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Old 05-31-05, 12:49 PM   #1
oboeguy
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EDIT: New update 6/10 -- picking it up this afternoon!

The Dahon Speed Pro looks like the best compromise folder for me. Here are my needs / desiderata:

1. 15+ miles of commuting each work day in NYC (~7-8mi each way)
2. a lap or two of Central Park on the way home or on the way to work
3. ride a century on it if I feel like it
4. toss into a suitcase for when I travel
5. see #4; for running errands as well as reasonably serious solo rides on the (very hilly) Costa Brava

My main ride is a Lemond Reno '98. I love my Lemond, but it's not a great commuter (!) within NYC, and it sure won't fit in a suitcase.

So my dilema is that I can't know if I really want a Speed Pro if I test ride, and I can't test ride it unless I put down a deposit for a special order, because it appears that most shops don't stock one. For example, I called Toga and they said exactly that -- need a deposit which is non-refundable, but can be applied to store credit. Who needs $450 of store credit?!?

So, what does the Folder forum suggest? Shine your wisdom upon me and complete my conversion to a folder fan!

Last edited by oboeguy; 06-10-05 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 05-31-05, 03:13 PM   #2
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I was once where you are. I wasn't sure I wanted a Dahon ( I don't trust what I could not see). I was very lucky to have a LBS that knew my riding habits and assure me that I will really, really will like the new Boardwalk. I guess you will see that I am by my name, Folder Fanatic. Be sure that the Speed that you are interested in is everything a bike could be and more. Go for it with confidence!
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Old 05-31-05, 03:19 PM   #3
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Maybe I will change my name to Folder Fanatic Too??

Seriously... it seems to fit the bill. But I want a test ride, which, as mentioned above, is hard to arrange unless one is fairly sure anyway. Crazy!
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Old 06-01-05, 04:44 AM   #4
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Bicycle Habitat on 17th+6th avenue had a Speed8 recently on the floor, which they'll probably let you test. Larry+Jeff's on 2nd Avenue @ 87th street has a Speed I'm sure you can ride as well.
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Old 06-01-05, 05:35 AM   #5
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Shwing! They're both relatively convenient, at least from work, though not quite so as Toga with respect to proximity to home. Dannyg1, thank you! I will be calling both places this morning to see what I can arrange (L&J's provided the on-road "neutral support" for the Montauk Century so they make me feel warm and fuzzy).
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Old 06-01-05, 09:40 AM   #6
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And, even though you're really in the market for the Speed Pro, I believe the Speed P8s have the same frame at least. So they'll probably get you in the ballpark of how it would feel to ride the Pro.
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Old 06-01-05, 10:01 AM   #7
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I checked with L&J's because they're at least on a roundabout way home for me. They have a "Speed" there (I guess that's the P8?). I'm not sure if I will be able to go today (I work loony hours), but I will sure try!
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Old 06-01-05, 10:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannyg1
Bicycle Habitat on 17th+6th avenue had a Speed8 recently on the floor, which they'll probably let you test. Larry+Jeff's on 2nd Avenue @ 87th street has a Speed I'm sure you can ride as well.

Bicycle Habitat is on Lafayette between Spring and Prince- not Sixth Avenue.
Even so, last time I was there they had a couple of Dahons all built up and ready to test ride. All they require is some ID

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Old 06-01-05, 01:20 PM   #9
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warning -- unsolicited advice! I have commuted daily in NYC for the past four years. I STRONGLY recommend not using this bike to commute unless you will always keep it with you in your office when you arrive (which is usually not practical, esp. if you ever ride in the rain since the bike will be dripping with goop from the city streets.) a pure commuter -- good mechanically, poor cosmetically -- for this purpose is the best way to go. for the good-weather days you want to do loops, you can bring the shiny, new bike. The $450 deposit won't be a concern the first time you find your bike stripped/vandalized/stolen. I have been through about a bike a year commuting daily through all weather and have become numb to the feeling of walking out to see my bike gone/trashed. good rule of thumb - the bike should cost less than the lock and chain you secure it with.

other than that - looks like a good program. by the way, my best travel bike is a bianchi campione triple with S&S couplers that can do everything you describe (except, like I said, commute).

Quote:
Originally Posted by oboeguy
The Dahon Speed Pro looks like the best compromise folder for me. Here are my needs / desiderata:

1. 15+ miles of commuting each work day in NYC (~7-8mi each way)
2. a lap or two of Central Park on the way home or on the way to work
3. ride a century on it if I feel like it
4. toss into a suitcase for when I travel
5. see #4; for running errands as well as reasonably serious solo rides on the (very hilly) Costa Brava

My main ride is a Lemond Reno '98. I love my Lemond, but it's not a great commuter (!) within NYC, and it sure won't fit in a suitcase.

So my dilema is that I can't know if I really want a Speed Pro if I test ride, and I can't test ride it unless I put down a deposit for a special order, because it appears that most shops don't stock one. For example, I called Toga and they said exactly that -- need a deposit which is non-refundable, but can be applied to store credit. Who needs $450 of store credit?!?

So, what does the Folder forum suggest? Shine your wisdom upon me and complete my conversion to a folder fan!
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Old 06-01-05, 02:25 PM   #10
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Thanks for the advice Socks. The point for me of getting a folder is so that I can bring it in the building. As it stands, I can't bring a bike inside. I have an office of my own and am surrounded by people who make more money than I do, so, for at least as long as I'm at this location, I'm good to go (though location may change soon, I hope not, cross your fingers).
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Old 06-01-05, 03:28 PM   #11
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Do any of you have experience withhttp://www.thefitnessstore.com? They seem to sell folders at cut rates. Plus the shipping cost is included and there'd be no sales tax (don't think they're from NY). The difference if a LBS were to sell at MSRP comes out to something like $170. That's a significant saving over a LBS. Of course that leaves the buyer with the responsibility of putting the thing together and adjusting it but how hard can that be?
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Old 06-01-05, 03:45 PM   #12
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I bought my dahon from thefitnesstore.com - it was fine. The bike was shipped from dahon and there was little info as to when it would arrive - it took about two weeks to arrive. The box was kind of beat up, but the bike was okay - I put it together okay and I am no mechanical whiz. I also took it to a bike shop for the initial tune up to activate the lifetime warranty. I had that done at REI and it cost about $30.
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Old 06-01-05, 04:04 PM   #13
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Cheap tune-up. They're like $50+ where I've been before for regular bikes.
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Old 06-01-05, 07:13 PM   #14
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I am so sure you like the speedpro that I would send it to you . you can testride it and if not liked you can send it back to me . You would be out the freight back to me.
PLUS if that returned bike is dirty I would charge for my labour to wash it, same if it is beaten up. ( pretty logical, really )
Never had one send back to me though :-)

Thor

p.s. this also means of course that you really can go ahead and let your favourite store order one for you. Even if you DONT like it, you can sell it on ebay for very close what you paid I am sure. But again you will love it ... WHen you try the speed 8 keep in mind that the seed pro feels a little faster for sure
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Old 06-01-05, 07:31 PM   #15
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I tried what I think was the Speed 8. It said "Speed" on the side and had an 8-speed cassette... It was good! I think the Speed Pro may just be the ticket. Now to decide if I want to go online or through a store.

Brakemeister, thanks for the encouragement!
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Old 06-01-05, 09:56 PM   #16
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This past weekend I put together a Speed Pro and a Speed TR and test rode them both. The Speed Pro is really sweet and a beauty, but I think the TR would be a better commuter bike. I think that the main advantage over the less expensive bikes is the big gear inch range.





Quote:
Originally Posted by oboeguy
I tried what I think was the Speed 8. It said "Speed" on the side and had an 8-speed cassette... It was good! I think the Speed Pro may just be the ticket. Now to decide if I want to go online or through a store.

Brakemeister, thanks for the encouragement!
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Old 06-02-05, 07:22 AM   #17
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Hmmm, I think the extra 3 kilos partly sinks the TR for me. I really don't care about stuff like suspension seatposts, nor do I need or want somewhat wider tires. I think the tires on the Pro are fine for me (most any folder tire is wide compared to the 23c tires on my road bike), which IIRC are 28c.

I'm still trying to figure out exactly what it was I test rode, because looking at the P8 online, it doesn't have white paint like the one I tried. '04 model, perhaps? In any case, I was pleased.

Things I'd like to do with the basic model:
- add SPDs
Appears doable -- makes the folder "package" only slightly wider

- add bar ends
A little trickier. The guy at the shop told me that it's possible with a special quick-release retention mechanism on the stem which allow flipping around the handlebars. It wasn't on the bike I tried. Is this standard now, perhaps?

Anyhow I'm still deciding -- order from a shop or online... Plus now that I've felt the weight of a folder, I'm tempted by the Helios SL... so light at only 6.7 kilos. I think I'd really miss the extra gearing, too, and I like the idea of a steel frame. Meh, decisions, decisions.
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Old 06-02-05, 08:02 AM   #18
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The Speed Pro comes with Cane Creek ErgoControl bar ends so you won't need to add any.
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Old 06-02-05, 08:24 AM   #19
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No kidding! I don't see them in the pictures online, but that's good to know.
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Old 06-02-05, 08:43 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oboeguy
I'm still trying to figure out exactly what it was I test rode, because looking at the P8 online, it doesn't have white paint like the one I tried. '04 model, perhaps?
Yeah, the '04 P8s were white. That's what I've got. Shows mud real easy, but shore looks purty when she's clean! (The fitness store website incorrectly shows the model as a "Speed 8", by the way.)

Personally, I'd recommend going with your LBS if they have 'em. Yeah, you'll pay retail, plus sales tax, but they'll usually throw in the set-up for free. And sometimes they'll toss in another tune-up in six months or so, once it's "broken in". But moreover, you'll have a shop that you have a relationship with, which can be important (although not quite as much as if you plan on doing all your maintenance yourself). Plus, it encourages bricks & mortar stores to stock Dahons, which is good for all of us.

That said, you might want to check out Better Bicycle Company. All they do is sell Dahons. No camping gear, no airplane parts, not even any other bikes. They're not as cheap, but they do have free shipping, no sales tax, and they do the tune-up for free prior to shipping, which is worth some $$$ right there.
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Old 06-02-05, 08:57 AM   #21
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I'm thinking I might go to Toga today (more of a free schedule) to try whatever they have there. I think they said they had a Helios, but I'm not sure. I liked L&J's shop, but it is a little out of the way for me. Plus the guy at L&J's tried to discourage me from my Master Plan(TM) of riding the TA NYC Century this Fall on a folder. Doh! He did suggest the Cane Creek bar ends -- little did he or I know that they come with the Speed Pro.

Did I mention that for kicks I tried a Birdie at L&J's? Darndest looking things with the weird suspension system. Too pricey, and not what I'm looking for, but hey, why not try it if you're there?
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Old 06-02-05, 10:01 AM   #22
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The 2005 Dahon SpeedPro is spec'd pretty nicely - I was even tempted.

The new folding mechanism for the handlebars allows them to be folded on the outside of the bike as opposed to the inside; I'm sure this is to accommodate bar ends more easily, but more importantly, may allow you to install drop bars (caveat: This is my impression from looking online; I don't own a Dahon, nor have I seen the SpeedPro in person). The main frame hinge is more streamlined (aesthetics), but the seat seems to be a custom job - you'll have to replace the entire seat and seatpost if you want to install a standard seat. The wheels seem to be custom jobs as well - many folding bikes come with custom-sized hubs, so wheel replacements or extra wheel sets are not that easy to come by.

But the main reason why I didn't buy one myself is because I'm on the lookout for a folding tandem, specifically a Bike Friday. But if Dahon ever got into the folding tandem market....
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Old 06-02-05, 10:17 AM   #23
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Don't tempt me again with dreams of folding tandems. Too good to be true, I tell you!

Your comments on the new Speed Pro pretty much have put me over the edge. I think I have to put in the order today or tomorrow -- I can't wait any longer!
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Old 06-02-05, 10:27 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oboeguy
Don't tempt me again with dreams of folding tandems. Too good to be true, I tell you!

Your comments on the new Speed Pro pretty much have put me over the edge. I think I have to put in the order today or tomorrow -- I can't wait any longer!
My wife and I own a Bike Friday Tandem Two'sday. It's fantastic. We toured through the Dordogne region in France with it a while back. doesn't see much riding these days, but I can't bring myself to put it on the block because it's so great. two inconspicuous suitcases concealing a lot of joy.
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Old 06-02-05, 05:52 PM   #25
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So I pulled the trigger!!! It felt so right when I visited Toga, and they offerred to call Dahon right away to check on stock. They expect it in probably by Friday of next week. Woohoo!!!
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