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bike friday vs S and S couplers

Old 12-20-21, 04:46 PM
  #26  
axolotl
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Most BF models including the NWT are custom made.

I have a 22 year old NWT and I ordered it with a 62" suitcase made by Carlton. My frame size is about 51cm/20". I don't have a model name for the Carlton and given its age, it may not be made anymore. It only has 2 wheels.

I bought a NWT Lite about 3 years ago, and got the same Samsonite S Cure Spinner that gdlerner mentioned above. It has 4 wheels, is lighter than my old Carlton, and is much easier to maneuver. I only had a chance to fly with it on one roundtrip (to S. America) before Covid, and I had no problems getting it on my flights without any oversize fees. My hand measurement comes in smaller than the 67.4" according to the official specs, but still over 62". BTW, I don't see that NWT Lite on the Bike Friday website anymore. It's a lighter frame than the regular NWT, but I think they recommended it only for riders no heavier than 140 lbs. Maybe there wasn't enough demand for it.

I suggest you call Bike Friday with your questions. They're very helpful and don't engage in hard sells.
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Old 12-20-21, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
Most BF models including the NWT are custom made.

I have a 22 year old NWT and I ordered it with a 62" suitcase made by Carlton. My frame size is about 51cm/20". I don't have a model name for the Carlton and given its age, it may not be made anymore. It only has 2 wheels.


I suggest you call Bike Friday with your questions. They're very helpful and don't engage in hard sells.
thanks for the info, so the NWT fit in the 62 " suitcase? any problems getting it in? I take your point about calling bike friday. I do want to talk to owners first about their experiences before I call. Bike Friday looks like it would fit my needs, but its not cheap, especially when you add in all the options. thanks again.
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Old 12-20-21, 05:39 PM
  #28  
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I have no problems getting my old NWT into the <62" Carlton suitcase. The very 1st time may have seemed a little bit daunting, but I can do it in my sleep now. I packed it in the suitcase and flew with it a lot. I've gone on multiple trips with at least 3 different friends who own BFs and nobody has a problem packing it in their suitcase.
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Old 12-20-21, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
I once considered rigging a way of using my Samsonite Oyster suitcase as a trailer. My Dahon Helios packs in it with some effort. The problems are:
  • I loathe the flexing of the tall masts on the Helios (and every small wheeled folder I have ridden)
  • The trailer wheels would need to be carried in another bag
  • The packing is a bit of a pain in the neck with the 62" case barely accomodating the Helios
  • It seems impossible to get the riding position I want with the Helios
I have never ridden a Bike Friday and wonder if I'd be satisfied with the rigidity of the handling. It does look like the cockpit can be tailored to a proper riding position, something that eludes me with the Dahon and probably would with many of the other folders.

I have used the Helios for travel where I wanted to take a bike for casual riding, but doubt I'll tour ever on it, so no need for a trailer. It is okay for shortish ride and running errands. I hate it where the climbing gets at all steep. The cockpit setup makes for poor climbing posture and the flexy masts really suck when climbing.

These days I am far more likely to just take a full sized bike in a soft case or box since most airlines don't have the heinous bike fees for over 62" bags. My 54cm frame with both wheels removed packed in a soft case makes for a fairly small and manageable bag. Packing and assembly are pretty easy.
thanks
Do u recommend a particular soft case?
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Old 12-20-21, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
I have no problems getting my old NWT into the <62" Carlton suitcase. The very 1st time may have seemed a little bit daunting, but I can do it in my sleep now. I packed it in the suitcase and flew with it a lot. I've gone on multiple trips with at least 3 different friends who own BFs and nobody has a problem packing it in their suitcase.
Thanks for the info!
I,m very glad to hear that 62 inches is a real thing.
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Old 12-20-21, 07:11 PM
  #31  
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The old a 1990's 29" Samsonite Oyster hard shell whose outer dimensions were officially 29.7" x 22" x 10" or 61.7" was the choice for squeezing in a Dahon Helios back when I bought mine. Not sure if those dimensions suit your BF. You can still sometimes find one in a thrift shop. I think I paid something like $7 for mine, but I don't remember for sure since I bought a number of other old cases to get gear to trips and discard at the airport.
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Old 12-20-21, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by jpjuggler View Post
thanks
Do u recommend a particular soft case?
I use a cheap one from Performance Bike or Nashbar solad under their house brand (Transit). They go on sale for $39.99 from time to time. It is pretty light duty, but that is handy when you want to fold it up and mail it home. I reinforce it with a sheet of cardboard on each side, but discard the cardboard when I need to ship the empty case.
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Old 12-21-21, 07:45 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by jpjuggler View Post
...
I,m very glad to hear that 62 inches is a real thing.
If a Bike Friday can fit in a S&S case, that is 62 inches. I have never owned a Bike Friday, I have no clue if it fits or not.

The S&S Backpack is what I use, a few days ago I added a photo of my S&S bike in the case in post number 12 above.

S&S also makes a hard case but I have never seen anyone use one as a trailer.

I have put my 24 inch wheel folder, Airnimal Joey into the Backpack case, but it took a lot of disassembly, had to remove the fork from the frame and remove a crank arm or two. Photo below.



I added some 26 inch by 26 inch Coroplast sheets to give it more stiffening, thus when I collapse it to make it smaller, it only gets thinner. I did not want to fold the Coroplast. To make it thinner for storage, I pull the plastic side pieces out of it. As shown in the photo below is how it was stored in a luggage room at a couple hostels during two of my tours. That also stored some of my other stuff that was only used for the plane flights, like a second piece of soft checked luggage.

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Old 12-21-21, 09:23 AM
  #34  
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To successfully pack a Bike Friday into a suitcase so that it both fits and is protected, it has to be packed in a specific way. My 2 NWTs, produced almost 2 decades apart, each pack slightly differently. Bike Friday gives you a few specific implements to use when packing into the suitcase which protect certain vulnerable parts of the bike. I was sent a video with my 1st NWT, and was pointed to an online video when I bought my 2nd NWT Lite. I am doubtful that a Bike Friday would pack into an S&S case and even if it fit, that everything inside would be properly protected when handed over to an airline or other transport.

Bike Friday has videos explaining how to pack their bikes into a hard-sided suitcase which they sell (or which can be purchased elsewhere). I've never had any serious damage to the frame or any components during the many times I have flown with my 2 NWTs. Here's a packing video produced by Bike Friday:

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Old 12-31-21, 07:27 PM
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Raybo, excellent review. I had a NWT with a Llama front fork so as to be able to use 2.10” tires. I rode through areas with gravel/dirt and found the fatter front tire necessary. Using a 2” Big Apple front tire with 1.6” Supreme I had smooth rolling fast tires but more importantly for fast riding down mountains and unexpected road surfaces I had a more secure ride. I used panniers in front for heavy loads on the BF collapsible front rack. The rear rack was a cheap Sunlite rack fixed low to the tire and all loads stacked up and secured under the seat. The configuration they proposed for rear panniers just looked wrong and too far rear loaded. I was blown away how well it rode with a front load and the Big Apples.
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