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Old 07-26-2006, 07:06 AM   #1
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Bike Friday / Swift Folder / Airnimal folding bike?

There have been several threads here about bikes... but I'm looking for a XL size Bike Friday NWT or similar Friday model, Swift folder, or Airnimal. I've got a Giant Halfway that I really like, but I want a solid 406mm wheel folder frameset with a full rear triangle and chainstays (I have a Burly cargo trailer) that I can re-build as inexpensively as I can with LX and XT components off a full-size mountain bike I already have.

Unfortunately, an Airnimal Joey frameset alone is $800, and I just got a quote from Bike Friday for a NWT with about half the components I think I want for $1600... <choke, caugh, choke> and I don't want to spend that much!

Anybody got a line on a Bike Friday Metro, Pocket Tourist, NWT, or Swift folder that's sitting around collecting dust somewhere that someone would be willing to unload for a couple hundred bucks? Any other words of wisdom?

Roger
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Old 07-26-2006, 07:53 AM   #2
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Hey Roger,

The Bike Friday is expensive but you won't find a better folding bike that hold's it's value. I have owned one for years and it has been great. Good luck finding one for a couple of hundred dollars. I keep an eye out for them on ebay and rarely see them go for under $750. Keep trying....

All the best...
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Old 07-26-2006, 11:55 AM   #3
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I know, I know... I'm just being cheap... Thanks for the kind thoughts!

Roger
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Old 07-26-2006, 02:08 PM   #4
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You might want to test ride the BikeFriday. Most (not all) of the tall people (i.e. over 6') find that the strech with the stem and seatpost is just too much to keep the bike riding "normal".

I did quite a bit of looking for a bike to take to Europe with me in August. I ended up with a Richey Breakaway. I knew I just wouldn't be happy with a compromise bike and might as well rent rather than go that route. The Breakaway rides just like a very nice high end road bike. I put on a compact crank and am going to keep it as my daily rider/touring bike and sell my old triple. They also build a cyclocross frame if you wanted something with clearance for wider tires. They're not cheap but comparable in price to a Bike Friday. Maybe a little harder to set-up (not much) and there's no comparison in the ride. If we take the trailer on an extended trip that's not centered around a bike race I'll bring the Ritchey with me.

One bike I was impressed with and would have probably gone for if there was more mtn bike opportunity in Ireland was the Montigue:
www.montagueco.com/
The CX and DX are billed as "
The all-around bike for the all-around rider" and are relatively cheap for the level of performance they provide. The Paratrooper and Hummer are honest to goodness mtn bikes; and the design reminds me of my "classic" Klein Mantra

Breezer is a relatively new player:
www.breezerbikes.com/
I know someone that recently went to work for them who's been in the bike industry a long time and is impressed with what they provide for the money.

Dahon's been around a long time. My mother-inlaw has one gathering dust in a bag. I rode it once. Rather a neat feat of engineering but heavy and not good for much but short shopping trips or very easy sight seeing (like I'd rather just jog). They've updated their line quite a bit lately. For one they've licensed the Richey design but those are still pretty spendy. The other alternatives aren't likely to be much different than your Giant Halfway.

The Molton (Sir Clive) is similar to Bike Friday in geometry, cost, quality and resale. Just a little different engineering approach.

-Bernie
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Old 07-26-2006, 02:52 PM   #5
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Roger,
I'm not an expert on folding bikes .......but I've seen a couple of "Birdy Bikes" locally on bike rides, and the owners rave about them. Rich Luhr bought these at the Intl in Salem where they officially premiered their Airstream product line. He's pleased with the product. Seems the manufacturer has teamed up with Airstream to offer an Airstream design line. The website has more info at http://www.birdybike.com/index.html .
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Old 07-26-2006, 02:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bhayden
The Molton (Sir Clive) is similar to Bike Friday in geometry, cost, quality and resale. Just a little different engineering approach.

-Bernie
hi bernie, bike nuts and others looking at small wheels with big ideas!

just a little clarification from an enthusiatic owner of several of these...
its moulton; and alex. he isn't a 'sir' but should be....
he is a dr which is ok too...

i recently sold a 10 year old moulton for 3,500$ and the buyer was thrilled at that price...
my newest one is now approaching 10,000$ in value which is close to the price of new...with the exchange rate.

the engineering approaches are vastly different...they do share small wheels.

and actually the bike friday is very close to alex's 50 year old early model design, without suspension....the patent on this design has long expired.

bike friday makes a great folder. they have very loyal customers and are wonderful folks...out in oregon.

as for full suspension folders.....birdy and brompton are the 2 big players here....

richL got the birdys. they are really nice bikes, good suspension and fold quickly. but they don't work well for taller folks or longer rides (40miles) and they are more money than you want to spend...i think.

now for you roger, consider 2 less expensive options.....

-the new dahons are really well made and they have several models under 1000 bucks....i'd opt for the internal hub geared/rear changer combo (sram) like the tourist model or one of the others....these are really nice. i have a friend with one who has 5000miles+ on his without any issues. he is 6'2"....

-the other route and even better for an iowan near wisconsin....
trek has 2 models of folders with 406 wheels...the frames are actually made by dahon. the bikes differ based on equipment but retail for 6-800$...occasionally there is one on ebay but new isn't too badly priced and they come with widely available shimano componets...and trek stores are everywhere now....biggest issue is trek dealers don't normally stock these 2 models, so ya have to get 'em to order one...just to take a test ride...

i've riden the 2 treks. i'm 240lbs. it is a sold bike. rides just like a bike friday, which is a nice ride......i would not hesitate to buy the trek...or a touring dahon with the dual drive...

ah, but nothing rides like a moulton!

cheers
2air'
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Old 07-26-2006, 03:23 PM   #7
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I just knew that with the number of engineers and aviation buffs there HAD to be at least one Moulton enthusiast out there! I would'a guessed Nick .

They truely are an engineering master piece tinkered with over decades in the true British tradition.

I'd agree with 2air's recommendations but would also throw the Montegue into the mix of contenders. Only thing is I don't think you're going to make much of an improvement over you're Giant Halfway unless you invest a fair chunck of change. Of course there's always the chance of a great deal showing up used. Besides eBay there's the trick of searching multiple Craigslist sites with google (i.e. "folding bike site:craigslist").

-Bernie
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Old 07-26-2006, 03:41 PM   #8
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hey bernie

ever riden a moulton?
you may know this, but usa dealers are few and far between.
you happen to be very close to the oldest usa dealer...
angle lake cyclery....dale there has been riding them for nearly 30 years, sponsored a raam rider on a moulton in the 80s....
and even helped design the first ever dual suspension mountain bike...
the moulton atb....

dale is a character....but you should pay his shop a visit and ride one....i did when i lived out there years ago...that's how i got the bug...

oh and that 10 year old one i sold...
went to a guy in woodinville washington!

cheers
2air'

i just add that the trek folder is much much more sturdy than the giant/halfway..it has slightly bigger wheels and takes a regular front hub..not the 'righty' that's on the giant....it also has better stopping brakes than the giant....

trek is now using the capero rear hub/cassette/changer which solves the problem of getting bigger/faster road-like, gearing on a small wheel bike...
moulton had to make is own rear cassettes years ago to get the proper gearing..this makes the parts very very very expensive to replace with originals...typical brits!!
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Old 07-26-2006, 04:13 PM   #9
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I'd LOVE a Moulton... unfortunately I am not willing to part with that kind of cash...

I have investigated nearly all of the brands thoroughly. I had a line on some Trek F600 closeouts for $799, and would probably have done that... but I JUST found a Bike Friday diamond-frame New World Tourist in my size with new factory paint, including a travel case and some other extras and some nice mods for $700 shipped, so I couldn't resist. I may upgrade some of the components as time passes... but at least I've got a rideable frame and decent wheelsets! If you deduct the price of the Samsonite case new, the bike was about $450. I think that's pretty reasonable! I'm also a big fan of buying cottage industry products when they're reasonable and of high quality. Burley and Bike Friday both certainly fit that description!

I need a full rear triangle as I have a Burley cargo trailer that I pull, and the fully suspended bikes are a problem (depending on design) for the trailer. The 20" wheels are not the issue I'd thought they'd be and frankly, I really enjoy my Giant Halfway with 406s on it. I may just sell my full-size bikes! We'll see...

This diamond-frame NWT ought to be just the ticket!

Roger
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Old 07-26-2006, 05:41 PM   #10
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Dahon Speed7 & Vitesse D5 comments.

We bought a Dahon Speed 7 in May, and it worked out well enough that last month we ordered a Vitesse D5. We've had that for two weeks as of tomorrow, and I've ridden around 165 miles on it so far. I need 1500 "revenue" miles on it - where the bike replaces a car - by next June in order for it to pay for itself (I won't buy a bike for my use that can't recoup its cost in savings. I figure $0.30/mile as the break even point). I'm thinking we'll hit break-even around mid-January.

The Speed 7 (same as Breezer zig7, I think) came with fenders & a rack, and a 7 speed cassette. I can fold it in around 20-30 seconds - faster if motivated, so it's competitive with locking it up. I rode a little over 200 miles on it in June and the first two weeks of July. I wouldn't pick it as a bike to go hammer with, but it's efficient enough. (no the Speed 7 won't break even by May, but it didn't come out of the gasoline budget).

We had the Speed 7 when we visited Jackson Center, and I rode their Birdy while there too. I didn't see the Birdy as being worth 3 Dahons, but it was a nice ride. Would be hard to put fenders and a rack on the Birdy, and that's a deal breaker.

The Vitesse D5 has Sturmey's 5 speed hub. I like this A LOT. It's essentially two concentric AW3's and the middle gear is direct. It also came with rack, fenders, plus a chain cover and a seat tube pump. I've had it up to 25 on level ground, and generally hit 18-22 on my way to work, so it's fast enough for me, although with dockers & work shoes, I'm generally happier in the 13-15 mph range. With a little training and planning, I'm pretty sure I could TT it for 10 - 15 miles in the 18-19mph range. It's been my primary commuter since I bought it (I use the recumbent some days), and fits nicely under my desk.

The D5 is an aluminum frame vs the steel on the Speed7. The ride is just slightly different between the two. The D5 doesn't seem as fast, but that may be just a feeling. I picked it up on Thursday, 13 July, rode it home, rode it to work on Friday, then installed a bottle cage and a rack trunk and rode it on a metric century on Saturday. It was mid-90's so I took it really easy and drank lots, but still had a ride time of 5:44, including about an hour of walking around the fairgrounds (Hey, I was sightseeing). While riding I saw 13 & 15 pretty consistently.

I have played with Burley's hitch (not the alternate hitch) and it seems to fit OK on both Dahons. Haven't pulled anything with it though. I have the 'puter hooked up there on the D5, and have the trailer set up to use the alternate hitch (for the recumbent's sake).

So... If you typically cruise at over 200 watts, or do back to back centuries, or are used to 35mph sprints, I'm not sure I'd go with the lower priced Dahon. I have just a little time on the Speed Pro (SRAM 3x9 gears), and it would be somewhat better at that, IMO. If you plan on taking 50 lb worth of stuff on your rack and heading to someplace 3 states away... again maybe not.

But if you plan to ride 20-30 miles fairly often, do the occasional 60-100 mile ride, or the occasional overnight camping trip, I don't see how a Dahon would be a limiting factor. Not as "wow" but certainly capable.

I don't have any direct comments on the Bike Friday, other than they are reputed to be a nice bike than can be folded in around 20 minutes vs say a Brompton which is described as a quick folding bike which is OK to ride.
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Old 07-26-2006, 05:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedSHED
But if you plan to ride 20-30 miles fairly often, do the occasional 60-100 mile ride, or the occasional overnight camping trip, I don't see how a Dahon would be a limiting factor. Not as "wow" but certainly capable.

I don't have any direct comments on the Bike Friday, other than they are reputed to be a nice bike than can be folded in around 20 minutes vs say a Brompton which is described as a quick folding bike which is OK to ride.
Yeah... and I confess... I wanted a little "wow" with the bike... I could have bought a Downtube, or Dahon for considerably less... but my plan is to upgrade this one to LX and XT components over the winter... I'm really hooked on Shimano Rapid-Fire... and nothing else is quite as satisfying...

The Giant Halfway is actually a pretty decent bike given it's low end components and marginal tires. The frame is remarkably stiff, but the hefty seat tube and the single sided fork make the ride amazingly plush. The stock seat is junk, probably THE most painful saddle I've ever had the displeasure of throwing a leg over (major "parts" numness here)... so if you get one, just plan on buying a new saddle with it. My main complaint is the same as just about everyone else's... and that is that the gearing is just to low for any serious riding. Fortunately, I didn't buy it for serious riding, just to run back and forth to work with and then to tool around campgrounds and various and sundry other places where I don't care to walk after I've parked the car. It's come in handy repeatedly for Sunday afternoon sight-seeing excursions.

RedShed: The Bike Friday folds to carrying/trunk/back seat size in about the same time that the Bromptons do. They're just a little larger folded. What takes a little longer is packing them into the suitcase...

I won't get the bike until mid-August. He's shipping it tomorrow, and it'll be here Monday or Tues, but we're headed out for a couple of weeks on Friday... so I'll have to report back after I've got a few miles on it and tell you what I think.

Roger
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Old 07-26-2006, 06:01 PM   #12
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roger and redshed......

so just today ya found the friday roger? good job...
it's a fine bike and the price looks right...
only caution is when was it made?
friday did not recommend or warrant their bikes
for riders over 210lbs or so,
until recently when they started beefing up the seat tube region...

of course i have not a clue to your stature....

friday should be able to tell ya based on serial number...

i've used the burley cargo trailer,
with the quick release skewer hitch up thinkie....
it works fine even on dual suspension bikes like the moulton or birdy...

redshed....speed pro was the model that i reference with dual drive....there is also a touring version with limited distribution (europe) based on the speedpro...included fenders, rear rack, suspension hub up front and suspension seat post....still a pretty lite bike...very nice.

i agree price wise the dahons are a real value and quality is greatly improved.

cheers
2air'
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Old 07-26-2006, 06:04 PM   #13
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2air... It's a mid-90s version. I think they discontinued the diamond frame in '95 or so... I'm 6'5" tall but only 180 lbs, so the weight shouldn't be an issue... thanks for thinking of it tho!

The Dahon Speed series are a nice looking bunch of folders too...

Roger
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Old 07-26-2006, 06:54 PM   #14
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The Santos Bike Shop in Belleview Florida, close to where we relocated from, have the best billboard.
"Friends don't let friends ride JUNK!"
Buy a good bike, with components that will last. Don't invest your hard earned money into something that will be JUNK in a few years.
You won't find much in this catagory going cheap! If you're handy you can put one together and save a few bucks in the process but you'll likely spend more on components in the thought process of building it yourself.
As stated keep and eye on eBay but also your local paper. Good luck and as we say here... happy hunting!
FYI this is my internet find... $250 frame...$1250 drive train....$250 seat....and so it went....wheels, tires, fork... but hey it's aluminum!
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