Author Topic: folding bikes  (Read 6424 times)

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Offline mfh1399

folding bikes
« on: November 28, 2004, 01:21:26 am »
Has anyone used a folding bike for touring? I was thinking of getting one to use in Europe, any feedback!


  • Guest
folding bikes
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2004, 12:56:34 pm »
Bike Friday has a proven track record.

Offline DaveB

folding bikes
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2004, 01:26:04 pm »
As "Lucky13" said, Bike Friday's have an excellent reputation but the downside is their non-standard parts, particularly wheels and tires.

As an alternative, consider S&S couplers which allow a standard size bike to fit into an airline accepted (it's not classified as oversize) packing case. Several makers offer bikes with S&S couplers, with Co-Motion and Bilenky being the most prominent, and they can be retrofitted to most steel or Ti frames.

The couplers aren't cheap but the resulting bike uses full size 700c wheels, tires and all other parts so replacements or repairs can be handled by any bike shop nearly anywhere.  Also, the ride and handling are absolutely unaffected by the couplers and the weight penalty is very small. My Co-Motion is one of my favorite bikes and you can only tell the couplers are there by looking at them.

Check them out at


  • Guest
folding bikes
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2004, 04:45:02 pm »
Granted, for occasional air travel, a non-folding frame with couplers can certainly make for a smaller package...but there is a considerable difference between a take-apart frame and a true folding bicycle. A Bike Friday can offer a full range of travel choices...plane, train, bus, only a matter of minutes.

I don't consider a BF's wheelset to be non-standard at all. It's a very common 20"/406 size...easily obtainable in most locales. Also, the drivetrain parts...shifters, brakes, cranks, changers and so forth...are all based on the industry standards. No surprises here.

If I were in the market for a full size tourer and planned to fly once or twice a year, then a coupled frame would make sense, especially from a company like Co-Motion. But, I wouldn't sell short a well-made folder like the Bike Friday.

Offline DaveB

folding bikes
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2004, 08:52:55 pm »
....for occasional air travel, a non-folding frame with couplers can certainly make for a smaller package....

BTW, my son-in-law has a Bike Friday and I have the S&S equipped Co-Motion I mentioned above so I'm familiar with both types.  

Actually, Bike Fridays fit into a somewhat smaller package when folded than a normal size S&S coupled frame so compactness while traveling isn't the benefit of the couplers.  The assembly/ disassembly time is about equal, with perhaps a slight benefit to the Bike Friday so, again, the coupler equipped bike doesn't have an advantage.  Both types take a fair bit of time and it's not something you want to do every day in either case. I don't think an S&S bike is limited to occasional travel any more than a Bike Friday would be.

Your are correct that 20"/406 wheels, tires and tubes are common but not in good quality versions.  Every Bike shop, K-Mart and Wal-Mart sells 20" tires but  almost all are intended for children's bikes.  Want to tour on these?  Good 406 tires are available but certainly not common (small wheel recumbent riders have the same supply problem).

The other 20" size used by Bike Friday, the ERTTO size 451, is much less common and a special order item everywhere I know of.  

Yes, the BF drivetrain parts are standard (except for the odd size chainrings needed to compensate for the small wheels).  However, the stems and seatposts are anything but standard.

Finally Bike Fridays have handling characteristics that are somewhat different from a 700C wheeled bike.  They are quicker and a bit "darty".  Nothing you can't get used to but it takes some adjustment.  

I wasn't so much recommending against a BF as pointing out there is a viable alternative with its own benefits.  


Offline janetanorth

folding bikes
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2004, 01:18:39 pm »
upon returning home after 7 months of struggling with a full sized bike on trains, planes and buses-i went out and bought a bike friday. i do not, however, tow the suitcase as a trailer. they sell used bikes on their site. for fully loaded touring they will stand up year after year.
try this website for comparison help:'_Guide.html
you might consider a dahon for lighter touring or more commuter-oriented travel.