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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 04-04-12, 09:40 AM   #1
rhm
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I want a steel framed folder and IGH. Options?

Hey guys!

Greetings! I used to frequent this forum but have been spending more time in C&V lately. But I've still been riding my Downtube 8H 20 miles, and taking it 100+ miles on the train, every day I go to work.

Anyway. Yesterday the frame broke. I've had this bike less than 20 months. A stress crack formed at the front of the seat tube, just below the seat post collar; by the time I noticed it there was only a centimeter or so of material holding it at the back. Needless to say I left that bike at home this morning, and rode my (also very worn out) Downtube Mini.

Email from Yan is unclear whether I will be able to get a replacement frame (he will look when he gets back to PA).

But bottom line, I am fed up with aluminum frames. A bike frame should last more than 5600 miles. I want a new bike. Again.

So I want a folding bike with a steel frame and an internally geared hub. What are my options? I know about the Raleigh Twenty; but it doesn't fold up small enough for practical use. I know about the Brompton; I've never been a fan but I suppose I could give it another try. What else am I missing?

I am considering a Speed Uno... I can reuse the wheel (with Sturmey Archer XRF8 hub) from my Downtube. But what about brakes?
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Old 04-04-12, 10:39 AM   #2
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I want a new bike. Again.

So I want a folding bike with a steel frame and an internally geared hub. What are my options? I know about the Raleigh Twenty; but it doesn't fold up small enough for practical use. I know about the Brompton; I've never been a fan but I suppose I could give it another try. What else am I missing?

I am considering a Speed Uno... I can reuse the wheel (with Sturmey Archer XRF8 hub) from my Downtube. But what about brakes?
There's no provision for a rear rim brake setup on the Speed Uno.. you'd need a coaster brake hub or cable operated drum brake hub...

Brompton seems the obvious choice based on your usage.

The Dahon 'Speed' models are chromoloy steel, and with some 'slight of hand' (magic ratios, half links, external chain tensioners), a hub geared wheel could be installed. I've done it successfully on my Jetstream XP.

Also, there are plenty of reports of frames breaking at the seat post collar on steel framed folders with long seat posts as well.

I'd be looking hard at Brompton if I were you.
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Old 04-04-12, 11:00 AM   #3
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Bike Fridays are steel. I think there is a Tikit with an internal hub.
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Old 04-04-12, 11:27 AM   #4
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Bike Fridays are steel. I think there is a Tikit with an internal hub.
2nd the tikit suggestion. You can get one with an 8-spd, or even an 11-spd, IGH. There's even a Belt Drive option.

If OP has the budget for a Brompton, the tikit should be a viable candidate, too. There is a dlr in NYC that handles both brands:
http://www.bfold.com/StoreFrameset.htm

FYI: If the seat post 'cracks' are the result of being a 'taller' rider, then a Large sized tikit would eliminate the xtra long seat post problem.

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Old 04-04-12, 11:30 AM   #5
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Bromtons are all steel framed, save the Titanium X premium options you don't need.
and 2 IG hubs BSR, is the AW3-NIG, BWR is wider ratio %, to use 2 cogs as a half step 6 speed.

Bike Friday will equip your frame of the Tikit with a vast option list,
including a R'off hub, or Alfine 11 and a belt drive if you wish..

they will ship from Oregon to your door..
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Old 04-04-12, 11:39 AM   #6
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Thanks for those replies!

Which reminds me of a related question. I have 9,000 miles experience with 16" wheels (ISO 305) but only limited experience with Brompton/Moulton/Tiket sized 16" wheels (ISO 349); and 6,000 miles experience with 20" wheels (both ISO 406 and 451). 20" tires last a lot longer, and get far fewer flat tires. Am I mistaken about that? Anyway, this makes me reluctant to go back to 16" wheels.
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Old 04-04-12, 11:52 AM   #7
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Bike friday's travel bikes use the 406 wheels, but, though they hinge the rear section
and seat mast, it is more in service of the packing for travel,
than a Daily fold to get on Public transport..

The 349 tire is a 100psi casing , so tends to be faster,
than the fatter, lower psi, 305 wheel-tire.

It is a different 16" wheel, in Short..

I have a Brompton (M3L,MD) and A BikeFriday,Pocket Llama, [disc,R'off]
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Old 04-06-12, 07:31 AM   #8
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Thanks for those replies!

Which reminds me of a related question. I have 9,000 miles experience with 16" wheels (ISO 305) but only limited experience with Brompton/Moulton/Tiket sized 16" wheels (ISO 349); and 6,000 miles experience with 20" wheels (both ISO 406 and 451). 20" tires last a lot longer, and get far fewer flat tires. Am I mistaken about that? Anyway, this makes me reluctant to go back to 16" wheels.
Hey Rhm ... good to see you around again.

Brompton, Bike Friday (tikit and standard models), and some Dahons (all 20" models from memory ... the Speed series is steel) have steel frames. Yes Moulton ... although you should realize that the size is ERTO 369 ... or something like that ... for some of their models.

349 is considerably larger than 305. Nonetheless, for tires of the same construction, you will get considerably more miles out of a 20" tire. Although I recall getting a lot of miles out of a 349 Marathon if that is a tire that fits your riding. I don't remember getting more flats with smaller wheels.
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Old 04-06-12, 08:01 AM   #9
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Yesterday the frame broke. . . A stress crack formed at the front of the seat tube, just below the seat post collar. . .
Yikes! I've been riding my Downtube VIII hither and yon (averaging 10 to 20 miles each trip) for the last 7 years. That is, until the last 2 weeks when I've been riding a new Brompton. Maybe I bought it in the nick of time. Of course, the Downtube has paid for itself many times over and I've replaced the shifters, the pedals, and the derailleur. I plan to keep it as a backup and ride it as long as it lasts.
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Old 04-06-12, 09:19 AM   #10
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Hey guys!

Greetings! I used to frequent this forum but have been spending more time in C&V lately. But I've still been riding my Downtube 8H 20 miles, and taking it 100+ miles on the train, every day I go to work.

Anyway. Yesterday the frame broke. I've had this bike less than 20 months. A stress crack formed at the front of the seat tube, just below the seat post collar; by the time I noticed it there was only a centimeter or so of material holding it at the back. Needless to say I left that bike at home this morning, and rode my (also very worn out) Downtube Mini.

Email from Yan is unclear whether I will be able to get a replacement frame (he will look when he gets back to PA).

But bottom line, I am fed up with aluminum frames. A bike frame should last more than 5600 miles. I want a new bike. Again.

So I want a folding bike with a steel frame and an internally geared hub. What are my options? I know about the Raleigh Twenty; but it doesn't fold up small enough for practical use. I know about the Brompton; I've never been a fan but I suppose I could give it another try. What else am I missing?

I am considering a Speed Uno... I can reuse the wheel (with Sturmey Archer XRF8 hub) from my Downtube. But what about brakes?
Why not a Speed Uno and then replacing the stock hub with a Shimano Nexus Inter 3 coaster brake hub? I'm also thinking of replacing the single speed coaster hub with this being that it has 120mm spacing and the gearing is well balanced.

Last edited by pacificcyclist; 04-06-12 at 09:34 AM.
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Old 04-06-12, 10:13 AM   #11
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... some Dahons (all 20" models from memory ... the Speed series is steel) have steel frames. ...
FWIW, the 2009 and newer USA-spec Dahon Speed Pro uses the aluminum Vitesse frame rather than the 4130 Speed frame.

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Old 04-06-12, 10:57 AM   #12
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Do you want a steel frame, or do you want a well built frame?

You could slap your existing 20" Sturmey 8 wheel on a Dahon Eco C6 with a chain tensioner.
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Old 04-06-12, 12:08 PM   #13
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FWIW, the 2009 and newer USA-spec Dahon Speed Pro uses the aluminum Vitesse frame rather than the 4130 Speed frame.

-HANK RYAN-
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Except the Dahon Speed P8 which still uses a 4130 Chromoly.

http://www.thorusa.com/dahon/current/speedp8.htm
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Old 04-06-12, 12:17 PM   #14
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Do you want a steel frame, or do you want a well built frame?

You could slap your existing 20" Sturmey 8 wheel on a Dahon Eco C6 with a chain tensioner.
Perhaps the OP is looking for the "Steel For Real" ride?!? From a stiffness and durability point of view, both materials are equally as strong and durable if well designed. I have both steel and aluminium Dahons and pushed them hard! Aluminium is not weak if made and designed well as I found out the worst kind of ways. Recently, my beloved expensive 26" touring rig came off a friend rack on the highway and sadly got ran over by no more than 3 18 wheeler trucks. Surprisingly after that carnage and damage, the expensive Swiss made frame turned into pretzels, but what shocked me that the hand built touring rear wheel was intact and still turning and looks true as well as my Old Man Mountain rear rack and my rear XTR derailleur which was covered by the metal bulkhead of the OMM rack . The rear skewer and the seatstays were not bent, but the rack despite a few obvious road rashes did not. The rear aluminium rack probably got ran over by the tires and protected the rear wheel from carnage. Unfortunately, everything else up front was a write off. Sad!

Last edited by pacificcyclist; 04-06-12 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 04-06-12, 12:24 PM   #15
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Do you want a steel frame, or do you want a well built frame?

You could slap your existing 20" Sturmey 8 wheel on a Dahon Eco C6 with a chain tensioner.
Or this on a Speed Uno and then add a front brake using a long arm pivot brake, one that's being sold by ThorUSA and one I'm planning to get for my Uno as a backup brake to the Coaster. Front brake is responsible for almost 90% of all braking I believe.
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Old 04-06-12, 12:34 PM   #16
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Except the Dahon Speed P8 which still uses a 4130 Chromoly. ...
AFAIK, all Dahon Speed models (Uno, D7, P8, TR and Pro) use a 4130 steel frame except the 2009 and newer USA-spec Speed Pro.

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Old 04-06-12, 12:40 PM   #17
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AFAIK, all Dahon Speed models (Uno, D7, P8, TR and Pro) use a 4130 steel frame except the 2009 and newer USA-spec Speed Pro.

-HANK RYAN-
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Hi Hank,

You're absolutely correct; but I was giving the OP another choice to ponder just adding $300 more to step up from a Speed Uno. Anyhow, I LOVE my Uno; my numero Uno coffee bike! Heheh..
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Old 04-06-12, 03:36 PM   #18
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Why not a Speed Uno and then replacing the stock hub with a Shimano Nexus Inter 3 coaster brake hub? I'm also thinking of replacing the single speed coaster hub with this being that it has 120mm spacing and the gearing is well balanced.
Or, one of my favorites in the 120mm spacing would be the SRAM P-5 .. amazingly nice hub.. 3rd gear is direct drive, so 2 above and 2 below.. I've put a few on belt drive Moulton TSR-2's, and they are sweet.. mine gets ridden almost daily..
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Old 04-06-12, 09:29 PM   #19
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Thanks for all the replies.

"Why steel?" is a fair question and I don't think I can answer it rationally. I don't think the Downtube bikes are badly made; and I'd say they did not wear out from use as much from the repeated tightening and untightening of the seat post collar. In the case of the 8H perhaps the way the seat tube diameter is reduced at the top introduces a weak spot. At any rate, I have ridden steel bikes all my life with no problems, and have had serious problems with aluminum frames. I won't pretend to be rational about this. I just don't want to deal with aluminum again if I can help it.

I have also dealt with chain tensioners before, and don't want to repeat that experience. I know there are many people who have good experiences with them. I have not. Perhaps they are better mechanics than I; I don't know. Mine was always noisy, and it made changing a flat tire just a little more complicated, and I hate changing flats enough as is.

As I mentioned in my initial post, I already have a perfectly good wheel with a Sturmey Archer XRF8 hub in it. There would be no need to think about a different hub even if there was a better one; but speaking of which, I don't believe there is a better hub. I really really like the XRF8. In fact I like the XRF8 better than the XRF8w I have on one bike; but I realize many XRF8's were defective and many people have had bad experiences with them. But as long as I can keep mine running --it is my third one-- I will.

I do not like the Shimano Nexus 8 speed hub much. I have put a few thousand miles on mine, both touring or long distance riding and riding around town. There's nothing really wrong with it, but I dislike the unevenness of the steps between the gears, as a result of which I have never developed an intuitive sense of when to shift. Granted, I ride the Sturmey Archer one a lot more, so I expect the Shimano one to shift like that, which means I shift the wrong way a lot of the time; but even on long rides, when I overcome my tendency to shift backwards, the unevenness of the gearing continues to throw me off. I mention this in reference to the Tikit; there's no way I'm going to spend $1000+ on a bike with a Shimano hub on it. Premium prices demand premium components. I haven't tried the 11-sp shimano hub, so am not commenting on that.

Nor am I going to go for Brompton's hybrid gearing. The combination of a three speed hub and a two speed derailleur means a lot of double shifting looking for the perfect gear, and is fine on long distance riding but not in the city. I know this from experience; I ride centuries on a bike from the 40's that has that type of gearing system. I'm confident the modern Brompton system is better, but in essence it will be the same.

At present I'm waiting to hear from Yan whether I can get a replacement frame for my 8H. If not, I will get a Speed Uno and hope I can modify it to suit my needs. Even so I may take the broken 8H frame to a frame builder and say "can you make me one of these in steel?"
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Old 04-06-12, 09:39 PM   #20
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Just an fyi,

There is currently a steel Swift on the NYC CL. A bit expensive and beaten up & the seller is asking too much in my opinion. But if you ambitious enough you can always offer a price for the bike with the intent to repaint and build it the way you want.
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Old 04-06-12, 09:57 PM   #21
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... I may take the broken 8H frame to a frame builder and say "can you make me one of these in steel?"
Or take them a Speed D7/P8 frame and see if they can put horizontal dropouts on it.

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Old 04-06-12, 11:39 PM   #22
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Or, one of my favorites in the 120mm spacing would be the SRAM P-5 .. amazingly nice hub.. 3rd gear is direct drive, so 2 above and 2 below.. I've put a few on belt drive Moulton TSR-2's, and they are sweet.. mine gets ridden almost daily..
Alright BruceMetras, I like options! Where can I get one in the states? Thanks for the suugestion.
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Old 04-07-12, 06:34 AM   #23
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Universal cycles has the coaster brake model

http://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...&category=2713
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Old 04-07-12, 06:36 AM   #24
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A little cheaper here
http://www.ebikestop.com/spectro_p5_...ter-HU2509.php
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Old 04-07-12, 06:59 AM   #25
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Just an fyi,

There is currently a steel Swift on the NYC CL.
I test rode a Swift once. Really nice ride. I was all set to put my credit card on the counter when I asked the guy to show me how to fold it up. And then I'm standing there perplexed, and I think I said : Uh... that's it? You can't make it smaller than that? There's no way that's coming on a crowded rush hour train. It folds better than a Raleigh Twenty, but you can't really call it a folding bike.

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Or take them a Speed D7/P8 frame and see if they can put horizontal dropouts on it.
Yes, that occurred to me as well. I wonder which is the easier/cheaper job, to change dropouts or to add V-brake bosses? I guess that's a question for the frame builder. I suppose I should keep an eye out for a used frame of either variety and go from there.

Last edited by rhm; 04-07-12 at 07:03 AM.
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