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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 04-01-14, 10:30 AM   #1
Boppsie
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Haven't a clue as to what to choose

Advice re: folding bike

I am hoping to return to Biking after a many year hiatus. Need a new bike as my old Sundance was stolen(the wooden staircase slat to which I had Kryptonite-locked the bike was cut out of the staircase!). I will have to carry the bike up two flights of stairs. my daughter in law suggested a folding bike
I know nothing about them. I am within size and wt range but have no clue about brands, quality.
Are there any quality folding bikes which are light weight? I am looking at Carbon bikes as the lightest in weight but they are very expensive.
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Old 04-01-14, 11:27 AM   #2
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welcome to the fold
look around here and you will find a lot of advice ...
Carbon ..eh ? very expensive and maybe one or two are built ... carbon MIGHT not b the prefered material as it is prone to crack if you drop the bike ....

anyhow it would help if we know gender, weight height , and how much you want to ride and where ...

Thor
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Old 04-01-14, 11:29 AM   #3
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Advantage to Bike Friday is they make a few sizes [Length-reach/top-tube].
but cost a bit because the wages are paid to US workers, in Oregon to make them

the folding hinge requirements are adding weight .. no way around that ..

lighter weight Titanium and Carbon cost more , so a polar opposite from cheaper..

but nothing weighs less than a part not installed , so consider a single speed

fold in half type (Dahon Clones ) from China. for it's lower cost ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 04-01-14 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 04-03-14, 08:59 AM   #4
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You might find some helpful info in this thread- Lightest folding bike for a 5"2 120lb female?
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Old 04-03-14, 11:26 AM   #5
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welcome to the fold...
anyhow it would help if we know gender, weight height , and how much you want to ride and where ...

Thor
Welcome! Thor's right... we would need some more information about how, where, and even when you might want to use a folding bike. He would probably know about carbon folding bikes: I don't think there are many to choose from.

I have a Brompton. Depending on how you configure it, you can get down to the low 20 pound range. Dress it up, and you approach 30 pounds. Great bike, lots of established accessories, and most importantly, a superior fold - one of the best in the business. One thing that people often forget is the compactness of the fold and how it can be handled - I'll loosely term it "bulkiness". Just because a bike can fold does not make it incredibly more maneuverable. The Brompton folds down into a relatively small, self-contained "form factor".

But it's expensive - expect to pay anywhere from 25% to 75% more than other conventional folding bikes. It rides great for most situations, but probably not as well in some situations as some of the other folding bikes out there.

For example, if you plan on multimodal commuting a lot - hopping on an off trains, buses, doing a bit of market shopping a few times a week (the Brompton shopping cart mode!) or even traveling on vacation with the folding bike - it's tough to beat a Brompton. I have an air travel regulation sized hard case, and I've hauled my bike half way across the country, unpacked it and set it up within 10 minutes at the hotel, and then I'm off.

On the other hand, if you plan on doing long rides over pitted asphalt and crushed gravel roads and you only need to haul the bike up two flights of stairs once a day, I'd suggest looking seriously at other folding bikes that give you larger and more robust tire options, more gearing variations, and maybe even suspension. I freely admit there are times I wish the Brompton was just a tad larger so that it could take fatter, 20" tires.

So, it will come down to tradeoffs depending on your needs and wants.

Good luck!
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Old 04-03-14, 02:17 PM   #6
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add some padding under the saddle nose and the one you use may be easier to carry.
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Old 04-03-14, 03:21 PM   #7
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The Origami Crane is aluminum and comes in at 25 lbs with a 7- speed freewheel.

Note: I own Origami Bicycle Company
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Old 04-04-14, 01:52 PM   #8
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What do you want to ride on. Off road /road?
Birdie is a compact folding bike that has full suspension for off road, is light and fast on the road.
Loads of prieium bikes around depending on wheel size /usage.

There are carbon fibre folding bikes out there.

Not sure you have enough reason to want to pay extra for a folder.

However , you find ways of utilising a folder if you buy one.
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Old 04-04-14, 02:35 PM   #9
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as far as I can tell all you want is a bike that you can carry up the stairs and might not take up too much space in your apartment, right? have you considered a small wheeled non-folding bike? can't tell your price range but folding bikes are typically heavier than non-folding bikes, you might want to take a look at a bike like the mercier nano or the respect cycles mini velo

Save Up to 60% Off Mini Velo Road Bikes, Roadbikes - Mercier Nano Mini Velo Bicycles

https://respectcycles.com/

both are steel framed bikes but neither is very expensive or particularly heavy, not sure if this is what you are looking for just thought I would throw it out there as an option.
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Old 04-05-14, 08:03 AM   #10
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as far as I can tell all you want is a bike that you can carry up the stairs and might not take up too much space in your apartment, right? have you considered a small wheeled non-folding bike? can't tell your price range but folding bikes are typically heavier than non-folding bikes, you might want to take a look at a bike like the mercier nano or the respect cycles mini velo

Save Up to 60% Off Mini Velo Road Bikes, Roadbikes - Mercier Nano Mini Velo Bicycles

https://respectcycles.com/

both are steel framed bikes but neither is very expensive or particularly heavy, not sure if this is what you are looking for just thought I would throw it out there as an option.
+1

Also, if you're a petite sized female, you could always just get a BMX bike for those short jaunts on flat terrain!
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Old 04-05-14, 02:51 PM   #11
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Welcome to folding Bikes.

Here's a short little read to get you started;

Folding bicycle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It's the folding bike page on Wikipedia, a nice little introduction.
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Old 04-05-14, 07:08 PM   #12
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Female, 5'4'',125 lbs want to commute to work ( 13 miles via park route )recreational riding on bike routes, I want to learn to commute( street riding). My issue is needing to heft the bike up two flights stairs for safe storage. I cannot lift a heavy bike;that is how I lost my old Sundance. as I could not get it upstairs.
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Old 04-05-14, 07:12 PM   #13
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I can lift a 25-30 lb item if compact. Problem with standard bikes (non folding) is that the combination the weight and size- a bike is about as long as I am tall_ are too much for me to handle-
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Old 04-05-14, 07:18 PM   #14
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I have been shown Specialized hybrid bike- flat handle, aluminum and carbon models approx $1500 (last year's models)
Have looked at Jamis bikes- very reasonable cost- but their lightweight bikes are racers; I want to ride sitting straight, not hunched over twisted handlebars as people do when racing. Jamis' commuter and such bikes are very heavy (30+ lbs)

So, my daughter in law suggested checking out folding bike; I do not have to fold to store in my apartment (have a storage locker on my rear porch) but I have to get the bike upstairs.
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Old 04-05-14, 09:07 PM   #15
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Is that a 13 mile commute one way, or combined there and back?

If you're looking for the most compact fold to easily haul around, you should seriously consider a Brompton. If you don't bother with too many accessories, you can get it down to the 25 lb range - maybe even a little lower. Dress it up a bit for commuting and you're looking at about 28 to 30 lbs.

I've ridden up to 40 km (25 miles) on my Brompton easily. Others have gone further and faster. As a regular bike for exclusively commuting on, day in and day out, however, I'd suggest trying out folding bikes with larger wheels: 20 inches, maybe even 24 inches. Dahon and Tern have some you can consider. They bump up to the 30 lb range, but they might be just a bit more comfortable for a daily commute.

You're in Chicago so there are several folding bike stores that you can check out. I haven't been to them myself, but I've been to Chicago several times for business, and I've carted my Brompton along for some cycling. You've got some nice paths, particularly along the lake!

I think you really need to try out some folding bikes and see what you can tolerate in terms of bulk and weight.
And if the store has some stairs somewhere (up and down from a basement), fold it up and see how easy it is to pick it up and navigate up and down the stairs. You also have to try them out to see what the ride quality is like. If you don't live near a store that has folding bikes, well then you'll be depending on people like us for opinions, but nothing beats forming your own opinion if you have that option.

Hint: Don't try the bike just by itself. Slip a helmet on, wear a jacket or whatever you think you'll be commuting in adverse weather, and weigh down a shoulder/messenger bag with your typical commuting items (lunch? change of clothes?) and put that on too. Then go up and down the stairs with the folded bike and see what you can tolerate. Human nature being what it is, you'll only be wanting to go down those stairs in the morning and up them in afternoon only once each time, not multiple times to get your bag, etc.

Good luck!
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Old 04-06-14, 03:00 AM   #16
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Just to add to my tentative birdie recommendations, thd birdie is also easier to carry. I find it the easiest to carry out of my mezzo brommie downtube stable by quite something way due to the weight and the ease of getting hands tbrough the frame triangle. Its much easy to carry than my brompton or mezzo in shops etc even though its the biggest fold.

Light weight dahon can be easy to carry also. Ie curve sl or dove
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Old 04-06-14, 01:24 PM   #17
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Checkout the Giant Sedona W. Install a quick release seat so that you can hang the seat around your opposite shoulder while carrying the small and light aluminum bike, upstairs. www.giantbicycles.com

Don't get the Sedona with a suspended fork!

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Old 04-06-14, 02:03 PM   #18
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Hi, i am in the same situation on picking a folding bicycle (i am 5 feet 8 inches, 165 lb). I narrowed down my selection to either a Brompton S6L or a Birdy. I would like to know If a brompton with a Brooks B67 or Flyer saddle will give me a more comfortable long ride on pavement roads vs a stock basic Birdy. I know that with the Brooks saddle the Brompton will cost around $1800 which is the same as the Birdy. I would also like to know if there are any Brompton owners here that rode their bicycles all day long at the end of which wished they had a more comfortable bicycle.
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Old 04-06-14, 02:58 PM   #19
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Hi, i am in the same situation on picking a folding bicycle (i am 5 feet 8 inches, 165 lb). I narrowed down my selection to either a Brompton S6L or a Birdy. I would like to know If a brompton with a Brooks B67 or Flyer saddle will give me a more comfortable long ride on pavement roads vs a stock basic Birdy. I know that with the Brooks saddle the Brompton will cost around $1800 which is the same as the Birdy. I would also like to know if there are any Brompton owners here that rode their bicycles all day long at the end of which wished they had a more comfortable bicycle.
Great news, all Brompton dealers are required to have a demo model for test drives. You can try one out and see how it feels.
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Old 04-06-14, 02:59 PM   #20
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Take a serious look at the Origami Crane, very light weight. Pretty cheap price, if it come out of the box right. But with all bikes not bought at a LBS, you should get your bike checked at a LBS before riding. Downtube (another folding bike company) has a nice guide on their website, on what to check with every bike you buy that is shipped to you. I have had three folding bikes, the Crane is my favorite. It is also the lightest and fastest, but I am looking at ~$400 or less bikes, not ~$1000. On my Crane, I changed the brake levers and seat, and had it checked out, needed the headtube fixed, wheels trued, and I am happy.
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Old 04-06-14, 03:00 PM   #21
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I cant demo the Brompton for 8 hours, that's the reason why i wanted to get an opinion of someone who owns one.
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Old 04-06-14, 03:16 PM   #22
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I like Mine, a Brompton M3L with Ergon GR3 grips , with the new brake levers and the spider crank, its better this year .

At 5'9" S model's bars is kind of low for my tastes , but to each their own..

the B67 saddle is not a standard, part so you are on your own, there ,

the company would ship it with a B17 if you specify .

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Old 04-06-14, 06:24 PM   #23
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Hi, i am in the same situation on picking a folding bicycle (i am 5 feet 8 inches, 165 lb). I narrowed down my selection to either a Brompton S6L or a Birdy. I would like to know If a brompton with a Brooks B67 or Flyer saddle will give me a more comfortable long ride on pavement roads vs a stock basic Birdy. I know that with the Brooks saddle the Brompton will cost around $1800 which is the same as the Birdy. I would also like to know if there are any Brompton owners here that rode their bicycles all day long at the end of which wished they had a more comfortable bicycle.
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I cant demo the Brompton for 8 hours, that's the reason why i wanted to get an opinion of someone who owns one.
Well, I'm not sure what kind of ride you're planning on, but 8 hours on any bike is a long stretch, regardless of seat, suspension, or other considerations. If you're planning on touring or other extended riding, look at this web site:

Path less pedaled | Brompton Bicycle

There are many references to these intrepid cyclists who toured on their Bromptons. So, yes, you could spend 8 hours on a Brompton! I think the more important questions involve what you'll be riding, conditions you'll encounter, and other realities.

I've been on my Brompton for 3, maybe 4, hours. My Brooks B17 saddle is very comfortable. A larger bike would be more comfortable overall, but I'm not sure I'd want to do an extended tour on one. A day trip that involves lots of on-and-off or multimodal travel, in and out of interesting places to visit, on decent roads would definitely steer to my Brompton. But if it was just straight riding, or on rough roads, I'd take my larger Rivendell bike. So, my choice of bike depends on what I'm doing, rather than strict comfort.

Besides, unless you're racing, you should take breaks inbetween those 8 hours. I'm not a hardcore cyclist, so my bike - Brompton or not - wouldn't be the limiting factor. Fatigue, heat stroke, wimping out, or getting distracted by photography would likely prevent me from riding 8 hours straight.

Good luck!
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Old 04-06-14, 10:13 PM   #24
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Thanks for giving me some insight. I am planning on getting into cycling this spring and summer which is easier on my legs (i used to go jogging on the weekends). I am not planning on riding 8 hours straight but am planning on leaving my house early in the morning, spending a day of cycling and coming back in the evening. I will cycle in New York City which is pretty much straight roads with some bumps on the road but is pretty much pavement. I will probably end up folding the bicycle 4-5 times a day for transit / cafe's. Thanks for the link, i really enjoyed the videos. I guess i cant go wrong with a Brompton. Did you get a dynamo hub with yours?
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Old 04-06-14, 11:32 PM   #25
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No... didn't get a dynamo. I'm up in Canada, and at that time, I didn't have access to the same selection or variety of bikes you have in the US. Plus, I couldn't afford to put more money into the Brompton! I figured I'd just use a mounted light.

Are you in New York City? You should hit NYCE Wheels or some of the other folding bike stores. Rent a Brompton, ride around, and see how it feels.
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