24" Folder / Public Transport

KneesUp

Guru
I'm looking on eBay and the usual place for a folder for the first time because I'm going to have to start train commuting in a few months - but only 2 days a week initially. The station is 3 miles from my house, and the end station is about 2 miles from where I'll be working.

I notice that 24" folders seem to go for less than 20" ones (I can't stretch to a Brompton) but obviously the trade off is a bigger folded size (but probably a better ride?) I think the train service I will be using initially will be fine - it's a regional service going from a city to a smaller town, and I'll be not at full 'peak' - there is a chance I won't even have to fold it some days. However, I suppose that at some point, if I have a folder, I'll be going on busier trains, and hopefully getting away for weekends on public transport as the kid gets older and I guess then a bigger fold might be a problem?

However, only Eurostar and National Express seem to give an actual size limit for folding bikes - and the 24" (and most 20") bikes are too big. Everyone else just seems to say it has to fold and (sometimes) also that it has to be in a bag. So, I suppose my question is, will a 24" folder cause me issues on public transport outside of London? For reference, the folded size of one of the ones on eBay is 42x89x76cm which is significantly bigger than a Brompton at 59x57x27 but not huge compared to a typical tern 20" at 40x80x73. I'm very unlikely to be working in London again, so I would guess that if I do take it to the smoke, it will be off peak - would that size be ok on the tube etc off peak?

Thanks.
 
I have a 26" folder but for regular rail travel, with no budget for a Brommie, I would opt for 20" wheel.
 

Kell

Über Member
I don't think I've ever seen anyone on the tube with anything other than a Brompton.

Though, to be fair, I rarely the get the tube unless I have no other option, so I'm not best placed to spot these things.

As for the trains, my train company (Chiltern) did threaten to bring in a rule about folding bikes having to have 'two folds' which pretty much means a Brompton.

At the time I had a full size (26" wheel) Dahon which I'd not long bought so was fairly annoyed that they were thinking of making it a problem. As it happens, they never did bring that rule in (I think it helped that a lot of people put in an official protest), but when I got rid of that bike, a Brompton seemed to be the obvious way to 'future proof' myself in case they did.

In practice, with the Dahon, I did occasionally run into problems with it in so much as it looked so much like a non-folder, that I had guards chasing me down the platform telling me I couldn't take it on the train. But the biggest issue was that the folded size often meant I couldn't physically get on trains if they were too busy. It's a problem I've not had since getting the Brompton (or if I have, it's been so rare, that I've forgotten the instances). With the Dahon, it would be at least once every couple of months.

I'd imagine you'd be better off off-peak, BUT if you're on a line that's heavy on tourism (like mine is going in to London) the first trains after the cheaper off-peak tickets are available are often much busier than some of the peak trains.
 
OP
OP
KneesUp

KneesUp

Guru
I have a 26" folder but for regular rail travel, with no budget for a Brommie, I would opt for 20" wheel.
That was my initial thought, but then I saw a few 24" go for not much on eBay, which got me thinking ...

I guess with 24" you also have more 'standard' parts and, for example, a normal derailleur will fit.
 
OP
OP
KneesUp

KneesUp

Guru
I don't think I've ever seen anyone on the tube with anything other than a Brompton.

Though, to be fair, I rarely the get the tube unless I have no other option, so I'm not best placed to spot these things.

It's highly unlikely I will be in London at peak times, I was more thinking of if I go on a city break, or whatever. I would guess my most likely journey is Sheffield - Manchester, and with the Hope Valley line it seems the space available is either 'most of the train' or 'none at all' - in either case it doesn't matter what size the bike is!


As for the trains, my train company (Chiltern) did threaten to bring in a rule about folding bikes having to have 'two folds' which pretty much means a Brompton.

That's the sort of thing that I was meaning - we really don't have a very integrated approach to transport do we!?

In practice, with the Dahon, I did occasionally run into problems with it in so much as it looked so much like a non-folder, that I had guards chasing me down the platform telling me I couldn't take it on the train. But the biggest issue was that the folded size often meant I couldn't physically get on trains if they were too busy. It's a problem I've not had since getting the Brompton (or if I have, it's been so rare, that I've forgotten the instances). With the Dahon, it would be at least once every couple of months.

I'd imagine you'd be better off off-peak, BUT if you're on a line that's heavy on tourism (like mine is going in to London) the first trains after the cheaper off-peak tickets are available are often much busier than some of the peak trains.

The line is not touristy, and I think I'm going the opposite way to most people - 'my' train exists to get the rolling stock back to where it's needed I think :-) I could cope with not getting on the train on the way home, but not in the morning as I need to be on time. I might commute without a folder for a few weeks to see what the room is like, although that would mean getting an earlier train so I have time to walk at the other end, so that's not going to work. Hmm.
 
AFAIK 20" folders used std bike parts as well. The BMX sized wheels have a big selection of tyres and inner tubes in stock everywhere.
24" is a really sweet size for smaller adults and teen-agers and there are some high performance adult bikes but there are several 24" wheels sizes and they are less common.
 
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