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Old 04-27-2009, 08:55 AM
cyclekath cyclekath is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2009
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Default Need advice about travel (folding) bikes

Does anyone out there have experience with travel bikes?
I am a regular bike commuter, 5' 7", and ride a ladies frame hybrid. I travel a fair bit and would love to take a bike with me, but there are often serious difficulties for a single traveller to take a bike on airplanes - not withstanding the cost.

I would appreciate some insight into how well some of the folders work and what recommendations anyone might have. I keep thinking the bigger the wheels, the better, but maybe not?
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Old 04-27-2009, 10:37 AM
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lynnef lynnef is offline
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Posts: 611

Some travel bikes fold. Others disassemble. My road bike has S&S couplers, so the frame comes apart. I can put the bike into an airline standard 26x26x10 wheeled case. In which case, I am at my destination, and, an hour later, have my preferred conventional-sized bike to ride around on.

I have friends with Bike Fridays - they also do some combination of folding and disassembling. They've taken theirs all over the world. I think they mostly have the Air Friday model; some have the New World Tourist.

If your bike has a steel frame, you can investigate having the couplers installed. Figure at least $1000 or so when all is said and done - coupler installation, any repaint, disassembly and reassembly, if you don't do it yourself, and the case and packing materials (frame protectors, a net to keep it all together should the TSA choose to investigate, some PVC piping with endcaps to prevent compression of the case...)
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:02 AM
tfahrner tfahrner is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2006
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Default what i do

i own a touring bike with S&S couplings. i flew with it only one time, in 2000. i found the hassle of dis- and reassembly not worth the trouble versus paying extra to have a full-size bike boxed. in 2001 i bought a brompton folding bike for an extended business trip to manhattan. since then i have traveled with bromptons exclusively, domestic and international, over a dozen times. i ride to the airport, check the large bike-mount front touring pannier, and carry the folded bike through security, gate-checking it like a stroller or wheelchair without any case or bag. i then ride right out of the airport. i've never had a problem doing this, never paid an extra dime. what's more, i ride the bike quite a lot around town because it's a nice bike by any measure, and i like not having to carry a lock. it goes under the table at a restaurant.

i've done 70-mile days on it. a fellow finished paris-brest-paris on one last year (750 miles in under 4 days).

and now i sell them, at Clever Cycles: http://clevercycles.com/?p=94

as for wheel size, small is fine on good pavement. the more irregular or soft the surface, the more you'll appreciate larger wheels. the world speed record on an upright bike is on one with <20" wheels. smaller wheels are stronger and they accelerate better too, all things being equal. you don't see them on racing bikes because the racing authorities (UCI) have banned all kinds of performance "cheats" to try to keep the sport about sport and not about gear.
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