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Old 20-08-2012, 02:46   #1
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Needed: Recommendations for Folding Bicycles

My summer cruise this year was fabulous, but it highlighted the need to have some kind of land transportation. I did a lot of walking, and I like to walk, but it was hard humping provisions, and there were beautiful places which remained unexplored because I had no way to get around.

I have been resisting having bikes on board, because I have so much clutter already, and am continuously fighting against this clutter. My father had bikes on board his boat which he never used and finally sold. But now I realize that I will use them, and that they will be worth the storage space.

So which ones to buy? I don't want to spend a fortune -- I have a long list of other priorities (as usual; as every sailor does, I guess). But I like to ride, and if I have bikes on board, I would like for them to be something better than El-Cheapo creaky, steel rim, etc. -- I have had good bicycles at various times in my life.

The only folding bikes which I know somewhat are the Dahon ones -- there seems to be a great variety of them, and they are widely available. Should I look at anyone of them which is mostly aluminum (thus somewhat more resistant to marine conditions)? Does anyone have any particular favorites? Are there other makers I should consider?

Grateful for any advice.
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Old 20-08-2012, 03:22   #2
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Re: Needed: Recommendations for Folding Bicycles

Alot of what is going to drive your options is price. You also want to decide what type of riding you are going to do. Do you want to go on all days rides around an island are are you looking for 1 and 2 miles jaunts to town for groceries and supplies.

Generally you want to stay away from the microcompact bikes and go with the largest tire size you can store as folded.

Dahon is going to be your cheapest option that is still quality, but again you want to get the largest tires that you can fit into your storage space.

I do a fair bit of moutain biking and am comfortable around bikes. When I was back home visiting my folks in San Diego myslef and my wife tried many variants of folding bikes and defo prefered the ones with larger wheels. Ride better and more efficient especially if the road surface is not really smooth.

My recommendation would be to go with Dahon since they are affordable unless you are going to be riding miles and miles.

Some other makes we liked were Brompton and Mezzo.

To care for the bike is to simply make sure it gets fresh water rinses and chains and gears are kept clean and oiled. You can also grease saturate lengths of cheesecloth and wrap around front and back gears to cover them for long storage like on a passage. We then stick them in old genoa sail bags and put them in our aft lazzerettes (we have huge lazzerettes).

Works a treat.

Hope that helps
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Old 20-08-2012, 03:58   #3
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Re: Needed: Recommendations for Folding Bicycles

Looking for a folding bike last year we settled on a Mahon rebadged to Land-Rover. Its a cut down version of the Mahon and sold by Land-Rover as part of their outdoor lifestyle range of accessories. Doesn't have mud guards, stand or rack but the price looked good. Wouldn't want to do 15 miles on it but for trips to the shops and local cycling its great. Weighs about the same as the 3.5hp outboard, say 11kgs. Ours came via e bay but this looks identical:

2011 Land Rover City Folding Bike With Carry bag Only 179.99
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Old 20-08-2012, 04:02   #4
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Re: Needed: Recommendations for Folding Bicycles

DH, when are you over next, pop round and take it for a ride if you like.

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Old 20-08-2012, 04:28   #5
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Re: Needed: Recommendations for Folding Bicycles

Montague offers a full size folding bike: MONTAGUE FOLDING BIKES AND FOLDING BIKE AND COMMUTER BIKE ACCESSORIES - Montague Bikes

Starting around $700, they're not terribly cheap though. I'm going back and forth over whether I'll really use one, so on the fence right now.
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Old 20-08-2012, 05:51   #6
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Re: Needed: Recommendations for Folding Bicycles

We, too, are in the process of evaluating bikes for the boat. In looking over the specs, I did notice something that I personally need to take note of...the weight capability. I've seen several different folding bikes with listed weight capabilities of around 225 lbs. I weigh aroud 230, and if I want to haul a backpack full of supplies with me, that would creep up to 250 lbs. I know that for most people a 225 lb capacity is plenty, but for you other big guys out there, you might want to check that spec when pricing bikes.
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Old 20-08-2012, 06:44   #7
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Re: Needed: Recommendations for Folding Bicycles

not sure how helpful this is ... but ... hema in holland sell aluminium folding bikes really cheaply, and new. You could get them shipped. They are 1/3 the price of other "folding boat bikes" for sale by other people. not quite so nice as the dahon or mobiky ... but a lot cheaper

And the parts are "dutch standard" ... meaning not so pricey.

Altijd lage prijzen - HEMA is the reference source.
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Old 02-09-2012, 02:52   #8
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Re: Needed: Recommendations for Folding Bicycles

Follow up:

Thanks for all the good advice here, which helped me a lot. I did a lot of studying, and the most amazing thing I discovered was that folding bikes have advanced technologically to such a tremendous degree that people use them for serious biking. That was really news to me, and set the wheels turning in my mind -- I used to race bicycles in my misspent youth, and did some serious bicycle touring, including a trip over the Alps from Germany to Yugoslavia (which resulted in my arrest for being a tourist out of season, but that is another story . . . ).

Now decades later, I no longer race anything, and rarely ride more than 30 or 40 miles at a time (and always around my lake house), but the idea that I could do some longer rides in all the interesting new places where I cruise was suddenly very, very appealing. Especially appealing since I generally don't have any other land transport in these places, and heretofore have been limited to a few miles of walking radius.

So I decided to buy one good bike for more serious riding, and one more modest one for getting provisions and so forth. I almost bought one of Pete's Land Rover bikes, which seem to be the outstanding value in that range, and suddenly found a vintage Dahon folder, almost unused, right on the Hamble, for less than $100 . On Fleabay. So there's my grocery-getter, which I won't be afraid to leave locked up here and there.

For the good bike I considered Birdies, Terns, and some of the better Dahons. I finally settled on a Dahon Jetstream, 20" wheels and full suspension. For a couple of years Dahon made an EX version of this bike with high end components, like an exquisite 900 Euros front fork. This was way beyond my budget at several thousand dollars for used ones, but then I found one in Germany, brand new -- remaindered, from a bankrupt bike shop. For a song. So I bought it. I will receive it next week. I will report how it works out.

Does anyone else combine cruising with bicycle touring? These seem to be very very complementary sports. I would love to hear anyone's stories.
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Old 02-09-2012, 03:52   #9
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Re: Needed: Recommendations for Folding Bicycles

We carry my old offroader on deck. It is a fairly ordinary Decathlon one and a little heavy but very sturdy. It was a blessing in Langkawi and Phuket this year and a riot in the Butang island of Lipe. It also gets carried in the hold of airplanes regularly and has been seen in Seoul and Fiji.

Bought a Dahon folding one two years ago and that was very nice too. Being lighter, it went up to Delhi and Kathmandu. Much smaller too when folded and it fits in the sail locker so it gets less salt than the one on deck.

They get a good squirting of WD40 before and after a trip and this helps somewhat but the old one is now showing signs of corrosion on the forks and I can't get spares. May need replacement soon.

Two colleagues fly regularly with their folding bikes, one of them is a BikeFriday, the other I can't remember. I looked at both of them a while ago but they seemed quite expensive. In the marina, there appears to be a new folding bycicle fever, with new ones coming out of the woodwork.
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Old 05-09-2012, 18:57   #10
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Can I throw a question out and ask how much use folks actually get from their bikes? Just wondering if folks feel they are worth the investment.
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Old 05-09-2012, 20:21   #11
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Re: Needed: Recommendations for Folding Bicycles

AHH, I know everybody on here prefers to buy from Marine stores, but ya should look a little farther a field !! Try the folding bikes at camping World.com ! they are half the price of the others and they just had a sale you would not have believed !! Ck it out !lots of stuff that's very useable on board! and a lot less dollars the WM just saying LOL
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Old 05-09-2012, 20:50   #12
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We used the Dahon Mariner last year, also bought Dahon storage/carrying bag from LL Bean. Great bikes, comfortable, 7 speeds, stored easily, good rack on the back. For shopping we attached a milk crate to the rack using cable ties. Spent two and half months in Marathon using them for all our transportation, although Marathon is flat it was nice to have the gearing when biking into a twenty knot wind.
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Old 06-09-2012, 07:26   #13
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Re: Needed: Recommendations for Folding Bicycles

We have a Jetty Express (West Marine, always on "sale") and a Downtube. Fomer with derailleur, latter with internal Sturmey-Archer hub. Both have good qualities (front suspension on the Downtube) but both also suffer from serious rust on some of the adjustment and locking hardware.... so I deduce some of the "stainless" isn't.

Most important feature for us: solid luggage rack, to which a small milk crate can be tied.

-Chris
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Old 06-09-2012, 09:26   #14
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Re: Needed: Recommendations for Folding Bicycles

We used to have a couple of Mongoose full size folding bikes aboard. They don't fold up as compactly as some of the "mini" folding bikes, but unfolded they are a full-sized bike and handle well enough for off-road use (the front suspension makes a big difference for rough terrain handling).

In a casual search I did not notice the Mongoose branded model, but there is a very similar bike here: Montague Bikes | Mountain Bike | SwissBike X50 | Folding | Travel | Bicycle
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Old 06-09-2012, 10:14   #15
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Re: Needed: Recommendations for Folding Bicycles

I have a bike from Downtube. Rides much closer to a full size bike than I expected. High quality components. After three years the only rust was a couple of spots on brake cable assemblies that cleaned right up.

Downtube - Bikes
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