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  1. #1
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Questions about folder options for very short rider

    I am 4'10.5". Last winter I bought a Downtube folder for my sister's use when she was visiting. I found the bike convenient but the ride a bit harsh and the handlebars did not go down low enough as the handlebar post is too long. I am not used to such an extreme upright position. I ended up giving the Downtube to my sister as she loved it. But I would like to have a folder around. I travel a lot and I could take it with me on train trips. I also could easily throw it in my car. I thought about getting the suspension model of the Downtube but am concerned about fit.

    My concern is finding a folder with handlebars that go low enough. Plus, the reach shouldn't be too far. I am concerned that many of the one size fits all bikes really have too long a reach.

    Here I am on the Downtube, so you can get an idea of the fit. The handlebars are as low as they can go:



    Any alternative suggestions? Is it possible to get shorter handlebar posts for a Downtube or Dahon? Or a different style of handlebar? Or am I stuck spending a lot of money for a Bike Friday? I would rather not spend big bucks for a casual ride.

    (I love how most folders are advertised as fitting someone as short as 4'8". Yup, if you don't mind your arms way up in the air and stretched out.)
    Last edited by goldfinch; 12-19-12 at 07:33 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member bargainguy's Avatar
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    Finchie, I'm 5'4 so have some idea of what you're going through.

    An absolute must for me is to test ride any bike (folding or not) before purchase unless I'm 100% certain the dimensions are correct. I'm a mechanic, so I can get a good idea 90% of the time from specs - it's the other 10% that might be a dealbreaker.

    If you're that serious about folders, I'd recommend a Friday. You don't have to buy new - I've purchased most of my Fridays used - but you get bennies of custom stem options etc. So there is the possibility of buying a small used Friday, then spending a little more on a custom stem for your reach and height. Much cheaper than buying new.

    I've not had much luck with small-people mods to other folders in general. I was able to get my Dahon Speed Pro TT to fit my reach by rotating the stem backwards (it's an odd design), though.

    Don

  3. #3
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Another thought, would narrow Soma Sparrow bars work on this bike or a similar Dahon? That would give some drop and bring the reach in a bit closer.

  4. #4
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bargainguy View Post
    Finchie, I'm 5'4 so have some idea of what you're going through.

    An absolute must for me is to test ride any bike (folding or not) before purchase unless I'm 100% certain the dimensions are correct. I'm a mechanic, so I can get a good idea 90% of the time from specs - it's the other 10% that might be a dealbreaker.

    If you're that serious about folders, I'd recommend a Friday. You don't have to buy new - I've purchased most of my Fridays used - but you get bennies of custom stem options etc. So there is the possibility of buying a small used Friday, then spending a little more on a custom stem for your reach and height. Much cheaper than buying new.

    I've not had much luck with small-people mods to other folders in general. I was able to get my Dahon Speed Pro TT to fit my reach by rotating the stem backwards (it's an odd design), though.

    Don
    I've looked for used Friday's over the last few months but haven't found a small one near where I happen to be at a particular moment. I know trying a bike is best but it may not be possible. Right now I am near St. Petersburg, FL and will be in the general area for most of the winter. I have found one Dahon dealer to check out. Craigslist doesn't seem to offer much down here and I've seen no Bike Fridays. I have thought about buying a used Friday off of their website. That would mean not trying it out. I've been watching for a 48cm Friday or maybe a 50cm. They do have a tikit that is a 50. Talking to them on the phone they want to sell me custom. However, I really do not want to spend that much.

  5. #5
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    Have you test ridden a Dahon Curve? A Curve D3 should be available in your area to test ride.

    -HANK RYAN-
    Norman, Oklahoma USA
    DISCLOSURE: I have an ownership interest in an independent bike shop that is an authorized dealer for Raleigh, Dahon, Tern & Brompton.

  6. #6
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    Thor aka Brakemeister has the aber hallo stem that might work for you.
    http://www.thorusa.com/accessories/handlebar.htm
    Dahon Jifo
    Dawes Kingpin 2speed

  7. #7
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HGR3inOK View Post
    Have you test ridden a Dahon Curve? A Curve D3 should be available in your area to test ride.

    -HANK RYAN-
    Norman, Oklahoma USA
    I'll check into it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dynocoaster View Post
    Thor aka Brakemeister has the aber hallo stem that might work for you.
    http://www.thorusa.com/accessories/handlebar.htm
    That is intriguing.

  8. #8
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    Was able to drop the DT Nova handle bar down by a little over an 1" by taking the post out and cutting off that the extra length with a pipe cutter tool from the hardware store. http://ace.imageg.net/graphics/produ...3001enh-z7.jpg

  9. #9
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Being more steeped in having 2 different Bromptons around..

    There are things Brompton offers like the forward turned saddle adaptor pin option ,(closer)
    and fitting a lower Straight bar in an M bar steering stanchions..(lower)

    and the Mk2 frames are a bit shorter from seat tube to headset, than the newer Mk3 &4,
    the fillet brazed, instead of cast hinges were used in that era, & not so many colors..
    Find red or with Black parts or all black [afaik]

    so, noting OP's budget consciousness, keep an eye out for a used sale..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 12-20-12 at 10:50 AM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dynocoaster View Post
    Thor aka Brakemeister has the aber hallo stem that might work for you.
    http://www.thorusa.com/accessories/handlebar.htm
    an Aber hallo stem could bring the bars closer to the rider (and look odd) but could not lower the bars. There are two bars on Thors site that is close to what the OP is asking for (you`ll need a quick release on top of the stem to rotate them when folding).

    there are some shorter stems plus the "comfort stem" also on thors site but you need the right bike to fit them on. You could contact thor by pm or e-mail or wait for him to hopefully chime in.

    Did you look into the origami bikes? Member Pingis is selling them. Also search the forums for older threads with the same topic. Has been discussed before so there could be some useful information there.
    °Empty drums make a lot of noice... (Old Hungarian proverb).

  11. #11
    Senior Member Pinigis's Avatar
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    The Origami Fox will fit riders doun to about 4'4". You can call 804-350-6383 if you wish to discuss.

  12. #12
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Pinigis, I'll probably give you a call after the first of the year. I am going on a short trip and then want to check a Dahon dealer near st. pete to get an idea of what feels like what. It looks like bikes with 16 inch wheels are the options for the shorter rider. I also like the idea of Soma Sparrow bars.

  13. #13
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sing View Post
    Was able to drop the DT Nova handle bar down by a little over an 1" by taking the post out and cutting off that the extra length with a pipe cutter tool from the hardware store. http://ace.imageg.net/graphics/produ...3001enh-z7.jpg
    ^^^This will be the best solution and, if you need them to go even lower and the QR clamp isn't welded/integral (ie if it's loose or only held in place by a little pin/dimple) or if you can get a seatpost clamp with matching diameter (and there's a good chance you will be able to because seatposts come in lots of different sizes) you could also make that shorter by cutting the lower half of the post (then saw a little slot, put back on the QR clamp, and voila!...like it was built just for you).

    I also bought a pipe cutter a few months ago for making these sorts of mods and the best one for the money I was able to find was this:
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005M2A3CQ/...0_M3C_ST1_dp_1
    They make different sizes and the quality is fantastic!
    Last edited by chucky; 12-20-12 at 12:52 PM.
    A sure sign of a successful experiment is when failure is prolonged until the experimenter forgets that he's even conducting an experiment.

  14. #14
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    Also, another direction to go is to simply remove the folding handlebar assembly, put one of these stem risers in the fork:
    21DOzN4QwEL._AA300_.jpg
    and then attach one of these with a QR seatpost clamp:
    riser_250x400.jpg
    http://shop.bacchettabikes.com/parts...tta-riser.html
    ...and you'll also need a second "seat" clamp on the fork to hold the headset tension and, if you want to tension it easily/reliably, a headset tensioner:
    bft-lrg_400x295.jpg
    http://shop.bacchettabikes.com/parts/misc/bft.html
    (and, FYI, there are also other manufacturers of similar parts that might be cheaper)

    The handlebars won't fold, but they'll be quickly removable like the seat...I never liked folding handlebars anyway because I think handlebars are big and unwieldy enough to benefit from being nestled into the perfect spot (rather than simply being folded to wherever the folding mechanism can reach)...plus hinged folding bars are always so damn heavy!
    A sure sign of a successful experiment is when failure is prolonged until the experimenter forgets that he's even conducting an experiment.

  15. #15
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Chucky, these mods might be out of my league but I will consider these options too.
    Last edited by goldfinch; 12-20-12 at 03:45 PM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    I am bringing up my thread of better than a year ago. To review, I am 4'10.5" and trying to find a folder that fits. I want one that I can toss in the trunk of the car and ride when I visit various areas. I want one that I can take on Amtrak train trips. I want one that I can ride for at least 20-25 miles in relative comfort. I didn't get good help in Florida so I dropped the folder idea. This winter I am in Tucson and there are more options to try. I rode several Brompton set ups. I also tried a Tern and a Citizen. I am going to be trying a couple of Dahon's on Monday, both used.

    The Brompton worked pretty well with the H bar as you could slant it in to bring in the reach. I really liked the fold. The ride was fine. I think I would consider putting Sparrow bars on it if I went that route. Anyone ever do that? Would it still fold nicely? If I am willing to spend the money for a Brompton, the issue is whether I am better off with a Bike Friday, which has a custom fit. However, I understand that the folds on the BF are not near as elegant, except maybe for the Tikit line. How do they compare in weight and comfort? How is the Tikit for riding 20 miles?

    The Tern was simply too big. The big wheels were nice but the reach was terrible, with the handlebars too far and too high. Meh.

    The cheapie Citizen (at $169) was surprisingly comfortable. Really short reach with nice low bars. The bike shop guy described the bike as cramped. Cramped for others means a fit for me. The bike does take up a lot of space folded, as compared to the Brompton. It felt very heavy, though it probably doesn't weigh much if any more than the Brompton.

    So, I guess the dilemmas are determining (1) how important is a compact fold (I would use the bike when traveling, so yes, the fold is important), (2) how much money do I want to spend, and (3) how comfortable is the bike for distances of 20-25 miles.

    The LBS in Tucson that carries the Brompton has a test ride day next weekend, I will try both the cheap Citizen and expensive Brompton over more miles.

    Anything else I should be considering?

  17. #17
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
    anything else i should be considering?
    bike friday™©

    here's one: it looks small, but maybe not. at least you can try it..
    Last edited by smallwheeler; 02-01-14 at 06:01 PM.

  18. #18
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    +1) a Built to order Bike Friday would fit great, because they would make it Just for you .
    after you place the order and hash out the details, with them (toll free phone)

  19. #19
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smallwheeler View Post
    bike friday™©

    here's one: it looks small, but maybe not. at least you can try it..
    Yeah, I saw that one. Too big. I tried to get my spouse to try it but he wasn't charmed.

  20. #20
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Tell me about the Bike Friday fold. How portable are they? Is the Tikit the only one that folds easily?

  21. #21
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
    Tell me about the Bike Friday fold. How portable are they? Is the Tikit the only one that folds easily?
    they fold easily, but not compactly. they are designed as travel bikes and come with hard cases. the thing to really consider is how you will use the bike. i would suggest not establishing a very narrow criteria. you mentioned that you will likely want to travel with it. if you are commuting using buses or subways, nothing beats the brompton. however, if you intend to pack your bike for plane travel or packing in the car, nothing beats a bike friday. bike friday bikes are performance oriented bikes. the bike friday tikit would be considered a performance oriented commuter bike by most; although the ride quality is suitable for longer distance rides as well. not to mention, the tikit is also a beautifully designed bike and is easily customized to suit your needs. the hyper-fold™© tikit is probably the fastest folding, highest performing folding bike in one package on the market.







    Last edited by smallwheeler; 02-01-14 at 09:58 PM.

  22. #22
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    so does 20" wheel (my pocket Llama ) & their Silk, etc... folds pretty well , but a travel fold ..

    does not have to be as repeatedly fast as a commuting fold ..

    but tikit, by folding forward, seat height remains as before..

    & it rolls on it's front wheel, folded .
    Last edited by fietsbob; 02-02-14 at 01:07 AM.

  23. #23
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Smallwheeler, those Tikits are hot!

    Next weekend I get to try a Brompton on a group ride, but the Tikit is making more sense. One of my problems with Bike Friday is I go on their site and start adding options to a bike and suddenly I have a Nuvinci 350 hub, belt drive, faster fold and spending $3000.

  24. #24
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    so does 20" wheel (my pocket Llama ) & their Silk, etc... folds pretty well , but a travel fold ..

    does not have to be as repeatedly fast as a commuting fold ..

    but tikit, by folding forward, seat height remains as before..

    & it rolls on it's front wheel, folded .
    You have an internal geared hub on your folder, if I recall? What are your thoughts on that? I like easy gears, I am a spinner. Is the gear range pretty acceptable for hilly areas? I'm not talking mountains.

  25. #25
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Mine .. It's a Rohloff .. 13.5 % spaced ( seems smaller as it gets lower)
    so downward, (I presume) each gear is 86.4% of the higher one

    on a 26" wheel the low limit is 16:38, same gear in a 20" wheel is a 16:53.. Im happy with it
    [cog spares .. the 16 is the only one QBP stocks *]
    so you could gear it Really low and use that same 16:38.. or any thing larger

    * cycle monkey is including Rohloff USA . for the rest of them 13, 15, 17.
    & all sorts of other spares..


    if you really covet a closer ratio spread you could use the chain tensioner
    and push the chain between 2 chainrings 7% apart ..

    less money S-A 8 speed Use small chainring , as 2~8 are overdrive..

    Nuvinci CVR hub is stepless Continuously Variable... there you just turn the grip till it feels right.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 02-02-14 at 10:40 PM.

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