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Stainless steel frame (I think its a bad idea)

Old 06-25-15, 07:26 AM
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Stainless steel frame (I think its a bad idea)

My daughter is considering ordering a semi custom bike, the Rodriguez 6-pack, and she is considering ordering it in stainless steel.

Her reasoning is that, in the pictures of it that she has seen, people put a lot custom of packing material around it to keep from banging up the paint. She feels that, with the amount she travels, this will not work for her. The solution she has been given is to order it in stainless (titanium is out of the price range).

In my experience (limited to machining small, simple, parts) stainless is heavy and brittle. I think she is better off putting clear packing tape around the painted parts and going with conventional steel.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

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Old 06-25-15, 08:06 AM
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Modern stainless steel bicycle tubing, e.g. Reynolds 953 or Columbus XCr is neither heavy nor brittle. I suspect Rodriguez uses something like these tubes.
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Old 06-25-15, 08:10 AM
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Salsa makes its travel bike, the salsa vaya, from stainless steel as well, Vaya Travel | Bikes | Salsa Cycles
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Old 06-25-15, 08:13 AM
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35-40 years old, and it looks great. But this is not modern, specifically purposed stainless steel and lighter weight construction; the ride experience is nothing to brag about.
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Old 06-25-15, 08:18 AM
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If she has the means to buy stainless, then she should buy stainless.
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Old 06-25-15, 08:30 AM
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Powder coating is much more chip resistant than most paints,

but the kinds with a chemical catalyst gets closer , curing essentially Epoxy like.

Bike Friday Uses Powder coat finishes.
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Old 06-25-15, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
Bike Friday Uses Powder coat finishes.
Yes, but like the Brompton, there is, essentially, no way to see a bike friday (which I specifically mentioned to her) or a Brompton prior to purchase. She has a Montague (too big when packed) and a small folder. She dislikes the ride of the small folder and sees it as unsuitable for touring.
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Old 06-25-15, 08:46 AM
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There are many different kinds of stainless. Your experience does not apply to them all. The tubing and bicycles made from it have proven so far to be durable.
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Old 06-25-15, 08:49 AM
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Hundreds of riders around the globe would differ with that opinion ..

I suspect that she has only tried a chinese built folding bike (edit: being in China that makes sense)
, made to be pretty low cost. As no specifics were offered.
not one in the $1200 + category with precise manufacturing standards

the handling of my Pocket Llama Is superbe .. and even steadier with a load in the front panniers on their rack ..

Can she test ride the R&E 6 pack? Eugene is a days ride on the train south from there to test ride Bike Friday's too ..
[+ I have flown Out of Eugene's Airport, via SeaTac, to other parts of the world]
& there can be long detailed Q&A with their sales crew , Toll free to the caller.

they do converse over the internet for overseas inquires.

I got a refused custom order , the Ordering buyer didn't like the antracite grey metallic , they wanted Inky Black .

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Old 06-25-15, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
hundreds of riders around the globe would differ with that opinion ..
She has a Montague (too big when packed) and a small folder. She dislikes the ride of the small folder and sees it as unsuitable for touring.
It is fine that hundreds have managed to make do, she has one and
dislikes the ride of the small folder and sees it as unsuitable for touring.
I have suggested that she look at the bike friday. However, the problem is the distribution. The bike friday dealers do not have them in stock and push hard to order sight unseen. then they waffle on the point; but it is pretty clear that there is no returning it without a very hefty "stocking fee," if it isn't suitable.

Bike Friday would be better off to not have dealers than to have bad dealers. She has been to the dealers and they have left her negative on the idea. As I said, she has a Giant folder, with small wheels, and after about an hour is done with it for the day; whereas, the Montague she is comfortable riding all day.

This is a problem here, I get accused of it a lot with promoting recumbents to people, if something has worked out great for a person they tend to think it is just as good for everyone. The part where it seems absurd is when people say that someone is wrong for having disliked something after trying it. "It worked great for me, there must be something wrong with you if you, after trying it, don't think its great!"

I know small wheel folders is a religion for some here; so, here, let me see if I can restate this:
  • She has a small wheel folder
  • She doesn't like it
  • I suggested a Bike Friday
  • She stated that she doesn't want another small wheel folder; but,
  • She went to a ship that is listed as a dealer
  • She didn't like the shop
  • She is turned off at the idea of another small wheel folder.


It is like me and dyno lights, people here say they are the greatest thing. I have tired it three times. Each time I end up with something that is inferior to a cheap battery light. I will probably try dyno lights again; but eventually I will learn (or they really will get as good as a cheap battery light). When it comes to small wheel folders, she feels she has learned.

And, yes, before buying she will fly to Seattle to the bike shop for fitting and to see the bike. She lives in China; so this is a major undertaking.
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Old 06-25-15, 09:21 AM
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R&E's 6 pack is a 20" wheel Too. 406 rim.
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Old 06-25-15, 01:14 PM
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And with a flux capacitor, you can time travel with a stainless steel bike. The trick is getting it up to 88 mph.

GH
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Old 06-25-15, 01:20 PM
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Finding it difficult not to be sarcastic about a $5000 folding bicycle that you then don't want to get beat up by traveling. What do people do with their luggage that matches their Lamborghini?
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Old 06-25-15, 01:24 PM
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There some pretty nice travel cases for bikes these days...
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Old 06-25-15, 02:02 PM
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They make it in titanium as well. Light, durable and you don't have to worry about paint.
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Old 06-25-15, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by McBTC
There some pretty nice travel cases for bikes these days...
Yes there are; but she has found them worthless for touring. What she has found to work best is to stuff her goods into a cheap bag (even about a dozen layered trash bags) and then buy another cheap bag at the other end to stuff things into to fly back. Those nice travel cases are a burden on the actual riding part of the trip.
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Old 06-25-15, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert C
Yes there are; but she has found them worthless for touring. What she has found to work best is to stuff her goods into a cheap bag (even about a dozen layered trash bags) and then buy another cheap bag at the other end to stuff things into to fly back. Those nice travel cases are a burden on the actual riding part of the trip.
Has she looked into using a service like BikeFlights and just shipping a regular bike in a padded box?
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Old 06-25-15, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by ShortLegCyclist
Has she looked into using a service like BikeFlights and just shipping a regular bike in a padded box?
They don't service China. Also in China you are often charged the full "bike Fee" each time you change flights.

There is also the issue, and that is what prompted a lot of this, is that a bike box is a hassle on the train and taxis. This is the problem with the Montague, it is too hard to transport, even when folded.

As far as her small folder, it is fine for riding in town and goes in the lift and her apartment easily, she just doesn't like riding it long distances.
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Old 06-25-15, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert C
They don't service China. Also in China you are often charged the full "bike Fee" each time you change flights.

There is also the issue, and that is what prompted a lot of this, is that a bike box is a hassle on the train and taxis. This is the problem with the Montague, it is too hard to transport, even when folded.

As far as her small folder, it is fine for riding in town and goes in the lift and her apartment easily, she just doesn't like riding it long distances.
If you can pinpoint what about riding it long distances she doesn't like, there may be adjustments that can be made to alleviate that.

For instance, if the ride is rough and it doesn't handle potholes well, upgrading to Big Apple balloon tires can make a huge difference.

The seat, handlebars/angles/sweep can all be changed without affecting the fold too much.

The gearing can be switched up higher or lower or bigger range as well.
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Old 06-25-15, 07:20 PM
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These are the two folders she has experience with. The blue one is the one she currently uses for shopping (hence the shopping basket on the front) and other short trips near her apartment in China.

The white one is one I bought in China for a trip that involved a lot of train transits. She used it as had, basically the same complaint. Heel strike, poor seat to handle bar reach, basically just did not like it.

She also tells me that she has the same complaint with both of these. She isn't strong enough to use the levers to fold and unfold them (should be addressable with ah piece of metal tubing; but she doesn't like that idea, I think it makes her fee weak to need a "tool.")

I will also point out that she has been looking at, talking about, and generally wanting, the six-pack for several years. Sort of a "dream bike." As a father I am just concerned that it will live up to her expectations.
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Old 06-25-15, 07:41 PM
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While I think stainless is fine, I'm sure she's still going to use the sheaths that come with the bike shown in the image below (or are they optional?). I mean why wouldn't you take the extra 10 minutes to do so? So at that point, there's really no need for stainless, as your paint is preserved regardless. And those sheaths don't strike me as something difficult to fabricate for any traveling bike she might wish to purchase.

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Old 06-25-15, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert C
These are the two folders she has experience with. The blue one is the one she currently uses for shopping (hence the shopping basket on the front) and other short trips near her apartment in China.

The white one is one I bought in China for a trip that involved a lot of train transits. She used it as had, basically the same complaint. Heel strike, poor seat to handle bar reach, basically just did not like it.

She also tells me that she has the same complaint with both of these. She isn't strong enough to use the levers to fold and unfold them (should be addressable with ah piece of metal tubing; but she doesn't like that idea, I think it makes her fee weak to need a "tool.")

I will also point out that she has been looking at, talking about, and generally wanting, the six-pack for several years. Sort of a "dream bike." As a father I am just concerned that it will live up to her expectations.
If she's really not strong enough to work the latches on a Dahon, she may have a rude surprise coming when she has to break down and re-assemble a 6 Pack Micro... it uses 6 S and S couplers and the bike is broken down so extensively that it's barely recognizable as a bike, as you can see in Bovine's picture.

Assembling and disassembling a 6 Pack Micro is just a little short of assembling a bicycle from parts.
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Old 06-25-15, 09:10 PM
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Check this out for touring on a folder:
Our Bikes - Our Life Unfolded
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Old 07-03-15, 06:13 PM
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I found a shop that not only sales Brompton but had several in stock here in Salt Lake (they also stock Dahon). While the sales lady was relative positive and helped my daughter believe that the Brompton was something she would physically be able to handle. The proof was in the riding.

A guy came out of the shop to help adjust it to her and to strap a few weights on it so she could see how it felt loaded. After she rode off he commented to me "I don't even know why you are looking at this [the Brompton] it isn't gong to do what she wants." He felt she needed something with the S&S couplers.

Anyways after a while she, my daughter, returned and reported that she had now tried the Brompton and it was not going to work for her. It would make a great multi modal commuter; but she did not find it suitable for touring.

So, yes, she has tried a Brompton.
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Old 07-18-15, 01:33 PM
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Just a follow up, she went to Seattle and tried the 6-pack. There is now one on order. She didn't go stainless. Instead she is getting an enamel finish on it that is supposed to very very chip resistant. It will be several months before I am really able to say much about it.

First it has to be built, then it will be shipped to an address close to the great lakes for a tour next summer. She did try the S&S couplers, and was able to use them, a major concern. Other than that, after being fitted, they had her test ride a bike that was close to her measurements and she liked it a lot (of course, any properly fitted bike should be comfortable).

For the price, I think I would have gotten a velo-mobile; but a velo-mobile doesn't fit in a suitcase.
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