Best Folding Tourer?

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Claud
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Best Folding Tourer?

Postby Claud » 20 Apr 2019, 5:34pm

I'm after a touring bike that can go hand-baggage to the Alps etc by train. It'll just be used a few days a year, so will look second-hand, likely eBay. Essential to me are: folds down to less than 85cm max dimension for Eurostar & TGVs, can take a rack for panniers + small tent on top, lowest gear less than 25" (or can be adapted), and can be (un)folded in less than say 20mins with little practice. From a quick first look at Bromptons and Airnimals, I wonder if it'll be the low-enough gearing in a used bike that'll be tricky. What would you buy that fits the spec?

Brucey
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Re: Best Folding Tourer?

Postby Brucey » 20 Apr 2019, 6:19pm

very few bikes of any kind come with a sub 25" gear so I'd expect to have to convert whatever bike I bought to have lower gears. All things being equal this is often easier if the bike has small wheels than big, but bigger wheels are nicer to ride on. When you say 85cm max is this on the sides of a square/cube or the diagonal?

Some (bigger wheeled) options you might not have considered:

-Dahon Tournado
- Ritchey Breakaway
- Montague folding bike
- Rudge BiFrame.
- Rinko Bike
- Rob English frameset

In most of the folding bikes that have larger wheels a pannier rack is liable to obstruct the fold somewhat so needs to come off the bike if it is folded as small as possible. I have a rudge BiFrame (the chief appeal of which is that it was dirt cheap, used); it has larger sized (nominally 26") wheels and uses pretty basic and readily available parts; mine is kitted out with dropped handlebars now. It will take heavier loads but it makes a good folding tourer for lighter loads; with ~32mm tyres fitted the (559) wheels are a little over 24.5" diameter; (this means a 1:1 chainring/sprocket gets you a 24.5" gear BTW), but a rack has to come off to fold small. With a QD saddlebag only the fold is much quicker; bag off, wheels out, frame folds in half (two clamps), bish bash bosh the job is done. Possibly the saddle would have to be lowered and the handlebars would also have to be slid to one side in the stem clamp to get to a really small folded size.

Rinko is more an approach/modification than a specific type of bike; adaptations to the bike include QD fastenings for the headset, rack, mudguards etc; to get the package size small enough the forks have to come out. Rinko was specifically worked out to allow touring bikes to be taken on the train in Japan.

https://janheine.wordpress.com/2015/12/17/rinko-parts-useful-not-only-for-train-travel/
https://janheine.wordpress.com/2016/07/08/how-small-is-a-rinko-bike/

Rob English makes a super folding frameset which adds very little extra weight to a bike and does not compromise its ride quality. However it works best as a SWB road bike and it is ferociously expensive.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

fastpedaller
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Re: Best Folding Tourer?

Postby fastpedaller » 20 Apr 2019, 11:09pm

Brucey.... your note prompted me to update about my Rudge BiFrame - If you recall I've converted to a single ring with 5 sprockets. I was concerned the chain may fall off over bumpy ground and require some sort of guide, however I've now ridden it a bit (over far more lumps than I normally would :D ) and all seems good. Steering felt quite different to my usual bikes (Spa Tourer and On-one Pompino), possibly due to straight bars and all bikes will be different. Certainly safe and controlled ride, and should prove useful. The big, fat (compared to my usual) tyres made some noise over tarmac :lol:

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horizon
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Re: Best Folding Tourer?

Postby horizon » 21 Apr 2019, 12:34am

Claud wrote:I'm after a touring bike that can go hand-baggage to the Alps etc by train. It'll just be used a few days a year, so will look second-hand, likely eBay. Essential to me are: folds down to less than 85cm max dimension for Eurostar & TGVs, can take a rack for panniers + small tent on top, lowest gear less than 25" (or can be adapted), and can be (un)folded in less than say 20mins with little practice. From a quick first look at Bromptons and Airnimals, I wonder if it'll be the low-enough gearing in a used bike that'll be tricky. What would you buy that fits the spec?


Bromptons are 16" wheels, Airnimal 24" wheels. The first might struggle touring (IMV), the second might be too big for Eurostar (that could be checked to see if I'm right). But in between there are the 20" folders like Dahon and Tern, with some touring models. The latter tend to be quite expensive but might fit your bill. My 20" wheel Dahon comes in at around 65 cm square complete with full size rear rack and Dahon's own front rack. I've used it with four fully loaded panniers. The main issue will be gearing - most are eight speed or even less and lower gearing/multiple gears are achieved by adding a hub gear rather (i.e. hub + derailleur) than front triple.

The best bike IMV is the Airnimal Joey Explore Drop with 22" low gear, but, as I said above, I'm not sure if it is too big. Birdy gets good reviews. BTW, the Dahons etc fold in around 10 secs not 20 mins!

Last point: touring models seem to come and go and I haven't trawled through what's currently available. My Tern Node 16 seems to be no longer available. Some models seem to be available only in certain countries as well. Good luck with the search.
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PH
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Re: Best Folding Tourer?

Postby PH » 21 Apr 2019, 1:37am

I like my Airnimal Joey and as it uses standard parts you can have pretty much any gearing you like, mine (I've had two) have been Alfine 8, 3 x 9 and Rohloff. I've never measured them, the claimed pack size is 85 x 90 x 29 but that's going to be without a rack or mudguards fitted and without any sort of case or bag. It rides great, a bit different from my other tourers, though I have it set up different so it's hard to make direct comparisons, I'd be happy using it for any ride I do except maybe the longer Audax.
I've haven't yet taken one to France and only been a couple of times with other bikes, I had no problem on local trains and understood the size restriction on TGV was enough to take a boxed/bagged full size bike with the wheels out. Which just leaves getting to France and buying a bike to carry on to the Eurostar seems a bit extreme when there's so many other options. If that is the way you want to go, I'd think the Airnimal would be pushing your luck, you may get away with it being slightly oversized, but with your other luggage it's going to be a bit unwieldy and my experience of travelling Eurostar (Without bike) is that the luggage space is already inadequate.

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horizon
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Re: Best Folding Tourer?

Postby horizon » 21 Apr 2019, 1:41am

This is another take on a 20" tourer, but no longer made:

https://turbobobbicycleblog.wordpress.c ... 8/02/5436/
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Ivor Tingting
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Re: Best Folding Tourer?

Postby Ivor Tingting » 21 Apr 2019, 1:57am

If you want to be able to take your bike without any hassle on the Eurostar or TGV then the only bike that will allow you is a Brompton. I know I have done it. And to dispel the misinformation about touring. A Brompton is more than capable. I have toured in the Pyrenees on mine with camping gear, climbed the cols Marie Blanc, the Soulor, Aubisque and Tourmalet on mine. I have a 6 speed with std gearing. You can or could get a lower ratio hub if you so wished meaning lower gears or simply fit a smaller front chain ring. But to dispel all the myths and misinformation it is a very enjoyable bike to tour on. Folding can be done in less than 20 seconds. When I have taken mine to France it has generated a lot of interest, of the right type. Second hand Bromptons on Ebay or Gumtree are generally nicked ones, not always, but mostly.
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gazza_d
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Re: Best Folding Tourer?

Postby gazza_d » 21 Apr 2019, 7:39am

If you have 20 minutes to fold/unfold then...
Moultons although separating and not folding can be relatively quickly dismantled a lot further to fit in a large bag or a suitcase https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7cLDLC-13g

I have carried my seperated TSR as hand luggage on trains and the Tyneside Metro which can have some very insistent officers. At peak times too. I literally just split it and chucked it in a bag without lowering seat or moving handlebars.


They ride relatively normally and can be geared quite low. TSRs often come up on Ebay as well.

Richard Fairhurst
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Re: Best Folding Tourer?

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 21 Apr 2019, 8:49am

I'll throw Bike Friday into the mix. 20in wheels, probably the best-known folder designed specifically for touring. I've taken mine bagged on both Eurostar and TGV without incident. The quick fold into the bag just takes a minute, or in 15 minutes you can get it into a standard Samsonite suitcase.

As Brucey says, pannier racks do tend to obstruct the fold: I remove my standard rack when bagging it, but more often than not I just use a seatpost rack (the Xootr Crossrack) which is easier though only takes one pannier.

Bike Fridays are hard to find over here - they're an American company and they don't have a UK reseller any more. But you can sometimes get lucky and find one on eBay, Gumtree or indeed in the 'For Sale' pages here.
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mercalia
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Re: Best Folding Tourer?

Postby mercalia » 21 Apr 2019, 12:02pm

Claud wrote:I'm after a touring bike that can go hand-baggage to the Alps etc by train. It'll just be used a few days a year, so will look second-hand, likely eBay. Essential to me are: folds down to less than 85cm max dimension for Eurostar & TGVs, can take a rack for panniers + small tent on top, lowest gear less than 25" (or can be adapted), and can be (un)folded in less than say 20mins with little practice. From a quick first look at Bromptons and Airnimals, I wonder if it'll be the low-enough gearing in a used bike that'll be tricky. What would you buy that fits the spec?


re Bromptons there is a dealer in Scotland that does Rohloff conversions for Bromptons, not cheap though But probably more than you want to pay?

http://www.kinetics-online.co.uk/foldin ... hloff-kit/

they also sell complete new bikes

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horizon
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Re: Best Folding Tourer?

Postby horizon » 21 Apr 2019, 12:20pm

Richard Fairhurst wrote:I'll throw Bike Friday into the mix. 20in wheels, probably the best-known folder designed specifically for touring.

Bike Fridays are hard to find over here


Yes, I wanted to mention Bike Friday too but felt it was a long shot. In fact I think there's a real problem finding touring folders - Dahon and Tern seem to have discontinued theirs

As Brucey says, pannier racks do tend to obstruct the fold:


We might be talking a very slight obstruction here but mine don't (that's two rear racks, two front). I'll try and get a picture up but I really don't understand where this is coming from.
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horizon
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Re: Best Folding Tourer?

Postby horizon » 21 Apr 2019, 12:30pm

Ivor Tingting wrote:If you want to be able to take your bike without any hassle on the Eurostar or TGV then the only bike that will allow you is a Brompton. I know I have done it. And to dispel the misinformation about touring. A Brompton is more than capable. I have toured in the Pyrenees on mine with camping gear, climbed the cols Marie Blanc, the Soulor, Aubisque and Tourmalet on mine. I have a 6 speed with std gearing. You can or could get a lower ratio hub if you so wished meaning lower gears or simply fit a smaller front chain ring. But to dispel all the myths and misinformation it is a very enjoyable bike to tour on.


I've never taken a bike on the Eurostar so cannot be sure, but the OP asked for less than 85 cm so that includes 20" folders. I'd agree that 24" (so that's Airnimal) is a no-no.

Ivor Tingting: Bromptons have small wheels and yours only 6 speed. The "misinformation" is based on those two facts. Personally I've no problem with other people touring on a Brompton but I would choose larger wheels and more gears. My Tern Node D16 (that's 16 gears and 24" wheels) is great but too big for the Eurostar. However a Tern Link D16 (20" wheels, 16 gears) would have fitted. Sadly it is no longer available.
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Re: Best Folding Tourer?

Postby bikepacker » 21 Apr 2019, 1:48pm

I have done three tours with Airnimal Joeys using Eurostar and TGV changing at Lille. The first time with my wife we had the bikes in the Carradice made bags and everything else in light weight nylon holdalls. We carried all in this picture that way.
Image

The next twice on my own I used the suitcase trailer method and everything I carried went in the suitcase and one holdall. First time on my own I went to Grenoble on TGV and returned from Geneva.
Image

Next I went via Basel to tour Switzerland and booked to return from Chur but came back without a bike because I sold it to a Swiss cyclist on met on route. That's another story.
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PH
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Re: Best Folding Tourer?

Postby PH » 21 Apr 2019, 3:14pm

bikepacker wrote:I have done three tours with Airnimal Joeys using Eurostar and TGV changing at Lille.

Interesting - Did you just carry the bagged Airnimals on, or need to book them?

Freddie
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Re: Best Folding Tourer?

Postby Freddie » 21 Apr 2019, 3:19pm

If it is truly only for a few days a year, why not take your saddle, shoes and pedals (and a tape measure), hire a bike there and reproduce the position (reach, saddle height and so on) on it there.

It seems a lot of effort for just a few days a year. With a small folding bicycle, the cycling will suffer (don't know if I fancy doing the Alps on a Brompton), with a large bike it is a pain lugging it around. Why not hire instead?