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carrying a folding bike - advice

Old 11-29-23, 12:18 PM
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carrying a folding bike - advice

Hi All,

I've had a Dahon Mu Uno folding bike since 2015 - I bought it second hand and so it must be a few years older than that.

I have been using it to commute to work - either end of a train journey - and it's been great apart from the weight when I need to keep it folded and carry it. This only happens occasionally but sometimes the trains (or london underground) has issues and I need to change my route, meaning my bike has to be carried around for longer than I'd like.

It is quite heavy and if having to hold it for more than a couple of minutes, it can start to really hurt my arm. So much so, that last summer it created a tennis elbow problem in my left arm. Luckily I had two months without any need to cycle to work so was able to rest the arm, but I've been back doing it since October and my arm is hurting a little again and I am concerned it is or will lead to other issues.

My (long winded) question is -- can anyone advise how to resolve this? Has anyone had a similar problem and how did you deal with it?

Is there an way to improve what I am doing with my current bike? I thought that switching the seat post might help with the weight - the one I have has a pump in it that I never use) or adding some sort of wheel to the frame, so I can wheel the bike rather than carry it - although that wont help on stairs, which there are a lot of when moving around the London transport network.

OR should I be getting a different bike? What should I be getting to solve these issues? My current bike has no gears and a coaster brake, so something very simple is fine -- lighter the better I think.

Thank you!
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Old 11-29-23, 12:48 PM
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Rent a Brompton from Brompton Hire, use it for a few days, and see whether it makes any essential difference to you. You may be able to decide whether you are suffering more from how the folded bike handles or the outdated underground infrastructure.
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Old 11-29-23, 01:26 PM
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Off the top of my head:

Rolling a folded Dahon-style bi-fold:


IF your 2015< Dahon Mu has the small, rectangular two-hole braze-on below the bottom bracket, you can fit a Dahon Landing Gear trolley wheel.



If not, there are tiny wheels that fit on the bottom of the seatpost from various aftermarket suppliers:



The Tern Rapid Transit Rack almost certainly will fit your Mu.



For stairs, you might try one of the many available push scooter straps to carry the weight of the bike over your shoulder.

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Old 11-29-23, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by 2_i
Rent a Brompton from Brompton Hire, use it for a few days, and see whether it makes any essential difference to you.
FWIW, Brompton Hire (C-Line Utility) @ 12.2 kg
Dahon Mu Uno @ 9.9 kg
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Old 11-29-23, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by 2_i
Rent a Brompton from Brompton Hire, use it for a few days, and see whether it makes any essential difference to you. You may be able to decide whether you are suffering more from how the folded bike handles or the outdated underground infrastructure.
This is great idea - thanks! If only to just see how I feel about Brompton's in general. It is a shame that all rentals seem to be the C Line versions, as I'd love to try the P Line and T Line, although the latter is very much beyond my budget anyway...
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Old 11-29-23, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs
FWIW, Brompton Hire (C-Line Utility) @ 12.2 kg
Dahon Mu Uno @ 9.9 kg
There is more to how a transported folded bike handles than just the weight. This includes how the mass is distributed and where the center of gravity ends up in relation to your body. Are there any protrusions that poke you? I prefer to carry a bike unfolded than folded but that may be hard in the metro. You pointed yourself to the use of casters. My Brompton weighs somewhere near 17-18kg, but I would trade it for no bike as far as handling in transport is concerned, with the transport facilitated by what I included in the extra weight.
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Old 11-29-23, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs
IF your 2015< Dahon Mu has the small, rectangular two-hole braze-on below the bottom bracket, you can fit a Dahon Landing Gear trolley wheel.

If not, there are tiny wheels that fit on the bottom of the seatpost from various aftermarket suppliers:
I think I would have to change my seatpost to make any of these wheels work. What I have now has a pump inside it and the bottom end has a plastic cover that unscrews to access the pump - so there is no way to attach a wheel as you suggest.
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Old 11-29-23, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs
FWIW, Brompton Hire (C-Line Utility) @ 12.2 kg
Dahon Mu Uno @ 9.9 kg
I'm not sure my Dahon Mu Uno is that light! I wonder if the older ones are heavier? I got this one in mid 2015 and it wasnt new then, so I imagine it's 2013 or older. I'm not sure how to tell.
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Old 11-29-23, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by 2_i
There is more to how a transported folded bike handles than just the weight. This includes how the mass is distributed and where the center of gravity ends up in relation to your body. Are there any protrusions that poke you? I prefer to carry a bike unfolded than folded but that may be hard in the metro. You pointed yourself to the use of casters. My Brompton weighs somewhere near 17-18kg, but I would trade it for no bike as far as handling in transport is concerned, with the transport facilitated by what I included in the extra weight.
Agreed - mine is definitely awkward to carry for more than a few moments, as well as heavy.

I wish I could move it around unfolded, but I am only allowed to take it on the London transport network during commuter hours if it is folded.
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Old 11-29-23, 02:50 PM
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If you have the money, a titanium Brompton weighs in at about 17 pounds. It is expensive. I think about 4000 usd. Expensive, but perhaps your best answer.
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Old 11-29-23, 08:07 PM
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Brompton T Line One, 16.4lbs, £4250

Hummingbird Single-speed, 15.2lbs, £3495
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Old 11-30-23, 04:09 PM
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Going to have to agree with the brompton (or clone) suggestion.
Because of its compact fold, you can hold it closer to your body and carrying it will cause less fatigue.
and it's the easiest to wheel around when folded too.
(there are Brompton specific backpacks with and without covers)

Overall weight isn't the (primary) problem.
The awkwardness is.

I used to travel extensively with a Dahon and the folding was fine for storage but certainly not for carrying.
Even on trains I'd wheel it on first then fold and store.
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Old 12-01-23, 03:13 AM
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Originally Posted by tcs
Brompton T Line One, 16.4lbs, £4250

Hummingbird Single-speed, 15.2lbs, £3495
I had a look at the Hummingbird, and yes the single speed is cheaper and lighter than the equivalent Brompton. But if you change the colour it adds on another £500.

And weirdly, the multi-speed Hummingbird adds a lot more weight than the multi-speed Brompton. So even though it is still cheaper, it's a lot heavier at 9kg vs 7.95kg.

On top of that, the Brompton looks like it folds smaller, has those wheels to pull it along when folded, and there is the safety of using a well established company.

I like the Hummingbird a lot. And it is better value for money (if you can say that about any bike costing around 4k) than the Brompton, but not by much in the UK at least.

I'm not sure I can afford or justify spending 4k on a bike anyway. I don't use it every day, and when I did I would be constantly worried it's going to be stolen! This kind of thing at 2k, maybe. Or second hand perhaps.

I would love to try these out for a day though, taking them on my commute and see how much easier they are to use.

I think I've figured out how much my bike weighs - I used my bathroom scales to weigh myself, and then me holding the bike - the difference is 11.2kg so I assume that's the weight of my bike, which is a lot more than the internet says a Mu Uno weighs...
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Old 12-01-23, 03:19 AM
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Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse
Going to have to agree with the brompton (or clone) suggestion.
Because of its compact fold, you can hold it closer to your body and carrying it will cause less fatigue.
and it's the easiest to wheel around when folded too.
(there are Brompton specific backpacks with and without covers)

Overall weight isn't the (primary) problem.
The awkwardness is.

I used to travel extensively with a Dahon and the folding was fine for storage but certainly not for carrying.
Even on trains I'd wheel it on first then fold and store.
Thanks for this. This could be right, because my bike isn't that heavy - it's lighter than the cheapest Brompton for example - yet it kills my arm when carrying for more than a minute or so. And you're right, it's very awkward to carry. I have no problem with the size for storage, or the way it folds, and I like the ride - but carrying it around is awkward and difficult, and I avoid using it now so I don't mess up my arm any more than I already have.

I think a light weight would be helpful, but isn't the whole problem and, like you say, might not be the main issue here.

Does anyone else have a Dahon and have issues with carrying it? Or have a Dahon and a Brompton (or anything else) and can verify a significant difference when carrying other folded bikes?

Thanks all - this is incredibly helpful.
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Old 12-01-23, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by bunyboy
And weirdly, the multi-speed Hummingbird adds a lot more weight than the multi-speed Brompton
Not weird at all.

Brompton T: four gears, 164% gear range
Hummingbird: eight gears, 307% gear range (& nifty belt drive).

What's weird to me is that Hummingbird uses the Shimano Nexus 8. For that kind of money, really? Add a couple hundred £ to the retail price and fit the Alfine 11, Hummingbird.




I'd be gobsmacked if this ↓ is what you want, but since everybody is hung on size and weight...

https://pacificcarryme.com/
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Old 12-01-23, 01:37 PM
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I see a lot of folding bikes in New York but I also see a lot of electric stand up scooters and one wheels too. At first, I didn't "get" the stand up scooters but they seem easier to bring onto the subway and probably fit well in small apartments too. They probably weigh similar to a folding bike but they seem less bulky and more manageable when the handle is folded for carrying or storage.

If the ends of your multi-modal commute aren't that long, a stand up electric scooter might work too.
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Old 12-01-23, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs
Not weird at all.

Brompton T: four gears, 164% gear range
Hummingbird: eight gears, 307% gear range (& nifty belt drive).

What's weird to me is that Hummingbird uses the Shimano Nexus 8. For that kind of money, really? Add a couple hundred £ to the retail price and fit the Alfine 11, Hummingbird.




I'd be gobsmacked if this ↓ is what you want, but since everybody is hung on size and weight...

https://pacificcarryme.com/
Ahhh. I didn't notice that. Fair enough, but not helpful for me - my current bike has just the one gear and is fine - two or three might be helpful, and four would be more than enough -- eight unnecessary, and I'd rather have the lighter weight.

And -- haha - worth suggesting but that bike doesn't quite work for me!
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Old 12-01-23, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by john m flores
I see a lot of folding bikes in New York but I also see a lot of electric stand up scooters and one wheels too. At first, I didn't "get" the stand up scooters but they seem easier to bring onto the subway and probably fit well in small apartments too. They probably weigh similar to a folding bike but they seem less bulky and more manageable when the handle is folded for carrying or storage.

If the ends of your multi-modal commute aren't that long, a stand up electric scooter might work too.
Thanks for the suggestion, but I think I'm right in saying that those scooters are banned on public transport in London now, so wouldn't work for me...

Plus, I like a bike and prefer actually having to peddle and get some exercise while commuting!
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Old 12-01-23, 08:34 PM
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Would a shoulder strap help take some of the weight off your arm?

I traveled by airline recently, my carry on bag (not a bike) is an older model, was made before wheels were attached to luggage, thus I use the shoulder strap that came with it.
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Old 12-01-23, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by bunyboy
Thanks for the suggestion, but I think I'm right in saying that those scooters are banned on public transport in London now, so wouldn't work for me...

Plus, I like a bike and prefer actually having to peddle and get some exercise while commuting!
It sounds like the ideal answer is a folded bike that rolls when folded. I hear that the Helix does but it's not cheap.
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Old 12-02-23, 05:49 AM
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Originally Posted by john m flores
I see a lot of folding bikes in New York but I also see a lot of electric stand up scooters and one wheels too. At first, I didn't "get" the stand up scooters but they seem easier to bring onto the subway and probably fit well in small apartments too. They probably weigh similar to a folding bike but they seem less bulky and more manageable when the handle is folded for carrying or storage.
Most scooters are heavier than folding bikes and have a limited range (don't trust what manufacturers claim, in real use, they do much less km/miles than claimed).

Folding bike manufacturers often underestimate the weight of their bikes, for scooters and EUC, they overestimate the km/mileages with one battery load.

To carry a folding bike, weight and size are important but the shape of the folded bike is also important, its one of the advantage of the Brompton and the Curl (+ clones of course).

Several folding bikes with easy wheels roll folded (Brompton, Birdy, Tern BYB...).

To roll on the bike wheels, the problem is always the rear wheel that can only turn in one direction without having the pedals also turning. So they can only be pulled in one direction (its the case of many Dahon, Tern and clones).
The BYB that can roll on its wheels or on easy wheels could be an option:

Last edited by Jipe; 12-02-23 at 06:45 AM.
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Old 12-02-23, 04:28 PM
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Thatís the issue with folding bikes. They are first designed to fold and take up less space. Being able to carry or roll them easily has only been achieved by a few manufacturers and at high prices. The ability to fold adds weight because of the hinges which is counter to being able to easily carry the bike.😕
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Old 12-02-23, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
Would a shoulder strap help take some of the weight off your arm?
I suggested a shoulder strap in post no. 3. Our OP seems to have rejected that suggestion out of hand without giving a reason. Ce la vie.
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Old 12-02-23, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Jipe
The BYB that can roll on its wheels or on easy wheels could be an option
In post no. 3 I pointed out a rack that would allow the OP's existing bike to roll on casters. The OP seems to have rejected that suggestion out of hand without giving a reason.
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Old 12-04-23, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Jipe
Most scooters are heavier than folding bikes and have a limited range (don't trust what manufacturers claim, in real use, they do much less km/miles than claimed).

Folding bike manufacturers often underestimate the weight of their bikes, for scooters and EUC, they overestimate the km/mileages with one battery load.

To carry a folding bike, weight and size are important but the shape of the folded bike is also important, its one of the advantage of the Brompton and the Curl (+ clones of course).

Several folding bikes with easy wheels roll folded (Brompton, Birdy, Tern BYB...).

To roll on the bike wheels, the problem is always the rear wheel that can only turn in one direction without having the pedals also turning. So they can only be pulled in one direction (its the case of many Dahon, Tern and clones).
The BYB that can roll on its wheels or on easy wheels could be an option:
Thanks for this. I think it really is coming down to weight AND how they fold, so can be carried without it being awkward. My Dahon Mu Uno is very awkward to carry for more than a minute.

The wheeling option is helpful and definitely something I'll be looking for - but a lot of my carrying when folded will be up and down large flights of stairs and through busy stations, where wheeling might not be possible.
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