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Is folding bike a good choice for commuting ?

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Is folding bike a good choice for commuting ?

Old 02-04-18, 06:33 PM
  #1  
MJBikes99
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Is folding bike a good choice for commuting ?

Does anyone commuting with a folding bike? what brand are you riding ?
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Old 02-04-18, 07:53 PM
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Depends on your commute and what your bike storage options are at either end. I'd never choose a folder unless I was restricted in ways that didn't allow a standard bike.
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Old 02-04-18, 09:10 PM
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I tried a folding bike with an interest in using it for commuting, but I just don't like how the overly small tires handle. They squirm, the ride isn't great, and they're noteably slower.

Obviously there might be a situation where it wouldn't matter, like if I was just riding a half mile to take a bus downtown or a short trip like that.

I can't see myself using any of the tiny tired versions though. 24" would be the smallest I'd be willing to do. They make some 26" models. Montague makes some 29ers, though their quality level on the one Montague someone I knew was a bit awful (the crank arm broke - the solid metal crank arm that should be nearly impossible to break, a few other things slowly fell apart and broke on the bike as well).
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Old 02-04-18, 09:38 PM
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Yes. 2013 Brompton S6L-X. Compact size makes it easy to park,
integrated fenders help a lot in the rain/snow.
Bike To Work by 1nterceptor, on Flickr
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Old 02-05-18, 12:34 PM
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I've taken a Dahon Speed D7 to the office a couple of times. Slower and less comfortable than my Stromer, but doable in a pinch. What's your reason for wanting a folder for the commute?
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Old 02-05-18, 12:43 PM
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Unlike #3 poster, I'm fine with the 16" wheels on my Brompton.. thing that makes a big difference is

their front bag with some stuff in it, the weight steadies the steering..

I have front pannier racks on my 20" wheel Bike Friday , too..


...






'
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Old 02-05-18, 03:01 PM
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I did use my folding bike (BF Pocket Rocket) for my commute for quite a few years even though there was never a reason to fold it. Just happened to be the bike with the most convenient bag for my commute things. Although not my fastest bike the difference was very small. It was also used on a number of century rides and some pretty fast club rides where the folding feature was irrelevant.
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Old 02-06-18, 07:14 AM
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You really can't bundle all "folding bikes" into one category and judge them as a group. Some of them are excellent bikes, some of them are junk. It seems to be true that designers have trouble making a bike with small wheels that handles as well as one with bigger wheels, but it certainly can be done.

As a general rule, there's an emphasis either on how well the thing folds, or how well it rides. I commute on a folding bike during the summer, when I have to take it on Long Island Railroad trains twice each work day, and for me the emphasis is on being able to fold the bike up quickly, into a package as small as possible. The bike is a bit undergeared (maximum speed somewhere around 25 mph with the pedals spinning as fast as I can) but that really doesn't matter.

I ride a Downtube 8H. Highly recommended.
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Old 02-06-18, 08:04 AM
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I borrowed a Brompton for two days during a promo event last summer to see for myself. Put about 60 miles on it, and found it to be ok on the flats and downhill, but really slow uphill. Never quite mastered the 6 speed shifting pattern, and the gear range felt inadequate. This is one bike I am quite happy to never ride again. For around town riding or multimodal with a couple miles riding, suppose it could work.
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Old 02-06-18, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
I borrowed a Brompton for two days during a promo event last summer to see for myself. Put about 60 miles on it, and found it to be ok on the flats and downhill, but really slow uphill. Never quite mastered the 6 speed shifting pattern, and the gear range felt inadequate. This is one bike I am quite happy to never ride again. For around town riding or multimodal with a couple miles riding, suppose it could work.
That is also more or less my experience with Bromptons. Some people love them, but they seem overrated to me. I consider this to be a bike designed to fold nicely, which indeed it does, at the expense of riding well.
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Old 02-06-18, 01:44 PM
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Love my mu uno for commuting in nicer weather, largely due to the convenience of not seeking out the bike rack. Wouldn’t work as an all weather bike due to the obvious wet mess.
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Old 02-07-18, 05:19 AM
  #12  
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About once a week I commute on my Brompton from work to home, about 18km (I take a bus on the way to work at the same day)

Yes, the Brompton doesn't ride like a full size bike. And yes, the gears leave much room for improvement (although they did upgrade the horrible shifters on '17 models)

But:

1. It waits for me under my desk. I don't need to lock it outside, or store it in a remote room where I fear it might get stolen. I also don't have to ride it both directions, because it's so easy to haul back to the office (in advance for the next ride).

2. Occasionally I take it for half a day of arrangements and meetings in the big city. I never lock it outside! I just fold it, and go everywhere with it. It is so small when folded, nobody has ever mentioned anything.

After such a day I either ride back home (~20km) or take the train, where I don't need to bother with the "bike" marked coach.

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Old 02-07-18, 05:49 AM
  #13  
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Buy the bike that suits your needs. Keep in mind that every commute is different.
  • Short commute (1 to 2 mile)?
  • Long commute (10+ miles)?
  • Multi-modal commute (bike, bus, subway, tram, etc)?
  • Somewhere in between the above?
Bike storage situations may be different. Covered, Uncovered, Safe, Crime waiting to happen, etc.

And home situations are different. Big garage, small apartment, highrise, etc.

I've got a Bike Friday Pocket Rocket. Not the most compact of bikes, except when packed for long distance travel, but not bad either. Other BF models are quicker folding and more compact. I don't get out on it a lot as I prefer my regular road bikes, but I wouldn't hesitate to use it for 10+ mile commutes. On the other hand, a generic aluminum folder would need a bunch of updates to make it comfortable for anything more than a few blocks.

Like I said, my folder stays home most of the time since I have better bikes, but I'd choose whatever works for a person.
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Old 02-07-18, 09:21 AM
  #14  
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How long is your commute?
I have a Dahon P8 (love it) and occasionally commute with it from home (11 miles each way), but as I have better bikes for that purpose, I usually don't use it for that. What I have it for is mostly if I have something going on after work with the better half, I'll leave my car parked in my work garage and ride to the event, and then fold it up and put it in her car (Honda Fit) to go home. I'll then ride to work the next day.
I also used to use it when the wife worked close enough to mine I could drive with her and ride to my office, but she has since changed jobs and there isn't a good way of doing that that is less miles than just riding from home.
I'll also put it in the car if we are taking a road trip somewhere using her car

It handles well, I have only had 1 problem, and that was the original shifter was made in a way that the end of the shift cable would dig into the handlebar and gave me shifting problems.

If you do get one with a derailleur, I recommend going 8 speed or more so you have a freehub instead of 7 speed freewheel.
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Old 02-07-18, 09:56 AM
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depends on the distance and elevations
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Old 02-07-18, 11:25 AM
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I took care of the Brompton gear range problem with a 2 speed mountain drive crank, from CH.. brings it down to 17".

Initially bought a hand made bolt on adapter to put a Front Derailleur on.. [ will sell for a 'Benjamin']

like the double planetary double shift better.. 3 gears in low range , then the same 3 again in direct drive range ..
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Old 02-10-18, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by MJBikes99 View Post
Does anyone commuting with a folding bike? what brand are you riding ?
I have a DownTube Nova.

If there's a chance you'll need to hop on a train, bus or hitch for a ride to get to your destination, then, the answer is yes.
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Old 02-11-18, 01:27 AM
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Crappy folding bikes are a lot like crappy full size bikes: they are crappy to ride.

Get a good folding bike, and you'll enjoy your commute a lot. I did 14,000 commuting miles on a Dahon Mariner D7 and thoroughly enjoyed it. Now I've got a Dahon Mu N360 and am enjoying the ride even more. Set one up the same thoughtfulness and care you would a full size bike and it'll be comfortable and quick. Yes, a full-size is, in my experience, very slightly quicker, but commuting is not a race - I have no need to come into the office sweating like a pig because I just completed a personal-best. The speed difference, BTW, comes from the upright position and the wind resistance that results more than any fundamental issue with gearing or smaller wheels.

And the maximum slight speed reduction is more than offset by the ease with which the bike can be tossed into the trunk of any car, taxi, or Uber, any shopping cart, or in your office or under your desk.

Come to the Folding forum and get some good advice about commuting on a folder.
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Old 02-11-18, 12:51 PM
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Whatever you do, don't make the mistake I did, which is get a folding bike that you think is a compromise between a standard bike and a folding one.

I got a Dahon Espresso about 10 years ago, and while I still loved it, it was kind of the worst of both worlds. It had 26 inch wheels and only folded in half, so it had basically none of the storage conveniences of a folding bike, and I probably would have been a little more comfortable on a standard 26 inch or 700c bike.
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Old 02-12-18, 08:18 PM
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I rode my 20" Bike Friday 15 miles round trip for a while. Now I've got a 16" Bike Friday pakiT and I prefer it. It's under 20lbs, kitted out with velocity A23 rims and race hubs, Shimano 105 calipers, Sugino cranks, etc. I was expecting issues with the even smaller wheels but adapted very quickly and now I don't even notice them - it rides like a full sized bike (built to my specs). And I don't even carry a lock =). I typically put in 20 miles a day on it and I fold it and take it in everywhere. Easily fits under my desk.
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Old 02-13-18, 05:41 PM
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I think it mostly depends on how much you have to carry.
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Old 02-13-18, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
That is also more or less my experience with Bromptons. Some people love them, but they seem overrated to me. I consider this to be a bike designed to fold nicely, which indeed it does, at the expense of riding well.
I ride a Brompton 16 miles rt to work. Once you get used to it, the ride isn't too bad. Also no one complains when I wheel it around the store when grocery shopping. It's smaller than a standard Safeway grocery cart. I do have a full sized single speed and do notice the difference in speed then but I don't race so it doesn't bother me.
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Old 02-13-18, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by aadhils View Post
I ride a Brompton 16 miles rt to work. Once you get used to it, the ride isn't too bad. Also no one complains when I wheel it around the store when grocery shopping. It's smaller than a standard Safeway grocery cart. I do have a full sized single speed and do notice the difference in speed then but I don't race so it doesn't bother me.
Sure, I totally believe you!

But seriously, I aim a little higher than "not too bad," don't you? My previous Down tube 8H (with the Sturmey Archer 8 hub) was really excellent; my current one (Shimano) is "not too bad," and I really feel the difference.
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Old 02-14-18, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
Sure, I totally believe you!

But seriously, I aim a little higher than "not too bad," don't you? My previous Down tube 8H (with the Sturmey Archer 8 hub) was really excellent; my current one (Shimano) is "not too bad," and I really feel the difference.
Well once you start riding the Brompton exclusively for a few months then the ride progresses from "not too bad" to "pretty good".

My main reason for keeping the Brompton is that I can easily ride up to a store and buy something for the missus on the way home. I have the shopping basket accessory for that too and its pretty darn convenient. I dare say even more convenient that driving there. Im lucky to have all the major stores that I need intersecting the bike path I use so the detours aint too bad.
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Old 02-15-18, 02:56 AM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
I tried a folding bike with an interest in using it for commuting, but I just don't like how the overly small tires handle. They squirm, the ride isn't great, and they're noteably slower.

Obviously there might be a situation where it wouldn't matter, like if I was just riding a half mile to take a bus downtown or a short trip like that.

I can't see myself using any of the tiny tired versions though. 24" would be the smallest I'd be willing to do. They make some 26" models. Montague makes some 29ers, though their quality level on the one Montague someone I knew was a bit awful (the crank arm broke - the solid metal crank arm that should be nearly impossible to break, a few other things slowly fell apart and broke on the bike as well).
If you're only going half a mille though... why not walk for the hassle it will save You? Getting kitted up, locking the bike, carrying around a helmet all day...

I never saw the point of folders, but maybe I'm missing something.
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