Archive for the ‘folding bike’ tag
My apologies to Giovanne for snapping this image while he was in mid-chew — but I wanted to highlight the do-it-your-self trailer he added to the back of his Citizen folding bike. I had seen this rig pass by once before in the neighborhood, but this time I caught up with him and took a closer look.
I’m guessing Giovanne is a design student or something. I found him sitting right across from the Academy of Art University at the lunch hour, but who knows. We didn’t chat too long, but he did say he’s hauled about 40 pounds of stuff using this set-up, which is impressive.
The trailer looks to be made mostly of materials you could easily pick-up at a hardware store (plus a couple large milk crates). The attachment point is at the rear rack where a re-worked caster wheel acts as the swivel or pivot point — a rather elegant solution!
I narrowed it down to two folding bikes. What follows is a mini-review.
What I like about the Dahon Mu Uno (left):
- styling/build: not flashy; matte black finish; 20-inch tires; double kick-stand; ruggedly constructed.
- simplicity: no derailer or brake cables to worry about and a near perfect 62″ single gear.
- ride: stable handling; more like a full-size bike when compared to the Brompton.
- racks: none supplied, but accepts klickfix accessories.
And the drawbacks:
- more conspicuous than the Brompton when folded and not as compact;
- not designed to fold with attached fenders and racks;
- while ruggedly built, it’s doesn’t wreak of craftsmanship like the Brompton (i.e. it feels more mass produced).
What I like about the Brompton (right):
- quality engineering: extreme attention to quality and workmanship.
- folding design: ingeniously compact; easier to take on airlines/buses/metros; and a design that incorporates fenders and a rear rack!
- versatility: 3-speed internal gear hub with a perfectly spaced 48″, 64″, and 85″ set of gears; fenders and racks included on most models.
- price (more than double that of the Mu Uno);
- a few extra parts and a more complicated drivetrain make it feel more fragile than the Mu Uno with the potential for more maintenance and repairs;
- rides less like a full-size bike compared to the Mu Uno (probably due to the smaller 16″ wheels); however, in normal use, you adjust quickly to the differences.
Conclusion: These are both appealing bikes. If I just needed a simple and robust city bike for basic transportation in a relatively flat urban environment — the Mu Uno would be perfect.
I would think nothing of tossing around the Mu Uno or leaving it chained to a parking meter, but I would think twice about doing this with the Brompton (in this regard the Brompton’s elegant craftsmanship is a bit of a mixed blessing, as it is with all fine bicycles).
In the end, the Brompton’s versatile (yet still relatively simple) 3-speed gear range and ease of toting around (especially while fendered and on airlines) were the deciding factors for me.
I made this picture and only later discovered I had stopped right in front of the Minnesota Zen Center.
Click here for a rare video of Suzuki Roshi.
My Brompton was inspected by TSA baggage handlers (they left their dreaded, yet polite calling card).
Whether it was the result of a poor re-packing job by TSA Screener #101906 I cannot say, but the spokes and fender stays of the front wheel emerged a little unhappy after the 3.5 hour San Francisco-to-Minneapolis flight.
My friend in Minneapolis just happens to lives about 2 miles away from Calhoun Cycle, a local Brompton dealer. I rode over in a pouring rainstorm and Kody (pictured above) trued the wheel and straightened the bent fender stay.
The cost: $5!
The place exudes a pleasant alternative transportation, indie bike shop vibe. Plus, it’s connected through a common wall opening to a Dunn Brothers Coffee house (kind of a mid-western Peet’s, but with on-site roasting).
Here’s Calhoun Cycle’s philosophy (from their website):
We think spinning on a bike is a great way to physical, emotional and spiritual fitness. Reducing pollution, road congestion and parking stress are icing on the cake. The bicycles and accessories we sell are designed to help you be successful cyclists, whether you’re touring Nepal or bopping around the corner for milk.
I vowed my next bike would be a folding bike. A planned short trip to Minneapolis proved to be the trigger.
I plan to have more notes and photos on the comparison and which one I ultimately chose and why. (Although these images of the Brompton packed for airline travel are a giveaway.)
These bikes come from an urban design house in NYC — Areaware. The folding ifmode is quite elegant (and it’s not a small-wheeler either; it’s a full-sized bike). The Vanmoof uses solar energy for its lighting. As I said before: it truly is a golden age of cycling!
Since a trip to Seattle last fall, folding bikes have been on my radar. I made a silent vow that my next bike, whenever it comes, will fold-up for bus and ferry connections and general urban mobility.
This video got me excited about the Brompton:
Then I heard great things about the Bike Friday Tikit. And now, the latest bike on my radar is the Dahon Mu Uno. It’s The Old Man and the Sea of folding bicycles — a minimalist masterpiece. No gears. No cables. Back-pedal brakes.
I first read about it on design guru, Rob Forbes’ site, Studio Forbes. Here’s how to fold it:
The Dark Ages are behind us and a new Renaissance or Golden Age of cycling is clearly afoot.
The number of people making bike frames, trailers, and custom racks grows day by day. Bike kitchens and co-ops proliferate. Advocates and urban planners are winning battles for better infrastructure and bike sharing programs. Tire and parts manufacturers are reproducing (and improving upon) classic designs. Urban bicycling revolutionaries are re-imagining and reforming societal structures. A few great magazines and hundreds of inspiring blogs are fueling the interest and passion of all involved.
There’s also a cambrian-like explosion occurring in bicycle morphology. Not too long ago one’s options for buying a new bicycle were limited to either a high-tech racing bike or a hardcore mountain bike — with little elegance or aesthetic appeal in either choice.
Now, there’s still racing and mountain bikes, but there’s also: touring, camping, and randonneuring bikes; city and porteur bikes; single speeds and fixies; utility and cargo bikes; commuting bikes; country bikes; and beach cruisers (what am I leaving out? Mixtes! and a huge selection of Folding bikes!). Then there’s all the incredibly beautiful vintage bikes (like this mixte porteur) that live on and on.
It’s truly a great time to be a cyclist!