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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 12-16-16, 02:01 PM   #26
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the spoke spacing of holes in the rim , thus strength in resisting many forces .

of the 32 spoke 406 wheel
Is close to that of the 48 spoke wheel on my 700c Rim ( my HD Touring Bike Rear wheel)

Plus the smaller rim diameter contributes to its strength ..

If I were you I'd search for a Custom Wheel Builder ..
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Old 12-16-16, 11:23 PM   #27
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I find it sad to see posts like like the one below. I mean, really? Unlike a few years back, one can now find decent bikes, folders or otherwise in the $300, $400 range.

I'm going to stop here because I do not want to step on any toes.

I say buy what you can realistically afford and enjoy the ride.

Peace out.
EW

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I know probably 90% of the folders sold are under $400 (in the US anyway). It is a sad. I believe this is part of the reason folders are such a small part of the biking community.

People that own $1200 to $3000 mountain or road bikes look at buying $350 folders? Really

If you are buying the bike to sit in your garage---go for it, buy the cheap bike.

If you are buying a bike to use on a regular basis buy a good bike. You are likely to have it for many years and the extra you pay up front will pay you back every time you climb on.

You want wide range gearing and good components.

1. Wide ratio gearing is important. If you are buying a derailleur bike get at least 8 speeds. The 7 speed setups do not have wide enough gearing. Also the 8,9,10,11 speed wheel is significantly stronger because it will have a Freehub instead of a Freewheel---This is important.

2. Aluminum frame bikes are normally about 2 pounds lighter than steel or cromoly. Weight is important.

3. High quality wheels, and tires make a big difference.

Friends don't let friends buy cheap folding bikes.
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Old 12-17-16, 05:16 AM   #28
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I find it sad to see posts like like the one below. I mean, really? Unlike a few years back, one can now find decent bikes, folders or otherwise in the $300, $400 range.

I'm going to stop here because I do not want to step on any toes.

I say buy what you can realistically afford and enjoy the ride.

Peace out.
EW
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Old 12-17-16, 05:42 AM   #29
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Old 12-18-16, 04:23 AM   #30
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I have to disagree with the original poster.....Cheap folders can be great..I have a Bike Friday NWT , Phillips (Dahon) 8 speed chromoly folder and a Brompton S6L...all great bikes ..But I keep an old Ridgeback Rendezvous in Thailand for when I come for the winter..This is an old steel 6 speed folding bike made inder licence from Dahon in Macau..I bought it for $25 USD off ebay..20 GBP..This bike was about 250 new approx 350 USD.. have added a good saddle,alloy brake levers and a good quality chain..It is a fabulous folding bike..more comfortable than a Brompton because of the fatter tyres..The roads around the village in Thailand where we stay are all potholes,sand and gravel and the bike copes with everything ..Last week I rode it 300 kilometres down the coast loaded with 2 panniers and a rucksack..
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Old 12-18-16, 09:19 AM   #31
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Why does one bike cost more than another? Perhaps it is an icon which is overpriced as some seem to think Bromptons and Moultons are. Perhaps it's because the components are lighter and more durable and work better together. Maybe it is supported by better guarantees and parts availability or because that particular frame design has not yet been copied. I think, however, that if a less expensive bike is well maintained and parts are replaced with better as they wear out, less isn't all that bad. It also allows you to learn about bikes and how to maintain them. I rode thousands of miles on a '75 Witcomb Superlight that had a fussy derailleur and required lots of attention to BB, headset and wheel bearings. I loved that bike but it was a lot more trouble to keep up than a far cheaper bike today with cartridge bearings. Those parts were available then but insanely expensive. Things seem to be getting better now at lower prices and that is a good thing.
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Old 12-18-16, 10:32 AM   #32
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Doesn't seem to me to matter that much if it is a cheap folder, as long as the frame is decent. Because it seems like everyone gets the upgrade bug and that cheap folder ends up being at least middle grade or better. Don't think I have ever had a bike where I did not change out the components over time. And I suppose I could have bought a very high end bike with perfect components from the beginning, but where is the fun in that???? Upgrade-itis is an itch you have to scratch; I would have just ended up making swaps that were minimal improvements instead of big ones. Looking at the threads here on BF, folder folks LOVE messing with their bikes. Not as much fun if the bike starts out perfect ;-).
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Old 12-18-16, 05:54 PM   #33
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Besides the lust to make it stronger/lighter/more beautiful etc it often happens you find new purposes and needs as you go along...your commute changes, you need to carry more or less stuff, you now want to try extended rides or touring or keep up with faster bikes, the list is endless. Or you just want to try a change for its own sake. Anyway tinkering is an absorbing pasttime as anyone reading this forum will see.
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Old 12-19-16, 07:52 AM   #34
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My history---I spent 30+ years owning a shop and fixing bicycles. We were a family shop and worked on everything from Wallyworld bikes to lots of full suspension mtn bikes.

I do not like to have to upgrade my bike. If the bike has great components to begin with, you are not rebuying stuff which is way more expensive. Normally the parts you take off your inexpensive bike are not saleable.

The difference between a $300 bike and a $800 is HUGE. Especially if both of them are good values.

I don't understand people who have 30k+ into their boats (for 3 weekends use per year) or spend 5k+ on downhill skiing in a year or spend $500 on a couple of Football tickets not understanding that there is so much difference as you go up in price on a bicycle.

In this forum in the mountain bike section most people will say you need to spend at least $2500 to get started with a full suspension bike. Tri Bikes---2k plus Road bikes 2k plus.

The other issue that always comes up when you are upgrading--will it fit? Hub widths and frame clearance.

My point is I think a lot of people who buy the basic 7 speed $300 folding bike and ride it think it is kinda fun. Put them on an $800 folder and they are going to say WOW this is more fun than my $1500 road bike. Quality makes a huge difference.

I know some of you will disagree, no problem. I really like this part of this forum. I have learned a lot about folders.
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Old 12-19-16, 08:11 AM   #35
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Speaking of tinkering with bikes... I have had employees that loved working on their own bikes. I have had a couple that spent more time and money building their bikes than they did riding.

Other people would much rather spend their time riding. I would much rather ride than tinker.. We are all different.
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Old 12-19-16, 10:42 AM   #36
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Speaking of tinkering with bikes... I have had employees that loved working on their own bikes. I have had a couple that spent more time and money building their bikes than they did riding.

Other people would much rather spend their time riding. I would much rather ride than tinker.. We are all different.
That's what days with really bad weather are for....give you time to tinker
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Old 12-19-16, 01:09 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by edwong3 View Post
I find it sad to see posts like like the one below. I mean, really? Unlike a few years back, one can now find decent bikes, folders or otherwise in the $300, $400 range.

I'm going to stop here because I do not want to step on any toes.

I say buy what you can realistically afford and enjoy the ride.

Peace out.
EW
I didn't read anything wildly negative in Rick's post since he has an important caveat. If one is going to spend a glob of bucks on a regular bike, then one probably cares more than the average person.

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People that own $1200 to $3000 mountain or road bikes look at buying $350 folders?
I do think that the premise overlooks utility bikes. There are a lot of easily replaceable "good enough" bikes that one would prefer to use in a lot of situations.
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Old 12-19-16, 01:31 PM   #38
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I don't know why anyone who knows enough to buy a $2500 mtn or road bike, would not consider a $800+ folding bike. Knowledge would not be a issue -- they should be well-versed on the quality/price payoff where bikes are concerned.

But if they decide to get a Dahon Boardwalk 1sp for $300, or a sub-$300 Downtube, or any of a number of other cheaper folding bikes, I'm going to assume that they made an informed choice about the matter.

It could be that it was just for one specific trip, or limited time period and they simply did not want to make a bigger investment, knowing full well the quality trade-off. Or maybe they wanted that n+1 bike to be a folder, where n=15...
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Old 12-19-16, 09:51 PM   #39
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One should note that upgrading a bike or buying a less expensive bike doesn't mean more maintenance. Every rider should know how to replace a chain, grease the barrings and clean the bike after a ride. I wonder how many actually do that and go as far as hitting it with a few gusts from the compressor with the final wipe down. After a 40 mile commute to and from college I don't see any difference in maintaining one's bike whether it be my folding bike or road bike. It would be no difference between a higher price folding bike and a inexpensive one. Simply take care of your bike and you will get what you put into it. Never have I ever gone into a sale of a bike and said, "I'm going to buy this $5000 30th Anniversary Dahon bicycle because it will require less maintenance over that guy's entry level." It's obsurd. It will still rust if you leave it out in the rain.
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Old 12-19-16, 11:11 PM   #40
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One should note that upgrading a bike or buying a less expensive bike doesn't mean more maintenance. Every rider should know how to replace a chain, grease the barrings and clean the bike after a ride. I wonder how many actually do that and go as far as hitting it with a few gusts from the compressor with the final wipe down. After a 40 mile commute to and from college I don't see any difference in maintaining one's bike whether it be my folding bike or road bike. It would be no difference between a higher price folding bike and a inexpensive one. Simply take care of your bike and you will get what you put into it. Never have I ever gone into a sale of a bike and said, "I'm going to buy this $5000 30th Anniversary Dahon bicycle because it will require less maintenance over that guy's entry level." It's obsurd. It will still rust if you leave it out in the rain.
FWIW, I have found some less expensive rear derailleurs to be more finicky and require more frequent adjustment. Same thing with cheap disc brakes. I haven't seen the parts fail more than high end parts but maybe the tolerances aren't as well designed or something. A tourney RD is not going to be as consistent as a dura-ace, for example.
I agree that basic maintenance is something you have to do on any bike that you ride but with low end parts you will likely fiddle with your drivetrain more often.
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Old 12-20-16, 07:15 AM   #41
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One should note that upgrading a bike or buying a less expensive bike doesn't mean more maintenance. Every rider should know how to replace a chain, grease the barrings and clean the bike after a ride. I wonder how many actually do that and go as far as hitting it with a few gusts from the compressor with the final wipe down. After a 40 mile commute to and from college I don't see any difference in maintaining one's bike whether it be my folding bike or road bike. It would be no difference between a higher price folding bike and a inexpensive one. Simply take care of your bike and you will get what you put into it. Never have I ever gone into a sale of a bike and said, "I'm going to buy this $5000 30th Anniversary Dahon bicycle because it will require less maintenance over that guy's entry level." It's obsurd. It will still rust if you leave it out in the rain.
I would have to disagree, at least as far as cartridge bearings in headsets, bottom brackets, wheels and pedals are concerned. Tires, chains and frames are different, of course.
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Old 12-20-16, 03:00 PM   #42
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The only bad folding bikes I've read about failing (frames snapping), are rather expensive ones (Terns) and a couple of models the West Marine store sold. I've not read anything about cheaper folding bikes (Citizen, Origami, Downtube, etc) having hinge failures. If you know of any bad brands that are dangerous to ride, please inform. Until then, I have nothing at all against cheap folding bikes and feel that it's better to have a cheap folding bike than no folding bike at all.
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Old 12-20-16, 04:59 PM   #43
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I few years ago I started riding to work on a Brompton. This piqued a coworker's interested, and she started asking me about folding bikes. I knew she wasn't going to drop the cash for anything high end, so based on stuff I saw here on the forum, I suggested she check out an Origami. She ordered one for a bit under $400. I think it has served her well. She's ridden it to work regularly over the last two or three years, and she seems happy with it. Just as the high end Brompton opened a whole new world of transportation and cycling pleasure for me (though I got it for a good price second hand), the low end Origami did the same for her. She even went on to drop a lot more money on a cargo bike to transport her kids.

So, this friend not only let a friend buy a cheap folding bike, he encouraged her to, and I think it worked out quite well. It got her onto a bicycle, which wouldn't have happened if she had to drop a lot more money just to get started, and she's still riding it. I really don't think she cares about gear ratios or weight for her relatively short and flat commute, or the quality of the wheels and tires, as long as they get her from here to there. I am the sort who does care about some of those things, and has the cash to spend on it, but not everybody is, or needs to be. I think the OP's bike snobbery is a bit misguided, and could keep some people from riding bicycles who otherwise might.
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Old 12-20-16, 08:58 PM   #44
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FWIW, I have found some less expensive rear derailleurs to be more finicky and require more frequent adjustment. Same thing with cheap disc brakes. I haven't seen the parts fail more than high end parts but maybe the tolerances aren't as well designed or something. A tourney RD is not going to be as consistent as a dura-ace, for example.
I agree that basic maintenance is something you have to do on any bike that you ride but with low end parts you will likely fiddle with your drivetrain more often.
Yeah, I went with the dura-ace. Before, the bike had a fixie. I changed out to something road worthy and slapped on that rear deraileur and a proper 10 speed cassette. Never had a chain drop. I kept the chain a 10 speed and there's been no problem. Funny, the rear deraileur was easier to mount than the ultegra compact crankset off my old road bike that had had to retire due to a cracked frame. I did make my own RD bracket because it was a forked design in the back. I had the parts, tap and bridgeport on hand. But, it went on easy. And set up was fine. If anything it was the litepro FD brazed-on hanger that needed tweeking and proper positioning. Never mounted that type of hardware on a folding bike. Different, but same principles. Keep it all road bike parts and you won't get any chain drop. No mix and match stuff down there. Make the decisive upgrades. Still looking for decals to liven up the black paint and deciding which alloy I should use to replace the nickle plated steel bracket I made to shave off weight and anodize blue. Machining, it's a fun trade...
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Old 12-21-16, 11:53 AM   #45
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Abundant Generalizations have been spoken..

Shouldn't you Be Working Now rather than writing Here?
We can work and post on the forum at the same time...called multitasking.
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Old 12-21-16, 03:29 PM   #46
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I think the OP's bike snobbery is a bit misguided, and could keep some people from riding bicycles who otherwise might.
---that is kinda nasty... when both opinions are valid.


No matter how much most people make they spend it all and a little more. Often the difference between a $400 bike and an $800 is one less purse or dress that rarely get worn. I like to spend my money on things I enjoy and use. Why didn't you find her a nice used bike for $400 that would work a ton better?

To me there is a huge difference between a 400 and 800 bike.

I spent a lot of time in my life working on cheap walmart level junk (like most the under $400 folding bikes). I would not recommend it to anyone. Yup Bike snobbery.

I have seen so many people turned off to biking because they bought a "good enough for me" piece of junk, not have any fun on it and leave it in the back yard or garage forever unused. So many people are always buying cheap stuff that turns to junk quickly.

The other question I have is "Would she have become more of an active cyclist and enjoyed it even more if she had stepped up to a lighter, faster, better working bike."
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Old 12-22-16, 01:53 AM   #47
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I believe that the bulk of folders/ small wheelers worldwide are not bought by biking fanatics, people who own $3000 mountain bikes, people who are part of the "biking community", or people who would ever give a biking forum a second thought. I think they are bought by people looking for utility transport, a shopping bike, something that doesn't take up much room, something you unfold when you take it out of the box and probably never fold again, you just wait for the hinges to go rusty. In European cities you see such bikes everywhere, I suspect you see them in even larger numbers in Asia.
I dispute this - you can't claim to know if biking fanatics in Spain or Sri Lanka or Taiwan do not care for folders.

It may be true in your region, but Asia LOVES folders - and we have far more cyclists than the US.

While low end folders (as like any bike) are indeed usually employed for utility, there are MANY high end folders that are used by serious cyclists - touring, racing, XC, etc.

- Bromptons and BFs for touring
- Montague for XC
- Tyrells and Birdys for speed

All respectable and somewhat common throughout the world, even among "biking fanatics".
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Old 12-22-16, 08:10 AM   #48
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I dispute this - you can't claim to know if biking fanatics in Spain or Sri Lanka or Taiwan do not care for folders.

It may be true in your region, but Asia LOVES folders - and we have far more cyclists than the US.

While low end folders (as like any bike) are indeed usually employed for utility, there are MANY high end folders that are used by serious cyclists - touring, racing, XC, etc.

- Bromptons and BFs for touring
- Montague for XC
- Tyrells and Birdys for speed

All respectable and somewhat common throughout the world, even among "biking fanatics".
I didn't say that bike fanatics don't care for folders, I said that the bulk of folders / small wheelers are not bought by bike fanatics, but by people looking for utilitarian transport. I still think that is correct. The annual production of the five high end brands you mention is going to be minuscule in comparison to the total worldwide production of folders / Small wheelers. And as for, let's say, Bike Fridays or Tyrell's being "somewhat common throughout the world", well I think that is somewhat baloney.

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Old 12-22-16, 10:29 AM   #49
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It may be a little insensitive to ask on this thread, but it seems on topic so ... if you were going to let your friend buy a cheap folding bike, which would it be? For just recreational use, a couple of times a year on business trips.
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Old 12-22-16, 10:47 AM   #50
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... if you were going to let your friend buy a cheap folding bike, which would it be? .
That's the sort of question that might be usefully addressed on a folding bike form, but when it's been asked before it does seem to have a tendency to upset the purists. In truth I think it's a difficult question to answer in a global context because cheap bikes tend to be sold by local or national outlets and the same make / model is rarely available internationally. So it's a question that can probably only really be answered by riders in your home country with knowledge of what's on the market.
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