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Old 22-01-2015, 17:29   #16
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Re: Best Boat Bikes?

I have had a Dahon Espresso for three years and am very happy with it. the only rust related repair to mine has been replacing both gear cables. If that happens every three years then I am OK with it. It is worthwhile to buy some after market folding pedals and save a pile of stowage space.

Boat bikes do need extra maintenance. With every brand of boat bike the chain and sprockets should be sprayed with chain saw oil once a month. Once every six months the whole drive system should be degreased and cleaned.

The best solution for anyone on a budget is a $150 mountain bike from KMart. Lower the saddle, fold the pedals, remove the front wheel and it's only a little bigger than a proper folding bike.
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Old 22-01-2015, 17:46   #17
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Re: Best Boat Bikes?

I lived with road bikes onboard for many years, without issue. Some of the key things are;
- QR Hubs, so that you can pull off the wheels, both for dinghy transport, & stowage onboard.
- Boseshield T-9 is your friend (vs. corrosion), it's like immortal!!!!!
- Make the bike's ugly, to the point of buying a few cans of Krylon, & giving them a "makeover". Pretty bikes attract sticky fingers.
- SERIOUS locks are a good thing. Pretty much anything on par with a U-type, or about as robust, but low profile (Rules). Keeping in mind that Felco's (wire cutters) & "Universal Keys" (AKA Bolt Cutters) are common, & very, very effective. Felco's do wire like pricey shears thru yarn... under a second, no joke.
NOTE: There are a few varieties of chain, & locks which are virtually un-cuttable, barring power tools or torches. Look for types which don't draw visual attention.
- If the locals are all hoofing it, then so are you. No need to stand out, or advertise wealth.
- Make canvas or Sunbrella covers for each bike & set of wheels. They help with keeping grease from the bike out of/off of the boat & dink, plus aide with corrosion protection.
- Know how to maintain all of the various parts on most bikes, & carry spares (on the boat, & with you on land).
- Inexpensive rides get the job done, don't draw attention, & wont cause you too much grief if they "grow legs".

Guess that's a lot of stuff, but hopefully it'll help. And if it matters, I've owned both steel framed, & aluminum bikes. Both types faired well, although I really love(d) my Cannondale(s). And none of them were babied, nor lived indoors half the time. Although sans wheels, they made for pretty svelte packages, especially if you turn the handlebars 90 degrees from the riding position.


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Old 22-01-2015, 18:14   #18
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Re: Best Boat Bikes?

I've got two Dahon Mariners. Picked them up at the annual marina "garage sale." They were almost new. I keep them in Dahon nylon bags and lash them to the pushpit when underway. I have a center cockpit boat. While they get rained on and draw some occasional salt spray, I think keeping them, int he bags makes a large difference in cutting down rust and corrosion. Most of the components are aluminum or stainless steel and are decent quality (Shimano). Aluminum and stainless cut down on corrosion and rust, and the cheaper bikes don't have these. I store them in a shed in the winter, and am just this year, after five years, doing a serious service, e.g., taking off the chain and soaking it, replacing the few corroded mild steel nuts with stainless and so on. I spray them occasionally with some corrosion prevention stuff that I use on my outboard.

I can get them in and out of the dinghy much easier in their bags than not. We don't ride them that far--maybe 10 miles max, one way, a 45 minute ride. I won't say I take them off the boat at each anchorage or docking, but I cannot tell you the number of cab rides I have saved from the dinghy dock by the USNA in Annapolis or in Eastport out to West Marine or Fawcett's.

We have found that they extend our mobility to see places and to run errands.
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Old 23-01-2015, 04:09   #19
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Re: Best Boat Bikes?

Some thoughts, some of which others also mentioned...

Lots of threads on bikes around here. Search.

Folding can be good for better use of deck space, sometimes, or for carrying ashore in a dinghy... or sometimes folding is more trouble than it's worth.

Corrosion resistance is a big deal. Our bikes have suffered, and even some of the "stainless" isn't. CRC-656 or Boshield T-9, often. In our case, after every run if the bikes were in the cockpit... because we sometimes get a bit of that pesky station wagon effect. Note here that major systems -- stainless chains, spokes, rims, frames, handle bars, etc. seem to fare OK; it's all the minor stuff (fasteners, adjusters, connection rings, connection levers, etc.) that seem to suffer most.

Somebody in another thread, I think on this forum, once mentioned a Trek model (from a few years ago) that used a belt-drive system. Apparently not made now, but it seemed intriguing. (FWIW, FN apparently made a chainless bicycle back in the early 1900s.)

Suspensions are nifty, except when they're not. I have a front suspension on one of our folders, and it does aid comfort across sleazy surfaces. A rear suspension would usually interfere with a load-bearing rack in the back, though. And for our purposes, the load-bearing rack, often with a mil crate temporarily zip-tied to it, is the very most important feature of the bike.

Gears can be useful, or unnecessary. Wifey has 3 gears on her folder, only uses one. I have 8 on my folder, only usually use about 3. Hers is a derailleur system, lots of rear sprockets, mine is an internal hub. Conceptually I think I prefer the latter, but realistically see little difference.

Geometry matters. Wifey insists her folder is wobbly. And in fact, it kinda is, for her. The front when is just too close, and the head angle is just too straight, for her comfort. I don't have much trouble with it, but have to admit it's different from mine, and different from most full-size bikes.

Bags are useful, sometimes.

FWIW, hers is a West Marine model, Port Jetty I think (the earlier one, not the recalled one) and mine is a Downtube. My full-size machine is a Trek mountain bike, and it often carries about as easily (except in the dinghy) and rides better.

-Chris
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Old 23-01-2015, 05:14   #20
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Re: Best Boat Bikes?

Son has one of these: Novara FlyBy Folding Bike - 2015
It's very nice to ride; internal-geared hub is the way to go - we added a stainless chain, which is not 100% SS. Got that off of Amazon; also got galvanized chains for our bikes - WM folders which are chintzy in comparison to the REI bike. Jury's still out on whether or not SS/galv chains will hold up better than normal carbon steel over the long-term.
I also kept my full-size bike, which is great to ride, but is a pita to store and won't fit in the dinghy.

We lube with "heavy-duty" silicone spray, and use a rust-converter product on nuts/bolts etc that start to rust.
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Old 23-01-2015, 06:17   #21
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Re: Best Boat Bikes?

Look into the Montague folding bikes as well.

A full size folder that rides like a "normal" bike. Mine lives in the cockpit locker. For me the hassle of storage, corrosion, and carrying ashore is well balanced with the mobility provided on land.
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Old 23-01-2015, 07:05   #22
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Re: Best Boat Bikes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Moody46CC View Post
I've got two Dahon Mariners. Picked them up at the annual marina "garage sale." They were almost new. I keep them in Dahon nylon bags and lash them to the pushpit when underway. I have a center cockpit boat. While they get rained on and draw some occasional salt spray, I think keeping them, int he bags makes a large difference in cutting down rust and corrosion. Most of the components are aluminum or stainless steel and are decent quality (Shimano). Aluminum and stainless cut down on corrosion and rust, and the cheaper bikes don't have these. I store them in a shed in the winter, and am just this year, after five years, doing a serious service, e.g., taking off the chain and soaking it, replacing the few corroded mild steel nuts with stainless and so on. I spray them occasionally with some corrosion prevention stuff that I use on my outboard.

I can get them in and out of the dinghy much easier in their bags than not. We don't ride them that far--maybe 10 miles max, one way, a 45 minute ride. I won't say I take them off the boat at each anchorage or docking, but I cannot tell you the number of cab rides I have saved from the dinghy dock by the USNA in Annapolis or in Eastport out to West Marine or Fawcett's.

We have found that they extend our mobility to see places and to run errands.
That describes the way I primarily use mine, as well... I've always done a fair amount of cycling throughout my life, and the first real "cruising" I ever did was actually extended bicycle touring. So, as a fairly serious road cyclist, I always viewed the smaller folders as toys, and nothing more...

Until I bought my Helios, that is... It has greatly enhanced my enjoyment and ability to explore many places, especially those like the Bahamas, where the flat, mostly empty roads are generally a pleasure to ride, and there's no comparison between the distances one can cover on foot, or on even a somewhat 'limited' folder w/ 20" wheels and 8 speeds... Even more importantly, now that my aging knees are telling me it's time to cut back on running for exercise, I find cycling has become one of my favorite forms of exercise, and is far kinder to them...

The OP omits a couple of bits of info that would be a bit more helpful in making recommendations. Namely, the size of their boat, and whether the intended use will be mostly for a marina/liveaboard situation, or more for cruising on the move... Obviously, for extended dockside living on larger boats, a full-size bike is probably preferable, for most...

But for those of us sailing smaller boats, I think folders are the only way to go... Obviously, storage on deck seems to work for some, but it's simply not an option for me. If I couldn't have a bike I could stow below deck when underway, I wouldn't carry one, period... And a bike the size of the Helios is the absolute maximum size I'd be able to store below on a boat the size of mine, even that is a tight fit that sacrifices some valuable storage space... But the problems with rusting, etc that some have noted are virtually eliminated by storing my bike below, the only exposure my bike might have to salt water is during the ferrying ashore in the dink, when it lives under cover, anyway...

Some have mentioned Boeshield as a rust inhibitor... Great stuff, certainly for nuts/boats and other fixed surfaces... But for many moving parts like derailleur cables and such, sprays like T-7 or CRC Corrosion Inhibitor become quite 'gummy' after application or over time, so a lighter oil or something like WD-40 might be preferable...


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Old 23-01-2015, 07:17   #23
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Quote:
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I gave up on folding bikes a long time ago, they have more disadvantages than advantages and are pretty useless if you want to cover a lot of miles.

I have had a number of cheap (Sub $400) bikes and have found that they tend to fall apart fairly quickly.

I now have a fairly standard, large frame bike with shaft drive, driving an 8 speed Shimano hub and it is the most practical bike in about 14 years of live aboard cycling.

Impossible to store in a 40' sail boat so I just hang it out the back from the solar panel frame and to hell with the esthetics.
Some folders make superb road bikes. I have a Dahon Jetstream EX with which I can knock out 50 miles with ease, although I am no athlete at this stage in my life.

I love mine, and use it a lot - my land tender. It allows me to roam far and wide.

But it is bulky and awkward to store onboard, more so than the little-wheel ones like the Brompton. Everything is a tradeoff.
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Old 23-01-2015, 07:37   #24
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Re: Best Boat Bikes?

Anybody have a Strida? I am curious about those.

I bought 2 GreenZone folding bikes (very similar to Dahons but cheaper) to see if we liked them and if we would really use them. If we liked having a bike on board, I would eventually upgrade to a better built version although, the GreenZone is still going strong after about 5 years. Folding Bicycles by GreenZone Bikes

Here's my take: Yes we have used them a fair amount here on the Chesapeake exploring the towns etc and for that, they are worth it. I also would think that they would be great exploring along the East/West coasts and in the Bahamas but if you are thinking the Caribbean, I wouldn't worry about them. The roads are too narrow, people drive too crazy and the hills are often too steep to be enjoyable..........plus they would get stolen..................
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Old 23-01-2015, 07:47   #25
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Re: Best Boat Bikes?

It all depends on your storage space and how much you want to spend. No bike folds smaller and does so faster than the Brompton, which is what I got. Very sturdy bike, smooth ride. They are expensive ($1600-$1900). The Dahons are probably adequate for a boat in terms of quality but they do not fold as easily and as compactly.
Brompton T Bags have 30L storage capacity. I have an InStep single baby trailer ($90) that folds completely flat and let's me haul provisions for 2-3 weeks


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Old 23-01-2015, 08:15   #26
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Re: Best Boat Bikes?

Over 20 years ago I bought a used full size dahon folding bike that I still have to this day. It was kept on the dock under an awning for years and little use. However moving to the mountains and joining a bike club, I started using it more. Most everyone had expensive road bikes, yet I could keep up with the majority of the bikers with that six speed dahon with the mountain bike tires. I did refurbish the whole bike including repacking the bearings, but did not buy any additional hardware. I don't think dahon makes the full size bikes anymore.(26 inch tires)
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Old 23-01-2015, 08:17   #27
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Re: Best Boat Bikes?

I use a Raleigh 20, its very strong construction holds up on the logging roads and trails of the PNW and it has vintage appeal. I've adapted it to hybrid gearing, setting up the 3 speed hub with 2 sprockets and a derailler for high and low range. Currently it goes from 30 to 95 gear inches. I also take it on road trips. It isn't a light weight but is no worse than a full size bike and far more manageable. New folders do fold smaller but it easily meets Amtrak train folding bike rules.

Bike bags make a huge difference in corrosion protection.

Folders are easier to get to shore in a smaller dinghy. We also have carried mountain bikes as they hold up in the rough but they have to be deck cargo while the folder gets tucked into a ama on the tri. Our best ship to shore full size bike hauler is a 17' half decked canoe. The central section takes 2 bikes upright with one paddler forward and the other aft. A dinghy can manage but full size bikes are awkward to load, unload and are top heavy. The harder it is to transport ship to shore the less you will use your bike. If you are sailing away from the marinas remember you have to be able to cope with beach landings and launchings.
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Old 23-01-2015, 08:21   #28
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Re: Best Boat Bikes?

I spray all non-painted metal parts with Boeshield T9 for corrosion protection, including the chain


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Old 23-01-2015, 08:48   #29
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Re: Best Boat Bikes?

Get a Montague. Best folding "real bike " we use it with a foldable bike cargo trailer. I can haul 80lb of provisions or fuel easy.

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Old 23-01-2015, 09:55   #30
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Re: Best Boat Bikes?

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Originally Posted by Jon Eisberg View Post

The OP omits a couple of bits of info that would be a bit more helpful in making recommendations. Namely, the size of their boat, and whether the intended use will be mostly for a marina/liveaboard situation, or more for cruising on the move... Obviously, for extended dockside living on larger boats, a full-size bike is probably preferable, for most...
My apologies - you're right, I did omit some important basics.

This is for cruising on a 28' Corsair. We can store in an aft cabin accessible by a hatch, or in the ama(s) - hence the idea of folding. We are headed to Sea of Cortez this March for 4-6 weeks, then at other points to the Great Lakes, Keys, Chesapeake, etc.

Many thanks to everyone for your excellent feedback; we'll be looking at both your manufacturer suggestions as well as small, cheap mtn bikes. Unfortunately, our boat already screams for attention, so to have a lower on land profile would be nice, and really good locks make great sense.
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