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  1. #1
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
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    Best folder for a bike/bus commute?

    If you had a ride/bus/ride commute with roughly 20 miles of riding for the round trip what would you go with?

    So far a custom singlespeed build around a Xootr Swift frameset seems like the best option. I've been commuting on a singlespeed for many years, and having a simple drivetrain for something like this seems like the way to go. I'm also 6'2" (175ish pounds) so the availability of larger sizes is appealing. I also like the frameset idea because I'm a picky bike nerd.

    I'd be willing to sacrifice a little folding speed/convenience for something that feels more like a conventional bike.
    Last edited by marqueemoon; 01-09-13 at 03:36 AM.

  2. #2
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    I would highly recommend the Swift for those kind of distances, otherwise if your riding commute was shorter the Brompton

    That said re the Brompton you are pretty tall!

    Here is a comparison for you from my posts over on the massive Swift thread.





    On a bus you may find taking the Swift onboard is doable but a little tight.

    Regards

    Jerry
    Last edited by jerrysimon; 01-09-13 at 06:02 AM.
    Brompton M2L (SRAM A2), Brompton M2L(X), Dahon Uno (SRAM A2), Both Swift Xootr & Moulton TSR2 now gone

  3. #3
    the digitalmouse digitalmouse's Avatar
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    I second the Brompton suggestion. You can set them up in so many ways, it's very likely to have one fitted to your needs - even conventionally!
    current ride: 2010 Steintrike Nomad with Wildcat nose fairing https://picasaweb.google.com/jimm.pratt/NomadWildcat

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    The bus absolutely sucks for my dahon mu sl. I think what you want on the bus is a super compact folder that folds in such a way that you won't be dirtying your and other people's pant legs with the chain.

    I actually need to sit on the handicapped space on the bus to be able to put the bike next to me...

  5. #5
    tcs
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    Since our transit agency put racks on all the buses, it makes more sense here to use a regular bike and not the folder for bike+bus commutes.

    If you had a ride/bus/ride commute with roughly 20 miles of riding for the round trip what would you go with?
    If I was going to employ a folder? Probably something a lot like this. Fenders, rack, IGH, dynohub powered light.
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

  6. #6
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    Have you considered a Strida, folds fast, clean with no chain, rolls easily when folded. There have been some who say it is not comfortable for longer rides but for me this is not true. Because of your height you would want to consider the SX or the new EVO, with 18 inch wheels. The EVO is also a 3 speed. You may also want to consider the bended handle bars for extra space for your knees. Here is a link to a Strida info page I have on my site, here is alink to my FB page,
    cheers Bill

  7. #7
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    The recent H option from Brompton, offers a handle bar raised, a few inches.. for taller riders..

    the no-nonsense design, added half above the hinge and half below ,
    so the bar tip will still not be below the ground surface when folded.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 01-09-13 at 10:57 AM.

  8. #8
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
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    Thanks for the suggestions, everyone.

    I think there are a few Brompton dealers here. I'll see if I can take one for a spin.

    Re: Strida, due to the length of the commute and my size that's not very appealing. If I were riding just a few miles on either end I would feel differently. Also, there may be days when I ride home all the way via an alternate route (over 25 miles).

    The reason for the folder is there is one section of the proposed commute that is unrideable, as in I couldn't do it even if I wanted to. The buses do have racks, but this particular bus line is a very popular one. With a limited number of racks available I don't want to find myself in a situation where I'm stranded because the racks are full. Riding the first leg and busing the remainder would have me catching two buses and leaving a bike locked up outside all day which is not very appealing.

    I do plan to scope out the stop at my target time and see if that's a real reason for concern though. I'm guessing it will be more so when it's not monsoon season.
    Last edited by marqueemoon; 01-09-13 at 11:49 AM.

  9. #9
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    Brompton for sure. It folds the most compact, in a relatively short amount of time, and rides very well. I have takent he Brompton on many forms of public transportation and it seems much easier to lug around relative to a less elegantly folded bike (many dahon's).
    Proud Brompton owner as of Feb. 2012.

    Review of my Brompton: www.bromptonyc.com

  10. #10
    lowlife bottom feeder BassNotBass's Avatar
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    Wow! Thanks for that pic, jerrysimon... that certainly is a great ad for the Brompton.


    Quote Originally Posted by marqueemoon View Post
    ... I think there are a few Brompton dealers here...
    Dealers? No. It's fanbase is just a tribute to Brompton's design in terms of foldability, level of quality and usability. It's not for everyone but apparently great for many. For people who commute and tour on a folder, it appears that Brompton and BikeFriday are the most popular options for good reason.
    I plan on living forever... so far so good.

  11. #11
    GN BIKN
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    I can't even imagine attempting to bring my Swift on a bus. You may have to go for something that folds up a lot more compactly, and put up with the lower performance.
    I like bike lanes. I also practice VC when I'm not in them.

  12. #12
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlowBoy View Post
    I can't even imagine attempting to bring my Swift on a bus. You may have to go for something that folds up a lot more compactly, and put up with the lower performance.
    If the commute isn't rideable in some form for me that is going to be a potential dealbreaker for me. At this point I'm exploring all the options short of moving.

    If I can reliably get my conventional bike on a bus rack that's my first choice, but the thing is that could vary from day to day. Using a folding bike would give me a plan B if the racks are full (provided it could also be placed on the rack in its un-folded state or folded in the time it takes in line to get on).

    The bulk and awkwardness of the Swift are definite drawbacks. I would feel a bit bad for my fellow passengers bringing one on, but technically it is a "folding bike", so by the letter of the transit policy it's allowed. And, assuming it could be racked unfolded this would only be done if the racks were full.

    I'm not set on the Swift though. Just trying to explain what appeals to me about it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BassNotBass View Post
    Wow! Thanks for that pic, jerrysimon... that certainly is a great ad for the Brompton.
    It was not my intention to advertise the Brompton. Given some of the other comments here I would agree if I was going on a bus I would take the Brompton. I am not sure that one bike can fit all requirements but for me these two get pretty close to it. The Brompton is my choice for multi mode transport, taking into coffee shops/restaurants/pubs or just popping into shops/post office to pick things up. I love how the Swift rides though and for anything more than 10 miles I would definitely choose that first. Its fold is small enough that I can put it in the car or in my office easily.

    Note that pic is not also fair completely, in that the seat post and handle bar/steerer can be removed to make it smaller. Note as I like a really upright ride is also has a very long adjustable stem and raised bars.
    If I was told I could only have one though, it would be the Brompton. The one shown is the lighter titanium version of the two I have

    Regards

    Jerry
    Last edited by jerrysimon; 01-09-13 at 03:29 PM.
    Brompton M2L (SRAM A2), Brompton M2L(X), Dahon Uno (SRAM A2), Both Swift Xootr & Moulton TSR2 now gone

  14. #14
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Birdie, ORI / Mezzo or Bompton with drops or bullbars, 20" Dahon/Tern, Animal, bike friday,Tikit, joey, if mode, swift, depends on space available.
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

  15. #15
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Birdie, ORI / Mezzo or Bompton with drops or bullbars, 20" Dahon/Tern, Animal, bike friday,Tikit, joey, if mode, swift, depends on space available.

    I have fitted by Brompton with the extending seatpost and bull bars using a Dahon andros stem extended and I have a dual drive converted MEzzo with bullbars.
    Riding a folder in a good postion makes for a quick bike to compaire with a road racing bike if done well.

    My mezzo in particular is a great fast ride, with the road racing tiagra intergrated brake and gear lever.

    Have you also seen the fudges set up with TT bars mated to a 11 speed afline hub ?
    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1210330449...d=437045374082

    [url][/
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by bhkyte; 01-10-13 at 11:43 AM.
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

  16. #16
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
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    Interesting. A friend of my wife's who is fairly tall has a middle-of-the-line Dahon I might be able to borrow for a test run, and possibly for the short term until I get my own bike sorted. My wife is fully on board with the folder plan.

    Another friend around my height is going to be picking up a Swift in the next week or so, so I can probably take that for an extended spin as well.

    Just realized another advantage of having a folder be part of my commute would be being able to bum rides home for the un-bikeable part of the commute. Having a second passenger in the car means a valuable opportunity to use the HOV lane for the worst bit, and they could drop me off where it's most convenient for them.

  17. #17
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
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    I test rode a singlespeed Brompton today with "S" bars and firm suspension. I was pretty impressed with it overall. Well engineered, light, handled well in most situations including dealing with rough pavement.

    As I suspected, the position was not ideal. I'm really a drop bar guy when it comes to it. However, after further commute research I've found that it's really 8ish riding miles each way. I could probably deal with it.

    What I really hated was anything involving getting out of the saddle. The combination of flat bars and tiny wheels was not good for this. Of course with the option to shift to an easier gear that would not be necessary, but maybe some short bar ends would help?

    I was also less than impressed with the braking power. Modulation was good though. Maybe swapping the pads for Kool Stop salmons would be enough to fix the issue?

    Also, I found that my saddle height was just about perfect with the (standard) post at its max height. Provided that's safe that's actually pretty cool as it's easily repeatable. I felt like I needed about 5mm more setback with the stock saddle slammed back all the way though. A saddle with longer rails would probably be enough to resolve that.

  18. #18
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marqueemoon View Post

    I was also less than impressed with the braking power. Modulation was good though. Maybe swapping the pads for Kool Stop salmons would be enough to fix the issue?
    Put new stiffer housing. http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/M...?ModelID=23407 Made a big difference on my B. Doing same on my sons B before the summer.
    °Empty drums make a lot of noice... (Old Hungarian proverb).

  19. #19
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by badmother View Post
    Put new stiffer housing. http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/M...?ModelID=23407 Made a big difference on my B. Doing same on my sons B before the summer.
    On the subject I will post the outers I use,kelvar coated,teflon linned and cheaper. "Reaction" elite preformance cables.
    www.ashimam.com.tw
    Only probblem is the cable sometimes goes though the cable ends. So I now add a brass spoke washer to prevent this.
    Tough cable need some good cutters. I use these but not sure I remend then yet at price, teflon linners did improve downshifting.

    Also make sure telflon coated cables are fitted. As far as I know only Later Bromptons fit as standard (mezzos really need this upgrade as standard).
    Last edited by bhkyte; 01-13-13 at 06:34 AM.
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

  20. #20
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marqueemoon View Post
    I test rode a singlespeed Brompton today with "S" bars and firm suspension. I was pretty impressed with it overall. Well engineered, light, handled well in most situations including dealing with rough pavement.

    As I suspected, the position was not ideal. I'm really a drop bar guy when it comes to it. However, after further commute research I've found that it's really 8ish riding miles each way. I could probably deal with it.

    What I really hated was anything involving getting out of the saddle. The combination of flat bars and tiny wheels was not good for this. Of course with the option to shift to an easier gear that would not be necessary, but maybe some short bar ends would help?

    I was also less than impressed with the braking power. Modulation was good though. Maybe swapping the pads for Kool Stop salmons would be enough to fix the issue?

    Also, I found that my saddle height was just about perfect with the (standard) post at its max height. Provided that's safe that's actually pretty cool as it's easily repeatable. I felt like I needed about 5mm more setback with the stock saddle slammed back all the way though. A saddle with longer rails would probably be enough to resolve that.
    Stiffer housing with lower friction cables, as other suggested, will help as will the KS salmon pads you mentioned. And you can find multiple threads of people adjusted their Bromptons for a better ergonomic fit. If you're really gung ho, you can do all sorts of things with different stem posts, quick release clamps at the top of the stem posts, and different handle bars. Although there are limits on what you can do. From my own experience, the (bad) ergonomics associated with spirited riding along with general life changes eventually led me to get rid of our Brompton/Mercs. I could ride the Brompton longer distances, but it certainly wasn't much fun since the fit was always somewhat off.

    Anyway, it sounds like you're looking for as many opportunities as possible to try different bikes. I highly recommend that strategy.

  21. #21
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
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    That's good to know about cables and housing. Considering the price it's a little disappointing the bikes don't come equipped with the good stuff, but I suppose that could be said of any bike that comes stock with Avid BB7s or other higher end mechanical disc brakes.

    Another concern about the Brompton I didn't mention is the tire clearance. Caliper brakes make a lot of sense with the fold, and the suspension does do a good job of taking the edge off rough pavement, but with fenders on tire clearance is fairly limited. When it's rainy and slick out a bigger contact patch can be nice.

  22. #22
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    I feel above point is a reason I run two bikes one with slicks,another for wet weather.When I ran rgid bikee I had two wheel sets for same reason, or to switch from road to off road.

    @ossible excuss for folderitus!
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

  23. #23
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
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    Sigh. I could see it happening if this job thing works out.

  24. #24
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhkyte View Post
    I feel above point is a reason I run two bikes one with slicks,another for wet weather.
    I'm not convinced that treads work any better in the rain than slicks (bike are not going to start hydroplaning). I am convinced that tire composition will make a difference, so you can keep your two different bikes...
    http://Charles.Plager.net
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  25. #25
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    I'm not convinced that treads work any better in the rain than slicks (bike are not going to start hydroplaning). I am convinced that tire composition will make a difference, so you can keep your two different bikes...
    Believe me there is !!
    I think the reason slicks sliP is the lack of "void space".A TEchincal term for what you have in your brain if you run slicks in the wet !!LOL
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

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