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folding bike versus road bike

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folding bike versus road bike

Old 10-31-20, 12:53 AM
  #1  
thesongs
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folding bike versus road bike

I'm thinking of possibly buying a folding bike. It would be nice to have a bike that I could take with me when traveling or take on the train etc. Currently I own a road bike. I'm wondering what are the downsides of a folding bike. Everyone seems to say that a folding bike rides as fast a road bike. I imagine that road bikes have advantage when it comes to aerodynamics, how well its wheels absorb shock, its maneurability?
In short, I'd like to know the pros and cons of folding bikes? It'd be great to hear the opinion of someone that's experiences both.
Just a bit about myself, though I enjoy riding fast, riding just a little faster doesn't really do much for me. I don't race and ride (for fun) but on my way somewhere usually around bumpy city roads or sometimes do 37 km (one way) longer commutes.

Last edited by thesongs; 10-31-20 at 12:56 AM.
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Old 10-31-20, 02:15 AM
  #2  
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I ride both and its almost every Sunday I will ride one with road bike groups. (Sat is w/ the road bike)
The folding bike is slower at top speed with the realities of gearing, and smaller wheels being more susceptible to road imperfections (especially for high pressure tires) and that many more rpm does mean that the inefficiencies get multiplied with every wheel/gear rotation.
On a fast section, I'll hit 55kph on a 700c bike while the mini velo about 43kph.
On a flat section of 10km, the road bike does 36-37kph and the 32-33kph. (and I feel that I have more energy left after that with the road bike )


If you want a road bike that breaks down for travel, consider one with the Ritchey breakaway system or a folding bike like Change, Montague.
The latter two will be heavier with the fold mechanism while the former will be negligible in weight (adds about 150gm to a bike frame)

This is one of my bikes with the breakaway system
Quest for N=1 Waltly Custom Titanium breakaway all road bike

Change Bike 650b (there are also 26" and 700c versions)
Change Bike 650B
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Old 10-31-20, 03:47 AM
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There is a big variety of folding bikes, some are faster than others and behave closer to road bike than others.

Its not possible to generalize the performances and behavior of folding bikes.

They have a wide variety of geometry, type of transmission, type of wheels and tires...

Brands like Tyrell and Bike Friday have folding bikes with performances quite close to road bikes.

Last edited by Jipe; 10-31-20 at 03:50 AM.
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Old 10-31-20, 09:47 AM
  #4  
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If you really love your road bike and wishes to get a small folding bike with 20" wheels and feels quite like a road bike, your only option is Pacific Reach.

There are advantages to 20" wheels being significantly quicker in accelerating and braking and they are more aerodynamic than 700c wheels.

If your folding bike allows you to hunker down aero like your road bike then aerodynamics value is just the same.
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Old 10-31-20, 03:24 PM
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As said, there are other options:




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Old 10-31-20, 05:18 PM
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For many years I've ridden a Bike Friday Air Friday folding bike with 20" (ETRTO 451) wheels, a custom steel Steve Rex road bike with Bicycle Torque Couplers that lets the main triangle disassemble for packing into a travel case, an old-style 26"-wheel Specialized Stumpjumper MTB originally with rigid forks but with Rockshox Judy suspension fork added later, and a titanium/carbon Colnago CT-1 road bike. (Also a 3-speed Brompton 16" commuter bike, which I've on a couple of occasions ridden in hilly parts of San Francisco.)

A folding bike has moving parts in its structure to allow folding. That makes the bike inherently less rigid. My first reaction riding the Air Friday when I haven't been on it for a while is, "Do I have a flat tire?", because it feels just that tiny bit "squishy" compared to the Colnago or even the Rex, and it feels a tad numb carving down switchbacks. That said, I've ridden granfondi in the Italian Dolomites on the Friday and done OK in my age class, and my fastest (coasting) descent speed ever was on the Friday: 56 mph down Bonny Doon Rd. in Santa Cruz Co. California.
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Old 10-31-20, 07:38 PM
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Airnimal has 2 models that are more road bikes than folders, but fold for mass transit and also fit in a suitcase for flying.
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Old 11-01-20, 04:07 AM
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Yes, Airnimal has also race folding bikes.

Now, the question is what to do with a folding race bike ?

Race: whatever is done, a folding race bike will have lower performances than an high end race bike. People doing race cycling use special cases to carry their race bike partly dismounted.

Travel: such race folding bikes aren't suited for traveling: no possibility to carry anything, low maximum allowed weight, narrow road tires...

Doing some leisure rides with friends living far away from home/abroad is for me the only remaining use case.

But how many people need a folding bike for that ? Much less than commuting people, people living in a small apartment/house with no storage for a bike... so the market is very small.
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Old 11-01-20, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Jipe View Post
Yes, Airnimal has also race folding bikes.

Now, the question is what to do with a folding race bike ?

Race: whatever is done, a folding race bike will have lower performances than an high end race bike. People doing race cycling use special cases to carry their race bike partly dismounted.

Travel: such race folding bikes aren't suited for traveling: no possibility to carry anything, low maximum allowed weight, narrow road tires...

Doing some leisure rides with friends living far away from home/abroad is for me the only remaining use case.

But how many people need a folding bike for that ? Much less than commuting people, people living in a small apartment/house with no storage for a bike... so the market is very small.
My feedback was based on the Ops initial post. What is different about a folder from a road bike. I have lots of folders with each serving a specific purpose, but the one that is a road bike that just happens to fold is the Airnimal. It's not a racing bike, just a road bike. It is such a capable road bike that my cannondale remains hanging in the garage.

Is it a a commuter or folder. Yes to both. When travel was happening it came on the train and plane with me (regular large suitcase) and they do have pannier and rack options, I just choose a backpack for that bike.

My point for the OP, is you don't have to compromise...some models give you everything that you want. Bike Friday is another brand people like. In the end if the ride leaves you smiling then you chose the right bike.
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Old 11-01-20, 09:42 AM
  #10  
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Kayakindude showed his Airnimal above, his is the Chameleon. My Airnimal is the Joey.

The Joey is more of a commuter type, mine is an older version, now you can fit a front derailleur on them but my bike pre-dated that change, I have a Sram Dual Drive (no longer made) rear hub for wider gearing.




I notice a bit of flex in the seatpost riser and seatpost, also some flex in the stem riser. At first it bothered me but after several hundred miles I got used to it. Does this have a ride like my road bike and is it as fast? No, but it is pretty close to as good as my road bike for ride and speed.

Lacking low rider mounts on the fork, it would be difficult to tour on the Joey, but there is nothing stopping you from putting a rear rack with panniers on it. Shorter chainstays would mean you have to set the panniers a bit further aft to avoid heel strike, but there are plenty of people that have toured on their Airnimal bikes.

I built mine with 507 wheels, I think Kayakindude has 520 wheels, those are both 24 inch wheel sizes.

Mine can quickly fold if the train or bus has generous space criteria for carry on bikes, I can remove the stem extender to separate the handlebars from the bike and lower the seatpost, but I did not bother to do that when I carried it into my motel room, photo below.




But with 24 inch wheels it takes as much time to pack my folder into a 62 inch case for airline travel as my S&S bike takes, so the Joey is not ideal for airline travel. The Bike Friday would be a better airline folder.




Or, if you want to have a full size bike that you can pack into an airline sized (62 inch) case, instead of folding you can buy an S&S coupled bike or as noted above a Ritchey Break Away bike. Photo of my S&S coupled bike below in the case for airline travel, this bike has 26 inch wheels and Rohloff hub for heavy duty touring.

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Old 11-01-20, 11:58 AM
  #11  
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https://www.bikefriday.com/folding-b...cket-road-bike

Custom built to fit you, components per your specifications. USA handmade.
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Old 11-01-20, 04:33 PM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Kayakindude showed his Airnimal above, his is the Chameleon. My Airnimal is the Joey.

The Joey is more of a commuter type, mine is an older version, now you can fit a front derailleur on them but my bike pre-dated that change, I have a Sram Dual Drive (no longer made) rear hub for wider gearing.




I notice a bit of flex in the seatpost riser and seatpost, also some flex in the stem riser. At first it bothered me but after several hundred miles I got used to it. Does this have a ride like my road bike and is it as fast? No, but it is pretty close to as good as my road bike for ride and speed.

Lacking low rider mounts on the fork, it would be difficult to tour on the Joey, but there is nothing stopping you from putting a rear rack with panniers on it. Shorter chainstays would mean you have to set the panniers a bit further aft to avoid heel strike, but there are plenty of people that have toured on their Airnimal bikes.

I built mine with 507 wheels, I think Kayakindude has 520 wheels, those are both 24 inch wheel sizes.

Mine can quickly fold if the train or bus has generous space criteria for carry on bikes, I can remove the stem extender to separate the handlebars from the bike and lower the seatpost, but I did not bother to do that when I carried it into my motel room, photo below.




But with 24 inch wheels it takes as much time to pack my folder into a 62 inch case for airline travel as my S&S bike takes, so the Joey is not ideal for airline travel. The Bike Friday would be a better airline folder.
That's the problem with these folders: they do not fold as small as some other folders.

Even the 20"wheels Tyrell FSX with folding fork I showed (forget the gorgeous titanium Tyrell XF: limited edition and.. 12KUSD) measure 87 x 79 x 35cm folded quite big to carry.



The previously mentioned Pacific Cycles Reach measure 99cm x 21cm x 60cm folded and like for the Airnimal the front wheel must be removed from the fork.


The Bike Friday Pocket Rocket measure 86x83x31 cm folded.

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Old 11-01-20, 04:59 PM
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I'm still torn between getting a Pacific Cycles Reach (STD) or an Airnimal Joey (commuter). I could not find the dimensions of the Joey in "first fold". Does anybody know those ? Also any advice on how to choose between the two would be awesome as I keep flip flopping (would like to be able to hop on local trains for day rides) !
(Also any advice on if a child seat could be used on either would be very useful).
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Old 11-01-20, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Jipe View Post
That's the problem with these folders: they do not fold as small as some other folders.
OP says he wants a "road" bike he can take on trips. Not all folders are designed for the same purpose, as you know. My Bike Friday pakiT is designed for multi-modal transport, lots of public transportation - and works well for me for that. But it's not intended as a full-fledged touring bike. The BF Pocket Rockets are designed to pack in a suitcase for travel and ride just like a great road bike. They're not intended for folding to jump on and off transit and such. And while folks have actually toured with the pakiT, and PR owners have actually used them in cities to fold and jump on transit, it's a compromise you make for the intended benefits of the bike. There actually is no "road bike" that folds compactly and ticks all the boxes on the market, just a few nice bikes that tick MOST of the boxes. Everyone prioritizes those boxes differently.
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Old 11-01-20, 05:15 PM
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MSN can provide the Joey dimensions though I imagine that it is close to the Chameleon. As for bringing it on a train I did it daily. I don't break my folders down to just before/after riding a train so size doesn't matter to me. I think a subway would be more of an issue.

In a suitcase...

On a train...


I would say the biggest difference between this and my Dahon is range. I would often jump off a stop or two early just to get on the airnimal and air it out after a long day of work.
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Old 11-02-20, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Jipe View Post
That's the problem with these folders: they do not fold as small as some other folders.
..
That comment was in reference to my Airnimal Joey.

A folding bike is a compromise between ridability and portability/compactness. Airnimal when I bought my frame to build up made no strong claim to portability, they were mostly touting how nice it rides, much like a full size bike. So, on the scale of portability to ridability, Airnimal focused more on the ridable end of the spectrum. I do not see that as a problem. If I wanted to emphasize portability more, I would have bought a folder with 20 inch wheels.


Originally Posted by un.passant View Post
I'm still torn between getting a Pacific Cycles Reach (STD) or an Airnimal Joey (commuter). I could not find the dimensions of the Joey in "first fold". Does anybody know those ? Also any advice on how to choose between the two would be awesome as I keep flip flopping (would like to be able to hop on local trains for day rides) !
(Also any advice on if a child seat could be used on either would be very useful).
My Joey is packed away. I do not want to spend a lot of time digging it out if you only had a mild curiosity, have you done an internet search on this or contacted the manufacturer?

The photo of mine above that was leaning against the wall in a motel room, I could have collapsed the seatpost down so that the saddle would be just above the quick release. And there is a quick release on the stem extender or steerer tube extender (aluminum color) just above the headset, that can be disconnected at that point. Under that extender there is some more steerer tube and another fitting that extends above the frame about 3 inches in height. Height wise when standing up, that 3 inch section above the headset would be the highest point.

Keep in mind that my Joey is a decade and a half old, they may have made changes since that impact size when folded that I am not aware of, my Joey is the only one I have ever seen, not counting photos.

I bought my Joey as a frame and fork, it has rim brakes, I think they now only are available with disc brake mounts. I could have fitted 520 or 507 wheels, I chose 507. It has normal 100mm front hub and a 135mm rear hub, standard bottom bracket and crankset. Thus, the drive train is a full size bike drive train, other than wheel size.
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Old 11-02-20, 10:17 AM
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One more note on the Airnimal Joey, I built mine up with drop bars, but I usually see that bike in magazine reviews with flat bars. When folded, flat bars would be much more compact and portable. If I had built that up with a goal of riding it to and from a train station for commuting, I would have used flat bars instead of drop bars to make it easier to collapse it down for mass transit.
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Old 11-02-20, 04:25 PM
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I also looked at the Airnimal website searching for the folded size and didn't find it. Pacific Cycles provides the folded size for all models.

If the folded size is important, I think that the Chameleon is smaller folded than the Joey because due to a different design and rear suspension, the main frame of the Chameleon is shorter than the main frame of the Joey ?

But the ETRTO 520 wheels is a real problem: I had a bike with this wheel size and there are very few tires available in ETRTO 520 most of them narrow tires very difficult to find/buy (I could only find the only ETRTO 520 type from Schwalbe the old Durano 23x520 now replaced by the One 23x520, one type from Panaracer the Pasela 25x520, one from Terry the Tellus 32x520 and one MTB tire from Specialized which is now discontinued).

There is more choice in ETRTO507 but only wider tires, don't know if they fit on the Chameleon ?

Anyway, what I learned from my experience with a ETRT520 wheeled bike is to absolutely avoid "exotic" wheel sizes like ETRTO520, ETRTO540, ETRTO541, ETRTO369, ETRTO451 and even ETRTO571 !

Last edited by Jipe; 11-02-20 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 11-02-20, 04:57 PM
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pinholecam thanks for the detailed answer. I didn't even know there were things like breakaway systems. Fascinating~
I guess the fact that smaller wheels are more susceptible to road imperfections come from the smaller rims with shorter spokes that absorb less shock?
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Old 11-02-20, 05:11 PM
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@kayakindude how big are those Airnimal tires? Are they a custom size?
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Old 11-02-20, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by thesongs View Post
@kayakindude how big are those Airnimal tires? Are they a custom size?
Hello they are 520 or 24x1. I've had no issues with tires and ordered these last year.

As for the Joey...this might give you a good idea on the dimensions:

https://www.perennialcycle.com/first-fold-bag.html

Last edited by kayakindude; 11-02-20 at 05:40 PM.
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Old 11-03-20, 03:42 AM
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Schwalbe discontinued the Durano this year and replaced them by the new Schwalbe One.

There is a new Schwalbe One tube type in 23x520.

Its like the previous Durano 23x520 a high pressure (6-10bar) narrow road tire.

On my previous ETRTO 520 bike I was also mainly using the Durano not because l like it but because it is the easiest to buy tire in ETRTO 520.
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Old 11-03-20, 05:14 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by thesongs View Post
In short, I'd like to know the pros and cons of folding bikes?
Find one, try one.
And I suspect we are all still learning the pros and cons.



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Old 11-04-20, 07:00 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by thesongs View Post
pinholecam thanks for the detailed answer. I didn't even know there were things like breakaway systems. Fascinating~
I guess the fact that smaller wheels are more susceptible to road imperfections come from the smaller rims with shorter spokes that absorb less shock?
\

Here is a review of the Ritchey Breakaway Carbon.
https://www.bikeradar.com/reviews/bi...carbon-review/

Small wheels with narrow high pressure tires will have less surface contact, steeper angle of approach to bumps, less roll over ability. Add to that the short spokes which will have less compliance (but stronger).
Thats not to ding the small wheeled bike, just the tradeoffs with it to get to a good portable size.
It gets into trains, buses, cars, planes with less hassle than full sized bikes.
It accelerates much better.
Its got gear range that is really rather practical for most uses, while the road bike gearing can be over/under gears to one end of the spectrum.
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Old 11-04-20, 11:30 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Jipe View Post
I also looked at the Airnimal website searching for the folded size and didn't find it. Pacific Cycles provides the folded size for all models.
...
I might be able to dig my Joey out later today to give you a measurement since it sounds like you are serious on wanting this info.

Too many times, someone on this forum asks for info, I spend quite a bit of time digging it out and writing a lengthy response and then they either do not comment later or they say, no longer interested but thanks anyway. I was just trying to avoid a re-iteration of wasting a lot of time again. But sounds like you really are looking for this.

My Joey, I mentioned that I have 507 tires. The Joey could be built up with either 507 or 520.

Again, mine is a decade and a half old, rim brake version, they have made changes. I once bought a set of 24X1.75 tires and the rear was too wide to fit in the frame, I think that after I bought mine that Airnimal changed the chainstays to take a wider tire but on that I am not sure. You really should check with Airnimal on tire sizes for the Joey to find out if a 24X1.75 fits, look at the photos on their website to see what tires they use, etc. A 24X1.75 is fairly common compared to a 24X1.5.

When I bought mine, Schwalbe made 24X1.5 Marathon tire that I bought, that fit, but Schwalbe stopped making that tire size soon after. Later I bought some of these in 24X1.5 to keep on the shelf, thus I have several year supply of tires.
https://veetireco.com/product/bmx-speedster/

Since most years I put less than a few hundred miles on my Joey, and I am retired I likely have a lifetime supply of tires for the Joey. (Yesterday I put 70 miles on my Lynskey, the Joey is ridden much less often.)
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