Folding bikes - the real problem

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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Folding bikes - the real problem

Postby mfdaustrey » 1 Feb 2014, 10:28am

I have got a caravan and decided we should take some bikes with us. We used to put 5 bikes on the car and take a trailer tent but now with only two of us, and getting older, I've been looking at some folders. I need some advice!
I don't want the usual "buy a Brompton", as I feel it's generally overkill. I don't want it folding really small for the tube but need a decent ride on campsites, county lanes and towpaths.
The added problem is that I am 6'5", problem with the caravan choice as well, inside leg 35/36". My present MTB has seat to pedal distance of 95cm. Most of the Dahon specifications match up to 6'4".
I've been looking at Dahons because of the details are available on their website but would appreciate any advice about order makes. If you want to advise a Brompton please give a model.
The comments I've found all seem to be several years old. What I would like is a good bike in the cheap range, but not rubbish. Again it is no use saying "don't buy cheap" because I don't know what cheap is. Everyday cheap is not the same as once a year cheap.
If I buy used how old can I go? Are old Dahons much better than say a new Ecosmo, bicycles4u etc.
Sorry for the long post but haven't seen this problem really addressed from a non-commuter point of view.

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Re: Folding bikes - the real problem

Postby pioneer » 1 Feb 2014, 11:05am

I'd say for what you're after, take a look at the folders in Halfords. Don't know what they are badged as these days, but they look to be decent bikes for not a stupid amount of money.

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Re: Folding bikes - the real problem

Postby Brucey » 1 Feb 2014, 11:16am

Bromptons have a choice of seat post and handlebar types IIRC . You can get a reasonable fit this way, but perhaps not good enough for your use.

It may be worth asking if the advised weight limit (you plus luggage) is likely to be an issue.

B'Twin claim their bikes fit up to 195cm so they may be worth a look, e.g.

If it is 'once a year' use and you are DIY-inclined then I'd suggest that you could consider something of a custom build. Maybe start out with a Raleigh 20 folder and rework it with a longer seat post, butterfly bars (for added reach) etc. You can go at this as you like; I've seen some quite nice bikes built from old Dawes Kingpins too.


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Re: Folding bikes - the real problem

Postby james01 » 1 Feb 2014, 11:38am

Why folders? A caravan is a perfect bike holdall. We used to carry full size 4 bikes and a tandem in ours, all upholstery carefully protected of course. The tandem was too long to negotiate the side door of the caravan so we inserted it through the opening front window. On site the bikes lived outside, rain or shine.

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Re: Folding bikes - the real problem

Postby Galloper » 1 Feb 2014, 2:47pm

I've just bought a Tern Joe in Evans Cycles for £270. I'd recommend it but the sizing only goes up to 6'3" and I suspect finding anything larger will be difficult (at a reasonable price). If you have an Evans nearby, it might be worth a look just to try it for size.

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Re: Folding bikes - the real problem

Postby mfdaustrey » 1 Feb 2014, 3:35pm

Thanks for the replies. Have just been out with my wife to Halfords, Decathlon and Hawk Cycles. None were quite big enough for me, at present, but if they turned out to be the best I could get I could manage, possibly extending the seat post.
Thinking of last year's caravan outings there are s number of times we would have had the bikes on the car, also we are getting close to overload, which will only get worse if we change the van.

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Re: Folding bikes - the real problem

Postby Elizabethsdad » 1 Feb 2014, 5:07pm

New ones aren't cheap and I don't think second hand ones come up very often but try looking at the range of Birdy folding bikes.

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Re: Folding bikes - the real problem

Postby iandriver » 1 Feb 2014, 5:29pm

I'm 6ft 5 with a 34 inch inside leg and am getting on fine with a tern Joe. Dahon espresso is a similar 26" wheeled folder. I have swapped out the bars on mine for a 50mm rise bar. Have got hand built wheels and dynohubs on it too, so can't comment on the original wheels of the Joe.
Supporter of the A10 corridor cycling campaign serving Royston to Cambridge Never knew gardening secateurs were an essential part of the on bike tool kit until I took up campaigning.....