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  1. #1
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    16" vs. 20" Folding Bike in a Suitcase; how much easier?

    Getting a typical 20" folding bike, like a Dahon, into an airline legal suitcase for travel obviously requires quite a bit of disassembly. I've now done this a couple of times and it is a bloody mess, not something I want to deal with repeatedly; adept bicycle mechanics may feel differently :-)

    We all know that a Brompton, with its famous compact fold will go into such a suitcase without any disassembly, but how about a more "average" 16 incher, that doesn't fold as compactly? How much less disassembly is required to get such a bike into a "regular" suitcase, or a purpose built suitcase like an Airporter Mini? Looks to me as if at least the front wheel will need to come off, but I'm not sure.
    Last edited by champignon; 03-05-13 at 08:50 PM. Reason: grammer

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Thing is Brompton First folds Under , the rear wheel fits under the main Tube,
    Dahon folds sideways, middle of the main tube.

    so wider, folded than Brompton, Brompton has its hinge in the forward part of the main tube,
    and folds to the right side , front wheel covers the drivetrain.

    Bike Friday also hinges in an under but to the side angle, but then you fold down or Pull the seat mast ,
    and pull the steering mast and split the handlebars and knock those down a bit to pack..

    Dont own a Dahon or Tern, they will chime in soon ..

  3. #3
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    Last edited by badmother; 03-05-13 at 07:08 PM.
    °Empty drums make a lot of noice... (Old Hungarian proverb).

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    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smallwheeler View Post
    Have seen that previously, but specifically was not addressing Bromptons.

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    Thanks for the response but none of these three addresses the simple question I asked. The first thread has some nifty pictures, however I can tell you that without at least some disassembly, the Curve D3 will not fit in a mini airporter. And I don't care how it looks on those photos in comparison to the Brompton. It is a cool bike, but unless I'm missing something, simply folding it down will not allow it to fit in one of Thor's (or Dahon's or whomever's) mini-airporter style bike suitcase. The second link is to a thread I started myself, and reading through it I don't see my specific question addressed. The third thread shows a 20" bike disassembled and fit into a suitcase. I have done this with my Dahon (Mu P8), and although it will fit, it is a huge PITA to do so, makes a mess, and is not something I would want to do on a daily basis tooling around on a trip.

    If the point of posting those three threads was to imply that I did not search first before posting this, that is not true. The search function on this board is an order of magnitude less good than those I have used on other enthusiast sites. I don't know why, and the people who set it up put in an arbitrary 30 second pause before an unsuccessful search can be followed up upon, something that further discourages its use.

  7. #7
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    there are literally hundreds of 16" folding bikes. all different shapes, wheel-base lengths, and folded sizes. maybe if you narrowed it down to the bikes you actually like and are considering buying for travel, the forum might be better able to explore the problem with you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smallwheeler View Post
    there are literally hundreds of 16" folding bikes. all different shapes, wheel-base lengths, and folded sizes. maybe if you narrowed it down to the bikes you actually like and are considering buying for travel, the forum might be better able to explore the problem with you.
    I actually don't agree that there are "hundreds" of 16" folding bikes, or even if there are, the affordable ones of at least decent quality that are available in the western world are a pretty small number. Let's assume that pricing is important; OK, so that rules out Bike Friday and Brompton and several others. Let's rule out the $200 generic ebay specials and other low quality stuff at the bottom. How about something mid-range, like a Dahon Curve D3?

    But the point of my question wasn't to ask for specific advice on how to get my 16" bike into a bike suitcase, rather, the question was, how much easier is it, in general, to get a decent quality 16" folding bike into an airline legal suitcase for travel, than it is to do so with a similar 20" folding bike? If one is going to travel with such a bike and put it into an airline legal suitcase, will one face less hassles, less disassembly and reassembly, with a 16" bike in general, than he would with a 20" bike? Is this a reason for selecting a 16" bike over a 20" bike if the intended use is for travel?
    Last edited by champignon; 03-05-13 at 09:20 PM. Reason: clarity

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    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    so, what you are looking here is to get info from someone who has packed a 16" wheel bike in a suitcase of some sort. or, maybe you want someone here to google "airline legal suitcase size" and "16 inch wheeled bike folded dimensions"; cross-reference the two searches and then report back here for your approval or possible derisive remarks?

  10. #10
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    ok. so now that you've added a paragraph in your previous post, i can answer your question: Yes.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by smallwheeler View Post
    ok. so now that you've added a paragraph in your previous post, i can answer your question: Yes.
    Thanks so much for your helpful reply.

  12. #12
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    anytime.

  13. #13
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    pm for details.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by smallwheeler View Post
    so, what you are looking here is to get info from someone who has packed a 16" wheel bike in a suitcase of some sort. or, maybe you want someone here to google "airline legal suitcase size" and "16 inch wheeled bike folded dimensions"; cross-reference the two searches and then report back here for your approval or possible derisive remarks?
    I'll leave the derisive remarks to you. It is quite patently obvious to anyone who has gone through the exercise, that stated, folded, dimensions of folding bikes are either very optimistic in most cases, or do not comport for some reason with the purported internal dimensions of suitcases marketed as being intended for folding bikes. I would bet you a very large sum of money, that if you randomly bought 16" or 20" or whatever sized folding bikes your heart desired, and then tried to fit them into bike suitcases that appear to have internal dimensions that would fit those bikes in their advertised to be folded dimensions without further disassembly, you would find that that in many or most cases, they Would NOT fit.
    Last edited by champignon; 03-05-13 at 09:37 PM. Reason: spelling

  15. #15
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    yep. its true that most stated dimensions for almost any product are referred to (when the manufacturer is being honest) as "nominal". for example, a 2 x 4 is actually 1.5 x 3. anyway, here's an idea based on my personal experience: the dahon dove (bya412) is a 14" (nominal) wheel bike. it's folded dimensions are pretty small. sorry, i dont recall the measurements exactly, but they are considerably smaller than the curve d3. it has a shorter wheel base, but it is a good quality bike built to the same specs as a curve d3. you will have a hard time finding it. although, there was one that sold on ebay a few days ago for 300. so they do pop up periodically. there are many such bikes to choose from and they do pop up periodically if it is cost-prohibitive to order one from overseas.


    tl;dr: to avoid mess and excessive and tiresome disassembly, i'm suggesting that you might consider an even more compact bike than the standard 16" types.
    Last edited by smallwheeler; 03-05-13 at 10:05 PM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by smallwheeler View Post
    yep. its true that most stated dimensions for almost any product are referred to (when the manufacturer is being honest) as "nominal". for example, a 2 x 4 is actually 1.5 x 3. anyway, here's an idea based on my personal experience: the dahon dove (bya412) is a 14" (nominal) wheel bike. it's folded dimensions are pretty small. sorry, i dont recall the measurements exactly, but they are considerably smaller than the curve d3. it has a shorter wheel base, but it is a good quality bike built to the same specs as a curve d3. you will have a hard time finding it. although, there was one that sold on ebay a few days ago for 300. so they do pop up periodically. there are many such bikes to choose from and they do pop up periodically if it is cost-prohibitive to order one from overseas.


    tl;dr: to avoid mess and excessive and tiresome disassembly, i'm suggesting that you might consider an even more compact bike than the standard 16" types.
    One of those bikes that comes with big shoes and a fake plastic nose that goes "honk honk" when you squeeze it?


  17. #17
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    no:


  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by smallwheeler View Post
    no:

    I'll put the nose and shoes on if you will let me test it out.

  19. #19
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    Search for my thread on a Dahon Mantis.
    It is not easy to put in a Oyster suitcase.
    The majority of the bike has to come apart still.
    So to answer your question; no it is not easier to put in a suitcase.
    It all depends on the type of fold.
    I suspect a Jifo might fold better for suitcase travel but someone has to try it out.

    I am going to get a Dahon Dove soon so we will see how that works for travel.
    Last edited by ttakata73; 03-06-13 at 01:26 AM.

  20. #20
    jur
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    I have put a great variety of small-wheelers into a variety of suitcases.

    Any 20" wheeler required much work, too much really.

    I have also packed a Downtube Mini, a Birdy and a Brompton. The Brommie was easiest but still required the seatpost to be removed and will not go like that into a Samsonite sized just under the biggest one. (is that an Oyster?)

    The Birdy I took along in the Oyster (n?). It required removal of both wheels and the steering post. On J Gaerlan's site there are pics.


    The Downtube Mini folds like a Dahon. It required removal of the front wheel and some manipulation of the rear. I don't remember about anything else. I posted some pics of how it was packed on the Oyster (which is just smaller than the largest size Samsonite).

    Last edited by jur; 03-06-13 at 02:15 AM.

  21. #21
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    Yes Jur, you have the Large size Samsonite Oyster.

    I was on my cell phone earlier so my last post was short.
    Here are pics of my 16" Mantis and Large Oyster.
    It's nice to have the extra space due to the smaller wheels, but you still have to take most of the bike apart.
    As mentioned earlier, the width of the traditional folded bike makes it tough to fit in a suitcase.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  22. #22
    New usename ThorUSA brakemeister's Avatar
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    http://www.thorusa.com/dahon/technical/brommy.htm
    okidokee I packed a Dahon Curve in a ThorUSA mini airporter.....
    ( the same as Dahon or Tern just without the stickers and a super great price ... :-)

    You will need to take the wheels off. Which is no real big deal as the shifter line dissengages rather easy and there is no shifter arm to loosen either ( unlike on the old 3 speeds or coasterbrakes ) Than loosen the quickreleases for saddle and upper handlebar and you are done.
    Thor

  23. #23
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    I think a diblasi r4 16 would go stiaght in a suitcase (305 wheel) not actually tried it birdies seem to pack from what I remember also with some disamembly.
    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.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by brakemeister View Post
    http://www.thorusa.com/dahon/technical/brommy.htm
    okidokee I packed a Dahon Curve in a ThorUSA mini airporter.....
    ( the same as Dahon or Tern just without the stickers and a super great price ... :-)

    You will need to take the wheels off. Which is no real big deal as the shifter line dissengages rather easy and there is no shifter arm to loosen either ( unlike on the old 3 speeds or coasterbrakes ) Than loosen the quickreleases for saddle and upper handlebar and you are done.
    Thor
    Hi Thor,

    This is actually an option for me as I have a Dahon Curve and one of your Airporter Minis. I did about 10 miles on the Curve a couple of days ago including a not too easy hill that I wasn't sure I was capable of doing, on this bike (I was, and it was surprisingly easy, and I"m not in shape either).

    Do you have any pics or any additional instructions, or can they be found online somewhere?

    Thanks very much in advance.
    Last edited by champignon; 03-06-13 at 11:45 PM. Reason: completeness

  25. #25
    Senior Member Nachoman's Avatar
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    20 inch wheels on this BF. Normally takes about 30-40 minutes to pack carefully.
    .
    .

    Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.

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