Need help for touring folding bike

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spiritess
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Joined: Thu Nov 12, 2020 4:03 am

Need help for touring folding bike

Post by spiritess »

I am new to bikes and want a folding bike for touring. If i had unlimited budget, I would get the Bike Friday Diamond Llama. but my budget is ~$1000. I want something tough that I can go off roading with.

Is there any caveats to getting gears reduced or is that easy to do on any bike?

I am lost with the amount of options available. I just discovered origami brand. They seem cool. I dont understand the diffence between the Crane, Gazelle and Hawk.

Thank you!!

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Need help for touring folding bike

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

spiritess wrote:
Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:22 am
Is there any caveats to getting gears reduced or is that easy to do on any bike?

I am lost with the amount of options available. I just discovered origami brand. They seem cool. I dont understand the diffence between the Crane, Gazelle and Hawk.
What do you mean by "getting gears reduced?"

Looking at the models listed on the origami website as they go up in price you get better specifications. Steel frame to aluminum, 7 speed to 8 speed, etc. This is typical for bikes.

Some questions to think about: are you talking touring like going on a day trip to a nearby park or across Africa? Loaded or unloaded? What does offroading mean to you? Why a folding bike?

Alphaville
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Re: Need help for touring folding bike

Post by Alphaville »

i’m “seeing” 3 bikes and can’t compute

spiritess
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Re: Need help for touring folding bike

Post by spiritess »

Gilberto de Piento wrote:
Tue Nov 17, 2020 7:20 am
What do you mean by "getting gears reduced?"

Looking at the models listed on the origami website as they go up in price you get better specifications. Steel frame to aluminum, 7 speed to 8 speed, etc. This is typical for bikes.

Some questions to think about: are you talking touring like going on a day trip to a nearby park or across Africa? Loaded or unloaded? What does offroading mean to you? Why a folding bike?
Gear reduction is where the gears are reduced so there are lower gears on average to accommodate a tired rider hauling weight up hills.
I want to be able to do an extended trip like across Africa. Would be loaded ~30-50 pounds. offroading just means curbs, potholes, tree roots. I want to be able to ride over anything without having doubts that i bent my rim. I like folding bikes because of the optionality. I can take them hitchiking, onto planes and buses or crowded public transport.

Alphaville
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Re: Need help for touring folding bike

Post by Alphaville »

i can’t help you there, because in my mind a folding bike is for city and commuting, and a touring bike has to be above all egonomic and resilient and easy to repair and they are 2 different things.

if someone is doing bike touring on a foldable i’d like to see demos (have not searched yet but might).

“offroad”. like dirt roads? or bumpier stuff?

also i went and looked for “gear reducing” in my bike repair books but found nothing on the subject. anyway you can change your existing gear ratios by replacing chain rings and sprockets, or shopping around for different gear hubs which are also an interesting (but pricey) touring option. but again i don’t know.

RealPerson
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Re: Need help for touring folding bike

Post by RealPerson »

Check out the YouTube channel of "Brompton Traveler". You will be amazed at how and where you can travel on a Brompton foldable bike.

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Need help for touring folding bike

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

Caveat: I don't know about folders specifically and I have never done any serious long term tours.

Selecting a folding bike and having a relatively small budget for a new bike really restricts your choices. If you need a bike that folds and is really built for touring it is going to be a small subset of available bikes. If you can work with a non folding bike than a used touring bike or one of a million models of new and used mountain bikes is in your budget. Not trying to talk you out of it, just discussing.

The safe play is to pay extra money for a folding bike that is intended for what you want to do. Sometimes cheap bikes are just fine and other times they use junk parts. I'm sure plenty of people have toured africa on worse than a cheap folding bike but I'm concerned you are going to find out the hard way that it is a hassle at best. I suppose that could be appealing for some depending on what kind of adventure you want

Have you looked at the folding bike journals on crazyguyonabike? They may have some examples of what works.

Regarding gearing most of the folding bikes use a 1x system meaning there is one chainring in front. A very large chainring seems to be typical like a 52. This is what you would have for the hardest to pedal ring on a road bike and is because they have to make up for the very small wheel on the back. I don't know of any reason why you couldn't swap the 52 for something smaller, all the way down to whatever the smallest size is that the crankarm can accept, probably in the low 30s. I'm concerned that with only one chainring you will have to choose between being able to climb big hills and being totally spun out on flats and downhills. Having a bike with 3 chainrings in front avoids this issue.

You can also swap the cassette and rear derailleur to mountain bike versions to get more range but I don't see any folding bikes like this so maybe it is a bad idea due to the low ground clearance.

Alphaville
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Re: Need help for touring folding bike

Post by Alphaville »

RealPerson wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:49 am
Check out the YouTube channel of "Brompton Traveler". You will be amazed at how and where you can travel on a Brompton foldable bike.
thanks! i’ve been looking at bromptons for my wife actually, and if they can go far it’s an extra bonus,

eta: very nice! http://www.bromptontraveler.com/

thanks again

George the original one
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Re: Need help for touring folding bike

Post by George the original one »

I have a folding bike. Stick to pavement; they're terrible in gravel and on dirt due to the smaller diameter wheels not handling bumps well.

Mine is a Giant Expressway 1 (https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/expressway-1). It is generally acknowledged to be one of the sturdiest available and rides like a regular bike (until you get off pavement). My primary use for it is to get around large autocross sites. I've used it at Oregon Raceway Park and the hills there were more than I could climb even with the 7-speed, but at least it got me a tour of the track before competition started... was nicely stable going downhill.

George the original one
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Re: Need help for touring folding bike

Post by George the original one »

Something to add to any folding bike is a handlebar bag. It's the one thing I keep forgetting to do.

mooretrees
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Re: Need help for touring folding bike

Post by mooretrees »

I've owned a Brompton and put a lot of miles on mine. I personally wouldn't use one for touring as it can be a lot of wear on your hands and arms. I've done a few bicycle tours down the Pacific Coast so that's my reference. I imagine that the roads in Africa can be rough? The Brompton would be great as that city bus converter, that's how I used mine. I rode to a bus stop, then took a long bus ride and then a shortish bike ride. Would have been a lot longer commute with more than one connection.

Anyway, have you done bicycle touring before? I see that you said you are new to bikes, so maybe not. If you live in a biggish city, can you rent a brompton and see how they ride? The wheels are tiny and you really feel every bump on the road. Brompton's hold their value, so a used one will still likely be over $1000. My first bicycle tour was on a ten speed, the next tour I added more gears, what an upgrade that was. I've seen that people tour on them and it seemed silly. While I loved mine when I was hopping the bus, or catching a ride with someone, a regular bike can carry more and be more comfortable for long rides.

If I wear touring in Africa, I would get a sturdy, no frills bike that wouldn't attract a lot of attention.

@alphaville, I used to ride mine about 10+ miles for part of my daily commute on city roads. Really fun. People always wanted to talk to me about the bike, I felt like I should be paid for sponsorship!

mooretrees
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Re: Need help for touring folding bike

Post by mooretrees »

George the original one wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 6:37 pm
Something to add to any folding bike is a handlebar bag. It's the one thing I keep forgetting to do.
The handlebar bag adds a ton of stability. I didn't like riding my Brompton without the front bag as the steering felt really loose and wobbly.

Alphaville
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Re: Need help for touring folding bike

Post by Alphaville »

mooretrees wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 6:37 pm
@alphaville, I used to ride mine about 10+ miles for part of my daily commute on city roads. Really fun. People always wanted to talk to me about the bike, I felt like I should be paid for sponsorship!
George the original one wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 6:37 pm
Something to add to any folding bike is a handlebar bag. It's the one thing I keep forgetting to do.
thanks for the note(s)! before the pandemic my wife was commuting anything from 4 to 10 miles daily on 26” tires.

she likes the idea of the brompton so she can carry anywhere (no locks) but we have no dealers in my state and ride quality matters in the longer distances.

she always has a bag, so i’ll make a note to get the front bag thing.

mooretrees
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Re: Need help for touring folding bike

Post by mooretrees »

Alphaville wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:02 pm
thanks for the note(s)! before the pandemic my wife was commuting anything from 4 to 10 miles daily on 26” tires.

she likes the idea of the brompton so she can carry anywhere (no locks) but we have no dealers in my state and ride quality matters in the longer distances.
I found that having a bike I could put in someone's trunk or apartment made my life so easy. Rides happened readily and tucking the bike inside someone's house neatly was sweet.

Alphaville
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Re: Need help for touring folding bike

Post by Alphaville »

mooretrees wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:45 pm
I found that having a bike I could put in someone's trunk or apartment made my life so easy. Rides happened readily and tucking the bike inside someone's house neatly was sweet.
yup. one day after laboriously locking our bikes outside the supermarket we ran into a guy carrying his in one hand :lol:

same with certain transit racks which can be full and you miss your ride etc.

or paranoia places like the movies where you sit in the dark and hope for no thieves

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Ego
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Re: Need help for touring folding bike

Post by Ego »

+1 to everything mooretrees said.

Consider a second hand 1990s hardtail mountain bike, bolt on some racks and take a few short tours to make sure you enjoy it before splurging on a $2500 Brompton Explore. Tour in easy places first before graduating to a trans-Africa trip.

Alphaville
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Re: Need help for touring folding bike

Post by Alphaville »

Ego wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:13 pm
$2500 Brompton Explore.
this one?

https://www.brompton.com/bikes/special-editions/explore

wow...

and in full specs show the term “reduced” [at last!] by which i believe they mean a smaller chainring,than their usual

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Ego
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Re: Need help for touring folding bike

Post by Ego »

spiritess wrote:
Tue Nov 17, 2020 1:22 am

Is there any caveats to getting gears reduced or is that easy to do on any bike?
I installed Shimano Mega Range rear cassettes before our tour. It is easy to do with the correct tool. You would need to get the correct cassette for the bike you eventually purchase.... But this is all cart before the horse. Get a bike. Ride it for a while. Then determine what you need to change - if anything.

spiritess
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Re: Need help for touring folding bike

Post by spiritess »

Everyone has been really helpful! I should be more clear. I like to hitchike. And I want a bike I can hitchike with me but i would inevitably be riding a lot when hitchhiking cross country. I live on the west coast I want a bike that I can take with me when i hop on a bus or plane from one City to the next and then have my own set of wheels once i arrive versus being dependent on relatives to pick me up from the airport or taking an Uber. I used to bring my skateboard with me everywhere i went but I had an injury and skateboarding doesnt work anymore.

the bike would triple as my normal get around bike. and finally it would quadruple as my UberEats/DoorDash bike. So I just want a bike with maximum optionality that I can take anywhere and do anything. I should probably just bite the bullet and get the Brompton Explore.

Right now I am looking at:

Brompton Explore
Bike Friday Pocket Llama
Bike Friday Diamond Llama
Dahon Jetstream
and possibly the Origami Crane

Gilberto de Piento
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Re: Need help for touring folding bike

Post by Gilberto de Piento »

I don't have any more thoughts on the bike specifics but I think what you want to do with it is a really fun idea.

What is an ubereats/door dash bike? To deliver food with?

If you fly or bus with it what do you do with the case it travelled in?

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