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Why choose a folding bicycle over a regular bicycle?

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Why choose a folding bicycle over a regular bicycle?

Old 12-28-18, 03:56 PM
  #51  
Abu Mahendra
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Originally Posted by avole View Post
No. I'll meet you in Oz, if you like (6hr flight for you) and we'll have a go in the foothills of the Great Divide.

P.S Take out decent medical insurance.
Were I to tour Oz, I'd go with a 26er or 29er. I am not the dogmatic fanatic you paint me out to be. But I have made it up Kintamani in a folder whereas others (i.e. you) have failed in a 700c bike. I am actually in West Africa now so it's considerably longer than six hours.

Last edited by Abu Mahendra; 12-28-18 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 12-28-18, 04:27 PM
  #52  
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I have a Brompton and a Rivendell and commuted on both. Which do I prefer? Well that depends. When space, parking and risk of theft is high I chose the Brompton. The downside is the bike rides like crap and is uncomfortable after 45 minutes. Too many comprises.

When I want comfort and better handling and a solid feel I choose the Rivendell. I worry about this bike getting stolen and I can’t throw it in a taxi.

My needs can and do differ from others so I wouldn’t espouse that one style of bike is better than others. Choose a bike that fits your needs and you will be happy. There is no such thing as the best bike.
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Old 12-31-18, 02:54 AM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by Abu Mahendra View Post
Well, that's exactly it, ain't it? Most people here live in a region of the world with extremely limited knowledge, acceptance and availability of folders, yet they lack the self-awareness of that fact, and pontificate as if they are authorities on folding bikes, when all they know is Brompton (and Brompton clones in the case of Avole) and Bike Friday.
Yes, but if they have a US perspective and they are suggesting bikes for someone also in the US surely that is the right approach. No point suggesting they look wider afield, personal imports and all the complications of buying a bike without actual seeing or testing it. I don't think it's any surprise that the same old brands get wheeled out when the buyer is in the US. The bike shop brands and the direct brands etc. If I answer a query about buying a bike in the US from my UK perspective I will tailor it to brands available in the US. If its a buyer seeking advice in the UK my answer will be completely different and if its someone in mainland Europe I'd probably wouldn't answer as don't have much information on folding brands in France, Germany etc. Some models are worldwide and some brands differ in quality by region. I don't think Dahon is as good in Europe as the US. Prices tend to be higher and component choices worse with some assembly in Europe which probably adds to costs. I wouldn't recommend a lower end Dahon in the UK as they seem very poor value but they seem a better choice in other markets or higher end models. Like anyone I have my own bias and opinions formed by my own experiences which could contrast to other's experiences. Hopefully the melting pot of opinions on these forums helps give people a focused final opinion on bikes. Always happy to change my opinion as new information comes in and be flexible. I don't do brand loyalty though so will clash with those who focus on brand rather than the merits of a product itself.
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Old 12-31-18, 01:06 PM
  #54  
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I think this is my first post on the forum, I've lurked for a while.

I love my folder. "Regular" bikes do perform better but the gap in performance and fit has closed greatly, these are not like the folders of 50 years ago. Mine fits as well as a conventional bike. Key for that is the seat tube and stem are not parallel, so as both go up, the effective top tube length increases. I've done 20 mile tour-loaded rides, but relatively flat, needed to walk up the steeps; Even with the 20" wheels, the 52x30 is not low enough gearing for serious climbs, I've obtained an adapter for the oversize seat tube to fit a front derailleur and will fit a double soon. That's not a folder issue but how mine came equipped. My reason for getting a folder is I no longer have a vehicle that could transport a full size bike easy, and bike theft here is rampant, they'll cut a chain, so I NEVER leave the bike outside. I'll usually wheel it in to a business, and if they are stuffy, either fold the bike and carry it or not go into the business at all. Folders are also more compact even when not folded, if a smaller wheel, mine fits easy in small elevators with the front wheel turned. I advocate 20" wheels as this is the smallest you can go and still have a good top gear without the added weight, repair complexity, and 5% efficiency loss (if not in direct drive gear) of an internal gear hub to give you an overdrive. I don't fold mine often, I only need to a couple of times of year, if I did more often I would get one that was easier to carry or roll when folded. I do need panniers daily, I tossed the factory low rear rack and I searched to find a rear rack that fits WAY aft and high to give me heel clearance and the ability to carry standard full size panniers. In front I use a $10 rack that connects to the V-brake bosses, it's small and designed to hold a six pack but is the perfect size for a 20" folder. The hugely long front stem allows me to hang a standard small backpack from the handlebars over the front wheel and avoid the high priced Bromptom bag. Mine is a Dahon Speed D7, if I decided to trade up and had tons of money, I would go for one of the following:

- Burke 20, it's a 20" folder with full titanium frame and folds smaller because it folds in three layers similar to a Brompton (but with the chain still outside ). Notably, though the rear triangle is hinged like a Brompton, it is still fitted with mounts for a standard rear rack. 18 lbs. $5500-$6500 depending on gear set.
- Helix, made in Canada, full titanium frame and with 24" wheels but folds about as compact as a Brompton or Burke because they pioneered a folding fork. Disc brakes, through-axles. 22 lbs. Debuted at less than $2000 but incredibly slow to ship, now $2200 which is still a raging deal. BUT... has swinging rear fork and not showing any means for mounting a rear rack, a necessity for me. A beam rack is possible, but for panniers I'd need one supported at the rear dropouts.

As I said, my Dahon fits and rides well, and the 1.75" tires help with the ride. The biggest drawback is the bare bike weighs 28 lbs and with all the racks and panniers and clip-on bars and trunk bag full of tools, etc. I think empty it is over 40 lbs and my apartment has no elevator and requires hauling it up 1-1/2 flights, that's a job. Folding requires taking off the panniers.

Last edited by Duragrouch; 12-31-18 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 12-31-18, 01:09 PM
  #55  
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Bike Friday

Originally Posted by Andy Thousand View Post
Do you own a folding bicycle, and if so what has been your experience with it?
Andy,

I presently own a Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Campi Super Record and an AirFriday.

Bike Fridays make top of the line frame customize to you size, so if you close your eyes you do not know in which bike you are ;-)

I have ridden these bikes all over, even raced them. I have been in almost any of the big passes or Europe, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Tourmalet, Ventoux, Agnello, IZoard, Angliru etc. The bike handle perfect up and down.

Very convenient in Europe a QR and bike folds in fits inside trunk of medium size car.

In Europe in some of those local road, manure can sweeps into the road after the rain or during rain, BF bottle cage is behind seat tube so you need bottle with cap to keep it clean but not a big issue.

Ratios you can have the same as your regular bike it all depends what your legs can handle.

The small wheel (20 inch) has never been a real problem for me and it makes folding and storing inside of a Samsonite case very easy. I have never had to pay "bicycle" fees.

My only reason I do not ride them as much as I used to is that after I converted to Tubeless Road Tires nothing else work, I could never got back to clinchers. If someday they make Tubeless road tires 20 inches I may go back again.

In summary Top of the line Bike Fridays had almost all the features of a top road bike and far more convenience with the only exception of Tubeless Tires.

I have seen pretty interesting setups like a guy with a Gates rubber belt instead of chain attach to a Rohloff mutigear hub, just a gorgeous and fascinating set up. It seemed to work great.

If you are interested in any of the convenience of a fold-able bike, study, invest on it and get the correct size and it will become your only bike for many years. If you try to compare a 10K carbon bike with a $300 foldable yes it will not be the same.

Hope that helps

Ciao
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Old 12-31-18, 01:19 PM
  #56  
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Schwinn Loop folding bike

Schwinn Loop electric folding bike
I have a Schwinn Loop which was under $200 new (now a little over that at $223.99) which I have electrified (for another $180). The manual performance is nowhere near as good as a full-size road bike and the small wheels (20") make it a jarring ride on anything but flat, pot-hole free roads. In Houston, even when riding in a bike lane, I have been honked at, driven at, and even hit by a lady who swerved to avoid a car turning in front of her (she was messing with her phone) and hit me with her wing mirror. On the plus side, the bike is rock solid, cheap, very portable, easy to fold, and I highly recommend it.
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Old 12-31-18, 01:34 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by avole View Post
@abu - admit it, you are fanatically keen on folders ! I think they serve a purpose, mostly based on their size. When was the last time a folder won the Tour de France?
Small wheel bikes like the Mouton are BANNED from the TDF as they are perceived to have an aerodynamic advantage. TDF only allows diamond-frame bike with large wheels, not sure if they have to be 700c, they might allow 650c.
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Old 12-31-18, 03:24 PM
  #58  
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Maybe so, but it's not specifically Le Tour from which Moultons are banned, as their own website makes clear. I do agree, however,with banning sheep!
They're also not folding bikes.
Having just completed a mad race along a gravel path to buy some Champagne before the only supermarket shuts, I still wouldn't take a small wheeled bike across dubious terrain at speed, especially with a precious cargo held in one hand
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Old 12-31-18, 08:20 PM
  #59  
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I got my first folding bike (Xootr Swift) because I had a roommate that would steal anything not locked inside my room.
Also, I was living/studying in SF where any bicycle left outside would be stolen.

While I see the very real limitations of the Swift (big fold size, sorta cumbersome to move when folded, limited baggage options)....it was a great bike for someone with small space. It fit perfectly behind a door, and rode like a champ. It's extremely modifiable from hybrid....to a quasi-sport racer....to a granny bike. Currently, I've loaned it to a friend who's bikeless.

I'm tempted to get a Brompton, as I'm a rare weirdo that fits the bike.
My preferred riding style is fairly upright at fairly slow neandering speeds.
Also, i totally dig having a basket up front.

I ended up setting up my Swift to be like a brompton. Upright, tight cockpit, northroad bars.
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Old 12-31-18, 09:57 PM
  #60  
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I own a Lynskey Helix, a Bike Friday Tikit (349 wheels and Capreo hub - 18 speed) and an Airnimal Chameleon (20 speed) at the moment. I ride all 3 bikes regularly for up to 100km regularly.

Foldies have the fun factor that a full size bike does not give. I like my foldies to be ridden fast and able to keep up with roadies. I ridden/owned Dahons in 305 and 406 size, Pacific Reach Racing Scandium 451, Tyrell CSI and FX, Xootr Swift, Brompton, Tern X30, Birdy and a whole list more as my friends used to be folding bike enthusiasts.

I have settled on my current stable as my requirements were speed of bike, ability to fold easily into suitcase and weight. I prefer to my foldies for overseas trips due to easy packing compared to a roadie.

I guess at the end of the day, you need to settle on why you need a foldie and most importantly, make sure the gearing matches your riding style.

Just to add, what are the bikes that I think are great and suit me apart from what I own now? Xootr Swift, Dahon Hammerhead (now Dash X20?) and probably the Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Pro.
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Old 01-01-19, 05:24 AM
  #61  
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I was given a couple of folding bikes by my parents as they weren't using them .... tried them once and the hung them from the ceiling in the garage which is where they've been ever since.

Personally I'd never ride a folder out of preference but get that they serve a purpose for some that can't handle a real bike.
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Old 01-01-19, 04:17 PM
  #62  
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I've considered a folder for long days on public transportation since our trains and buses don't run very late hours. A few times I've needed Uber or Lyft to make the final leg home after a long day. The final ride home would be 10-12 miles, mostly on the MUP and some lightly traveled suburban roads, pretty easy for almost any bike.

But a folding bike would need to weigh less than 20 lbs to make it worth lugging around as backup transportation. Basically I'd be carrying a dinghy on the off chance I might actually need it to get home.

For the cost of a lightweight carbon fiber folding bike/dinghy -- figure $500 minimum, probably closer to $1,000 -- I could buy a lot of Uber rides home. Not really cost effective.

There are plenty of cheap folders weighing close to 30 lbs and costing less than $200 new, less than $100 used. I'd be tempted to abandon one of those after a 12 hour day. Heck, I'm tempted to abandon my sling bag with 5-10 lbs of stuff after a 12 hour day.

I considered a lightly used Strida selling for around $200 locally, but user reviews made it sound like some critical components weren't sturdy enough for regular use or longer rides. Too bad, seemed like a fun little bike for occasional use.
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Old 01-01-19, 05:10 PM
  #63  
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Folding bikes are better, efficient and space savers. No comparison dude
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Old 01-03-19, 10:21 AM
  #64  
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Sorry to be a bit late to the thread, but having lots of experience, including working for a major folding bike company for 7 years, I believe I have a few valuable nuggets that apply to virtually every folder:

Major Advantages: travel (some even fit in suitcases without extra fee), parking/security (you can bring it inside some offices, bars/restaurants, etc.), multi modal travel (bring it on trains, etc. for no extra fee, fit several inside your car) and storage in small homes.

Major Disadvantages, versus "normal" bikes of similar size/design: heavier (hinges and latches add weight), more expensive (the frame costs more to make, so you get lower level components for the same money), and maintenance/safety. That last one is a big one. Many latches use a cam that wears out over time and needs to be serviced. This is not well understood, and latches can open up during riding. Not good!

Ride Quality: Because the frame is mechanically joined, it will flex more than a frame that hasn't been "cut in half". This can mean the chain running off the crank under a heavy pedaling load, and shimmy at downhill speeds, especially if loaded with cargo. In terms of harshness, that's a function of wheelbase and wheel size, not the fact that it folds. The shorter your wheelbase, the more you feel bumps. Folders have very short wheelbases to keep them more compact. Smaller wheels are more stiff by nature, and go down in to road imperfections, slowing you down and beating you up more. On the flip side, smaller wheels can be lighter (accelerate faster), and stronger. Many people think that wheel sizes dictates pedaling cadence, but as long as the crank and rear cog(s) are sized properly, this is not true. I recommend buying a folder with the biggest diameter wheels and longest wheelsbase that still meet your space needs.


Personally, I choose to use a folder only for short distance rides that include a commuter train ride. The short wheelbase, flexy frame, and extra weight behoove me to choose a standard bike for all other applications.

For air travel where you plan big rides at the destination, S&S Couplers on a full-size frame are a nice option.
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Old 01-03-19, 03:40 PM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by biketube guy View Post
Sorry to be a bit late to the thread, but having lots of experience, including working for a major folding bike company for 7 years, I believe I have a few valuable nuggets that apply to virtually every folder:

Major Advantages: travel (some even fit in suitcases without extra fee), parking/security (you can bring it inside some offices, bars/restaurants, etc.), multi modal travel (bring it on trains, etc. for no extra fee, fit several inside your car) and storage in small homes.

Major Disadvantages, versus "normal" bikes of similar size/design: heavier (hinges and latches add weight), more expensive (the frame costs more to make, so you get lower level components for the same money), and maintenance/safety. That last one is a big one. Many latches use a cam that wears out over time and needs to be serviced. This is not well understood, and latches can open up during riding. Not good!

Ride Quality: Because the frame is mechanically joined, it will flex more than a frame that hasn't been "cut in half". This can mean the chain running off the crank under a heavy pedaling load, and shimmy at downhill speeds, especially if loaded with cargo. In terms of harshness, that's a function of wheelbase and wheel size, not the fact that it folds. The shorter your wheelbase, the more you feel bumps. Folders have very short wheelbases to keep them more compact. Smaller wheels are more stiff by nature, and go down in to road imperfections, slowing you down and beating you up more. On the flip side, smaller wheels can be lighter (accelerate faster), and stronger. Many people think that wheel sizes dictates pedaling cadence, but as long as the crank and rear cog(s) are sized properly, this is not true. I recommend buying a folder with the biggest diameter wheels and longest wheelsbase that still meet your space needs.


Personally, I choose to use a folder only for short distance rides that include a commuter train ride. The short wheelbase, flexy frame, and extra weight behoove me to choose a standard bike for all other applications.

For air travel where you plan big rides at the destination, S&S Couplers on a full-size frame are a nice option.
Great response and very useful / informative!!!
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Old 01-07-19, 10:57 AM
  #66  
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A folding bike is welcome on Uber!



A folding bike will pack right up into a hard case for travel!



Folding bikes are great for touring exotic locations!



A folding bike is just the ticket for multi-modal commuting!




You can beat street theft by carrying your folder into work or your flat!



This folding bicycle thing is going to be huge in the future!

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Old 01-09-19, 05:30 AM
  #67  
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I have two near identical 1980s 3-speed Raleigh shopper bikes, using the same frame and components, but for one exception - one folds, one doesn't.

This gives me a good insight into the pros and cons of either.

The folder is longer. By about half inch. This'll be because they slashed the tube and added a half inch hinge..

The folder is stiffer. No, that's not a typo, you read that correctly, and it makes perfect sense:
On the non-filding one, the twist forces are spread down the entire tube evenly, and this acts as a tubular twist spring.
Where as with the folder, the hinge interlocks, so it cannot budge. The tube is split into two half lengths, and these are each stiffened by over their split percentage.

The folder is heavier by the weight of it's hinge, which has got to be a few hundred grams, but as they're both all-steel cotter crank bikes, it's not noticeable.

The folder is pretty useless as a folder, though - at least compared to a Brompton which you can take onto a bus with you.
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Old 01-09-19, 09:55 AM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by kayakindude View Post
mmmmmmmm....I have to disagree about speed being an issue.
I have no dog in this fight, but I'm just curious. Since "fast" is a relative term, what kind of speed are we talking about for a folding bike?
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Old 01-09-19, 01:53 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by Rides4Beer View Post
I have no dog in this fight, but I'm just curious. Since "fast" is a relative term, what kind of speed are we talking about for a folding bike?
As you mentioned it is a relative term, but I like to cruise around 20mph, with the ability to maintain 25-30mph for a shorter duration if I am on a road with a speed limit of 40mph or greater. The Airnimal can go toe to toe with my older Cannondale. I love that bike (I even love the Biopace) but the travel flexibility of the folder has allowed me to experience some incredible rides throughout the US. My Dahon is probably more of a typical folder (though I amended the gearing to a 54 tooth crank with an 11 rear) and is good for 15mph cruising, with over 20 short term if the road warrants it.

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Old 01-09-19, 09:01 PM
  #70  
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I got a good folding bike after the big earthquake in Japan in 2011. All the nuclear power in the country was shut down, and the conventional power plants couldn't keep up with the demand, resulting in rolling blackouts in some parts of Tokyo. In those days I was using the train to commute from my home in the city center to my office in the suburbs (a backwards commute), but the suburban train lines often suffered from power blackouts, meaning I wait until who-knows-when for the power to come on, and wait in an endless line to get on the train, or take a taxi (a $100 fare, if I was lucky enough to find a taxi) or walk.

So, I got a lightweight folding bike and took it to work with me, and used it to get home on those occasions the train wasn't running.

I have since gotten a much better folding bike, and it is my main bike. I have a car with racks to hold 2 bikes, but in Japan there are low bridges, parking garages have low ceilings, and getting the bikes off and on the racks is hard. It is easier to put my folding bike in the trunk. And on cross-country rides, I can fold up the bike and keep it in my hotel room with me.

A good folder is light, fast, comfortable, and fun to ride.
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Old 01-10-19, 06:33 PM
  #71  
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I ride my folding bikes because I much prefer the way they handle, thanks to their small wheels. They have that 1st-generation-Miata-like, point-and-shoot quality that's addictive - the kind of tossability and placeability that's just not possible with a "regular" 700c bike. The fact that they fold is an added bonus.

Someone said something about small-wheeled folding bikes not being as comfortable on longer rides - between the Tern suspension seatposts and the right kind of padded cycling underwear (I've tried many brands and types before I settled on the ones that felt just right for me) I can do 30 kilometers without issue.

With that being said, even though they share the exact same geometry and drivetrain, my steel Speed D8 is far more comfortable and forgiving than my aluminum Mu D8. If I anticipate that I'm going to be riding for longer on any given day, I tend to spring for the Speed.

Last edited by sjanzeir; 01-10-19 at 07:20 PM.
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Old 01-12-19, 04:59 AM
  #72  
Doug5150
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If you live in the big city and only have time to ride in the big city--or you commute in the big city with mixed transport (buses, trains)--a folding bike is the best way to go.
I prefer recumbents but if I had to live in a urban setting, I'd almost certainly get rid of them and get at least one or two 'normal' folding bikes instead.

...However...

Bicycle riding in the city is a terrible choice--it is the worst possible circumstance. The biggest risk you have when riding is getting hit by a motor vehicle, and the concentration of motor vehicle traffic is highest in urban areas.
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Old 01-12-19, 01:17 PM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by Doug5150 View Post
Bicycle riding in the city is a terrible choice--it is the worst possible circumstance. .
I have found bicycle riding a great choice when I wanted to get to and from a residence and locations that were located in a city.
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Old 01-12-19, 01:27 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by sjanzeir View Post
Someone said something about small-wheeled folding bikes not being as comfortable on longer rides ...I can do 30 kilometers without issue.
If 30km/18.6 miles is a long ride for you it's no wonder you don't have any comfort issues.
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Old 01-12-19, 01:41 PM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by balut bandit View Post
If 30km/18.6 miles is a long ride for you it's no wonder you don't have any comfort issues.
Well if you're having difficulties with reading comprehension, then you might want to have the point pounded home for you... with a really long, stiff seatpost.
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