It has been a few months and a few folding bikes tested, purchased and ridden. Though the initial posts were hinting at helping a friend decide on a foldie, it also was an exercise for me to figure out what I need (see, I walk the talk too).
As I mentioned elsewhere, a flurry of purchases were made, by me and people who are close to me that included:
- A Novara Flyby Buzz (Rebranded Dahon Mu).
- A Bike Friday Tikit. No, make that 2.
- A Brompton M6.
- A custom New World Tourist.
Each bike was bought for a specific reason and till now, everyone is extremely happy with their choice. There goes the debate on which ‘brand’ is better. All these are cool bikes with very unique features and equally unique quirks. I guess I should start with my bike, the New world tourist and continue on to other bikes in future essays.
Note: Most of the following is grabbed from my response to a comment from Al. so you might find duplicated info, but I suppose most of you are not reading comments…
Firstly, I decided I needed a custom sized bike as I could not get a comfortable fit on the Dahons / Bromptons. Of course, I could have obtained a decent fit from either one, but I had planned for a long term upgrade plan for the foldie and decided to go with Bike Friday.
Off the bat I decided to base the bike on a NWT and not the tikit, that made the decisions simpler. Nothing against the Tikit, I am just holding it out for a future purchase
I was considering between the Sport / companion / expedition. I guess a large portion of the decision was factoring in the cost for a custom build. BF does some awesome custom specs but I did not want to decide up front (Didn’t have much lead time either, the bike was delivered in 2 weeks flat… Awesome).
I wanted to build the components on my own schedule. So I decided on the bike that gives me enough options. Sport has a narrower fork and I believe it can take up to 38mm tires without fenders. I wanted fenders and so that was easily eliminated. The expedition, it seems, is built with a more robust tubing and a wider fork. I was looking at the clearances for the fork and figured that I could do up to 2″ tires on the Companion without fenders and 1.75 with fenders. That was plenty good for me. Regards the overall strength of the tubing, I believe there is not much separating the NWT Companion / Sport / Expedition, people tour in all of them. So it essentially boiled down to the cost of a custom spec.
I was in discussion with BF and figured that I can get a custom spec NWT for as low as $948. Now that is a really good price point and I decided to upgrade to a Chris King headset with the savings. It is well worth it. Note I got a 8 Speed version that is plenty good for city riding. I am sure it is fine for loaded touring too but a wider gear range never hurt anyone (except pride when riding granny).
My idea currently is to make a slow and steady upgrade. The following are in the pipeline:
1. SON equipped front wheel.
2. Dual drive equipped rear wheel.
3. Rear D with a shorter cage. Stock rear D is too long (spec’d for Triple front) I like the idea of a dual drive heaps, especially for a 20″ wheel.
4. Handle Bar upgrade (midge or Moustache, still on the wall)
5. Bar end shifters (and a twist shifter for the Dual drive)
6. Front rack. I hear the bike handles extremely well with load up front, I got to try that some time
Since I did not want to go the whole hog upfront, I went in for the cheapest custom. Turned out to be the NWT