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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 12-17-12, 10:19 PM   #1
ratufa
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full size folding bikes. Any recommendations?

I've been considering buying a full sized folding bike (26 in wheels). I just sold my Dahon Mariner (20 in wheels), which for some reason was causing me a lot of leg & knee pain. I need a bike I can fit in my car, but is comfortable enough to ride up and down the hills of San Francisco.
Anyone have experience with full size folders?
I've spent a lot of time searching online, looking at Montague, Dahon Espresso, Tern Joe, and even Columba...

Last edited by ratufa; 12-17-12 at 10:58 PM.
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Old 12-18-12, 07:53 AM   #2
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Montague: http://www.montaguebikes.com/

The bikes are well built, strong, and a great value for what you can get. I'd have purchased one if I had thought of it before getting the bikes I currently own.
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Old 12-18-12, 08:37 AM   #3
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24 " or a 20" bike friday might offer better riding postion. Ie paffic reach, airamal, moulton, if mode
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Old 12-18-12, 09:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratufa View Post
I've been considering buying a full sized folding bike (26 in wheels). I just sold my Dahon Mariner (20 in wheels), which for some reason was causing me a lot of leg & knee pain. I need a bike I can fit in my car, but is comfortable enough to ride up and down the hills of San Francisco.
Anyone have experience with full size folders?
I've spent a lot of time searching online, looking at Montague, Dahon Espresso, Tern Joe, and even Columba...
Some of the hills in San Francisco are pretty steep, so 20" wheels are more advantage to you than full size wheels because of lower gearing you can get. There are a number of reasons you got knee and leg pain, but my first suspect is that you don't have a low enough gear on your Mariner for those hills. 21" gear on the Speed TR is still too high for some of the steep sections in San Fran and you then have to mash the pedals hard and spin at a lower RPM. This will make your pelvis tilt from side to side. As your pelvis tilt down, your knee then move on the opposite direction of pelvic turn creating a buckling action. This buckling action when perform hundreds of times rubs knee joints creating inflamation. That is the pain you are experiencing.

Secondly, the reason your pelvis tilt from side to side are due to 2 reasons.

1, Saddle position and saddle width

You are sitting too front on the nose of the saddle. Ideally, your ichium bones should both be planted on the wings of the saddle. If the ichium bones are allowed to slide sideways however, then your pelvis will move. Imagine your pelvis like a bowl sitting on top of the saddle. If the rider sits on the saddle properly, his legs moving up and down will not cause the (bowl) on the saddle to tilt dramatically. That bowl sits level. If you sit on the nose of the saddle then the pelvis (the bowl on the saddle) will then tilt side to side causing the whole leg downward motion to buckle side to side too! Choose the saddle that matches your width of your butt.

2, Poor core engagement and not moving from your hips.

The second way to maintain good pelvic stability is through good lower core development. Since when the core is engaged, the pelvis will remain stable and level as you bike or even run. Just observe some of the best runners and triathletes today and you will see their butt planted firm on the saddle or running. The lower core development allows you to maintain a level pelvis and allow leg movements down the pedals like a pair of engine pistons.
This is how you are able to push bigger gears without feeling pain as the knee joint and ankle joint are aligned in a straight line as your leg moves down on the pedal. And imagine all your motion comes from the hips and not your legs. Your legs are just your force of transmission coming from the hips. If you rely too much on your legs however, your quads and hamstrings will be overused. Quads and hams are used as you moving from your hips, but they serve a minor role compared to moving from your legs.

So how do you deal with this problem?

Make sure you get a bike fitted properly so that you can sit on the saddle and do not feel like you have to move forward. If you keep feeling you have to move forward towards the handle bar, then the bike is too big for you. So you need to find a full size folding bike that has more than 1 size. The problem with 20" Dahon folders is that, there is only a few sweet spots to make it work because the adjustment is only on the handle bar NOT on the length of the top tube due to the one size fits all design.

Secondly, train your low core also known as Transversus Abdominus to become stronger. Ironically, we have lower core stability when we were younger. The reason we loose lower core stability is because we sit a lot if we have an 8 hr desk joob and slouch a bit thus making standing up poorly being heel biased. You will see someone who has a good core stand up straight like an arrow with a slight forward bias. It is also easier to push a bike up a steep hill with this good core posture too. Most people have tighter than usual hips as well, and if you do, you tend to move your legs from the quads down rather than people who have good hips from the pelvis to the Greater Trocranter and down. Learning how to do Yoga or Pilates can help.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by pacificcyclist; 12-18-12 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 12-18-12, 10:13 AM   #5
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I've never quite understood the niche for folding bikes with full-size wheels. A regular bike with the wheels removed will fit fine in the trunk of all but the smallest cars. My 60cm frame 700c Cannondale fits easily in my Corolla sedan without needing the rear seat down and I can pop the wheels off quicker than I can fold even a Brompton or Tikit. I guess they make sense on some mass transit systems where the rules allow any folding bike regardless of size but prohibit regular bikes. But otherwise I'd opt for either the simplicity of a regular bike or the compact folded size (and airline compatibility) of a small-wheel folder.

I agree with the comments above that problems you had with your knee and leg pain must be related to your fit on that particular bike, not to the wheel size. My fit on my 20" wheel Bike Friday is the same as on my Cannondale and it feels the same to me when riding - just a little heavier.
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Old 12-18-12, 10:26 AM   #6
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Part of getting it to fold to a reasonable size is the smaller wheels..

Bike Friday's bikes are made in several sizes, that is rare in the folding bike biz,

predominantly there is a single size, made, so adequate fitting is more difficult.


Quote:
24 " or a 20" bike friday might offer better riding position
their wheels are 16" or 20", the effective top tube length is their sizing ,
being a low mono-tube front portion..

Last edited by fietsbob; 12-18-12 at 10:31 AM.
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Old 12-18-12, 10:30 AM   #7
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Dahon and Tern offer 24" wheel bikes - an interesting compromise and at least worth a look, since you've sold your Mariner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
I agree with the comments above that problems you had with your knee and leg pain must be related to your fit on that particular bike, not to the wheel size.
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Old 12-18-12, 05:12 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
I've never quite understood the niche for folding bikes with full-size wheels. A regular bike with the wheels removed will fit fine in the trunk of all but the smallest cars. My 60cm frame 700c Cannondale fits easily in my Corolla sedan without needing the rear seat down and I can pop the wheels off quicker than I can fold even a Brompton or Tikit. I guess they make sense on some mass transit systems where the rules allow any folding bike regardless of size but prohibit regular bikes. But otherwise I'd opt for either the simplicity of a regular bike or the compact folded size (and airline compatibility) of a small-wheel folder.

I agree with the comments above that problems you had with your knee and leg pain must be related to your fit on that particular bike, not to the wheel size. My fit on my 20" wheel Bike Friday is the same as on my Cannondale and it feels the same to me when riding - just a little heavier.
It's much easier (and faster) for me to bag my paratrooper and take it on the train than it is for me to do the same with a non-folding bike. (Bikes need to be in a bag in order to take them on the train here.)
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Old 12-18-12, 11:50 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by manapua_man View Post
It's much easier (and faster) for me to bag my paratrooper and take it on the train than it is for me to do the same with a non-folding bike. (Bikes need to be in a bag in order to take them on the train here.)


How comfortable is your paratrooper? I found a used older MX, I was thinking of buying.
http://www.montaguebikes.com/mx-fold...bike-2002.html

I just test rode a Dahon Espresso today. It was very nice, but I don't think it folds as compact as the Montague.
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Old 12-18-12, 11:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manapua_man View Post
It's much easier (and faster) for me to bag my paratrooper and take it on the train than it is for me to do the same with a non-folding bike. (Bikes need to be in a bag in order to take them on the train here.)
It'd be interesting to do a direct comparison. I don't have a bag handy that's big enough for either my regular Cannondale or the Paratrooper. But when I've finished bike rides where others have been on folding bikes I've had my Cannondale packed away in the car trunk while their bikes were still being folded. I expect the Cannondale would need a bag a bit longer than that of the Paratrooper. OTOH, I'd be happier carrying a slightly longer bag that's 10 pounds lighter.

Would the Japanese trains accept a regular bike in a bag with the wheels alongside the frame to reduce the size? Many US transit systems specify that they only accept folding bikes - even if the size of the package ends up being the same.

Last edited by prathmann; 12-19-12 at 12:07 AM.
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Old 12-19-12, 01:03 PM   #11
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I would really consider a friday, paffic reach, animal. or even a moulton for about 1000 , expensive but worth it.
at an outside consider a birdie, or a swift as they are very customisable to get more comfort or fit and are not slow.
Downtubes also can leave you with a lot of cash to upgrade to drops but gears etc
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Old 12-19-12, 07:47 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by ratufa View Post



How comfortable is your paratrooper? I found a used older MX, I was thinking of buying.
http://www.montaguebikes.com/mx-fold...bike-2002.html

I just test rode a Dahon Espresso today. It was very nice, but I don't think it folds as compact as the Montague.
I'm pretty happy with it, but if you can test one out that would be ideal IMO. My main reason for getting it was that it's supposedly able to carry a lot more weight, and I weigh about 200lbs, and I'll usually load it with about 50lbs worth of junk if I decide to choose a direction and go until vacation time runs out. See if you can check one out over craigslist, its what I did when I got mine (and I got a pretty nice deal on it, only $300.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
It'd be interesting to do a direct comparison. I don't have a bag handy that's big enough for either my regular Cannondale or the Paratrooper. But when I've finished bike rides where others have been on folding bikes I've had my Cannondale packed away in the car trunk while their bikes were still being folded. I expect the Cannondale would need a bag a bit longer than that of the Paratrooper. OTOH, I'd be happier carrying a slightly longer bag that's 10 pounds lighter.

Would the Japanese trains accept a regular bike in a bag with the wheels alongside the frame to reduce the size? Many US transit systems specify that they only accept folding bikes - even if the size of the package ends up being the same.
I've been scolded for having wheels out a few times, but as long as it's bagged it's fine. One thing to keep in mind though, is that space can be pretty tight in those trains, and my bike barely manages to go in the shinkansen without leaving it in one of the open areas near the vending machines/restrooms (kind of frowned upon), and I really wouldn't want it to be any bigger if I had to jump on a train when there's more traffic.

I can assure you though, that I can bag my paratrooper much faster than my Cannondale F5 (which lives in Hawai'i now) and with the folding pedals it's a little less awkward when the trains have people in em. I managed to alter my bag a little so I only need to get the front wheel off to get the whole contraption to fit though, so ymmv.

video of folding montague- http://youtu.be/0yteDW5MwkA

Last edited by manapua_man; 12-19-12 at 07:56 PM.
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Old 12-19-12, 08:10 PM   #13
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On sale here with free shipping
http://www.onlinesports.com/sports-b...gue-bikes.html
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Old 12-29-12, 12:53 AM   #14
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Ok, I purchased a Dahon Espresso. I got a good deal on it.
Rides great.
I chose it because it folds quickly without having to remove the front wheel. This comes in handy on trains, like the BART. In order to get it to fit in my trunk, I have to remove the handlebars. However, the handlebars are certainly a lot cleaner than the wheels, so I don't have to get gunk on my hands as I would've with a Montague.
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Old 12-29-12, 02:14 AM   #15
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21 Speed? Espressos are a great way to get that Joe Murray Jack/Matrix MTB frame in a 'road' set up. It fits in the El Bolso bag if you take the stem off. Bike becomes an MTB with a stem and tyre change.

(Bike grease gun handy for frame latch pivot in wet climates.)


Send pics of bike in SanFran, do.
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Old 02-13-14, 06:21 PM   #16
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Hello

Are there other brands I should know about when looking at folding bikes that come with 26" or 700 tires?
  • Montague: Fit, Navigator
  • Dahon: Espresso D21
  • Tern: Eclipse, Joe, Node
  • Pacific Cycles: iF Mode, Reach R(acing), iF Urban 26
  • Fubi www.fubi.com
  • Airnimal: Chameleon, Joey

Thank you.
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Old 02-13-14, 06:27 PM   #17
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FYI Airnimal is 24" wheels ..
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Old 02-14-14, 06:49 AM   #18
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Thanks for the info. I'd rather go for 26" because tires/tubes can be found anywhere while on the road.

---
Edit: Incidently, it looks like only Schwalbe makes tires/tubes for 24" wheels. It's a concern when going for long tours.

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Old 02-20-14, 10:30 AM   #19
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Pacific-Cycles If Urban 26in: http://www.pacific-cycles.com/produc...1&cat2=4&pid=3

Roll when folded - so rarely needs to be carried.
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Old 02-20-14, 10:54 AM   #20
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consider a S&S coupled mountain bike if you want touring reliability, which low cost hinges may not offer ..
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