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Foldable bike recommendations to fit on a smallish boat

daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 8,618
edited May 2018 in Commuting chat
Afternoon all,

my gf's family have, what I believe, to be a fairly small boat - well I say small, it's not a dinghy, think it's about 32ft (?) possibly, definitely has a sail, and a diesel engine, but it's no ship :-)

It has a decent sized cabin, and some storage bits around the bit you stand in to steer - as you can likely see, I am not remotely up on my nautical terms.

The plan is to get ourselves trained up in the ways of the waves, so we can pilot it across to the IOW, and around the southern coast etc etc.
My gf is already fairly nautical, so we do not believe this will be a huge issue, and we have both practical and theory courses planned.

Anyway, as it's me, I got to thinking how I could take at least one bike with me.

There's no logical way to bolt a storage box onto the top of the boat, as it would likely get in the way of various ropes.
Can't hang it off the side or back, and there won't really be room inside the cabin.

Which leaves the storage near the bit where you stand, which may or may not be called lockers.

I would need to measure these up, and see what the possibilities are, but just wondered if anyone had done anything similar or had any suggestions.

Ideally I would like something with fairly big (20" or 24") wheels, and the Airnimal brand popped up, all be it not cheap, but available second hand on ebay, and seem to have a good rep.

Surprised about the lack of fold up roadie options out there to be honest - appreciate the Brompton\Tern\Dahon angle, but would like something I would genuinely like to go on a long ride for, rather than something to pop to the shops on.
If a little fodler was the only option, I may have a look at the Decathlon offerings, or even the Dahon ones, as Halfords sell them, and I can buy with extra discounts, or even go through the cycle to work scheme.


Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
Scott CR1 SL 12
Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
Scott Foil 18


  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    Definitely start with the dimensions of the storage spaces - these are going to be smaller than you think, and an awkward shape too. Also check which ones are actually available; cockpit lockers tend to be used for fenders, mooring lines etc when underway. TBH, I think you'll be lucky to find a folder that will fit in any cockpit locker on a boat that size, but do check - would be great if you can prove me wrong!

    Couple of other thoughts:

    1. Bike stored in a berth (ideally in a suitable bag) underway, that can then be kept on deck (locked up) when you're alongside. Something like this would take a full size road bike, but still fit into a berth (or maybe the forepeak) when you're sailing. Downside of this particular bag (I have one) is longer disassembly / assembly time, but they're pretty compact, which is important on a boat.
    2. Bike attached to the outside of the rear guardrails, above the transom. Other than liferings, this area tends to be fairly clear of obstructions, and is also normally the driest area on deck.

    If you're measuring lockers for a folder, look up the dimensions of a Brompton first; I'm not saying that's the bike you should get, but if a Brompton won't go into a locker, nothing else will either. You're also going to want a bit of padding (camping/yoga mat would do) as metal things in boat lockers tend to bang around and can eventually wear holes in things...
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • mrolimroli Posts: 3,622
    Have a look at seeing if you can get a Dahon mini velo second hand? they go fairly small and narrow, but still give a decentish ride. Or you could get a Dahon with MKS pedals pretty narrow on the fold. If you want a small folded space though, it is Dahon all the way. Mate had an airnimal and they're ok - but not that small even separated out.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Brompton all the way. People do huge distances on them anyway so it'll be fine for your purposes.
    I'd probably focus on the sailing thing more than what bike will fit though. How do you not know if there is a sail or not ?
  • DrLexDrLex Posts: 2,142
    If the boat has bow sail lockers, I’d have thought they’d be the best place for stashing a bagged Brompton or similar.
    Location: ciderspace
  • If you want a folder for long distances a Brommie will do okay, don't think you'll find a comparable folder that's a road bike... Bommies also have a lot of accessories and touring gear going from them, they're quite common bikes.
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    Thinking about this a bit more... Lockers on boats tend always to have stuff in them. How many berths does the boat have, and how many of you will there be on board? If there's a spare berth, bike in a bag tucked behind the lee cloth could be an option. If that's the case, wheel diameter is probably going to be the limiting factor - what will fit in the berth?

    As a rule of thumb, when stowing stuff in boats, imagine lying the boat on its side and giving it a bit of a shake; anything that would fall out needs to be better held in :-)
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • Ricky hRicky h Posts: 119
    The Brompton vs other folders has been done to death and all I would add is that they are fine for longer rides and durably built which is a key factor when stowing in yacht lockers.
    One other consideration is that it will be a highly corrosive environment, even if stowed in a bag. Regular spraying with GT85 or some other lubricant will be essential or esle you will soon have a rusty mangled mess. I once had a stainless steel spanner set in a sealed box go to a corroded mess in the space of weeks and that was stowed in the cabin
  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 8,618
    Thankyou all, and sorry for the delay in replying.

    Plenty to be considering, and measuring!

    The possibly it has a sail was just unfortunate spacing -it definitely has a sail, but on an A frame, so it can be lowered to get under bridges etc.

    I will get the tape measure out next time I am down there :-)
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,479
    I've had both folders and full sized bikes onboard ...
    the 30'er - full sized bikes were not an option - even if there's room in the cabin (2 cabin layout with 2 of us onboard using the aft one).
    We used cheapo no-name steel folding bike on this one - stored them in various places depending on what was free - under the tiller when we were using it or down below under the forward bunk on the X-channel/longer haul stuff. The folders were in bags but even then it didn't make handling easy as they were just thin material and you'd bash shins & fixtures if you weren't careful.
    on the 37'er we still had the folding bikes on board - under the forward bunk most of the time as it was dry and not easy to get at. We did do one trip to the channel islands with full sized bikes onboard - in the aft cabin - but getting the bikes there was still tricky - removed pedals & wheels - and used bike bags to pad - hard work, but it was worth it for a trip.

    The cheap no-name folders were ok for getting about - we rode the coast road of Guernsey on them - the worst bit was back down into St PP - as the brakes were a bit non-descript and ended up using feet as well! But no good for longer rides - the saddle was rubbish, the position too and it wasn't the stiffest of frames ...
    The full sized bikes onboard were great once ashore - but getting them on/off was a pita - in Alderney we did manage to get them on the taxi-rib ashore having first asked the captain... I had KOM's around the island for quite a while ;)
  • frogonabikefrogonabike Posts: 157
    Ritchey Break Away models could be worth a look, I'm not sure how small they pack down to exactly but I have always wanted an excuse to own one...
  • mrolimroli Posts: 3,622
    Ritchey Break Away models could be worth a look, I'm not sure how small they pack down to exactly but I have always wanted an excuse to own one...
    I've got a couple :), they fold down into a large suitcase. Assembly takes a bit of time, but they're smart bits of kit. Hopefully Etap will make assembly quicker...
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