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Folding bike as a touring bike?

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Old 05-01-18, 07:07 PM
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travelinhobo
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Folding bike as a touring bike?

I know nothing about folding bikes, but having seen many of them over the years in Europe or used here in the states, I wonder if they're decent enough as touring bikes? Will they hold a rear rack with 2 panniers, tent, sleeping bag? I did read on one of the top posts someone said that they aren't real stable bikes, so maybe not. Not looking to buy one at the moment, but would like to know for the future. Thanks.
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Old 05-01-18, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by travelinhobo View Post
I know nothing about folding bikes, but having seen many of them over the years in Europe or used here in the states, I wonder if they're decent enough as touring bikes? Will they hold a rear rack with 2 panniers, tent, sleeping bag? I did read on one of the top posts someone said that they aren't real stable bikes, so maybe not. Not looking to buy one at the moment, but would like to know for the future. Thanks.
There's a lot of ignorance and prejudice against folding bikes out there. For touring on folders, search Pinhole Cam's "Tyrel IVE first impressions review" thread, or my "Tour de Taiwan 2018" thread, both on this channel.
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Old 05-01-18, 07:46 PM
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I've had no problems touring with my Bike Friday Pocket Rocket using a rear rack with panniers for my camping gear. Others prefer to have more of the load on the front. Lots of types and quality levels of folding bikes just as there are for regular bikes so the suitability for a particular type of tour will vary.
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Old 05-01-18, 08:53 PM
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Hi, my Dahon Archer (Speed) used to carry 15kg luggage with front and rear racks for touring and it worked well.
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Old 05-01-18, 10:55 PM
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I'm a short tourer that prefers the more densely populated urban and coastal touristy areas. I used to tour w/ a traditional rig but quit decades ago due to lack of bike/gear security, riding through dangerous traffic and in lousy weather, and inflexibility on accommodations (from nice hotel to stealth camping).

An ultra-compact/convenient folder paired with ultra-light camping gear has recently rekindled my touring interests. Nearly the equivalent of a 2-item wheeled-carry-on air traveler (bike is ~10L oversized), I have so many more options to alleviate my previous touring issues - total security wheeling everything inside (restaurants, museums, stores); take any form of public transport to bypass dangerous/lousy ride sections; wheel bike/pannier through 5-star hotel lobby w/ same appearance of an air traveler, or backpack rig 1/4 mile into gnarly woods for secluded stealth camping (my favorite part).

That said, small folders tend to forfeit mountain riding (gear ratios not wide enough, small wheel rim brakes overheat easier), ~3% efficiency, and rougher road/off-road is not fun.

As with everything, just depends on what you want to do...



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Old 05-01-18, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by reppans View Post
...

That said, small folders tend to forfeit mountain riding (gear ratios not wide enough, ...
Some folders, particularly those with exotic or proprietary parts and dimensions. I have about 25GI low end on two 406/451 wheel folders with traditional dereilleur drivetrains right now, and one that is now decommissioned had 19GI. In fact, a small wheel (406 or smaller) is at advantage for low gearing. The bigger challenge for small wheels is instead tall, high gearing, which for touring is less needed.

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Old 05-01-18, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by travelinhobo View Post
I know nothing about folding bikes, but having seen many of them over the years in Europe or used here in the states, I wonder if they're decent enough as touring bikes? Will they hold a rear rack with 2 panniers, tent, sleeping bag? I did read on one of the top posts someone said that they aren't real stable bikes, so maybe not. Not looking to buy one at the moment, but would like to know for the future. Thanks.
I left an ongoing impressions/review for the Tyrell IVE here.
Tyrell Ive - a first impressions review

But I think a lot of the impressions/findings would be also relevant to another make of folding bike.


A 406 or 451 wheeled bike should be no problems with rear panniers.
I have seen those mounted on some bikes here.
18", 16" bikes will be harder for panniers, but often, what I have missed on the pannier is gained with the front luggage truss and possibly a handlebar bar and frame bag.

This shows my most recent fully loaded foldable bike on tour.

20180410-IMGP4456-1500 by jenkwang, on Flickr
Includes camping gear and fuel for a stove (alcohol stove)
Its certainly enough capacity and has a bit more space to carry more in fact.
Especially if one does not carry a DSLR gear and a tripod.
A frame bag or some sort of sausage bag from the seatpost is also possible.


The post about the bike being not stable needs to be taken with some salt.
I have gone down rather steep descents and as long as I don't get carried away about my descending prowess (ie. non), I am fine and the bike is as stable as any other.

Low gears (very useful for touring) is an advantage of the small wheeled bike.
My bike is only 1x10, but it spans about 27 GI to 87 GI, which is still lower than a 52/34T + 11-30T 700C bike.
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Old 05-02-18, 02:32 AM
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Originally Posted by travelinhobo View Post
Will they hold a rear rack with 2 panniers, tent, sleeping bag?
With small wheels, watch out for heel strike: This is why people usually don't use panniers on folders.

Alternative:
  • get a folder that has a luggage truss in the front so you can carry severals kgs with no impact on steering
  • use a rear rack: A solution I'll investigate soon is installing a trunk/rack bag, and a second bag on top… although it might be a bit top-heavy
  • add a handlebar bag
That's plenty enough to tour for a while, with occasional stops for laundry.



--

Edit : This is my current setup. I guess I'll stick to the inflatable swimmies + Ortlieb Pack Rack


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Old 05-02-18, 02:48 AM
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seatpost bag

this puc is a little small, but it shows my folder with a seatpost bag carrying a tent (Sierra Designs Light Year), tools & spares, pump and sleeping bag.

Revelate Designs, Blackburn, Ortlieb, Topeak all sell them.
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Old 05-02-18, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by travelinhobo View Post
...I wonder if they're decent enough as touring bikes?....
Maybe youve seen this Brompton tour write up?

https://clevercycles.com/blog/2010/1...t-by-brompton/
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Old 05-02-18, 10:30 AM
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Here's my take on ultra-compact/convenient self-supported touring with ~15sec conversion times (ride > stroller or carry modes). Base weight and volume (before food/water) is ~45lbs/75L (bike/pannier: 32/13lbs, 55/20L), tools/tube/lock in/on bike.



At the other end of the extreme, which the OP might be interested (sometimes living off the bike), is adding a folding multi-purpose trailer (Burley Travoy) with a combined hauling capacity of up to 100lbs (~150L). This rig retains the same basic compact/convenience features: wheels indoors like airline luggage; carries all at once for short distances (eg- staircases, stealth camping); quick releases/folding with ~30sec conversions; and safely stores inside a 2man tent (theft/weather).



Originally Posted by Abu Mahendra View Post
Some folders, particularly those with exotic or proprietary parts and dimensions..
Guess that's why I qualified that to 'small' folders..
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Old 05-02-18, 11:08 AM
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Marketplace ? The Path Less Pedaled has blogs and products..
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Old 05-02-18, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by reppans View Post
...

Guess that's why I qualified that to 'small' folders..
Some small folders. Not all small folders have prroblems with really low gears.
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Old 05-03-18, 12:49 PM
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as long as you choose the right folding bike, then you'll be good to go.
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Old 05-03-18, 09:00 PM
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Thanks for all the replies. I ha be no idea what all those numbers mean, but I'll learn when I get into this. I did notice on the bike pics that gears are lmtd. with only one cog in the front. I need gears.
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Old 05-03-18, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by travelinhobo View Post
Thanks for all the replies. I ha be no idea what all those numbers mean, but I'll learn when I get into this. I did notice on the bike pics that gears are lmtd. with only one cog in the front. I need gears.
Single chainring/chainwheel need not mean limited gearing. You can either run an IGH, or a wide-range cogset in the back. You say you need gears; what gear range do you need? do you actually know?
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Old 05-04-18, 11:50 AM
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+ you can use a 2 chainring crank , even without a front shifter.. that is called 'greasy finger' gear changing..

lots of hills? put it on the small one , flatter again put the chain on the bigger one.. you just stop and do that yourself.




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Old 05-05-18, 05:14 AM
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I did a group tour of the Glacier Waterton Loop (Glacier National Park and Waterton Park in Canada) in 2012. Of the 16 of us, three had Bike Fridays. Two of those three pulled the trailer that was their luggage for when they got on an airplane with the bike. The third used rear panniers to carry his gear. All three appeared to have no difficulty. I was on a full sized bike and while riding I was thinking that where there were rumble strips or narrow shoulder, pulling a trailer might not have been the best way to do it. But the two that were pulling trailers appeared to have no problems and they had done a lot of touring on those bikes before.

Originally Posted by travelinhobo View Post
Thanks for all the replies. I ha be no idea what all those numbers mean, but I'll learn when I get into this. I did notice on the bike pics that gears are lmtd. with only one cog in the front. I need gears.
I can't fit a double or triple on my folding bike. I use a Sram Dual Drive, which I think has been taken out of production for about the past year so they might be harder to find in the future. It is an internally geared hub (IGH) that has three speeds in it and the hub can take an eight or nine speed cassette. (Or maybe a ten?). With my Dual Drive and eight speed 11/32 cassette, I have a range of gears that is similar to the gear ratios on my full size dérailleur touring bikes that are fitted with a triple crank and the same eight speed cassette. The Dual Drive uses a 135mm dropout spacing, so if your folding bike uses a narrower dropout, that option won't work. Because getting parts for it might be difficult later, I bought two spare click-boxes for it and two spare shift rods, when I travel I carry one set of those spares.

There may be other IGH options that would work too.

***

For touring, you need a good rack that won't behave like a wet noodle. Since most racks were designed for regular bikes, folding bikes could be harder to fit a full size rack on them that will provide the stability that you need. I needed the extra long brackets to mount my RackTime rack to the bike seat stays. It fit fine, but I have not tried loaded panniers on that bike, ... yet.

***

Folding bikes combine portability/transportability with a bicycle that can be ridden. Some folding bikes put the emphasis on portability and some put the emphasis on rideability. And for touring, you want a good riding bike that will handle well with a load on it. So, some folding bikes could make much better touring bikes than some others. If I was to tour on my folding bike, I would try to minimize the weight of my camping gear, food, etc., much more so than I do with a full sized touring bike.
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Old 05-05-18, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I did a group tour of the Glacier Waterton Loop (Glacier National Park and Waterton Park in Canada) in 2012. Of the 16 of us, three had Bike Fridays. Two of those three pulled the trailer that was their luggage for when they got on an airplane with the bike. The third used rear panniers to carry his gear. All three appeared to have no difficulty. I was on a full sized bike and while riding I was thinking that where there were rumble strips or narrow shoulder, pulling a trailer might not have been the best way to do it. But the two that were pulling trailers appeared to have no problems and they had done a lot of touring on those bikes before.



I can't fit a double or triple on my folding bike. I use a Sram Dual Drive, which I think has been taken out of production for about the past year so they might be harder to find in the future. It is an internally geared hub (IGH) that has three speeds in it and the hub can take an eight or nine speed cassette. (Or maybe a ten?). With my Dual Drive and eight speed 11/32 cassette, I have a range of gears that is similar to the gear ratios on my full size dérailleur touring bikes that are fitted with a triple crank and the same eight speed cassette. The Dual Drive uses a 135mm dropout spacing, so if your folding bike uses a narrower dropout, that option won't work. Because getting parts for it might be difficult later, I bought two spare click-boxes for it and two spare shift rods, when I travel I carry one set of those spares.

There may be other IGH options that would work too.

***

For touring, you need a good rack that won't behave like a wet noodle. Since most racks were designed for regular bikes, folding bikes could be harder to fit a full size rack on them that will provide the stability that you need. I needed the extra long brackets to mount my RackTime rack to the bike seat stays. It fit fine, but I have not tried loaded panniers on that bike, ... yet.

***

Folding bikes combine portability/transportability with a bicycle that can be ridden. Some folding bikes put the emphasis on portability and some put the emphasis on rideability. And for touring, you want a good riding bike that will handle well with a load on it. So, some folding bikes could make much better touring bikes than some others. If I was to tour on my folding bike, I would try to minimize the weight of my camping gear, food, etc., much more so than I do with a full sized touring bike.
The Sram hubs are still available but spares can be a problem later on. In case you did not know, Sturmey Archer also have dual drive hubs: They use a pull chain instead of the clickbox. Also the SA hubs is made so that you can shift the three speed hub wit a regular MTB left shifter so you can keep a "clean" looking setup, same shifters left and right.
Some hubs are narrower, (130 OLD) and I think I remember 28h, 32h and 36 h.
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Old 05-05-18, 01:59 PM
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Sturmey Archer has the cassette + IGH market to them selves

since SRAM has chosen to focus on the 1 by 12 and road derailleur group parts

Lots liked the Sachs 3 by 7 pull chain shifting better than the Sram plastic click box.. they made after the buyout/takeover..
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Old 05-05-18, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Lots liked the Sachs 3 by 7 pull chain shifting better than the Sram plastic click box.. they made after the buyout/takeover..
this is the hub I managed to get my hands on at a fair price (actually I bought a 20" wheel with the hub). Wery happy with it
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Old 05-05-18, 05:11 PM
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Fyi

SRAM DualDrive can also be shifted with a Shimano MTB FD shifter. I should know for i ran one that way for nearly four years.

Questions about SRAM DualDrive? Feel free to ask. I am fairly confident in saying that i, along with Tourist in MSN, have had years of actual road experience with it on this channel. I even took it on two tours. And yes, SDD hubs can be used with 10-speed cogsets.

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Old 05-05-18, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by badmother View Post
The Sram hubs are still available but spares can be a problem later on. In case you did not know, Sturmey Archer also have dual drive hubs: They use a pull chain instead of the clickbox. Also the SA hubs is made so that you can shift the three speed hub wit a regular MTB left shifter so you can keep a "clean" looking setup, same shifters left and right.
Some hubs are narrower, (130 OLD) and I think I remember 28h, 32h and 36 h.
I was unaware that Sturmey Archer made a similar hub. I probably knew at one time but forgot.


Originally Posted by Abu Mahendra View Post
SRAM DualDrive can also be shifted with a Shimano MTB FD shifter. I should know for i ran one that way for nearly four years.

Questions about SRAM DualDrive? Feel free to ask. I am fairly confident in saying that i, along with Tourist in MSN, have had years of actual road experience with it on this channel. I even took it on two tours. And yes, SDD hubs can be used with 10-speed cogsets.
I have owned mine for years but I am sure you have a lot more miles on yours. Some years I put less than 100 miles (~150 km) on my foldup bike.

I am using a Sturmey Archer 3 speed bar end shifter to shift my Sram Dual Drive. And I use a Shimano eight speed bar end shifter for the rear derailleur which is a Shimano.



But I put a bit over 300 miles (~450 km) on my Dual Drive last month.
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Old 05-05-18, 08:04 PM
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It was my daily driver, toured with it in Taiwan a few weeks ago...
.

.
...and in Bali...
.
.
I've now sold it, but in nearly four years I had it it gave zero problems. In that span of time the clickbox remained intact and in place. It never came fell off even once or broke. Same old clickbox, in the same old position for four years. The spares i bought remained un-used. The thing simply worked trouble-free. Its only minus is its weight.



Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I was unaware that Sturmey Archer made a similar hub. I probably knew at one time but forgot.




I have owned mine for years but I am sure you have a lot more miles on yours. Some years I put less than 100 miles (~150 km) on my foldup bike.

I am using a Sturmey Archer 3 speed bar end shifter to shift my Sram Dual Drive. And I use a Shimano eight speed bar end shifter for the rear derailleur which is a Shimano.



But I put a bit over 300 miles (~450 km) on my Dual Drive last month.

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Old 05-05-18, 11:50 PM
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my beef is limited option for handlebar.

wouldnt want to go long distance on flat bar.
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