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Folders for Family Fun

Old 07-06-24, 03:45 PM
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Folders for Family Fun

At Ron Damonís suggestion (and to stop hijacking other threads), Iím starting this one to discuss the process of sourcing, building, tweaking and selecting four folding bikes for our small family (ages 47, 43, 10 and 9), to be used on an upcoming tour of parts Japan, Thailand and potentially Cambodia. And to be further used in multimodal commuting and touring for years to come.

The bikes must be easy to ride, easy to fold and carry onto airplanes, trains, ferrys, etc. as well as capable of carrying enough weight for us to do some self supported camping, cooking, etc.

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Old 07-06-24, 03:55 PM
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Origami Swift






First up is the Origami Swift. This is the latest edition of an old classic with a cult following. After owning it for a couple of months I can definitely understand the appeal. The ride is fast, fun and agile! I did a preliminary unboxing and first impressions review here:


As much as I like riding this bike, it is more of a pack in your car trunk or fold into a closet type bike. Not so much of a commuter and much less a multi modal travel bike. It could be made to work, but would require more packing and disassembly than we want to deal with on this trip. Therefore it will stay behind and not go to Asia with us.

Iím definitely keeping it to use locally and for future solo trips where I can take the time to pack it where I wonít need to fold it often to ride trains.
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Old 07-06-24, 04:03 PM
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FnHon Storm



I-Spec brake lever with Altus shifter

Magnetic clasp




Next up is the FnHon Storm. I ordered this frame after seeing a couple builds featured here and just finished building it with a nice wheelset and a 2x9 setup. Still waiting on a 52t chainring (the yellow 22t is just a placeholder), that will give me 52-32 in the front.

Iíve only been testing it for a couple days but can say with confidence that it fits the bill for our Asia tour. I find it especially comfortable with the BA tires pumped to about 40psi. The fold is easy and compact enough, the cromoly frame feels solid and overall itís a lightweight bike with a great range (once I have the 52t on there).

I used a repurposed Truvativ Howitzer crank and bottom bracket and single speed rings. There will be no front derailleur unless I decide in the future to put a road double up front. Meantime manual shifting is no biggie - Iím not trying to win any races.

The geometry is a bit large for my wife and kids, so this will likely be the bike I ride for this tour at least.
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Old 07-06-24, 04:15 PM
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Takachia Tiime Trifold









Ordered this 20Ē cromoly trifold from a brick and mortar bike shop in Singapore. Itís clearly a Chinese Brompton-inspired model with the shopís own mix of components and their sticker.

The fold is great, more compact than the Storm by about 15%, and the ride is also fun and nimble. It has more adjustability than the other bikes weíve tested and is therefore suitable for the smaller members of the family with some minor adjustments.

The breaks are not great (Iím not a fan of caliper brakes in general), but we hope to remedy that with some upgraded brake pads.

The Marathon1.35Ē tires are sturdy - but definitely not as plush as the Big Apples.

This bike gets a 10 for folding and packing ability, as well as being comfortable enough for long rides. The 9 speed cassette is a bit short on range, so we may swap it out for a 10 speed with a 42 or bigger top gear.
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Old 07-06-24, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by ChiapasFixed








Ordered this 20Ē cromoly trifold from a brick and mortar bike shop in Singapore. Itís clearly a Chinese Brompton-inspired model with the shopís own mix of components and their sticker..
How wide can the tires be with fenders?
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Old 07-06-24, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Schwinnsta
How wide can the tires be with fenders?
Maybe 1.5Ē
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Old 07-06-24, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by ChiapasFixed


This bike gets a 10 for folding and packing ability, as well as being comfortable enough for long rides. The 9 speed cassette is a bit short on range, so we may swap it out for a 10 speed with a 42 or bigger top gear.
That bike, but with room for 1.75's with fenders and disc brakes would make that the perfect folder.
I'm not in the market for a new folder but that comes as close as possible to tempting me.
(I even like the color)
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Old 07-06-24, 06:40 PM
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Not how I myself would have played it, but it is your parade, after all. To me, the images reinforce my conviction and experience that once everything (ease and size of fold, cost, range of components and performance) is taken into account the unglamorous, pedestrian but tried-and-tested bi-fold still reigns supreme. Decades on, they continue to be the most popular and widely sold type of folder, and for good reason. They are simple and they simply work. I have not yet seen anything that would make me move away from that position, despite living in a market where I can get almost everything in terms of folders.

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Old 07-06-24, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse
That bike, but with room for 1.75's with fenders and disc brakes would make that the perfect folder.
I'm not in the market for a new folder but that comes as close as possible to tempting me.
(I even like the color)
stay tuned! 😉
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Old 07-06-24, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
Not how I myself would have played it, but it is your parade, after all. To me, the images reinforce my conviction and experience that once everything (ease and size of fold, cost, range of components and performance) is taken into account, a goode ole, tried and tested bi-fold still reigns supreme. Decades on, they continue to be the most popular and widely sold type of folder, and for good reason. I have not yet seen anything that would make me move away from that position, despite living in a market where I can get almost everything in terms of folders.
Im not arguing with you, the bifolds are great. The Storm is just too big for my wife or daughter. We will most likely be taking one other thoughÖ
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Old 07-06-24, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by ChiapasFixed
Im not arguing with you, the bifolds are great. The Storm is just too big for my wife or daughter. We will most likely be taking one other thoughÖ
That's right. With a top tube of 58cm, the FnHon Storm offers a roomier cockpit for the taller folk.
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Old 07-06-24, 07:13 PM
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Thanks, I too would like a 20-inch trifold that could fit Big Apples with fenders.
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Old 07-06-24, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by ChiapasFixed


...
I guess that 355 conversion you had contemplated is out of the question.
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Old 07-06-24, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
I guess that 355 conversion you had contemplated is out of the question.
Nope, thatís a different bike
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Old 07-07-24, 04:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
Not how I myself would have played it, but it is your parade, after all. To me, the images reinforce my conviction and experience that once everything (ease and size of fold, cost, range of components and performance) is taken into account the unglamorous, pedestrian but tried-and-tested bi-fold still reigns supreme. Decades on, they continue to be the most popular and widely sold type of folder, and for good reason. They are simple and they simply work. I have not yet seen anything that would make me move away from that position, despite living in a market where I can get almost everything in terms of folders.
Bi-fold reign on the low end of folding bike market because its a cheap design that doesn't require any creativity and very little engineering effort!

But the drawbacks of bi-fold are well known: big folded size and weak, not reliable, center hinge.

The tri-fold share the same hinge weakness but allow a much smaller folded size. Unfortunately, most of them are quick and dirty copies of the Andrew Ritchie design (there are some more innovative ones like the Ahooga Max but it only exists as ebike)..

Besides the bi-fold and tri-fold, there are several folding bikes with a strong single piece main frame that folds almost as small as the tri-fold. But all of required a lot of creativity and engineering effort.
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Old 07-07-24, 05:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Jipe
Bi-fold reign on the low end of folding bike market because its a cheap design that doesn't require any creativity and very little engineering effort!

But the drawbacks of bi-fold are well known: big folded size and weak, not reliable, center hinge.

The tri-fold share the same hinge weakness but allow a much smaller folded size. Unfortunately, most of them are quick and dirty copies of the Andrew Ritchie design (there are some more innovative ones like the Ahooga Max but it only exists as ebike)..

Besides the bi-fold and trifold, there are several folding bikes with a strong single piece main frame that folds almost as small as the tri-fold. But all of required a lot of creativity and engineering effort.
With the tri-fold design, the hinges in the main frame are not at the max stress point like the bi-fold.
The Ahooga requires removal of the front wheel and unconventional and rather doubtful design of the fenders.to achieve the small fold.
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Old 07-07-24, 05:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Schwinnsta
With the tri-fold design, the hinges in the main frame are not at the max stress point like the bi-fold.
The Ahooga requires removal of the front wheel and unconventional and rather doubtful design of the fenders.to achieve the small fold.
Yes, there is less stress on the classic/Brompton+clone tri-fold main tube hinge than on than for a bi-fold center hinge. But it remains a point of weakness and wear.

I am talking about the new Ahooga Max, not the old one. It has a triangular shaped main frame with its frame hinge closer to the head tube than on the Brompton and much bigger (they claim no hinge on the main frame but this is not true, it has a hinge between the head tube and rest of the main frame, only tri-folds with a folding fork like the Tyrell Ive, Vellobike and Birdy have really no hinge on their main frame).
It unfortunately only exists as ebike with a font hub motor but its a tri-fold, it has a triangular main frame probably much stiffer than the Brompton single tube design, it has 50x406 wheels and folds relatively small (but of course, bigger than the Brompton with 35x349 wheels).



https://be.ahooga.bike/cdn/shop/vide...s-24140060.mp4

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Old 07-07-24, 06:41 AM
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That is an improvement. I had not seen this one.
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Old 07-07-24, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
That's right. With a top tube of 58cm, the FnHon Storm offers a roomier cockpit for the taller folk.

Do you know if this type of handle post could be a direct replacement part for an FnHon or Origami Lotus frame? Iím thinking it could be a good option for my daughters bike, as a straight handle post would bring the handlebars about 3.5Ē closer to the seat post. Not an expensive part and I can get it on Amazon. Am I missing something?
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Old 07-07-24, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Jipe
Yes, there is less stress on the classic/Brompton+clone tri-fold main tube hinge than on than for a bi-fold center hinge. But it remains a point of weakness and wear.

I am talking about the new Ahooga Max, not the old one. It has a triangular shaped main frame with its frame hinge closer to the head tube than on the Brompton and much bigger (they claim no hinge on the main frame but this is not true, it has a hinge between the head tube and rest of the main frame, only tri-folds with a folding fork like the Tyrell Ive, Vellobike and Birdy have really no hinge on their main frame).
It unfortunately only exists as ebike with a font hub motor but its a tri-fold, it has a triangular main frame probably much stiffer than the Brompton single tube design, it has 50x406 wheels and folds relatively small (but of course, bigger than the Brompton with 35x349 wheels).



https://be.ahooga.bike/cdn/shop/vide...s-24140060.mp4
looks nice. But starting 3,000 USD for the caliper brake version?? You forget I have a family of 4 to equip 😆
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Old 07-07-24, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by ChiapasFixed
looks nice. But starting 3,000 USD for the caliper brake version?? You forget I have a family of 4 to equip 😆
As far as I know, there is no caliper brake version of the Ahooga Max, only disk brake and its an ebike with the (relatively low capacity) battery in the frame and a front hub motor.

And, yes, at the price of a Brompton Electric but without the Brompton brand name, its pretty high even if its an ebike, its a brand-less front hub motor without any specification about its torque and peak power and the battery also brand-less is of low capacity. The frame is most probably made in China and the other components are also not high end at all.

But its a new type of tri-fold.

Its a pity they do not propose it without e-assist because it should be more efficient that a 20" Brompton clone and its frame allows 50mm wide tires. But maybe the frame manufacturer will later sell it directly at a much lower price?

I have nevertheless some doubts about the reliability of the folding of the rear triangle, I am afraid that the chain will sometime derail when unfolding like its was the case with the same type of chain tensionner on the Birdy 1 and Birdy 2?

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Old 07-07-24, 12:30 PM
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Update Takachia trifold


Swapped the M bar for a straight one and some Ergon grips to make the bike fit my son better. Although the M bar was purportedly more adjustable in practice this was not the case as the shifter hits the curve in the bar and was really only useable in two positions. Also it was just too high for him. This bar makes the bike very comfortable for his height. Also added an old brooks saddle.

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Old 07-07-24, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by ChiapasFixed

Do you know if this type of handle post could be a direct replacement part for an FnHon or Origami Lotus frame? Iím thinking it could be a good option for my daughters bike, as a straight handle post would bring the handlebars about 3.5Ē closer to the seat post. Not an expensive part and I can get it on Amazon. Am I missing something?
I can't say with certainty for the neck of the handlepost looks a bit tall, taller than the neck on standard handleposts. If I am right and it's not a fiction of the image, this has two possible implications. You'll need a longer fork steerer bolt to reach down to the fork steerer due to the taller neck. The other possibility is that the handlepost is meant to be used with a much longer steerer and star nut instead. My answer pertains to fitment on FnHon frames. As for Or!gam!, you are on your own. As the company owner seems to think that his bikes' geometry is a secret that must be guarded on par with military assets and remain undisclosed, it's altogether possible he'll decline to comment.



Taller neck



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Old 07-07-24, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ChiapasFixed
looks nice. But starting 3,000 USD for the caliper brake version?? You forget I have a family of 4 to equip 😆
You must be new around here. The forum gurus are legendary, (in)famous for their predictable suggestions of exorbitantly priced bikes with not an iota of regard, care or self awareness about price. And they purport to be taken seriously still! 😂😂😂 As an example, a few months back one such guru suggested that I replace my $90 RD transmission with a heavier, equivalent range $400 IGH. These folks really are out to lunch. They are very quick and eager to point out the compromises of our affordable, value bikes while being conspicuously silent about the compromising price and weaknesses of their bikes. Welcome to the Folding Bikes channel!

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Old 07-07-24, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Jipe
Bi-fold reign on the low end of folding bike market because its a cheap design that doesn't require any creativity and very little engineering effort!

But the drawbacks of bi-fold are well known: big folded size and weak, not reliable, center hinge.

...
What you meant to say is that a hinged bi-fold is a simpler, more mature technology that enjoys great economies of scale, and therefore the consumer reaps great benefits. While the inherent problem of the hinge is true, by the same token one can go five, ten years with a perfectly serviceable hinge and service life will depend on the heaviest and most frequent load, the rider. And once the hinge reaches its service life, you can replace the whole frame for a new one given prevailing prices. For example, I just bought a bi-fold frameset and handlepost for Ä99 ($109), the price of a meal for two/three in Brussels, Singapore or NYC. This is, by the way, lower than the price of just a Birdy handlepost which must be replaced every two years if the warranty is to be safeguarded. But you don't call that part "weak, not reliable", do you? No, of course, you don't because that part, naturally endowed with "a lot of creativity and engineering effort" by virtue of its high station, is on your genteel European bike whose least expensive model is $1,800 rather than on my Asiatic garbage bikes. So, let's keep it real, bro, by keeping the problem, your problem in perspective. ďWhy do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brotherís eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?"

Last edited by Ron Damon; 07-07-24 at 11:25 PM.
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