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Ride quality differences between folders

Old 05-13-22, 11:42 AM
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Ozonation
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Ride quality differences between folders

For those of you that have had the opportunity to own and/or ride a variety of folders... how would you compare the ride quality between a Brompton, a Dahon (or that style of fold), a Bike Friday, and say, a mini-velo.

I've ridden a Brompton for almost a decade, and I love the fold and compactness, but lately, I'm feeling it's got just a little a bit too much flex or play. Not awful but it's been more noticeable lately. I'm wondering if a Dahon - particularly the mid-level models - might offer a bit more stiffness with its different fold. I'm interested in a more "supple" (referencing Path Less Pedaled) ride with larger tires, which of course, you cannot get on the Bromptons, but you can on a Dahon, a Bike Friday, or other folders. Lately, I've seen some positive reviews on a mini-velo, like the Velo Orange Neutrino, which seem to offer more latitude in terms of tires, better handling, etc. Also, I'm realizing that for the most part, unless I'm doing a lot of traveling, just the capacity to fold or being smaller to handle as opposed to the smallest fold possible might be sufficient.

Any commentary appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 05-13-22, 04:23 PM
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In my experience, if you get a stiff 20-inch folder, capable of fitting 406-50 Big Apples, you will have what you want. I have not ridden a Neutrino, but I would say it would suffice, though it does not fold. Two bikes that I have that I would recommend is the Xootr Swift and Zizzo Liberte. The Swift is stiff, with no folding joints. It does fold but the fold is large. The Zizzo frame is stiff enough for me. The fold and weight are on light and small side. It was a little hard to mount the Big Apples on the Swift, but they went on and no problems with them since. My experience with Dahon has not been as good. I had a Mariner and a Boardwalk. Neither were stiff. Their ride were spindly.
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Old 05-13-22, 04:42 PM
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The longer the handlebar post is (some longer ones have telescoping post joint along length), the more likely there will be flex. My Swift (shorter post; detach quick release just above top tube) has zero flex.

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Old 05-13-22, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by BikeLite View Post
The longer the handlebar post is (most longer ones have folding post along length), the more likely there will be flex. My Swift (shorter post; folds at top tube) has zero flex.
Swift post detaches. It does not fold.
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Old 05-13-22, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
For those of you that have had the opportunity to own and/or ride a variety of folders... how would you compare the ride quality between a Brompton, a Dahon (or that style of fold), a Bike Friday, and say, a mini-velo.

I've ridden a Brompton for almost a decade, and I love the fold and compactness, but lately, I'm feeling it's got just a little a bit too much flex or play. Not awful but it's been more noticeable lately. I'm wondering if a Dahon - particularly the mid-level models - might offer a bit more stiffness with its different fold. I'm interested in a more "supple" (referencing Path Less Pedaled) ride with larger tires, which of course, you cannot get on the Bromptons, but you can on a Dahon, a Bike Friday, or other folders. Lately, I've seen some positive reviews on a mini-velo, like the Velo Orange Neutrino, which seem to offer more latitude in terms of tires, better handling, etc. Also, I'm realizing that for the most part, unless I'm doing a lot of traveling, just the capacity to fold or being smaller to handle as opposed to the smallest fold possible might be sufficient.

Any commentary appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 05-13-22, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Schwinnsta View Post
In my experience, if you get a stiff 20-inch folder, capable of fitting 406-50 Big Apples, you will have what you want. I have not ridden a Neutrino, but I would say it would suffice, though it does not fold. Two bikes that I have that I would recommend is the Xootr Swift and Zizzo Liberte. The Swift is stiff, with no folding joints. It does fold but the fold is large. The Zizzo frame is stiff enough for me. The fold and weight are on light and small side. It was a little hard to mount the Big Apples on the Swift, but they went on and no problems with them since. My experience with Dahon has not been as good. I had a Mariner and a Boardwalk. Neither were stiff. Their ride were spindly.
Thanks! I checked out the Zizzo. It's frame looks very similar to the Dahons and others to me. I'm wondering why the Dahons would feel spindly whereas the Zizzo does not.
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Old 05-14-22, 03:19 AM
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As others said, a lot of the stability comes with the joint locking mechanism and the number of joints.
on brompton, that u shape clamp is limited by the fitting tolerance and the wear and tear.

As you asked about dahon, its mechanism can be tweaked to increase the clamping making it more rigid. There are also several handlepost design. The TT or the jetststream are stabler than the telescopic version.

as others said, 20” vs 16” is much better as it rolls over imperfection better. Then the larger the tyre, the less pressure you need so it gains comfort.
most 406 dahon can take 50-406 without fenders, with fenders it tends to be 45-406.
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Old 05-14-22, 04:21 AM
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The clamp of the Brompton have a V shape , not U shape that provides an immunity against wear and tear, there is rigidity issue at all with the Brompton joints which isn't the case with several aluminum folding systems.

The first lack of rigidity of the Brompton comes from its very long stem and second from the frame tube.

The best option is a design with a one piece main frame like on the Birdy and Swift. The Birdy having the advantage of a much smaller folded size close to the folded size of the Brompton.

Then, indeed, 50m or more wide tires is a major advantage, the tire width limitation of the Brompton to 35-37mm is a drawback.

Te Birdy also accept 50mm wide tires.
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Old 05-14-22, 05:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
Thanks! I checked out the Zizzo. Its frame looks very similar to the Dahons and others to me. I'm wondering why the Dahons would feel spindly, whereas the Zizzo does not.
Difficult to say. The Zizzo is stiff enough. I got the Swift here to compare. While having a hinge in the center of the frame, certainly is a compromise, it is obviously doable. My first folder was a Raleigh 20. It had a hinge near the middle. It rode like a regular bike. While I would not recommend it for many reasons, it was stiff. It was also limited to 1.75-inch tires. I did not like the Dahons. No matter how I adjusted them, they felt creaky and flexy. Perhaps, when I owned them, years ago, I was a stronger rider. In the past year, I was able to get a refurbished Zizzo, very cheaply off their site, for $320 shipped. I could not tell why this bike might have been returned or was refurbished. I am surprised at how well it rides and the level of componentry it has.
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Old 05-14-22, 06:46 AM
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My Airnimal Joey with 24 inch wheels had flex that bothered me a lot during the first few miles of riding it, but I quickly got used to it and it no longer bothers me. Specifically, the seatpost and extension appears to flex fore and aft, as does the steerer tube/stem extender. I am guessing that it is just a function of long seatposts, etc. My Joey is over a decade old, not sure if they use the same parts now or not. I have never ridden a Brompton, or any folder with wheels smaller than 20 inch.

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Old 05-14-22, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Jipe View Post
The clamp of the Brompton have a V shape , not U shape that provides an immunity against wear and tear, t
With that flat i call it a U and the fact that the ones I saw bottom on the flat, not one the taper… wear and tear. if it was a proper dovetail feature it would be different

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Old 05-14-22, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Fentuz View Post
With that flat i call it a U and the fact that the ones I saw bottom on the flat, not one the taper… wear and tear. if it was a proper dovetail feature it would be different

I am sorry, but you are wrong: only the two sides are in contact with the frame and they are tilted so that they avoid any gap/play. The center flat part isn't in contact with the frame.
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Old 05-14-22, 01:19 PM
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Brompton is 16" and so is Bike Friday pakiT. Comparing apples to apples, having ridden both, no hinge is always going to be stiffer than a hinge frame. Now expanding to 20" wheelers, my Dahon Mu Uno has a center hinge and I think it is stiffer than the offset hinge on Brompton.
Ride quality is 20">16" (assuming both bikes are of similar quality), no hinge>hinge. Other factors like long stems may affect handling as well. Being a fairly short person who doesn't like sitting totally upright, I've not had any issue with that.
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Old 05-14-22, 03:11 PM
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As several people know, the Birdy frame is able to accept 18" ETRTO355 wheels, 16" ETRTO349 wheels of the Brompton and Pakit (only 6mm smaller than the 18" ETRTO355) and 20" ETRTO406 wheels.

I have ETRTO349 and ETRTO406 very similar wheels for my Birdy on which I mounted the same type of tires available in ETRTO349 and ETRTO406 and from my tests, the 16% bigger ETRTO406 wheels do not bring any noticeable advantage if everything else is the same.

Eventually, the ETRTO349 wheels provide the fastest configuration for the Birdy because its possible to use the very fast Greenspeed Scorcher 120 tires with them.

So from my experience, between ETRTO349, ETRTO355 and ETRTO406 (and probably ETRTO369), the wheel size is not important, what is important is the bike design and construction and the tires.
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Old 05-14-22, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Jipe View Post
So from my experience, between ETRTO349, ETRTO355 and ETRTO406 (and probably ETRTO369), the wheel size is not important, what is important is the bike design and construction and the tires.
Wheel size does matter. Larger wheels roll over things better and transmit less shock. I do have to be more careful of larger potholes and ruts on my Brompton. Lest I take a header, as the Brits say. That said, if I had to keep only one folder, it would probably be the Brompton.
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Old 05-14-22, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Fentuz View Post
As others said, a lot of the stability comes with the joint locking mechanism and the number of joints.
on brompton, that u shape clamp is limited by the fitting tolerance and the wear and tear.

As you asked about dahon, its mechanism can be tweaked to increase the clamping making it more rigid. There are also several handlepost design. The TT or the jetststream are stabler than the telescopic version.
I wasn't aware that Dahon had different handlepost designs. I don't know much about the TT or Jetstream. How would the handlepost design of, say, a Dahon MU D10 or D11 compare? I'm using the MU D series as an example because it seems to be in the middle range somewhere in terms of price and quality.
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Old 05-14-22, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Schwinnsta View Post
...That said, if I had to keep only one folder, it would probably be the Brompton.
There is something about how small it can fold up! I'm wondering if the new P line series is any stiffer and more robust.
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Old 05-15-22, 12:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
I wasn't aware that Dahon had different handlepost designs. I don't know much about the TT or Jetstream. How would the handlepost design of, say, a Dahon MU D10 or D11 compare? I'm using the MU D series as an example because it seems to be in the middle range somewhere in terms of price and quality.
the speed pros and mu sl (and some other premium models have a T handle monoblock (not exactly monoblock but 2 pieces tig welded together) with required the syntace clamp (same as tern verge x11).
the jetstream is monoblock too but it has the standard clamp welded on top rather than the T. The jetstream is direct mount.

most D models have telescopic handlepost.

then, there are also different version depending of headseat angle and color and folding (inside or outside)

https://foldingbike.biz/epages/7665e...213&PageSize=5

having had 2 telescopic version, 1 jetstream and 1 T version (with litepro clamp and now syntace), i much prefer the T with syntace that feel solid and confortable.
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Old 05-15-22, 01:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
There is something about how small it can fold up! I'm wondering if the new P line series is any stiffer and more robust.
The P-line is the previous superlight with a new titanium rear triangle made for the new 4 speed derailleur.

The main frame is the same as on all previous Brompton and current A-line + C-line and the fork is the titanium fork of the previous superlight.

The only model which is fully different from previous Brompton is the T-line full titanium.

The problem of the Brompton isn't robustness, the bike can last decades with everyday use but stiffness, poor gearing and lack of comfort due to the relatively narrow and high pressure tires. There are some rumors saying the the T-line could accept wider tires but as far as I know no proof of it and anyway, there are no wide tires in ETRTO349, the only (slightly) wider tire are the Greenspeed Scorcher and Tru-blu 40x349.

That said, the Brompton is very pleasant to ride and very user friendly in everyday biking.
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Old 05-15-22, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Jipe View Post
So from my experience, between ETRTO349, ETRTO355 and ETRTO406 (and probably ETRTO369), the wheel size is not important, what is important is the bike design and construction and the tires.
One further thought on this. I think the problem here is that you are not able to mount wide 406 tires. I notice a big difference going from 1 1/2" to 2" on my 20" folders. So I suspect if you can't go wider 1 1/4" you would not see much difference.
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Old 05-15-22, 09:51 AM
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I fully agree with you, wide tires provide a big benefit as well in comfort than in riding resistance on bad surface.

Indeed, the maximum width in ETRTO406 on the Birdy is about 35mm, i.e. 1,38".

But I mounted this tire width on both the ETRTO349 and ETRTO406 wheels (and of course the same type of tire) so it was a fair comparison and I am pretty sure that the same conclusion would come with 50mm/2"tires on both sizes = 50x349 vs. 50x406 (with the problem that there are no ETRTO349 50mm wide tires, so I would have to compare with 50x355 tires if it would be possible to mount 50x406 on the Birdy) because the relative wheel diameter difference is small, it become even slightly smaller when the tire width increases, only about 11% between 50x355 and 50x406.
The reason of the absence of real benefit between ETRTO349, ETRTO355 and ETRTO406 is that these three sizes are still small wheels with a small relative diameter difference, the conclusion would surely be different for a comparison between ETRTO 349 or ETRTO355 or ETRTO406 and ETRTO622.

Actually, for me the best wheel configuration for the Birdy and the one I use the most is 50x355. The second I prefer is 40x349 with Scorcher tires because these tires are incredibly fast and pleasant to use (because they are very supple tire) but these tires do not allow any offroad riding.
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Old 05-15-22, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Schwinnsta View Post
. I notice a big difference going from 1 1/2" to 2" on my 20" folders.
ditto. Going from marathlon 40-406 to big apple 50-406 made a difference (similar to 38-622 to 50-584).
Back in 2008 i upgraded from curve d3 (50-305) to the jetstream (40-406), the 20” was stabler because it rolled over bumps better than 16”…
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Old 05-15-22, 10:14 AM
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To make a valid comparison of the benefit of different wheel diameters, all other parameters must remain the same: same bike, same type of tire. Comparing different bikes equipped with different type of tires doesn't allow to know what bring the difference, the wheel diameter or the bike or the tires.
The test with the Birdy isn't interesting because its a Birdy but because this bike accept easily several wheel diameters including the very frequently used for folding bikes ETRTO406..

I have a Brompton and a Birdy and the Birdy is much more stable/less twitchy than the Brompton even with the same ETRTO349 wheel size !

Note also that the overall wheel diameter relative difference between 50x305 and 40x406, even if it is not huge, is bigger, about 20%.

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Old 05-15-22, 10:27 AM
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the curve, the mu have similar design.


regarding the tyre size, speak to mountain bikers who switch from 27.5 to 29.

also, tern and dahon have moved from 35-406 to 28-451 for claimed “better rolling”. If it was as you claimed, why would manufacturer claim otherwise and choose to mount less common sizes which are more expensive….

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Old 05-16-22, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
For those of you that have had the opportunity to own and/or ride a variety of folders... how would you compare the ride quality between a Brompton, a Dahon (or that style of fold), a Bike Friday, and say, a mini-velo.

I've ridden a Brompton for almost a decade, and I love the fold and compactness, but lately, I'm feeling it's got just a little a bit too much flex or play. Not awful but it's been more noticeable lately. I'm wondering if a Dahon - particularly the mid-level models - might offer a bit more stiffness with its different fold. I'm interested in a more "supple" (referencing Path Less Pedaled) ride with larger tires, which of course, you cannot get on the Bromptons, but you can on a Dahon, a Bike Friday, or other folders. Lately, I've seen some positive reviews on a mini-velo, like the Velo Orange Neutrino, which seem to offer more latitude in terms of tires, better handling, etc. Also, I'm realizing that for the most part, unless I'm doing a lot of traveling, just the capacity to fold or being smaller to handle as opposed to the smallest fold possible might be sufficient.

Any commentary appreciated. Thanks.

Ride quality depends on a lot of factors.
Age, weight, ride experience and preference of riding type/posture.
So me at 55kg and used to road bike positions will be quite different to a 85kg guy who only rides upright bikes.

Some rider differences aside, generally all the bikes can ride rather comfortably give the right size for the rider with appropriate choice of contact points.
With contact points, I mean parts of the bike that the rider is in contact with.
Namely : handlebar and bar tape; saddle and seatpost; pedals; by extension it also includes the tires and pressure.

If a bike has got some sort of suspension (ie. the moultons, bromptons, birdy ), then there will be some 'bob' during the climbs or when mashing at the pedals in a high effort situation (eg. sprint )
The Dahon bi-fold bikes actually feel better (ie. stiffer) than the suspended ones in that respect.

I do find larger wheeled bikes roll over more road irregularities easier, so thats a plus point that a small wheeled bike will find harder to win over.
Generally speaking, one can make any folding bike type stiffer or more compliant with the choice in contact points.
Eg.
Stiffer = hard suspension (or rigid bike), higher psi
Compliant = double bar tape, redshift stem, sprung saddle, long carbon seatpost, suspension seatpost, lower tire pressure.
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