Recommend me a sub £300 folder

simon.r

Person
Location
Nottingham
MrsR is rather taken with my new Brompton and is interested in getting herself a folder so we can chuck them in the car boot and drive to somewhere quiet or off road (canal towpaths and the like). My car is a saloon and it's a pain getting a full size bike in it.

However, there is no way she will pay more than £300 (preferably less).

The bike will have occasional fair weather use, for trips of 20 miles maximum. Folded size isn't critical as it will only ever be folded to put in a car boot.

I'm keeping an eye out for secondhand, but a shiny new bike would be preferred.

There seem to be many 20" wheelers around that are very similar, with the Raleigh Stowaway 7 being as good as any: http://www.raleigh.co.uk/ProductType/ProductRange/Product/Default.aspx?pc=1&pt=266&pg=10401 (it can be had for £270 online).

Any thoughts, or recommendations?
 
@clockwork simon has a review of the btwin folder at the end of this thread
https://www.cyclechat.net/threads/decathlon-btwin-hoptown-320-folding-bike.212283/page-2
 
OP
simon.r

simon.r

Person
Location
Nottingham
hang on.....@clockworksimon review here

After quite a lot of research I decided to get a Btwin Hoptown 300 which is Decathlon's most basic at £130. Main differences from the 320 are that it is £50 cheaper, single speed and doesn't have mudguards or folding pedals. Everything else is the same and overall the 300 is a bit lighter thanks to having fewer bits.

Ideally I would have got a Brompton but cannot justify the cost. Wanted a simple bike to store in my car boot and use for mixed mode commuting and getting into town centres, hospitals etc without paying for car parks. Also thought it might be useful to explore places on, particularly where it is OTT to take a proper bike and activities may require it to be locked outdoors.

Have used 4 times now. Everything works as it should and it seems a fine ride. Comments about poor ride and Flexy hinges not borne out by evidence of use, including up and down short steep climbs and sections of the transpennine trail. The fold isn't the neatest as there is nothing to stop the bars swinging about. Not a great problem and I will devise something soon using bungy, Velcro or a toe clip strap. I am loading it into the car leaving the seat post raised. It is quick to fold and unfold and locks together firmly with no play in the joints. It wheels along fine when folded with the seat post still up. May be useful when changing trains? It comes with basic front and rear lights and a bell. I am using the seat post a couple of cm beyond the limit markings. Plenty of tube remains in the frame but ideally the post needs to be 10cm longer. may replace at some point but happy with the setup for now.

Due to its non flashy appearance and low cost I will have little hesitation in locking it up outside when in town rather than having to take indoors. Happy to use a wire lock than heave around a U lock.

The 300 has all the frame bosses and hanger for gears. The hub is the same as the 6 speed but has a single cog freewheel. I may convert to six speed at some point as I have all the bits spare from converting an old road bike to single speed a while back.

For its intended purpose I am really pleased with it.

Thought I would post this as other threads by people seeking advice about cheaper folders often diverge from the original questions.


clockworksimon, 12 Mar 2017 Report
Top #20 Like + Quote Reply
mjr and MarkF like this.
 
and then this
Update on the Hoptown 300 after a couple of weeks use. Have changed the chainset for an old Sugino MTB set with a 48t ring. Increased the gearing from 51 inches to 56 inches. This is still leisurely but much better. Replaced pedals with better ones from old spare bits box. Have fitted bar ends. Seatpost was slipping so have reversed the clamp which now grips tighter and has sorted.
Have ridden the bike most days now for up to 5 mile leisurely rides around town using cycle paths and quieter routes. Plenty of uneven surfaces and some hilly bits. The frame doesn't flex but if you pull the bars strongly going uphill the long stem fitting flexes a bit. Overall the ride feels good and I am very happy with the bike. Great value especially if you can tweek it a bit without buying lots of new bits
 

clockworksimon

Well-Known Member
If you don't have to pare costs to absolute minimum like I have done the BTwin Hoptown 320 with 6 gears, mudguards and folding pedals at £180 will be just the thing. Nicer color than the 300 single speed too!

I note that there's a new BTwin folder which looks the same as the 320 but it's frame is aluminum so is lighter (but more expensive)

Not everyone has boxes of part used components and the time/will to fettle like me. By going below your £300 budget you can get a bar bag, bar ends, rack etc too if you want.

I looked at the Halfords folder at £200 and it seems fine. Just a bit more expensive than I could justify at the moment. I make no secret that it is my ambition to get a Brompton eventually!!
 
MrsR is rather taken with my new Brompton and is interested in getting herself a folder so we can chuck them in the car boot and drive to somewhere quiet or off road (canal towpaths and the like). My car is a saloon and it's a pain getting a full size bike in it.

However, there is no way she will pay more than £300 (preferably less).

The bike will have occasional fair weather use, for trips of 20 miles maximum. Folded size isn't critical as it will only ever be folded to put in a car boot.

I'm keeping an eye out for secondhand, but a shiny new bike would be preferred.

There seem to be many 20" wheelers around that are very similar, with the Raleigh Stowaway 7 being as good as any: http://www.raleigh.co.uk/ProductType/ProductRange/Product/Default.aspx?pc=1&pt=266&pg=10401 (it can be had for £270 online).

Any thoughts, or recommendations?
I did a few miles on a Raleigh Stowaway and rather liked it.

Although as observed, there are other similar looking bikes from other makers which are probably equally as good.

Raleigh may not be what it was, but if I was buying I'd rather like the idea of having a Raleigh bike in preference to a Decathlon, Halfords, or 'no name' brand.
 

clockworksimon

Well-Known Member
Just fitted a Brompton telescopic seatpost to my enhanced Hoptown 300. Had to replace the seatpost as the original had bent. Had been riding with it just past the minimum insertion mark to try and get decent leg extension. I am about 90kg so realise i had been abusing the bike rather than this being a fault. Seems a problem with other folders too getting the seat high enough with the stock seatpost, including Bromptons. The Brompton seat posts are the same diameter as my Hoptown bought in 2017.

Just need to saw off the little flange at the bottom of the Brompton post. With the new extended post, the ride is now really comfortable.
 

mitchibob

Active Member
Location
London, UK
Just need to saw off the little flange at the bottom of the Brompton post. With the new extended post, the ride is now really comfortable.
There are a few sellers on eBay doing titanium and carbon seat tubes that are compatible with bromptons, but don't have the flange, but available at a decent number of lengths for those that require above average length. Also, a good 200g lighter than the Brompton ones with a flange. The titanium one I got from a seller in Hong Kong arrived pretty promptly, was 200g lighter than original, and so far, has been pretty decent. The only issue would be that you can just extract it from the bike very easily, so not a 'Brompton' seatpost... but is definitely compatible and so far quite comfortable with my 'super-firm' suspension.
 

KneesUp

Veteran
I'm thinking of selling our second car because we don't use it much - it's a 15 year old Fiesta with a tow bar, and I'd probabyl be happy with about £300 - you could buy something like that for £300 and put your normal bikes on the back.
 
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