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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 12-22-17, 04:05 PM   #1
Bassmanbob
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Century Ride on a Folding Bike

I plan to register for the NY Grand Fondo this weekend, and I live in Florida. My plan is to fly up a couple of days before, do the ride and fly home the next day. My original plan was to do the century ride on my new Bike Friday Pocket Rocket. I've had it about six months, but I've only got a few rides of 30- 35 miles on it. I'll ride it more after the holidays to test it out on longer rides.


In order to improve my riding, I started working with a cycling coach. She suggested that I do the NYGF on my full sized carbon fiber (CF) bike. She thinks that if I'm going for this ride, I should go for it fully with my tried and true century bike. Unfortunately, it will cost $150 to bring my CF bike on the plane each way plus the cost of purchasing a bike box. So we are talking at least an extra $500, if I can find a used bike box for $200. I won't consider a bike bag because I'm fearful that the bike can be damaged too easily with a soft bag. I can take my BF in its suitcase for $25 each way. Besides, my wife asked why I purchased the Bike Friday if I'm now considering taking my CF bike to NY. She's pretty supportive, but I had a hard time answering her except that I haven't tried the BF on an extended ride.


Have any of you cycled a century ride on a folding bike? If so, how did it differ from a century on your traditional bike other than the added weight? My BF is about 10 pounds more than my CF bike.
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Old 12-22-17, 04:10 PM   #2
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Get a box from a bike store and ship it via UPS/Fedex. I haven't done it in a donkey's age but when I moved cross country, that's what I did and I think it was less than $40. Even if cost has doubled, it would be less expensive than flying with the bike.
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Old 12-22-17, 04:14 PM   #3
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Intermediate solution: Have your CF bike shipped ahead via a third-party shipper like www.shipbikes.com. You can pay for shipping, print out the shipping labels to and from the destination, and you don't have to take the bike on the plane. Should cost much less than taking it on the flight.

As to whether or not to take your BF on a century, sure, you could do it, but it would be better if you could do a century on your BF before the event, just to see whether or not the extra weight will make much difference to you. If if does, then by all means, take your CF bike to the event as above.
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Old 12-22-17, 04:15 PM   #4
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I've had my Pocket Rocket since '94 and it was my primary bike for the first few years. Don't ride organized centuries, but I did go on a number of rides of over 100 miles on it during that time (incl. a couple carrying camping gear). My BF PR was a bit lighter than my other bikes back then and it was my preferred bike for long rides. The smaller diameter wheels do have a bit harsher ride if everything else is kept equal, but using slightly wider tires (28 - 32mm vs. 23-25mm on 700c bikes) provided a similar ride over most road surfaces.
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Old 12-22-17, 04:27 PM   #5
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Have volunteered for many century charity rides; some on my folding bike, most were on a roadbike.
For me the difference is not the added weight; it's the positioning. Roadbikes are designed to squeeze
the last ounce of performance; lightweight parts, aerodynamic form(rider & bike), etc. Folding bikes are
designed to well; fold. For me; a bigger factor would be how much climbing/elevation.

What's the elevation profile of NYGF? What kind of climbing was involved in your past rides?
Here my 6 speed steel folding bike is passing a bunch of roadies on carbon fiber wonder bikes on a steep
climb towards the last part of a century ride:
100 Miles(160 Km.) on a Brompton by 1nterceptor, on Flickr
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Old 12-22-17, 06:43 PM   #6
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Does the NYGF have a cutoff time? One of the local riders did a hilly Grand Fondo, and got pulled from the course for missing the cutoff.
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Old 12-22-17, 08:32 PM   #7
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This might be of interest: Foldable bike ok for 100 mile rides?
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Old 12-22-17, 09:44 PM   #8
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I have done a back to back century and x2 200km brevets with a 18" Tyrell IVE.
Just did another 200km brevet with a BF Pocket Rocket.

IMO, if you want to do the ride real fast, and keeping up with the change in pace of other riders, then the road bike does have a bit of advantage.
If you are at your own pace, the essential thing for such long rides is the right gearing and pacing.
Hence, the foldable bike is really a very viable option.


The smalled wheeled bike also has the advantage of lower gear inches for the same chainring/cassette combi as the roadbike, so often you'd have a 27GI or 25GI on the bike while the road bike might have the lowest GI at 31.
This allows for less fatigue over the long ride, especially when hills are involved.
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Old 12-22-17, 09:59 PM   #9
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I did a Century a few years ago on my (then-new) Tern S11i. I'm not a particularly fast rider; I just plug along at 12-14 MPH. I didn't feel that I was expending a whole lot more energy than when I have done Centuries on my Ti road bike. This folder is pretty comfortable. Truth be told, though, I like the Airborne better. I just wanted to be able to answer truthfully the most common question I hear: "How far can you ride a bike with those goofy little wheels?"
About 10 years ago, I rode my Dahon Mu XL all the way to work and back... my "Bike-to-Work Century". Quite do-able, but not "sustainable".
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Old 12-23-17, 12:05 AM   #10
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I'm not entirely sure about my longest ride on my Bike Friday (which is the more modestly equipped and more upright flat bar Metro, not a Pocket Rocket), but it may have been the climb up 10,000 ft. Haleakala on Maui, 70 miles RT from Paia. My BF is 10.5 pounds heavier than my regular road bike, and I'm sure I must have felt the difference on all that climbing, but I wasn't racing, still tackled the hill just fine, and like your wife, figure traveling with the BF is what it is for. Your coach must see his/her job as maximizing your performance though, so coach's decision to go with the CF bike is clear-cut. Me, I'd keep the wife happy and ride the BF.
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Old 12-23-17, 06:01 AM   #11
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If the BF is fit correctly and you are comfortable on it that would be my choice. Rode a few centuries back in the 70's and 80's and recall seeing more than a few people on BF's doing just fine. You know it can be transported safely in it's suitcase. The CF is going to take a lot more effort and cost to get it to the ride. This is a ride... not a race.

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Old 12-23-17, 08:14 AM   #12
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I also have an early Bike Friday Pocket Rocket (1994-5) and have ridden across the country. It rides basically the same as my 1974 Paramount. The measurements from it were used to make the Bike Friday. Roger

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Old 12-24-17, 09:40 PM   #13
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Thanks for all of your replies. I’ve been cooking the last two days and will again tomorrow. I have Tuesday off too and will assemble my BF. I’ll do some Saturday endurance rides on it, adding as many hills as i can and see how it goes. Right now I’m thinking I’m going to take the BF to NY. It’s why I got it.
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Old 12-25-17, 09:06 AM   #14
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I would just give it your best effort with the Rocket!

I have been considering similar. I have in my shop a new a MU SL11 which has 451 wheels, nice hubs and a Shimano 105 Tran set... I'm a kid in the candy store too often.

The point of a century is not to "win" but to ride. Might be nice to have a block of folders riding as a group.

I'm pretty sure your carbon road bike would be a bit faster. Taking it along woukd be cheaper than a day of Helicopter skiing. Road riding is fun but I've had some if my most enjoyable longer rides on folders. Follow your heart.
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Old 12-25-17, 10:06 AM   #15
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Since the Pocket Rocket has drop bars, go for it if the fit is right.

My biggest hesitation with a folding bike would be that most have flat bars, and I don't like distances that long on flat bars.

Your bike *might* cost you a few minutes in the end on your finish, over the course of hours, and 100 miles. Do those minutes matter that much to you? Until recently, my fastest century was on my steel Ritchey Breakaway Cross, which isn't a folder, but is my travel bike, and is less optimized for speed than my CAAD9. I only recently broke that personal record on my CAAD9, but not by much.
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Old 12-25-17, 10:40 AM   #16
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Not to talk you out of N+1 on a great bike, the BF Pocket rocket, equipped with as nice a component group as yoy charge card allows.

And they have a discount on bikes ordered now for completion in spring..

use your favorite saddle & pedals, the butt is what you need to keep happy [infinite saddle touts in the archives]



But Isn't there an Amtrak run between Fla & NYC daily? that makes taking your bike easier..





....

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Old 12-25-17, 12:18 PM   #17
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I've done at least one 100+ ride on my Pocket Rocket.

I would probably choose one of my other bikes for an organized century, but wouldn't have a problem riding the Pocket Rocket if that was my best option at the time.

If I was you, I'd plan on just taking the Pocket Rocket, but also try to get a little more saddle time before the ride.
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Old 12-29-17, 09:55 PM   #18
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Not to talk you out of N+1 on a great bike, the BF Pocket rocket, equipped with as nice a component group as yoy charge card allows.

And they have a discount on bikes ordered now for completion in spring..

use your favorite saddle & pedals, the butt is what you need to keep happy [infinite saddle touts in the archives]



But Isn't there an Amtrak run between Fla & NYC daily? that makes taking your bike easier..

....
Thereís no way I can buy another bike right now. It has to be my Cannondale RB or my Bike Friday Pocket Rocket. The PR has drop bars and 105 components, so I think Iím good as far as quality is concerned. Iím not racing; Iím riding.

As for the train... Iíve taken that train twenty years ago, and it takes 28 hours to do it. I donít have that luxury of time. I need to get there and get back when I travel, partially due to work and partially to visit my parents in Long Island.
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Old 12-29-17, 09:58 PM   #19
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I've done at least one 100+ ride on my Pocket Rocket.

I would probably choose one of my other bikes for an organized century, but wouldn't have a problem riding the Pocket Rocket if that was my best option at the time.

If I was you, I'd plan on just taking the Pocket Rocket, but also try to get a little more saddle time before the ride.
Iíve reassembled the PR and will take it on some long training rides the next few months.
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Old 12-30-17, 12:16 PM   #20
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BF is ten pounds more heavy? I think would rather ride a light weight CF bike on a super long endurance where time is a constraint. Is it possible to completely dissaseemble a CF bike (everything: crank, fork, chain, derailor) and put into a luggage?

Going against your coach is also not good for the relationship.

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Old 12-30-17, 12:21 PM   #21
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I feel no need for athletically challenging group rides , sometimes on bike tours I might ride extra time, to reach a town,

mostly I'd stop before dark to set up camp.



..
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Old 12-30-17, 01:16 PM   #22
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Oye! I did 41 miles on the PR this morning, and it was rough. But it was a difficult day to judge the ride. There was a moderate head and cross wind, fog, cold and the extra ten pounds on my body from the holidays. I knew I wouldn't have an answer in one ride, so I'll continue to repeat the adventure the next few weeks.


I did notice that the Bike Friday, with the 20 inch wheels gives a harsher ride. I felt the bumps a bit more, and even with the same saddle as on my Cannondale, by butt was a bit more sore than usual.
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Old 12-30-17, 01:26 PM   #23
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BF is ten pounds more heavy? I think would rather ride a light weight CF bike on a super long endurance where time is a constraint. Is it possible to completely dissaseemble a CF bike (everything: crank, fork, chain, derailor) and put into a luggage?

Going against your coach is also not good for the relationship.


Yes. The 2014 Cannondale Super Six EVO 3 was advertised as 17.1 pounds, and the Bike Friday Pocket Rocket is about 27- 28 pounds (according to the salesperson who helped me order my specific bike). And no. There is no way to completely disassemble a full scale CF bike and fit it in a standard luggage bag.


As to going against my coach, our relationship is far more personal, mature and informal to cause it any distress from me riding a folding bike rather than her suggestion so I can enjoy a century ride that's not a race.
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Old 12-30-17, 01:29 PM   #24
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I feel no need for athletically challenging group rides , sometimes on bike tours I might ride extra time, to reach a town,

mostly I'd stop before dark to set up camp.



..


I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. I'm not racing anyone, but I do enjoy the training, and participating in the large group events in different locations.
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Old 12-30-17, 02:18 PM   #25
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I flew to ride in Ireland, others drive their car. all depends on what you want to do..
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