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  1. #1
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    Long distance, foldable mountain bike

    Hi there,
    I've been looking at folding bikes lately as I travel quite a bit, and I like the idea of keeping my bike in the office so it won't get stolen (hopefully). I'm a beginner biker, but I'm interested in biking around the parks and whatnot - for fun, not for commuting.

    Are there good quality folding mountain bikes out there? I've been looking at reviews and whatnot, and I still don't have a clear answer - but the answer is teetering to a 'no'. Foldable bikes seem to be more appropriate for the road & commuting, not for biking to parks and long distances, but I wanted to hear some thoughts before I just went for a mountain bike and ate the extra fee on the airplane when travelling with it.

    I'm rather short (5'2) so I'm going to go to a local bike shop for a fitting.

    Price Range: ~$400-600

    Many thanks!

    ET

  2. #2
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    I believe Dahon make a few full-sized folding bikes, if that's what you mean.
    So does Montague and other generics.
    Hopefully someone else will come along with specifics...

  3. #3
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    Slingshot bikes (http://www.slingshotbikes.com/mountain-foldtech.php) make a model that is $600 just for the frame, but from what I understand, they are nice bikes

  4. #4
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    You're post is somewhat confusing. Are you looking for a 'Mountain Bike' to do this kind of riding around the parks or this kind? I'm assuming the latter since you're a beginner biker. Is that's the case then when you say 'Mountain Bike', do you mean to say 'Full Size Bike'? as in with bigger 26" wheels instead of the smaller 20" wheels that are found on majority of the folding bikes?

  5. #5
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    There are quite a few good folding MTB's, the Dahon Matrix with 26" wheels is excellent for most things moderate and is a 'hardtail' XC (cross-country) in the jargon. It has front suspension. The fold on the newer Matrix needs an Allen key, and some say that is a faff.

    The Dahon Jack has the older 'rebar' frame designed by mountainbike guru Joe Murray, but no front suspension, although it can be simply added later, they are highly regarded as 'do-it-all ' bikes but Dahon now position them as urban rough n' tumble scoots. A pair of mildly shouldered MTB tyres turns a Jack into a trail bike. It could be all you need.

    (The previous Matrix used this frame) and mine was exceptional, in town and on trails. The Dahons come in 'small' size.

    Montague and Swiss Bike make 26" XC folders, used by at least one cop and rather a lot of Marines if you believe their advertising, and there are any number of Brand X Chinese imports.

    You can ride 'long distances' on a folder, they are not generically flawed in any way, and I used the 26" Dahon rebar framed Matrix for about three years as my main bike, both as a daily ride in London, and a trail bike out in the sticks. Tyre choice is the main criteria for use on loose surfaces; mud and tree debris needs different rubber to hard-pack. Any of the above 26" folders will handle the 'Vapor Trail' stuff in Matchpoint's video selection, tyres permitting,

    For flight the Dahon's will fit in the Dahon hard case, with the wheels removed, though it is not cheap. Size may be an issue, as a good fit is the difference between using the bike, and leaving it to rust in peace.
    Last edited by snafu21; 04-07-12 at 02:31 AM.
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  6. #6
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    For simple trail riding, not 'real' mountain biking, any good folder that accepts wider tires would work.

  7. #7
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Herr Stuke has been touring the world, solo, for 30 years, and over time
    has opted for smaller wheels with each replacement.
    20" wheel Bike Friday has been supplanted by a 349, 16" wheel Brompton..

  8. #8
    Senior Member DVC45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erintomatoes View Post
    Hi there,
    I've been looking at folding bikes lately as I travel quite a bit, and I like the idea of keeping my bike in the office so it won't get stolen (hopefully). I'm a beginner biker, but I'm interested in biking around the parks and whatnot - for fun, not for commuting.

    Are there good quality folding mountain bikes out there? I've been looking at reviews and whatnot, and I still don't have a clear answer - but the answer is teetering to a 'no'. Foldable bikes seem to be more appropriate for the road & commuting, not for biking to parks and long distances, but I wanted to hear some thoughts before I just went for a mountain bike and ate the extra fee on the airplane when travelling with it.

    I'm rather short (5'2) so I'm going to go to a local bike shop for a fitting.

    Price Range: ~$400-600

    Many thanks!

    ET
    Downtube 9FS
    Last edited by DVC45; 04-07-12 at 08:38 PM.
    "Cycling is for pleasure not penance"

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by erintomatoes View Post
    Hi there,
    I've been looking at folding bikes lately as I travel quite a bit, and I like the idea of keeping my bike in the office so it won't get stolen (hopefully). I'm a beginner biker, but I'm interested in biking around the parks and whatnot - for fun, not for commuting.

    Are there good quality folding mountain bikes out there? I've been looking at reviews and whatnot, and I still don't have a clear answer - but the answer is teetering to a 'no'. Foldable bikes seem to be more appropriate for the road & commuting, not for biking to parks and long distances, but I wanted to hear some thoughts before I just went for a mountain bike and ate the extra fee on the airplane when travelling with it.

    I'm rather short (5'2) so I'm going to go to a local bike shop for a fitting.

    Price Range: ~$400-600

    Many thanks!

    ET
    Being 5 foot 2 is going to severely limit your choices in buying a folding mountain bike with lots of standover clearance. I am assuming that you want to do some XC riding in the park, so 20" wheels are out of a question unless you have excellent trials riding skills. Your only option would be to buy a small sized 26" mountain bike and have the dealer install S&S couplers. This breaks the bike in half for travel. Something like that is going to cost you at least $1600 to start with, but worth every bit. For $600, you can buy a decent 26" mountain bike hardtail, but it will not fold. The Dahon Matrix may well be a bit on the large side even for a small, which is 15". They dont have small sizes than that.

    Do not compromise on standover clearance especially if you fall and a safe way to bail.
    Last edited by pacificcyclist; 04-07-12 at 01:36 PM.
    Trek 5000 carbon road bike
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  10. #10
    babylon by bike Standalone's Avatar
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    The Dahons should do you fine. Here's mine: (I'm tall)

    The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets. Christopher Morley

  11. #11
    Senior Member badrad's Avatar
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    my wife uses the small size Dahon Jack. she is 5'2" and she has no problem with the bike - quite comfortable for her to straddle when getting on and off. she does not ride long distances, she just enjoys the occasional coffee shop ride for fun.

    my jack i have it set up for winter and foul weather commute - roughly 25 km ride, but for weekends i throw on a pair of schwalbe cyclocross pros - on an extra set of wheels and a suspension fork, and i go to the local watershed and mountain trails for some nice and grungy riding. the offroad front wheel is kept on a front suspension fork that i swap out for the solid fork, and i just move the handlebar over along with the cabling. the front brake cable is kept with the respective fork. the swap usually takes about 5 minutes. the dahon Jack has been able to handle the abuse so far for the past 5 years.

  12. #12
    in cog neato itsmoot's Avatar
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    If you're just looking for a sturdy bike for rough surface riding then consider an old Fuji folder. There was a version commonly called the "Marlboro folder" that was given away for cigarette promotions in the 90's. $50-$100 on craigslist if you're patient. Here's a recent thread about them.

    I have the heart of a young boy. I got it on eBay.

  13. #13
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    Downtube has some folders with suspension http://www.downtube.com/ss-index.html
    Speed Uno
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by itsmoot View Post
    If you're just looking for a sturdy bike for rough surface riding then consider an old Fuji folder. There was a version commonly called the "Marlboro folder" that was given away for cigarette promotions in the 90's. $50-$100 on craigslist if you're patient.
    There's one for sale on CL near me but he wants $375 for it.

  15. #15
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    Did you look into 24" wheels?
    °Empty drums make a lot of noice... (Old Hungarian proverb).

  16. #16
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    phew! Thanks everyone - I'm looking into your suggestions. I popped by a couple of shops on the weekend, and as pacificcyclist mentioned, being 5'2 creates some limits - with bikes in general it seems! I tried a 14.5" and me and my stubby legs had some trouble because of the clearance. The nice cyclist shop guy fiddled with the bike setup and we made it better - but not perfect. He was recommending the Norco VFR4 and when I save up a bit more, customizing it with couplers to take it apart.

    @matchpoint: haha you gave me a giggle, but definitely the first one :-) When I said parks, I apologize - I was thinking of the local national parks. It sounds like Dahon is commonly recommended here.

    I've taken note of the recommendations and I'm doing some further research...
    - Dahon (Jack, Matrix)
    - Downtube
    - Slingshot
    - Montague
    - Swiss Bike

  17. #17
    in cog neato itsmoot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobbieAG View Post
    There's one for sale on CL near me but he wants $375 for it.
    Maybe they think it's collectable...
    I have the heart of a young boy. I got it on eBay.

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