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Author Topic: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding  (Read 1067 times)

steelmooch

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Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« on: March 15, 2018, 08:06:12 AM »
Hello all, and thanks for your time and consideration.  :) 

Entering our second year of serious Spring/Summer/Fall camping, we're looking to add some bicycles into the mix.  We think our kids would enjoy being able to explore the campgrounds we stay at, and the added physical activity is a healthy bonus. 

I've looked at racks that clip onto the existing roof ladder of our T.T., the "deer hauler" (tray-style) ones that attach to the bumper, ones that fit around the spare tire, etc. 

Workable, for sure...but I'm not overly enthusiastic about adding length to the T.T., worrying about securing the bikes/highway safety, etc. 

Does anyone on the forum have experience with folding bicycles?  It might seem laughable to some...but a lot of people in metropolitan areas bike to public transit, collapse their bike for train/bus travel, and rely on those bikes as part of their daily work routine. 

Reviews online are all over the place, and "cost" doesn't seem to guarantee "quality" in many cases.  Some people report using them daily and getting years of service with minimal problems...other people claim that they fell apart or needed major servicing after only a couple of times out. 

I like the logistical simplicity...the security when not in use and stowed away in the van...the fact that rain/weather would be a non-issue...and the fact that kids and adults can ride many types of folding bicycles (they are on smallish 20" tires but with weight limits to accommodate most commuting adults). 

Any insights or experiences would be greatly appreciated...thanks and happy travels! 

John From Detroit

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Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2018, 09:02:22 AM »
I have considered folding bicycles but have not chosen.
For one thing my Gads it must be 25 years old. Fixed Frame Bicycle is an 18 Speed.  And most folding bikes are not.

Second I'm over 300 pounds fully dressed, (Sometimes under shower weight sometimes over)

And I just do not trust the folding type.

ON My RV, due to the height of the receiver I use a "Drop" type adapter to tow my car
Atop the Drop is welded a mount for a ball hitch
Attached to that is a 2 bicycle rack
The "Drop" is hitch stabilized (Blue Ox Hitch Immobilizer)

This holds two bicycles, (you can get a 4 Bike model) and also my custom made cloths line frame.

If I did not need the drop adapter then there are bicycle holders designed to slip over the 2" square bar that slips into the receiver and clamp down.  And there are "Dual Hitch" adapters. One of these you hook the car to the bottom (*Straight through or drop) receiver and teh bicycle holder into the top one.

EIther way that's how I do it.
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Larry N.

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Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2018, 09:40:11 AM »
We used to have a pair of 7-speed Dahon folding bikes, back when we had a small travel trailer. They fit nicely in the pickup bed, even with the shell on top. They're not quite as comfortable to ride as a regular bike, but they did the job nicely for us in campground areas, and were easy to fold, easy to adjust to fit us, and easy to carry.

So they are certainly a viable option. I would recommend that you at least try them briefly before purchase, though, to be sure you get something that will fit you specifically -- they're not all the same.
Larry and Mary Ann N.
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lynnmor

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Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2018, 09:52:53 AM »
I have a pair older 3 speed Dahon folders, a pair of 6 speed Adventurer folders in addition to my regular hybrid bikes.  The old 3 speeds are good quality, fold up very small and have served us well.  The 6 speed are from Camping World and are usable, but lower quality.  I always take the hybrids wherever I go and some times the 6 speeds as well for campgrounds or for friends.  The 3 speeds are great bikes, but I may sell them because of lack of use.

Do not think of folders as kids bikes just because of small tires, they serve adults well.  Whenever I see all those junk bikes hanging and banging all over trucks and trailers, I just laugh, there is a much better way.  Get the folding bikes and let the damage to others.

I do not recommend the 22" wheel, 12 speed bikes from Camping World because replacement tires are nearly impossible to find.

Kevin Means

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Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2018, 10:48:15 AM »
We used to carry two full size mountain bikes on the rear ladder of our previous motorhome, but after a few years of bouncing down the road, the ladder started to pull away from the fiberglass rear cap. In our current coach, I've been carrying them in basement storage on the Joey Bed, but they take up a lot of room there. We've recently decided to sell them and get a couple of folding Dahon bikes. We only ride bikes around the campgrounds, and they're great for that.

Kev
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blw2

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Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2018, 10:48:57 AM »
I've eyed them for a long time myself.  the cheap cruiser I have for chasing the kids around the CG's is steel and it's heavy.  Even if everyone else keeps their own bikes...taking mine off that rack would be a blessing.

I ran into a lady in a tire shop waiting room once.  She had a nice looking one.  She said that her dad was a collector and restorer of old ones of this type.  She explained that it's way better than the dahons and similar that you see in Camping worlds and the like (although I'm sure those are fine)....... I think it was a Brampton.  I remember her saying you can sometimes find them on ebay.  I like the idea, but I've never pulled the trigger.

More lately i've been eyeing the electric bikes, and saw a really cool folding electric one at our local ace hardware (also the same type at a recent RV show). It was pricey though!
Brad (DW + 3 kids)
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UTTransplant

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Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2018, 12:09:53 PM »
We are lucky enough to be able to put a bike carrier on the back of our trailer for now. We did have a welding shop attach the hitch receiver to the frame so it is very solid. When we get the motorhome we intend on carrying the bikes on the toad’s receiver hitch. It is a high quality, solid bike rack so I don’t anticipate any sway. We have electric bikes, and they are not light, even without the batteries! The hitch swings down some which helps, but it is still a pain to put the second bike on, however we really do like our ebikes. They will travel 15-20 miles in a peddle assist mode that lubricates our knees without forcing anything.
Pam and Kevin plus Lily the cat
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xrated

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Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2018, 12:50:54 PM »
Peggy (my wife) and I are just now getting into bicycling.  Since we have a tow behind T.H., the motorcycles can go in the garage and the bicycles will easily fit in the truck bed....with the tailgate up.  Neither of us have ridden bicycles for years and years, but we are going to this year and base some of our camping locations around areas that have bike trails and Greenways close by.  We bought a couple of hybrids, so probably not too much in the way of real mountain biking.
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SargeW

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Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2018, 12:55:48 PM »
I have been using a pair of Schwinn folding bikes for the last year or so and LOVE them. They are 7 speeds, have a small carry rack on the back, and come with a carrying bag.  I had gone through 2 sets of brand news bikes in 6 years, due to always hanging on the bike rack on the back of the Jeep.

That and it seemed like whenever I wanted to use them, I would spend 60-90 minutes of clean and lubricate time just to get them ready. And even then the cables would get rusted up after a period and need service or repair. That would keep me from using them at times, just because I dreaded that clean up part. 

Now they are bagged in the back of the Jeep, and I pull them out and have them ready to ride in minutes. Always clean and functional.  I did replace the seats that came with them with bigger, softer seats from Wal Mart (for my older softer rear end). 

The Schwinn bikes were a little bit more than the Dahon bikes, but I liked the construction of them.  I think I paid $290 +/- from Amazon delivered each.  But I figure the last ones cost me that much, and then 3-4 years later I had to replace them.  I bought one first to make sure that I liked it, and had Diane ride and give here opinion of them too.  With the softer seats I don't find them much different than riding my other bikes, other than the dip in frame style makes it easier to get on and off. 

And the added side benefit is security. I can even store them inside the RV if I need to use the back of the Jeep to transport something big in the back.  The only real con to the ownership experience has been the storage bags that they come with while being well made canvas, are little to "form fitting" for my taste. It takes a few times taking them in and out of the bag to get the knack to put them away easily.  (That's my own OCD that the bags must be zipped all the way closed) Other than that, 2 big thumbs up.
Marty--
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steelmooch

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Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2018, 01:49:18 PM »
Thanks everyone for your detailed feedback!  :) 

It sounds like there are several effective ways for us to secure "regular" bikes, and that folding bikes are also a viable option. 

For those with the folding bikes, if you'd be so kind:

A) Our intended use would be in campgrounds and in bicycle-permissible areas of state parks.  Nothing too ambitious, which sounds similar to how other posters have used theirs. 

B) I'm inclined to seek simplicity when possible.  My wife and I are somewhat competent DIYers (in a kitchen demo sense, basic vanity replacement & plumbing, wiring new lights and receptacles, etc), but bicycle brake lines and such have given us absolute fits in the past.  We've honestly ended up having to take kids' gift bicycles to the bike shop to get the brake lines and calipers adjusted properly. 

With something portable/transported/folding, I'm a little bit scared about multiple gears, brake lines, brake calipers, etc.  Part of me says that "single gear bikes would be fine for what you want them for, and probably more reliable". 

Any thoughts or experiences about single gear (with coaster brake) versus 6/12 speeds with hand brakes?  Initial setup troubles?  Maintenance over time?  Issues with campground stone/dirt/dust and gears? 

C) The way the folding bikes with brake lines fold up, it seems like the handle bars are almost "hinging/hanging" from the brake cables when they fold over.  Any experience or concerns with that? 

D) The reviews on $400 folding bikes seem pretty comparable to the reviews on the $200 bikes, with similar concerns and problems when they do occur.  Any strong feelings or approximate costs that you're willing to share in order to help me align my expectations?  Would we be OK for our intended use with a couple of $200 Schwinn "Loop"s?  Worth it to save for $400 Dahon Unos?  Hold off until we could afford the likes of a Dahon Mariner? 

Thanks so much...we appreciate your feedback and insights. 

blw2

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Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2018, 03:04:28 PM »
..... The only real con to the ownership experience has been the storage bags that they come with while being well made canvas, are little to "form fitting" for my taste. It takes a few times taking them in and out of the bag to get the knack to put them away easily.  (That's my own OCD that the bags must be zipped all the way closed) Other than that, 2 big thumbs up.

I can relate!  I'd be doing the exact same thing.... in fact I can imagine that I'd be looking for some sort of cheap duffle bag to put them in, maybe with a piece of foam or a rug to pad them...something nice and loose and easy.
Brad (DW + 3 kids)
’13 Thor Chateau 31L Class C on Ford E-450
'06 Silverado
'05 Rockwood Freedom 1910 (5-1/2 years)
former tent campers

blw2

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Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2018, 03:13:48 PM »
I'm a little bit scared about multiple gears, brake lines, brake calipers, etc.  Part of me says that "single gear bikes would be fine for what you want them for, and probably more reliable". 

Any thoughts or experiences about single gear (with coaster brake) versus 6/12 speeds with hand brakes?  Initial setup troubles?  Maintenance over time?  Issues with campground stone/dirt/dust and gears?  ....

I agree with you. I used to do a fair bit of mountain biking, and came to learn through that, and my DW's frugal nature of buying cheap bikes for herself.... that you have to spend a bit to get decent bike components.  It does make a difference.  Drives me nuts on lower end bikes to have the chain skipping because of a badly adjusted or poorly working derailleur .... so for my cheap knock around bike I was insistent on a single speed simple bike.  I will say though, that in hilly areas, or when covering more distance, mutispeed would be nice....  Also, I figure with the folding bikes and their smaller wheels, multi speed might be more necessary....
so, I like the idea of internal hub shifters for knock around bikes..... maybe a little less likely to get damaged in storage and transit.  personally, I think fewer gears is fine....3 speed or 5 speed, for knocking around.  My best mountain bike back in the day had 21, and offroad I used them....

cable brakes are fine, IMO....
Brad (DW + 3 kids)
’13 Thor Chateau 31L Class C on Ford E-450
'06 Silverado
'05 Rockwood Freedom 1910 (5-1/2 years)
former tent campers

SargeW

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Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2018, 03:45:37 PM »
We do have the Schwinn Loops, and the beauty of them is that they showed up in the box completely ready to go. The only real adjustment was the lifting of the seat pole to your preferred height. After I got the seat at the desired height, I drew a line around the seat post so from then on I could raise the seat to the correct height the first time every time.

The handle bars are on a hinge that rotates them up to the riding position, and in either position the hinge makes them solid.  The bike also has a guard over the derailleur that keeps if from getting bumped in the bag while being stored. In the year that they have been riding in the back of the Jeep they have required no other adjustments.

We have ridden them on a variety of surfaces, dirt, gravel, and pavement without affecting the operation of the gears or brakes. If you have any concerns, take them to a bike shop for the initial set up and adjustment if needed.  I don't believe they will need much.

The 7 speeds I have found to be quite useful. Even campgrounds are not necessarily going to be flat and level, so I appreciate being able to drop down a gear or two when necessary. It's your choice between one speed or more, but I look at it this way. I would rather have the multi gears,  and if I want I can put it in one place and never move it. But if I have just one gear, I would hate to avoid using them because the one gear I had wasn't acceptable for the place I wanted to use it.  Your choice. And the Schwinn is only 1 derailleur for the back gears. The front is single sprocket.

And don't forget the big benefit of having the folding bikes. That is getting them out of the weather when things turn nasty. As I speak right now, even though I am in a paved dust free resort in Las Vegas, the weather is still a bit damp and drippy.  The bikes are dry and warm in the back of the Jeep.
Marty--
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massspike

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Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2018, 03:50:14 PM »
I'm an avid cyclist with 6 bikes who occasionally works at a bike store. I haven't owned a folding bike but have researched them and have friend who loves hers for her horse trailer. So take my opinions for what they are worth.

If you have a place to stow them and it sounds like you do, then folding bikes make a lot of sense versus hanging a bike off of the front or rear of a trailer. A good bike rack and locks can cost more than a bike. They are out-of-sight and out-of-mind.

The downside of folding bikes if you aren't willing to spend >$3000 for a Brompton is the weight vs. the small wheels on long rides (again I am thinking a full-sized Ritchey is out of your price range). However for getting around campgrounds this isn't going to be an issue and short trips in "bicycle-permissible areas of state parks" will be fine.

A single speed with coaster brakes is definitely the least hassle (and the cheapest) but gravity is not your friend so if you want to ride up any inclines of note you want gears -- 6 would be fine. Also you will have to go down those inclines at some point and coaster brakes aren't going to cut it (fwiw: there is also a question depending on where you ride whether they legally qualify as a braking device) so get proper brakes if you plan to venture off the campground (or the city streets the single speeds are intended for).

I wouldn't worry about the cables when folded (or folding). This is what they are designed to do (fyi: when a regular bike gets shipped to a bike store it is basically packed into a box like the folding bike -- except for the folding frame part). The question is how easy is it for you to do -- the single speeds and more expensive models are easier to deal with.

As for price...I agree there isn't much difference in the $200-400 range. However at that price I would be concerned about the initial build quality. If you are not buying it from a proper bike shop, then you are relying on the Chinese factory and the kid at the big box store who assembled it to do it right (e.g. grease what needs grease). If it is done right then even at this price point you will get 1000's of miles of use with zero maintenance. If it were me, I'd buy a bike like the Loop from Walmart, then I would take it entirely apart and re-build it and I'd have a very usable $200 bike -- I have the tools and know-how to do it but it sounds like you may not.

If you can find a <$400 bike at a bike shop, then that is a safe option as they will build correctly and usually have a free 30-day tune-up which will catch anything that they missed or failed during the break in period (these are made from cheap parts after all). If you can't, go to a big box store with a satisfaction guarantee. I am not sure about the US retailers but Canadian Tire has on-site servicing for bikes they sell and you can get lucky and have a real bike mechanic (working a 2nd job) fix anything the piece-work assembly got wrong.

I wouldn't spend the money on a really nice folding bike until you know you will use it. If you decide you do, then you can easily re-sell a $200 Loop.


Tom Hoffman

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Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2018, 05:29:12 PM »
I am a pretty good size guy 300+ lbs and 6'5" so I had my doubts about a folding bike then I had both hips replaced and my balance and thigh strength went kaput.  I still wanted a bike that I could ride but a 2 wheel was not an option.  Once I figured out what I could ride, then I needed a way to haul it and my wife's bike on the TT.  With the help of a welder in Decorah Ia this is what I came up with,  both are 21 speed too.
Wife said to me. "What cha doin' today?"  "Nothin'" says I.  "Ya did that yestiday!" Says she.  "I didn't get done!" says I

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Old_Crow

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Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #15 on: March 15, 2018, 05:56:48 PM »
When I was a kid, my dad bought me one of these: 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Alex-Moulton-1965-F-series-4-speed-bike-bicycle-folding-vintage/162939653076?hash=item25eff5cbd4:g:uG0AAOSwEHhapGIB

I totally hated it at the time, but I'd sure like to have a couple of them now.
Wally Crow
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steelmooch

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Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2018, 06:42:46 AM »
Thanks, everyone, for all of the information!  :)  Happy travels to all! 

Gizmo

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Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2018, 10:36:49 AM »
I am a pretty serious rider and never thought of folding bikes, in fact I use to laugh at them but when were preparing to full time and I was still commuting to work I looked into them.  They can be as simple or as sophisticated as you like and your budget has room for.  I ended up getting a Tern Verge P10, it is light and fast has an 11-speed chain ring, hydraulic disc brakes.  I was commuting to and from work on average 8-minutes faster than on my road touring bike.  The folding bike had some appeal since we could fold them up and put them in the truck camper when travelling.  My wife has a Tern Tour and she loves it.  While we selected Tern, they certainly are not the only game in town, there are several excellent brands and models to choose from.  So if a folding bike might work best for you, I would not hesitate.
Regards, Bruce, Lin An, Kenji & Suki
2017 Eagle Cap 1165 Truck Camper With Tork Lift Fast Gun Tie Downs & T.L. Wobble Stoppers
2015 Ram Big Horn 3500 CC Cummins TD Dually 3:73 Gears & AISIN Tranny
Gone But not forgotten:
2014 Northwoods Snow River 246RKS &
2013 Aliner Expedition

Gizmo

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Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2018, 10:42:06 AM »
Thanks everyone for your detailed feedback!  :) 

It sounds like there are several effective ways for us to secure "regular" bikes, and that folding bikes are also a viable option. 

For those with the folding bikes, if you'd be so kind:

A) Our intended use would be in campgrounds and in bicycle-permissible areas of state parks.  Nothing too ambitious, which sounds similar to how other posters have used theirs. 

B) I'm inclined to seek simplicity when possible.  My wife and I are somewhat competent DIYers (in a kitchen demo sense, basic vanity replacement & plumbing, wiring new lights and receptacles, etc), but bicycle brake lines and such have given us absolute fits in the past.  We've honestly ended up having to take kids' gift bicycles to the bike shop to get the brake lines and calipers adjusted properly. 

With something portable/transported/folding, I'm a little bit scared about multiple gears, brake lines, brake calipers, etc.  Part of me says that "single gear bikes would be fine for what you want them for, and probably more reliable". 

Any thoughts or experiences about single gear (with coaster brake) versus 6/12 speeds with hand brakes?  Initial setup troubles?  Maintenance over time?  Issues with campground stone/dirt/dust and gears? 

C) The way the folding bikes with brake lines fold up, it seems like the handle bars are almost "hinging/hanging" from the brake cables when they fold over.  Any experience or concerns with that? 

D) The reviews on $400 folding bikes seem pretty comparable to the reviews on the $200 bikes, with similar concerns and problems when they do occur.  Any strong feelings or approximate costs that you're willing to share in order to help me align my expectations?  Would we be OK for our intended use with a couple of $200 Schwinn "Loop"s?  Worth it to save for $400 Dahon Unos?  Hold off until we could afford the likes of a Dahon Mariner? 

Thanks so much...we appreciate your feedback and insights.

If all you intend to ride is around the campgrounds you visit a single speed will work just fine, but if you intend to ride and explore more, having gears particularly a wide range will be a real benefit and really nothing to be concerned about.  Having said that there is a segment of serious riders who have and love to ride single speed and do so up and down hills.
Regards, Bruce, Lin An, Kenji & Suki
2017 Eagle Cap 1165 Truck Camper With Tork Lift Fast Gun Tie Downs & T.L. Wobble Stoppers
2015 Ram Big Horn 3500 CC Cummins TD Dually 3:73 Gears & AISIN Tranny
Gone But not forgotten:
2014 Northwoods Snow River 246RKS &
2013 Aliner Expedition

ClickHill

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Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2018, 04:04:15 PM »
I saw an Origami folding bike at an RV show today.  They had a lot of different options, single speed, 5 speed, 8 speed etc...  They were very well built and seemed like a very good bike.  Very pricey, anywhere from $300 -$500 depending on what you wanted.
D & D
2015 Winnebago Itasca Merdian
2013 Chevy Equinox toad

timjet

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Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2018, 05:57:42 AM »
We had 2 Dahon folding bikes we bought for our boat. They worked great in that capacity. When we transferred to a motor home the bikes took up too much space in the baggage bins so we got a couple of regular bikes we stow on a rack on our tow car. This works well for us. They are easy to load and un-load and I'm not sure we would use them as much if I had to take the folding bikes out of a baggage bin and fold and unfold them every time.

We do have one electric folding bike that is stowed in a baggage bin. I have it there for the very slight chance I would need to go some distance and the tow car was not available.  I have yet to use it for that purpose.                   
Tim
Tampa Bay
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'14 Honda CRV

Gizmo

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Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2018, 11:07:38 AM »
I saw an Origami folding bike at an RV show today.  They had a lot of different options, single speed, 5 speed, 8 speed etc...  They were very well built and seemed like a very good bike.  Very pricey, anywhere from $300 -$500 depending on what you wanted.

Good bikes and a good option, but hardly pricey, in fact on the low end of the price continuum.  This is not a knock on these bikes, as they offer a lot for the price points and definitely worth a look, just know folding bikes like their traditional bike brethren can go into the thousands of $$$.  It all depends on personal budget, commitment and kind of riding.  As mentioned in this thread Dahon is another good one.
Regards, Bruce, Lin An, Kenji & Suki
2017 Eagle Cap 1165 Truck Camper With Tork Lift Fast Gun Tie Downs & T.L. Wobble Stoppers
2015 Ram Big Horn 3500 CC Cummins TD Dually 3:73 Gears & AISIN Tranny
Gone But not forgotten:
2014 Northwoods Snow River 246RKS &
2013 Aliner Expedition

Corky

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Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2018, 11:25:29 AM »
I'm in the same position as to which type of bike to carry along.
My concern with the foldables are the tire/wheel size, and just how stable they are in gravel. or any type of loose conditions.
Would they wash out sooner than a larger wheeled bike, or isn't it a concern?

Corky
'05 Itasca Meridian 36G
’15 Jeep Wrangler Orange toad
'86 Suzuki Samurai Camo dirt toad

Larry N.

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Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2018, 12:17:52 PM »
Corky, I never had a problem with the gravel in any of the RV parks I rode the Dahons in, but loose gravel piled high might be a tad awkward. They probably wouldn't be too much different than today's road bikes with their extra thin tires, but a mountain bike, or one of the old style with "balloon" tires would probably do a little better. Still, even the best of bikes are uncomfortable for me on really loose stuff.
Larry and Mary Ann N.
2016 Newmar Ventana 3709 -ISB6.7 XT 360HP
2015 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited toad
Formerly: Trailmanor 2720SL, Bounder, Beaver
  de N8GGG

Gizmo

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Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2018, 08:24:21 PM »
Tire width and wheel size do play a roll in riding in gravel etc.  My wife and I have different style folding bikes.  Mine is performance oriented and as such has narrow racing wheels & tires, while my wife has a touring model which has wider tires & wheels.  On my bike I cannot ride in any loose stuff gravel or otherwise, pretty much limited to pavement and hard packed dirt roads, while I can ride my wife's bike in somewhat packed gravel, but as her tires are by comparison narrower than say a mountain bike I cannot ride it well when things get really loose.  If gravel and loose stuff is in your plans, look for the widest tires you can get and you may need to consider a mountain bike if riding in loose stuff and bad roads often.  You may want to take a look at these https://www.montaguebikes.com/product/paratrooper/
Regards, Bruce, Lin An, Kenji & Suki
2017 Eagle Cap 1165 Truck Camper With Tork Lift Fast Gun Tie Downs & T.L. Wobble Stoppers
2015 Ram Big Horn 3500 CC Cummins TD Dually 3:73 Gears & AISIN Tranny
Gone But not forgotten:
2014 Northwoods Snow River 246RKS &
2013 Aliner Expedition

prfcdoc

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  • Happy to be alive!
Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #25 on: March 18, 2018, 07:15:20 AM »
  You may want to take a look at these https://www.montaguebikes.com/product/paratrooper/
Wow! That's one robust looking folding bike.
Bob
Bob & Kathy
2017 F350, Diesel
5th wheel: 2016 Cedar Creek Champagne 🥂

Corky

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Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #26 on: March 18, 2018, 03:26:00 PM »
From the previous comments I think I'll move the foldables up on my shopping list. I had dismissed them due to their small wheel sizes thinking they would be less stable in the loose stuff.

And that Paratrooper is just nuts, and if I had that kind of budget for a bike I'd jump all over it.
Thanks

Corky
'05 Itasca Meridian 36G
’15 Jeep Wrangler Orange toad
'86 Suzuki Samurai Camo dirt toad

Trivet

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Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #27 on: March 18, 2018, 10:07:54 PM »
The reviews on $400 folding bikes seem pretty comparable to the reviews on the $200 bikes, with similar concerns and problems when they do occur.  Any strong feelings or approximate costs that you're willing to share in order to help me align my expectations?  Would we be OK for our intended use with a couple of $200 Schwinn "Loop"s?  Worth it to save for $400 Dahon Unos?  Hold off until we could afford the likes of a Dahon Mariner? 

That's a tough one.  If you knew for sure that you were going to be using the bike, then you should definitely get up off the bottom rung.  If you're not sure, then it's reasonable to want to spend as little as you can, to see if you like it and want to invest more.  But a cheap bike could actually affect that evaluation if the brakes drag and the crappy shifter doesn't work right and it's super heavy. 

As for single speed, if you really really don't think you'll be going up hills, then it might work for you, but gears are popular for a reason.  And good shifters cost more money than crappy shifters.  So your jump may be from $200 to $600, and that's going to hurt.  But if you do end up liking riding your bike around, the Mariner will be a quality bike that you won't have to upgrade.  But if you have to wait for a while before you can get it, then that's not great.


And that Paratrooper is just nuts, and if I had that kind of budget for a bike I'd jump all over it.
The Montague doesn't fold down very small--it folds in only one place, and the 26" tires don't help.  Nice for riding, not nice for getting small.

From the previous comments I think I'll move the foldables up on my shopping list. I had dismissed them due to their small wheel sizes thinking they would be less stable in the loose stuff.

The 20" tires are comparatively twitchy and take getting used to.  But it also makes them more nimble.  One man's entertainingly nimble is another man's dangerously unstable.

You can get used to them--we've used folding bikes with 20" tires for very serious mountainbiking.  Here's a website (no ads!) that chronicles rides; all the rides before August 2013 were done on folding bikes.  http://www.debcar.com/biking.htm



FunSteak

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Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #28 on: March 21, 2018, 11:54:22 AM »
Preface:  We have a motorhome, don't full time and don't tow a car.

We use a very simple "s-shaped" two-bike rack that attaches to a trailer hitch and goes into the receiver on the coach.  Sort of like this (but another brand)  https://www.amazon.com/2-Bike-Hitch-Bicycle-Cruiser-Mountain/dp/B004KAU7GS/ref=sr_1_40?s=outdoor-recreation&ie=UTF8&qid=1521650857&sr=1-40&refinements=p_n_format_browse-bin%3A491459011%2Cp_n_feature_keywords_two_browse-bin%3A5133649011

I also use it on our daily driver vehicle.  I have a 1-1/4" hitch on it, which fits the car, and picked up an adapter to 1-1/2" at Harbor Freight so I don't have to unbolt anything when switching to the RV. 

Super simple to use and quite inexpensive.  Holds the bikes well.  We use full size bikes, btw.  Takes about a minute to put them on or take them off the rack.

I also carry a 10' security cable with eyes on both ends.  While traveling, I wind it through the bike frames and around the bumper.  Keeps things nice and secure, and tethered to the coach in case of the unlikely event of rack or hitch failure.  When camped, I use the cable to lock both bikes to the coach for security.  I actually just leave the cable padlocked to the bumper, and use our combination bike locks to secure the bikes to the cable.  Makes it quick, easy and secure.

JP & Karen
2017 Minnie Winnie 26a

Old Radios

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  • The Turtle - Our Harley Hauler
    • Steve's Antique Technology
Re: Bicycle Options - Full Size vs Folding
« Reply #29 on: March 21, 2018, 02:42:27 PM »
Got a new top end $500 folding bike at an auction for a bike shop that was closing a couple of years ago. Figured it would be good to have along.  Then right after that bought a bigger trailer to tow behind the motorhome with plenty of room for our mountain bikes.  The folding bike sits at home unused to this day.
2006 Fleetwood Tioga 26Q
2010 Harley Softail Custom Toad
2015 Harley Softail Deluxe Toad
Upstate (the other) New York