Folding Bikes / Trikes

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Freedom_2018
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Joined: Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:10 am

Folding Bikes / Trikes

Post by Freedom_2018 » Thu Mar 07, 2019 8:31 pm

Hi,

Wondering if anyone here has experience with using a folding bicycle or trike (single rider or tandem).

I'm evaluating the pros and cons of adding one to our lifestyle.

The idea is to be able to extend our range when walking in Europe as well as in urban/semi-urban areas in the US. However I am loathe to add any additional equipment to what we have unless we can incorporate it completely into our lifestyle (as in not so interested in getting a bike for one mega cross country road trip but then let it gather dust later after return to 'normal' living). etc

Bike Friday, Brompton etc are pricier but is the ride significantly better than say the Dahon, Montague etc and what about the low end ones such as Citizen and the like? Any advantage to 16" vs 20" wheels?

On the whole just looking to see if anyone has any positive/negative experiences with folding bikes.

Thanks
M

Gilberto de Piento
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Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:23 pm

Re: Folding Bikes / Trikes

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:05 pm

I haven't ridden one but bigger wheels mean a smoother ride all else being equal. A hole that eats a small wheel might get rolled over by a bigger wheel. This is part of why the 26" wheel mountain bikes is gone in favor of 29 and 27.5.

vexed87
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Location: Yorkshire, UK

Re: Folding Bikes / Trikes

Post by vexed87 » Fri Mar 08, 2019 2:31 am

Whilst I can't speak for trikes, I have been doing my own research on folders and will be taking the plunge on one in the next few weeks.
I have pretty much settled on a basic white M3L Brompton with mudguards (fenders). I must admit, I was tempted by the Electric Brompton model at first, but it's really pricey and the range wouldn't be sufficient for my needs. That, and the additional complexity makes maintenance more expensive too.

Brompton seem to come out tops in terms of repairability. The design has been largely unchanged over time, which means upgrades can be retrofitted to older models as your old stuff wears out. Also, with a folder, you need to think about the longevity of the folding mechanism/hinges and the seat post sleeve, these wear out over time, not a major issue for light users, but if it's your daily ride and you make stops for bus/train etc, constant folding/unfolding will wear them out. With some brands this means you scraping the frame as they are not typically repairable, whereas Bromptons continue to produce parts as the model doesn't change over time.

The only caveat is in what I suspect is an effort to protect the business of dealers, Brompton now only sell the specialist tools and parts for such jobs to their dealers. So, unless you want to courier your bike to the nearest city that repairs Bromptons, there better be one near you. That's not to say that a regular bike shop can't replace brakes, cables, sprockets, chains etc. Accessories are available on the brompton website. It also rules out DIY maintenance for some of these special jobs unless you can source second hand tools or third party components which have their own pitfalls.

On the bright side Brompton bikes do tend to have higher residual values in the second hand market in case you decide it is no longer for you down the road. Bromptons are also notable for folding in thirds, so far more compact than other folders which helps on public transport and tight spaces, especially useful for buses where if you attempted to take a larger folder on, you'd be told to disembark!

I haven't yet met anyone who regretted getting a Brompton, some are sceptical at first, particularly of the twitchy 16" wheels coming from 700c road bikes (it has a suspension block to smooth out the road) but later they all report falling in love with the feel of the ride.

Freedom_2018
Posts: 383
Joined: Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:10 am

Re: Folding Bikes / Trikes

Post by Freedom_2018 » Fri Mar 08, 2019 3:49 pm

Thank you.

I will be eager to hear your impressions of whichever bike you eventually decide to go for. I am going to try some Brompton dealers later this year in the UK and while research and data are helpful, the true test of fit and ride will be when I get on one :-)

Good luck with your selection and I look forward to your post purchase ride feedback.

M

Chris
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Re: Folding Bikes / Trikes

Post by Chris » Fri Mar 08, 2019 4:55 pm

I bought one (a Downtube 9FS) ten years ago, and still use it regularly. I chose that one since it was the cheapest ($300 at the time) aluminum-frame folder. I looked at Citizen, but the steel frames were pretty heavy. 20" wheels on that one. I wanted a folder primarily because I didn't want a bike rack on my car, and I was riding often after work at the time. Eventually I ditched the car for commuting and just cycled into the office. The bike could then be folded and stowed under a desk.

In a more urban setting, I might consider 16" wheels for space reasons. The one time I brought my folder on the train and subway did not engender good feelings toward me from other riders.

Freedom_2018
Posts: 383
Joined: Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:10 am

Re: Folding Bikes / Trikes

Post by Freedom_2018 » Fri Mar 08, 2019 6:30 pm

@chris - Thank you for mentioning Downtube. I did not even know about that manufacturer. I looked up their website and turns out they still make the 9FS ($639). The full suspension is definitely an attractive feature.

I probably will have the option most times to not be on crowded subways or buses, so perhaps folded size might not be too big of an issue. I am also looking if folding bikes can come in a case that could then double as a tow behind trailer for some impromptu touring.

In my mind I see the ideal bike, one that I can ride around, fold and put it in its case and strap to my back when I want to hike (up a hill or stairs) to the next bike path/road and also maybe throw in a tent and sleeping bag etc into its case that doubles as a trailer and do rides between cities. I'm probably asking for too much from one bike.

M

enigmaT120
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Location: Falls City, OR

Re: Folding Bikes / Trikes

Post by enigmaT120 » Sun Mar 17, 2019 2:59 pm

I have one called a Yeah! that I like. It's a low end make compared to Bike Fridays made 40 miles from where I'm working today, but it's nice to take in my car when I go up to WA to work. I don't need the gas mpg suck that comes from using my hitch mounted bike rack, that thing is a parachute.

I think mine has 16" wheels. Here's a picture of it behind me:

ImageUntitled by Ed Miller, on Flickr

I can't find a picture of it folded up.

7Wannabe5
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Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Folding Bikes / Trikes

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 6:46 am

It's interesting that I can somehow sense that you have great abs even though I can't even see your arms in this photo.

Freedom_2018
Posts: 383
Joined: Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:10 am

Re: Folding Bikes / Trikes

Post by Freedom_2018 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 11:40 am

@enigma...thanks for the pic. I actually founded a folded pic too on your Flickr page. The more I think about it, it seems at this stage I should perhaps focus more on the journey than the equipment...so I think I might go with any good old folding bike that seems to fit the purpose. Easy for me to get sometimes into gear porn, somehow as though having the 'right/ultimate' bike will be what makes the journey. Although a bike with a horrible fit or quality would detract unnecessarily from the adventure.

BTW if you sense any stares at your arms or abdomen in your other pics...that would be 7wb5 not me. Ha ha.

7Wannabe5
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Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Folding Bikes / Trikes

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 1:18 pm

I am just doing my part to encourage the sort of posts that might attract more females to the forum.

Freedom_2018
Posts: 383
Joined: Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:10 am

Re: Folding Bikes / Trikes

Post by Freedom_2018 » Mon Mar 18, 2019 2:22 pm

Ha ha..yes much needed. Not only females but also possibly men who are interested in men (not sure if that would make enigma a bit anxious or happy :-)

enigmaT120
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Re: Folding Bikes / Trikes

Post by enigmaT120 » Fri Apr 26, 2019 4:21 pm

...I just now checked this thread again.... I have one shirtless photo somewhere but it's my back, not my front and I can't find it right now. You can't really see my abs, I have a flat stomach but no interest in pulling my body fat down to a level where my ab muscles are visible. Sorry, if I can find the other picture I'll post it.

enigmaT120
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Re: Folding Bikes / Trikes

Post by enigmaT120 » Fri Apr 26, 2019 4:23 pm

Oh I don't mind if men look at me, better than nobody!

7Wannabe5
Posts: 5092
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:03 am

Re: Folding Bikes / Trikes

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Fri Apr 26, 2019 4:42 pm

I don't think there are any men over 50 who actually have visible abs. I have conditioned myself to be content with anything shy of "swallowed a beach ball."

prognastat
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Re: Folding Bikes / Trikes

Post by prognastat » Fri Apr 26, 2019 6:18 pm

Image

He is in his 50s. Though I suspect testosterone supplementing is to thank for that body, along with hard work.

vexed87
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Re: Folding Bikes / Trikes

Post by vexed87 » Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:16 pm

:lol:


OK, so I finally got the Brompton. I love it and have taken it all sorts of places. Without fuss or fanfare, it's been on the train, bus, and also in the foot well of my car. It fits neatly under my desk at work and fully folded, takes up virtually no space in my garage. The latter is very important as I already had two [sic] many bikes already! I have ridden it to work a handful of times, I'm happy to report no problems riding it long distances, perfectly comfortable with the M type bars, much more relaxed geometry than my road bike. I might even go so far as to say I prefer it. I'm currently on paternity leave, so it isn't getting much use right now except to nip to the local store. I picked up the Brompton basket bag, which makes getting groceries rather simple. The bike itself weighs in about 10kg, so unless you spend a huge amount of time in the gym like the guy above, you really want to ride it (or at least wheel it) around rather than carry it for extended periods. TBH, it is massively over priced for what it is, but much like the watch thread, it's takes a certain type of nerd to appreciate it. Other bikes will do the job for less. One thing is for sure, you turn more heads turning up on a folder than you do wearing a Rolex Submariner. You'll also strike up a lot of conversations with other cycling enthusiasts. I'll leave it up to you to decide on whether that's a good thing or not. :lol:

My only advice, if you do get one, go for the 6 speed. I pained over the decision, in the end I didn't regret it. Whilst I would have preferred the simplicity of the single speed or 3 speed SA hub, the wider gear range of the 6 spd more than makes up for the extra cost and maintenance, especially so if you plan on carrying a load up hills and riding at any reasonable pace on flats/descents. It's a bit much to ask for a folder, but it would have been nice if it could pull or mount a child carrier/seat, which the Brompton definitely cannot. Touring is OK providing you and your load do not exceed the 110kg weight limit. I currently weigh about 94kg, about 6kg more than my leanest so I have to be mindful of what I carry. Heavier loads get tasked to my 700c steel framed Surly.
Last edited by vexed87 on Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:56 pm, edited 7 times in total.

FRx
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Re: Folding Bikes / Trikes

Post by FRx » Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:35 pm

Used to own a Dahon and it fell apart in under a year - spokes kept breaking, seat fell apart. I don't think it's meant to be abused.
Have had a brompton for like 4 years - love it. Best thing ever. Study as hell.
I went all out and got it with the hub so I didn't have to worry about carrying my own lights. I take it on the train or bus or throw it in the back of a buddy's car.

I live in Portland so a 3 speed is all I needed. A 2 would have sufficed. Now that I'm retired I only need a 1-speed. It's still back in Portland but now that I'm here in Spain I've been shopping around for another one. It really never needed any repairs. Got it tuned only once.

enigmaT120
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Re: Folding Bikes / Trikes

Post by enigmaT120 » Sun May 05, 2019 5:32 pm

Bromptons are cool. If I were to spring for a spendy one instead of mine I would go for a Bike Friday made down in Eugene, so I could ride it home. Folding bikes are cool, but I like my Fargo better.

Geeze more T is the last thing I need, I have to do it by myself way too often as it is. Shudder....

enigmaT120
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Joined: Thu Feb 12, 2015 2:14 pm
Location: Falls City, OR

Re: Folding Bikes / Trikes

Post by enigmaT120 » Sun May 05, 2019 5:42 pm

I found a picture of my bike folded up:

ImageYeah bike by Ed Miller, on Flickr

And Arboreal Jack, because.

ImageHandsome Jack be Nimble by Ed Miller, on Flickr

7Wannabe5
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Re: Folding Bikes / Trikes

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun May 05, 2019 6:05 pm

prognastat wrote:He is in his 50s. Though I suspect testosterone supplementing is to thank for that body, along with hard work.
Too slick and shiny for me.
enigmaT120 wrote:Geeze more T is the last thing I need, I have to do it by myself way too often as it is. Shudder....
Interesting. My amateur naturalist level research in this realm has produced a simple graph indicating a sharp drop off right around age 52, barring extreme measures to recapture former levels of functioning.

Cute cat!

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