Folding Bikes On The Way In

Postby Simonk on Mon 11/Apr/11 9:26pm

Ever been to London or Oxford and noticed there are suits with folding bikes hoping onto every second bus or train? Same deal in New York or parts of SE Asia.

Greater Wellington Regional Council has just passed a new policy for bikes on trains - basically the new trains take the bikes in the carriages, so there's room for more in the off-peak, but not room when the trains are full,'s a folding bike. And with a folder it doesn't matter if the normal bike spaces are full - just sit down and put it on the floor next to you. At the same time as passing that policy they have agreement from NZ Bus that folding bikes are allowed on the Go Wellington and Valley Flyer buses. All of a sudden folding bikes are starting to look a good option for people wanting integrated transport.

If you want to read the details, check out
Note the discount offer for the Dahon Eco C7

Most of the people I know who own folders have a Brompton or a Bike Friday or a Birdy and they love them. Still, others say they can't be ridden up hills or into headwinds or long distances. Only one way to find out for sure - give it a go. So I bought a Dahon Speed Pro last week with a plan to give it a good thrashing and maybe do Round Taupo on it for a laugh. Took it out for a spin round the Mirimar Peninsula on Friday with John and a couple of others on their roadies. In hindsite wearing baggies and a backpack was a mistake - I got dropped twice. Still, John drifted back for me and we averaged 33 kph around the bays (with a max speed of 55 kph for me on the airport straight). Then cruised up Mt Vic in 10 mins, which is what I normally take to get up there on my MTB.

Anybody else got a folding bike with some experiences to share?
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Re: Folding Bikes On The Way In

Postby sifter on Mon 11/Apr/11 9:35pm

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Re: Folding Bikes On The Way In

Postby Trail on Mon 11/Apr/11 9:41pm

I had a mate with a Birdy in Sydney. He used to fang around big cycle events (similar to Taupo) on that and really enjoy it. As long as there are no potholes 20 inch wheels roll fine!
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Re: Folding Bikes On The Way In

Postby Simonius_Titius on Tue 12/Apr/11 2:11am

Foldism is huge in Japan, they have been doing origami to bicycles for yonks. As well as a wide range of sensible bikes they have boutique exotic models full of Japaneseness.

Some of them have teeny weeny wheels which might not be so hot on NZ roads. :butbut:
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Re: Folding Bikes On The Way In

Postby thelivo on Tue 12/Apr/11 9:30am

The mamachari guys in island bay were doing some folding bikes from Japan - weren't seeing much demand but I think that might change!
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Re: Folding Bikes On The Way In

Postby Simonk on Sat 7/May/11 10:48am

Bicycle origami - I like that.

I never used to see folding bikes in Wellington, but in the last few weeks they seem to be popping up all the time. Was wondering if they were just sitting in people's garages (like most bikes) waiting for them to become a bit less geeky, so I've been asking a few people about their folders.

Stephen Coppard got a Giant Halfway to take on the plane when visiting his mum in Christchurch. His ride was across to the base of the Port Hills and back (and Island bay to Wellington Airport and back). No worries with the bike on the plane, apparently.

Marilyn Northcott bought a Brompton (for $1500 Canadian) to commute on. She lives in Khandallah and rides it up and down the Bridle Track. Sometimes she'll take it on the bus or train, but usually she rides up the hill. That surprised me 'cos the Brompton doesn't have a very wide range of gears, but she wants the exercise and enjoys the Brompton more than her normal bike.

Robert Ibell paid almost $4000 for a Bike Friday custom made with racks for touring. He's had it for 10 years and it's still going strong. He's used it for touring quite a bit. Reminds me of Adrian Croucher who I saw riding his Birdy folder over the Napier-Taihape Rd with a touring load. I thought the small wheel might have been a liability on the steep gravel, but he reckoned it was fine. Guess it depends on what you're used to (and maybe a touring load helps the tyres stick to the road).

Saw an ex-pat Pom who had a 20 yr old Brompton at Wellington Station. He'd been taking it on the train here for the last 7 years. The bike needed some TLC, but it worked OK for him 'cos he had a fairly short ride at each end of his train trip.
Another guy I saw at the station had a $100 Metro folding bike he bought on the One-Day Deal website. It was cleary a cheap bike, but he still seemed to like it - I think it being unique suited this particular individual very well.

I saw another Metro owner in Civic Square, but she seemed in a rush. Also saw a tourist on a flash white folder of some description gliding up Cuba Mall, and a yuppie in a suit heading down Courtenay Place in a hurry.

Harley at work bought a couple of folders on Trademe and uses them for family rides on mellow trails - likes that they fit in the back of the car easily.

Tom Halliburton got one of the Dahon Eco C7s that the council have negotiated a 30% discount for. He'd used his son's Giant Expressway folder previously. He takes it on the Hutt Valley train and wants to be sure he can get it on, even if the allocated space for normal bikes is taken up.
Saw another guy on a new Dahon at the bottom of Bowen Street on Monday. Apparently 8 of those were pre-sold when the last batch arrived in Wellington last week.

Then there was Nicola Gaston with her Brompton - another Hutt Valley commuter.

Gonna be interesting to see if there will be enough of these in Wellington to have a folding bike race here next summer (like this one )
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Re: Folding Bikes On The Way In

Postby FLATULENTFRIEND on Sat 7/May/11 11:44am

I had a Moulton Mk 1 (or 2) :) . It was complete with the original leather carry bag for the back rack. It had been my father n law’s first wife’s.
She’d been a district nurse and done her rounds on it. They’d then brought it out from the UK.
It was very rusty and although I like restoring bikes etc I figured it would cost a lot to re do all the chrome work and so I sold it to a guy in Christchurch whose surname is Moulton. He’s restoring it :thumbsup:
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Re: Folding Bikes On The Way In

Postby EoinC on Mon 9/May/11 1:52pm

Over here in Singapore, Dahon are where it's at, baby. There're probably more Dahons than any other sickle (excepting maybe the old Phoenix), regardless of type. It's good seeing people come walking out of their office buildings, de-constructing the origami for the ride home.
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Re: Folding Bikes On The Way In

Postby FLATULENTFRIEND on Mon 9/May/11 3:16pm

I’ve had another couple of folding bikes too….but they weren’t supposed to be like that :(
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Re: Folding Bikes On The Way In

Postby Eljefe on Mon 9/May/11 6:49pm

Yep one of my workmates got one on that special deal. I checked it out in the bike shed, looked very nice.
Eco C7 I think, he thought it was hell deal so is very pleased so far.

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Re: Folding Bikes On The Way In

Postby Velocipedestrian on Tue 10/May/11 10:24am

Saw aude with one in for a tune-up in the workshop last week, it had a single chainring, standard derailleur gears, plus an internal geared hub (3 speed) which seemed a good alternative to the front derailleur, and with a wider range.

Thought if strong enough, could be a goer on the MTB; chainguide, heaps of gears....
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Re: Folding Bikes On The Way In

Postby Simonk on Fri 13/May/11 10:27pm

Enjoyed a momentary exchange with a pedestrian today. She stepped out into my path without looking, then stepped back suddenly. She smiled a bit sheepishly (and I gave a thank you wave). I wondered if her reaction would have been different if I'd been on a road racing bike or MTB, instead of a marginally comical folding bike. For a lot of pedestrians, cyclists are often seen as threatening - faster, younger, stronger, aggressive men with little respect for the law. A pair of 20 inch wheels kind of short-circuits the normal stereotype processors. With bicycle origami many people (non-cyclists included) just seem to be curious and keen to have a chat. Reminds me a bit of MTBing in the 80s.

Went to a Bus Driver/Cyclist workshop and showed the folder to a bunch of drivers to gauge their reaction. These were Valley Flyer drivers and they thought it was pretty cool, especially once I'd put the CarryOn Cover over it.

The other thing of note today - I tried to put a Dahon folder into the apex-shaped gap between opposite facing seats on the train (one of the Ganz-Mavag units). This is a piece of cake with the Bromptons. With the Dahon the seat had to be pulled out - then it fit snugly. Would be keen to know if that gap is the same size on the Matangi units. That's got to be the best spot for a bike on a full commuter train.
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Re: Folding Bikes On The Way In

Postby Simonk on Tue 24/May/11 10:26pm

Am doing a wee article on folders and came across this rather geeky (and interesting site):
The paratrooper photo is interesting, and I never realised that the Dahon brand was invented by Dr David Hon.
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Re: Folding Bikes On The Way In

Postby swtchbckr on Wed 25/May/11 9:29am

love the folding P-Far...
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Re: Folding Bikes On The Way In

Postby thorg on Wed 25/May/11 10:03am

How small must a bike collapse to be considered 'folding'?

[clever edit]

dont worry found the WCC definition. Dont think my folding releigh 20 will count :(
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