Folding Touring Bikes? Airnimal?

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northcave
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Folding Touring Bikes? Airnimal?

Postby northcave » 3 Mar 2019, 11:53am

Short Question:
What do you recommend as a folding bike for touring and does anyone recommend the Airnimal Explore Drop?

Longer Explanation:
We live on a boat and sailing around different countries and have full size touring bikes to get ashore and explore. Great to ride but a real pain storing, man handling them into an inflatable rib and having to store on deck around salt water.

So we're considering a folding bike but we want to be able to go on short 3-7 days tours without it feeling too much like a touring bike. Here is our wish list:

- Big enough wheels to feel like a full size bike.
- Drop bars would be nice.
- Pannier racks (ideally don't have to be removed to fold).
- Enough gears to get up those hills!

I'd like recommendations please but I did see the Airnimal Explore Drop so if anyone has any specific advice on these it would be great.

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Cunobelin
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Re: Folding Touring Bikes? Airnimal?

Postby Cunobelin » 3 Mar 2019, 1:11pm

I have an original Airnimal which has proved a reliable tourer overall

Only criticism is that due to the long arms, heavier luggage on the rack can cause a little movement

raybo
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Re: Folding Touring Bikes? Airnimal?

Postby raybo » 3 Mar 2019, 3:20pm

I live in the US and bought a Bike Friday New World Tourist (made in Oregon, US), a folding touring bike. I've now done 2 long (>1500 Kms) trips in Europe on it with 2 rear panniers and like it very much. Not sure it is available in the UK.

I wrote an article on my search for a folding bike and a review of the Bike Friday, if you are interested.
Visit my on-line bike touring archive at www.biketouringtips.com

PH
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Re: Folding Touring Bikes? Airnimal?

Postby PH » 3 Mar 2019, 4:30pm

I have a Joey that started life as a drop bar Explore but is currently a flat bar Rohloff. The fold isn't as instant as some and the resulting package isn't particularly easier to manhandle than a full size bike, storage and transport ought to be more suitable. I have a rack on mine that doesn't interfere with the fold, though it makes it a bit awkward to get it in the bag and I think if you use the case it has to be removed.
I like riding it, I find it slightly harder work than a full size bike, but it's not a deal breaker. It's very stable and competent on a bit of rough stuff, doesn't have the flex I've experienced with other folders. I've done a couple of short tours with it and intend using it on something longer in the summer.

grufty
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Re: Folding Touring Bikes? Airnimal?

Postby grufty » 3 Mar 2019, 5:47pm

I would recommend Bromptons. We have taken these on our boat for over 20 years, they fit in one cockpit locker. Although we haven't done multi day tours from the boat, we have toured on them in the UK and Ireland . We use a rucksack strapped onto the front carrier frame arranged in such a way that it is easy to pop on our backs when carrying the bike.
Many people ,imho, underestimate the potential of these bikes, and they're so easy for public transport . A doddle in the dinghy too!

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foxyrider
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Re: Folding Touring Bikes? Airnimal?

Postby foxyrider » 3 Mar 2019, 10:35pm

My drop bar Chameleon was, for many years my only 'touring' bike. It has been used for racing, commuting and sportives as well over the years. It might not be a 30 second fold but with practice it doesn't take long even for a full fold.

Pros - it's quite light and generally rides like a full size bike.

Cons - the range of tyres is quite small
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

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horizon
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Re: Folding Touring Bikes? Airnimal?

Postby horizon » 4 Mar 2019, 11:00am

grufty wrote:I would recommend Bromptons.
Many people ,imho, underestimate the potential of these bikes, and they're so easy for public transport . A doddle in the dinghy too!


grufty: there's no argument over the convenience of a Brompton but the issue is over wheel size: either they work on longer journeys or they don't. The OP has suggested an Airnimal with 24" wheels and while there might be other issues, wheel size really isn't one with this bike.

Where I agree with you though is over the underestimating of the potential. I've put front and rear panniers racks on both a 20" Dahon folder and a 24" Tern. That's equivalent to a full camping load with no issues in terms of stability, comfort or ride. The Tern has done full days in hilly terrain with such a load. Most people view their folders (I presume) as short run, down to the shops or station bikes but they are capable of much, much more.
Let's just get Brexit done so that we can get on with the important job of re-joining the EU!

m-gineering
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Re: Folding Touring Bikes? Airnimal?

Postby m-gineering » 4 Mar 2019, 2:14pm

northcave wrote:Short Question:
What do you recommend as a folding bike for touring and does anyone recommend the Airnimal Explore Drop?

Longer Explanation:
We live on a boat and sailing around different countries and have full size touring bikes to get ashore and explore. Great to ride but a real pain storing, man handling them into an inflatable rib and having to store on deck around salt water.

So we're considering a folding bike but we want to be able to go on short 3-7 days tours without it feeling too much like a touring bike. Here is our wish list:

- Big enough wheels to feel like a full size bike.
- Drop bars would be nice.
- Pannier racks (ideally don't have to be removed to fold).
- Enough gears to get up those hills!

I'd like recommendations please but I did see the Airnimal Explore Drop so if anyone has any specific advice on these it would be great.

A Joey with the 507mm wheels should be pretty good for your intended use, and with the wheels out stowing it down a hatch should work fine. But I would look hard at luggage options which don't involve racks, as they make the package much bigger, and having to take them off and dropping bolts on a pebbled beach isn't fun ;) For a few days on the road without camping a bar bag and a decent (soft) bikepacking tailbag should be enough
Last edited by m-gineering on 4 Mar 2019, 4:55pm, edited 1 time in total.
Marten

Touring advice for NL: www.m-gineering.nl/touringg.htm

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horizon
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Re: Folding Touring Bikes? Airnimal?

Postby horizon » 4 Mar 2019, 4:12pm

I don't need to remove any of the racks on either my Dahon or Tern to complete a normal fold. In fact, I don't see how that could be done when say switching between trains. Are you sure it's required on the Airnimal? Only the cost (treble the Tern) put me off the Airnimal - I don't recall a rack issue.
Let's just get Brexit done so that we can get on with the important job of re-joining the EU!

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pjclinch
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Re: Folding Touring Bikes? Airnimal?

Postby pjclinch » 4 Mar 2019, 4:25pm

northcave wrote:Short Question:
What do you recommend as a folding bike for touring and does anyone recommend the Airnimal Explore Drop?

Longer Explanation:
We live on a boat and sailing around different countries and have full size touring bikes to get ashore and explore. Great to ride but a real pain storing, man handling them into an inflatable rib and having to store on deck around salt water.

So we're considering a folding bike but we want to be able to go on short 3-7 days tours without it feeling too much like a touring bike.


Not tried an Airnimal so no comment, but your particular MO suggests disassembling bikes at least as much as folders, the difference being that a folder compromises its ride to make it easy to turn in or out of a small package, where as a disassembling bike takes a few minutes with minor tools (as opposed to a few tens of seconds with none) but once it's together it's a better bike.

You can make more or less any bike disassembling with S&S couplings (though they are expensive), or there are bikes like Moultons that come relatively easily apart for storage and ride very well when put together. I have a Moulton TSR and a Brom, and while the Brom certainly folds up more quickly and easily the Moulton thrashes it on general ride characteristics and it stows away in a small package (or possibly two smaller entirely separate packages) when taken to bits. Available with drop bars, luggage racks and plenty of gears...

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

PH
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Re: Folding Touring Bikes? Airnimal?

Postby PH » 4 Mar 2019, 4:49pm

horizon wrote:I don't need to remove any of the racks on either my Dahon or Tern to complete a normal fold. In fact, I don't see how that could be done when say switching between trains. Are you sure it's required on the Airnimal? Only the cost (treble the Tern) put me off the Airnimal - I don't recall a rack issue.

You don't have to remove it to fold, it just makes it a bigger package - How much bigger depends on the rack, the Joey sits on it's upturned rear wheel so however much you have between that and the rack is how much taller the folded package becomes. There's also the issue of mudguards, if you have them and no rack that's what it'd be sitting on.
It's all a compromise, if I had to fold it everyday it'd drive me nuts, indeed it did and I sold my first and bought a Dahon. Then a change in circumstances meant I no longer needed a frequent folder and bought another.

m-gineering
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Re: Folding Touring Bikes? Airnimal?

Postby m-gineering » 4 Mar 2019, 5:03pm

horizon wrote:I don't need to remove any of the racks on either my Dahon or Tern to complete a normal fold. In fact, I don't see how that could be done when say switching between trains. Are you sure it's required on the Airnimal? Only the cost (treble the Tern) put me off the Airnimal - I don't recall a rack issue.


'Boat' and 'inflatable dinghy' suggest to me that anything which makes the package smaller so that it can be manouvered through a hatch around the gasbottles while avoiding the spare anchor will be very much appreciated ;)
Marten

Touring advice for NL: www.m-gineering.nl/touringg.htm

Lodge
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Re: Folding Touring Bikes? Airnimal?

Postby Lodge » 5 Mar 2019, 11:28pm

My wife and I have done a 7 day tour on our folders. Very useful to put in the back of our Audi A3, drive from the UK to the Alsace then do the wine route. I've a Brompton with Rohloff, she a Tern Vectron with Bosch motor and Alfine 11. Both did very well (lots of gears for the hills). The Vectron is less twitchy and more comfortable with its 20" Big Apple tyres but it doesn't fold as small and of course being an ebike it's heavier (though light for an ebike).

We've also taken them (by car) to Sardinia, Brittany, the Dordogne and the Netherlands. But each of these were single centre holidays not tours as such.

JJF
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Re: Folding Touring Bikes? Airnimal?

Postby JJF » 6 Mar 2019, 10:23pm

I have a Bike Friday New World Tourist which I bought 20 years ago. My decision to buy it was helped by a very positive assessment by Chris Juden in the Cycle magazine.
My requirement was for a bike which was good for touring and I am very pleased with it. I wasn't so concerned with size when folded. Clearly it can't compare with Brompton's portability.
I use it unfolded on trains and car ferries. Luggage comprises 2 panniers and bar bag.
There are only two clamps to fasten/unfasten when folding, in contrast to my companions Dahon which has 5. The saddle lowers by folding the seat mast so I don't have to re-set the saddle height when preparing to ride. The pannier rack doesn't need to be removed when folding. In fact it is useful because the inverted bike stands on the rack. However, it does increase the folded size.
If the OP is travelling by boat, I suspect that his requirement is for something smaller than Bike Friday.