Is the Airnimal the Best Folder for Touring?
I am seriously considering the purchase of a folder to use primarily for touring, and providing the opportunity to bring my bicycle with me when I travel by air/train/car.
So far I have been looking at the BikeFriday Air Glide and the Airnimal Chameleon. Currently I am leaning toward the Airnimal. It seems to fold the most compactly with its third level of fold. I would rather not travel with a trailer and want to be as mobile and self contained as possible when I arrive at my destination.
Unfortunately, I live considerable distance from a distributor of either of these.
1. Would the frame, with forks and bars removed, fit into panniers? I own Serratus AquaNot panniers purchased from MEC in Canada. For ease of travel I thought it would be ideal, securing the bike in the panniers, padded with my other gear, then bound together in a nylon sack for checking as baggage at the airline counter. The wheels, with other padding would be my second piece of luggage. I don't know if this is makes sense of not.
2. I am just under 5' 5", with a very short inseam length of 26.5". Does anyone of comparable size have experience with either of these folders and have they had any problems?
3. Are there folding tires (to be carried as spares) available for any folders?
All input appreciated. This is a big purchase for me and I want to spend the money wisely.
Leonard in Ottawa.
Do a search for the folding society from there you should be able to find reviews of folders and possibly owners experiences.24 inch tires should be readily available and higher performance variants should be available through Terry Bicycles and others.I would think bike friday bicycles would make a smaller package with their 20 inch wheels. Bike friday is also sold in some bicycle shops as well as direct they are located in oregon.
Last edited by james Haury; 01-04-05 at 07:05 AM.
I put a link to my page about my Airnimal on the other thread, but specific to the points you raise here:
1: No. You'll need a good sized holdall, even when folded to the smallest size. Although the pic at the bottom of the screen shows that I could fit itside the fairing of my 'bent, that was before re-assembly. No cables fitted, so all components could be fitted sererately. Follow the streetmachine link on the left to get an idea of how big that fairing really is. Airnimal do a soft backpack for carrying the frame, as well as the hard cases.
2: I'm 5'11" with an inside leg of 32", and it fits me well. Quite a bit of adjustment available in the seatpost, but if you have a short back, then you may find that you're reaching too far for the bars. Mind you, I actually find the riding position rather compact.
3: No. There are only a few tyres available as it's an odd sized of wheel (520). Don't think that there are any folders. Check Airnimal's website and follow the 'accessories' link to find the available tyres. Don't even think about the Panaracer Technovas though, as they are the worst tyres I have ever fitted on a bike!
I really dig my Speed TR by Dahon... excellent ride.
I agree with para_handy's responses to questions #1 & #3. I'm closer to your size, Leonard. I'm about 5'6", but my inseam is almost 3" more than yours. Originally, I was going to buy the AirGlide. I changed my mind and bought a New World Tourist because I wanted one which would fold instantly. Anyway, I've been extremely happy with my NWT and have toured with it extensively in the 5 years I've had it. I've flown with it about 10 times without any problems, and toured with it on 4 continents. One short trip to your neck of the woods was on the unpaved P'tit Train du Nord, and it worked out quite well on that trail. On that trip, I folded it up and threw it into the trunk of a rental car to get to the trailhead. On a couple of buses overseas, the ability to fold it helped me get the bike into the luggage area of the bus. I also folded it up and put it in a nylon carrying bag to take it on things like France's TGV where bikes aren't ordinarily permitted. I only converted the suitcase to a trailer once, but that turned out to be surprisingly easy.
When I bought it, the Bike Friday folks said I could either measure my body, or measure a bike frame I already had which felt comfortable. I did the latter. My NWT frame was modeled on my old touring bike.
Sound like you don't necessarily need a bike that you can fold in five minutes, but that you can easily travel with? If so, one great option is a standard frame with S&S couplers. I have a Bianchi with these and it is truly the bee's knees. takes about 20mins to pack in the box, but you have all the benefits of standard geometry and touring gear. Lots of great framebuilders are making frames with these couplers. it's worth a look.
Please note that I also own a Bike friday tandem two'sday that my wife and I have used for loaded touring, so I understand the benefits and drawbacks of both setups. Just want you to have as much infop as possible!
How expensive is the Airnimal?
Originally Posted by para handy
I am a huge Brompton fan. If you like racing touring not for you, but for any other type of touring it has a wonderful luggage handling system. Built to last.
Originally Posted by Leonardo7
LEONARD! I'm in Ottawa too!
Did you get a folder yet?
I just went through the exercise of test riding several, ending up with a 2003 KHS Westwood.
If you want to talk bikes, send me a message. Happy to let you try the KHS.
Here's a couple of links to a journal I keep - 2 recent entries deal with folding bikes including pictures of my last bike and my new folder:
Chris in Canada's National Capital