Folders for very tall people?

Discussion in 'Folding Bikes' started by rektikano, 9 Aug 2012.

  1. rektikano

    rektikano New Member

    I am 6 ft 6 (about 1m 96cm). I have read on various web guides that this means a frame size of 22 inches plus. That would seem to rule out Bike Friday and Montague. I'd like a bike for the commuting, and for riding up and down the South Downs like the gormless beginner I am. I'm not sure I'd like to do the South Downs on a Brompton. Any tips?
  2. srw

    srw It's a bit more complicated than that...

    A Brompton with a telescopic seatpost for the commute, and a road bike or a mountain bike for the South Downs, depending on whether you're on-road or off.
  3. OP

    rektikano New Member

    Thanks srw. So it seems it's unrealistic to try to kill both birds with one stone? Would love to avoid buying two bikes if one could do both jobs (reasonably well - I own no lycra).
  4. srw

    srw It's a bit more complicated than that...

    I'm being slightly facetious, but you have two fundamentally different requirements, for which two fundamentally different tools are useful.

    For a commute involving a commuter train, unless you're willing to leave a bike at a station you need a small-wheeled folder which you can fold quickly to a small package and stow out of the way of your fellow-passengers. Dahons do OK (but I don't like them for many reasons), Bromptons are perfect, and are available with an adaptation which makes them suitable for someone tall. No other folder I'm aware of satisfies both the "fold quickly" and the "small package" criteria.

    Although people do do the South Downs (at least on-road) on Bromptons, they're sub-optimal. The gearing isn't low enough for going up hills unless you've got thunderous thighs, the stability isn't as good as it might be going down-hill, and the small wheels don't like the poor road surfaces of southern England.
  5. OP

    rektikano New Member

    Fair point. Will go for the Brompton for starters. While I have you on the line... and this really is a stupid question... can you recommend a good South Downs bike without too many fiddly gears? Would love to avoid spending umpteen hours researching it if there is a 'good enough' answer. Not for off-road. Just country lanes, albeit slightly potholed ones. Off-the-cuff thoughts?
  6. RecordAceFromNew

    RecordAceFromNew Swinging Member

    West London
    I have no intention to dispute the outstanding portability and foldabiliy of a Brompton, but since the OP considered the Montague (which I did consider but avoided due to weight etc., though I believe now more models are available) I can't see why a Dahon Jack e.g. would not fit the OP's requirements. While according to Dahon the large is good for 6' to 6'4", I am sure the OP will have no problem making it fit by getting a longer seatpost and/or stem IF indeed necessary. To me that is no more a kludge than getting the telescopic seatpost for a Brompton.

    I am 6' but with frog like (36" inseam) legs. I only need a standard 300mm seatpost for my large Jack to fit. While it is much less compact than a Brompton when folded, it rides just like a good full sized hybrid on pretty much any terrain where suspension is not needed, and you can get one with 24 gears if you wish although I find 8 perfectly adequate. Another benefit of these full sized folders is that most components are no different to those of normal bikes which eases service, maintenance and upgrades etc. For example if you feel like it there is nothing to stop you upgrading it with some nice superlight XC suspension forks, or to change it to drop bars.

    Folded bikes used to be subject to strict size restrictions when carried on National Rails which affected larger/full sized folders. That is no longer the case.

    The only warning I would mention about buying a new Dahon, is that it would be worthwhile getting a bike shop to check that the spokes are adequately tensioned. But then I would suggest the same for any new bike in similar or lower price range.
  7. Red Light

    Red Light Guest

    I'm your size and a Brompton with telescopic seatpost is fine for cycling on the mainly flat and not too long distances - 5-1 miles. I also have a Bike Friday which they will make custom to your measurements and I use that as a folder for longer distances and hillier terrain.

    My question is what do you want a folder for. If its for taking on the train then be aware some train companies such as Worst Great Western, have started to limit folding bikes to smaller wheels and treat larger wheeled folders as normal bikes.
  8. Bromptonaut

    Bromptonaut Rohan Man

    Bugbrooke UK
    Height is a poor indicator for frame size. Seated together at a dining table my late sister in law and her Uncle looked about same height - say five foot eight. About right for SIL but when Uncle Pete stood up and unfolded his legs he was nearer 6 feet 7. OP needs to try Bromptons with the various seat post and saddle options.

    And Red Light is spot on about TOCs clamping down on gatefold MTB type folders. I've seen a regular on Virgin challenged more and more often for putting a Dahon in the luggage rack rather than coach A's reservable van.
  9. Bike Friday would definitely work, as they do multiple frame sizes and custom jobs. And folders are definitely suitable for various purposes. The challenge with smaller size wheels is getting high enough gears, low ones are fine. My mezzo (16" wheels) has gone to Brighton several times (but never up Ditchling), I took it on the Dunwich Dynamo a few weeks ago, and cruised passed lots of road bikes up the first hill. I've subsequently bought a road bike, but that's improved my speed by maybe 2kph, and that's all on the flat and mostly because I've got higher gears and feel I should push harder.

    People have done Paris-Breast-Paris on Bromptons (1200km in 90 hours). Until a month ago, mine was my only bike for the last 4 years, and since I started counting January 2011, I've done about 12,000km on it, including 52 km commutes.

    I get a lot of "you're brave", "do you think you'll make it on that?" when I do group rides, but the truth is if you are comfortable in the cockpit, and you are in an equivalent gear (ie same in inches) to a full sized bike, then you will be doing about the same work on either. Your task is to find one you are comfortable on. I'd try a mezzo too, if you can find one.
  10. shouldbeinbed

    shouldbeinbed Rollin' along

    Manchester way
    Consider the Birdy too, get the comfort handlebar stem so you can adjust it for cruising or more pacy rides. Also folds 'properly' for train travel
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