opinions on folding bikes?
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Mar 1, 2010 at 6:17 pm #1255926Brian ULMember
@maynard76Locale: New England
I know nothing about bikes. But Im looking to maybe buy one of those light folding bikes to put in my trunk. Im thinking of using it to get myself back to my car on solo hikes and of coarse ride around town or what ever and save gas all that stuff. Are these things ride-able? or just gimmicky? Is my money better spent on a "real" bike?
-When I say get back to my car on a hike I mean stashing the bike at one trail head so I can ride back to my car at the starting trail head.Mar 1, 2010 at 6:33 pm #1580276j lanMember
Bike friday or brompton, everything else is going to be a disappointment. People commute on these every day year round for sure.Mar 1, 2010 at 6:47 pm #1580288R KSpectator
@oiboyroiLocale: South West US
Montague makes full size folding bikes. Seen a few riders here in L.A. using them often.Mar 1, 2010 at 6:59 pm #1580295
I use a Bike Friday New World Tourist. The folding is not as good as, say, a Brompton or Dahon, but it makes up for it in riding performance… it's abicycle designed for long distance travel and does it very well. It is a real bike.
The Birdy is also a pretty good folding travel bike.
That said, for the short distances you describe a bike that folds better might be the solution. For that I'd recommend a Bike Friday Tikit, Brompton or a Birdy, all three of which give reasonable rides and fold very well. I'm thinking about buying a Tikit for use in the city, since it folds really fast.
If you have the money, you could try a Moulton, but then you'd probably not have enough money to actually get out and use the bike! ;-PMar 1, 2010 at 7:33 pm #1580316Kevin BabioneBPL Member
Although not a folding bike, Freeman Transport handcrafts "transportable" bikes in the US that disassemble and reassemble with one simple tool.
Just another option, but another one that will set you back substantially…Mar 1, 2010 at 7:45 pm #1580321Brian ULMember
@maynard76Locale: New England
Miguel, thanks for all the links.
I have a lot to read and think about.Mar 2, 2010 at 9:56 am #1580555
Thanks for asking the questions — I too know nothing about bikes — but am thinking of getting one. The Montague bikes look interesting — I think I would want a bike with "normal size" wheels for a "normal" ride. Any user feedback from our beloved community here?Mar 2, 2010 at 10:17 am #1580567
The smaller wheels have advantages and disadvantages over bigger wheels. Bigger wheels run smoother over bumps and potholes because they touch the ground at a flatter angle. The bigger the wheel, the smoother the ride. Lately 28" wheels are coming back in vogue for touring because of their great angle. 26" wheels (those of mountain bikes) are by far the easiest wheels and tires to find in the world and so therefore are very handy when you are traveling. Bigger wheels also have a greater gyroscopic effect, so they provide greater initial stability than smaller wheels and are great for beginning riders for that reason.
However, smaller wheels are much stronger than bigger wheels. Their spokes are smaller and thereby less likely to break. They also have a much faster acceleration rate and with their smaller profile work much better in winds (something you are always going to have to deal with on a bicycle), both from the front and from the side. They have a harsh ride on bumps and gravel, but when used with suspension that problem is solved. Initially smaller wheels feel more unstable, but with practice riding a smaller wheeled bicycle becomes second-nature. Smaller wheels also allow for greater variation in frame size, can carry more luggage at lower center of gravity, thereby giving a loaded bicycle more stability, and smaller wheels fit much more easily into a suitcase for carrying a folding bicycle onto a plane (and thereby avoiding very high bicycle fees). Once you get used to the squirrelly-ness of a Bike Friday it rides just like a full-wheeled "normal" bicycle.
The Montague bicycles are okay, but their geometry is not ideal for touring (you would, in general, want to have a longer wheelbase than a racing or sport bike). They are also heavy. There is a reason why most folding touring bicycles have small wheels. If you want larger wheels, using an "S & S Coupler" to break a normal wheeled bicycle in two is a much better "folding" solution.
The fastest landspeed for a bicycle was made on a bicycle with small wheels.Mar 2, 2010 at 10:22 am #1580570j lanMember
Full sized wheels are vastly overrated. Smaller wheels are more stable and can carry heavier loads, and they can rip given the right circumstances:
If you are planning on doing offroad, don't get a folding bike, get some S&S Couplers: http://www.sandsmachine.com/
Oh and i apologize for leaving Dahons of the original list. Dahon makes good bikes.Mar 2, 2010 at 12:30 pm #1580651
Disagree with James that only two folding bikes are any good. There are others. Bikeforums.net has the best folding bikes forum. I will get one soon and it will likely be 20" wheels.Mar 3, 2010 at 9:37 am #1581107
If I want a folding bike so I can bike at the beach, around different neighborhoods for changes in scenery, etc. — but no mountain biking and nothing extreme — what brands/models are a good balance of comfy ride, easy folding, light weight, good quality and reasonably cheap?Mar 3, 2010 at 9:54 am #1581120
Are you planning on multi-day tours, or just day trips?
Whatever you get, I wouldn't go below about $600.00 for something you can count on, that has quality materials (you want the accessories like pedals, rims, headsets, and shifters to be made of good quality alloys and not prone to falling apart or not working in the rain). I'd say stick with Bike Friday, Brompton, Birdy, or Swift. Bike Friday will have by far the best customer service and the bikes are custom built to fit you. Take a good look at the Tikit (a bit pricey, though, which is its failing) More information. And a review.Mar 3, 2010 at 9:54 am #1581121
Just day trips, Miguel, and urban. And thanks!Mar 3, 2010 at 10:08 am #1581126
If it's just day trips, Ben, then the folding bikes we've been discussing here, except for the Tikit, would all be overkill. For something a little cheaper and a really fantastic folder, you might want to look at the Bromptons. The ride is okay for around town, and it can really fold small so it is very easy to carry on trains and buses. There is an avid following online where you can get a lot of information on them.Mar 3, 2010 at 10:17 am #1581132
Heh heh… my current bike is an 18-speed 'mountain' bike that I've had for almost 10 years now — purchased at Target for $150. OK enough but on the heavy side. I just ride it around my neighborhood. But I am thinking that a folding bike will allow me to bike through different neighborhoods and such.
EDIT: Just checked out the Bromptons. Still too pricey for me (and my "relaxed" kind of recreational riding). Anything cheaper — say $300 or so that won't self destruct after a couple of rides?Mar 3, 2010 at 10:28 am #1581138
Yikes! $300 huh? You're talking to someone who has far more miles and experience with bicycle touring than hiking, so it's like I've evolved myself right out of that market! o~O;
Hummm… I guess Dahon will be your best bet then. I don't know much about them, though.Mar 3, 2010 at 10:46 am #1581143
Woohoo – $164 (and up)!! :)
Anyone heard of Citizen folding bikes? Sorry if I just made you gag, Miguel!Mar 3, 2010 at 12:17 pm #1581193Mar 3, 2010 at 12:47 pm #1581203
Thanks, John. Do you own — or have you used one?Mar 3, 2010 at 1:52 pm #1581235
Ben, I don't have one. You really should check out
for the best information. They discuss all of these bikes. For the price, the nova is probably hard to beat. Dahon will be a little more expensive but are a decent lower price folder.Mar 3, 2010 at 6:51 pm #1581420
Thanks, John!Mar 3, 2010 at 10:00 pm #1581508Ted EBPL Member
@mtn_nutLocale: Morrison, CO
maybe they'll ship you this:Mar 4, 2010 at 3:00 am #1581537
Sorry if I just made you gag, Miguel!
Nah. I started out with an El Cheapo bicycle before I really got into touring, so I won't begrudge anyone else the humble beginnings. Besides, some people just don't need more. I think it's a million times better to be out there on a bike… any bike… than sitting at a desk talking about bicycles!
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