Need a folder for the missus

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Audax67
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Need a folder for the missus

Postby Audax67 » 5 Dec 2015, 4:21pm

The missus has always loved the idea of cycling but has never managed to gain confidence. Over the last 20+ years we've bought her several bikes, all of which have been ridden for a week or two then set aside. The main problem is that she never had a bike as a child and is very unsure - doesn't dare to take a hand off the bars, shies away from traffic and is very chary of crossbars. The last three bikes are gathering dust in my workshop; one that I can use on the turbo, quite a nice trail bike, and a city bike that weighs half a ton and has done exactly one circuit of the village, two years ago.

She would now like to try a folder, reasons being that she can step through it, the saddle would have a great range of adjustment and she finds the small wheels less intimidating. She could also sling it in the back of the car and drive down to our excellent cycle path which is dead flat, completely separate from the road and around 15km long. (I know one ancient who does 12,000 km a year on it.)

Problem is that I don't want to put a fortune into a Brommie or such for it to join the other ornaments at the back of the workshop, but I don't want something that will be continually needing attention or popping out of gear, as I've read of Decathlon's offerings.

Ideally, what I've been thinking about would be a 7-speed single-chain-ring effort or maybe even a 3-spd hub - uncomplicated. She's no weakling - half-marathon-standard runner - so I'd expect her to try hills once she's happy on the bike. All the same I don't think a single-speed would suit. The main thing is for her to get comfortable.

So with that all in mind I'm asking for recommendations. Max budget would be around 500€ - around £350 - but cheaper would be much, much better!

Oh, this is France, of course: no Halford's.
Have we got time for another cuppa?

Stradageek
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Re: Need a folder for the missus

Postby Stradageek » 5 Dec 2015, 4:54pm

I'm a big fan of the old 3-speed folders, my wife and I both have one and picked each up for £25 second hand. I have a 1980's 'Stratton' and my wife a late 80's/90's 'Universal'.

They are zero maintenance and the only change I've made is a bigger rear sprocket if they're overgeared

Avoid the Raleigh Twenty (stiff steering, no top bearing) and try and get a bike with alloy wheels (a bit lighter and they stop in the wet!)

If you wife doesn't like it there is very little loss!

hercule
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Re: Need a folder for the missus

Postby hercule » 5 Dec 2015, 6:38pm

Well, this suggestion is well below your budget ceiling but also rather unconventional...

I was browsing an old edition of Velovision magazine the other day and re-read a review of the Bigfish folder. They weren't necessarily gushing in their review but they were reviewing it in the context of its £550 release price. Curious I did a quick search and it's now at £112 new on Amazon...

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bigfish-Folding ... lding+bike

At that price I might consider giving it a go, given the VV review. There don't seem to be many reviews on the web, other than some "first impressions" on road.cc and bikeradar but I could send a jpeg of the review if you are interested... Chop!'s comments on this forum might also be of interest.:

http://www.bikeforums.net/folding-bikes ... print.html

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robgul
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Re: Need a folder for the missus

Postby robgul » 5 Dec 2015, 7:51pm

If in France get to a Decathlon - they have 2 or 3 folder models - and you can ride round the shop to try them!

BUT must it be a folder? .. again Decathlon do some step-throughs that would probably be a better ride - folders are great, but always with some compromises.

Rob

D363
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Re: Need a folder for the missus

Postby D363 » 5 Dec 2015, 7:56pm

The steering on old Raleigh 20s is OK, not that you'd come across many in France I wouldn't have thought. Braking in the rain is a different matter though ...

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freiston
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Re: Need a folder for the missus

Postby freiston » 5 Dec 2015, 9:41pm

I got myself a Tern C7 (reduced a £100 to £325 because it was the previous year's model) - it is exactly what you described - 20" wheeled seven-gears step-through folder (and the frame is aluminium). The gears go from about 33" to 75" [edit: just seen on the first link I posted that the gearing is 37"-73"] if I recall correctly. It is not tiny when folded - should easily go in the boot of a larger car but a friend's three-door fiesta had to have a rear seat folded down to get it in the back - it was a close thing though and did look at first like it would have fitted without the seat being folded. I like it :D

Evans in the UK have the 2013 version for £280 but this French site want €499 for the 2015 model!!
Disclaimer: Treat what I say with caution and if possible, wait for someone with more knowledge and experience to contribute. ;)

Samuel D
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Re: Need a folder for the missus

Postby Samuel D » 6 Dec 2015, 5:36am

A couple of months ago, we had an interesting thread discussing the stability of folders. It seems an alarming number of small-wheel bicycles are hard to ride no-hands. Since such instability is at odds with your mission here, you may want to pay close attention to steering geometry when making your choice.

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Audax67
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Re: Need a folder for the missus

Postby Audax67 » 6 Dec 2015, 8:11am

If I look at it realistically, the bike is probably going to end up like the others, except that being easy to stow in the car (not a problem) I could end up riding it myself in town.

However, I mentioned the twitchy steering just now and her face took on a look of horror, so it looks as if the idea has died a sudden death. Thanks all for input.

I rather fancy one myself now...
Have we got time for another cuppa?

Stradageek
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Re: Need a folder for the missus

Postby Stradageek » 6 Dec 2015, 9:35am

Hi Audax67

Just read your last post to my wife who was also a very late and very nervous starter. She said that what gave her the most confidence in the beginning (and she's now a bit of a cycling evangelist) was riding on the back of our tandem.

Just a thought

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squeaker
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Re: Need a folder for the missus

Postby squeaker » 6 Dec 2015, 10:14am

Audax67 wrote:However, I mentioned the twitchy steering just now and her face took on a look of horror, so it looks as if the idea has died a sudden death.

Wot twitchy steering?!? Get thee both to a Decathlon and try one of theirs.
Any small wheeled bike is going to have smaller gyroscopic effects at 'high speed' (the initial 'scary' comment on the previously linked thread, IIRC), but how many high speed descents is your missus expecting to do?
"42"

Manc33
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Re: Need a folder for the missus

Postby Manc33 » 6 Dec 2015, 1:28pm

I remember a girl years ago when I said "Lets go for a bike ride down the canal" and she said "It would be scary".

Weeks later I said something like "I wanted to do a ride down the canal but you said you didn't want to" and she said "I never said that, I said it would be scary, I like being scared".

:shock:

This is why men will never understand women and vice versa. They seemingly aren't meant to.
Only weird bikes are interesting anymore.

rjb
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Re: Need a folder for the missus

Postby rjb » 6 Dec 2015, 2:34pm

+1 for a tandem. Mrs rjb was not keen on cycling, quite a few rides were a disaster as she kept falling off, silly little things like taking the left foot off the pedal to stop and falling over the right side. She kept trying to look behind and would ride into the pavement. Eventually i bought a tandem and now my solo best road bikes are hanging up in the garage unused this year as we are using the tandem almost every day since we both retired. Almost at 7500 miles this year a new pb for us on the tandem. She still is reluctant to use a solo although we occasionally use a pair of folders on the odd traffic free cycle path - a pair of old 3 spd Dawes Kingpins. Tandems are awkward to transport so don't suit everyone but its worth giving it a go.
At the last count:- Focus Variado, Peugeot 531 pro, Dawes Discovery Tandem, 2 Dawes Kingpins, Raleigh 20, Falcon K2 MTB dropped bar tourer, On One Pompino, Longstaff trike conversion on a Falcon corsa. :D

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Audax67
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Re: Need a folder for the missus

Postby Audax67 » 6 Dec 2015, 3:33pm

Suggested a tandem years ago: look of horror. Anyway, with the Inlaw Paw to support (literally, he can't walk otherwise) we can't both leave the house at the same time. Last holiday we had together, just the two of us, was in 1999.

Whatever: I ordered a Dahon SUV 6 with 20" wheels. It's 13 kg but I don't think that'll be a problem.
Have we got time for another cuppa?