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Old 19-05-2015, 02:14   #1
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Taking fold-up bikes - yay or nay?

Hi everyone

I'm keen to know what you think of taking fold-up bikes along for a circumnavigation. We have a 44ft Farr, so should be space somewhere. Just don't tell my partner because he thinks its a silly idea.

I just love the idea of seeing more of the places we visit than we can see on foot, without the expense of hiring some form of wheels.

So here are my questions - has anyone kept bikes on board and found them worth the space they take up? Do they rust quickly? Did you find you barely used them or preferred to hire a scooter?

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Old 19-05-2015, 02:28   #2
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Re: Taking fold-up bikes - yay or nay?

I have an alloy one. its great!!
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Old 19-05-2015, 03:31   #3
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Re: Taking fold-up bikes - yay or nay?

The only answer to this is -- YMMV.

My father had two on his boat, and almost never used them. He finally gave them away to another cruiser.

I had two on board, never used one of them. Finally gave it away. But the one which is left gets used a LOT. I consider it my land tender. I used it as primary and daily transportation during a summer in Finland. I use it not only to run errands and get provisions, but also just to explore on land.

For this purpose, I bought a good one (a Dahon Jetstream EX with full suspension), and the modern better quality fold-up bikes nowadays ride like the expensive road bikes of my youth. It is amazing how good they are. Knocking out a 50 mile day is no big deal even for a flabbyish middle aged old fart. This remark applies to the larger wheeled ones (20"), not so much to the 16" ones like the Bromptons.

Life on a boat is hard on bikes. Yes, they rust. You have to keep at them with WD40 and oil and grease. And even with good care, I doubt if they will enjoy a long life on board.

They also take up a lot of storage space, which is always in deficit on any boat probably less than 120'. Only you can decide whether all these drawbacks are worth it. For me, they definitely are, but YMMV.
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Old 19-05-2015, 05:13   #4
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Re: Taking fold-up bikes - yay or nay?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Shay-pants.
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Old 19-05-2015, 05:28   #5
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Re: Taking fold-up bikes - yay or nay?

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Originally Posted by Shay-pants View Post
So here are my questions - has anyone kept bikes on board and found them worth the space they take up? Do they rust quickly? Did you find you barely used them or preferred to hire a scooter?

We are not circumnavigating...

But yes, we keep bikes on board, and they earn their keep. Partly for hauling supplies, but also for local sightseeing.

Features I find useful include a front (only) suspension for comfort, a rear rack (for supplies, hence, no rear suspension), internal hubs (if you can find 'em these days), and I don't need much in the way of gears (a few is fine; have 8 on mine, use about 3 of 'em). In our case, doubt we need folders since we have the room, but you probably would prefer folders for space reasons.

Yes, they rust. CRC or WD-40 can help, as would freshwater washdowns after landing. Some rusty fittings -- cable ends, and the like -- are replaced when you fit new cables periodically (after every several years). The "folding fittings" seem to be the most vulnerable; at least on ours, don't expect 316 stainless.

It would be useful if somebody actually made a "marine" bicycle, but I haven't found one. Some are better than others, with alloy frames and rims and with stainless chains or even belt drives and so forth, but most fail at the smaller fittings.

There are several threads about bikes, brand/model recommendations, etc., if you'll do a search.

-Chris
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Old 19-05-2015, 05:35   #6
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Re: Taking fold-up bikes - yay or nay?

We've gone through three high end bikes just living next to the ocean here, so I try to keep an eye on what's being sold for high salt /beach environments. There are some beach bikes that are built to be better in this environment, with enclosed hub drives and stainless and alloy components. They have these real fat tires and are cool bikes, but they don't fold.
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Old 19-05-2015, 05:37   #7
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Re: Taking fold-up bikes - yay or nay?

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There are some beach bikes that are built to be better in this environment, with enclosed hub drives and stainless and alloy components. They have these real fat tires and are cool bikes, but they don't fold.

Brands?

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Old 19-05-2015, 05:44   #8
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Re: Taking fold-up bikes - yay or nay?

Well, one is https://www.fatbeachbikes.com/ but there are others. Do a search for fat tire beach bikes. They'll handle the atmosphere, but they're bulky. Look like a lot of fun in our world, though.
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Old 19-05-2015, 05:57   #9
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Re: Taking fold-up bikes - yay or nay?

We have two full size mountain bikes on board which are beginning to get too heavy for me to lift on and off the boat at around 28 pounds. Right now I'm sitting here with a pulled back muscle due to one of the MTBs. Remember, you need to manipulate this bulky thing with only one hand while holding onto something else for support.

Will probably upgrade to Brompton titanium folding bikes ASAP at around 20-22 pounds. Bikes are a must and a great way to see a city and get supplies, but they need to be lightweight because you'll be taking them on and off nearly every day and using the tender to deliver them to shore. A rear bike rack is also a must and headlights are also a good idea.

The new Helix titanium folder out of Canada looks promising, but they're not in production yet.
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Old 19-05-2015, 06:29   #10
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Re: Taking fold-up bikes - yay or nay?

Well, I've been looking at those Bromptons, too, and couldn't see much advantage in the titanium on a busy little frame like this. Titanium works on racing bikes because a few pounds makes a difference to those people on those rides. This isn't one of those kinds of bikes. It' not an entire titanium frame, and they use a lot of steel in the rest of it. A lot of moving parts here. Going to titanium for part of it shaves 1.76 lbs off the frame. http://www.nycewheels.com/brompton-l...ding-bike.html That's the weight of a full water bottle, right? If you add back in the weight of the headlight and bike rack, are you really going to see that much difference? Less than two pounds? I could just empty the pockets of my cargo shorts and shed that much.

It's not the frames that have been failing on our bikes, anyway, it's the components. Chains, sprockets, cables, brake hardware, spokes, derailleurs, levers,threaded inserts,
I think you could make the frame out of solid graphene and the components would still be the weak link here. I think this chain drive and exposed shifting and braking setup is pretty much doomed for longevity on a boat. The answers has to be enclosed components and aggressive maintenance. Shaft or belt drive and internal hubs. Hydraulic disc brakes with titanium rotors. Wheels that don't need a lot of spoke tension to line up with the drive train. Spokeless or plastic would be even better.
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Old 19-05-2015, 06:47   #11
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Re: Taking fold-up bikes - yay or nay?

I'm tempted to get a pair of Lombardo folding bikes here in Sardinia for 350 euros each with an alloy frame. You should see all the rust on the mountain bikes after only three seasons. Doesn't help that I dropped one of them over the side last season... Now a total rust bucket with only three gears and one brake working.

That's why I've been waiting on the Bromptons... I like a good bike, but I've seen what happens to them in a marine environment. I'll probably just wait and get the monkey bike next season or stick with replacing cheap bikes every three years or so. Pictured is my MTB bike... only three years old. Most of the rusting took place over the winter when the bike was INSIDE the boat.
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Old 19-05-2015, 07:30   #12
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Re: Taking fold-up bikes - yay or nay?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canibul View Post
Well, one is https://www.fatbeachbikes.com/ but there are others. Do a search for fat tire beach bikes. They'll handle the atmosphere, but they're bulky. Look like a lot of fun in our world, though.
Thanks, interesting.


Quote:
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It's not the frames that have been failing on our bikes, anyway, it's the components. Chains, sprockets, cables, brake hardware, spokes, derailleurs, levers,threaded inserts,
I think you could make the frame out of solid graphene and the components would still be the weak link here. I think this chain drive and exposed shifting and braking setup is pretty much doomed for longevity on a boat. The answers has to be enclosed components and aggressive maintenance. Shaft or belt drive and internal hubs. Hydraulic disc brakes with titanium rotors. Wheels that don't need a lot of spoke tension to line up with the drive train. Spokeless or plastic would be even better.

I agree; it's the hardware that usually goes south first. Alloys and stainless, good... but most of the hardware is usually either plain steel or just crap. And then derailleurs haven't ever been my favorite, anyway, for casual riding.

While I was searching on the fat sand thing, I got distracted and also looked at more bikes with internal hubs -- Shimano, Sturmey-Archer, etc. -- and with shaft drives (Dynamic) or belt drives (Raleigh). Options are out there, including folders (Dynamic, for instance). I didn't look at weights, though.

Anyway, the hardware often sucks; dunno that it would be any better on those examples. My own Downtube folder has an internal Sturmey-Archer hub and it works fine... and the chain is still in OK condition... but the bolts holding stuff together have seen better days. I just had both of our folders re-habbed, new cables and so forth, so they've got more life in 'em... but it'd be better to find a quality alternative from the git-go.

And then still do the washdowns and rust-resistant oversprays religiously...

-Chris
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Old 19-05-2015, 07:51   #13
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Re: Taking fold-up bikes - yay or nay?

I wouldn't consider going without them. We carry folding bikes with us everywhere when we travel by land too. The ones we carry on the front of our teardrop camper (the Citizen Miami) would be too heavy for lifting off and on the boat at 35 pounds each so we will have different bikes for the boat, but my husband and I are devoted cyclists so we will be counting on using bikes as our primary method of land transport.
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Old 19-05-2015, 07:56   #14
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Re: Taking fold-up bikes - yay or nay?

Thanks so much for posting this question. My husband and I have also wondered about bikes for our down island cruising next year. I appreciate all the comments from everyone. We noticed several cruisers who had them when we were bringing out sailboat down from North Carolina. They looked pretty handy though of course took up a lot of room.

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Old 19-05-2015, 08:03   #15
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Re: Taking fold-up bikes - yay or nay?

I tried a cheep folding bike. I found it was not that great to ride and as hard as I tried the chain was always rusty and stiff, I would like the 20" or larger, but would take more room. I found it was not worth it and took up a lot of space on my 36' boat.

I would try one again if there was actually a marine version built. Even a stainless steel chain would make quite a difference, or some other form of drive. I will keep an open mind but I don't have one on board now.

I think quality is really important and minimizing the rust problem is a big issue. Difficult for me since I'm a part time cruiser, each time I returned it would take quite a bit of effort to try to get the bike cleaned up and working.
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