Folding bike

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reisner
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Folding bike

Post by reisner »

I am much taken with the idea of a folding bike--I like my stuff to be minimalist and compact in general, and I hate bike racks. I tried a Bike Friday but didn't like the wobble or the small wheels. I am considering a full-size Montague Navigator, but have trouble locating one to try out. Does anyone have experience with them? (David Byrne, formerly of The Talking Heads, took one with him on tour.)
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ryuns
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Re: Folding bike

Post by ryuns »

I'm sure others can chime in with more specific advice about the particular brands, but I'm curious how you would plan to use the bike.

By their nature, they're darn small and far slower than any normal bikes. But if I had a commute, say, on a train, then a mile or two to get from the stop over to work, it would be a no-brainer. On the other hand, local buses all have 2 or 3 bike racks (usually open), and all of my bikes can fit in my trunk after popping the front wheel off.

If all you're concerned with is storage at home, I don't think that's a good trade off. I'd explore better ways to store a full-sized bike at home. These are a little pricey and probably not suitable for some rentals, but very attractive: http://www.thebikevalet.co/
An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered. -- GK Chesterton
lightheir
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Re: Folding bike

Post by lightheir »

Its gonna be very hard to beat a bike friday which is as close to a normal ride with 20 inch wheels.

The friday is every but as fast and sturdy as a regular bike. A lot of folks do multiday tours on them. They are as fsst as a normal bike. My friend rides one and hes as fast on it as his road bike.
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reisner
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Re: Folding bike

Post by reisner »

Montague makes full-size folding bikes. The issues are performance (Navigator has 27 speeds) and weight (27 lbs). and of course price ($899). I intend to use it as I would a regular bike, 2 to 25 miles at a time.
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JMacDonald
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Re: Folding bike

Post by JMacDonald »

A few years ago, I asked about folding bikes. Here is that conversation: http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=602096
Here is the bike I finally bought: http://www.dahon.com/bikes/2011/jack-d7 or something basically the same as models change quickly.
The bike serves its purpose. I am not a serious biker. I usually ride my bike at the beach. I consider it a beach cruiser with seven speeds.
This week I am taking it to Yosemite. I have packed it into my truck. This will be the first time I have taken it on a trip.
If you are a serious biker, you should probably get a regular bike to meet your needs
Last edited by JMacDonald on Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Kashi
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Re: Folding bike

Post by Kashi »

reisner wrote:Montague makes full-size folding bikes. The issues are performance (Navigator has 27 speeds) and weight (27 lbs). and of course price ($899). I intend to use it as I would a regular bike, 2 to 25 miles at a time.
I think that bikes are like wines...any will work but some are better suited to specific situations. I just don't think folding bikes are made with 25 mile rides in mind.
lightheir
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Re: Folding bike

Post by lightheir »

Kashi wrote:
reisner wrote:Montague makes full-size folding bikes. The issues are performance (Navigator has 27 speeds) and weight (27 lbs). and of course price ($899). I intend to use it as I would a regular bike, 2 to 25 miles at a time.
I think that bikes are like wines...any will work but some are better suited to specific situations. I just don't think folding bikes are made with 25 mile rides in mind.
The Bike Fridays are definitely meant for 25+ mile rider, even at race intensity. They have smaller wheels, but that doesn't compromise the bike - it just corners a bit differently.

Actually, most folders are good for rides, even 25 milers. Now if you want max speed, they're not so great for that, but for leisurely mellow cruises, most folders are fine. The weight and gearing isn't that much of an issue at leisurely speeds.
pincognito
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Re: Folding bike

Post by pincognito »

reisner wrote:Montague makes full-size folding bikes. The issues are performance (Navigator has 27 speeds) and weight (27 lbs). and of course price ($899). I intend to use it as I would a regular bike, 2 to 25 miles at a time.
My two cents -- I used to have a Giant Halfway, which I rode to commute in NYC. I found the feel of the bike to be a bit squirrely, but that was due to the wheel size. A full-size Montague would mitigate that issue. If you're already looking at what is essentially a full-size bike, though, I think the advantages of the bike's folding capabilities are somewhat mitigated. Lugging 27 lbs around is no treat, even if you aren't partial to bike racks. A folded full-size bike will also not likely be "minimalist" in the same way as a Bike Friday in terms of storage space.

[edit: typo]
Last edited by pincognito on Thu Sep 06, 2012 5:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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wesgreen
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Re: Folding bike

Post by wesgreen »

10 years ago I bought Dahon's then top - of - the - line Helios XL 20" wheel folding bike (19.5 pds) for about $800. I discovered I needed to spend about $250 more for a stronger rear wheel, a more comfortable saddle, lights, a luggage rack, better pedals etc.. I've ridden it now for 10 years, about 3 - 4 times weekly, over NYC potholes and bridges, and have taken it on planes, trains, busses, cabs and ferries. It has saved me tons of time and money, and provided much fun and exercise. I just wish the technology/design had been available years earlier. It's a very stable ride, and with the 8 gears it's very tempting to go faster than you should in the city. Dahon's current designs look a bit more refined, but weigh more.
freebeer
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Re: Folding bike

Post by freebeer »

I got a Dahon folder more like 6 years ago, for commuting purposes when I sometimes needed to fit into a vanpool. I rode it quite a bit but found it way less comfortable, efficient, and safe-feeling to ride than my road or mountain bikes.... not just the small wheels but also the higher feeling center of gravity (clown-bikish feel). I got a hybrid/urban bike instead (Marin Pt. Reyes) and haven't looked back. Maybe the folders have improved but I personally won't go there again unless I live on a boat or something like that.
mlipps
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Re: Folding bike

Post by mlipps »

I've been considering a folder for a DC commute. It's about 10 miles one way, and I just can't bring myself to hassle w/showering at work, etc., so I'd like to take a folder w/me in the AM then ride home in the PM. It's a little hilly here. I might also do something like ride my bike partway home then hop on the subway to finish the route. Will look into the suggestions, as well as start scoping out Craigslist. In the meantime, I'll be on my Capital Bikeshare bike...ugh.
montanagirl
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Re: Folding bike

Post by montanagirl »

I always wanted a folding bike, too, but I am tall and long-legged. It looked to me like the Dahon especially really only works for shorter people. I would have to put the seat up so high to get the right pedal length, it would be ridiculous.
BYUvol
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Re: Folding bike

Post by BYUvol »

My wife used this for 6 months until we could afford a second car.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001UL5MQU/

I drove her to the bus stop with that in our trunk, then she rode it home from the bus stop, since I had to work well after she got to the bus stop. She hated the thing.
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reisner
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Re: Folding bike

Post by reisner »

My OP was about a full-size folder. Montague has that niche locked up. Does anyone have experience with that make?
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JMacDonald
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Re: Folding bike

Post by JMacDonald »

caroljm36 wrote:I always wanted a folding bike, too, but I am tall and long-legged. It looked to me like the Dahon especially really only works for shorter people. I would have to put the seat up so high to get the right pedal length, it would be ridiculous.
Folding bikes come in full size. I am just over 6', and I have a full-size Dahon. See my post above.
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scooter
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Re: Folding bike

Post by scooter »

I bought a Dahon bike about 9 years ago. it is a Boardwalk 6 speed and I take in the Suv or just ride it around where I live.

I am over 6 feet tall and raise the seat up high enough to fully extend my legs.

The bike cost me about $300 at that time.
pincognito
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Re: Folding bike

Post by pincognito »

reisner wrote:My OP was about a full-size folder. Montague has that niche locked up. Does anyone have experience with that make?
No direct experience with Montague, but that is also not your only option. Both Dahon and Tern also make full-size folding bikes.
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JupiterJones
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Re: Folding bike

Post by JupiterJones »

caroljm36 wrote:I always wanted a folding bike, too, but I am tall and long-legged. It looked to me like the Dahon especially really only works for shorter people. I would have to put the seat up so high to get the right pedal length, it would be ridiculous.
I'm 6'3" and have a Dahon Speed P8 (20" wheels). I do have to set the seat at the absolute highest safe level (there's a mark on the seat post), but it works fine and is only slightly ridiculous. :D

The main problem I have with it is that the distance between the crank and the rear gear is so short that it's prone to chain jumps (a common problem on many 20" folders, I understand). And the design of the crank guard thingy is such that the chain gets jammed in there when it jumps. :oops: You can get rollers than fit onto the chain to reduce this problem, or I guess I could just remove the guard thingy so that it's easier to get the chain back on when it does jump. Or maybe they've solved this problem by now?

Anyway, to answer the OP's point about trying the bike out, you could do what I did--just buy the thing without trying it out. Risky, sure. But since there wasn't a bike shop for hundreds of miles that sold folders at the time, it was the option I went with.

JJ
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ryuns
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Re: Folding bike

Post by ryuns »

reisner wrote:Montague makes full-size folding bikes. The issues are performance (Navigator has 27 speeds) and weight (27 lbs). and of course price ($899). I intend to use it as I would a regular bike, 2 to 25 miles at a time.
That's fair--it does look like a great bike. But I would still suggest that a folding bike is not a free-storage-space-lunch. You're giving something up, either in speed, weight, price, stability or all of the above so you still might want to shop around in that price range at a local bike shop or REI. (Ironically though, I just spent $80x2 for bike racks for our car's roof racks!)
An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered. -- GK Chesterton
Rebecca_S
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Re: Folding bike

Post by Rebecca_S »

My husband used to have a Dahon, sold it and we both have Bike Fridays. They have several models to fit various needs, we don't have speedy folders but they fit nicely into a standard suitcase for traveling.
Not all bike shops are good at assembling them, the wobble might be due to that model or that bike shop. The Dahon was too small in the end for my very tall husband (36" inseam) but he likes the Friday.
Lots of city commuters have them, they fit well on trains and buses and then you can bike the last mile. We have taken ours on vacations and they are great for exploring new areas.
Curlyq
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Post by Curlyq »

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Last edited by Curlyq on Thu Oct 18, 2018 5:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
lightheir
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Re: Folding bike

Post by lightheir »

Something to also consider that's surprisingly useful in urban commute environments is a "real" kickscooter. No, not a crappy toy one that you see kids riding around all the time (Razor) but a real, $200-$250 kickscooter with brakes , stable wheels, and a solid kickpad.

They're perhaps the most storable AND luggable of all devices, and in urban environments, are often fast enough to traverse anything short of 4 miles with ease (people do long 20+ milers on these for fun). In 2 miles or less, the convenience of a scooter often outweighs the bike significantly in that you often can walk out the door and up stairs with it - no hassle locking it or going to the bike area for it. ALso eminently carryable on subways and trains.

Xootr makes a very good one. I would favor this for highly urban environments and anything with a train or bus leg.
halfnine
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Re: Folding bike

Post by halfnine »

Folding bikes come in many varieties with many different purposes so it comes down to what features are really the most important to you (folding size, portability, folding speed, ride quality, packability in a suitcase for travel, custom/non-custom components, etc). There are also issues such as does it fold up in such a way that its drivechain isn't exposed which can be important to your fellow commuters if part of your journey is on a crowded train/bus.

We have both a Dahon and a Brompton which fit our current needs. Ultimately, though, I will probably also get a Xootr Swift frame and do my own custom build.
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