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Anyone tour on a folder?

Old 04-13-09, 06:40 AM
  #1  
Gotte
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Anyone tour on a folder?

I'm curious because I'm again flying to my destination - germany, and one of the great binds is taking the bike apart and putting it together again. I'm thinking of a 24" wheeled bike, as I should be able to get this through as normal luggage (I think).
Anyone had any experience of touring on smaller wheeled bikes, and if so, how would you rate it compared to a 700c wheel? I've had a quick look in the folding section, but can't really find anything that touring specific.
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Old 04-13-09, 06:49 AM
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Firstly, most touring-specific small-wheeled bikes are more take-apart than pure folder, you need to assemble some parts.
Bike Friday, Moulo, Birdy Airnimal all make good touring takedown bikes that pack into a suitcase.
AtoB have a good folding bike guide.
The folding society are also good.
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Old 04-13-09, 07:04 AM
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I've used my Bike Friday for touring. I've used it both with panniers and with the trailer/suitcase that doubles as luggage carrier while touring and bike case when traveling. They both worked fine but I usually prefer the panniers for the lighter weight and no need to worry about the wider trailer track. Of course the trailer/suitcase is very handy when doing a one-way tour with air travel on the return.

It seems pretty comparable to similar tours on my 700c bikes. The smaller 20" tires do need to be a little wider to give equivalent cushioning and I found that I had to be more careful about keeping them at full pressure. A drop of 20 psi isn't very noticeable on my 700c wheels but it makes the smaller wheels on the Friday feel much more sluggish.
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Old 04-13-09, 02:43 PM
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My Bike Fridays have been my best touring bikes in my stable which includes Cannondale, Catrike 700 and others. In fact the Bike Friday Air Glide which has a Titanium beam is the one I grab if I have to cover any long distances. But like MichaelW said it is a "take a part" and not really a folder.
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Old 04-13-09, 03:58 PM
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Bike Friday NWT has been toured on extensively all over the world. Also check out the new Speed TR from Dahon. Here is a short review from someone that has done some touring on it.

I have a new to me Raleigh Twenty that I will be upgrading for local short haul tours.

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Old 04-13-09, 05:04 PM
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ask a touring specific question on the folding forum. I used a BF with low mounted rear rack and front panniers. I don't see the need to install a very high mounted set of rear panniers set rearward when you can put a low mounted rear rack with large narrow rack bag.

This bag opend up fits perfectly up against the seat post and your heels will just clear the little side pockets. I had it stuffed with a 20oz water bottle stapped on top. It all fit right up to the bottom of the saddle. You'll need a bungie to reduce side/side sway. Bikefridays foldable front rack works well for panniers. Hanlding is different, low speed stability is better, there's a funny kind of tradeoff between less centrifugal stability and more stability from low pivot on the axle

https://www.jandd.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=FRRPII

the cheap Sunlite brand rear rack can be cut down so it mounts a couple inches above the rear wheel.

https://www.amazon.com/Sunlite-Deluxe...664754&sr=1-58

cut off the front tang down by the bottom attachment point, cut through the adjustable rod and drill through the rod and other side of the larger tube. It makes for a very solid rack.

Last edited by LeeG; 04-13-09 at 05:26 PM.
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Old 04-13-09, 05:07 PM
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I've done several short tours on folding bikes. A 24" wheeled folding won't fit into a suitcase; you either have to use 20" wheels, or get a separatable 700c bike with the right type of case. I found the 20" folders to be adequate, but not really stellar for touring. However, I never toured on the higher-end folders like a Bike Friday.

There are a few advantages:
Yes, it will be treated as normal luggage with lower fees, as long as the suitcase is less than 50 lbs.
Very good for taking the bike on a train (especially in Europe).
Smaller wheels are stronger.
Low center of gravity is better for luggage handling (just watch the pannier clearance)
Generally more convenient, as they take less space, will fit in the trunk of a car, can sometimes be taken into buildings etc.

A few of the drawbacks / additional issues:
Cheaper folders don't usually have adequate gearing for touring.
Cheaper folders rarely have drop bars.
More expensive folders will have better gearing & handlebar options. But they're more expensive.
Many airlines are charging now for luggage anyway, so the price advantages are narrower than they used to be.

And a few "neither here nor there" items:
Disassembly, and getting to/from the airport, is still a PITA.
You have to do something with the suitcase while you're traveling. (Usually leave it at the hotel from the 1st night, but this limits you to loops.)
When unloaded, 20" bikes are generally more responsive (twitchier handling) than 700c. Most people get used to it after a few days, but it's not ideal for some uses.

Cost-wise, as far as I can tell a high-quality 20" folder will cost about the same as a 700c separatable. My best guess is $1100 for a non-separatable Long Haul Trucker, and $2000+ for a separatable / good quality folding touring bike and case.

So I guess the question is: Do you fly enough with the bike, or have enough other uses for a folder, to make the expense worthwhile?
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Old 04-13-09, 05:54 PM
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https://bikefriday.com/node/7592

I went for a double chainring and Capreo cassette. It's a 9-26tooth cassette so the front chainrings don't have to be big. My tour was done with a single 44 tooth front chainring giving a 32-92gear inch range. Good enough for screaming downhill and long climbs on highways with 6%grade. 1.6 Schwalbe Supreme on the rear and 2.0Big Apple on the front. The big Apple rolls as well as a skinny tire for touring speeds and is well worth it if you're hitting 1" rocks at 30mph going down a hill.
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Old 04-13-09, 06:00 PM
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I'll be touring on my Bike Friday NWT this summer. So far I've been breaking it in on around town rides and it's a blast to ride....

NWT Words

NWT Photos

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Old 04-13-09, 07:50 PM
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what kind of hub is that?
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Old 04-13-09, 09:40 PM
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I've toured a lot on my Bike Friday NWT. While I was touring in Laos, I met a couple touring on a Bike Friday tandem, as well as 2 others touring on their NWTs. There are a lot of us out there. Bike Fridays are superb bikes. I prefer mine to my previous "regular" touring bike. They are tough. I've ridden mine over passes in the Pyrenees, Rockies, and in the mountains of SE Asia, among other places.

As for luggage expenses, regular-sized suitcases like the one for my Bike Friday are still generally free on international flights. When charges are incurred for a suitcase (such as those by many domestic US carriers), they are minor compared to the outrageous bicycle fees many airlines are now charging, so I believe that the price advantage for a folder has actually been increasing in recent years.
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Old 04-14-09, 12:24 AM
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I met someone in VA finishing the transamerica trail coming from seattle on a bike friday, with all his gear in the suitcase trailer that came with his bike
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Old 04-14-09, 03:27 AM
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Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
what kind of hub is that?
Shimano Alfine Nexus 8 BF will build you whatever you want...within reason...for a price.

Aaron
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Old 04-14-09, 04:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
snip:I've done several short tours on folding bikes. A 24" wheeled folding won't fit into a suitcase; you either have to use 20" wheels, or get a separatable 700c bike with the right type of case.
Not true. The 24" wheeled Airnimal Chameleon and Joey both fit into a rigid suitcase and Airnimal sell them for that purpose. Both suitcases meet Airline luggage requirements.
Again the Chameleon can be purchased with triple a chainset giving very low gears. I have one and use it for touring.
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Old 04-14-09, 04:47 AM
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Thanks for all the input, chaps. Great responses.
I always loved the look of the airnimal. But, I have to say, I like the look of the BF as well.

Again, many thanks.
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Old 04-14-09, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
Shimano Alfine Nexus 8 BF will build you whatever you want...within reason...for a price.

Aaron
It's a Nexus 8, but an Alfine is also an option....Aaron is correct BF will build a bike to your spec.
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Old 04-14-09, 10:13 AM
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I rode my NWT from Phoenix to Jasper, Canada 2 summers ago, had an amazing time. It's a great bike. Here's a link to my journal if you're interested, with a page on gear with more thoughts on the bike:
www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/2391
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Old 04-14-09, 12:41 PM
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We did our first tour around Oregon last summer on our Pocket Llamas. I prefer it to my Safari for touring. I'm going to try it with the suitcase as a trailer on some local trips to see how it compares to panniers which I've always used.




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Old 04-15-09, 02:44 PM
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I live on an island so touring by most of your guys standards is limited but I have a Dahon Speed TR which I do some local touring on.



And I have a Fred'd out Dahon Speed P8 which just did a "tour" of Ie Shima island Japan. (13 miles around so I did it a few times).


John
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Old 04-18-09, 03:35 AM
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Originally Posted by TrekJapan View Post



John
how does that front rack attach at the top? any reason it wouldn't fit a bike with sidepull brakes?
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Old 04-19-09, 11:12 AM
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Hi, I have a Brompton L6 2004 spec (no Brompton rack or lights) and have toured widely on it both in UK and Pyrenees in France. I have climbed the Cols Aubisque, Soulor and Tourmalet and d'Aspin on it. I use the the front touring pannier and a Topeak seat post mounted rack for the back. Because it folds really neat I can take it on the Eurostar and TGVs no problem. Don't even have to box it up like a conventional bike. I have SPDs and mini bar ends on mine. A conventional fixed frame touring bike will be a lot more robust and rugged but for what the Brompton is it is brilliant. You can also take them on planes as normal checked on luggage. The Brompton bag is pretty neat just use some card or industrial bubble wrap to protect it from bashes if you are flying. It handles the cobbles of Paris with applomb . It's also a great conversation starter.
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Old 04-26-09, 12:51 PM
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Thanks for the further input. I bought a Specialized Globe Road, which is a rebadged Dahon Roo, but with better spec (Shimano 105 8 speed, wheels, Marathon slicks - which I'll probably swap out for Big Apples - suspension seatpost). I added a short stem to improve the twitchiness, and managed to fit the rack off my 700c tourer, though I may go with the standard Dahon rack and a big rack bag, plus a front rack and panniers.
I rode it for the first time and was surprised how responsive it was, and how easy to pedal. The weight is 23lbs with no racks and I found myself really enjoying the experience. Of course, potholes were a bit of an eyeopener (Big Apples are supposed to help in that respect), and I'm less sure about riding one handed (shoot a lot of video on tour), but all in all really enjoyable ride.
I took out my 700c Coventry eagle tourer, and it felt like a boat in comparison, and a lot heavier and harder work to pedal.
I am genuinely surprised.
The only thing I don;t like is that it;s an alu frame. I've read a few posts on the Dahon forum about cracked frames, so keeping my eye out for a D7 or similar on ebay that I can swap everything over to.
Oh, and the flex in the steerer stube took a bit of getting used to, but still, hopefully it'll keep the road buzz at bay.

It cost 200 off ebay. All in all, I'm a happy chap.
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