Author Topic: Which folding bike on Cyclescheme for my wife?  (Read 4500 times)

Which folding bike on Cyclescheme for my wife?
« on: 27 September, 2010, 05:48:59 pm »
My wife has shown an interest in getting a bike (great!), which she can use in combination with a rail journey to get to work, but also to get out at weekends with the family (or at least me!). I looked at the Brompton range, and think a six speed  might be suitable for wonderful hilly north Wales. Someone at her workplace also recommended a Birdy. They look interesting, but are no longer available through Evans. Could someone who knows about folders give me some tips?

I would like her foray into cycling to be an enjoyable one, so she hopefully keeps going  :)

Thanks!

corshamjim

Re: Which folding bike on Cyclescheme for my wife?
« Reply #1 on: 27 September, 2010, 07:09:54 pm »
I can't speak for your wife, but if I was looking for a folder less than £1,000 (I presume that's the cyclescheme limit) from Evans I'd go for the Ridgeback Attache.  The 7-speed hub gears make it easy to get going up a hill even if it was in top gear when you stopped and folded it.  The chainguard helps keep the oily chain off your clothes and it's from the Dahon stable so it's presumably pretty good.  I recently completed the Challenge ride 70k in Devon on a Dahon D7 speed so I can vouch they're ok for some longer trips (note I said 'ok' not 'great').

I don't know if the cyclescheme lets you specify accessories and so on - if so I'd get a dynamo hub and front light for it to save having one cluttering up the handlebars.

Whatever you choose, definitely look at one in the flesh before buying - you might find it too heavy or the fold too awkward.

rogerzilla

  • When n+1 gets out of hand
Re: Which folding bike on Cyclescheme for my wife?
« Reply #2 on: 27 September, 2010, 07:21:21 pm »
Brompton's lowest gearing is 2.63m (they persist in using stupid metric units when the rest of the trade uses gear inches) less 12% if you specify the smaller chainwheel.  That's 29" - is it low enough?

I'd go for the Brompton for parts availability and resale value.  They are getting spectacularly expensive though.
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Biggsy

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Re: Which folding bike on Cyclescheme for my wife?
« Reply #3 on: 27 September, 2010, 08:18:56 pm »
The Lowered Gearing option with Bromptons is rarely available off-the-peg, so to get this, either you have to modify it yourself, or order a bespoke bike which will take some weeks to materialise.

I've chosen a Brompton as I'm expecting it to be easiest for taking on the Tube and buses.  I would have gone with a 20"-wheel Dahon with derailleur gears if it was going on less-crowded overground trains only.
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Sigurd Mudtracker

Re: Which folding bike on Cyclescheme for my wife?
« Reply #4 on: 27 September, 2010, 08:42:57 pm »
Reducing the gearing with a Brompton is as simple as swapping the chainring and removing a few links - most dealers will do this for a nominal sum, no need to go the bespoke route.  Or you can DIY.

rogerzilla

  • When n+1 gets out of hand
Re: Which folding bike on Cyclescheme for my wife?
« Reply #5 on: 27 September, 2010, 09:13:55 pm »
The cheap way, with a 3-speed, is to bung on a 14T or 15T sprocket (about £3 each).  I normally run 54 x 15 - not a factory option - which gives a nice sensible gear, but means I can fit a 13T for racing.   The 2-speed and 6-speed use special dual sprockets though.
Hard work sometimes pays off in the end, but laziness ALWAYS pays off NOW.

Re: Which folding bike on Cyclescheme for my wife?
« Reply #6 on: 27 September, 2010, 09:21:25 pm »
Bromptons are the pick of the bunch - the iPhone in a world where the HTC Desire is yet to arrive.  They are pricey though and there are worthy alternatives, although I wouldn't have anything else.

Tim

Re: Which folding bike on Cyclescheme for my wife?
« Reply #7 on: 28 September, 2010, 11:47:05 am »
Are you capped at £1k?

If so I would walk away from ideas of the Brompton, there are two many parts that want swapping out/upgrading to get a decent bike at the far end.

In terms of bikes that are better to ride for the price you will of course be sacrificing the better folded package of the Brompton but look into the 'hons. There's one for every occasion* and they ride better than the Brommies £ for £ spent.

Why does it need to be a folder? Is it for the packaged size? For taking on rush hour trains**? For fitting into the boot of the car? Folding is a compromise on a bicycle, work out how much you need, would, say, the folding limitations of some of the 26" wheeled folders be acceptable?

*gearing and kit permutations are wide.

**check the train co rules carefully

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Which folding bike on Cyclescheme for my wife?
« Reply #8 on: 28 September, 2010, 12:02:04 pm »
I love my Brompton but that doesn't blind me to its limitations so I wouldn't necessarily recommend it unreservedly. It's still the most compact bike when folded but, as Tim says, not the best ride (though I've comfortably managed 50k on mine and others have done much longer rides on theirs) nor the lightest (which may be a factor considering that you live in a hilly area). And they are bloody expensive these days.

You need to weigh up your requirements and decide which of price, ride quality and folding size is the most important factor for you.

Have a look at the Dahon Mu P7 - not much bigger than the Brompton when folded, and comes with a Shimano Nexus 7spd hub, which surely has to be preferable to the strings and pulleys arrangement of the 6spd Brompton. Can't comment on what it's like to ride but I know others have reported favourably on it.

d.
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Biggsy

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Re: Which folding bike on Cyclescheme for my wife?
« Reply #9 on: 28 September, 2010, 12:10:59 pm »
The ability to push a Brompton (with rack & Eazy Wheels) like <a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/6bkro6aVslU&rel=1" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/v/6bkro6aVslU&rel=1</a> swung it for me, which should be useful down the long corridors of the London Underground at changes, for example.  Otherwise I would have been tempted by a Dahon P18.
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citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: Which folding bike on Cyclescheme for my wife?
« Reply #10 on: 28 September, 2010, 12:21:30 pm »
I forgot another thing in the Brompton's favour: the front-mounting luggage system. With the rear wheel tucked under, the bike stands up by itself. And you don't have to remove your luggage to do this. A brilliant feature.

d.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

Re: Which folding bike on Cyclescheme for my wife?
« Reply #11 on: 28 September, 2010, 07:57:25 pm »
Thanks for all the replies!  It looks like a trip to Evans is required to understand the options available and to see the bikes in the flesh. Thanks for the tips reference the train company rules - will check them before making a decision.

Does anyone have experience of the Birdy bikes?


rogerzilla

  • When n+1 gets out of hand
Re: Which folding bike on Cyclescheme for my wife?
« Reply #12 on: 28 September, 2010, 08:01:47 pm »
Are you capped at £1k?

If so I would walk away from ideas of the Brompton, there are two many parts that want swapping out/upgrading to get a decent bike at the far end.
I disagree  ;)

They are pretty horrid to ride straight out of the box, but the best upgrades are cheap: a jubilee clip round the ludicrous soft suspension block works wonders, as do stubby bar ends on an S-type.  You either love or hate 3-speed gearing; if you've ridden fixed extensively it's the height of luxury, if you're used to 30-speed derailleur systems it may be a culture shock.
Hard work sometimes pays off in the end, but laziness ALWAYS pays off NOW.

corshamjim

Re: Which folding bike on Cyclescheme for my wife?
« Reply #13 on: 28 September, 2010, 08:35:04 pm »
I disagree  ;D

It sounds like this will be n+1 where n=0 in which case it needs to be useful for all sorts of stuff.  Personally I think that dictates more than 3 gears, especially if home is in a hilly area.

rogerzilla

  • When n+1 gets out of hand
Re: Which folding bike on Cyclescheme for my wife?
« Reply #14 on: 28 September, 2010, 08:35:40 pm »
I was second up Chinnor Hill in August  :P
Hard work sometimes pays off in the end, but laziness ALWAYS pays off NOW.

corshamjim

Re: Which folding bike on Cyclescheme for my wife?
« Reply #15 on: 28 September, 2010, 08:42:05 pm »
I was second up Chinnor Hill in August  :P

Good.  What was the person who was first riding?

(hmm .. somehow I think I've walked in to losing this one here  ::-) )

Re: Which folding bike on Cyclescheme for my wife?
« Reply #16 on: 28 September, 2010, 09:07:01 pm »
I disagree  ;D

It sounds like this will be n+1 where n=0 in which case it needs to be useful for all sorts of stuff.  Personally I think that dictates more than 3 gears, especially if home is in a hilly area.

Useful stuff begins with:
 - Commuting to work, using the train for part of the journey
 - Family rides around the area, probably utilising canal towpaths and Sustrans off road routes.

...and hopefully will lead to more interesting longer rides in the future (where n+1 rule may come into play). Who knows...!  ;)

rogerzilla

  • When n+1 gets out of hand
Re: Which folding bike on Cyclescheme for my wife?
« Reply #17 on: 28 September, 2010, 09:16:48 pm »
I was second up Chinnor Hill in August  :P

Good.  What was the person who was first riding?

(hmm .. somehow I think I've walked in to losing this one here  ::-) )
I thin k it was a carbon Specialized, although it did have rather maladjusted gears.
Hard work sometimes pays off in the end, but laziness ALWAYS pays off NOW.

Re: Which folding bike on Cyclescheme for my wife?
« Reply #18 on: 28 September, 2010, 09:25:05 pm »
One story my wife relates from her time as a teenager - She is German, and was living in Markdorf, near Lake Constance. A group of her friends and she cycled around the lake, taking the ferry from Konstanz to Meersburg - a total of 120 km. She cycled around on a folding shopper, and on the last hill up to her house, the frame parted ways as the hinge failed! I suspect a Brompton would be quite a revolution by comparison  ;D!