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Folding bike framebuild ?

Old 08-02-17, 05:59 AM
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Folding bike framebuild ?

Hello

Have you heard about "home made" folding bike frames ? I've search for it since a moment, but found rather nothing ont the web.

It seems a little more complex than usual framebuild (hinges, unusual geometry), but offer a lot of possibilities (custom size of frame and wheels, cargo,...) and plenty of possible innovations for the fold kinematic.

So I don't understand why there is almost no custom folders ?...

Thanks for those who could enlighten me
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Old 08-02-17, 06:40 AM
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I don't think I've ever seen a homemade folder. Travel bikes that come apart, yes. Maybe in the utility bike forum here
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Old 08-05-17, 05:01 AM
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I've found some, but rather "cheap" ones.
Foldable Bike: 4 Steps (with Pictures)
Homemade folding bike | Make:

Edit: this one look nice

https://masuellidesign.com/index.php/bamboo-bikes/

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Old 08-05-17, 09:02 AM
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There is alignment of the folding parts to contend with, the companies use assembly jigs to get it right, repeatedly.
Probably why folding bikes usually only sell 1 size, they use 1 set of assembly jigs for the parts of the frame.

Swift type use the seat post long length as the pivot.. and clamp the front and rear sections around it..
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Old 08-05-17, 11:26 AM
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Usually, framebuilders use jigs too (aluminium, steel or wood), even for a "normal" bike.
Folding bikes are designed to be compact, I guess it's why they have only one size, and a long seatpost to be used by everyone. And maybe to reduce production costs, indeed.

I wonder how they have set the hinge of the bamboo folder, maybe some rather longs tubes welded to hinge and pressed/glued into bamboo ?


In fact, I would like to build a bike (in a near future, for the moment I havent welding tools and skills) inspired by the Bromtpon (same folding system), but with 20 or 24" wheels.
Or some kind of Montague, but with a steel (bamboo ?) frame.
Cause these kind of bikes do not exist on market (or maybe very expensive/rare), and I'd like to apply my personnal preferences (strong enough for some light offroad, rather leaning position, a maximum of standard parts,...). And cause it's so much better when DIY !

But, seeing that no one seems to have build this kind of bike, I'm wondering if something made manufacture impossible, or very difficult, for a non-pro people.
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Old 08-06-17, 07:33 AM
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fixturing is no problem, you just have to build the hinge first.

there are a lot of cheap folders out there, I think all the details probably put people off. A hinge will probably require some machining, you can't buy any of that. So it just never inspired anyone to build one.
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Old 08-06-17, 01:57 PM
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I'd have thought the best way to do the bamboo folding bike was to start with a metal folding bike that wasn't useful anymore, then cut the interesting bits off it (like hinges) for re-use.
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Old 08-06-17, 01:59 PM
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I owned a Brompton M6L for several years and really admired the cleverly engineered compact folding mechanism. It was also virtually indestructible. I wasn't riding it very much, so eventually sold it.

This concept folder in an article published in a 1979 issue of American Bicyclist has always fascinated me, but unfortunately the concept never made it into production.





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Old 08-06-17, 04:23 PM
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Hello

This kind of concept frequently returns, but indeed was never produced as far as I know. Maybe in some years, with new materials and 3D printing.

@JohnyHK: to build a bamboo bike, some donor bikes are usefull (an old bike can give a BB, headtube, dropouts,...); right here, the hinge too (from used cheap folder).
In the way you say (just cut off a part of the bike), there is this one: https://www.dragonflybamboo.com/bicy...v/folding-bike

@unterhausen: I don't think hinge is that a big problem, when you look at vintage folding bikes, the hinge is pretty simple, just like an oversize door hinge. It can be made by welding a cylinder to a steel dish (4-5mm thikness). With a standard welding machine and a drill it can be done.
Or even find a very stiff hinge (for reinforced door, gate,..).

These parts seems to be findable too in some places on the web: https://www.alibaba.com/product-deta...2c16d150BIwnTO
Off course, a more sofisticated hinge will improve the fold time, but not not necessarily the solidity (I can testify...). A big old steel hinge with a quick release is very strong.
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Old 08-06-17, 06:48 PM
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The research and development / engineering of a folding bike is much more complex than a non-folder. You have to make the bike safe above all else. Wouldn't hurt if it were light, the folding bits worked easily without excessive wear, and the design was well proven.

I think this takes folding bike design to a different level, which is why we don't see any custom framebuilders tackle a folder. It's just too much work, and the liability would be much greater for a one-off bike to justify the expense involved in building one.

Now that doesn't necessarily stop me from dreaming. If there were one person who I think could accomplish this task, it would be Craig Calfee. Solid background in building frames, with some very unusual designs. I'd love to see what he could come up with in a folder. Whether it would be worth his while or commercially viable, no clue.
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Old 08-07-17, 09:37 AM
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Hey, if you want to start a build, that would be great. Maybe you would start a new trend.

I think I would feel bad asking for a sample from that alibaba vendor, and there is no way I'm buying a carton of 250. Looks like you can get the rest of the frame from them as well.

I definitely think that this is doable, but if I wanted to build one, I'd go buy a brompton instead. Too many projects, not enough time.
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Old 08-09-17, 04:38 PM
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For the hinge, I'd prefer pick an used bike in bad shape (in france we have plenty of cheap folders with steel frame, about 50$ on our "craiglist"), or do it myself (a stiff one, welded) than buy the one on the link.
It is true that these kind of projects take a lot of time, but the satisfaction of use something made by yourself is incomparable. Do his own bike is some kind of graal for the handyman cyclist.

As I work in a design office, I'm able to use 3D conception programs, including stress test, kinematics of folding,... It help a lot, compared to working just with a paper and a pencil (but I still use it for firsts drafts).

But I must agree that the particular geometry and constraints of folding bikes requires more precautions.


On reflection, I guess another reason why there is no folding bikes made by framebuilders (pro or not) is cause when you're looking to have a tailored bike, you want it rather performing. And if you need to travel with it, you will prefer a dismountable full-size bike which isn't that different that a normal bike.
And for people who really need a folding bike, wich have the budget for a tailored one, choise a premium bike (Montague, Brompton,...) that cover most of needs.
So indeed, it seems that tailored folding bikes do not have potential customers here :-/ ... Or just a few...
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Old 08-10-17, 07:41 AM
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there are pro folder bikes. Moulton and Bike Friday come to mind. Those companies both make really nice bikes. Many of both have finished Paris-Brest-Paris, for example.
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Old 08-10-17, 09:25 AM
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I wonder how many folders the OP has worked on or ridden for longer then around the block. The vast majority (Raleighs, Peugeots, the dozens of Eastern euro knock offs and all the Italian attempts) that use a door hinge type element all have some of the same issues of hinge slop, hinge distortion due to fabracating stress, closure bolt function and integrity. There are valid reasons why Friday and Brompton both use hinges of vastly different designs from the low cost masses.


We sell Bramptons and I've had a number of Fridays cross my repair stands and will attest to their solid ride and easy floding as well as their ability to be sized to differing riders. They will make a good sample to get ideas from although their designs are fairly involved compared to a coupled bike (which is what I decided to make). Andy.
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Old 08-11-17, 06:15 AM
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I've rebuild the hinges of my Dahon Speed D7, who were broken (inapropriate use of previous owner + design too weak), and did the maintenance/upgrade of some folding bikes (vintage and recent).

I see what you mean when you talk about flexibility of the bike (on old Peugeot and Motobecane it's very sensitive), but on my Dahon I don't feel it (for the frame itself at least, hinge is more flexy because of the lenght), even during the effort.

Main frame hinge on the Brompton seems pretty close to the "standard" hinge, a little more massive. And the Bike Friday have just two pivots to fold the rear stays and seat tube (which is of course more rigid than a little hinge).
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