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Quickest of these from A to B?

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Quickest of these from A to B?

Old 05-23-07, 02:46 AM
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ningnangnong
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Quickest of these from A to B?

After much good advice I've narrowed my choice down to these for my occasional commute (incl train). It would help a lot if people could put them in the order them think would be quickest from A to B. A high gear for part of the ride would be a real plus.
  • MU SL
  • Speed Pro
  • Mezzo i4
  • Birdy City Premium
  • Brompton S
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Old 05-23-07, 04:41 AM
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I had a friendly race with a MU SL on my Speed Pro. The MU ran out of gears after 45kmh while my SP could pull away to 55 easy, on a slight downhill. My Brompton wont be able to catch this guys but its beautiful to ride.

Cant comment about Birdy or Mezzo but I suspect the SP will be faster given same rider. I may be wrong - and you don't have to agree with me.

OnF
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Old 05-23-07, 04:44 AM
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Not quite sure what you mean...Your muscles and cardio-vascular system will be by far the biggest determining factor in how fast you get from A to B - the bikes you have listed will only have a limited effect on your speed.

Aerodynamics/riding position will certainly play a key part - but, to be honest, over a shortish commute (say, sub-5 miles) I doubt the time savings will be anything more than marginal. Others will undoubtedley chime in with the usual dichotomies: fat/skinny tyres, hub/derailleur, light/heavy bike etc, but choosing a bike where you can modify it to minimise your frontal area will be your best bet (but it will still come a poor second to getting fitter and losing weight).

The bike with the biggest top end (by quite some margin) is the Speed Pro - but I doubt you will be using the 100 GI + that it offers, that often, or at a high enough cadence to make it worthwhile (unless you really like grinding). All the others have a range that means you can ride as fast as your body allows.

The terrain you will be tackling will also determine your av speed - is it hilly, undulating, flat etc? If it was flat, I might go for a 2 speed Brompton, if it was hilly a 3/6 speed. A Sped Pro would be good for downhills...
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Old 05-23-07, 05:11 AM
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Thanks for the replies.

What I mean is, with the same effort, which would be the quickest bike to ride from A to B? Are some of these heavier and with lower gearing, meaning that it takes more effort to maintain a decent speed, which might be slower than another bike which requires less effort?

The aerodynamics and mods aside, this is initially a question about stock bikes. I don't want to pedal like a lunatic to get up to a decent speed, nor do I want to feel that I am putting in a massive effort tomove a bike as heavy as a barge.

No need to lose weight etc as I am pretty fit.

First and last part of the commute is mainly flat routes/cyclepaths. 2nd and 3rd in London through the back streets and parks.
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Old 05-23-07, 06:08 AM
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As F&T says... bikes have quite a small overall effect. You may be fit, but are you cycling fit? ie are the muscle groups that are used for cycling, practised? Runners often think, huh cycling what's the difficulty in that. Then they get on a bike and get humiliated.

Speed on the flats will be determined by

a) Aerodynamics (by far the biggest factor)
b) weight (but total weight is what counts, bike weight is actually a small portion of the total)
c) rolling resistance (good hubs help, but more importantly, good tyres)

Actually I have no experience with any of those bikes, but the SP will likely be the fastest going by the componentry. Personally I would go for the Birdy, it will probably have better longevity.

Last edited by jur; 05-23-07 at 06:15 AM.
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Old 05-23-07, 06:14 AM
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Are some of these heavier and with lower gearing, meaning that it takes more effort to maintain a decent speed, which might be slower than another bike which requires less effort?
The MU SL is by far the lightest, and whilst you might get up to speed a bit faster (and climb a bit better), when you are cruising along the differences will be minimal. A traffic light on red will have much more of an impact on your journey times!

I don't want to pedal like a lunatic to get up to a decent speed, nor do I want to feel that I am putting in a massive effort tomove a bike as heavy as a barge.
Do not undestimate a high cadence in a lower gear, you put less strain on your muscles/kness and you can still go along at a good clip. However, cadence is a personal thing so go with what feels comfortable. With the exception of the Mu SL, the others will all be in the same weight ball-park 10-11ish kgs (depending on accessories/specs). IMO, the weight issue matters more when you are carrying the bike, not when you are commuting on it.

First and last part of the commute is mainly flat routes/cyclepaths. 2nd and 3rd in London through the back streets and parks.
I avoid parks as they do not mix well with speed. Too many dogs, tourists, inattentive pedestrians and suspect cycling on display. I also try to keep to main roads and not back streets as I find them safer.

To answer your question, the bike with the greatest potential for speed, is the Speed Pro (the TT more so).
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Old 05-23-07, 06:15 AM
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jur - to answer your fitness question, yes, very.

a) can't imagine any of these are especially aerodynamic and since we're not talking about Superbikes, I presume the differences will be marginal?
b) agree
c) assume that they all or would have (when bought) the same rolling resistance

Interesting. Why would you go for the Birdy?
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Old 05-23-07, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by ningnangnong
c) assume that they all or would have (when bought) the same rolling resistance

Interesting. Why would you go for the Birdy?
They wouldn't have the same rolling resistance if they came with different tyres.

* Alex Moulton, who experimented extensively with small-wheeled bicycles, found that introducing suspension more than compensates for the effect of smaller wheels compared to 700c wheels. The Birdy has that.

* The Birdy does not fold in the frame, so makes for a stiff frame much like the Swift which has made a name for itself in this respect. It also therefore avoids problems that a hinge might cause.

* Dahons, while have a very nice appeal, seem to be plagued by lack of long-term reliability. The Dahon forum is replete with reports of broken this, problem that.

* The Birdy is quite a light bike despite the suspension.

* It has excellent resell value.

* Better bang for buck compared to Brompton.

* It folds quite small.

* I don't like its special wheel size though.
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Old 05-23-07, 07:52 AM
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Cheers jur. What I was trying to say was that if they were all equipped with the same tyres...

Style-wise I do like the Birdy - sun is out - better try and get a test ride.
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Old 05-23-07, 07:53 AM
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My recollection is that for your commute, you have a grand total of 6-7 miles, yes?

If that's the case, I seriously doubt you will notice the difference between these models in terms of performance. If you're doing a multi-mode commute, Brompton is the way to go.

The more you overthink this project, the less satisfied you will be with whatever you choose. So just do a few test rides, pick the one that feels best, and start riding....
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Old 05-23-07, 08:04 AM
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Regardless of the model you ultimately select, adjusting the gear selection to your riding style and getting the bike to fit your upper body with a strong handlebar/stem assembly would be key to good performance.

Just from what I read in this thread, you may be interested in 451 wheels, 56T chainring with a standard 11-21 9spd cassette. This would give you gear range between 54 and 103 GearInches, and your highest use gears would be in the middle of the cluster for a nice chainline. The center gear 56/15 is good for 76 GearInches. At a cadence 90rpm, this gear equates to 20mph. A medium to fast health pace. Personally I find a tight cluster allows me to fine tune my cadence and my speed. I prefer this over the Capreo wide range cluster common on many 9speed folders. Regards, G.R.
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Old 05-23-07, 08:25 AM
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Style-wise I do like the Birdy - sun is out - better try and get a test ride.
If you're in London, Simpsons, Chalk Farm; Bike Fix, Holborn; and Velorution, nr Ox Circus all have Birdies in stock...
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Old 05-23-07, 09:26 AM
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Bacciagalupe - that's each way - train journey in the middle, so a three-part journey. I notice slow speed and wrong gears on 3 miles, so will definitely on 12 plus. And yes, we can overthink the whole thing.

Guy, thanks. If all these can be easily modded it makes the choice easier.

F&T - only in London on business, so will try a local dealer.
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Old 05-23-07, 09:37 AM
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Old 05-23-07, 09:43 AM
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Marvellous - that is great.
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Old 05-23-07, 11:04 AM
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I'm 100% with Jur here (as usual). You can swap out the Birdy tires for Stelvios.

I traded in my Mu SL for a Birdy and have lived happy ever after. The Dahon Mu SL is a beautiful bike with nice component selection, but the frame hinge is a weak spot and the stem is flexy. I'm sure the same is true of the SP. It's too bad, b/c the bikes are otherwise quite nice.
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Old 05-23-07, 11:55 AM
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I'm a little biased since I became a big fan of compact folds. if you were talking about 20+ miles a day I would suggest a 20" wheeled bike, probably the Mu or the Speed Pro. Since we are taling about 12-14 miles + a train, I would go with a smaller wheel, probably a Birdy or even a Brompton. You may arrive 3-5 minutes later but these bikes are 1) more convenient to carry and 2) will expand your horizons to take the bike with you on travels since they pack faster/easier than those with bigger wheels. If really compact folds is not a deciding factor for you, I still suggest the Birdy.

Just like other contributors, you don't have to agree with me.
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Old 05-23-07, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by 14R
I'm a little biased since I became a big fan of compact folds. if you were talking about 20+ miles a day I would suggest a 20" wheeled bike, probably the Mu or the Speed Pro. Since we are taling about 12-14 miles + a train, I would go with a smaller wheel, probably a Birdy or even a Brompton. You may arrive 3-5 minutes later but these bikes are 1) more convenient to carry and 2) will expand your horizons to take the bike with you on travels since they pack faster/easier than those with bigger wheels. If really compact folds is not a deciding factor for you, I still suggest the Birdy.

Just like other contributors, you don't have to agree with me.
14R, Have you ever been on a Birdy? My average speed is no different on my 105 equipped Birdy than on my friend's 105 equipped road bike. Some on the Birdy forum prefer their folders b/c they feel that they are faster. (Could be mass-speedometer mis-calibration with the little wheels!) Today, there was a touch of a tail wind on the commute to work, and I hit 29.5 MPH on a flat at one point. I've had the Kool Aid, and it's tasty.
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Old 05-23-07, 07:30 PM
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pm124,

I never had a chance to ride a Birdy. I just assume they are somehow slower otherwise we would see smaller wheels on road bikes more often, specially around the pros. But in one way or another, I still suggested the Birdy as a great option for the original poster.

29.5MPH is fast. Very fast. was the biggest contribution for that speed the wind or the Kool Aid?
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Old 05-23-07, 07:50 PM
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It's always a very sensitive subject when one talks about the "fastest" bike per se. Traffic, road, fitness condition including what you had for breakfast and wind direction must all be taken into account. But ceteris paribus, my experience tells me its the Speed Pro. As F&T pointed out, it has the gearing but question is do you have the muscles?

This is my personal best on my SP on a slight downhill, but its not the fastest in my Dahon Riding Club.



That honour goes to a guy called Nuke Heng who hit 64kmh and just completed a 160km race in a respectable 7 hrs with a Speed Pro TT (including of food/fuel breaks).

At the end of the day, its about having fun on whatever you are riding. I love my Strida though its not going to win any races...

Last edited by OldiesONfoldies; 05-24-07 at 03:18 AM.
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Old 05-23-07, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by 14R
pm124,

I just assume they are somehow slower otherwise we would see smaller wheels on road bikes more often, specially around the pros.
One of the reasons the pros don't ride small wheels is because they were made illegal in pro races years ago(keep in mind this is a general statement. There are different racing bodies that still allow them). It happened just after they started racing Moultons. I'm not saying that this is the only reason. I do definitely feel the difference in the amount of momentum I can carry on my 700cc road bike as opposed to my Raleigh Twenty. I noticed that I could carry more speed through smaller climbs on the 'big wheel' bike. I climb larger hills better on the Twenty, though. I feel faster on the 700cc bike, but I was only half a mile to 1 mile per hour faster than on my Twenty on identical courses. Keep in mind that the Twenty is 10 lbs heavier and has dual suspension which robs me of efficiency when compared to my aluminum frame road bike. My road bike also has 23mm wheels compared to 28.6 on my Raleigh. I do think that the mechanical advantage of larger tires is more apparent when you are talking about averaging 25-35 mph over 90+ miles, 7+ days in a row. I think it also makes a difference when bombing down a huge downhill. I also think the fact that small wheel bikes just look "wierd" to cyclists used to a conventional bike plays a factor.

The biggest problem I have with the Twenty is having to climb smaller hills after climbing bigger ones. When my legs are filled with lactic acid, I just can't get the momentum up. This isn't a problem on my 700cc bike.I've found that on my Twenty, by spinning up the lower part of hills, then standing for the last 1/3 of the climb I can make up for the momentum loss.

I think that my "final" folding bike purchase will be either a Birdy with Shimano 105 components or a Tikit with a similar drivetrain. The Tikit has to get better looking, though.
Juan
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Old 05-26-07, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by OldiesONfoldies
At the end of the day, its about having fun on whatever you are riding. I love my Strida though its not going to win any races...
Indeed it is :-)

Well actually, it already has! From the Strida FAQ "..... inventor mark sanders
(who is 6 feet 4 inches tall) cruising to victory in the folding bicycle race of 1997."
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Old 05-27-07, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by 14R
pm124,

I never had a chance to ride a Birdy. I just assume they are somehow slower otherwise we would see smaller wheels on road bikes more often, specially around the pros. But in one way or another, I still suggested the Birdy as a great option for the original poster.

29.5MPH is fast. Very fast. was the biggest contribution for that speed the wind or the Kool Aid?
Probably the synergistic effect of both. I promise not to make any more Jonestown jokes, though.

The wheels are about the same size as the world record holding Moultons. Also, I came in ahead of 3 Moultons in the folding bike race. Granted, the only one of the 3 younger than me was female on a 1964 version, which might be a contributing factor.

But the reason they don't win the Tour de France, as pointed out below, is that they aren't allowed to enter the race. If anyone were allowed to enter, recumbants would rule the day. And they mostly have 305-355 wheels!
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Old 05-27-07, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
My recollection is that for your commute, you have a grand total of 6-7 miles, yes?

If that's the case, I seriously doubt you will notice the difference between these models in terms of performance. If you're doing a multi-mode commute, Brompton is the way to go.

The more you overthink this project, the less satisfied you will be with whatever you choose. So just do a few test rides, pick the one that feels best, and start riding....
What a brilliant reply this is. I have to celebrate your common sense here. If you want to see 'overthinking' of the whole folding bike project, go over to the Brompton Group at Yahoo. What a bunch of snobby 'overthinking' tossers hang out over there.

I'd just say chose a bike you like that will fold up neatly, and seems reliable. The Brompton is a lovely thing, as is the Merc - even though as an unlicensed Brompton clone it is less legitimate. Also, chose one you can afford - remember, a bike doesn't have to cost the earth, it's only a bike.

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Old 05-27-07, 12:37 PM
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To this excellent discussion, I would add, for nnn's consideration, the cockpit. The bikes you listed have very different cockpits, which becomes an issue if you are a sigma or two off the bike's design target. Ever had a fast bike that you hate to ride?
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