Author Topic: Folder for Touring?  (Read 5292 times)

JennyB

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Folder for Touring?
« on: 31 October, 2022, 04:32:37 pm »
I haven't done much touring in recent years, but now I'm 66 and have a pass that gives me free public transport all over Ireland, so I'd like to get out next summer and revisit some of the places I used to go. I'm looking for a bike that will be comfortable for up to 100k on good roads, can do a bit of comedy off-roading, and is not to awkward to take on buses or trains. I don't expect to be doing any camping.


In the old days I'd just take the wheels off my tourer and tie them together with toestraps, but now I fancy something more convenient, and I'm beginning to understand the merit of a step- through frame. I'm thinking a 20" wheel folder would be the best compromise.


Any recommendations?
Jennifer - Walker of hills

Karla

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    • Lost Byway - around the world by bike
Re: Folder for Touring?
« Reply #1 on: 31 October, 2022, 04:38:25 pm »
Airnimal sound like just your thing.

Kim

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Re: Folder for Touring?
« Reply #2 on: 31 October, 2022, 05:33:27 pm »
Seconded.  Bike Friday might also be worth a look.

Obviously Brompton have the best fold, and that certainly has merit if you're trying to pass the bus driver attitude test, but they're type 2 fun on long rides, and pretty hopeless off-road (from both a clogging-with-mud and a small-wheels-vs-lumpy-surfaces perspective).

Re: Folder for Touring?
« Reply #3 on: 31 October, 2022, 05:59:05 pm »
I’ve done plenty of long rides, tours and various flavours of off roaring on a Brompton and can’t say much bad about them.

The biggest problem with them is budget.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Folder for Touring?
« Reply #4 on: 31 October, 2022, 06:02:22 pm »
A couple of the Dahon/ Tern 20” machines can fit decent racks and they usually ride fairly benignly. Generally not something that you would be using for a decade though as usually a frame or hinge component breaks or wears without any available replacement.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: Folder for Touring?
« Reply #5 on: 31 October, 2022, 06:03:31 pm »
The Airnimal Joey doesn't loose much to a normal hybrid sort of bike and is quite capable on rough tracks, I'm happy to ride 100km days on mine.  It's a bit of a cumbersome package folded, worth bagging up to use the Eurostar or cheap coaches across Europe, or even fly as luggage if that's your thing.  I'm not sure it's the right bike for using on a bus, I suppose that depends on the service.
I also have a Brompton that I am happy to take on any bus, though I'm unlikely to choose it for touring, though some do (See above comments for contrasting opinions!)   There is a 24" wheel Tern which I was considering before I got the Joey, still a lumpy package but an easier fold, I didn't get to try one.

Re: Folder for Touring?
« Reply #6 on: 31 October, 2022, 07:53:02 pm »
The key question is whether you want something merely transportable at the start and end of each trip, or something that you can hop on and off buses and trains with during the day.

JennyB

  • Old enough to know better
Re: Folder for Touring?
« Reply #7 on: 31 October, 2022, 09:16:50 pm »
The key question is whether you want something merely transportable at the start and end of each trip, or something that you can hop on and off buses and trains with during the day.


Start and end, basically, as in - coach to Dublin, train to Cork, cycle west, and maybe coach or train again when/if I bite off too much. Also for day trips to closer places where there is no evening bus service back - a big problem in Fermanagh.


As I said, I used to take a full-size bike bike on the bus when I was younger, but that's not something I want to try again - too much hassle and/or danger of damage and lost parts. I don't think it needs to be super-compact, but I has to be tough enough not to need a lot of protection that I'd have to carry along, so I don't think the Bike Friday or the like would suit. A few years ago I was tempted by the Xootr Swift (decent frame, normal bike parts) but they aren't being made any more.
Jennifer - Walker of hills

Regulator

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Re: Folder for Touring?
« Reply #8 on: 01 November, 2022, 10:42:13 am »
I've toured with a Brompton, including on less than smooth roads and tracks.  I have cheated by upgrading it to 10 speed, to help with the bastard hills... but I don't think it can be beaten for ease of travelling with.  It it needs to be bagged (e.g. for flights) the bag can be rolled up and tucked under the front bag strap when unpacked at the airport.
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Re: Folder for Touring?
« Reply #9 on: 01 November, 2022, 11:09:08 am »
+1 for brompton.
Ive only ridden > 50km once, but over a day I'd be happy to ride 100km. (I had to DNS that brompton audax due to illness)
I'm always pleasantly surprised at how well they ride, the luggage capacity is good too.

Re: Folder for Touring?
« Reply #10 on: 01 November, 2022, 11:09:46 am »
A suitably equipped Birdy would fit the bill, IF they still do a touring version. Mine had front and rear racks. The ride is vastly superior to the Brompton I currently use. The fold, however, is much bigger and clumsier. One other caveat is the small choice of tyres for the 18" wheels.

Mine did me proud on my ride along the Danube.
Haggerty F, Haggerty R, Tomkins, Noble, Carrick, Robson, Crapper, Dewhurst, Macintyre, Treadmore, Davitt.

Karla

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Re: Folder for Touring?
« Reply #11 on: 01 November, 2022, 11:32:13 am »
I wasn't that impressed with the Birdy: overspecced and overexpensive for a bike that is still limited by the small wheel size and the folding requirement.

If you want to fold your bike several times a day, with a hard time constraint (i.e. your commuter train is about to depart) and a tight space constraint (the crowdedness of your train), a Brompton is what you want.  I commute by train and I own one for this purpose! 

If you're taking a leisurely touring holiday, you can afford to take a bit longer over the fold, and for the folded bike to be a bit bigger.  I wouldn't take the Brompton touring: it can be done at a pinch, but it isn't the proper tool for the job.

Re: Folder for Touring?
« Reply #12 on: 01 November, 2022, 01:49:08 pm »
I
If you want to fold your bike several times a day, with a hard time constraint (i.e. your commuter train is about to depart) and a tight space constraint (the crowdedness of your train), a Brompton is what you want.  I commute by train and I own one for this purpose! 

If you're taking a leisurely touring holiday, you can afford to take a bit longer over the fold, and for the folded bike to be a bit bigger.  I wouldn't take the Brompton touring: it can be done at a pinch, but it isn't the proper tool for the job.

^^This seems to hit all the right points spot on.

I must be one of the very few on here who don't have a good word to say for the Brompton. I have tried it but its only merit for me is for commuters getting on and off public transport in a hurry - a bike for folding and carrying first and riding second. Caveat, all the people who get on with riding Bromptons seem to be smaller than me! They can go long distances if you happen to be the right fit, several on LEL this year, of which at least a couple got home fairly comfortably. I would hesitate on off-road. Dry canal paths and similar perhaps.

I have an italian clone of a Dahon, 20" wheels. It is fine doing distance, it will carry a full camping load (with attention to weight and loading). It fits in a bag for going on buses but you would not want to carry it very far and it is very easy to scuff the bag on the floor. (I needed to put it in a bag to go on Stagecoach buses this summer; I am now thinking about putting it on a pair of wheels for moving around, the bike bagged plus loaded panniers plus rackbag on a shoulder strap was not easy for climbing onto - and off - the bus). It needs good tyres to be fun to ride but it can handle off-road (although I haven't tried that with a full camping load). A proper tern or Dahon would be better and probably wouldn't have the rubber shock absorber in the steering that makes it a right pig with a front load!

The best advice would be to try them all, carrying  folded and riding and looking at how you can carry the luggage that you need. Tern do a front lo-loader, the Spartan IIRC which will take small panniers (I have it adapted to take big ones!), Brompton have the block and front bag. If you want to use buses and feel right on a Brompton it is probably the best choice for carrying. If you don't feel comfortable on one then the portability becomes secondary. 20" wheels do roll better, 24" better still. An Airnimal with 24" wheels will pack not much bigger than my 20" wheeled machine, although with a bit more work. A Dahon may be smaller folded than mine.

Check whether the buses that you would want to use require bikes bagged or not.

ETA For the sort of touring you are talking about, on my sort of folder I would not want to take the panniers. A rackbag would be easier. I have an 11l Vaude which would probably be sufficient although they exist from various makers up to 40l (a humongous great lump which I would not want!). Something about 16-20l might be a better option. Check that the rack is big enough! On a Brompton the choice is much easier (but more expensive).

ElyDave

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Re: Folder for Touring?
« Reply #13 on: 01 December, 2022, 06:33:33 am »
I would definitely second, or third the Airnimal, I bought one for exactly this purpose (just as the first lockdown hit :facepalm:) including the suitcase it folds into. I've never used it as intended but have ridden audaxes and used it regularly for longer day rides from home.

In my experience it rides very much like my 650b gravel bike or 26" mtb and you don't notice the fold
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