the standard bikes took up a lot of garage space) and provides a more comfortable riding position.

I usually have one in my trunk so I am prepared for some fun if the weather is nice and the mood hits me. There is one in my dining room, but it looks so cool I hate to move it to the garage (but my better half will insist on that soon enough).

There has to be a balance between weight and cost. It is easy enough to place a $300 24lb. or 25lb. bike in the trunk, so I can't justify paying two, three, or four times that amount to shave off 2 or three pounds. I would rather take those few pounds off of my midsection and call it even.
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Old 03-06-12, 12:45 PM   #4
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Simplicity. I like the single speed models available.
Plus the fact I can throw it in any trunk or space.
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Old 03-06-12, 12:48 PM   #5
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Simplicity. I like the single speed models available.
Plus the fact I can throw it in any trunk or space.
Is the weight of the bike a concern to you?
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Old 03-06-12, 01:07 PM   #6
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the ability to haul my "husky self". and more.
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Old 03-06-12, 01:21 PM   #7
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Weight was important as I carry it from airplane to hotels. Quality components was very important, I don't want to have to mess with fixing/adjusting a bike if I'm 3,000 miles from home. The Tern X20 fit the bill for me.

After only two rides, of 16 and 22 miles, I am very impressed. It is as solid, fast and comfortable as any bike I own. It's my new favorite!
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Old 03-06-12, 01:38 PM   #8
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I would say ride quality and ability to use conventional parts.
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Old 03-06-12, 01:40 PM   #9
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the fun riding it and the interaction I get with other folks
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Old 03-06-12, 02:02 PM   #10
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Main qualitative categories:
folded size.
ride quality.
Luggage facilities/utility.

there tends to be a trade-off between those; depending on one's priorities a certain compromise will seem preferable.
However, I think the future of the folding bike industry will see competition over who can achieve best ride quality within the parameters of a Brompton-style fold. The core Brompton design should really be the template for all folding bikes with wheels smaller than 20", it's the perfect solution but so far not the perfect realization.
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Old 03-06-12, 02:12 PM   #11
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I just bought my first folder last week (delivered yesterday-actually,I have one more coming some time this week too). For me it was price and user-friendliness. I'm disabled (not disfigured...there'sa difference most people make assumptions about when you are one and not the other),so I don't need it to ride to work,we own a minivan and a small 4 door car (sold a Mustang GT ragtop recently and bought the minivan,to make hauling mtn bikes possible,LOL) and I live in town now-a-days,not in a small apartment...so I didn't need a folder for the same reasons as a lot of other folks...I wanted a new biking experience,as well as to never not have a bike in the vehicle should I want to explore a new area. I'm intrigued by the whole concept,and had been wanting one for a while (for eg: back in my long haul trucking days...I hauled a full size Trek mtn bike on the truck's top bunk,but most often rode around the towns I'd be in throughout the U.S.,only rarely rode trails).

Another important reason,my wife of 20 years (high school sweet heart even) has never ridden a bike in her life. When she expressed interest in learning to ride,we looked at buttloads of different styles of bikes,and she too liked the idea/look of folders,the other on coming this week is her first bike ever
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Old 03-06-12, 03:07 PM   #12
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I wanted a bike I could carry in the trunk of the car and take on a plane. The folded size wasn't critical since I have to remove the wheels to put in a suitcase.

Weight is an issue since airlines place weight limits on luggage and the suitcase itself is already over 10 pounds.

Quality components; I like stuff that stays in adjustment and has a quality feel to it (even if it only my perception). Things like sealed cartridge bearings for example. Small details like stainless steel spokes, indicate to me that someone cares.

Ride quality is important too, so things like a stiff frame and tight hinges matter.

Things like tires, seat and pedals are things I almost expect to have to change, although it is nice when I don't need to.

My Mu fits these criteria, but I am sure there are other out there that would also.
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Old 03-06-12, 03:47 PM   #13
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I think people forget that it's fairly quick and painless to throw a full size bike with QRs in a car trunk. Of course that's not as fun and quirky :-P

Currently my go-to ride is my fixed gear tikit.

I originally got my bike for multimode commuting, (visiting my gf using amtrak and occasionally taking it on the subway) so I really needed something smallish and light. (Unfortunately, the tikit doesn't fit the smallish requirement, but it's small enough that I manage) The other thing I wanted was a fun ride and of course, quirky. :-P
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Old 03-06-12, 03:50 PM   #14
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Portability and dimensions when folded, of course.
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Old 03-06-12, 04:00 PM   #15
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Ride quality and handling are always the most important to me... I would not sacrifice either for a bike that folded faster or a little smaller.

I ride several Raleigh 20's, one is super modified for touring and road riding while the other is nearly stock and is used for shorter trips and pootling around town.

Either one will fit ion the back of a car or van and can be carried by air... a quick and super compact fold is not what I require and neither gets folded that often.
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Old 03-06-12, 08:02 PM   #16
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Ride quality and handling are always the most important to me... I would not sacrifice either for a bike that folded faster or a little smaller.
This

My Swift satisfies those requirements and is also a fast ride. Unfortunately it's not truly lightweight nor has a quick or compact fold.
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Old 03-06-12, 08:15 PM   #17
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I originally bought my Downtube because it's a struggle for me to find a regular bike that's small enough for me and it looked like it would be fun to ride, which it is. It works out well on windy days when I can ask my husband to come pick me up and we throw it into the back of his hatchback. It doesn't work so well in the back of my Z. I decided to get the Brompton (should be arriving in the next few weeks) because of the fold and because the two I test rode were comfortable to ride. I expect it to fit much better in the Z. I don't know if it will be as comfortable to ride 10 to 20+ mile rides as the Downtube is. Guess I'll find out soon.
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Old 03-06-12, 08:25 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quiwi View Post
I think people forget that it's fairly quick and painless to throw a full size bike with QRs in a car trunk. Of course that's not as fun and quirky :-P
Agreed. It's my regular bike that spends much of its time in the trunk of my car - not my folder. Quicker to pop off the wheels and drop it in the trunk that to do the equivalent with even quick folding bikes like the Brompton or Tikit.

I bought my folder when I was going on quite a few business trips to a variety of cities. Having a bike that I could take along as regular luggage let me explore new areas in the evenings and weekends. Other considerations were that it could be setup to be similar in fit and handling to my other road bikes.
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Old 03-06-12, 09:07 PM   #19
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Simple, quality components.
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Old 03-07-12, 02:20 AM   #20
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My primary motive for buying small-wheel bikes is esthetics. Sometimes I look at certain bikes and the design just thrills me. I know from experience that this quality of line and form is the biggest factor in whether I will be happy with any product (not just bikes, but anything) over the long term. Of course it also has to work well, but no matter how great it is functionally, I will still be unhappy if the appearance doesn't please me. I'm a designer by trade; must be an occupational disease.

My taste does seem to be idiosyncratic, though. No road bike has ever looked appealing to me. A few mountain bikes make the cut -- all super-expensive models, naturally. Maybe one or two hybrids. But there are a number of folders and mini-velos that I would love to have.

A secondary reason I love small wheels is that they make multi-modal transportation easy. I'm short, and getting a bike with big wheels onto the train is a struggle for me; I can't easily lift it high enough to clear the steps.
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Old 03-07-12, 07:27 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
Ride quality and handling are always the most important to me... I would not sacrifice either for a bike that folded faster or a little smaller.
This, as well. I can't really ride anywhere here without hitting climbs/descents rapidly, so while I've happily ridden short flat distances on a Strida and Dahon-knockoff, I don't think I could use them practically where I live.

The folding part would let me take it in a motor vehicle easily, or in a suitcase, or even on mass transit if I want. Or it could be dragging around while running errands instead of needing to be locked, perhaps.

I am close to pulling the trigger on a Swift.
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Old 03-07-12, 07:45 AM   #22
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My needs / wants change periodically, but at the moment:

Needs to fold small enough to be air-travel friendly.
Enough ride quality to comfortably do 30 - 40 miles of rolling terrain @ 12 MPH average speed
Reliable mechanics / spare part availability.
Light enough to carry up and down several flights of stairs without having a heart-attack
Luggage provisions for laptop + change of clothes
A folding time of less than 5 minutes

Nice to have:
Fold that is small enough that I feel OK with bring into bars / restaurants / professional buildings.
A fold time of less than 2 minutes.
No dangly bits when folded.
Rolls when folded.
Ability to fit Big Apples (or comparably cushy tyres).
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Old 03-07-12, 09:42 AM   #23
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"I am curious to know what the most important considerations were"

Obsessesive Compulsive Bicycle Disorder. There's no cure. I thought I could stay away for a year, but I was wrong . In 2008 I found myself pining outside Fudges Cycle store, London's premier outlet for peculiar bicycles, not daring to go in. But I did. My life has been hell ever since. I have no friends, and hair growing on the palms of my hands. This year I bought a Mezzo D9. Designed by a deity, it looks like it was stolen off the Space Shuttle. There is no finer folding bicycle, and few which took two years of computer time to design. And yet, yet, I still linger on the website of the Tyrell Corporation, seeking ever more thrills, and yet more oddball aluminium alloys. The Second Law of Folding Bicycles (you have to try them all) has struck. There is no return.
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Old 03-07-12, 09:56 AM   #24
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We could start a fund and purchase every folding bike made and share them.
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Old 03-07-12, 10:50 AM   #25
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I like a folder that is as fast as a ridgid bike, but folds quickly and into small package.
So its a real everyday bike that also folds.
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