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Old 17-06-2017, 11:39   #1
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Boat Bikes -- Some Observations

I'm having a great summer cycling around in various ports on my summer Baltic cruise. It's amazing how much distance you can cover on a bicycle and how much you can see and do. It's led me to reflect a little on what to look for in a boat bike:

1. 20" wheel bikes, with a decently rigid frame and crankset, ride almost like a normal road bike, and you can cover basically the same kind of distances. 50 miles in a few hours no problem -- pleasant and stress-free even for a middle aged guy in average physical condition. Downside is stability at high speed (I don't dare ride over about 30 mph) and ride compliance.

2. 20" wheel bikes dramatically more stable than 16" wheel ones, although the tradeoff is that they are harder to store.

3. My bike (Dahon Jetstream EX) has a full suspension, with German-A forks and rear end. I absolutely love this -- it more than makes up for the loss of ride compliance of the smaller wheels. Soaks up bumps and unevenness, makes going over curbs and light off road stuff easy. Downside is expensive (my forks alone cost more than 1000 euros) and adds weight. Another downside is that they are somewhat fiddly -- you want to constantly play with air pressure and rebound damping. So you never go anywhere without a pump.

4. As with all cycling, you have a dilemma between having a good bike and having a bike which is less likely to be stolen, or which you don't care about being stolen. To protect a good bike, you end up carrying a lock which adds back all the weight you lost by buying an expensive bike There's no good solution to this.

5. For a boat bike, how to carry stuff is crucial, because you will be hauling stuff with it all the time. Handlebar bag and panniers, and maybe a trailer. By the way, full suspension makes it harder to mount a decent rack for panniers. But not impossible.

6. Folding bikes are somewhat easier to store, but they still suck at being stored on a boat. I wish the makers would invest some engineering work in making them fold up better. Bromptons are the only folding bikes I've seen that actually fold up into a smooth package -- my Dahon is a nightmare of different stuff sticking out to get caught in everything when you try to get it into a locker. I've just invested into snap-off pedals to at least get that out of the way, but then I'll lose the ability to use cleats .

7. Rust is a constant war which never stops. I wish someone would make fold-up bikes which are really rust proof -- all stainless hardware, alu frame, etc. I'm going to take my Dahon apart this winter I think and replace every chromed steel fastener with stainless.
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Old 17-06-2017, 12:43   #2
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Re: Boat Bikes -- Some Observations

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I'm going to take my Dahon apart this winter I think and replace every chromed steel fastener with stainless.
Good luck with that - I tried to do the same with my full-size Trek and WM folders and found that many are very hard to find a replacement for - no-one seems to make 7mm allen bolts in SS.
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Old 17-06-2017, 14:21   #3
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Re: Boat Bikes -- Some Observations

I've carried as many as 3 standard bikes on a rack. If we are in a marina I can simply roll them off. If anchored, They are over the davits, so I lower them into the dinghy.

Full size bikes ride better, are cheaper, typically weight less, and require no unfolding. They don't take up storage space below, and I don't have to wrestle them down the companionway and through the cabin to a storage spot--this is probably the largest factor. For me, much easier all around.

I oil them and they last a good while. Some one bought me a folding bike for Christmas a few years ago--I thanked them and asked them to return it.

The rack is a modified Rhode Gear model from the thrift store. IF it will hold them on a car on the freeway....


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Old 17-06-2017, 14:29   #4
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Re: Boat Bikes -- Some Observations

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
I'm having a great summer cycling around in various ports on my summer Baltic cruise. It's amazing how much distance you can cover on a bicycle and how much you can see and do. It's led me to reflect a little on what to look for in a boat bike:

1. 20" wheel bikes, with a decently rigid frame and crankset, ride almost like a normal road bike, and you can cover basically the same kind of distances. 50 miles in a few hours no problem -- pleasant and stress-free even for a middle aged guy in average physical condition. Downside is stability at high speed (I don't dare ride over about 30 mph) and ride compliance.

2. 20" wheel bikes dramatically more stable than 16" wheel ones, although the tradeoff is that they are harder to store.

3. My bike (Dahon Jetstream EX) has a full suspension, with German-A forks and rear end. I absolutely love this -- it more than makes up for the loss of ride compliance of the smaller wheels. Soaks up bumps and unevenness, makes going over curbs and light off road stuff easy. Downside is expensive (my forks alone cost more than 1000 euros) and adds weight. Another downside is that they are somewhat fiddly -- you want to constantly play with air pressure and rebound damping. So you never go anywhere without a pump.

4. As with all cycling, you have a dilemma between having a good bike and having a bike which is less likely to be stolen, or which you don't care about being stolen. To protect a good bike, you end up carrying a lock which adds back all the weight you lost by buying an expensive bike There's no good solution to this.

5. For a boat bike, how to carry stuff is crucial, because you will be hauling stuff with it all the time. Handlebar bag and panniers, and maybe a trailer. By the way, full suspension makes it harder to mount a decent rack for panniers. But not impossible.

6. Folding bikes are somewhat easier to store, but they still suck at being stored on a boat. I wish the makers would invest some engineering work in making them fold up better. Bromptons are the only folding bikes I've seen that actually fold up into a smooth package -- my Dahon is a nightmare of different stuff sticking out to get caught in everything when you try to get it into a locker. I've just invested into snap-off pedals to at least get that out of the way, but then I'll lose the ability to use cleats .

7. Rust is a constant war which never stops. I wish someone would make fold-up bikes which are really rust proof -- all stainless hardware, alu frame, etc. I'm going to take my Dahon apart this winter I think and replace every chromed steel fastener with stainless.
They make soft cases for the.dahon as well as most other makes of folder. Makes them easier to move and store on the boat by covering all those snaggy bits .
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Old 18-06-2017, 00:25   #5
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Re: Boat Bikes -- Some Observations

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinwater View Post
I've carried as many as 3 standard bikes on a rack. If we are in a marina I can simply roll them off. If anchored, They are over the davits, so I lower them into the dinghy.

Full size bikes ride better, are cheaper, typically weight less, and require no unfolding. They don't take up storage space below, and I don't have to wrestle them down the companionway and through the cabin to a storage spot--this is probably the largest factor. For me, much easier all around.

I oil them and they last a good while. Some one bought me a folding bike for Christmas a few years ago--I thanked them and asked them to return it.

The rack is a modified Rhode Gear model from the thrift store. IF it will hold them on a car on the freeway....


I actually think a good 20" folder rides more or less equally to a good road bike.

Where I sail, the decks are regularly swept by green water, so bikes on deck are not an option. YMMV
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Old 18-06-2017, 00:31   #6
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Re: Boat Bikes -- Some Observations

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Good luck with that - I tried to do the same with my full-size Trek and WM folders and found that many are very hard to find a replacement for - no-one seems to make 7mm allen bolts in SS.
If I can't buy them, I have a machine shop in Cowes who can make them. I'm already planning to have them make a stainless headset boss.

All the chromed steel must go. I already replaced the wheel skewers with titanium - surprisingly cheaply, too.
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Old 18-06-2017, 00:59   #7
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Re: Boat Bikes -- Some Observations

Can't wait to get my full size Santa Cruz Nomad , and wifeys Garry Fisher sugar 3 on board , I cant understand all the fuss about bikes on board , anyone who is seriously into bikes can knock their bike down into storage able size in about 5 minutes , and same back up again ,I would never ever leave any decent bike on deck whilst at sea , in harbour suitably chained yes , like the idea of a car rack for temporary mount , if safe !!
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Old 18-06-2017, 07:24   #8
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Re: Boat Bikes -- Some Observations

I am all with 20" wheel folders. Storage really less the issue, but much easier to get on and off the boat, into dinghy etc. Bikes on deck or hanging off of railings maybe ok at anchor or in port, but never at sea for me.
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Old 18-06-2017, 07:42   #9
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Re: Boat Bikes -- Some Observations

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... Where I sail, the decks are regularly swept by green water, so bikes on deck are not an option. YMMV

As You say, YMMV. The transom of a cat is simply not swept by green water. My bows, on the other hand, would be a very bad idea.
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Old 18-06-2017, 07:50   #10
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Re: Boat Bikes -- Some Observations

I also wonder if the storage of a "standard" bike for occational passages is as big a deal as all that.

* Wheels off (quick release)
* Seat off (quick release)
* Handlebar to the side.

Just stack them on a spare bunk or slide them into the salon. That is what I would do if I expected truly atrocious weather. Seems to me the amount of space can't be that different, if they have all the same parts, just shaped differently. That, and I don't have to take them down a companionway staircase.

Depends on the boat, I guess.

Do we really sail that many passages in seriously bad weather?
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Old 18-06-2017, 08:45   #11
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Re: Boat Bikes -- Some Observations

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As You say, YMMV. The transom of a cat is simply not swept by green water. My bows, on the other hand, would be a very bad idea.
Your transom would very likely be swept with green water, crossing the North Sea. Never once seen a catamaran in these waters BTW.

But for a cat in benign latitudes - yes, I think a rack on deck makes great sense.
Lot easier than heaving the bike in and out of the laz like I do

And yes, full size bikes break down reasonably well. I used to fly with my road bike. Wasn't all that bad.

But what do you do in the dinghy?
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Old 18-06-2017, 08:53   #12
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Re: Boat Bikes -- Some Observations

Cherod gets it. Most bikes can be broken down in a reasonable amount of time.

Now in my best John MacInroe voice, "YOU CAN't BE SERIUOS!!!" Comfort?? ���� I don't care what size wheels you have. My bike has a 20" front and a 700cm rear. But my RANS seat with Quick release pins is the key. It's like peddling a lawn chair.

I have ridden recumbents since 1998 after a life on conventional diamond frame "wedgies" as the 'bent crowd call them.

Once you go 'bent you'll never go back. The test is to go on an organized day ride with both types involved. When you get to a rest stop take a close look. You will see lots of conventional bikes laying on the grass or propped against what's available. Riders standing eating and drinking but away from their bikes. The recumbent crowd have their snacks and drinks in hand but they're sitting on the most comfortable seat the can find.....their bikes.

YMMV but with my underseat steering my head's up. I wear a mirror on my glasses and I talk with my hands to anyone behind.

http://s130.photobucket.com/user/Gle...yride.jpg.html

And as far as theft goes my lock fits in my seat back AND I will often not lock it if I am close by. BUT the bike is always shifted into the outside sprocket and would take a very strong rider to move off on let alone balance without doing an Artie Johnson.
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Old 18-06-2017, 09:02   #13
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Re: Boat Bikes -- Some Observations

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...rust proof -- all stainless hardware, alu frame, etc. I'm going to take my Dahon apart this winter I think and replace every chromed steel fastener with stainless.
I know people who did this and got their bicycles stolen as a result.
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Old 18-06-2017, 09:06   #14
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Re: Boat Bikes -- Some Observations

Two Trek, full size bikes on the bow. Plastic crank and sprockets, carbon fiber and aircraft aluminum and best of all Gates belt drive .... Ultra light and nothing to rust. My 5'2" 115lb. wife can carry both of them.
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Old 18-06-2017, 10:50   #15
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Re: Boat Bikes -- Some Observations

One advantage of Sedna's center cockpit is having room on the aft deck to store my standard size Gary Fisher hard-tail Mtn Bike sans front wheel. I made a deck clamp for the front forks.
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