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Old 16-11-2009, 13:15   #1
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Folding Bicycles

My husband and I are considering buying some folding bicycles. I've heard mixed reviews...anyone care to share their experiences? Are they worth the money? Which brands are most comfortable and hold up the best? Are they as practical as they sound?

Thanks.
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Old 16-11-2009, 13:24   #2
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Get a Cayne Rambler, they are great. We have two and use them quite often but we like to ride. One is outfitted with paniers which we use for grocery shopping. We've had some of the best interactions riding them thru the backroads of the DR/Bahamas etc. Since you have a cat you prolly tie up at the end of the dock so having a bike to get you to the bathroom is kinda nice as well.

We keep them in a forward berth and haul them in and out thru the hatch.
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Old 16-11-2009, 13:25   #3
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Monica,

It really depends on what you're going to do with them. What area are you going to cruise? How much storage have you got? I used to carry two of them and when you're going up and down the east coast US they did come in handy at times. Especially in Annapolis and Oriental. This was when we first started cruising and wanted to see everything. We also used them like pack mules to haul groceries etc. They took up a lot of room in the boat and after a few years we found the nearer provisioning spots and also didn't run around as much as we'd seen much of everything. So now they've been in my basement for the last ten years or so. I have two Dahons and can recommend them as they are well built and compact. They now have quite a few models whereas when I bought them they only had two models.
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Old 16-11-2009, 13:34   #4
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When my wife and I went cruising on our 29 footer fifteen years ago, we were actually able to find room for two of them, so there is something to be said for there stowability. They also ride prettly well, ours were the Dahons. The problem for us was in Mexico if you were in a city they already had cheap transportation and if you were out in the wilds the roads were often pretty poor for riding anything let alone a 20" folding bike. Also trying to get a dinghy ashore in any kind of surf with a bicycle abord was a bit much, so we almost never used them. We eventually sent them back home with a visitor and used the space for other things. A couple disassmebled mtn. bikes might not take up any more room, if you are someone who rides for fun.
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Old 16-11-2009, 13:50   #5
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Ya, if you don't like to ride at home then they aren't worth it. They are a pain if transporting with a dinghy but we do because we like to ride. I have 3 bikes at home and ride 3-4 days a week (I'm watching the snow melt as we speak) so living without is not an option.

If this is an experiment I would borrow some first or it seems there may be a good second hand market for them.
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Old 16-11-2009, 13:54   #6
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Get ones with larger wheels and more speeds. If your just getting them for the marina forget it and get an old beach bike.
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Old 16-11-2009, 14:29   #7
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We were thinking of using the while cruising in Mexico (and then wherever) to help with getting groceries and things like that. We spent a week or so in one marina a couple of months ago and found that there was no where within walking distance to get anything other than ice (and a beer). We befriended some folks and they took us to the local market, but it would have been nice to be able to explore a little on our own as well.

But I was curious about how they would fare on the roads in Mexico. It seems it's rather hilly and the bikes I've seen didn't have more than 3 speeds. I'm still on the fence...
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Old 16-11-2009, 15:07   #8
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I have ridden a Dahon Mariner and think it is a good bike but all the spokes blew out on me so I am not a big fan of the quality control. The tires that come stock are a little cheesy; narrow and have thin sidewalls which reduce the ride quality, mainly a pavement tire.

That said it has 7 speeds so if you are not a rider the extra speeds will come in handy, you can climb anything in the granny gear.

The Cayne is only three speeds but the overall build quality is better and comes stock with larger tires. The granny gear isn't much taller and I usually jump two or more gears at a time with the Mariner so the extra 4 gears isn't that much of a benefit in the end.

They are both 20" wheeled bikes which is big enough for commuting and exploring. If you want to knock out century rides they aren't going to cut it. Any bigger than that and they won't fit through a normal hatch.

Sounds like the Mariner would be better for you but I would buy some fatter tires up front, maybe the bike shop will throw them in with a new purchase.

Buy a patch kit, extra tube, pump and lock when you get them and don't let em collect dust.

EDIT: Looks like Cayne makes a 7 sp as well.
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Old 16-11-2009, 15:29   #9
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Like Vasco I found myself leaving them at home. We also had Diblasi fold up scooters, and found them a pain too. There are times when they are convenient, but unless you just like to ride. You will finds local buses a lot easier to run errands........i2f
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Old 16-11-2009, 16:29   #10
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Consider carrying full-sized bikes on a rack on the stern rail.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Monica View Post
My husband and I are considering buying some folding bicycles. I've heard mixed reviews...anyone care to share their experiences? Are they worth the money? Which brands are most comfortable and hold up the best? Are they as practical as they sound?

Thanks.
I modified (very slightly) a common trunk rack to hang on the rail just inboard of the dingy. I can easily take them off the side, or lower them into the dingy.

Will they fall off? Then don't fall off of a car at 60 mph.

Is the salt hard on them? Yes. We oil them lots. But a yard sale bike is better than the typical folder. You could cover them.

And when you are ready to ride, no Assembly is required.
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Old 16-11-2009, 16:43   #11
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Folding Bike & Folding Bicycle Accessories for Sale : Manufacturer & Retailer : DownTube.com

I like the looks of these, the testimonials are great, and the prices can't be beat. Check out the all-aluminum one. I'll be getting one next month.

regards,
Mike
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Old 16-11-2009, 21:45   #12
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We have always gone with cheap folders: last ones were from Northwood and cost $125 lasted over 5 years on the boat and we used them reguarly.
New ones are from Camping World and are 6 speed, 20" wheels for $150.
No way I'm spending $400 or more for a bike for our boat.
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Old 16-11-2009, 23:30   #13
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I've got a Bike Friday NWT Travel bicycles by Bike Friday, manufacturer of high performance folding bicycles and folding bike accessories. These are serious bikes capable of covering 100s of miles as well as around town. Mine has a 3 speed hub and 9 speed cassette for 27 gears total. It's got the gears to haul loaded panniers in the rockies or break the speed limit downhills. The NWT is their touring model. With racks and panniers you can carry a ton of supplies. Using the suitcase shipping container/trailer, really oversized and heavy gear is not a problem. I originally bought the bike for travelling as it packs in a suitcase so ships without the outrageous bicycle shipping charges, just a luggage charge, if any. I commute to the boat and have given up renting a car. The Friday has taken care of all my boat related commuting. I own three full size bikes and actually prefer riding the Bike Friday. They are not cheap bikes, however. If you want more than a 9 speed, you can eat up a boat unit in a hurry.
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Old 17-11-2009, 01:32   #14
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We have two folding bicycles, called birons, which actually are a marked and old version of dahons. (I also have a dahon in the UK). They have been very useful in certain circs, particularly for overwintering. We don't generally bother hauling them out for short stays in places unless we're a bit of a way from interesting stuff, as in the marina in Cadiz, Southern Spain, or Portimao in Portugal.

But when we stop for longer they're really useful - so part of our winterising is to haul them out of the forepeak and stow the kayak in the space they leave! Then we do all our shopping etc on them, and a fair bit of exploring. They've got 16" wheels (unlike my dahon which has 20") and three gears, and we've generally found that enough: we're not serious cyclists.

So we'd say, really worth having aboard if you're in new places for significant periods, though if you can buy cheapy local bikes, you might prefer full size ones. Don't spend top dollar unless you cycle for fun as well as general getting about.
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Old 17-11-2009, 03:54   #15
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I have a couple of normal folding bikes which have not been used after the first 2 miles proved that the frame size was just too small for someone built appropriately for front row rugby forward.

I recently purchased a Montague CX which not only has a full size frame, but also full sized wheels, yet folds down to not that much smaller than the others. Much better, and has been used on several occassions.

For those of really sedentary habits, you can get an electric motor to power your montague (for about the same price as a cheap second hand car!)
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