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Big Problem With Folding Bikes - Can't Test Ride or Buy Local

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Big Problem With Folding Bikes - Can't Test Ride or Buy Local

Old 06-29-22, 10:09 AM
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gmcjetpilot
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Big Problem With Folding Bikes - Can't Test Ride or Buy Local

The BIG DOWN SIDE of folding bikes, you can not test ride them or buy them local for the most part. They are mostly on-line or special order at least in USA and especially my area. I hae lots of bike shops in my town and surrounding areas. None carry folding bikes. REI will special order a Brompton.. There are not a lot of good reviews on YouTube for Brompton, but that is about it. You find a review for a brand and model you are considering you might find one and it's not very in-depth. .

The UK brand is good but they also cost close to $2000 by the time you get it set up custom, the way you want. You pay for what you get. Finding a dealer with them in stock nearby not easy. Finding a used one is possible but they hold their prices or owners ask way too much. Then there is shipping cost which have skyrocketed. Sellers also want to charge more than actual cost for shipping. So buying new you still can get free shipping. Great. But again you can't try it.

I took a chance on Green Zone and very happy with the purchase despite it being slightly larger folded. It is lighter than expected. Also the quality, fit and finish is excellent. The TIG welds are a thing of beauty. However would I have chose this bike if I could try all the folding bikes side by side? May be not, but for $399 it is a great value. This is my second folding bike.

My first was Ancheer 26" Ebike, full suspension mountain bike with pedal assist or full throttle, paid $400. Sold it for $500 recently. It was great but folded it was not super compact and took up a big area in my hatchback. Going camping it was crowded. it weighed 60 lbs. This is normal for e-Bikes, The Ancheer had alloy frame and font and rear suspension so it was light.. Ancheer was OK with customer service, but Green Zone (Alan) is top notch and based here in USA (Texas). Being in same or near time zone, English speaker it helps.

For most people if their folding bike does not fold as compact as the spec says by a few inches is no big deal. However I am trying to get this into a very small personal aircraft. The baggage area is big enough but access to baggage area is not large. This bike should work but will require shoehorning. People are fitting Citizen folding bikes into their airplanes (same make and model), The Green Zone is as good or better in actual folded size than Citizen Specs. (see my thread on folded size in this forum). Considering the great ride quality and price happy. However a Brompton may be in my future down the road.

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Old 06-29-22, 10:13 AM
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Bike Friday sets you up with other folks who own the bikes near you for test rides. Just call. Lots of folks put BF in their aircraft.
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Old 06-29-22, 10:45 AM
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We recognize that purchasing online is a bit different from getting your hands on a bike first. But, most bike shops are only going to give you a short time with the bike to see if you like. We give customers a two-week test ride to make sure that the bike meets your needs. If it doesn't, send it back. I think this a fair approach.
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Old 06-29-22, 01:28 PM
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I"m surprised you're not seeing good reviews for Bromptons on the internet. Aside from the fact that online reviews are hugely astroturfed, my impression is that Bromptons are pretty beloved by their owners, and most of the youtube reviews I've seen for them have been positive, although people do recognize that they cost a lot more than many other options. I am lucky enough to have a decent folding bike shop in my town so I was able to test ride and fold a Brompton alongside a couple of Tern models, and I landed on the Tern BYB based on those tests.
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Old 06-29-22, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by willydstyle View Post
I"m surprised you're not seeing good reviews for Bromptons on the internet. Aside from the fact that online reviews are hugely astroturfed, my impression is that Bromptons are pretty beloved by their owners, and most of the youtube reviews I've seen for them have been positive, although people do recognize that they cost a lot more than many other options. I am lucky enough to have a decent folding bike shop in my town so I was able to test ride and fold a Brompton alongside a couple of Tern models, and I landed on the Tern BYB based on those tests.
Thanks willydstyle. Good post. I never said anything about bad Brompton good / bad reviews or lack of reviews. In fact Brompton is the exception. Tons of reviews, and they are fairly in depth, long term ownership.with a good feel for what you will get good,and not so good. Yes people are fanatical about them, and I may buy one because of my extreme requirements for very small light folded Spec bike. Brompton P-line would be the one I want. That is $3000. The A-line is very good price, but has 3 spes and does not having folded pedals and has older running gear. C-line at $1800 6 speed would be a good bike. BUT there is no way I am going to buy these sight unseen. I do believe you can return them within a week or two. It really is just a matter of putting out the money. Also I wonder if Brompton's folded dimensions are accurate? How can the A-line be the same folded size as the higher end models with folded pedals?

With that said I love the Green Zone. The ride is a joy, which is what counts for most people. I just wish it was 3 inches shorter, 2 inches less tall, and 2 inches less thick when folded. It is still smaller and lighter than bikes costing more, double. Owned only one other larger folding mountain e-bike. I never owned or rode a Brompton, Tern, Zizzo, Citizen, Dahon, From what I have researched I am 100% sure I got a great value. Looking at the other brands I paid up to half and have specs that are better (real specs I measured). So if it was not for my weird need to get the bike into a small 2 seat plane the bike would be excellent. However it is not a Brompton C or P line.

Bottom line of my whining not being able to get a hold of a Brompton or any other brand to touch and ride. I am sure the Brompton rides great and the folded specs can't be beat. There is a Brompton dealer in Nashville, but I don't think they have any stock. REI outdoor store has them special order. I could buy it, go in to pick it up and return it for refund. Frankly here is a TIP: If you buy a Brompton it is best to buy direct, with free shipping and no tax.

I love my $399 bike (all up). It is as good or much better by specs (real ones I measured) and I know the ride is solid and stable, vs other brands costing double. See my other post:: "The REAL SPECS of Folding Bikes, Folded Size and Weigh"

Last edited by gmcjetpilot; 06-29-22 at 06:58 PM.
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Old 06-29-22, 08:25 PM
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I think you should rent one if you can. That is what I did. I went in to my local Brompton store, Ride This Bike, in New Orleans for a test drive. I drove it around for about 15 minutes, then came back and worked out a deal to rent it for half a day. He does not rent usually, but let me do it. I liked the ride OK, and I had some nice 20-inch bikes in the past. I ordered a Brompton from him, It took 3 to 4 months to get it. I still like better than any other folder I have ridden. I currently have a Xootr Swift and Zizzo Liberte and I do like them too, but I can do more with the Brompton. 20-inch tires do ride better, but the Brompton is not bad. 16-inch wheels are a little more squirrelly, but you get used to it, and then you don't notice it. Older M and H models like my 2014 did have some flex in their alloy handlebars. These have been redesigned on the newer ones flex less.
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Old 07-01-22, 03:20 AM
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The "squirrelly" behavior of the Brompton (which isn't a problem after a short time of getting used to) is not due to the wheel size, its due to the Brompton frame design. Modified Brompton with 20" wheels behave the same and other folding bike with same wheel size aren't "squirrelly".

To have a more reactive and rigid Brompton, the S type flatbar is a better option than the M (or H that has the same handlebar with a higher stem).
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Old 07-01-22, 05:53 AM
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[QUOTE=Jipe;22560071]The "squirrelly" behavior of the Brompton (which isn't a problem after a short time of getting used to) is not due to the wheel size, its due to the Brompton frame design. Modified Brompton with 20" wheels behave the same and other folding bike with same wheel size aren't "squirrelly"..[/QUOT

So if you were to change out the 16-inch for 20-inch wheels, the squirrelly behavior goes away. Yet that behavior is not due to the wheel size? And what is it about the unmodified frame that makes it squirrelly?
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Old 07-01-22, 10:02 AM
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[QUOTE=Schwinnsta;22560140]
Originally Posted by Jipe View Post
So if you were to change out the 16-inch for 20-inch wheels, the squirrelly behavior goes away. Yet that behavior is not due to the wheel size? And what is it about the unmodified frame that makes it squirrelly?
For the fixed head tube angle, the trail changes as the ratio of wheel diameters. The trail for Brompton I believe is about 35mm and so you end up with 35*20/16=44mm, still short but closer to the ideal for bike handling ~57mm. As to the original issue of the squirrelly behavior, you can only get a longer trail for the fixed wheel diameter by lowering the head tube angle, but then you get less space for the rider. If you wanted to increase the space, you would need to increase wheelbase, but a longer bike is not desired when you want it to be light and compact upon folding.
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Old 07-01-22, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Jipe View Post
The "squirrelly" behavior of the Brompton (which isn't a problem after a short time of getting used to) is not due to the wheel size, its due to the Brompton frame design. Modified Brompton with 20" wheels behave the same and other folding bike with same wheel size aren't "squirrelly".

To have a more reactive and rigid Brompton, the S type flatbar is a better option than the M (or H that has the same handlebar with a higher stem).
[QUOTE=2_i;22560417]
Originally Posted by Schwinnsta View Post

For the fixed head tube angle, the trail changes as the ratio of wheel diameters. The trail for Brompton I believe is about 35mm and so you end up with 35*20/16=44mm, still short but closer to the ideal for bike handling ~57mm. As to the original issue of the squirrelly behavior, you can only get a longer trail for the fixed wheel diameter by lowering the head tube angle, but then you get less space for the rider. If you wanted to increase the space, you would need to increase wheelbase, but a longer bike is not desired when you want it to be light and compact upon folding.
When I talk of squirrelly, I mean jittery behavior. I think this is a function of wheel diameter (including the tire). Trail does affect the responsiveness and the stability. I am wrong on this?
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Old 07-01-22, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Schwinnsta View Post
When I talk of squirrelly, I mean jittery behavior. I think this is a function of wheel diameter (including the tire). Trail does affect the responsiveness and the stability. I am wrong on this?
The trail allows the front wheel to align with the direction of motion without your intervention. The rotational inertia helps the wheel maintain the orientation of the axle. I.e., in the trail there is a recovery action but not in the rotational inertia - still there is opposition to change in the latter. As to the jittery behavior, for Brompton I think it goes back to the flexing of the stem and handlebars. Getting used to it amounts to learning to anticipate what the flex is going to be and to act accordingly
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Old 07-01-22, 04:35 PM
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[QUOTE=2_i;22560417]
Originally Posted by Schwinnsta View Post
can only get a longer trail for the fixed wheel diameter by lowering the head tube angle, but then you get less space for the rider. If you wanted to increase the space, you would need to increase wheelbase, but a longer bike is not desired when you want it to be light and compact upon folding.
One last post from me here because I feel like we are stealing the thread. Say you lowered the head angle, could you just change the stem configuration to get more space for the rider? Birdy sells their bike with two different angled stems. I
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Old 07-01-22, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Schwinnsta View Post
One last post from me here because I feel like we are stealing the thread. Say you lowered the head angle, could you just change the stem configuration to get more space for the rider? Birdy sells their bike with two different angled stems. I
Yes, I think so. However another factor in folding bikes is of trying to keep the stem and handlebars confined to a plane, to minimize the folded size. However, some 3D form matching another shape after folding could be presumably tolerated.
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Old 07-02-22, 03:23 AM
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The different Brompton stems have different height but also different angle. A S stem give more space for the rider (it has a bigger reach, the former P had an even bigger reach).
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Old 07-02-22, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by 2_i View Post
The trail allows the front wheel to align with the direction of motion without your intervention. The rotational inertia helps the wheel maintain the orientation of the axle. I.e., in the trail there is a recovery action but not in the rotational inertia - still there is opposition to change in the latter. As to the jittery behavior, for Brompton I think it goes back to the flexing of the stem and handlebars. Getting used to it amounts to learning to anticipate what the flex is going to be and to act accordingly
After thinking this over, I think you nailed it with low trail and rotational inertia. I don't think flex of the handlebars enters into it. Overall, I like low trail. I like the bike going where I want to go). It does seem that small wheels leads to low trail.
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