The folder revelation and results so far

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
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horizon
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The folder revelation and results so far

Postby horizon » 30 Aug 2015, 3:30pm

Once I got the folder luggage-ready (see other threads), it was time to put it through its trials. For those who already have a folder, this is all old stuff; for me it was a revelation. It's a Dahon 20" Vitesse.

1. It rides beautifully fully loaded (two full size panniers, rack bag, bar bag). No wobble, no stress. Hard to believe but true. Bumpy roads, down hills, city streets. Remember - these are 20" wheels.

2. It lets you through: bus replacement services, fully booked bike spaces on trains, train replacement taxis, FGW station guards, a bus if needed, hotel rooms. Suddenly I'm no longer a second-class citizen in a cycling version of 1950s South Africa. It was simply breath taking. It even fitted where my other bikes never did - such as bike spaces on trains (I hope they don't measure the rails that way).

3. Lights, luggage, bike mirror, pump - all normal, all worked. No heel strike.

4. The downside #1: the gears on folders are too restricted (as we know). And to get a decent range of gears (say 24 speed) you start to pay serious money. This has 6 speed.

5. The downside #2: folders are unisize - and too small for me. So it will mean a new seatpost. AFAIK the seatposts on Terns for instance are a couple of centimetres longer.

6. The downside #3: the small wheels are noticeable but as I said not bad at all - even beautiful. Handling was fine. In terms of speed, it's fine.

7. Folding is a breeze. It's not a Brompton but 15 seconds is not a big deal. Folded foot print was very acceptable. It's heavy-ish to carry but lighter than my tourers.

8. The final test. The Bank Holiday rail strike pushed it into the final test: ten miles of hilly, mud strewn, pot-holed roads fully-loaded to get from station to home. A flawless 55 minutes.

This is a cheap (£165 second hand - but new only £275 approx)) basic folder but it did the trick. Yes, you notice the small wheels but then it's a folder. Yes, I'll be upgrading but that's because this one has performed so well. Yes, I'm impressed.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

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gaz
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Re: The folder revelation and results so far

Postby gaz » 30 Aug 2015, 7:26pm

Thanks for the information.

There are two or three occasions a year that a folder would be very handy for me. Not enough to warrant a Brompton (although it would probably last my lifetime if I got one).

Your report gives me hope that a basic second hand model may be worth a go.

Edit: Acquired a Dahon Speed. Well suited to my needs, enjoying the experience.
Last edited by gaz on 20 Jul 2017, 2:09pm, edited 1 time in total.
There'll be tarmac over, the white cliffs of Dover ...

Elizabethsdad
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Re: The folder revelation and results so far

Postby Elizabethsdad » 31 Aug 2015, 8:23am

I still have an old Birdy Red in the garage. Last used in 2013 when I was working a contract away from home and travelled by train changing in London.

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horizon
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Re: The folder revelation and results so far

Postby horizon » 31 Aug 2015, 10:10am

The good news is that folders tend either to get used a lot (i.e. for commuting) or not at all - which makes them good second-hand buys. The bad news is that they may not be as useful as people think or are the object of lots of good intentions.

Something I didn't mention above was that most of the time I didn't fold it but was able to take it on any part of a FGW HST without folding on the basis that I was going to (but often didn't). That's one advantage I hadn't thought of - same with hotel rooms.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

TonyR
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Re: The folder revelation and results so far

Postby TonyR » 31 Aug 2015, 10:17am

I use mine (Brompton) all the time. I take it with me on the train to give me independent mobility at the destination and the rest of the time it sits in the car ready for use whenever I need it which is often, either from home or wherever the car is parked. Much easier than fitting a full size in the boot or on the roof. The small wheels have some drawbacks but their massive advantage is manoeuvrability when threading through jammed traffic - a big bonus cycling in a city.

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horizon
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Re: The folder revelation and results so far

Postby horizon » 31 Aug 2015, 10:24am

TonyR wrote:The small wheels have some drawbacks but their massive advantage is manoeuvrability when threading through jammed traffic - a big bonus cycling in a city.


I found even the 20" wheels great in this respect - again something I hadn't thought of when looking at folders. I find myself going up and down ramps and onto (shared) pavements.

But that's in town. My 10 mile test on the open road was all it had to do (to get me home) and it passed the test with flying colours. But a tour? Forty or fifty miles? I still see the folder as a niche use for me but who knows?
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

firedfromthecircus
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Re: The folder revelation and results so far

Postby firedfromthecircus » 31 Aug 2015, 11:32am

This might seem like a strange question but what are your usual bike/s?

700c
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Re: The folder revelation and results so far

Postby 700c » 31 Aug 2015, 11:36am

Horizon - thanks for this update.

Cycling has taken a back seat in my life after the accident, but now need to get on with it - which means finally sorting out a folder to purchase. Your feedback is helpful. TYVM

drossall
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Re: The folder revelation and results so far

Postby drossall » 31 Aug 2015, 11:39am

horizon wrote:My 10 mile test on the open road was all it had to do (to get me home) and it passed the test with flying colours. But a tour? Forty or fifty miles? I still see the folder as a niche use for me but who knows?


I wondered about this. All my bikes have dropped bars, except my Dahon Vitesse folder. Most are classic steel designs, it has to be said, but I do have a more modern aluminium and carbon road bike. I bought the folder because I got a job in London, so it's the only option. I'd only ever ridden it about five miles, and had always promised myself that I'd commute both ways one day, on a "proper" bike.

One evening, I decided to explore the London end of the possible route, from Islington up to Potters Bar, which is the limit of the roads that I already know in that direction. This was on the folder, in normal clothes, because I hadn't planned it in advance and I couldn't have taken a different bike in by train anyway.

I got to Potters Bar and decided to keep going, as it was a nice evening. 37 miles in all, in normal office clothes. No real problem. A week or two later, I did ride a proper bike (a fixed-wheel commuter that I'd used for my previous job), and wore cycling gear, and it wasn't even any faster :roll:

PH
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Re: The folder revelation and results so far

Postby PH » 31 Aug 2015, 12:53pm

When I bought an Airnimal Joey secondhand from here about 7 years ago i though i'd get a lot more use out of it than I did and sold it last year (For more than I paid for it :D) Then I missed it :(
Now I've bought secondhand form here for £135 an as new Dahon speed 6. This suites me better than the Airnimal, takes up less space and is easier to fold, plus I don't feel guilty about only using it once or twice a month. For some of those journeys where it does get used there is no easy alternative. I'm unlikely to ever ride it more than 10 miles or carry much luggage, certainly not without change of saddle and bar ends, but that doesn't matter because that's not what I got it for.

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horizon
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Re: The folder revelation and results so far

Postby horizon » 31 Aug 2015, 1:35pm

PH wrote:When I bought an Airnimal Joey secondhand from here about 7 years ago i though i'd get a lot more use out of it than I did and sold it last year (For more than I paid for it :D) Then I missed it :(


If I hadn't had any bikes but had known how many trains I was going to catch over the past ten years and had Airnimal Joeys been invented then, I would have bought one (with drops) and made it my only bike. The 24" wheel takes it over the train limit but I would have chanced that. Now it's different - I would miss my full size bikes so the folder has to stay as a train only bike.

The main tipping point for me was the "No bikes without reservations" signs during the summer on my regular line and local station, heavily policed by station staff. I look forward to the winter for that reason but the folder has opened up a new chapter in my cycling.
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

PH
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Re: The folder revelation and results so far

Postby PH » 31 Aug 2015, 2:11pm

horizon wrote:
PH wrote:When I bought an Airnimal Joey secondhand from here about 7 years ago i though i'd get a lot more use out of it than I did and sold it last year (For more than I paid for it :D) Then I missed it :(

If I hadn't had any bikes but had known how many trains I was going to catch over the past ten years and had Airnimal Joeys been invented then, I would have bought one (with drops) and made it my only bike. The 24" wheel takes it over the train limit but I would have chanced that. Now it's different - I would miss my full size bikes so the folder has to stay as a train only bike.


I bought it when I knew I was going to be using the train more than previously. But then having taken it on about thirty train journeys and never having folded it I went back to using a full sized bike.

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horizon
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Re: The folder revelation and results so far

Postby horizon » 31 Aug 2015, 2:34pm

PH wrote:I bought it when I knew I was going to be using the train more than previously. But then having taken it on about thirty train journeys and never having folded it I went back to using a full sized bike.


Every time I see the empty bike spaces I think hmmm....

But then I think of the arguments with train staff. People often write on here how they've had no problem getting their bike on a train (usually, with others, having booked up all the bike spaces on my local line on the way to Land's End). I cannot book trains due to a combination of fairly last minute work trips and having no local station booking office to pick up tickets. But then it's Sod's Law - there's bound to be spaces if you've got a folder :roll: .
When the pestilence strikes from the East, go far and breathe the cold air deeply. Ignore the sage, stay not indoors. Ho Ri Zon 12th Century Chinese philosopher

PaulB
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Re: The folder revelation and results so far

Postby PaulB » 1 Sep 2015, 12:15am

SSCN4861.JPG


I use a folder for most of my riding. I live a ten minute walk from work so my bike is ridden purely for pleasure. I got a folder because my work pattern is unpredictable and I found that I was riding over the same routes. Putting the folder in the car and driving to distant start points enabled me to explore new roads.

The bike (Xootr Swift) only has 8 gears but I find that to be more than enough. I fitted a smaller chainwheel to lower the gearing and 'bar ends that change the flat 'bars into drops. The 20" wheels roll well and I have no problem riding 35 to 40 miles at a time (hills permitting!).

When I remember the old single speed bikes I had as a boy and the distances I covered on them I am sometimes ashamed at how fewer miles I ride on better bikes!

Folders are great and can be used for most types of leisure riding. My Xootr is my first choice when planning a ride.

SSCN5014.JPG


As you can see from the photos, I like to change things on it. The Xootr takes standard parts (except the seat post and stem riser) so I can customise it 'till my heart's content.

niggle
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Re: The folder revelation and results so far

Postby niggle » 1 Sep 2015, 11:06pm

Still got my Pacific Reach. which I am supposed to be selling but am dragging my heels for some reason. A couple of years ago I tried a drop bar conversion using Ergos which I had bought for a planned tourer build in the future. It was awesome and I do keep thinking about going back and doing the conversion over again, like this but black and white frame:

Image