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Ride quality differences between folders

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Ride quality differences between folders

Old 05-17-22, 12:43 PM
  #26  
mlau
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Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
For those of you that have had the opportunity to own and/or ride a variety of folders... how would you compare the ride quality between a Brompton, a Dahon (or that style of fold), a Bike Friday, and say, a mini-velo.


I've ridden a Brompton for almost a decade, and I love the fold and compactness, but lately, I'm feeling it's got just a little a bit too much flex or play. Not awful but it's been more noticeable lately. I'm wondering if a Dahon - particularly the mid-level models - might offer a bit more stiffness with its different fold. I'm interested in a more "supple" (referencing Path Less Pedaled) ride with larger tires, which of course, you cannot get on the Bromptons, but you can on a Dahon, a Bike Friday, or other folders. Lately, I've seen some positive reviews on a mini-velo, like the Velo Orange Neutrino, which seem to offer more latitude in terms of tires, better handling, etc. Also, I'm realizing that for the most part, unless I'm doing a lot of traveling, just the capacity to fold or being smaller to handle as opposed to the smallest fold possible might be sufficient.


Any commentary appreciated. Thanks.



Hey Ozonation,


I guess the question is: What do you want? How good is good enough? What tradeoffs are you willing to have?


FWIW, this is what I've tried: Pacific Carryme, Brompton M6r, Xootr Swift, a bunch of Dahons (the newer ones are way stiffer than old frames), and a Strida clone.

Pretty much every bike is stiffer than the Brompton (including the Carryme). Brompton has the best fold and luggage options...but only an okay ride (rides like a soggy English 3 speed).


Personally, for a pure bike, it's hard to beat the Xootr Swift.

The fold is very flat, and works great for behind a door. It's very stiff. Very versatile, and takes non-propietary parts. Not the greatest luggage options.

No fiddly parts to break.


If you're looking for the polar opposite of the Brompton, the Xootr Swift would be it.

Other bikes that look like it'll be in a similar vein: Moulton, Bike Friday (pocket rocket, lhama, etc), the Tyrell Ive, Mini-velos, the Airnimals, Pacific reach.....(caveat, I've never tried these bikes)


IMHO, I'd wait for the Origami Swift to come out (in June/July?).

Piningis seems like a very smart guy that loves bikes.

I'm very curious about how he'll ressurect the Swift....if it has a front luggage option, it'll solve my only complaint with the bike.

Disc Brakes are also a welcome upgrade.
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Old 05-27-22, 09:42 PM
  #27  
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I really like my Birdy. Folded just a little larger than Brompton, and unlike Dahon and most other folders the frame is in one piece so the ride is very stable. With the original parts (save for the Shimano XT hydraulic brakes upgrade) I can easily go up to 25-30kmh without feeling any flex or instability.
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Old 05-29-22, 07:33 PM
  #28  
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I've been very pleased with my Tern "Verge S11i", which I bought in 2013. The frame is quite stiff, and the handlepost much more rigid than the two Dahons I've owned. It's a comfortable ride... I've done a couple centuries on it.

Tern Verge S11i
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Old 05-30-22, 09:24 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by sweeks View Post
I've been very pleased with my Tern "Verge S11i", which I bought in 2013. The frame is quite stiff, and the handlepost much more rigid than the two Dahons I've owned. It's a comfortable ride... I've done a couple centuries on it.

Tern Verge S11i
I'd always wanted to get this bike. ENJOY!!!
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Old 05-30-22, 10:15 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by tds101 View Post
I'd always wanted to get this bike. ENJOY!!!
It ticked over the 10,000 mile mark not long ago. The 11-speed hub is very nice, and easy to maintain. I only wish it had a belt drive.
Seriously, the bike feels as stiff as my titanium road bike.
I had a loaner of the larger Eclipse S11i for a month or so, but it was just too big for the train part of my commute... though the disc brakes were amazing and the ride quality even better.

Dahon has some nice-riding bikes these days as well. My first one, a Helios XL, was like a noodle compared to the subsequent Mu XL (my current "winter" bike)... which is a lot more flexy than the Verge. But they've improved their frames over the last 20 years.
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Old 05-30-22, 05:54 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by sweeks View Post
It ticked over the 10,000 mile mark not long ago. The 11-speed hub is very nice, and easy to maintain. I only wish it had a belt drive.
Seriously, the bike feels as stiff as my titanium road bike.
I had a loaner of the larger Eclipse S11i for a month or so, but it was just too big for the train part of my commute... though the disc brakes were amazing and the ride quality even better.

Dahon has some nice-riding bikes these days as well. My first one, a Helios XL, was like a noodle compared to the subsequent Mu XL (my current "winter" bike)... which is a lot more flexy than the Verge. But they've improved their frames over the last 20 years.
My Dahon Mariner i7 has the deltec cable w/the new lockjaw type hinge, and the frame is STIFF. The ride quality is excellent, but the gearing leaves a bit to be desired. Besides, Verge S11i is a looker. My bike, meh,...
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Old 05-31-22, 06:31 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by mlau View Post
Pretty much every bike is stiffer than the Brompton
Ah, never ridden a BikeFriday tikit, I see.
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Old 07-25-22, 09:00 AM
  #33  
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A Moulton seems like a good combination between a stiff frame and supple ride. The spaceframe construction gives stiffness in multiple axes so feels rock steady - at least at the kind of power that I am putting through it.

I have ridden aluminium frame folders that also felt stiff, but also a lot harsher, so I keep going back to the Moulton.
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Old 07-25-22, 01:50 PM
  #34  
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Disclaimer: I was a professional bike mechanic in the past. I worked in a commuter centric shop and serviced/sold folders on occasion. Each service/new bike build included test rides.

Iíve test ridden several Dahons and thought they were fine.

Iím extremely happy with my Bike Friday Pocket Llama. Iíve done several hundred miles on it by now on a variety of surfaces. I installed some cheap 1.75Ē tires to test the ride on larger tires. Theres some room to spare, but these handled fine on some relatively smooth single track the other day.

While riding there is no noticeable flex in the frame or joints. If I give the bars a side to side wiggle while seated, I can see/feel some flex, but I can do that on my hardtail and road bikes too. It rides really nicely, just about everywhere as far as I can tell.

The fold will not be nearly as compact or quick as the Brompton, but not slow and it does easily go into itís suitcase.

The BF has been described as a good bike that folds, rather than a folding bike that rides well. I agree with that. I find myself reaching for it over my full size bikes on occasion for general purpose riding.
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Old 07-25-22, 08:30 PM
  #35  
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My personal experience is with Brompton and Birdy. Birdyís ride is much more comfortable as itís fully suspended. Add Big Apple tires (not possible on Brompton without modifications) and youíll ride on a cushion. Absolutely love it. Mine is R&D Birdy Touring, which means Shimano hydraulic disk brakes included. Insane stopping power. Fold is just a little bigger than Brompton, not as fast or simple as Brompton though. Unlike Brompton, most components on Birdy are standard and easily upgradable.

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Old 07-27-22, 07:58 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Falconista View Post
A Moulton seems like a good combination between a stiff frame and supple ride. The spaceframe construction gives stiffness in multiple axes so feels rock steady - at least at the kind of power that I am putting through it.

I have ridden aluminium frame folders that also felt stiff, but also a lot harsher, so I keep going back to the Moulton.
Its also very much dated and riding a lot on nostalgia and dated triumphs.
(I had a souped up TCR )
I like mine when I had it, but having raced it with more modern folders (mostly Tyrell) and road bikes, I know its limitations.
The breakdown is clunky by modern standards (ie. vs folding , break-away or S&S)
Its heavy for what it is now. It might have been fine 'back in the day' vs steel road bikes weighing also a hefty 10kg or more with heavy wheel/rims, but modern folders / road bikes are lighter (and stiff enough )
The suspensions rob power when really mashing at it to find top spot on climbs or end points (with road bikes)
A lot of the fame was vs older steel road bikes and also on the F-frame (not the space frame ), there are no modern wins post 2000's AFAIK (of course we can blame UCI and there is that 'win' at 'Mom and Pops ride backwards race event that is held in Uzebekistan back in 2022 ).

Not wanting to bash it, thats not the intention.
Beautiful bike that is one of a kind design and ahead of its time in thinking.
Rides like a Rolls Royce, which till now, no bike I have had rides like it.

Last edited by pinholecam; 07-27-22 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 07-27-22, 08:43 PM
  #37  
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FSIR Spin 5

No hinge (though that really doesn't matter anymore as the good mid-hinge bikes like Dahon are flex free nowadays), light and affordably priced.


Maxxis Grifter 53-406 (20x2.10) 60tpi Kevlar, under $20 & 550g apiece

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Old 07-28-22, 11:22 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by pinholecam View Post
Its also very much dated and riding a lot on nostalgia and dated triumphs.
(I had a souped up TCR )
I like mine when I had it, but having raced it with more modern folders (mostly Tyrell) and road bikes, I know its limitations.
The breakdown is clunky by modern standards (ie. vs folding , break-away or S&S)
Its heavy for what it is now. It might have been fine 'back in the day' vs steel road bikes weighing also a hefty 10kg or more with heavy wheel/rims, but modern folders / road bikes are lighter (and stiff enough )
The suspensions rob power when really mashing at it to find top spot on climbs or end points (with road bikes)
A lot of the fame was vs older steel road bikes and also on the F-frame (not the space frame ), there are no modern wins post 2000's AFAIK (of course we can blame UCI and there is that 'win' at 'Mom and Pops ride backwards race event that is held in Uzebekistan back in 2022 ).

Not wanting to bash it, thats not the intention.
Beautiful bike that is one of a kind design and ahead of its time in thinking.
Rides like a Rolls Royce, which till now, no bike I have had rides like it.
I wasn't making any claims on nostalgia, just that it works for me. Agreed that it is a little heavy, especially the cheaper TSR frames, but I made it clear that I am not putting major power down and rarely mash it to the finish line to beat the peloton. The OP was looking for a stiff bike that was supple and where foldability was useful but not the primary concern. I still think the Moulton is a potential contender for the OP, and I definitely stick with my view that some of the stiff aluminium frames are harsh to ride.

I am aware that you had a TSR in the past. I can't remember if it was this forum but your excellent review of the bike and the upgrades tipped me into getting one! I even copied your upgrades
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Old 07-28-22, 03:24 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by pinholecam View Post
Its also very much dated and riding a lot on nostalgia and dated triumphs.
(I had a souped up TCR )
I like mine when I had it, but having raced it with more modern folders (mostly Tyrell) and road bikes, I know its limitations.
The breakdown is clunky by modern standards (ie. vs folding , break-away or S&S)
Its heavy for what it is now. It might have been fine 'back in the day' vs steel road bikes weighing also a hefty 10kg or more with heavy wheel/rims, but modern folders / road bikes are lighter (and stiff enough )
The suspensions rob power when really mashing at it to find top spot on climbs or end points (with road bikes)
A lot of the fame was vs older steel road bikes and also on the F-frame (not the space frame ), there are no modern wins post 2000's AFAIK (of course we can blame UCI and there is that 'win' at 'Mom and Pops ride backwards race event that is held in Uzebekistan back in 2022 ).

Not wanting to bash it, thats not the intention.
Beautiful bike that is one of a kind design and ahead of its time in thinking.
Rides like a Rolls Royce, which till now, no bike I have had rides like it.
You should try something else than a Pashley built TSR !
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Old 07-28-22, 07:34 PM
  #40  
pinholecam
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Originally Posted by Falconista View Post
I wasn't making any claims on nostalgia, just that it works for me. Agreed that it is a little heavy, especially the cheaper TSR frames, but I made it clear that I am not putting major power down and rarely mash it to the finish line to beat the peloton. The OP was looking for a stiff bike that was supple and where foldability was useful but not the primary concern. I still think the Moulton is a potential contender for the OP, and I definitely stick with my view that some of the stiff aluminium frames are harsh to ride.

I am aware that you had a TSR in the past. I can't remember if it was this forum but your excellent review of the bike and the upgrades tipped me into getting one! I even copied your upgrades
Agree. Its really a great bike for cruising at a good speed (maybe the best small wheeled bike I've ridden for this )
My use case is odd of course (dueling it out with road bikes on the Sunday rides as well as the usual small wheel bike roles ).

As for alu being harsh, what I find can be done is to soften up the contact points.
Double padded bar tape, flexy/suspension seatpost, saddle, less tire pressure.
Some bikes make it harder than others of course (eg. seat post that don't have much to flex due to post clamp to saddle distance too short )
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