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  1. #1
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    Folding Bikes and the Great Divide

    Does anyone know of a tourer or racer who's used a folding bike to do the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route or Tour Divide?

    Total distance from Banff, Alberta in Canada to Antelope Wells on the Mexican border = 2700+ miles over gravel, dirt, mud, snow and pavement...not to mention the numerous continental divide crossings.

    http://adventurecycling.org/routes-a...divide-canada/
    http://adventurecycling.org/routes-a...in-bike-route/
    http://tourdivide.org/
    http://www.ridethedividemovie.com/ (great documentary -- check your local library for it)

    There's a reference made here of a Bike Friday owner doing it some years ago: http://www.cyclechat.net/threads/gre...n-a-lht.82348/ and another mention of a Dahon owner thinking about it for this year: http://dahon.com/single-view-dahon/a...directors.html (see User Comments at bottom of page) + http://www.bikepacking.net/forum/ind....html#msg41235 (see tezza's comments on page 11 of that thread).

    Any known folder riders with a full GDMBR under their wheels? It's been done on a recumbent trike (well, a good part of it http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?doc_id=998) and also on unicycles (yup! http://vimeo.com/17852073 ) but I haven't seen much from the folding bike crowd. Eat, sleep and ride the Divide!
    Last edited by AvenirFolder; 01-02-14 at 02:59 PM.

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    My Pocket Llama will take 2" wide tires , so gravel roads are no problem.

    You might go to CGOAB for more tour journal posts.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    My Pocket Llama will take 2" wide tires , so gravel roads are no problem.

    You might go to CGOAB for more tour journal posts.
    Thanks! CGOAB is where I plucked that account of the recumbent Great Divide tourer. And she was all by her lonesome on 20" tires over some nasty trails and roads.

    I assume 20 X 1.75" Schwalbe Marathons would do the trick as well. Those are pretty tough tires. I'd be inclined to pack an extra one along since they aren't easy to find in LBSs.

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    Just came across this Facebook page by Alyson Peel: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bike-...843368?fref=nf

    She left home from Bisbee AZ on a Bike Friday equipped with Big Apples and is making her way north up the Great Divide Folding Bike Route (to Banff, Alberta presumably).

    Along the way, she ditched her rear panniers, shed 20lbs of stuff and went with a slimmer rear bikepacking rig.

    GDMBR Bike Friday folding bike 2015 rider and rig.jpg

    GDMBR Bike Friday folding bike 2015 original heavy rig.jpg

  5. #5
    tcs
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    Not folder but demountable: A fellow on a Moulton APB did it some years back.
    "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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    To me if it is alot of rough terrain I would not use my 20" wheeled bike at all and go for my fully rigid 26" with fat tires. This way you'll have an easier time if the terrain gets rough with the bigger wheels you reduce the angle of attack when going over things. If it was just a day ride I wouldn't mind the 20" wheels but you are talking about 2700+ MILES of rough terrain over multiple WEEKS. I would want to save my hands and body in the long run, for those that say there's not much difference I would seriously beg to differ because I have 20" and a 26" bike with 2" fat tires on both and hitting gravel trails I was gliding ALOT easier and faster on my 20 year old fully rigid mtn bike vs my 3 year old folder!

    BUT if you ONLY have a 20" tire and still want to do it, it'll be doable just not as efficient. And make sure you put on the fattest tire you can get on there for comfort, if you get too thin and there's alot of loose gravel you'll end up cutting into the gravel which will suck alot of energy.

  7. #7
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    Agreed. I'd use my 30-year old ATB 26er with 2.25" tires long before I'd think about using a 20 inch folder with Big Apples. Especially with hub clearance and bottom bracket clearance from water/mud in mind. If you run into trouble in the wheel department, you likely aren't going to find rims or tires enroute.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by AvenirFolder View Post
    Agreed. I'd use my 30-year old ATB 26er with 2.25" tires long before I'd think about using a 20 inch folder with Big Apples. Especially with hub clearance and bottom bracket clearance from water/mud in mind. If you run into trouble in the wheel department, you likely aren't going to find rims or tires enroute.
    I saw that trailer you posted of the ride the divide movie at the top and this looks ROUGH! people where pushed to the breaking point and their feet are bleeding! And that is with a full sized mtn bike with fat tires pushing through SNOW and then riding through rough open savanna like fields. Wow to me this is something I would want to have as much advantage as I can get instead of trying something that may be the cause of you not being able to finish. Until you mentioned it I didn't even think about parts along the way in small towns if something did break that was non standard!

    Probably the main reason why you aren't going to hear anyone doing this on a folder except for that one lady on the llama. Most are like putting everything they have on the line to get through it and won't think about adding things that would hinder their ride.

  9. #9
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    When I built my last folder, I designed it to accommodate 20X2.4" tires (with fender). There is a BIG difference between 20X2.0 and the wider 2.4 in how it handles and feels in the rough stuff. I don't think there are any folders commercially available today with 20" tires that will take anything wider than the 2.0. Hopefully that will change. Maybe bikefriday will try it? It can turn a folder into an all-road bike.

    I lower the pressure to 20 or 25lbs and it helps a lot on rocky roads and trails. I presently use the Demolition momentum tire, because it is light and supple. The Machete is another option. I use a Sun Bigballer rim that is 33mm wide. The extra width allows it to hold more air and run it at lower pressures without feeling squirrelly. I had a great time riding it on the Oregon outback route, and someday I hope to take it along the tour divide.

    The 2.4 width will work with the standard 68mm bottom bracket shell. Anything wider than that needs to have a wider BB, otherwise the chain will rub on the tire when in the lowest gear. More info on the project here.



    portable3.jpg
    At trout creek along the Oregon outback route. The advantages to this bike (besides portability) are a very low stand-over height, much stronger wheels, and lots more space to carry stuff over the front and rear wheels.

    portable1.jpg
    Folded up. 28x21x11. That adds up to 60"; less than the 62" max allowed by Greyhound bus and all the airlines. Handlebar bag is on the right. The handlebar bag as pictured is double walled/involuted. When unfurled, it opens up so that the folded bike fits inside. Bagged up, it is ready for the train, bus, or plane. The only drawback to using this bike on the tour divide is that it is just too easy to bail out onto some form of motorized transport...
    Last edited by sleepycactus; 07-14-15 at 06:00 PM. Reason: fix pictures

  10. #10
    jur
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    Quote Originally Posted by sleepycactus View Post
    When I built my last folder, I designed it to accommodate 20X2.4" tires (with fender). There is a BIG difference between 20X2.0 and the wider 2.4 in how it handles and feels in the rough stuff. I don't think there are any folders commercially available today with 20" tires that will take anything wider than the 2.0. Hopefully that will change. Maybe bikefriday will try it? It can turn a folder into an all-road bike.

    I lower the pressure to 20 or 25lbs and it helps a lot on rocky roads and trails. I presently use the Demolition momentum tire, because it is light and supple. The Machete is another option. I use a Sun Bigballer rim that is 33mm wide. The extra width allows it to hold more air and run it at lower pressures without feeling squirrelly. I had a great time riding it on the Oregon outback route, and someday I hope to take it along the tour divide.

    The 2.4 width will work with the standard 68mm bottom bracket shell. Anything wider than that needs to have a wider BB, otherwise the chain will rub on the tire when in the lowest gear. More info on the project here.



    Attachment 464423
    At trout creek along the Oregon outback route. The advantages to this bike (besides portability) are a very low stand-over height, much stronger wheels, and lots more space to carry stuff over the front and rear wheels.

    Attachment 464424
    Folded up. 28x21x11. That adds up to 60"; less than the 62" max allowed by Greyhound bus and all the airlines. Handlebar bag is on the right. The handlebar bag as pictured is double walled/involuted. When unfurled, it opens up so that the folded bike fits inside. Bagged up, it is ready for the train, bus, or plane. The only drawback to using this bike on the tour divide is that it is just too easy to bail out onto some form of motorized transport...
    Wow I am impressed.

    I think the 406mm Ti Swift frame will also take those extra-fat tyres.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by sleepycactus View Post
    When I built my last folder, I designed it to accommodate 20X2.4" tires (with fender). There is a BIG difference between 20X2.0 and the wider 2.4 in how it handles and feels in the rough stuff. I don't think there are any folders commercially available today with 20" tires that will take anything wider than the 2.0. Hopefully that will change. Maybe bikefriday will try it? It can turn a folder into an all-road bike.

    I lower the pressure to 20 or 25lbs and it helps a lot on rocky roads and trails. I presently use the Demolition momentum tire, because it is light and supple. The Machete is another option. I use a Sun Bigballer rim that is 33mm wide. The extra width allows it to hold more air and run it at lower pressures without feeling squirrelly. I had a great time riding it on the Oregon outback route, and someday I hope to take it along the tour divide.

    The 2.4 width will work with the standard 68mm bottom bracket shell. Anything wider than that needs to have a wider BB, otherwise the chain will rub on the tire when in the lowest gear. More info on the project here.
    A very inspiring post. Loved the project details in your link. I retire in a few weeks and was already thinking of trying the Oregon Outback ride next year either on my Ti Swift or with a mountain bike of some sort. How are the Demolition Momentum or Machete tires for flats? I have 406 Sun Rhyno Lite rims on my Ti Swift that are probably 27.5mm wide. Any guess if they would be OK for the larger diameter 406x55 or larger tires? Pretty bomb-proof wheels with 36-hole rims on Shimano XT hubs. Have not tried any low pressure tire rides yet. Maybe in the next few weeks on the forestry roads near my house. I will see if I can get a couple of the larger Demolition tires or maybe a Schwalbe Big Apple Plus.

    I take it that your experience with 2" and smaller tires (406x50) was that they were not up to the challenges of cinder and loose dirt riding. About 15 years ago I tried to ride various sections of the Kettle Valley RR in British Columbia (before the big fires) with a BikeE recumbent tandem with Maxis Hookworm 20x2" tires. Most of the sections were ride-able, but I remember one section of loose pea-sized gravel that we just gave up on when my wife and I could not make any progress on the up-hill segements.

    My Ti Swift currently has 1.75 and 2.0" Schwalbe Marathons/Marathon Plus tires. I haven't tried it on seriously loose dirt or gravel yet. Works OK on harder dirt/gravel.
    Last edited by Pine Cone; 07-15-15 at 10:42 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pine Cone View Post
    My Ti Swift currently has 1.75 and 2.0" Schwalbe Marathons/Marathon Plus tires. I haven't tried it on seriously loose dirt or gravel yet. Works OK on harder dirt/gravel.
    The main problem is when you start hitting the loose gravel and dirt where your tires are not fat enough it will start cutting into it like a knife. to find anything fatter with a major brand is tough cause there isn't a big market for them. looking at the schwalbe site they have this:

    Jumpin' Jack, 57-406, Black, Wire | Schwalbe North America
    for a iso 406 tire size.

    And i'm a pretty damn impressed with sleepycactus's creation though! but I don't think most of us here would have the crazy brazing and designing skills that he possesses!

  13. #13
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    I have used 20x2.4 tires on the Sun CR 18 rim (22.5 mm wide) and that works fine. The machete and momentum tires are not thorn resistant. The momentum is supposed to be the lightest wire bead BMX tire there is. I would like to see a lighter folding tire in 2.4, but the momentum is quite nice. I like the minimal tread vs a knobby, because of the big variety of surfaces out there on rides like the Oregon outback.

    I knew there would be a difference between 2.0 and 2.4 in how the bike rides, but I did not expect it to be so big of a difference. The 2.4 is plush; I let it go faster downhills, and cornering feels very secure; theres more grip. Where I may struggle with the 2.0, the 2.4 rolls much more easily. I can roll with less pressure in the fatter tire without issues, like pinch flats.

    It's not a magic carpet ride on all surfaces of course, but it leaves the 2.0 in the dust for divide-style riding. That said, you CAN use 2.0 for the divide or Oregon outback. It's just slower and more work where the riding gets rougher.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by sleepycactus View Post
    When I built my last folder, I designed it to accommodate 20X2.4" tires (with fender). There is a BIG difference between 20X2.0 and the wider 2.4 in how it handles and feels in the rough stuff. I don't think there are any folders commercially available today with 20" tires that will take anything wider than the 2.0. Hopefully that will change. .
    It is changing... Verge S27h | Tern Folding Bike and Folding Bicycle Accessories | Worldwide with 20X2.15" Big Apples: Tern Verge S27h folding touring bicycle ? A gravel-road-touring review - 14degrees Off The Beaten Track . Looks like a rig that could handle the Great Divide.

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