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Old 03-28-13, 09:54 AM   #1
Dheorl
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Weight weenie folding bike?

I'm at university at the moment and due to my landlord not providing the promised garage have been unable to ride for ages. I've eventually had the thought of getting a folding bike (not sure why it took so long). I do however want a folding bike not for mixed commuting purposes, but to use as I would use my normal race bike back home, just able to store it in the bottom of my wardrobe.

I have done a search and haven't been able to find a thread on this. I guess I'll start with the quick few questions in the thread at the top;

* your weight (bikes have weight limits)
60ish kg
* how tall you are (almost all folding bikes are size medium, ie 22" (55cm) equiv. top tube length)
About 5'11" (gotta love being average height sometimes)
* your budget
Up to about 2000
* your riding experience
Have been doing every type of riding for ages
* what you intend to use the bike for (eg touring, commuting, casual park riding, shopping, MTB-ing etc)
Quick trips to friends houses/up the hill to uni and then fun rides/club rides/races.

I've been mainly considering the airnimal chameleon, although also possibly the bike friday pocket rocket although not quite so keen on the look of that one. The obvious choice out of their prebuilt models would be the Performance sport, which has 105 gearing and comes in at 10kg and about 1900. One of my LBS will also sell me the frame, rims, forks, stem extender and headset compressor and build it for about 1125.

My main question is, is there a better frame I can use as a starting point for a (relatively) stiff light weight folding bike. I don't need to worry too much about folding time or size, within reason of course. A minute or two will be fine.

From the point of view of the build itself, I'm a bit out of date with which brands are good these days. And tips of cheapish light weight parts that I mght be able to build up to beat the weight of the stock build?
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Old 03-28-13, 10:07 AM   #2
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I bought a 1970's Piknik folding bike for USD$25. lolz I'm 200lbs and I look stupid as hell on it. But its a great bike, so I wouldn't rule out finding a used one!

Why are you so concerned with weight? Especially since you aren't racing, I would go with a steel frame one. I mean, it is heavy, but its not like you're a speed demon on a folding bike. I would go with the convenience of a bike with "city bike" characteristics.
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Old 03-28-13, 10:15 AM   #3
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Why are you so concerned with weight? Especially since you aren't racing, I would go with a steel frame one. I mean, it is heavy, but its not like you're a speed demon on a folding bike. I would go with the convenience of a bike with "city bike" characteristics.
I am however planning on racing it. I also want to go on club rides and live in a rather hilly area.

Are you saying that even a folding bike such as an airnimal chameleon couldn't be a "fast" bike?
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Old 03-28-13, 11:00 AM   #4
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Weight weenie folding bike?

.. think minivelo ... the smaller wheels make a difference, wheel base is the same
but radius of wheel fore and aft of the axle is less..

& so by not folding they wont have the hinge weight, and you can go wild on your component upgrades..

Shimano's Caprio, a 9 to 26t special hub and cassette, compensates for the 451 size wheel,
and brings the gearing up to use the regular big wheel cranksets.

maybe someone can fabricate one in Titanium for you?

hot sellers in Japan & such, so not many made, cheap, for tall westerners ..

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Old 03-28-13, 11:31 AM   #5
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Are you saying that even a folding bike such as an airnimal chameleon couldn't be a "fast" bike?
If you get the gearing, tires, and aero position you need, you should do just find on a folding bike as far as speed goes.
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Old 03-28-13, 01:02 PM   #6
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A Swift is another option to consider. Xootr version (aluminum) and original version (steel).
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Old 03-28-13, 02:49 PM   #7
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I am however planning on racing it. I also want to go on club rides and live in a rather hilly area.
Dahon Speed Pro TT/Vector or Tern Verge. Folds pretty much as small as most 20" folders,plenty of gear range,22-24lbs.
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Old 03-28-13, 03:52 PM   #8
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A second vote for the Swift, renowned on this forum for it's speed and light weight, although not so much for it's folded size.

Have you considered your landlord may go ballistic if he finds you storing a bicycle in your apartment? They sometimes do that, particularly the bad ones.
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Old 03-28-13, 05:06 PM   #9
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Have you considered your landlord may go ballistic if he finds you storing a bicycle in your apartment? They sometimes do that, particularly the bad ones.
With the Friday (and I would be surprised if this weren't also true of the Chameleon), you can do the "quick fold" in about 15 seconds and then put it in the zipped nylon bag. Total time is less than a minute to fold and zip in the bag.
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Old 03-28-13, 05:57 PM   #10
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A second vote for the Swift, renowned on this forum for it's speed and light weight, although not so much for it's folded size.

Have you considered your landlord may go ballistic if he finds you storing a bicycle in your apartment? They sometimes do that, particularly the bad ones.
Any idea how the swift would handle with drop handlebars on it?

And my landlord lets people keep bikes in the communal spaces, but enough people that I don't know come and go through where I live that I wouldn't want to do that with a nice bike. I also am likely to be in a similar situation for a couple of years. As the poster below says though I doubt he would have issue with a folded bike in a bag (something I am already planning on getting for it) not matter where it was kept as long as it didn't block and fire routes.
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Old 03-28-13, 06:31 PM   #11
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Have a look at the Tern Verge X10/X20/X30. Pick one depending on the gearing you want. I almost just picked up an X10 myself, it's a seriously nice folder. I'll probably be getting one in the future.
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Old 03-28-13, 08:01 PM   #12
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Re racing on it: UCI rules will prevent that, unless it is the sort of race where anything goes.

Chameleon is a good choice. I have a Swift at 8.5kg without too much effort, and user rickybails also has one he races with. The Swift I consider to be indistinguishable from a roadie, aside from the quick steering.
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Old 03-28-13, 08:08 PM   #13
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Re racing on it: UCI rules will prevent that, unless it is the sort of race where anything goes.

Chameleon is a good choice. I have a Swift at 8.5kg without too much effort, and user rickybails also has one he races with. The Swift I consider to be indistinguishable from a roadie, aside from the quick steering.
I doubt I'll be doing anything UCI governed on it but out of curiosity why would they not allow it? I assume it's either the wheel size, the fact it folds or the fact the frame doesn't consist of two complete triangles. Curious as to which one (if any, or all) it is though.
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Old 03-29-13, 01:18 AM   #14
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UCI rules permit only a very narrow definition for racing bikes. These rules were introduced to eliminate bike related advantages. First they excluded recumbents, and later when Moulton bikes proved unbeatable in track racing, small wheels were also banned. So these days wheels size is fixed, frame geometry is fixed in very narrow bounds, handlebars must be drops, time trial equipment only allowed in actual time trials, etc.
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Old 03-29-13, 08:29 AM   #15
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Since I don`t race anything, ever, I haven`t looked into it much, but I have the impresion that very few weekenders in local race series concern themselves with UCI regs. I`d check with the local club to be sure, but probably not an issue.

Go for an Airnimal! Again, I have zero experience in the matter, but like looking at them for some reason
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Old 03-29-13, 09:18 AM   #16
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UCI rules permit only a very narrow definition for racing bikes. These rules were introduced to eliminate bike related advantages. First they excluded recumbents, and later when Moulton bikes proved unbeatable in track racing, small wheels were also banned. So these days wheels size is fixed, frame geometry is fixed in very narrow bounds, handlebars must be drops, time trial equipment only allowed in actual time trials, etc.
I had a quick look. Annoyingly enough the only area I can see where the airnimal doesn't meet the rules is that it is lacking a front triangle between headset, seatpost and bottom bracket. I can't find any folding bike that meets those criteria as well as having 24+" wheels and straightish tubes.

Kinda a bumber. I have however had a look at some of the other, more standard, bikes I could build up for the same amount of money. It's making the thought of lugging a bike upstairs seem more acceptable, although I would still love a folder.
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Old 03-29-13, 09:20 AM   #17
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Since I don`t race anything, ever, I haven`t looked into it much, but I have the impresion that very few weekenders in local race series concern themselves with UCI regs. I`d check with the local club to be sure, but probably not an issue.

Go for an Airnimal! Again, I have zero experience in the matter, but like looking at them for some reason
Yea, I can't imagine many of the local club ones do, but there's a couple of national series with individual open races run alongside them which I imagine might be a bit stricter. Also I think university racing follows the rules of the UCI, which unfortunately I would like to be able to take part in.
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Old 03-29-13, 11:48 AM   #18
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I have a pocket rocket and a carbon roadbike. My rocket is faster. I didn't even get the lightweight racing frame. I use the BF for everything now really from pulling my nephew in a carrier to touring sporty group rides to long distance events. I have a 200k and a 300k brevet on it over the next two weeks. You want performance? Consider a pocket rocket pro. They don't fold too well though. You sacrifice that.
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Old 03-29-13, 02:10 PM   #19
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Even though I'm a fan of folding bikes, I really don't think a folding bike is the way to go when yo uconsider all the things you're looking for in a bike.

Have you considered a Ritchey Break Away bike or a frame (it could be almost ANY frame!) with S&S couplers?

These types of bikes use "standard" road bike geometry and components. They do not have extra weight from hinges. These types of bikes simply can be disassembled and reassembled when you're ready to ride.

Ritchey Break Away



S&S Machine Works couplers






Detachable "Easy-Split" cables are used with these types of bikes..... check it out....

Last edited by darukhan; 03-29-13 at 02:18 PM.
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Old 03-29-13, 02:30 PM   #20
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[QUOTE=Dheorl;15443016]Any idea how the swift would handle with drop handlebars on it?

The Swift handles just fine with drop bars. Very similar to my Bianchi C2C bike.
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Old 03-29-13, 08:08 PM   #21
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Even though I'm a fan of folding bikes, I really don't think a folding bike is the way to go when yo uconsider all the things you're looking for in a bike.

Have you considered a Ritchey Break Away bike or a frame (it could be almost ANY frame!) with S&S couplers?...
S&S couplers are a nice option for people who are dead set on 'full sized' bikes with large wheels but I don't think it falls under the 1-2 minute 'folding' time Dheorl requires.

I have a 59cm framed fixie/SS (flip/flop rear hub) with S&S couplers and 700c wheels if any one is interested. I don't ride it anymore.
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Old 03-30-13, 01:06 AM   #22
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Any idea how the swift would handle with drop handlebars on it?
I have road drops on my Swift, several others on this forum do also. The only appreciable difference I've noticed between my 700c road bike and the Swift is quicker (some say "twitchy") steering due to the Swift's smaller wheels. Takes some getting used to but its nothing most can't handle.
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Old 03-30-13, 07:50 PM   #23
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If UCI compliance is really an issue, and your landlord likely won't have an issue with you keeping a bike in your apartment, what exactly is the reason why you can't use a full-size non-folding bike? It sounds like you're going to go through a lot of hassle and a lot of extra expense and compromise to try to get a folding bike that does what you want, when in fact a non-folding bike would probably do just fine. It's easy to throw a bike on your shoulder and walk up the stairs. And the $40 Nashbar Bike Transport Bag (basically a giant messenger bag) will easily fit any full-size standard framed bike as long as you take both wheels off, which you can certainly do in less than 2 minutes.

If you absolutely have to have a folder that might be UCI-compliant, how about a Montague Fit frameset? Full-size everything -- regular derailleurs, 700c wheels, and "sort of" a front triangle -- more of a rectangle, but all front "triangles" are really trapezoids, it might be UCI-compliant. Put whatever the hell you want on it for components, wheels, and fork.

For a nice discussion about the UCI rules and how they affect racing Bike Fridays, have a look at http://www.bikefriday.com/blog/?p=423
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Old 04-04-13, 08:50 AM   #24
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If UCI compliance is really an issue, and your landlord likely won't have an issue with you keeping a bike in your apartment, what exactly is the reason why you can't use a full-size non-folding bike? It sounds like you're going to go through a lot of hassle and a lot of extra expense and compromise to try to get a folding bike that does what you want, when in fact a non-folding bike would probably do just fine. It's easy to throw a bike on your shoulder and walk up the stairs. And the $40 Nashbar Bike Transport Bag (basically a giant messenger bag) will easily fit any full-size standard framed bike as long as you take both wheels off, which you can certainly do in less than 2 minutes.

If you absolutely have to have a folder that might be UCI-compliant, how about a Montague Fit frameset? Full-size everything -- regular derailleurs, 700c wheels, and "sort of" a front triangle -- more of a rectangle, but all front "triangles" are really trapezoids, it might be UCI-compliant. Put whatever the hell you want on it for components, wheels, and fork.

For a nice discussion about the UCI rules and how they affect racing Bike Fridays, have a look at http://www.bikefriday.com/blog/?p=423
Thanks for the links. I know carrying a bike upstairs doesn't sound like too much of a hassle, but I live in an old georgian style house (alot of stairs and very tight). The landlord might start to complain if he found tyre marks all up the walls. I have to admit though having looked at what "normal" bike I could get for the cost of a folding bike I am considering it. Stupidly enough I hadn't thought of the possibility of just taking the wheels off when I came in the door and chucking wheels/frame in seperate bags. I would worry a bit about the rear derailleur getting damaged though.

The montague had occured to me, but unfortunately UCI rules say that the front triangle must go for headtube to BB. I don't know how strict some of the race organisers will be but would rather play it on the safe side.
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Old 04-04-13, 09:19 AM   #25
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Removing the wheels once in a while is no big deal, but every day? Sounds like a PITA to me. Carrying a bike and two separate wheels up a flight or two of stairs sounds like a PITA, too.
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