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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 09-20-06, 02:37 PM   #1
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advice please - what folding bike to get?

hi, could i pick your collective brains?

i'm after a folding bike, but am finding it difficult to make a choice

i'm willing to spend up to about 600 but am able to spend more if necessary

its not for commuting every day, but would be taken on the train somethimes, and would be used to cycle along the south coast at weekends, say about 20 miles, over flat terrain

i work around the UK and europe about 1 week every month so would like to take it with me on the train/plane so want something easily portable yet able to comfortably manage longish distances

should i be looking at a 26 inch wheel, or 20 inch wheel model. can anyone offer advice on the advantage/disadvantages of either design, given my requirements?

thanking you in advance
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Old 09-20-06, 05:19 PM   #2
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Well, what have you looked at? What looks good to you? I think it would be an easier assignment to critique the choices on your short list than to recommend bikes that may not even be available where you live. Then again there are the inevitable biases that we all carry. I for one would never consider a 26" folder, nor a 16" one for that matter. For me there is 20" and that's that. For airplane use I would think 26" out of the question anyway and 16" just won't cut it for extended riding. Work the search feature of this forum and look at the long running threads on Swift and Downtube folders. I think over $1100US for a folder is a bit much but thats me. The suspended Dahon Jetstream is probably right around that price point but the suspended Downtube is less than 1/2 of that. But your use is for smooth roads. Does knowing you 'don't have to spend your budget on a folder cheer you or must you satisfy the conspicuous consumer within. With needs like yours and a budget like yours honestly I would probably be thinking about a 16" folder AND a 26" folding or standard bike. But that's me.
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Old 09-20-06, 05:27 PM   #3
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If you want a compact folded unit, consider Brompton or Merc.

If you want a "real bike replacement" that folds, try a Downtube FS and upgrade it to your satisfaction or go with a more sophisticated out of the box bike (Dahon, KHS, etc...)

If you think a 26" wheel will work on your travels, consider a non folding bike. The trouble will be the same.

Just my opinion.
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Old 09-20-06, 07:47 PM   #4
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I have a 26" folder and it has kept me from being tossed off many trains, it cannot be easily packed for flying. 20" wheels on good pavement are optimal. 16" wheels are obviously more compact, but give a rough ride.

Dahon boardwalk or Speed D7 probably is your best all around choice, and it will leave extra £ for upgrades.

For flying an internally geared rear wheel would be nice as it is more robust when packed than a derailer type bike. Dahon Vitesse D5 has an internally geared hub already.

BTW, if you are handy with bike repairs a used Moulton would be a 'nice thing', or a money pit.
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Old 09-21-06, 02:58 AM   #5
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As I posted in other threads, the only folder I ever owned is Dahon Vitesse D5. I had 30 miles in Martha's Vineyard (an island south of Cape Cod, MA) very easily and I could have another 30 if I had better lunch, and maybe another 30 if the day was longer. If I had extra $400 in my pocket I might have bought a Mu XL instead, or maybe not.

I live in a city with notoriously very bad road with lots of broken pavements, and brick sidewalk. The only mod I found essential was to replace the saddle with a spring saddle. I bought Planet Bike Cruiser for some $30 and that was enough. Worth the extra weight.

So, for 20 miles on flat, paved road, I think 20" is perfect. I also commute with this bike every day, and find 20" to be easier than regular bike when I have to stop frequently for lights, jaywalkers, etc. and accelerate again.

I describe my bike with Planet Cruiser "more fun to ride than a girlfriend." This is very popular with most guys and half of girls. The rest of them ask if there is a better way to put it for girls.... "Don't get screwed by Dahon customer service!"

Last edited by megaptera; 09-21-06 at 03:07 AM.
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Old 09-21-06, 08:40 AM   #6
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Grimesy, fortunately most folding bikes will work fine for your purposes. However, I highly recommend a Brompton folder for what you're doing.

Bromptons fold very small and are very good for short distances (e.g. 20 flat miles). They will give you the least hassle for taking on planes and trains.
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Old 09-21-06, 09:10 AM   #7
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I've been researching this for the same reason as you. The two issues with planes is that most bikes don't fold small enought to meet air luggage size requirements unless taken apart, and you'll want a hard shell suitcase to prevent damage. So you have to narrow your choices down to bikes that can be easily dissassembled and stuck in a 30" or so suitcase.
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