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Old 22-01-2015, 08:44   #1
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Best Boat Bikes?

Hi all - we're looking at buying two (or one tandem) folding boat bikes. Looking at a few models, comparing weight, fold-ability, corrosion resistance, carrying capacity (groceries). A few models so far in particular - Brompton, Airnimal, Dahon Mariner D7 - but very open to your ideas and findings. Any thoughts from your research or experience would be appreciated! thx
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Old 22-01-2015, 08:57   #2
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Re: Best Boat Bikes?

I've got two folding Dahon's, one is a Mariner, From what I can tell the biggest difference in a Mariner is the name, both will corrode badly and quickly if not looked after closely, chain is the worst.
They are real nice to have when you are at a Marina at a dock, and not so much anywhere else, they take up a lot of room and are heavier and bulkier than you may think getting them in and out of a dinghy for example.
I defaulted to a back pack for hauling stuff like groceries, one I even motorized.
I don't think they will go with us when we go cruising for real, more hassle than they are worth to me.
I had them before the boat, used to put them in an airplane, they worked better for that.
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Old 22-01-2015, 09:02   #3
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Re: Best Boat Bikes?

I have used a Brompton M3L for the last two years, firstly on a 28 footer - it was small enough to slide in under the nav desk of my Hunter Horizon 273 - and now we have a pair of them on a 35 footer. They fit in the cockpit locker nicely. They're small enough so they don't take up too much room and light enough (13kgs) to make getting them out and unfolding them easy and convenient.
I have no experience of any other folding bike, but I have no complaints about the Brommie. It's not cheap, but it is well made, well designed, light, small and easy to use and stow.
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Old 22-01-2015, 09:37   #4
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Re: Best Boat Bikes?

I have a shaft driven folding Aitelen bike. No greasy chain!! Hard to find, but a great bike. For me definitely a shaft driven folding bike, and a bullet proof lock&chain!!! Just google shaftdrive folding bike, there are a few of them. Or a good unicycle would work with practice.

For hauling provisions, I would recommend a folding 2 wheel dolly from home depot. get the big wheeled one. Tied to the bike with a laundry basket mounted on the dolly, can haul alot of provision. The dolly folds up flat and small when not in use. Or go the basket and big backpack, though the dolly laundry basket set up carries alot of the heavy stuff.
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Old 22-01-2015, 10:32   #5
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Re: Best Boat Bikes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dgoanne View Post
Hi all - we're looking at buying two (or one tandem) folding boat bikes. Looking at a few models, comparing weight, fold-ability, corrosion resistance, carrying capacity (groceries). A few models so far in particular - Brompton, Airnimal, Dahon Mariner D7 - but very open to your ideas and findings. Any thoughts from your research or experience would be appreciated! thx
I've had a Dahon Helios for several years... HIGHLY recommended, a surprisingly good ride...

Not sure of the exact differences between the Mariner D7 and my older Helios, the specs appear to be closely matched. Nor, am I certain that Dahon still makes the Helios, but they can still be found on eBay, and elsewhere... Here's one review that popped up on Google, dated when Dahon first began producing them:

DAHON Bikes:Â*News

High quality components like Shimano, of course it needs the usual care in protecting it from salt water. Only issue I've had, was breaking spokes initially... A bike repair guy in Miami told me there had been a substandard run from China of spokes of that length years ago, so I had the wheels re-spoked with stainless, and have never had any issue since...

And, that has included seeing a considerable amount of duty schlepping a bit more weight than might be typical...

:-)


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Old 22-01-2015, 10:38   #6
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Re: Best Boat Bikes?

The one with the motor

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Old 22-01-2015, 10:48   #7
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Re: Best Boat Bikes?

There are some fancy ones out there.... depends on how much you want to spend I suppose.
I opted for 18-20" cheap Dahons. NO shifting or brake cables! (had the larger Mariners with that and the cables took a lot of abuse and req'd adjustment often from storage etc. The levers also snagged on everything trying to store them, put in the dingy etc) The simple Dahons with the pedal brakes were great! No issues, they rust over time.
Unless you can find a bike with a titanium sprocket and chain, things will rust anyway.
and finally.. remember... bikes grow to huge proportions when on the boat, although they look small at the store!
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Old 22-01-2015, 10:50   #8
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Re: Best Boat Bikes?

We purchased a couple of used mountain bikes for 100 euros each. Any bike used around the salt water environment will rust quickly, so keep this in mind. We went with cheap and disposable as opposed to bringing along our expensive carbon road bikes. Less to worry about. Don't forget to add a bike rack along with a huge dorky looking box of some sort to fetch groceries and supplies. Mountain bikes also seem to work well for touring villages.


It's not unusual for a boat bike to occasionally go for an accidental swim, consider this before spending a small fortune on it because you'll never get all the salt water out of it after the plunge.


I don't really like the folding bikes due to the low bottom bracket and turning radius problem where you can easily put down a pedal and fall if you forget.


This advice comes from someone who's ridden over 100,000 miles over the past 10 years.
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Old 22-01-2015, 11:03   #9
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Re: Best Boat Bikes?

Have a Bike Friday (BikeFriday.com). Folds into a suitcase for transport and storage on passage. Best thing is it's a serious bike for serious riding if you are into to doing some exploring. My NWT model has braze ons for full racks and panniers to carry stuff. The suitcase becomes a trailer so you can haul bulky items or fly in and bike to the boat if the distance is convenient. That saved a bunch of money on rental cars when I commuted to the boat in Alameda via OAK. In the the SF Bay Area with good public transport, could cover serious distance with minimal effort. They have a belt drive version that solves the rusty chain issue.
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Old 22-01-2015, 11:48   #10
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Re: Best Boat Bikes?

We've been very happy with conventional bikes on a rack.
  • Nothing to fold/unfold.
  • Better ride.
  • Lighter.
  • Faster.
  • Repairable anywhere.
  • Nothing stored below. Nothing heavy to manhandle up the companionway.
  • Corrosion easily managed with rinsing and regular lubrication. Certainly they could be covered.
  • Cheap to replace; a thrift store bike is better than a folder.
  • Not hard to carry in the dingy; just lay them across the front.
  • Rack is secure in any weather. They work on a dirt road over potholes or 70 on the interstate. Bike just don't offer important windage or catch water.


My parent bought me a folder, but we returned it. In my mind, folders take up about the same amount of space, just in a different shape.

Personally, I like a road bike, but anything can work. I would avoid heavy mountain bikes. Lighter is better.

For hauling provisions, I like the folding filing cases from any office store. Light, compact, and will carry 5 gallons of gas. $25. They only last so long, but they fold flat in seconds and won't scratch the gelcoat.

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Old 22-01-2015, 12:04   #11
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Re: Best Boat Bikes?

i don't know of a bike that will not rust if exposed to rain and salt water. a belt instead of a chain would be a great improvement. but really if all you're doing is going a mile or 2 then walking would be a lot easier. i do 20 miles on my road bike for exercise but keep it garaged and out of elements.
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Old 22-01-2015, 16:39   #12
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Re: Best Boat Bikes?

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.
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Old 22-01-2015, 16:52   #13
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Re: Best Boat Bikes?

Now a bike friday is a whole different thing, they are sort of a Rolls Royce of folders, serious bicyclist own them and will maintain them in a condition to which they should be, or you don't deserve one
I'm an old Rodie myself, still have my Lightspeed Ultimate although too old and fat to ride it, hoped my Son would ride, but I guess it's another thing I need to sell along with our Rans Screamer tandem.

But I'm afraid I've come to the conclusion that I'll be looking to second hand stores for cheap bikes that I'll leave when we do. Although as an old Roadie, a Huffy is a horrible thing


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Old 22-01-2015, 16:56   #14
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Re: Best Boat Bikes?

I have two folding Dahons. For what its worth, I would rather have purchased two kids used garage sale mountain bikes or other small fat-tire bikes. Replace the hubs if necessary with drop-outs & replace the seat bolt with a quick release. They get nearly as small and ride better.
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Old 22-01-2015, 17:14   #15
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Re: Best Boat Bikes?

If you plan to lug them around in the dinghy, they can never be light enough....
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