24" Folder / Public Transport

KneesUp

Veteran
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.
 

MichaelW2

Veteran
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
KneesUp

KneesUp

Veteran
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
KneesUp

KneesUp

Veteran
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.
 

MichaelW2

Veteran
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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