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Old 04-27-08, 02:21 AM   #1
RayB
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Choices: Folder or S&S

Hello,

Well, it looks like my job responsibilities are being tweaked to involve some more trips around Asia this year which is ok as I am in Tokyo. But, I have a decision to make.

These trips will usually be about 3 days in length and border on the weekends. It gives me a great opportunity to do 3/4 days of touring around my business trips. As such, I am thinking either of something like an airnimal or bike friday folder for touring during these trips. Or, as I already love my 520 and have it setup how I like. Maybe I should stick some S&S couplers on it.

Anyone else out there tour on business trips? What do you do?

Thanks,
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Old 04-27-08, 05:14 AM   #2
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Hi
I will recommend you a Bike Friday ,I own BF NWT,and I use it to travell,and I really love it!!
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Old 04-27-08, 07:24 AM   #3
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One of the things you need to verify is the size of a folded 'folded' bicycle. Some do not fold up to fit in the airline max requirement (26x26x10") for no upcharge. If the packed bike exceeds the max requirement, most airlines in the US charge a $100 each way, and can refuse to put it on your flight (maybe a later flight) due to the large size. The BTC 'coupler' will allow the bike to meet these requirements. Unfortunately the cost of BTC 'coupler', labor, repaint, and case can be around 600 to 700 dollars. Check out this link for more information:

http://www.bicycle-touring-guide.com...-shipping.html

One nice thing about the folding bicycles is the ease and speed of folding them up. This is especially nice on quick trips on trains, buses, subways, and ferries. Also storing the folded bike at your location is very easy.

I have a BTC on my Surly LHT and I love it. However, it takes about 20 minutes to set the bike up after being disassembled. And packing can take about 20 minutes too. A lot slower than with a folded bike.

I would choose a BTC coupled bike if you can leave the bike assembled at your destination and can bring it on the trains and buses where you are at. Otherwise, the folded bike may be a better choice. I have used a few folded bikes and the more expensive ones ride real well, but not as nice as a high quality road or mountain bike. I think that folded brings are great in an urban environment and for shorted trips. However, many people go all out touring on the folded bikes and love them.
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Old 04-27-08, 08:05 AM   #4
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When I lived in Tokyo, I'd have my wife meet me with diving gear for flanking weekends on SE Asia trips, but I can't imagine what a pain it would be to drag around an entire bike! I am assuming that you will be not camping, because the additional gear would be nigh impossible to bring with you on a casual trip.

I'd suggest that you get someone to loan you a bike or see if you can rent one.

If you still think you might want to drag a bike with you - on the train to Tokyo station, then the addtional 40 minutes on the express to Narita, then on to whatever horrors that face you at the other end, I'd suggest that you buy a bike with couplers. That way you'll have standard (albeit large) luggage that will still fit in the trunk of a taxi and then have a real (not toy) bike to ride on. On a US cross country trip the two Bike Fridays in our group constantly had problems and their riders were invariably last to camp. Plus you'd look stupid...
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Old 04-27-08, 09:24 AM   #5
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Do you know if you can retrofit s&s couplers on your bike (520)? Not all bikes can be retrofitted. Steel (yes), and the tubing at the installation point has to minimal strength (thickness). Apologies, I don't know the specifics of what is considered 'minimal strength'. But, I know there are lots of threads about this in BF that you can search for.

Then, you have to have the strip the bike to the frame, get the bike repainted after the installation.
S&S coupler installation is about $600-$800 when I was thinking about it, a wild (uneducated) guess on the repaint is $500. If you can't do the de-/re-assembly yourself, that will add to the cost.
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Old 04-27-08, 03:26 PM   #6
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A 520 should be fine for S&S conversion. The problem with converting a frame with S&S couplers is with very thin walled tubes, aluminum and non-metallic tubes (although CF can have couplers done by the manufacturer) none of which is the case for the 520, or unususal tube cross-section profiles (i.e., not round, again, not an issue here.)

You need to factor the cost of a re-spray with the coupler installation.
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Old 04-27-08, 05:07 PM   #7
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What about one of these? The cross looks like a good candidate. http://www.ritcheylogic.com/web/Ritc...ay/20796.html#

Here's a video showing exactly how it works http://www.ritcheylogic.com/web/Ritc...ain/20789.html
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Old 04-27-08, 08:25 PM   #8
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If I was to have couplers installed on a current bike I would just have the bike powder coated afterwards. Much cheaper than painting and also better against chips.
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Old 04-27-08, 09:39 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Ciufalon View Post
What about one of these? The cross looks like a good candidate. http://www.ritcheylogic.com/web/Ritc...ay/20796.html#

Here's a video showing exactly how it works http://www.ritcheylogic.com/web/Ritc...ain/20789.html
It looks like that costs the same as the Surly Traveler's Check, which is a Cross Check with S&S couplers already installed. It's a cool idea, but $1200 is a lot of money for a CroMoly frame.
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Old 04-28-08, 04:50 AM   #10
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Wow, great responses so far guys. Thanks!

I like the Surly and Ritchey solutions, both would probably fit my needs. Problem being I want to keep my current bike count at 2. If I do grab a folder my hybrid will be up for sale and keep the 520.

@robert - great idea on the powder coat. If I go with the S&S I will certainly do that.

I understand the cost of the solutions, no problem there already budgeted for it. Just need to make up my mind which would be easiest or most logical. Mind you, being in Tokyo I would love to have a decent folder anyways... mmmmm

@cyclesafe - I get your point but borrowing would be tuff as well as renting as most times I have found around Asia all the bikes are much to small for me, at least nothing I would want to tour anything over 20 miles on. Lugging the stuff to Narita is not a big deal. I can just send it by the delivery service to the airport and grab it there, and I usually travel fairly light for my business stuff, luckily being in software means I can dress down.

Maybe I should go with a BF as I get a second bike for the cost of the couplers. But, I do prefer to tour on the 520. meh, back to square one..
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Old 05-16-08, 04:12 AM   #11
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I'm based in New Delhi and have taken my S&S coupled Sycip hardtail with me on business and pleasure trips around India. If you can spare an hour set up and an hour disassembly, S&S is the way to go. An hour is counting all steps: cleaning the bike, making sure you pack properly, cinching up the case, getting the grease off your hands etc. If you were pushing it to make a flight you could do it in far less time. After 12 flights, with bags handled quite roughly, the bike was perfectly okay, but the soft case supplied by S&S was not up to rough handling and developed a tear. I'd go for the hard case.
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Old 05-16-08, 08:04 AM   #12
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On a US cross country trip the two Bike Fridays in our group constantly had problems and their riders were invariably last to camp. Plus you'd look stupid...
I've had my Bike Friday NWT for 8 years and have toured on it a lot, with no significant problems at all. I've toured in some fairly remote places, including Laos, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Pyrenees mountain passes, in addition to various places in North America including lengthy unpaved trails in the US & Canada. A couple of my trips were with a friend who has had his Bike Friday even longer than me, and he hasn't had any significant problems, either. On my most recent trip in Laos, I actually encountered 4 other touring cyclists on Bike Fridays. A friend I toured with in Mexico was so impressed with how much easier and cheaper it was for me to fly with my bike than his bike, that he bought his own BF when he got home. I commute to work on it daily, mostly on an unpaved trail. As for the "stupid" comment, I get a lot of favorable comments and questions about the bike from strangers. People loved it in Sri Lanka, a place where I saw more locals on bikes than anywhere I've been other than the Netherlands. And why should anyone really care about what other people think about your bike, anyway?
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Old 05-16-08, 09:09 AM   #13
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The way I'd look at it is the more times you'll need to pack and travel with your bike the more I'd be inclined to use a folder. If I had a few long tours with air travel at each end I'd tend to favour the S&S idea.

Another thing to look at is if you already have a good touring bike adding a folder to your fleet gives you a whole bunch more versatility even when you are at home. It is easy to throw a folder into a car for work or family trip and get some riding in at your destination with minimal hassle.
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Old 05-16-08, 11:36 AM   #14
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if you are going to tour with a rack and panniers, you'd have a lot of luggage with a coupled bike. the folding bike might be easier to travel with in addition to racks and panniers.
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