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Advice for newbie on folding bike fit

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Advice for newbie on folding bike fit

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Old 01-27-19, 09:26 PM
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Armand Paul
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Advice for newbie on folding bike fit

My wife and I want to get folding bikes for weekend use. We plan to drive the bikes to hilly paved trails. Over the weekend we tried out a couple of Dahon bikes, the Mariner D8 and the Launch D8. I found them both comfortable, but my wife felt she had to stretch too far from the seat to the handlebars. It seems the frame on those bikes is too long and does not match her needs. She generally prefers a more upright stance. Any advice on finding a better fit for her would be most appreciated. Is there a model that might suit her better? If we custom order one from Bike Friday, will that be matched better to her needs? Thank you in advance for any help. Armand Paul
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Old 01-27-19, 11:06 PM
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Did you try all of the possible adjustments?
Raise/lowers handle bar, seat forward/backward, etc.?
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Old 01-28-19, 12:31 AM
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I can only share my experience as someone who is 5'4" and has longer legs and shorter reach. I tried Brompton, many Dahons and Terns, and a couple others before I decided I needed a custom fit. I love my Bike Friday and would be happy to answer any ? you have about it. If you don't want to spend that much $, then you need to find a folding bike that takes a (short) standard ahead stem, not one that has the handlebar directly connected to the stem or use an Aber Hallo. Failing that, you can try and see if some albatross/north roads swept back bars make her more comfortable. Also make sure the saddle fore/aft is set in correct relationship to the pedals and not being used to compensate for a too long reach. I now have a Dahon Mu Uno as my backup bike, but to be honest, the reach is too far for me (and not adjustable) so I don't ride it more than a few miles at a time; I can ride my Bike Friday all day (most I've done is 45 miles so far).
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Old 01-28-19, 07:35 AM
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Linberl, This is extremely helpful. Thank you. Armand Paul
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Old 01-28-19, 08:56 AM
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I'm also 5ft 4in and find the Brompton M bar fits great. The Tern I had never quite felt right but it wasn't a bad fit. Some of the 16 inch wheels that Dahon makes are really suitable for short people. My question is do you really want to build a custom bike just for weekend riding? If you live in a city or near one then look on Craigslist for something used. There are so many used bikes out there on Craigslist or ebay, why pay for new . There are so many unloved bikes out there that need a good home. If you need expert advice call Thor from Thorusa.com and he'll set you up with something that will fit your needs.
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Old 01-28-19, 10:22 AM
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If you order Bike Fridays they build in various sizes , reach (length) and the handle bar & seat masts .. length choice is unique ..
Even Brompton only makes 1 frame length.. (though the early Mk2 was shorter, they were all that way, then.)

BiFri has a Pre Loved used, refurbished section , check it occasionally, to see if you get something a bit less, that happens to fit well..

Usually production tooling is fixed, so makes the same piece over and over again, getting its fold alignment right, and cutting costs..







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Old 01-29-19, 08:01 AM
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I would suggest that you make sure that the seat is adjusted forward for a start. We have had success using a riser bar and tilting it back toward the rider to decrease the reach; its an inexpensive and simple solution.
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Old 01-29-19, 08:25 AM
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Thank you for this thoughtful advice. It is very helpful. As part of just getting educated before buying, we will try out a few other folding bikes that are at nearby stores, and we will explore the possibility of adjusting seat position and the use of a riser bar. There are some Tern models we can see. Bike Friday gets uniformly excellent reviews, and when I look at the New World Tourist bikes, they seem well matched to what we are looking for. So it may well be that is the best choice for us, in addition to addressing the issue of fit. Thanks once again for the advice, Armand Paul
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Old 01-29-19, 05:44 PM
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Dahon Eezz vs Brompton

The Dahon Eezz looks tighter than the Brompton. Maybe its just the wheelbase, but cockpit not so much. Anyway, if you look closely, you can see a thick cable going from the seatpost to the bottom of the main tube. This will strengthen the fold. (Some of the newer sidefold Dahon are incorporating this cable.) Further more I think the way the main frame folds (hinge under) will also be stronger than side fold. But then it depends on the size/material strength of the hinge pin etc.

On the downside, you are limited to three gears only, so if you have steep hills to climb, not so good. Luggage options are also limited. No racks.
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Old 01-29-19, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Armand Paul View Post
Thank you for this thoughtful advice. It is very helpful. As part of just getting educated before buying, we will try out a few other folding bikes that are at nearby stores, and we will explore the possibility of adjusting seat position and the use of a riser bar. There are some Tern models we can see. Bike Friday gets uniformly excellent reviews, and when I look at the New World Tourist bikes, they seem well matched to what we are looking for. So it may well be that is the best choice for us, in addition to addressing the issue of fit. Thanks once again for the advice, Armand Paul
If you go with Bike Friday, check out the pre-loved bikes. Your wife would take a small frame (50cm) most likely. Also check the Bike Friday Community page on Facebook and the Bike Friday Yak (google groups) - bikes often for sale there. You can fine tune by switching from standard to setback seat posts to get correct fore/aft knee position, and can use different size ahead stems to adjust reach. There's also the swept back bar option. Otoh, if she falls in love with something less adjustable, there is this: Aber Hallo Stem You can get a fair rise and shorter reach even on the fixed stem handlebars on some folders.
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Old 01-30-19, 10:25 AM
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Linberl is on the money with the Aber Hallo and the different bars in terms of adjusting reach. Of course try the saddle as far forward as the rails permit. Your info doesn't state where you are, but if in the US. Velo Orange has nice bars for 28-35 or so. I put a set of Milans on a Xootr Swift and they work fine. Couple of things to consider....
Flat bars are usually 22mm and road bars are larger. Using roadbars such as moustache mean your brake levers won't fit on the bar and you will need larger diameter clamps. Here again VO sells many of their bars in the 22 mm size so you can possibly use the brake levers you have. North Road bars are usually 22mm but the shape of the bar may not work with flat bar brakes. If you have V-brakes you will need brake levers that work with them specifically.
As you bring the handle bars towards you it reduces the reach, as does raising the bars. Lower bars closer in work similarly to farther out bars raised higher. Farther in and higher will reduce the reach the most.
Lastly, you might get a shorter stem ans one that has an angle which raises the bar more than the stock one does. If you have a good LBS nearby, take the bike in and see what they have in stock for these options. Most folders have just one frame size and mosidying bars, stems and seatpost height is how they are made to fit a range of riders.
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Old 01-30-19, 12:37 PM
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Recently Discontinued from Brompton, was a Saddle adapter pin (So would only be in Current shop inventories )

it clamped on the top of the seat post, and provided a horizontal tube to clamp your saddle mounting clip onto..

offering more forward saddle position , to bring seat and bars closer together, (or saddle set back greater)..

those with seat posts telescoping behind the BB to fold are already set back that far, so saddle clip mounted facing forward

compensated for that by having saddle closer to what it might be, if seat tube were coming up from BB inline to its axis.. Like regular bikes..




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Old 01-31-19, 09:05 AM
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My comment to you is that the best bike is the one that fits the first time. I've own many bikes over the last 20 years and the best ones were the ones that felt great on the first ride. I can say from experience that when you have to change too much around to feel comfortable it's not the right bike. The most important thing is fit. Forget about anything else when purchasing a bike. As soon as you start moving yourself around on the frame your in trouble. If you get to far forward or back over the bottom bracket your changing the angle that your knees and hips rotate around possibly causing damage and pain. Remember when you change one thing on a bike most of the time you have to change something else. If you change to a more upright position your going to need a wider saddle and that changes something else and so on and so on. So when looking for a bike the advice I can give you is try and then buy.
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Old 01-31-19, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Pahana View Post
My comment to you is that the best bike is the one that fits the first time. I've own many bikes over the last 20 years and the best ones were the ones that felt great on the first ride. I can say from experience that when you have to change too much around to feel comfortable it's not the right bike. The most important thing is fit. Forget about anything else when purchasing a bike. As soon as you start moving yourself around on the frame your in trouble. If you get to far forward or back over the bottom bracket your changing the angle that your knees and hips rotate around possibly causing damage and pain. Remember when you change one thing on a bike most of the time you have to change something else. If you change to a more upright position your going to need a wider saddle and that changes something else and so on and so on. So when looking for a bike the advice I can give you is try and then buy.
I generally agree with this, but IF you take into account all the appropriate measurements and the bike was a close fit to begin with, making those changes is okay. I think it is a bad idea to try to make a too big or too small frame fit, but folders often come in one size frame (except for Bike Friday) so there really isn't a lot of choice. But the big thing is to NOT sacrifice the fore/aft saddle position (and your knees and hips) to change an incorrect reach, Get the fore/aft correct and THEN lock it in, and change the stem or bars to make you comfortable without changing that fore/aft position. You're absolutely correct about that - the problem if you just slide the saddle forward will come back to bite you physically later on for sure!!!
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Old 01-31-19, 10:41 PM
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I agree that the bike should feel right, and the frame should be sized right. I can nset how adjustments make sense, but it has to be from a basic good fit. I think it is great that Bike Friday has made a variety of frame sizes available for this se interested in folding bikes. Armand Paul
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Old 02-01-19, 11:11 AM
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The riders of these bikes are 5'-6' tall,...myself included. Not all bikes are shown,...(sorry about the "water" issue)

Bikes hanging in basement, awaiting Spring & the recession of the flood,...
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Old 02-02-19, 10:35 AM
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I don't know where you are located but these could work for you.....easy to change out seatpost, saddle and stem and bars. I used an NWT with swept back bars for several years and the medium frame was fine with the reach due to the elongated return on the bars. https://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/bik...809688158.html
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Old 02-04-19, 11:19 AM
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All the advice has been extremely helpful! This forum has really helped us already.

Here is where we are:

We are deciding between Bike Friday New World Toursit Weekend Warrior and Tern Verge P10.

The BF frame is custom-sized, which is a huge plus. However. The Tern has a feature that allows the handlebars to be adjusted for an upright position, and we tried it this weekend and it worked very well for both of us. Further, the Tern has higher quality components (disc brakes, derailleur, etc.), that make it very attractive. It has almost as good a range of gear ratios, 26 to 95 gear inches in ten gears, versus 22 to 92 with 16 gears overlapping and 12 unique gear ratios. The Tern has a simpler gearing system with only rear derailleur. The weights and folded sizes are very similar.

Any thoughts or advice on this choice would be most appreciated.

Paul
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Old 02-04-19, 12:03 PM
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I'd get whatever is most comfortable, but do compare warranties as that is part of what you pay for. Also, one is steel and one is aluminum. Depends on what you prefer to ride. I have a steel folder and an aluminum one. For long distances I always prefer the steel frame, but that's just my personal preference for a frame that absorbs shocks and bumps without having to add thudbusters or other shock reducing accessories. Do note that you can customize the componentry on a Bike Friday to anything you want, literally anything. You can spec 1x10 or 11, SRAM or Dura Ace, whatever you're willing to pay is the only limitation. There was a big issue a while back with Tern frames (thread here on bikeforums) but I am guessing they sorted that out.
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Old 02-04-19, 01:49 PM
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Where are you located OP? Were you folks able to test any Bike Friday?

If there's no Bike Friday test ride available; and you folks are already happy with your Tern test ride -
I'd suggest to go for the Tern. Or wait and see if you folks can test other bikes. Tern had recalls; but
so did Bike Friday.
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Old 02-06-19, 07:50 AM
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I am in Berkeley, CA. I would like to see or even try a Bike Friday before deciding. I can see that the alloy (cromoly) steel and the design of the Bike Friday could make it a better riding bike than the Tern, but for namely the same price, the Tern has higher level components like disc brakes and derailleur etc. Thanks for the advice, Paul


Originally Posted by 1nterceptor View Post
Where are you located OP? Were you folks able to test any Bike Friday?

If there's no Bike Friday test ride available; and you folks are already happy with your Tern test ride -
I'd suggest to go for the Tern. Or wait and see if you folks can test other bikes. Tern had recalls; but
so did Bike Friday.
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Old 02-06-19, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Armand Paul View Post
I am in Berkeley, CA. I would like to see or even try a Bike Friday before deciding. I can see that the alloy (cromoly) steel and the design of the Bike Friday could make it a better riding bike than the Tern, but for namely the same price, the Tern has higher level components like disc brakes and derailleur etc. Thanks for the advice, Paul




Call BF - there are plenty of folks here (Berkeley) with NWT bikes, I see them all the time. I sold my NWT and have a Pakit, which you would be welcome to try (I'm in Albany), but it's a completely different experience. BF can hook you up with some peeps here that will let you try their bikes. That's how I got my first ride on a BF!!! Just call them, give them your location, and a few days later, you'll have some contacts =). Alternately, you can call Warm Planet Bikes on Market in S.F. and see if he has any BF demos you can try at the moment. Great shop, and a BF dealer, 2 blocks from the Bart exit.

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Old 02-06-19, 10:45 AM
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Thanks, Iíll do that. Paul

QUOTE=linberl;20781807]Call BF - there are plenty of folks here (Berkeley) with NWT bikes, I see them all the time. I sold my NWT and have a Pakit, which d would be welcome to try (I'm in Albany), but it's a completely different experience. BF can hook you up with some peeps here that will let you try their bikes. That's how I got my first ride on a BF!!! Just call them, give them your location, and a few days later, you'll have some contacts =). Alternately, you can call Warm Planet Bikes on Market in S.F. and see if he has any BF demos you can try at the moment. Great shop, and a BF dealer, 2 blocks from the Bart exit.[/QUOTE]
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Old 02-06-19, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Armand Paul View Post
Thanks, Iíll do that. Paul

QUOTE=linberl;20781807]Call BF - there are plenty of folks here (Berkeley) with NWT bikes, I see them all the time. I sold my NWT and have a Pakit, which d would be welcome to try (I'm in Albany), but it's a completely different experience. BF can hook you up with some peeps here that will let you try their bikes. That's how I got my first ride on a BF!!! Just call them, give them your location, and a few days later, you'll have some contacts =). Alternately, you can call Warm Planet Bikes on Market in S.F. and see if he has any BF demos you can try at the moment. Great shop, and a BF dealer, 2 blocks from the Bart exit.

[/QUOTE]
Also, Santa Rosa is only a little over a hour away. You can stop in a Russian River Brewing for lunch and some Pliny, and test ride these guys. If you like them, they are a good deal with the suitcases (and they've been listed a while so you can probably get them for less). https://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/bik...809688158.html
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Old 02-09-19, 10:10 PM
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Thank you, everyone, we concluded our search by buying Tern Verge p10 bicycles. The Bike Fridays are clearly excellent, we tried one and I can see why people love them, but fpr our price point, we could get more with Verge P10.

i canít thank you all enough for the incredible advice and the education you offered us during or search.

Paul

QUOTE=Armand Paul;20781816]
Thanks, Iíll do that. Paul

QUOTE=linberl;20781807]Call BF - there are plenty of folks here (Berkeley) with NWT bikes, I see them all the time. I sold my NWT and have a Pakit, which d would be welcome to try (I'm in Albany), but it's a completely different experience. BF can hook you up with some peeps here that will let you try their bikes. That's how I got my first ride on a BF!!! Just call them, give them your location, and a few days later, you'll have some contacts =). Alternately, you can call Warm Planet Bikes on Market in S.F. and see if he has any BF demos you can try at the moment. Great shop, and a BF dealer, 2 blocks from the Bart exit.[/QUOTE]
[/QUOTE]
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