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Old 12-11-16, 07:51 PM   #1
Rick Imby
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Friends don't let Friends buy Cheap Folding bikes

I know probably 90% of the folders sold are under $400 (in the US anyway). It is a sad. I believe this is part of the reason folders are such a small part of the biking community.

People that own $1200 to $3000 mountain or road bikes look at buying $350 folders? Really

If you are buying the bike to sit in your garage---go for it, buy the cheap bike.

If you are buying a bike to use on a regular basis buy a good bike. You are likely to have it for many years and the extra you pay up front will pay you back every time you climb on.

You want wide range gearing and good components.

1. Wide ratio gearing is important. If you are buying a derailleur bike get at least 8 speeds. The 7 speed setups do not have wide enough gearing. Also the 8,9,10,11 speed wheel is significantly stronger because it will have a Freehub instead of a Freewheel---This is important.

2. Aluminum frame bikes are normally about 2 pounds lighter than steel or cromoly. Weight is important.

3. High quality wheels, and tires make a big difference.

Friends don't let friends buy cheap folding bikes.
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Old 12-11-16, 08:49 PM   #2
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I know probably 90% of the folders sold are under $400 (in the US anyway). It is a sad. I believe this is part of the reason folders are such a small part of the biking community.

People that own $1200 to $3000 mountain or road bikes look at buying $350 folders? Really
Realistically, yes, that's what they do. Your average rider with a nice "regular" bike sees folders as a cheap, secondary alternative for short commutes or shopping runs. Part of the appeal to them is that it's not fancy or pricey enough to worry about, so they're willing to toss it around and lock it up outside. IMO it takes that first cheap foray into folders to convince them that paying real money for a good one is worth it.
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Old 12-11-16, 11:37 PM   #3
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I would never buy another folder expensive or cheap ever again unless I have to. The same goes for the rest of the types of bikes except Mini Velos.
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Old 12-12-16, 12:27 AM   #4
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I would never buy another folder expensive or cheap ever again unless I have to. The same goes for the rest of the types of bikes except Mini Velos.
Well that's SUPER helpful on a Folding Bikes forum. Thanks, bro.
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Old 12-12-16, 01:56 AM   #5
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Well that's SUPER helpful on a Folding Bikes forum. Thanks, bro.
This is not just a Folding Bikes forum, everybody entitled for an opinion, and again my advice to pick the right equipment for your needs. You welcome.
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Old 12-12-16, 02:23 AM   #6
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This is not just a Folding Bikes forum, everybody entitled for an opinion, and again my advice to pick the right equipment for your needs. You welcome.
You are indeed in the Folding Bikes section. Maybe I'll wander over to Vintage and alert them that I'm not into vintage bikes. Should be fun.
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Old 12-12-16, 03:03 AM   #7
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You are indeed in the Folding Bikes section. Maybe I'll wander over to Vintage and alert them that I'm not into vintage bikes. Should be fun.
What If you are a Mini Velo guy where would you go?
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Old 12-12-16, 03:16 AM   #8
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What If you are a Mini Velo guy where would you go?
I'd talk about mini velos (I have one). I don't understand the point of trolling a Folding Bike forum with "I don't want a folding bike." It has nothing to do with the thread, it just seemed like a shot at people who like them.
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Old 12-12-16, 06:18 AM   #9
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I know probably 90% of the folders sold are under $400 (in the US anyway). It is a sad. I believe this is part of the reason folders are such a small part of the biking community.
.
I believe that the bulk of folders/ small wheelers worldwide are not bought by biking fanatics, people who own $3000 mountain bikes, people who are part of the "biking community", or people who would ever give a biking forum a second thought. I think they are bought by people looking for utility transport, a shopping bike, something that doesn't take up much room, something you unfold when you take it out of the box and probably never fold again, you just wait for the hinges to go rusty. In European cities you see such bikes everywhere, I suspect you see them in even larger numbers in Asia.
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Old 12-12-16, 07:13 AM   #10
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I know probably 90% of the folders sold are under $400 (in the US anyway). It is a sad. I believe this is part of the reason folders are such a small part of the biking community.

People that own $1200 to $3000 mountain or road bikes look at buying $350 folders? Really

If you are buying the bike to sit in your garage---go for it, buy the cheap bike.

If you are buying a bike to use on a regular basis buy a good bike. You are likely to have it for many years and the extra you pay up front will pay you back every time you climb on.

You want wide range gearing and good components.

1. Wide ratio gearing is important. If you are buying a derailleur bike get at least 8 speeds. The 7 speed setups do not have wide enough gearing. Also the 8,9,10,11 speed wheel is significantly stronger because it will have a Freehub instead of a Freewheel---This is important.


2. Aluminum frame bikes are normally about 2 pounds lighter than steel or cromoly. Weight is important.

3. High quality wheels, and tires make a big difference.

Friends don't let friends buy cheap folding bikes.
I have to wonder what percentage of all bikes bought are of the big box store variety. I also wonder if bikes have become so nichy and arcane that the average guy has little idea of what is actually good. Too many choices can be as daunting as too few.
I like folding bikes a lot and have a Brompton and a Swift, which are my favorites when the streets are dry. Unfortunately there are quite a few months when they are icy and snowy, at least here in Wyoming and I don't like either for really slick conditions or deep snow. I would admit that I haven't tried studded tires on the Swift, as of yet. If some has some great strategies for that kind of riding on a folder I would love to hear them.
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Old 12-12-16, 07:37 AM   #11
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I take the OP's point as being well meaning in it's intent... but not all of us have the funds for expensive machines. I have a genesis Walmart folder that I've upgraded over time, because that is what I could afford to do. I have a dahon vigor that I got used, and converted that to a single speed. my other bike is a mongoose vinson fat bike that was also not a high end machine, but I've upgraded that as well. both are now safe and dependable machines that safely and reliably give me what I need in a way that I could manage. this great forum provided me with lots of insight about problems and fixes with that genesis, and as most of us like to tinker, I enjoyed the whole process!

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Old 12-12-16, 08:24 AM   #12
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I take the OP's point as being well meaning in it's intent... but not all of us have the funds for expensive machines. I have a genesis Walmart folder that I've upgraded over time, because that is what I could afford to do. my other bike is a mongoose vinson fat bike that was also not a high end machine, but I've upgraded that as well. both are now safe and dependable machines that safely and reliably give me what I need in a way that I could manage.
I agree 100%. My 20 year old Fuji Folder that I paid $80 for is great for me for riding around town, riding rail trails and folds up nicely into my closet in my tiny apartment. I'm very fond of it, I feel perfectly safe riding it and at the same time wouldn't feel a great loss at all if it got stolen.
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Old 12-12-16, 09:33 AM   #13
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I agree too.
But something you luv...no matter how expensive...find a way.
And keep your bike for at least 20 years.
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Old 12-12-16, 10:40 AM   #14
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Abundant Generalizations have been spoken..

Shouldn't you Be Working Now rather than writing Here?
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Old 12-12-16, 12:04 PM   #15
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I must confess,I'm a bike nerd. I've got a Specialized road bike, Quintana Roo Tri bike, Davinci tandem and a Comotion tandem. Love them all! Yet still I have a need for a good functional and reliable folding bike. When your used to good stuff it's hard to put up with poor quality equipment. For folders, I've got a Dahon Speed and a Down Tube Nexus 8. We use them when we go camping. They work great for puttering around the campground or when exploring interesting areas. Easy to throw into the truck and go. They're not used for long distance or hard core riding, just easy layed back puttering. When back at the campground, they are folded up and put away out of sight.
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Old 12-12-16, 01:21 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Rick Imby View Post
I know probably 90% of the folders sold are under $400 (in the US anyway). It is a sad. I believe this is part of the reason folders are such a small part of the biking community.

People that own $1200 to $3000 mountain or road bikes look at buying $350 folders? Really

If you are buying the bike to sit in your garage---go for it, buy the cheap bike.

If you are buying a bike to use on a regular basis buy a good bike. You are likely to have it for many years and the extra you pay up front will pay you back every time you climb on.

You want wide range gearing and good components.

1. Wide ratio gearing is important. If you are buying a derailleur bike get at least 8 speeds. The 7 speed setups do not have wide enough gearing. Also the 8,9,10,11 speed wheel is significantly stronger because it will have a Freehub instead of a Freewheel---This is important.

2. Aluminum frame bikes are normally about 2 pounds lighter than steel or cromoly. Weight is important.

3. High quality wheels, and tires make a big difference.

Friends don't let friends buy cheap folding bikes.
About 90% of bikes purchased in the US are bikes which cost less than $300 and are sold at department stores. Which is sad.

People who own quality non-folding bikes may look at cheap folding bikes for secondary cycling transportation options, but such consumers probably at least know to look at better quality folders.

1) There are some people who buy quality folding bikes with 1, 2, 3 and 6 speeds, who end up very satisfied with their purchases and folding bikes which meet or exceed their expectations. Gear ratio is only important if it meets a consumers needs, otherwise, it is superfluous.

2) Many cheap folders are aluminum, weight more than comparable quality steel folders, and may be more prone to frame failures.

3) Wheels and tires commensurate with sale price are usually adequate for consumer needs.

Friends compliment other friends on any kind of bike their friends ultimately choose.
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Old 12-12-16, 01:39 PM   #17
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Friends compliment other friends on any kind of bike their friends ultimately choose.

true that!
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Old 12-12-16, 08:59 PM   #18
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I have recently become a folding convert. I bought a Swift to take to Asia this winter. In playing with the bike I came to realize it is handier for most people than any city bike.

My background is I have a couple of 4k+ carbon mountain bikes and several other 1k plus mtn and a road bike in the 1k range.

I was blown away by how much fun the Swift could be and how a $6/800 folding bike could have so many advantages.

Easily storing in my front closet
Not needing a car rack to transport
The ride and adjustability for size is awesome.

I had thought folder were mainly for boaters or pilots. Now I consider them a better alternative for many users.

I just boought a Dahon MU D10 ---ebay-- under $600 and I am quite impressed with it also.

Another folding geek..
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Old 12-13-16, 12:07 AM   #19
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^ +1

One puzzle is how much slower your Swift is to your road bikes - it should be much closer in my experience. OTOH, I always had just a frameset and built it up from there so always had good hubs and concentrated on making it as light as possible without paying stupid amounts for parts. So I don't know how a stock version would do. It very firmly remains my biggest favorite bike. Having it in titanium is icing on the cake.

And you're right it is very versatile. It is my 1st choice for commuting; I do big Audax rides with it; I fitted fatter knobbies the other day and did some MTB climbing (stupidly steep); the list does not stop there. A medium term plan is to do Mauna Kea (which is why I'm doing stupidly steep MTB riding with it).

Another puzzle which I have never fully solved, is why exactly folders are so much more fun. I am reasonably sure it's the small wheels, perhaps the responsiveness? I don't know. One thing I do know, I once went for a big training ride, culminating in a big climb near my house. However, I got a puncture, so instead of fixing it, I grabbed my MTB (which was gathering dust despite having XT and XTR componentry etc) to do the last climb. Well that was also the last time I rode the MTB. It felt like a truck. I got the feeling I would not be able to make the tight turns, weird as. I put it on the market shortly after that. I now own only smallwheelers.
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Old 12-13-16, 12:37 AM   #20
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Another puzzle which I have never fully solved, is why exactly folders are so much more fun. I am reasonably sure it's the small wheels, perhaps the responsiveness? I don't know. One thing I do know, I once went for a big training ride, culminating in a big climb near my house. However, I got a puncture, so instead of fixing it, I grabbed my MTB (which was gathering dust despite having XT and XTR componentry etc) to do the last climb. Well that was also the last time I rode the MTB. It felt like a truck. I got the feeling I would not be able to make the tight turns, weird as. I put it on the market shortly after that. I now own only smallwheelers.
Yes, folders/minis are quite addictive. They have a quick handling, tossable quality, and are absurdly easy to carry and stow. I also think there's a 'lack of pressure' factor when riding them. You're not on a standard road or mountain bike, so there's less of a sense of competition when one blows by: "You go on now, Speedy, I'm just out here plonking around on my Funny Bike. Cheers!"
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Old 12-13-16, 09:01 AM   #21
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it doesn't make any difference how expensive a bike is, its worthless until it gets used. A beat up 40 lbs Raleigh or ..... fill in blanks here ... which gets ridden is better than a 3000 dlr titanium/carbon 9 lbs wonder which just sits around.


Of course if you have a better bike the chances that you enjoy riding so much more will quadruple
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Old 12-13-16, 09:44 AM   #22
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When I bought my cheep Dahon for $200 I knew what I was paying for. It's not just getting through college or making a changing investment through time. It was about adapting to my needs.
Plastic breaks levers, one speed fixie style, stock tires and other plastic fittings all had to go. I bought it for the beam weld frame that was far better than the stick welded boardwalk. If I had gone with a quality Brompton or even the Dahon Mu with 10 speed I still would had to have bought a shorter handlebar riser, wheels, tires, saddle, petals, compact crankset, fd litepro brazed-on adapter, handlebar extender and shifters because I hated what came stock.
I would eventually would have upgraded to quality carbon fiber handlebars, bull horn grips, seatpost and for a carbon fork to appeaser my snobbish weight weinery. Some would say I bought a frame and rolled a whole new bike under it. And for the price I have paid, I made off and still haven't broken the bank to what I would have paid for a stock high end. Many parts I got lucky already having, bought in advance or budgeted $100 a month to put away for the tour bike I wanted. I did splurge on the carbon fiber fork, it was basically the same from the 30th anniversary with different decals. Really, everyone changes something from the stock bike you bought unless you are a collector. I couldn't justify buying "recommended" folding bikes. Some things just didn't add up to what I would pay for in a race or road bike. Granted, some of them were lighter weight with a good build quality, but I still hated a lot of the components. I felt I deserved a better price for what I pay for. I educated myself as a consumer. That was my price justification.
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Old 12-13-16, 11:30 AM   #23
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For me there are quality folders for under $400 or even $300, Citizen, some of the bottom tier Dahons, Origami, some of the Downtubes and Montecci. I wouldn't compromise my safety for a couple of bucks. My friend bought a lower quality folding bike from Amazon for $150 and I strongly discouraged him from it since a folding bike would have more moving parts like hinges and locks which I would be more comfortable with if a company is more established and would have more reviews/quality control. Inexpensive folders don't have to be cheap, so yeah there are options like the such, on the expense of weight penalty and a smaller gear range. I first bought a Dahon Vybe d7 at $400, for a non-bike person that would look too much (when you can buy some from a big box store a lot less) but at least I have the confidence that the bike is less likely to fold up on me whilst riding.
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Old 12-13-16, 12:18 PM   #24
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I owned and restored some 1990's Treks which I rode exclusively (I love steel). When I decided to pick up a folding bike to make using public transit easier, I limited myself to steel bikes. Without getting into the argument about frame materials, it is just my preference. I bought a used Bike Friday and have been tweaking it ever since and eventually sold off my Trek bikes because I always chose to ride the BF for everything. For city riding, the handling cannot be beat. It's nimble, easy to stop, and imo a lot more fun to ride than a full sized bike. My full sized bikes were utilitarian but my folder is just plain fun to ride! I usually prefer to buy used quality bikes rather than new less expensive bikes because a quality bike seems to require less maintenance.
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Old 12-16-16, 01:09 PM   #25
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^ +1

Another puzzle which I have never fully solved, is why exactly folders are so much more fun. I am reasonably sure it's the small wheels, perhaps the responsiveness? I don't know. One thing I do know, I once went for a big training ride, culminating in a big climb near my house. However, I got a puncture, so instead of fixing it, I grabbed my MTB (which was gathering dust despite having XT and XTR componentry etc) to do the last climb. Well that was also the last time I rode the MTB. It felt like a truck. I got the feeling I would not be able to make the tight turns, weird as. I put it on the market shortly after that. I now own only smallwheelers.
I am with you Jur. I don't understand my attraction to small wheelers but it is real. I have always loved bikes and ridden a lot most periods of my life. I have been an anti-road bike guy forever, but in love with mountain bikes. Now it is crazy I am planning on doing some road rides with my folders. I now have three and I am actively searching for some really nice wheels...
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