Author Topic: folding bike for touring  (Read 13082 times)

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Offline bobbiedobbs

folding bike for touring
« on: October 09, 2011, 12:53:48 am »
I am a lifelong bike tourer contemplating buying a folding bike for touring. Has anyone who has made the switch to a folding bike for long-distance, self-contained touring had a positive experience?  My criteria are: (a) folds quickly and easily (b) low and variable gearing (c) supports panniers - I carry all of my stuff, including camping gear (d) riding experience (as close as possible to a regular, non-folding bike, re touring.

Looking for recommendations. I've looked at Brompton, but it doesn;t seem to be able to carry much and the gearing isn't really appropriate for touring. I have a triple chain ring and probably would want to get down to the low 20's for low gears.   


  • Guest
Re: folding bike for touring
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2011, 07:54:29 am »
This has had much discussion here, as you might expect. To read it and get a head start, go back to the Gear Talk page that lists the topics and type Friday into the Search box. Do write back with additional questions or comments, please.


Offline Mark Manley

Re: folding bike for touring
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2011, 08:24:45 am »
I met a Frenchman in Hanoi who was touring with a Brompton although he was more using it to explore cities and commute to and from bus and train stations.
He was staying in hotels so had minimal luggage, just one bag front and rear.

One of the advantages of a Brompton is it allows you to participate in sporting events, as long as you can meet the dress code.

Offline bobbiedobbs

Re: folding bike for touring
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2011, 12:40:55 am »
I did a search on folding bikes and friday and found a decent amount of information on folding bikes for touring, and comparisons between Friday and Dahon. However, I did not see too much discussion about whether the Bike Friday could be customized for granny gear-equivalence.

Offline scayford

Re: folding bike for touring
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2011, 01:54:55 am »
Several models of Bike Fridays come with triple chain rings. I bought a Pocket Llama with a SRAM Dual Drive which has three internal gears and 8 sprockets - effectively the same as having a triple chain ring with a granny gear although I don't know what the gear ratio is. Bike Fridays are really designed to have the capabilities of a full sized bike. I think the issue is more whether you like the way they handle. I like the way mine handles on pavement, not so much on dirt or rough roads. Other people seem to enjoy them everywhere.

My bike does the basic fold quickly - just fold the seat down, the rear wheel under, and take off the stem - this is convenient for throwing in the trunk of a car or so. But if I want to pack it into a travel suitcase I need a half hour to 45 minutes to do a lot more dis-assembly. Granted, I don't do this often so I would probably get faster with practice.

The Bromptons seem much more focused on quick and easy folding so they don't have the gear range, but these folks like touring on them:

Offline RideForClimate

Re: folding bike for touring
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2011, 11:18:32 pm »
I bought a Bike Friday NWT to replace a 700c touring bike. I rode it from Eugene to San Francisco last summer. It performed great -- I very rarely even noticed that I was I on a folding bike. I have gears down to about 16 or 17 gear inches -- which was a little bit of overkill. The long cage rear der. gets very close to the ground on a 20" wheel. I recommend the mid-cage if you can still get gearing low enough (and I think you get to about 20 gear inches with the mid-cage). I highly recommend the BF. It's a solid bike for touring and very useful for around town use too. Plus it's made in Eugene by nice people.

Oh, and I was fully loaded with camping and cooking gear and 4 panniers.

Offline msullivan

Re: folding bike for touring
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2011, 10:20:46 am »
You can see many blogs from people on folding bikes at  the website. Click on the link for folding bikes. Here is link to a bike and gear list that should answer some of your questions:

Offline Galloper

Re: folding bike for touring
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2011, 10:28:59 am »
I don't know if they're available in the USA but have a look at Moulton bikes.   I haven't ridden one but owners I've spoken to regard them very highly.

Offline pptouring

Re: folding bike for touring
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2011, 06:22:50 pm »
Why does it have to "(a) folds quickly and easily"?   ???

My wife and I own bikes with S&S couplers and we can have them broke down and packed in about 40 minutes each. This includes removing fenders, pedals, racks, lighting systems, bottle cages, saddles, handlebars, rear derailleurs, and installing protective padding around the frame tubes.

Packing our bikes slideshow