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Downtube folding bike

Old 05-30-06, 12:46 PM
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ebay

Not that I am an Ebay expert; but in my experience, the bidding pattern described earlier is quite common.

-G
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Old 05-31-06, 07:47 AM
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Hey Yan, couple of questions regarding the new model and the S-A hub you're using:

1. What is the dropout spacing on the rear wheel now, is it still in the 135mm neighborhood? I ask because I'm checking out some of these hubs and many of them appear to mention a 170 mm axle length.

2. To your knowledge, would it be possible to upgrade my 2005 DT (non-FS) with one of the new S-A hubs or a Shimano Nexus (7?). The bike has vertical dropouts, not horizontal.

3. The new bike seems to have horizontal dropouts. Would this be an unreasonable request for future models, in case customers wanted to muck around with them after-market and change them to single speeds, fixed-gear or internal hubs? If it were on a derailleur model, would it make the wheel unreasonably difficult to remove?

Thanks
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Old 05-31-06, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by bookishboy
Hey Yan, couple of questions regarding the new model and the S-A hub you're using:

1. What is the dropout spacing on the rear wheel now, is it still in the 135mm neighborhood? I ask because I'm checking out some of these hubs and many of them appear to mention a 170 mm axle length.

2. To your knowledge, would it be possible to upgrade my 2005 DT (non-FS) with one of the new S-A hubs or a Shimano Nexus (7?). The bike has vertical dropouts, not horizontal.


3. The new bike seems to have horizontal dropouts. Would this be an unreasonable request for future models, in case customers wanted to muck around with them after-market and change them to single speeds, fixed-gear or internal hubs? If it were on a derailleur model, would it make the wheel unreasonably difficult to remove?

Thanks
Answers are numbered:
#1 We will use the Sturmey Archer 155mm axle length hub for the VIIIH bikes. Please see the specs at https://www.sturmey-archer.com/hubs_8spd_XRF8.php

#2 You will need a chain tensioner, see info and pics at https://www.sheldonbrown.com/singlespeed.html

#3 In the near future we plan to continue with vertical dropouts for geared bikes and horizontal for single speed/internal hub bikes. I believe this production model has proved itself optimal for the mainstream market, over 90% of our competitors bikes follow this model. However I am looking to solve usability issues (so one can go from a derailleur to a fixed gear system quickly).... hopefully we will be able to solve your problem soon.

Thanks,
Yan

Last edited by downtube; 06-01-06 at 04:53 AM.
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Old 06-04-06, 10:39 AM
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The wheels of my old Raleigh 10 speed lady's clunker were stolen just over a week ago as my bike was locked to my front porch as usual. I've spent the last week trying to figure out how to get a bike more suited to my needs and have settled on a folder as I would prefer to keep my bike inside. After many searches and a lot of reading, including this entire thread, it seems that for many reasons, I'm leaning towards a Downtube.

I would like to know if the Downtube can roll easily on its wheels when folded, but my biggest question is wrt the FS version vs. the internal hub of the VIIIH. I am about 5'6", 115 pounds and intend to use the bicycle primarily in the city of Montreal, which is quite hilly in parts and with roads that are generally fairly damaged by the severe winters. I don't do much in the way of bike repairs/maintenance myself, so I really appreciate trouble free.

Any comments would be appreciated.

Anna
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Old 06-04-06, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by matucanna
The wheels of my old Raleigh 10 speed lady's clunker were stolen just over a week ago as my bike was locked to my front porch as usual. I've spent the last week trying to figure out how to get a bike more suited to my needs and have settled on a folder as I would prefer to keep my bike inside. After many searches and a lot of reading, including this entire thread, it seems that for many reasons, I'm leaning towards a Downtube.

I would like to know if the Downtube can roll easily on its wheels when folded, but my biggest question is wrt the FS version vs. the internal hub of the VIIIH. I am about 5'6", 115 pounds and intend to use the bicycle primarily in the city of Montreal, which is quite hilly in parts and with roads that are generally fairly damaged by the severe winters. I don't do much in the way of bike repairs/maintenance myself, so I really appreciate trouble free.

Any comments would be appreciated.

Anna
Anna, I struggled with the same problem and ended up choosing to go with the VIIIH. My reasoning being that the internal hub would keep grease from getting on my hands and in the car and require less maintenance, and if the ride was too harsh I could always go to a sprung saddle. And if that wasn't comfy enough, I'd add a thudbuster (https://www.thudbuster.com/). Like you, my riding is mostly on paved streets.
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Old 06-04-06, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by matucanna
The wheels of my old Raleigh 10 speed lady's clunker were stolen just over a week ago as my bike was locked to my front porch as usual. I've spent the last week trying to figure out how to get a bike more suited to my needs and have settled on a folder as I would prefer to keep my bike inside. After many searches and a lot of reading, including this entire thread, it seems that for many reasons, I'm leaning towards a Downtube.

I would like to know if the Downtube can roll easily on its wheels when folded, but my biggest question is wrt the FS version vs. the internal hub of the VIIIH. I am about 5'6", 115 pounds and intend to use the bicycle primarily in the city of Montreal, which is quite hilly in parts and with roads that are generally fairly damaged by the severe winters. I don't do much in the way of bike repairs/maintenance myself, so I really appreciate trouble free.

Any comments would be appreciated.

Anna
Anna,

The Downtube can roll on it's wheels while folded (best to keep the handlebar unfolded). My girlfriend is 5'6" 125lbs and she prefers the ride of the FS. The full suspesnion is amazingly durable and will ride smoother in bad/broken roads.

We just got delivery of new 9sp FS bikes which have an 11-32 cassette with a 48T front ring.

Thanks,
Yan
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Old 06-04-06, 04:18 PM
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Thank you Woofman and Yan,

That's great news that it can roll while folded! I'd read somewhere that the Brompton could, but it was almost implied that others couldn't, so I began to wonder. I confess that I'm sure what you told me about the 11-32 cassette with a 48T front ring is meaningful, and probably should suggest to me that it's a particularly good choice for my size and needs, but I'm not sure. Is that the FS that is currently at your on-line store, Yan, the VIII FS? Or is it the one on eBay, the IX FS - the one that seems to be a lot more expensive and is that why? Maybe someone would be so kind as to explain what the difference is and if it would be significant to me? I'm beginning to think that perhaps the full suspension would be best for me, and I hope that lack of an internal hub won't be too big a bother ... but is Woofman right that by adding a sprung saddle or a Thudbuster that the VIIIH would ride quite smoothly as well?

Thank you,

Anna
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Old 06-04-06, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by matucanna
Thank you Woofman and Yan,

That's great news that it can roll while folded! I'd read somewhere that the Brompton could, but it was almost implied that others couldn't, so I began to wonder. I confess that I'm sure what you told me about the 11-32 cassette with a 48T front ring is meaningful, and probably should suggest to me that it's a particularly good choice for my size and needs, but I'm not sure. Is that the FS that is currently at your on-line store, Yan, the VIII FS? Or is it the one on eBay, the IX FS - the one that seems to be a lot more expensive and is that why? Maybe someone would be so kind as to explain what the difference is and if it would be significant to me? I'm beginning to think that perhaps the full suspension would be best for me, and I hope that lack of an internal hub won't be too big a bother ... but is Woofman right that by adding a sprung saddle or a Thudbuster that the VIIIH would ride quite smoothly as well?

Thank you,

Anna
Anna,

Dahon's can also roll while folded (again this is best with the handlebar unfolded). Sorry about the confusing bike jargon. Translated into english: it means the low gear is lower than the current 8sp and the high hear is higher. In other words you will be able to climb hills easier, and ride faster on the downhills!

The ebay IX's are current only posted for UK buyers, we recieved our first UK shipment a few weeks ago. The pricing is crazy high due to EU tariffs. I paid more in tariffs than I did for the bikes. I believe the tax rate was near 120% (US tax rate is 11%). I will post the IX bikes on our website tommorow.

The H bikes are also very comfortable, due to the front suspension fork and rear sprung saddle. You will be happy with either bike.

Thanks,
Yan

Last edited by downtube; 06-04-06 at 05:19 PM.
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Old 06-04-06, 05:40 PM
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You have nothing but good news, Yan - that definitely sounds like a significant improvement and thank you for the explanation!

And what a relief that those prices only apply in the UK! I'm also glad to hear that they'll be up at your site tomorrow. I feel so distracted when I have to make a decision like this, especially with no bike to go for a ride on and wanting to get one on its way asap. I'll be looking forward to checking out the IXs tomorrow!

Thanks,

Anna
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Old 06-05-06, 09:07 AM
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Anna, don't expect the DT to pull behind you like a suitcase. When you fold the front wheel against the rear, nothing holds them together except for the bungie cord (Yan kindly includes one). Because of the way the the forks sit next to one another, they can wiggle around a bit, and make it difficult to roll.

Also, when the bike is folded, it balances upright best when you "nose-in" the front wheel against the rear.... the two wheels at separate angles makes it difficult if what you want to do is pull the bike, set it down, pull it some more (like waiting at an airport or a train-station).

If you really want something you can pull behind you like luggage, the best I've seen is a Brompton or Merc with front briefcase (becomes the towing handle) and rear rack with rollers. For this you'll wind up paying anywhere between 2.5 to 4 times as much as the Downtube though, depending on which models and accessories you'll be getting.

Hills: The gearing on my DT at least seems very capable for different types of terrain. In 1st or 2nd gear, most hills seem silly easy. I'm not in SanFrancisco, though . Most time is spent in 5th or 6th gear.

Hub vs Derailleur: I'd have gotten an internal hub design, if they were available at the time I was shopping. The easier maintenance is a big plus. Don't forget that a derailleur on a folding bike is probably subject to more daily dangers than on a full-sized bike: The 20" wheels make it hang closer to the ground, and any road hazards. Also, if your folding bike is being put in a car trunk, under a desk, stuck between train seats, etc.... then it's more prone towards getting knocked about, and bent out of alignment.

Suspension: The FS versions of the Downtube do seem to be a very soft ride. I've ridden them in a parking lot only, not anything extended on cracked pavement or off-pavement. The VIIIH seems to have a Zoom suspension, similiar to the VIII (non-FS) that I have. I've been riding this bike regularly for a couple of months, mostly on pavement, but have taken it on several rides through state park trails.... gravelly dirt mostly. The bike held up quite well, and any soreness I attribute to being out of shape rather than to the bike. My money would go for the low-maintenance aspects of the internal hub, rather than the extra suspension of the FS model. The FS model doesn't have attachment points for racks or fenders either, which limits you to a seatpost-attached rack, and clip-on fenders if you want them (can make a difference if you bike to work or in all-weather). You should decide based on your own priorities though.

If you're going to be taking the bike on rides longer than 10 miles regularly, and the rodes won't be great, I would recommend upgrading the seat or seatpost (a Thudbuster or other suspension post, or a Brooks saddle) and some extra padding on the bar-ends (had some slight hand-numbness from the bumpy trails).

Best of luck making your decision; post some pics when you get a bike
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Old 06-05-06, 05:56 PM
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Folding

I recently purchased a white VIIIFS through Ebay. Great bike; it really soaks up any road/sidewalk irregularities. Nice tires; I was a little concerned a fully suspended bike might come with mountain style tires.

Although my current folder weighs about 38 lbs., an older "Dahon" Tailwind 600 EXP, it folds compactly. Anyone have any tips or tricks to get my Downtube more compact when folded? It would be appreciated. I travel to DC via train 2x per week. Not worried about carrying it anywhere just taking onto the train. Once off train, I unfold and walk my bike through the station. Also, DC Metro allows bikes into their cars. A cover requirement is not enforced on train. If needed, I will rig a quick slip cover vs. spending time sqeezing the bike into and out of its bag + folding bag.
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Old 06-05-06, 06:47 PM
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Did I see mention of a 16" wheel Downtube somewhere? Is this a new bike coming and is there any pictures if the above answer is yes?

Kenal0
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Old 06-05-06, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Gman.
I recently purchased a white VIIIFS through Ebay. Great bike; it really soaks up any road/sidewalk irregularities. Nice tires; I was a little concerned a fully suspended bike might come with mountain style tires.

Although my current folder weighs about 38 lbs., an older "Dahon" Tailwind 600 EXP, it folds compactly. Anyone have any tips or tricks to get my Downtube more compact when folded? It would be appreciated. I travel to DC via train 2x per week. Not worried about carrying it anywhere just taking onto the train. Once off train, I unfold and walk my bike through the station. Also, DC Metro allows bikes into their cars. A cover requirement is not enforced on train. If needed, I will rig a quick slip cover vs. spending time sqeezing the bike into and out of its bag + folding bag.
I have 2 hints:

1. Change the stem angle closer to 60 degrees (as opposed to 0 degrees). This should keep the stem from "sticking out"
2. Rotate the bottom part of the stem 180 degrees. This will allow the stem to fold between the frame, giving a better fold.

Thanks,
Yan
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Old 06-05-06, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Kenal0
Did I see mention of a 16" wheel Downtube somewhere? Is this a new bike coming and is there any pictures if the above answer is yes?

Kenal0
I am getting 50 of these in about 2 weeks. See attached pics.

Thanks,
Yan
Attached Images
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MiniStanding.jpg (22.8 KB, 126 views)
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Old 06-05-06, 08:20 PM
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When will they be for sale? Will they be on your website and what will be the price?
They look pretty cool.

Kenal0
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Old 06-05-06, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Kenal0
When will they be for sale? Will they be on your website and what will be the price?
They look pretty cool.

Kenal0
I will wait until they arrive to post on the site. We just started backordering the H bikes, adding the mini's could cause some backorder problems. Price is not set, however it will should be around $390ish.

Thanks,
Yan
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Old 06-06-06, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by bookishboy
Anna, don't expect the DT to pull behind you like a suitcase. When you fold the front wheel against the rear, nothing holds them together except for the bungie cord (Yan kindly includes one). Because of the way the the forks sit next to one another, they can wiggle around a bit, and make it difficult to roll.

Also, when the bike is folded, it balances upright best when you "nose-in" the front wheel against the rear.... the two wheels at separate angles makes it difficult if what you want to do is pull the bike, set it down, pull it some more (like waiting at an airport or a train-station).

If you really want something you can pull behind you like luggage, the best I've seen is a Brompton or Merc with front briefcase (becomes the towing handle) and rear rack with rollers. For this you'll wind up paying anywhere between 2.5 to 4 times as much as the Downtube though, depending on which models and accessories you'll be getting.

Hills: The gearing on my DT at least seems very capable for different types of terrain. In 1st or 2nd gear, most hills seem silly easy. I'm not in SanFrancisco, though . Most time is spent in 5th or 6th gear.

Hub vs Derailleur: I'd have gotten an internal hub design, if they were available at the time I was shopping. The easier maintenance is a big plus. Don't forget that a derailleur on a folding bike is probably subject to more daily dangers than on a full-sized bike: The 20" wheels make it hang closer to the ground, and any road hazards. Also, if your folding bike is being put in a car trunk, under a desk, stuck between train seats, etc.... then it's more prone towards getting knocked about, and bent out of alignment.

Suspension: The FS versions of the Downtube do seem to be a very soft ride. I've ridden them in a parking lot only, not anything extended on cracked pavement or off-pavement. The VIIIH seems to have a Zoom suspension, similiar to the VIII (non-FS) that I have. I've been riding this bike regularly for a couple of months, mostly on pavement, but have taken it on several rides through state park trails.... gravelly dirt mostly. The bike held up quite well, and any soreness I attribute to being out of shape rather than to the bike. My money would go for the low-maintenance aspects of the internal hub, rather than the extra suspension of the FS model. The FS model doesn't have attachment points for racks or fenders either, which limits you to a seatpost-attached rack, and clip-on fenders if you want them (can make a difference if you bike to work or in all-weather). You should decide based on your own priorities though.

If you're going to be taking the bike on rides longer than 10 miles regularly, and the rodes won't be great, I would recommend upgrading the seat or seatpost (a Thudbuster or other suspension post, or a Brooks saddle) and some extra padding on the bar-ends (had some slight hand-numbness from the bumpy trails).

Best of luck making your decision; post some pics when you get a bike
Thank you very much, Bookishboy, for taking the time to give me such a thorough reply! I noticed your post just as I began to finalize my decision and pre-book my VIIIH. If I'd had any doubts, your post erased them completely! I'm now waiting as patiently as I can for its June 24th arrival and shipping to me and then riding it! )

I had a feeling from the pics of folded Downtubes that they might wiggle a bit compared to the folded Brompton pics, but I'd never even thought about buying a Brompton because of the price. I find it hard to believe that I hadn't come across Merc in my searches, but I just did, and found this great "A to B' magazine's Folding Bicycles - a Buyer's Guide link that probably everyone here knows about already but https://www.atob.org.uk/Buyers'_Guide.html and it really has nothing good to say about Merc. How long do you think it will take before they list Downtube?! I was thinking mostly of going to things like the Jazz Festival with my bicycle. I wouldn't like to lock it up but hope that it wouldn't be too difficult to wander around with it in a more compact size (not rush for a train, for example). I'll have to wait until next year to check that out, as I'm pretty sure that it will not be here in time for this year's. Hmmm ... June 29th to July 9th this year ... we'll see!

We have a few long steep hills in Montreal (that 'Mont' is in there for a reason), but I don't know how it compares with SF's. I'm sure that you're in better shape than I'm in (especially after a very long winter), but I'm not too worried about the hills. I'm used to riding MUCH heavier bikes, so the reduced weight alone will help. I also have no problem with getting off and walking it up the rest of a hill if necessary - I never forget the stories my father told about his cycling competitions days in pre-WWII Denmark - 10K, no gears, beginning at the bottom of a hill. He came in third twice (2 cups that I've seen) and first once and won a new bicycle with a special plaque ... all awarded by the King. Great stories for kids! Anyways, point being, he used to talk about how in training it was necessary to sometimes walk part of the way up a hill, and it was a good release for your leg muscles anyways. I'm actually glad that I'm going to have it shipped to Vermont because my dad lives just on the Canadian side - we used to cycle to Richford and back for fun as kids and got a real kick out of going through customs on our bicycles! I think he'll get a real kick out of checking out my new Downtube with its internal hub and foldability. Just wish he could take it for a test drive, but he stopped skiing within the last 5 or so years because his balance was going off, and is almost 85. We'll see.

I was a little surprised that Woofman and Yan didn't mention the virtues of the internal hub wrt the increased risks to the derailleur due to folding and storing (they probably considered that a given), which was something I'd wondered about. The hanging-closer-to-the-ground on 20" wheels is a factor I hadn't thought of.

As I wrote to Yan, your comments about the rack and fenders issue on the FS were the absolute clincher for my decision. I must have a rack and fenders. I've used my bicycle primarily for getting to work, doing errands and getting around in general - during the winter or bad weather I take the bus. I hope to find the time to do a bit more pleasure riding again, but I'm not sure when that will happen. My rides are not generally 10 milers! Yes, Woofman mentioned the Thudbuster too - they're expensive but it's good to know it's out there if needed!

I'll see what I can do about pics! Have you posted any of you and yours? It's hard to remember after reading all 13 pages within a few days!

Thanks again for your help!

Anna
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Old 06-06-06, 06:22 PM
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Folding Hints - Thanks Yan, Removable front fender for VIIIFS

Yan,
thanks for hints re folding my VIIIFS. Will post note re success.

Anyone, my utility bike, a Trek 3500 with hybrid style tires and folding baskets, is equiped with removable fenders. I have a temporary rear fender from an old mountain bike to use on my VIIIFS. It clamps to the seat post and will cover the rear wheel on my Downtube in wet conditions. It should work well. I have a removable front fender on my utility bike. It would work well for my VIIIFS but it is made for 26" wheels. Is a suitable temporary rain fender available? I did not buy the VIII but I would really like to be able to install temporary rain fender to front wheel of my VIIIFS. Please advise. Also, I am partial to having a kickstand. My bicyle shop can work out a solution for VIIIFS but why reinvent the wheel. What is solution you have come across, hardware to use?
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Old 06-06-06, 06:49 PM
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Hey Downtubers,

I've got a white VIIIFS. I'm going on my first plane trip since buying it. Is it crazy to take it on a 1200 mile trip on a commercial airplane in the bag that comes with it?

If it is crazy, anybody find a cheap suitcase that holds the DT?

Thanks,
Marc
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Old 06-06-06, 07:20 PM
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Cheap suitcase:

Break down bike as much as possible. Take off pedals, barends, wheels. Get scrap cardboard + duct tape. Tape together a box which meets airline requirements (62 linear inches, lXwXh). Put bike parts in box, pad with bubble wrap. Congratulate yourself on outsmarting the airlines on oversize charges.
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Old 06-07-06, 11:48 AM
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notes on airline travel

Certainly go with the cheap suitcase. You might want to check with the airline first regarding their regulations for bicycles and get a written copy of those regulations. There are plenty of anecdotal examples where the employee (including supervisors) are unaware of the actual policy. Be sure to bring those regulations to the check-in counter.

Below is a good website to check.

https://www.ibike.org/encouragement/travel/bagregs.htm

Here is another

https://www.gfonline.org/BikeAccess/Default.cfm?Index

-G

Last edited by invisiblehand; 06-07-06 at 12:14 PM.
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Old 06-07-06, 01:49 PM
  #322  
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Whatever you go DON’T say it is a bicycle!!!!! I can’t stress this enough. Most companies will surcharge you EVEN IF it fits in a airline legal suitcase. If asked say it is sporting goods equipment. I have pretty much given up on some suitcases except for packing a Brompton.

Any more I just use a duffel bag and pack stuff around it. It will always be undersized then and not scream bicycle. There is some risk to this but it is minimal. Just buy a good duffel bag and you should be set. It is much faster to pack than going through with major disassembly of the bike too. Just turn things a bit so they don’t poke out and tie the frame together after padding where it touches each other.

Last edited by Wavshrdr; 06-07-06 at 03:11 PM.
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Old 06-07-06, 02:34 PM
  #323  
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Re: airline counter interrogations
I now say the contents are an "alignment frame". True enough, it aligns front and rear wheels. So far, 100% success.
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Old 06-07-06, 03:13 PM
  #324  
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FYI- I just realized someone has somehow gotten my login info and password. I won't be posting anymore today or until I can get all my passwords changed. Anyone know how I can temporarily suspend my account? I just changed my password. Does anyone know if someone else has stored my login info in a cookie for this forum and I have changed my password that it will force them to try and login anew?

Last edited by Wavshrdr; 06-07-06 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 06-07-06, 04:20 PM
  #325  
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Don't know, Wav. I was wondering what happened with that other post of yours. It seemed almost as if you were attempting to juggle typing your post with an IM conversation with one of your kids. I'd say send Koffee or Joe G a PM, ask them if they can force a log-in for you for the next week regardless of cookies. Also, unless you're certain of which computer was compromised (maybe a public PC that you accidentally stayed logged-in?), see if they can help you to track down which IP address has been getting used to access your account.

Hey, while I've got you here, did you get my PM about that folding club you were talking about forming? Is it going forward? I hope I'm not getting passed over, sort of like the kid who always gets picked last for dodgeball in gym class.
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