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Downtube Mini for travel & touring?

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Downtube Mini for travel & touring?

Old 12-26-18, 09:49 PM
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trace
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Downtube Mini for travel & touring?

I'm looking for a bike with 16" wheels that can handle light touring and can fit in an airline-legal checked bag without disassembly. I have a Dahon Presto that has developed a crack in the headtube so I'm looking for a new folding bike. I've taken the Dahon on planes (it fits in a large duffel bag as checked luggage), Greyhound, city buses, etc. It's a 3-speed and isn't really that great for distances or hills (or load carrying) but I've taken it on trips involving moderate distances with a backpack strapped to the rear rack. I'd like to find something compact that also has better gearing and can handle longer distances. The Downtube Mini looks great on paper but there's surprisingly little real world info on it ... anyone have input on it? Could you ride 40 miles a day on it? Can it fit in a bag that's under 62 linear inches? Sure I'd love a Brompton or Bike Friday but the prices are prohibitive (and I'm in a region where folding bikes are rare and don't show up too often on craigslist.) With the Downtube being so much less expensive I don't mind modifying it or upgrading parts either.
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Old 12-27-18, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by trace View Post
I'm looking for a bike with 16" wheels that can handle light touring and can fit in an airline-legal checked bag without disassembly. I have a Dahon Presto that has developed a crack in the headtube so I'm looking for a new folding bike. I've taken the Dahon on planes (it fits in a large duffel bag as checked luggage), Greyhound, city buses, etc. It's a 3-speed and isn't really that great for distances or hills (or load carrying) but I've taken it on trips involving moderate distances with a backpack strapped to the rear rack. I'd like to find something compact that also has better gearing and can handle longer distances. The Downtube Mini looks great on paper but there's surprisingly little real world info on it ... anyone have input on it? Could you ride 40 miles a day on it? Can it fit in a bag that's under 62 linear inches? Sure I'd love a Brompton or Bike Friday but the prices are prohibitive (and I'm in a region where folding bikes are rare and don't show up too often on craigslist.) With the Downtube being so much less expensive I don't mind modifying it or upgrading parts either.
its a great litle bike.
its very similar in shape to a dahon curve d3.
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Old 12-28-18, 08:10 AM
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I've never packed it for airline travel, so I cannot speak about that part of your question, but I routinely ride it 20 miles a day with no problems. As you know, it does not fold as compactly as a Brommie, but then I did not need it to be. There are a few people who have used it for touring. Here is the link that "sold" me on the bike.
Downtube Mini Folding bicycle
I have the 8spd. I do find the top end speed a tad lacking, but then it wasn't built for racing. One of these days I'll futz with it, but it does not keep me from enjoying it.
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Old 12-28-18, 08:24 AM
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Are you trying to avoid disassembly because of the time involved?
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Old 12-28-18, 08:39 AM
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Roegmann: Thanks for that link! It seems pretty much ideal for what I'm looking for. On the Downtube website they do claim it will fit in an airline legal bag. In fact they sell a soft collapsible suitcase that looks really nice. The suitcase is made to fit their 20" wheel bikes too, and it's is a little larger than 62 linear inches (the limit for most airlines), but the company owner says he's flown over 100 times with it and never been charged an oversize fee.

Pinigis: Yes, I'd rather avoid disassembly because of course it's simpler and faster just to fold the bike and put it in a bag. But, having to do some disassembly isn't necessarily a deal breaker.
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Old 12-28-18, 04:09 PM
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Have a nice trip.. people tour on all sorts of bikes ride what you like ..

I'm sure people will want to see how you carry your gear.. ..

Crazy guy on a bike has a whole section sorting out folding bike riding tour reports...
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Old 12-29-18, 07:32 PM
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Have Fun

I second fiestabobís thoughts on pictures. We all learn from each other. Plus, folder-itis is a disease for which there is no cure...happily (except more folders). Enjoy your travels.
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Old 12-30-18, 08:55 AM
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I'll post some pics once I have enough posts so that I'm allowed to. I just strap a backpack to the rear rack & seatpost using bungee cords and a bungee net. The bag that the bike gets transported in gets folded up and is strapped to the rack underneath the backpack. I have found that the low center of gravity of a small-wheel folding bike actually makes it particularly well suited to carrying weight on the rear rack. And I like the convenience of just having a single regular backpack that I can easily remove when stopping at a store or restaurant, etc, or when using other forms of transportation (as opposed to panniers which need to be weight-balanced on each side and are a little more of a hassle to load and unload.)
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Old 12-30-18, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by trace View Post

Pinigis: Yes, I'd rather avoid disassembly because of course it's simpler and faster just to fold the bike and put it in a bag. But, having to do some disassembly isn't necessarily a deal breaker.
It is possible to disassemble some 20 inch wheel bikes in less than two minutes and have them ready to pack. Reassembly takes about the same amount of time. Itís a pretty minute amount of time for the comfort and convenience of a 20 inch wheel bike
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Old 12-30-18, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Pinigis View Post

It is possible to disassemble some 20 inch wheel bikes in less than two minutes and have them ready to pack. Reassembly takes about the same amount of time. Itís a pretty minute amount of time for the comfort and convenience of a 20 inch wheel bike
True, and I'm looking into some 20" wheel bikes too. But I've gotten used to the compactness of the 16" wheel bike and like it ... Also I travel on Greyhound a lot and for those who've never ridden Greyhound, FYI, the stations are often the sketchiest places ever and located in the worst part of town. There's something to be said for getting off the bus, taking your magical transportation device out of a bag and rolling away as fast as possible The idea of pulling out a multitool and assembling bike bits in a nasty bus station at midnight is maybe not all that appealing.
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Old 12-30-18, 05:14 PM
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I just ordered a Downtube Mini (chain drive/8 speed Sturmey-Archer) on 12/28/2018,...I can't wait for it to arrive.
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Old 12-31-18, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by tds101 View Post
I just ordered a Downtube Mini (chain drive/8 speed Sturmey-Archer) on 12/28/2018,...I can't wait for it to arrive.
Report back when you get it!
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Old 12-31-18, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by trace View Post
Report back when you get it!
No problem,...
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