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When looking for a compact bike for storage and carrying reasons, a folding bike seems a great deal. But how do folding bikes perform for trips longer than 20km ?


I'm looking for a bike I would use for commuting with important traffic and frequent stops (Paris), together with touring (Europe). The bike has to be compact enough to be stored in a small flat and to be taken in trains and carried inside train stations.
Brompton bikes are known to be stable and robust. But due to the position of the rider and the size of the wheels, these folding bikes are never used for long trips (more often 30km, but also few 150km trips travelling between cities). Does it exists any kind of hybrid bikes which would combine both compactness and comfort with long distance ?

I've tried the Grasshopper FX a foldable recumbent bike, which doesn't seem to be great for city commuting. How do 700c foldable bikes perform ?

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These folks use Bromptons for touring: pathlesspedaled.com It's all in the setup (they carry a bunch of really silly stuff, though.) –  WTHarper Jan 20 at 15:27
    
(+1) Thanks for the links ! –  user67182 Jan 20 at 15:32
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Bike Friday does have a whole line of bikes marketed as Touring (and are designed for centuries in mind as well as commuting), like the Bike Friday New World Tourist. For longer trips (traveling by flying and taking a multi day tour afterwards), another option is something built with S&S couplers, such as the Surly Trucker Deluxe, but this is more work than a simple folder. Certainly, if you want to ride for 150km, you want to avoid cheaper folders and go for the more premium stuff like Bike Friday or Brompton. –  Batman Jan 20 at 16:26
    
You may also be able to tweak an old Raleigh Twenty for 150 km trips - I've certainly heard of them being used for 50 mile trips before. –  Batman Jan 20 at 16:35
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Why would you use the paratrooper? These seem pretty bulky next to a bike friday or brompton (albeit cheaper), and the suspension fork and wheels seem excessively big. The Joey seems oddly sized versus Brompton/Bike Friday's offerings. Im also not sure about the paratrooper's rack, or the larger wheelsizes for these bikes or the disc brakes - they just seem excessively big and heavy (which is annoying when you have to take a bike on a train!). But the price is certainly better. –  Batman Jan 22 at 22:36

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

More people who tour with Bromptons, so don't rule it out: Touring on a Brompton, Brompton cross country touring, The genius of Brompton touring, Brampton touring.

I don't know about France, but in the UK, not all trains allow large wheeled folders. If they do, something like a Dahon Espresso is a quick fold, but not very compact (folding handlebars help).

The Jetstream is 20" wheels, doesn't fold as small as some other small wheel Dahons, but would cope with some sorts of touring better because of the suspension compensating for small wheels to some extent.

If you ever want to take the bike on a bus, you will almost certainly need a small wheel folder.

Another possibility is a Riese und Müller Birdy. They do get seriously expensive, but fold nearly as small as a Brompton, while having models designed for touring.

(Photo below from http://www.pbase.com/image/83944065 is an older model Birdy.)

Birdy with Icelandic scenery

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Actually "folding handlebars help" is unfair to the Espresso. I have a bike built around an old Espresso frame, the current model apparently comes with a "FLATPAK" stem that swivels without tools. –  armb Feb 6 at 16:29
    
Pacific Cycles might also be worth considering, but I don't have any experience of them. –  armb Feb 18 at 11:17

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