Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Folding Bikes
Reload this Page >

Folding bikes vs road bikes

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.

Folding bikes vs road bikes

Reply

Old 06-11-18, 12:26 PM
  #1  
avole
Logic free zone
Thread Starter
 
avole's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: France
Posts: 538

Bikes: Brompton, Time, Bianchi, Jan Janssen, Peugeot

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 314 Post(s)
Folding bikes vs road bikes

Because of an up-and-coming trip around the Mekong delta using the Brompton, I decided to get some time up using it on my usual road bike run. It's a mix of long gentle slopes with some rather sharper ones on the way back, which is almost always into a head wind of some description.

The road bike is a lightweight carbon-framed one, 11 speed Ultegra gears, brakes etc and Campi Zonda wheels with 23mm Michelin road tyres on.
The Brompton has a rack, front carrier back, front dynamo, 6 gears and some heavyweight Marathon on

The figures are stark: the road bike was much quicker over the abbreviated 20km run I did today: 35 km top speed, 22-23 average, total time around less than 54 minutes. Might be less, I usually measure over longer distances.

The Brompton's speed was average 18,7 kph, 1 hour 2 minutes, top speed 34 kph. I have to be honest, though: I thought the discrepancy was going to be larger, especially as the gear range is so different. The fact the Brompton's top speed was close to that of the road bike came as a surprise.

In fact, given I wasn't pushing and the headwind was stronger than normal, I think the bike performed more than creditably. It felt slower, no question, but the Strava figures are not bad at all. Where it falls down - and the reason why I want to get used to it again for longer distances - was its performance on potholes and generally poor surfaces. It wasn't comfortable, and that lightning steering isn't forgiving of sharp changes in the road surface. Certainly the carbon frame absorbed bumps better, and, in general, the road bike feels a lot more sure footed and is a more relaxing ride.

The Mekong delta is flat, so the planned 80km/day on the Brompton should be achievable, especially given I like to be on the road a little after dawn. Won't be carrying much weight as I'll be lodging in homestays. Yes, I'd be happier on a road bike, but many buses and trains won't take them, plus taking a full-size bike bag with you is only possible if it isn't hard nor excessively padded.

One thing I might do before leaving is address the saddle. I'll give the Brooks another try, perhaps a different version. Other than that, the Brompton will be on the road again.
avole is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-18, 02:18 PM
  #2  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 34,920

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 126 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4868 Post(s)
Bike Friday's Pocket rocket is a road bike that folds..

but why not get nicer tires, like the Kojak 32mm folding bead tires ,
to carry spares ..

Recently got Primo Comet tires , no puncture resistant features, but as a result they have a nice ride.

A trade Off. they're steel wire bead though..

I had 10 years of riding on my Brooks Team Pro , before riding it on a long tour,
you may or may not like starting a tour on a brand new Leather saddle..

Is this a Race you have planned? why obsess over speed otherwise?




..

Last edited by fietsbob; 06-11-18 at 02:26 PM.
fietsbob is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-18, 02:29 PM
  #3  
avole
Logic free zone
Thread Starter
 
avole's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: France
Posts: 538

Bikes: Brompton, Time, Bianchi, Jan Janssen, Peugeot

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 314 Post(s)
bicycle bob, the Bike Fridays are way too big. Co-incidentally I have just ordered the very same kojaks, although more for lightness and ease of changing rather than anything else. But I agree, rigid tyres are a problem.

Here's the last incarnation:
avole is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-18, 05:18 PM
  #4  
Abu Mahendra
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Bali
Posts: 2,151

Bikes: In service - Bannard Sunny minivelo, Dahon Dash Altena folder. Several others in construction or temporarily decommissioned.

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 834 Post(s)
Originally Posted by avole View Post
Because of an up-and-coming trip around the Mekong delta using the Brompton, I decided to get some time up using it on my usual road bike run. It's a mix of long gentle slopes with some rather sharper ones on the way back, which is almost always into a head wind of some description.

The road bike is a lightweight carbon-framed one, 11 speed Ultegra gears, brakes etc and Campi Zonda wheels with 23mm Michelin road tyres on.
The Brompton has a rack, front carrier back, front dynamo, 6 gears and some heavyweight Marathon on

The figures are stark: the road bike was much quicker over the abbreviated 20km run I did today: 35 km top speed, 22-23 average, total time around less than 54 minutes. Might be less, I usually measure over longer distances.

The Brompton's speed was average 18,7 kph, 1 hour 2 minutes, top speed 34 kph. I have to be honest, though: I thought the discrepancy was going to be larger, especially as the gear range is so different. The fact the Brompton's top speed was close to that of the road bike came as a surprise.

In fact, given I wasn't pushing and the headwind was stronger than normal, I think the bike performed more than creditably. It felt slower, no question, but the Strava figures are not bad at all. Where it falls down - and the reason why I want to get used to it again for longer distances - was its performance on potholes and generally poor surfaces. It wasn't comfortable, and that lightning steering isn't forgiving of sharp changes in the road surface. Certainly the carbon frame absorbed bumps better, and, in general, the road bike feels a lot more sure footed and is a more relaxing ride.

The Mekong delta is flat, so the planned 80km/day on the Brompton should be achievable, especially given I like to be on the road a little after dawn. Won't be carrying much weight as I'll be lodging in homestays. Yes, I'd be happier on a road bike, but many buses and trains won't take them, plus taking a full-size bike bag with you is only possible if it isn't hard nor excessively padded.

One thing I might do before leaving is address the saddle. I'll give the Brooks another try, perhaps a different version. Other than that, the Brompton will be on the road again.
well...there's always faster rolling, larger-tire folders with 406, 451 wheels. Brompton is hardly the only choice, particularly in South East Asia, and i find it hard to believe that a bus/train that takes a Brompton would not take, say, a Dahon Boardwalk or one of those slick Tern 451 foldies. It's SEAsia, everything is negotiable.

In any case, i would not be concerned about average or top speed. I myself don't track using Strava or the like, and don't own a travel computer thingy. Just ride...

Last edited by Abu Mahendra; 06-11-18 at 05:21 PM.
Abu Mahendra is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-18, 11:33 PM
  #5  
avole
Logic free zone
Thread Starter
 
avole's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: France
Posts: 538

Bikes: Brompton, Time, Bianchi, Jan Janssen, Peugeot

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 314 Post(s)
Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Is this a Race you have planned? why obsess over speed otherwise?
..
Remarkably unthinking comment. I thought people might be interested, that's all. Curiosity, bicycleb old chap, curiosity

Last edited by avole; 06-11-18 at 11:44 PM.
avole is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-18, 11:42 PM
  #6  
avole
Logic free zone
Thread Starter
 
avole's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: France
Posts: 538

Bikes: Brompton, Time, Bianchi, Jan Janssen, Peugeot

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 314 Post(s)
Originally Posted by Abu Mahendra View Post
well...there's always faster rolling, larger-tire folders with 406, 451 wheels. Brompton is hardly the only choice, particularly in South East Asia, and i find it hard to believe that a bus/train that takes a Brompton would not take, say, a Dahon Boardwalk or one of those slick Tern 451 foldies. It's SEAsia, everything is negotiable.

In any case, i would not be concerned about average or top speed. I myself don't track using Strava or the like, and don't own a travel computer thingy. Just ride...
Two folders are more than enough, not interested in buying any more, besides, Brompton remains the best choice for travel.

See my comment above re speed. People on this forum are unforgiving - mention speed here, you get attacked, mention on the road bike forum you don't bother with heart or power options, you get attacked. As it happens, tracking distance can be important if you find you need to get to the next village quickly for any reason, have a puncture, or need to catch a train, however, for that I use my iphone these days. I don't take a bike computer on tours.

Last edited by avole; 06-11-18 at 11:46 PM.
avole is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-18, 01:52 AM
  #7  
kidshibuya
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 201

Bikes: Tyrell CSI, Dahon Mu LT11, Doppelganger Aurora 219

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 118 Post(s)
Personally if I were to travel with my bike, and I might do so, I think I would chose my minivelo over my folding dahon. I would far rather a larger 7kg bag to carry about than a smaller 9kg one, plus it has more standard road bike parts. And the difference in size isn't much, both wheels and brakes are quick release so the minivelo can pack up to a quite compact size anyway.

And re the Brompton, that would be something like 60% heavier at best, zero chance I would take one of those.
kidshibuya is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-18, 02:20 AM
  #8  
avole
Logic free zone
Thread Starter
 
avole's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: France
Posts: 538

Bikes: Brompton, Time, Bianchi, Jan Janssen, Peugeot

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 314 Post(s)
Being honest, you are always better off with a road bike or a hybrid in terms of comfort, not to mention carrying capacity, for touring. Folding bikes are heavily compromised and designed for shorter distances rather than touring. The fold is usually useful for storage, whether it be in sheds or boots of cars. Plane travel is a weaker point - if you take a large folder in a nicely padded case you might as well take a hybrid or road bike.

My Brompton is used for the daily shopping run or for overseas travel/touring. There will be less of the overseas travel with it, now that I have the Neo which is a better bike to cycle distance with, it being considerably lighter than the Brompton.

Just to restate something the fanboys don't seem to have understood: I am not looking to buy a new folding bike so no suggestions of alternatives are required. Neither am I overly concerned with speed, I used Strava to provide some kind of meaningful comparison, and was surprised enough at how well the Brompton performed to post this thread, thinking it might be of interest.
avole is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-18, 07:00 AM
  #9  
12boy
Senior Member
 
12boy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: casper wy usa
Posts: 321

Bikes: brompton sl, surly steamroller, fuji track, gary fisher bmx minivelo etc

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 94 Post(s)
I have a Brompton, a Xootr Swift and a mercier Nano minivelo. With saddlebags, spds and leather saddles they all weigh close to 28 lbs and all breakdown or fold to small packages. However, the Bromton can carry as much rearweight as the other two and a lot more on the front without affecting handling. The picture of avole`s bike looks fairly well laden and the more weght carried the less a couple of extra lbs on the bike matters. How well the bike handles with that weight is what is critical. I have some 700 c bikes and while they feel faster than the small wheeled bikes it isn't a big difference unless the road is bumpy, potholed or gravelly. Then the bigger wheels really are an advantage, both for handling and hand comfort. It has been possible, for me, at least to get all these bikes to be identical in terms of fit, so saddle height, distance from saddle to handlebars, saddle to pedal etc are the same, so ergonomics are not an issue. I enjoyed avole's post for its clear and well thought out dicussion of the pros and cons of bike choices for his particular trip.
12boy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-18, 08:12 AM
  #10  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 34,920

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 126 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4868 Post(s)
only read 1 sentence? My post # 2 included more..

but you prefer removing context to play gotcha.

Last edited by fietsbob; 06-12-18 at 09:28 AM.
fietsbob is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-18, 08:40 AM
  #11  
avole
Logic free zone
Thread Starter
 
avole's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: France
Posts: 538

Bikes: Brompton, Time, Bianchi, Jan Janssen, Peugeot

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 314 Post(s)
Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
only read 1 sentence?
You can only read 1 sentence? That's a sad handicap to have. For a start, you'll never get to enjoy "War and Peace"
avole is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-18, 08:58 AM
  #12  
mtb_addict
Senior Member
 
mtb_addict's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 2,663
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1807 Post(s)
Thank one. I am sold!

No more full size road bike for me. My next bike will be a Brompton! (or a Dahon)
mtb_addict is offline  
Reply With Quote

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service