First bought a coffin, now a BSO folder!

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al_yrpal
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Joined: 25 Jul 2007, 9:47pm
Location: South Potholeshire also known as the Chilterns

First bought a coffin, now a BSO folder!

Postby al_yrpal » 8 Oct 2014, 5:27pm

Following the discussion on how many bikes you should have I was discussing with my wife whether there were any things we secretly wanted and I admitted that I secretly wanted a folder because I like the idea of taking a bus or train and exploring towns, landscapes and cities by bike without the hassle of transporting a full size bike on public transport. To my surprise she was all for it, even when I mentioned that a decent folder costs anything from £400 to £1200.
I have looked at Terns and Bromptons in bike shops and been very impressed with the finish and attention to detail. They are both quality pieces of kit that have obviously had years of thoughtful development. But, I didn't want to buy a relatively expensive bike and then decide that I didn't really like folders and having to resell it at a massive loss. So I bought a BSO reasoning that I would loose only perhaps £50 on a a resale instead of hundreds. I mentally prepared myself for all the well known problems that BSOs offer.
I bought this http://bicycles4u.com/collections/20-fo ... n-explorer. It has 20" x 1.75 tyres, mudguards, 6 gears, a rack and propstand and folds similarly to a Dahon. But, it cost just £169. When it turned up I was quite impressed with the overall impression of it, and when I first rode it I was very impressed with the ride. At low speeds, because of the small wheels I think, there was a bit of instability at the front, but you can crack on with it in great comfort. The gearing is 66 inches to 33 inches. The Shimano Revoshift is a bit of a dog and I had to do quite a bit of twiddling to get it to work ok across the whole gear range. I have had to adjust the brakes and folding catches too. Probably, this sort of bike would suit someone with a boat or caravan. One particularly bad thing is that the weight is advertised as 12kg, but its actually 13.5.
I have risen it around the countryside, up some steep hills, which were a bit of a struggle, but have yet to take it on the bus. I am planning to take a bus ride to a town about 30 miles away and ride back. I havent yet decided the usefulness of a folder.
In the meantime I would be interested to know how the 16" wheels of a Brompton compare to a 20" Dahon or Tern and what people think of them? I am aware that there is a bit of cult surrounding Bromptons, but is it just because they are handmade in Britain? Evans have a Brompton test bike that you can try for 24 hours, so I may have go at that as a comparison after I have more experience of the Milan Explorer..
I am very wary of just buying any new and expensive bike without a bit of serious research first. I dont think I am interested in other larger bike types. I would also be interested to hear from people who have toured on folders.

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. CTC gone but not forgotten!

barbelfisher
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Joined: 5 Sep 2009, 6:54pm

Re: First bought a coffin, now a BSO folder!

Postby barbelfisher » 8 Oct 2014, 7:15pm

Hi there. I have a Dahon TSR that I purchased from ebay at a very fair price. I haven't toured on it but used it on the CTC birthday rides in August this year and the rides I did were over 60 miles each day. The rest of the folks I rode with had road bikes and I managed to keep up with them. I have done a lot of other rides up to 30 miles this summer and can only say it is a fabulous bike to have and can recommend it whole heartedly.

Regards barbelfisher.

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fossala
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Joined: 21 May 2013, 8:29am

Re: First bought a coffin, now a BSO folder!

Postby fossala » 8 Oct 2014, 7:51pm

I have a Brompton (16" (S6L-Raw) and 2 Moultons (20" (TSR and an APB)). The Moultons are better bikes but I ride the brompton much more as I use it to get to work (26mile round trip in Cornwall). Ask away any questions.

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Sweep
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Location: London

Re: First bought a coffin, now a BSO folder!

Postby Sweep » 8 Oct 2014, 8:00pm

I have a dahon and a brompton.

The dahon is a speed pro sports bike - great fun but very poor build quality. For this reason i wohldn't consider a dahon or a tern - check out tern's background. Am willing to believe that the cheaper dahons, being less ambitiously designed, might actually be more solid.

The brommie thoroughly deserves its reputation - i use mine for weekly shopping (to market or stashed under supermarket trolley) which means that it must have paid for itself maybe twice over. But it has also been ridden from oxford to south london by a long indirect route, up Sardinian mountains, and has outrun a savage dog on an unmade road. If i'd been on the dahon that day i would probably now be mincemeat.

Dahon's don't fold very well at all and, though i have done it, they are not handy on a bus. The brommie's very fast and cute fold means that it is exceptionally rare for anyone to refuse you taking it into their place.
Sweep

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Sweep
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Re: First bought a coffin, now a BSO folder!

Postby Sweep » 8 Oct 2014, 8:03pm

Ps - if you are interested in a brommie for touring, get one with a rack.

Will continue to follow your kit theories with interest al. Thoroughly expect to see a post from you next week extolling the virtues of bivying by unicycle. :)
Sweep

ambodach
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Joined: 15 Mar 2011, 6:45pm

Re: First bought a coffin, now a BSO folder!

Postby ambodach » 8 Oct 2014, 8:08pm

I have had a Dawes Kingpin for about 4years now with 20 inch wheels and a SA 3 speed.This is quite a nice little bike but is getting a bit tatty now and folds ok for storage but not the best for transport. Recently due to various physical problems with my road bikes (can't get my leg over and stop sniggering at the back there) I decided to go for a Brompton after a test on a friend's bike. So far after about 4 months use I have no regrets and for day trips so far up to about 30 miles I have had no problems. Now I hardly notice the different size of wheels. The only problem is that you have to stick to reasonable surfaces and anything rough can be difficult. Some cycle paths can be dodgy. I have noticed that car drivers often react well to my approach and on our single track roads often stop when they may not have done before.I think they have to stop to get a good look at this " thing" approaching.

sreten
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Joined: 29 Sep 2013, 10:59pm

Re: First bought a coffin, now a BSO folder!

Postby sreten » 8 Oct 2014, 8:13pm

Hi,

The Brompton has rear suspension and skinnier tyres so hard to compare the 16" wheels to 20".

You'll get used to the lively front. FWIW run the front tyre at significantly lower pressure than the rear.*
If the tyres are the cheapest generic BMX type (they were on my £100 steel folder) nicer tyres will help.
Scwalbe Road Cruisers are good rollers,decent grip, kevlar puncture protected and have reflective stripes.
http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/schwalbe-road-cruiser-hs377-rigid-tyre-20-x-175-inch-(47-406)-prod29279/

FWIW I use my folder as a town bike mostly, and up to twenty mike trips. I did a 30 mile round
trip on it once, didn't really work out, much prefer my road bike for over 15 mile round trips.

rgds, sreten.

* At the right sort of pressure on the rear, if applied to the front the front
will be "jittery" and tend to bounce off bumps rather than roll over them.

Richard Fairhurst
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Joined: 2 Mar 2008, 4:57pm
Location: Charlbury, Oxfordshire

Re: First bought a coffin, now a BSO folder!

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 8 Oct 2014, 9:03pm

I bought a BSO folder about 10 years ago for a similar price, mostly for use on our narrowboat. It did the job for that, but you couldn't use it for anything else - too heavy to use regularly on a train, for example.

Then, last year, I realised I needed a decent folder for work at least - having sold the car, I need a way of getting from railway station to wherever I'm going - and bought a secondhand Bike Friday New World Tourist for £350. Brilliant bike: I couldn't be happier with it. I've taken it across cities, along NCN routes in the UK, on the Eurostar, and even packed it into a suitcase and flown off to the Rhine cycle route.

Mrs F was sufficiently impressed that she, too, has bought a secondhand folder, in her case an Airnimal Chameleon for £750ish. Amazing bike: she was leaving me for dust on the Rhine!

Nothing folds as well as a Brompton. For commuters who'll be folding and unfolding a handful of times a day, then stashing it in a small space, the Brompton is unbeatable. But for a bike that you take on the train to go exploring, I can't recommend the Bike Fridays and the Airnimals enough.
cycle.travel - maps, journey-planner, route guides and city guides

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al_yrpal
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Joined: 25 Jul 2007, 9:47pm
Location: South Potholeshire also known as the Chilterns

Re: First bought a coffin, now a BSO folder!

Postby al_yrpal » 8 Oct 2014, 10:55pm

Thanks for your replies its reassuring to hear the chorus of approval for Brompton from people whose views I have come to respect. Looks like that is probably the course I should follow. I will get a 24 hour test drive from Evans at the appropriate point. I dont think the bigger bikes are what I am seeking at the moment although they sound great for full on touring abroad. Meanwhile I will do a few journeys with my BSO and see how it goes.

Al
Touring on a bicycle is a great way to explore and appreciate the countryside and towns you pass through. CTC gone but not forgotten!

Brucey
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Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: First bought a coffin, now a BSO folder!

Postby Brucey » 8 Oct 2014, 11:29pm

four main factors to consider are (in no particular order)

-price
-ride quality
-folded size
-quality

I don't think there is a bike that folds smaller and is better quality (at a reasonable price) than a Brompton. So if the ride quality is acceptable and it is within your budget (actual ownership costs are low because of the resale value) then it is a no-brainer.

But I think that not everyone is happy with the smallest wheels and some would trade away some fold size for a different ride quality. I also wonder if a bike that is (say) half the price is really half as good; I'm sure some are terrible but there are others that are not.

Weirdly the Brompton is one of very few reasonable folders currently available which have a steel frame; this strikes me as odd because many aluminium designs (which are sold as being 'lightweight', whether they are or not) have a pretty terrible reputation for cracking. A steel frame seems like a better idea and it can of course be repaired better/more easily if you break it.

I have a Rudge (Montague) Bi-frame; it has a steel frame, is very reliable and rides well on 26" wheels; current Montague folding designs have aluminium framesets but are not very much lighter in weight. If the folded size is small enough (which it isn't always, not for every purpose) then these (and the large-wheel Dahons etc) are also worth a look.

cheers
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

drossall
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Location: North Hertfordshire

Re: First bought a coffin, now a BSO folder!

Postby drossall » 8 Oct 2014, 11:32pm

I'm on a six-month contract in London, so I bought a folder this summer. I couldn't justify a Brompton for that length of time, so I bought a Dahon second-hand from my very good LBS for under £200. I'm very happy - it's got a good range of gears (seven-speed derailleur). It folds well, though not quite as well as a Brompton, and it took me a while to work out a quirk by which a lock-ring can prevent proper folding.

The one I have is about seven years old. One limitation that it does have is that there is no height adjustment on the bars, although I think that may have changed on more recent Dahons. I have had a bit of fiddling and changed a sleeve to prevent the seat post from slipping, but I haven't found anyone else who has encountered that.

There are so many Brompton models, and some have much more limited gearing than my Dahon. Others offer different shapes of bar and therefore positions.

Some people talk knowingly about the difference in ride between the Brompton's 16" wheels and the Dahon's 20". I've borrowed several Bromptons, and I'm not too sure.

All in all, I couldn't agree that Dahons are poorly made or cheap. For my requirements, it's been a good buy and so far seems robust and reliable. Obviously nothing quite folds like a Brompton, though.

sreten
Posts: 347
Joined: 29 Sep 2013, 10:59pm

Re: First bought a coffin, now a BSO folder!

Postby sreten » 8 Oct 2014, 11:36pm

Hi,

There is nothing BSO about the bike that you have, other than its not a Brompton,
or any of the other premium brands, its simply a bike decently built to a price.

A BSO is a full suspension MTB for £100, its impossible to decently build it at the price,
and tellingly impossible to build a decent full suspension MTB at twice the price.
its all wrong for a basic budget priced bike.

Folder types are generally snobs, and whilst there are BSO type folders out
there its not difficult to sort out the basically sound cheap folders available.

This is a very cheap bike :

Image
http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/p ... 323320.htm

But it is entirely reasonable at its £99 cost, and very good value, its not a BSO, its a cheap bike.

rgds, sreten,

Kenn
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Joined: 22 May 2012, 6:04pm
Location: South Devon

Re: First bought a coffin, now a BSO folder!

Postby Kenn » 9 Oct 2014, 8:12am

Fossala - You say that your Moultons are better bikes than your Brompton. In what way? Since I am considering both to take abroad on holidays (in the car boot) it would be very interesting if you could expand this comment. We have a couple of low cost 20" folders now ( which give us some great days out) but are considering upgrading.

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fossala
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Re: First bought a coffin, now a BSO folder!

Postby fossala » 9 Oct 2014, 9:02am

They ride better.

Both are fantastic bikes and good to ride but the Moulton is smooth. I took my Brompton on the Clay trail after work on my way home last week, never again. It just doesn't handle surfaces that rough well although rough roads are fine. Still if I could only have one it would be a Brompton.

pete75
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Re: First bought a coffin, now a BSO folder!

Postby pete75 » 9 Oct 2014, 12:15pm

I bought what some might call a BSO folder for £149.99 about 18 months ago. It's called an Oyama St. James. It has an alloy frame, 20" wheels and folds in a similar way to a Dahon. Components are largely named brands, Tektro brakes and levers, Shimano 3 speed hub gears, Alex rims etc. Equipment was reasonably good with a decent carrier, a good chain guard and effective mudguards. Didn't like the seat so I've changed it. My wife liked it and it's now on her bike. I've also changed the original tyres for Schwalbe Marathon racers - less comfortable but roll a lot easier.

It's seen a fair bit of use, rides well and has proved very reliable apart from a single spoke breakage in the rear wheel after a month. It cost me all of £2.50 for 4 spare spokes and 20 minutes to fix so no big deal.

I had a Brompton M3 for a few weeks recently and found it inferior to the Oyama in every way but size of fold. The Oyama rides better, has a seat height which suits a taller rider, it's 3 gears have a wider range , it has much better brakes , it folds more quickly and is, presumably, a lot less attractive to thieves. It can also be put it on its stand without taking luggage off the carrier.

I bought the Brompton intending it to replace the Oyama but a couple of weeks use showed how wrong that idea was.

Now I'd only consider a Brommie if that exceptionally small fold was of utmost importance.