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Old 08-10-2019, 22:29   #1
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Ideal Boat Bike?

My trusty Dahon Jetstream EX, which rides like a good full sized road bike, has been transferred from boat bike to land duty after 7 years of faithful service. I used it all summer for primary urban transportation. It now has so many miles on it that I've worn out the bottom bracket and I will need to give it a thorough refurbishment over the winter. Fantastic bike, but too large and folds too awkwardly for boat bike duty so it will not go back to the boat. The fold is good enough for city use, however, and is supremely useful -- it means I can throw it in the trunk of a rental car or a taxi, take it on a city bus or tram with me, or stow it in the closet of a city apartment. Since it rides just as well as a full sized bike, it just replaces a full sized bike, for the city.


But now what to buy for the boat? The ideal boat bike, as judged now with the benefit of a number of years using the Dahon on board, needs to be smaller and needs to fold up better. I'm sick of struggling to haul the Dahon out of the lazarette without bending the derailleur or smearing myself or something else with chain grease. So I'll reluctantly sacrifice the 20" wheels and fabulously plush full suspension of the Dahon.


So what to do? I have been eying the Bike Friday Pakit, which can be had with an 8 speed Alfine hub and Gates carbon belt drive. These features are key -- no greasy chain, no vulnerable derailleur. It folds ingeniously and can be fit into a backpack.


However, the thing is a lump compared to the Dahon -- no suspension, caliper brakes. And it costs -- $2500, ouch. That's with the 8 speed hub; the 11 speed is even more. Compared to 27 gears of the Dahon.

Are there any decent alternatives? The Brompton is an obvious candidate, with its brilliant fold, but it is not sold with belt drive, and it is hardly cheaper.

Anything else? The Pakit is pretty much ideal, but I'm choking a bit on the price. I guess I could ride taxis for 10 years of cruising and spend less money. Pure practical transportation is not the only point of a boat bike, but still!
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Old 08-10-2019, 22:47   #2
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Re: Ideal Boat Bike?

The Bike Friday Pakit:


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https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...&v=0u03pMeZj7U
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Old 08-10-2019, 23:14   #3
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Re: Ideal Boat Bike?

Heard good things and I'd probably get two.

Standard
Belt drive
hydraulic disc brakes
20" Schwalbe Marathon tires

https://www.austincycles.cc/
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Old 08-10-2019, 23:24   #4
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Re: Ideal Boat Bike?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fivecapes View Post
Heard good things and I'd probably get two.

Standard hydraulic disc brakes
20" Schwalbe Marathon tires

https://www.austincycles.cc/

That looks fabulous.


All carbon and extremely light.


Belt drive and Alfine 11 speed hub.


However, no smaller than my Jetstream


Ultra light and belt drive would make it easier to store, however.


And the performance would be not at all comparable to the Pakit.


So maybe worth considering. Pretty expensive however at £2800.
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Old 08-10-2019, 23:42   #5
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Re: Ideal Boat Bike?

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And the performance would be not at all comparable to the Pakit.

So maybe worth considering.

I have not ridden either although I had an Alan back in the day, you'll probably agree the comfort and ride will be vastly superior based on just tire size, construction, handle post to fork angle (self centering, stability).

Looking forward to your test ride!
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Old 09-10-2019, 01:50   #6
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Re: Ideal Boat Bike?

Have you considered a folding electric scooter? With big enough wheels, one of these devices is likely to work as well as a Brompton (with its relatively small wheels). The downside is the lack of physical input required. Here is an example:

https://www.amazon.com/MimoTec-Light...610818&sr=8-11

Our boat is much smaller than yours and we sold our Dahon's before leaving Mexico because of space constraints. We really, really miss them.
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Old 09-10-2019, 02:11   #7
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Re: Ideal Boat Bike?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fivecapes View Post
Heard good things and I'd probably get two.
Standard
Belt drive
hydraulic disc brakes
20" Schwalbe Marathon tires
https://www.austincycles.cc/
Looks great, but... fck... the bell alone is 60 GBP!

The electric folding scooters are regulated in many areas in Europe. And with different regulations in the different EU countries, so you might be able to ride in Denmark, but cross the border to Germany you have to leave it on board...

Paul
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Old 09-10-2019, 02:48   #8
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Re: Ideal Boat Bike?

Oh... this one is so easy, except for the genleman sailors who equate excessive cost with actual value. How bout 23 lb, aluminum w/ SS spokes, corrosion resistant chain, high pressure tires the best folding scheme I've seen, and under $400. The Liberte by Zizzo. Top of their line, designed for mariners.

After riding a customized 27" hi performance hybrid for over 10,000 miles, I was spoiled and NEVER thought I'd find a good folder that I'd be happy with. I'm ecstatic in re the Liberte. You can spend a LOT more for the gentlemen marketed "name" folders, but you won't find a better performance value. Many folders are not rigid when locked, are slow, not marinized, etc. I was shocked to find these. Normally sell for $600, on sale now for $399, free shipping.

I own two of these - have used them in all conditions, on and off my Bristol, and I LOVE these bikes. Best yet, if and when it gets stolen or damaged, it's very economical to replace. If your ego can stand a bike made by "Zizzo"...

Carry on.

https://zizzo.bike/products/liberte-1
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Old 09-10-2019, 03:40   #9
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Re: Ideal Boat Bike?

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Looks great, but... fck... the bell alone is 60 GBP!
Cheaper here. Wait till you hear one, madrigals come to mind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by toolbar View Post
The electric folding scooters are regulated in many areas in Europe. And with different regulations in the different EU countries, so you might be able to ride in Denmark, but cross the border to Germany you have to leave it on board...
...small wheels, heavy, and a demanding charge regime. Cobblestones will be rough, let alone anything off piste.

Singapore is close to banning e-scooters after a recent fatality. First half of year saw 49 pmd fires, that's 2/week, it's insane.
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Old 09-10-2019, 03:50   #10
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Re: Ideal Boat Bike?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fivecapes View Post
..
Singapore is close to banning e-scooters after a recent fatality. First half of year saw 49 pmd fires, that's 2/week, it's insane.
E-scooter doesn't replace a boat bike in any case. I use them a lot - you can rent them everywhere in Europe. They are great for quick last mile transport without a load after a metro ride, for example, but no good for anything else. And on cobblestones? Forget about it - you need a dentist right after, to replace all the fillings you left strewn along the way.
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Old 09-10-2019, 03:53   #11
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Re: Ideal Boat Bike?

One other comment. As mentioned above, I was a serious tourer with a serious 27 inch, 21 speed customized hybrid. Still, about 95% of my biking was in two or three of the 21 gears. I'm not a racer, I'm a tourer. Mountain or serious off roaders want suspensions and disk brakes for very tough conditions. I had no need, and frankly this additional equipment is unnecessary for everyday biking, boat bikes and for mariners, only adds weight and inhibits folding.

To me the key issues for a good boat bike are: marinized, absolutely lightest weight, top value for a modest price. A boat bike will be carried and transported, and beat up. It will be exposed to salt water. It will be used for relatively shorter distances and won't be used for serious or extreme off road. It will not need 21 speeds, 8 is more than enough. It should fold easily and compactly. It should unfold easily and when locked should be completely stable - no flex. In general look for Shimano equipment which is very reliable and easily replaced.

You could not pay me to buy say a Dahon Mariner, especially in comparison to the Liberte. People buy that bike because others do. And for me a $1000 or more is simply unjustifiable for any reason.

Hope that helps.
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Old 09-10-2019, 05:19   #12
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Re: Ideal Boat Bike?

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But now what to buy for the boat? The ideal boat bike, as judged now with the benefit of a number of years using the Dahon on board, needs to be smaller and needs to fold up better. I'm sick of struggling to haul the Dahon out of the lazarette without bending the derailleur or smearing myself or something else with chain grease. So I'll reluctantly sacrifice the 20" wheels and fabulously plush full suspension of the Dahon.

I suspect an "ideal" doesn't exist.

Not a serious biker, and with that said, features I'd want are all-stainless screws, fittings, nuts, bolts, etc.; internal hub (don't care how many gears); belt drive; front (only) suspension; 20" wheels; lightweight; affordable (like at least under $1K, even better under $700).

Not sure I even care about the folding part anymore, and the hardware supporting that function on my current front-suspension/internal hub 8-spd Downtube is what started crapping out first. Still works, but looks like...

I've started just carrying the thing on deck, with a Sunbrella cover (made for something else) semi-draped over it. I could fold it and put it into its bag, carry it on deck that way, but it's easier to just leave my milk crate attached to the rear luggage rack (that serious load-bearing capability being the reason for not wanting a rear suspension).

I actually tried to interest the Downtube guy in the idea of making a real marine version; no traction there...

And I've actually thought of marinizing my full-size Trek, which doesn't really weigh a whole lot more than the Downtube I think... but then again, there are some times when I'd want to carry the thing to shore via dink... so the curent folder at least solves that, sorta kinda.

-Chris
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Old 09-10-2019, 05:49   #13
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Re: Ideal Boat Bike?

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I suspect an "ideal" doesn't exist.

Not a serious biker, and with that said, features I'd want are all-stainless screws, fittings, nuts, bolts, etc.; internal hub (don't care how many gears); belt drive; front (only) suspension; 20" wheels; lightweight; affordable (like at least under $1K, even better under $700). . . .

I have not found the rust to be a big problem. After 7 years on board, my non-marinized Dahon has some rusty bolts, but nothing which impairs function. The frame is aluminium. The biggest rust item is the chain, but belt drive eliminates that.



I absolutely LOVE the suspension on the Dahon. It transforms the ride. I love riding the thing even after 7 years. But in the name of weight and foldability and I think I will be forced to give that up.


20" wheels are far better, but again -- there is a limit to how small you can fold up a 20" bike. I believe I will have to go to 16" and we'll see how bad it is to ride.


Belt drive and internal hub is a no brainer for a boat bike. Most of what I don't like about my Dahon relates to the chain and derailleur, which is a constant PITA when you're manhandling the bike into and out of the lazarette.





Quote:
Originally Posted by ranger42c View Post
And I've actually thought of marinizing my full-size Trek, which doesn't really weigh a whole lot more than the Downtube I think... but then again, there are some times when I'd want to carry the thing to shore via dink... so the curent folder at least solves that, sorta kinda.

-Chris

The possibility of folding the bike up is a gift which just keeps on giving -- it is so great that I will keep my Dahon as my city bike. Folding is so great in so many ways that I now start to wonder why any bikes are even made which don't fold. You can take a folding bike on buses and trams where normal bikes are forbidden; you can throw them in car trunks, you can get them into small elevators, etc etc etc etc. It is possible to make a bulletproof folding mechanism; mine is flawless after 7 years of hard use, hard enough to wear out a bottom bracket. And on a boat, you need folding not just for storage, but transporting in the dink, and just handling around the boat.



But not all folding bikes fold up equally well. Any 20" bike is going to have a certain minimum folded size. And the method of folding of my Dahon does not resulted in a particularly elegant handling package. It's fine for city use, but for the boat I want something which folds up smaller.
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Old 09-10-2019, 06:33   #14
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Re: Ideal Boat Bike?

While most seem to prefer "folders", we'll stick with our full size Treks.
My 5'3" 118lb. Sharon can pick them up with one in each hand.
No gears, belt drive, Plastic pedals and sprockets, aircraft aluminum frame, carbon fiber forks. Zero corrosion after 13 uncovered years on the bow. The smoothest most quiet We've ever ridden.
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Old 09-10-2019, 06:34   #15
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Re: Ideal Boat Bike?

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But not all folding bikes fold up equally well. Any 20" bike is going to have a certain minimum folded size. And the method of folding of my Dahon does not resulted in a particularly elegant handling package. It's fine for city use, but for the boat I want something which folds up smaller.
Apparently you did not take my recommendation of the Zizzo Liberte seriously. Had you checked the link you'd have learned that I left out - for you - the most important feature. As a marine bike, minimal folding size is very important. The Liberte has quick release wheels both front and back - easy peasy and fast to take the wheels off/on.

Thus the storage space could not be any smaller or more flexible as the frame and wheels can be stored separately, yet assembled in a flash. Do yourself a favor... at least look at the Liberte, and if for any reason don't like it, do share your reasons.

Carry on. You're welcome...
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