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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.

Curious

Old 05-09-20, 08:03 PM
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pwhite
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Curious

Just out of curiosity, I would like to know why some of you would pick a folding bike over a regular bike? Obviously there are pros and cons, some ore more obvious than others but I would like to hear from some owners and see what they have to say.
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Old 05-09-20, 08:23 PM
  #2  
linberl
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1. space constraints at home
2. multi modal travel (much easier to take on transit)
3. theft prevention (take into the office or throw into a friend's car trunk)
4. smaller wheels (easier acceleration, low step over)

Those are 4 reasons why I own two.
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Old 05-09-20, 08:26 PM
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pwhite
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
1. space constraints at home
2. multi modal travel (much easier to take on transit)
3. theft prevention (take into the office or throw into a friend's car trunk)
4. smaller wheels (easier acceleration, low step over)

Those are 4 reasons why I own two.
You must have two with the 20 inch wheels? (those are the smaller ones correct?)
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Old 05-09-20, 10:04 PM
  #4  
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Originally Posted by pwhite View Post
You must have two with the 20 inch wheels? (those are the smaller ones correct?)
One 16" Bike Friday pakiT and one 20" Dahon Mu Uno. And while I didn't list it as a reason to own folders, subjectively I happen to think they are great looking, nicer looking than full sized bikes (which I have owned). But that's just a matter of personal taste.
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Old 05-10-20, 01:07 AM
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Originally Posted by pwhite View Post
Just out of curiosity, I would like to know why some of you would pick a folding bike over a regular bike?
I own both and ride both.

I choose to ride my folder regularly even though I have a full size bike. I suppose I don't have any "reason", other than it is another bike and I like giving it some use. It's fun. It is a bit more zippy and maneuverable than my full size bike.

That aside, the reason I got a folding bike was so I could have a bike option that was compact. I drove a semi for a while and the times I was out in bumfart doing a 34 hour reset were good opportunities to do some bike riding - if I had a bike. So I got one and for the time I was over the road afterwards it was the best addition I made to my over-the-road gear.

That having been said, I have traveled a lot for other jobs in the past and personally as well. I have wanted a folding bike for a long time due to that. So having that option in current times is very welcomed. Having a bike on hand is awesome.

So for me - the prime reason for a folding bike in my world is portability. I can take it with me places a full size bike won't go - vehicle trips, stashed in a semi cab for weeks at a time, boating, vacationing, etc.

If you are looking in to getting one - do your research and don't go cheap. You can't have too many gears on a folding bike. The more the better. Even modifying later for more may be of interest. However, don't look at a folding bike as being a "sub-par" option. They are not. They are options - and can be fantastic options if your environment(s) dictate a compact bike.
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Old 05-10-20, 03:38 AM
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The first reason is obviously because it folds -> easy to carry/take with you everywhere what also brings theft protection.

But there is another advantage, small wheel (16" ETRTO 349 and 20" ETRTO 406): small wheel bikes behaves differently, good small wheel bikes are more pleasant to ride while being as fast (on roads).

For this last reason, I also own two Moulton: small wheel but not folding.
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Old 05-10-20, 05:48 AM
  #7  
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Folding bikes are a compromise, more portable than a non-folding bike, but the ride is likely impaired somewhat. Different folding bikes emphasize one of those characteristics over the other.

For example, my Airnimal Joey folding bike rides as well as a full size bike, but I can feel some flex in the bike that took a while to get used to, I do not have that flex in full size bikes. But this bike has 24 inch wheels that are less portable than a folding bike that uses 20 or 16 inch wheels. Thus this bike was designed to handle very well but at the cost of being less portable than many other folding bikes.

Some folding bikes can quickly be packed into a case that meets airline non-oversize luggage criteria, that is a common criteria for folding bike portability. For example, two years ago I flew with my folding bike for no additional luggage cost on SW airlines, they give you two free checked bags and my folder fit in a case that met the 62 inch size criteria that many airlines use. This smaller case also fits well in a Prius taxi cab trunk but it would have been quite inconvenient to take a full size bike to the airport with common ground transportation.

Some people want a folder for storage in an RV or on a boat. Or some people live in a apartment where there are many flights of stairs that would be inconvenient to carry a full size bike. Or some people can carry a folding bike into their place of work for better theft prevention than leaving a full size bike outside if they commuted by bike.

If you have no need for portability or condensing the size for storage, there is no reason to get a folding bike.

There also are non-folding bikes that have a frame that can be split for packing the bike into an airline sized case, however those bikes generally take more time to disassemble, pack and reassemble later than a typical folding bike would. In this case I am talking about S&S couplers or the Ritchey Break Away system that add luggage portability to a full size bike.

Last edited by Tourist in MSN; 05-10-20 at 05:52 AM.
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Old 05-10-20, 06:57 AM
  #8  
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Thanks for the fast replies and advice.
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Old 05-10-20, 08:56 AM
  #9  
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For a road bike, small wheels 20" ETRTO 406, 18" ETRTO 355, 17" ETRTO369 or 16" ETRTO349 are not a drawback at all.

With a well designed bike, small wheel provide as good performances than big wheels and provide more fun than big wheels.

The only problem for some sizes is the (very) limited choice of tires.

Using bigger wheels for a road folding bike is a wrong choice, it just makes the bike bigger and heavier. Using 24" wheels ETRTO 507 (or even worse ETRTO 520) for a road bike has, on top if folded size and weight, the major drawback that there are very few road tires available in those sizes.
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Old 05-10-20, 11:40 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post

If you have no need for portability or condensing the size for storage, there is no reason to get a folding bike.
I'm not sure I would agree with that. Aside from the folding specific reasons, there are other reasons for a folder. It is definitely more nimble in traffic, and accelerates faster from a stop than a full sized bike. Even if I didn't want/need folding anymore, I would still ride a smaller wheeled folder because it is so much better riding in city traffic. Lower step over, lower center of gravity, narrower bars and footprint, and much more responsive. Also, in an emergency stop I can just plant my feet and stand up and the bike seat will come up and hit my back but I am not going forward at all. With a regular bike, you've got a certain amount of space needed to stop via brakes. A friend and I did a test where we both were coming down a hill at the same speed (side by side) and planned a stop. I hit the mark perfectly without braking in advance, he couldn't because of the size and weight of the bike, lol.
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Old 05-10-20, 08:19 PM
  #11  
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I own a couple of folders and mini velos of various wheel sizes.

Reasons?
1. Smaller footprint in my apartment
2. Bike tours where I don't worry about pack size and not getting up coaches/trains due to bike size.
3. Multi modal travel (not often used for me unless I bring my kids out)
4. Not over committing with the lower max gear inch over long stretches (ie.Time trial style)
5. Under biking - the look on the faces of guys with pimped up Pinnarellos when I pass them..
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Old 05-11-20, 06:24 AM
  #12  
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I used to make fun of folding bikes, until I actually rode one. I'll echo what another poster wrote earlier: they are really nimble and a lot more maneuverable than my full-sized bikes! Besides that, I work at a building with no bike racks and no indoor bike parking, in a high crime area notorious for bike theft. I can fold my Auto-Mini and stash it between my desk and laser printer stand, secure in the knowledge it will still be there when I leave for home.

And, unlike my full-sized bikes, my folders will fit in the back of our tiny Kia Soul.
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Old 05-12-20, 07:01 PM
  #13  
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I have 4 folders at home. It's not for everyone. My wife does not like her folder but I like mine a lot and so does my son. I have regular size bikes too but mainly ride my folder. While some people call folders, clown bikes and do not like the look, I actually like how they look. I also appreciate the engineering and design that went into the bikes. I think that's what really intrigues me about the various folders. They fold and with some of these bikes, you get a pretty good ride. I prefer how my folder rides over my full size bike. I don't have a lot of room at home, so the folders take up much less room and also fit in my midsize SUV. I do not like using the various bike carriers that hang the bikes outside your car. I worry a lot less about theft with a folder. I find that I climb hills better with a folder too. There are some well designed folders out there. You just need to do your research, test ride and buy the one that makes the most sense for you.
Anyway, I'm saving for my fifth folder. You can't have enough of them....
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Old 05-12-20, 07:39 PM
  #14  
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I have a used Dahon D7 that I have almost used exclusively as a minivelo. I live and work within walking distance to trains and buses so folders aren't really a necessity. I like the size and nimbleness of smaller bikes for city life and public transportation. Easier to take into station elevators and train cars. What I don't like is the flex, especially in the handlebar. My Dahon isn't good with one hand handling and I never feel comfortable standing up on the pedals. Last Black Friday, I got a great deal on a minivelo and it's got all the things I like about my Dahon but solid as heck and no flex. I'm getting ready to sell the Dahon. Just have to prep a little bit to do it safely. Hopefully, I'll still have privileges here

I have always had a regular size bikes and initially when I first bought my Dahon, I was riding it almost exclusively. But I bought a commuter a year ago and I'm back to riding regular size bikes primarily. I haven't taken public transportation since February and still not comfortable going back anytime soon. I ride the minivelo for short trips but it's unclear when I'll be using it in conjunction with public transportation. My train system allows bikes on without restriction. It used to only allow folded bikes during rush hour. I only had to deal with that a couple of times. And it was a hassle since the Dahon is about a quarter of my body weight. I usually only took it on the train on the weekends when I didn't have to fold it. Still a lot less cumbersome than my roadie or commuter.

I haven't given up on folders. If my circumstances changed and a folder was necessary, I would of course get one. But I think I would need to seriously splash some cash and get a lighter weight bike and with a little less flex.
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Old 05-13-20, 09:38 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by tdonline View Post
I have a used Dahon D7 that I have almost used exclusively as a minivelo. I live and work within walking distance to trains and buses so folders aren't really a necessity. I like the size and nimbleness of smaller bikes for city life and public transportation. Easier to take into station elevators and train cars. What I don't like is the flex, especially in the handlebar. My Dahon isn't good with one hand handling and I never feel comfortable standing up on the pedals. Last Black Friday, I got a great deal on a minivelo and it's got all the things I like about my Dahon but solid as heck and no flex. I'm getting ready to sell the Dahon. Just have to prep a little bit to do it safely. Hopefully, I'll still have privileges here

I have always had a regular size bikes and initially when I first bought my Dahon, I was riding it almost exclusively. But I bought a commuter a year ago and I'm back to riding regular size bikes primarily. I haven't taken public transportation since February and still not comfortable going back anytime soon. I ride the minivelo for short trips but it's unclear when I'll be using it in conjunction with public transportation. My train system allows bikes on without restriction. It used to only allow folded bikes during rush hour. I only had to deal with that a couple of times. And it was a hassle since the Dahon is about a quarter of my body weight. I usually only took it on the train on the weekends when I didn't have to fold it. Still a lot less cumbersome than my roadie or commuter.

I haven't given up on folders. If my circumstances changed and a folder was necessary, I would of course get one. But I think I would need to seriously splash some cash and get a lighter weight bike and with a little less flex.
Yes, for me you've hit on a couple key things. Heavy folders don't cut it. Flexy folders don't cut it. My pakiT has zero flex and I spent enough $ to make sure it was light enough for me to carry up stairs/transit. However, I have to say my Dahon Mu Uno is pretty rigid - very little flex, but it doesn't have an adjustable length stem so that might help. It's also not as heavy as it was when I got it, as I replaced the pump seat post (which weighs a ton) and the saddle and bars and got it down to a respectable 21lbs. That's definitely my max for carrying and not for carrying very far, either, but it's tolerable. Mostly I use it with my trailer and my pakiT is my real "folding" folder at under 19 lbs. I use the Dahon more like a mini velo, rarely fold it - but the Dahon mini velos have a higher step over and I like it low.
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Old 05-13-20, 10:51 AM
  #16  
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I have a Dahon Speed Uno, which is a single speed with coaster brake set up. Here is why it rules -

1. Weather might get ****ty and I might have to take the train or an uber (it folds up)

2. ****ty neighborhood, dont wanna lock the bike up (it folds)

3. I want to ride a bike when im on my business trip, or in my case touring with a rock band (I have the TERN luggage piece that it fits into, delta doesnt bat an eye, I check it and roll)

4. Lastly the coaster brake is mostly a pain in the ass and potentially dangerous BUT if you bike in city traffic in bike lanes etc, its awesome to have at slower speeds so you can keep one hand free.

Cheers! John
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Old 05-13-20, 07:17 PM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
I use the Dahon more like a mini velo, rarely fold it - but the Dahon mini velos have a higher step over and I like it low.
Yep, the minivelo market in the US is limited and even more so if you're looking for a lower step thru/over. I'm really grateful I found one at a bargain. It makes me really paranoid about theft even though the financial investment is really minimal. I fret that finding a replacement would be difficult.
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Old 05-14-20, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by @johnoliva1 View Post
I have a Dahon Speed Uno, which is a single speed with coaster brake set up. Here is why it rules -

1. Weather might get ****ty and I might have to take the train or an uber (it folds up)

2. ****ty neighborhood, dont wanna lock the bike up (it folds)

3. I want to ride a bike when im on my business trip, or in my case touring with a rock band (I have the TERN luggage piece that it fits into, delta doesnt bat an eye, I check it and roll)

4. Lastly the coaster brake is mostly a pain in the ass and potentially dangerous BUT if you bike in city traffic in bike lanes etc, its awesome to have at slower speeds so you can keep one hand free.

Cheers! John
I appreciate the coaster brake on my Mu when it rains! No grit rubbing the rims, lol.
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Old 05-17-20, 04:10 PM
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I have 4 bikes; all folders.

1 easy to store at home/work
2 easy to bring inside stores/restaurants/museums/dr's office/etc
3 easy to bring when travelling by plane/boat/train/car/bus
Office parking 2017 by 1nterceptor, on Flickr
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Old 05-29-20, 11:54 AM
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hell yeah!
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Old 05-29-20, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
I appreciate the coaster brake on my Mu when it rains! No grit rubbing the rims, lol.
hell yeah!
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Old 06-05-20, 08:37 PM
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I bought mine when I was traveling and away from home for a month at a time, Montague Paratrooper.
Now, I keep it in the trunk, for those times when I leave work and can spare a little time to ride.
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Old 06-12-20, 03:53 AM
  #23  
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I bought mine for the convenience of air travel using a standard sized suitcase vs. larger bike box. Plus it looks cool and is definitely unique in my stable.

Keith
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