My first post here and I'm looking for advice on which folder to buy. I'm in the UK and my budget runs to £1000 as an absolute maximum but would rather spend as little as possible to meet my very basic needs.
Male, 45, 5'8", very inexperienced cyclist. Never ridden a folder before. Last rode a bike about 25 years ago.
I want to fly this bike out from the UK to my apartment in Fuerteventura (Canary Islands, 4 hour flight away) where it will be my one and only bike. My first-floor apartment is small hence the need for a folder to store in the bottom of a built-in wardrobe / closet and negotiate the communal stairwell as easily as possible.
Fuerteventura is a desert island so sand is everywhere. It has some excellent cycling for proper cyclists but I'm not interested in that and will mostly stick to flattish terrain.
The most common bikes seen in my ultra-sleepy fishing village are old mountain bikes ridden by drop-out surfers. I have considered buying something similar (ideally second hand from one of the many bike hire companies when they renew their fleet) by Specialized or some such brand.
All I want to do is:
- pootle around my village (average quality tarmac) and people-watch during the evenings.
- ride at most 5-10 miles to the neighbouring towns along good quality tarmac (both roads and cycle paths), visit the local markets, hang out, have a coke and ride back.
- ride out to some local beaches along solidly made-up roads but which lack a top dressing of tarmac in certain areas.
- not be scared to take the bike a mile or two along solid but sandy paths.
- be able to stick the bike in the car and head off to other parts of the island to explore.
- be able to take the bike on the local bus should I get tired.
- store it as described in my first floor apartment.
- hopefully lose a few pounds.
What have I been considering:
- Firstly I thought about the Dahon Mu Uno cause it has 20" wheels, looks great and is minimalistic. But the more I've read the more issues have cropped up (single speed, creaking joints) so I went off that idea.
- Then I thought about the Tern Link C7 which has more gears but is clumsy to fold and I don't want oil everywhere in my wardrobe with the chain exposed. I've also read of the fragile and creaking FBL joint and large folded size but it does have 20" wheels and is reasonably priced (best price in UK = £320).
- To avoid the above issues I next thought of the Term Link D8 with the new OCL joint and other upgraded stuff but now we are getting more expensive (best price in UK = £410) so when I started reading about the frames breaking around these new joints I became very unsure.
- Finally the inevitable happens. I start playing around with the Brompton Bike Builder and start lusting over a S3E (S bars, 3 speeds (less maintenance, -18% as I've no interest in flying down hills and need as much help as possible going up them), Brooks saddle, Marathon tyres, no other junk to keep price and weight down) but I'd be looking at £900 minimum. Obviously I'm aware that they are only 16" wheels and fold very neatly which is great for storage in my apartment but maybe not the best for the wide-open space, quiet village, very slightly off-road at times, pretty tame cycling that I want to do. I'm also aware that Brompton has a huge fan base but also many who feel they lack sturdiness and are gimmicky.
So part of me thinks "what are you waiting for, just buy the C7", another part thinks "pay the extra £90 for the upgraded D8", another parts thinks "how cool and convenient it would be to see a Brompton neatly fitting into my wardrobe" and the final part of me thinks "just buy a cheap second-hand mountain bike over there and throw it about like everyone else".
Two final issues:
Firstly, if I buy in the UK I will have the not insubstantial cost, hassle and stress of moving a fairly expensive bit of kit out there via the delights of Ryanair or some such cattle-truck airline.
Secondly, if any of the above bikes need specialist servicing above and beyond that afforded to a standard mountain bike in a LBS then they won't find it over there. Whilst there are several good quality bike shops over there they are all catering for the semi-pro mountain biker / triathlete market so I'm not sure how well a folder might be serviced. I am back and forth between Fuerteventura and the UK fairly regularly so will be able to get spares out there should they be available in the UK and I'm fairly handy at DIY so know how to use a spanner, but specialist servicing could well be a problem (if the above bikes require such ?).
Sorry for such a long first post. Thanks if you bothered to read this far. Any advice very gratefully received.