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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 03-29-09, 01:58 PM   #1
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comfy seat

I have started riding my Ridgeback Attache, my first folder and I love it. Fits folded into my Citroen C1 (even in the non-existing boot) so can park my car up about 6 miles outside Hereford where I work and then cycle in.
I have decided to cycle for British Heart Foundation and ride the London to Paris Challenge (you can sponsor me here ...
What I noticed, having done my first of probably many prep rides to get my stamina up for that ride (15 miles on Saturday morning) is that the combination of tires inflated to 'as hard as rock' and no suspension (as my previous trekking bikes had) and the basic saddle, it's sore bum time.

Any suggestions on a) a better saddle and b) how low/high to get the tire pressure?!


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Old 03-29-09, 03:10 PM   #2
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You touched on most of the basic, yet often neglected simple things that can vastly improve your comfort, enjoyment, and the bike's performance. Stamina is something that should be best discussed with your own heath-care provider. But the other things is something that I can comment on. For best protection against flat tires, possible damaged rims, and ease of pedaling-it is best to keep the tires at the fullest pressure recommended for that particular tire when riding on pavement and hard dirt. Suspension is something that is a bit more critical for a smaller wheeled bike than a larger wheel one since you feel every bump and road vibration far more. And good support from a well chosen saddle should compliment the suspension method selected.

On my own small wheeled folding bikes, I use a wider saddle that has springs in the rear. My saddles have very little padding to prevent irritation at the thighs. And they are shaped to my body's um, curves. This system has worked very well for me. But some experimentation might involve you more here. When I was younger, I tried to ride on hard narrow no spring saddles because it was "expected" by others. Now I only do what works for me. Feel free to take a look at my bikes and saddles at my Flickr sites below and make your own decisions.
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Old 03-29-09, 03:15 PM   #3
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Hi Martin,

perhaps the best saddle for long distance riding would be a Brooks, specifically a Brooks B17. They are traditional leather, and need a breaking-in period while they are still new and hard. But after that, it is the most comfortable saddle around, and countless long distance riders use only Brooks. (There are of course people who don't like them.)

As for tyre pressure, it depends to a certain extent on the tyres you are running, plus your weight. EG if they are narrow like 28mm, then they require high pressure to prevent pinch flats, but should be fine at 60psi for an average person. That will give about the same sort of ride harshness as a high pressure (>100psi) road tyre. Wider tyres are rated at less pressure and should not be pumped beyond their rating or you risk a casing failure.

For a really comfortable, easy-rolling option, you could go for Schwalbe Big Apple tyres; they are 50mm wide and are run at low pressure eg 30psi; but their design is such that there isn't a penalty in rolling resistance.

Adapt your riding style as well; try to take more weight on your legs as you roll over bumps and stuff. This the first line of improved comfort.

Enjoy your ride!
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Old 03-29-09, 04:13 PM   #4
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The "optimal" pressure for fast riding is the level at which the tire is compressed 15%. A little bit of trial and error with a friends help will determine the correct pressure. If you want something more comfortable and fast, then try a wider tire with thinner casing a minimal tread.
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