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Old 08-08-2009, 09:47 AM   #29
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Does anyone have folding bikes? That may be the answer to where the bikes go when pulling our Airstream. But there are so many and a wide price range. We want to choose one with good quality for recreational riding.... I'm not sure how to compare them and there aren't any shops around us to give any a try. I would appreciate input form those of you who have them. Thanks, MJ
MJBear.....There has been a lot of good feedback on the various options available in folding bikes. One thing that was not mentioned is which bike will you feel more comfortable leaving locked up outside your trailer in the weather when your at a campground or won't mind leaving it outside the campground "John" when your visiting, the $300 Dahon or a $2,500 Bike Friday?
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Old 08-08-2009, 10:47 AM   #30
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We have never felt uncomfortable when the bikes were locked up in a campground - either here in the States or in Europe. Ours BFs are over the $2500 each. We do use 2 heavy cables and 2 big U-locks and string them together to make 1 big mass of steel and rubber.

Like I noted earlier, fold then lock - its what most of the riders I know do when locking up their folders outside when they can't bring the bike inside.

I would check on-line to find where a bike could be test ridden. Most manufacturers list dealers. With BF, call the shop in Eugene, and 1 of the salesmen will arrange for a nearby BF owner to let you test ride his/her bike.

Hugh
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Old 08-08-2009, 11:11 AM   #31
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Folding bikes of any flavor are rarely stolen. Few know the value of them, and most bike thieves don't find them "cool" enough or with high-enough end components to bother with.

Roger
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Old 08-08-2009, 11:45 AM   #32
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Thanks for all the suggestions including those PM'd to me by a certain well known man lurking out there. I am overwhelmed. There's not a lot of places to actually look at folding bikes where we live which means if any decisions are made, it'll take a while. Maybe I'll give Barb all these links and stick her with figuring it out. It's her idea (so was the Airstream).

I realize gearing can solve a lot of the problems with little wheels. I think to equal the high gears on "regular" wheels, the gear assembly would be as big or bigger than the wheel and that is impracticable. The few times I have ridden a bike in the last 30+ years, I use the high gears quite a bit and don't think they would be the same on a little wheel bike. I don't think I can overcome the dork factor either.

The Dahon Expresso seems like a good deal, though I can't imagine why I need 21 speeds.

Gene
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Old 08-08-2009, 01:16 PM   #33
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Thanks for all the suggestions including those PM'd to me by a certain well known man lurking out there. I am overwhelmed. There's not a lot of places to actually look at folding bikes where we live which means if any decisions are made, it'll take a while. Maybe I'll give Barb all these links and stick her with figuring it out. It's her idea (so was the Airstream).

I realize gearing can solve a lot of the problems with little wheels. I think to equal the high gears on "regular" wheels, the gear assembly would be as big or bigger than the wheel and that is impracticable. The few times I have ridden a bike in the last 30+ years, I use the high gears quite a bit and don't think they would be the same on a little wheel bike. I don't think I can overcome the dork factor either.

The Dahon Expresso seems like a good deal, though I can't imagine why I need 21 speeds.

Gene
Pay no attention to the certain well-known lurker. He's eccentric. He rides a Moulton. That's like double-geeky or something...

Actually, on the small-wheel thing... the folding bikes use a larger chainring, longer cranks, and a little different gearing on the rear end. I just got back an hour ago from a ride with my Trek F600 with a bunch of 26" and 700c riders and they were having a tough time keeping up with me... and I wasn't working hard at all. My F600 has all of the speed of my Millennia HT 26" touring buildup bike.

The number of "speeds" are irrelevent. It's the difference in the steps in gearing between the high end and low end that allow you to ride. On a bike, you ride at the pedal cadence you're comfortable with, and then shift up or down as required to maintain that cadence. Most riders couldn't tell you what "speed" they're in at any given time and they don't really care as they're constantly shifting up or down to maintain cadence.

And... dorks are the folks who feel the necessity to denigrate something without having the need to have ever experienced it. Once you have been to the mountain and you have seen the light, you'll have a tough time ever riding a diamond-frame again.

Roger
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Old 08-08-2009, 04:01 PM   #34
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Here is an interesting comparison for you...on my 3 bikes.

16" wheel 48t chain ring, 12t rear cog, 40.4", 53.8", 71.8" gears (3 speed hub)
20" wheel 44t chain ring, 17t rear cog, 41.1", 54.8", 73" gears (3 speed hub)
26" wheel 48t chain ring, 22t rear cog, 42.4", 56.5", 75.4" gears (3 speed hub)

Note that the smaller wheeled bike has the lowest gearing


More gears allows you to fine tune the pedal revolutions to maintain a comfortable rotation speed, some people are more comfortable than others spinning at different speeds, I am one of them; when I raced I wanted to spin at a constant speed, now I could care less

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Old 08-08-2009, 04:49 PM   #35
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I think that whether folding bikes will work for you may be determined by what you want to use them for.

We used to own folding bikes many years ago and while they were fine for short rides around the RV park, they were not much use for any serious riding - just too much effort.

Having said that, ours were inexpensive ones and perhaps the better quality ones are better, although I think that for me, the small wheels were the problem, and cheap oir costly that would be the same.

We sold ours and bought inexpensive mountain bikes that have served us well for many years. I installed a hitch receiver on the front of our tow vehicle and that is how we carry them.

Brian.
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Old 08-08-2009, 05:14 PM   #36
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We used to own folding bikes many years ago and while they were fine for short rides around the RV park, they were not much use for any serious riding - just too much effort.

Having said that, ours were inexpensive ones and perhaps the better quality ones are better, although I think that for me, the small wheels were the problem, and cheap oir costly that would be the same.

Brian.
Thank you, Brian for reinforcing what I said earlier. Cheap bikes are hard to ride and people just won't use them. Unfortunately, your perception is in error about the 20" wheels being the problem. Folks are always skeptical until they actually ride my 20" Trek or one of the other higher-end bikes. It's the components and how much energy it takes to overcome the inherent friction drag that they have. While you'd not think that to be the case, it is. It's also the cheap saddles that hurt when you ride, poorly constructed wheels that flex when they shouldn't, brakes that don't brake very well, etc. etc. etc.

On the other hand, a mid-range bike (and up), folding or otherwise, is just a joy to ride.

Roger
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Old 08-08-2009, 05:35 PM   #37
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There are cheap bikes and then there are CHEAP bikes. I work on bikes as a hobby and can tell the difference very quickly, between a low end bike and a BSO (Bicycle Shaped Object) BSO's are usually obtained at places like Walmart for astounding low prices. There are plenty of inexpensive bikes out there that are very serviceable and a decent value for the dollar. In the mid range priced bikes you usually get what you pay for. Folders are an in a class unto themselves, pricing on them is harder for many people to understand. They are made in smaller batches and quite often with proprietary parts, both are reasons that a folder costs more than a similarly equipped full sized bike. FWIW my Raleigh Folder sold for around $100 new in 1969 that would be like paying nearly $600 today. But technology has moved forward and you much more for a similar price.

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Old 08-08-2009, 07:11 PM   #38
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The Dahon Expresso seems like a good deal, though I can't imagine why I need 21 speeds.

Gene
Bike Nashbar has the Espresso for $399 with free shipping through this weekend...

Dahon Espresso Folding Bicycle

Roger
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Old 08-08-2009, 07:18 PM   #39
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Safety Cycle in LA has it for $370 with free shipping in all sizes (16, 18, 20"). Fitness Store has the 20" for $333 and I think shipping is free. We thought of ordering one, but after reading a bunch of reviews plus the comments on this thread, decided we wouldn't be happy with it because too many components were not what we wanted and eventually we'd want a better bike. Does seem the '08 version is a little better than the '09 plus being cheaper.

We'll keep looking.

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Old 08-08-2009, 08:55 PM   #40
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Thank you, Brian for reinforcing what I said earlier. Cheap bikes are hard to ride and people just won't use them. Unfortunately, your perception is in error about the 20" wheels being the problem. Folks are always skeptical until they actually ride my 20" Trek or one of the other higher-end bikes. It's the components and how much energy it takes to overcome the inherent friction drag that they have. While you'd not think that to be the case, it is. It's also the cheap saddles that hurt when you ride, poorly constructed wheels that flex when they shouldn't, brakes that don't brake very well, etc. etc. etc.

On the other hand, a mid-range bike (and up), folding or otherwise, is just a joy to ride.

Roger
Hi Roger,


Could well be you are right and I defer to your greater experience with small wheeled bikes.

But I wasn't so much referring to effort in riding, and I don;t remember having any braking or seat comfort problems. Rather I just experienced what seemed like a more unpleasant and unbalanced feeling that I felt, maybe incorrectly, to be due to the smaller wheels.


I felt that a regular bike just seemed to roll more effortlessly and smoothly and with a much better feeling of balance that made for a more enjoyable experience.

I do have a lot more miles in the saddle with motorcycles than with bicycles, and in a way, I liken the comparison to riding a motor scooter versus a full sized bike.

I have owned both, and while a scooter is great for around town rides as long as you steer well clear of potholes, the ride seems more choppy and unstable. I would certainly feel much happier in every respect astride a touring bike for a cross country run.

On the other hand, my touring motorcycle is not as easy to cope with in slow parking lot riding as a scooter would be, so again, what will be one's predominant use of the bike seems to me to be a major factor in the choice.

Again, I admit that I have never ridden a better quality folding bike so I certainly stand to be corrected in the what is only my opinion!

Until I ride such a conveyance however, my gut feeling remains, that if four wheeled transportation of the bike is not an issue - as it is not with me - then a regular sized bike would be a better all around choice!

To close by putting it all in perspective, and to quote a well worn
saying among bikers, "It's not what you ride, but that you ride" so enjoy!

Ride safe(ly) whatever you ride! ......... Brian,
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Old 08-08-2009, 09:16 PM   #41
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Hi Roger,

Could well be you are right and I defer to your greater experience with small wheeled bikes.

But I wasn't so much referring to effort in riding, and I don;t remember having any braking or seat comfort problems. Rather I just experienced what seemed like a more unpleasant and unbalanced feeling that I felt, maybe incorrectly, to be due to the smaller wheels.

I felt that a regular bike just seemed to roll more effortlessly and smoothly and with a much better feeling of balance that made for a more enjoyable experience.
Brian, what you're describing is the difference in short wheelbase vs. longer wheelbase bikes, and there's just no getting around that. I have a SWB recumbent that has a 20" front and 26" rear wheel and it has some of the same "twitchyness" as the short wheelbase Trek folder I have. My 26" wheel Trek diamond frame is a completely different ride. They each have their purpose. I've considered building up a touring frame with 47+cm chainstays, but I haven't found the frame I want yet. The long chainstays and long wheelbase touring frames give a very pleasant ride, but doesn't do anything fast.

I'm not sure I'd want to ride my folder cross-country, but folks do ride RAGBRAI every year on Bike Fridays.

Roger
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Old 08-08-2009, 09:19 PM   #42
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I will be the first to tell you a small wheeled bike does ride different from a large wheeled bike. With the larger wheel you have a more pronounced gyroscope effect, fork rake/trail, wheel base, head and seat tube angles as well as frame material all play into how a bike feels and rides.

Aaron
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