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Old 07-14-17, 10:56 AM   #1
Hexley
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Advice on folding bike for recreation

Hi forum,

I ride for recreation, typically on the weekends- in the park and around town, perhaps 25 miles on a decent day, but more recently under 15. I have two kids under two, so my time is understandably a little limited. We're in south Florida, it's all very flat.

I'm looking at folders because we have a condo (with elevator), no garage to speak of... very little spare room thanks to two babies and all their stuff-- and my Walmart comfort bike which served me fine is falling apart after 6 decent years. I know, of course it is.

I don't have good options for indoor storage away from little curious toddler fingers, so often I'd consider keeping the folded bike locked and concealed in the trunk of my Honda Fit or in the corner of my closet.

What is everyone's opinion on the Downtube Nova or the Citizen Seoul? I would surely love a Brompton or a Bike Friday, but two little ones, my basic riding needs, and a wife at home means I got to keep this economically feasible and shopping time/investigation for the ideal used bikes- I'd rather avoid.

Your opinion?
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Old 07-14-17, 11:38 AM   #2
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I would go Downtube. Build quality seems better to me than the Citizen bikes I've seen.
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Old 07-14-17, 11:53 AM   #3
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If I had a choice between storing a folder in a closet corner or in a vehicle, I'd choose the closet corner every time.

Why? If anyone sees you loading or unloading your folder from your vehicle, that alone would be reason enough to break in and take it. Doesn't matter if it's not in view, covered, etc. Much more difficult to break into someone's home. Given the choice between a home burglary and a vehicle burglary, which do you think a burgler would choose?
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Old 07-14-17, 12:17 PM   #4
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Do you plan to pull the kids in a trailer?
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Old 07-14-17, 12:52 PM   #5
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No immediate plans for a trailer, no. Good point about the car, the home for this will probably be in the corner of the closet, yes.
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Old 07-14-17, 02:18 PM   #6
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Another vote here for Downtube over Citizen. I think the components are better judged on the Downtube's even if the Citizen bikes are a bit more attractive with a better website. Ultimately though look around to see what you can find perhaps compose a shortlist of candidates and bung the list on here for us to muse and pick apart.

If you are going down the online sales route I guess ebay and amazon plus other bike direct sellers. I'm not in the US but have heard of greenzone. Also origami bikes.

Looks like you have a budget of $329 approx so this is my suggestion to get the ball rolling.

https://www.amazon.com/EuroMini-Ligh.../dp/B01JBF6AWQ

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Old 07-14-17, 03:03 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone for your advice. I've decided on a Downtube Nova! Excited to take a spin soon in folding style!
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Old 07-14-17, 06:11 PM   #8
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Downtube? Excellent choice!
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Old 07-14-17, 10:05 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone for your advice. I've decided on a Downtube Nova! Excited to take a spin soon in folding style!
I come across a guy every day on our local MUP who has the Nova, had it about 10 months now, and he's quite happy. He had a Dahon before (it broke, was old). Said he thinks the DT rides better than his Dahon, fwiw.
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Old 07-15-17, 01:26 AM   #10
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My one issue with the Nova and not surprising at its price point is the freewheel based gear system which is no better or different to entry level models as low as $100 there abouts. That I guess is the big compromise to reach its price point but the rest of the bike spec seems very well judged but personally would have preferred a $350 price point with a cassette based rear wheel even if the cassette was non Shimano/Sram and the derailleur was Microshift instead of Shimano/SRAM. The bike I suggested seems far superior with regards components and likely to be more reliable, smoother shifting and capable of more abuse for only a small price difference.

Also the Downtube site is very misleading.

States a cassette hub here then further down states its a freewheel.

https://downtube.com/faq/bike-compar...cations-table/

Looking at the video on the specific Nova page it can be clearly seen its a basic quality freewheel.

You seem to see this on various bike sites where they try to confuse potential buyers by mentioning 'cassette' which is not appropriate or accurate when there is no free hub.

Still seems a nice bike but compromised slightly by the cheap and weak drive train.
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Old 07-15-17, 06:24 AM   #11
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Did you read the FAQ? There is important info we need to be able to advise you properly.
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Old 07-15-17, 08:08 AM   #12
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Bonzo,

#1 Can you please show me a $100 folding bike with a freewheel. Please understand I am not looking for no name ebay/alibaba stuff. Ideally I would appreciate a company & bike with a solid reputation.
#2 Can you please show me a $350 folding bike with a cassette ( not including our company ). Again I am looking for reputable companies/models
#3 How is the link you share misleading?

Thanks,
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bonzo Banana View Post
My one issue with the Nova and not surprising at its price point is the freewheel based gear system which is no better or different to entry level models as low as $100 there abouts. That I guess is the big compromise to reach its price point but the rest of the bike spec seems very well judged but personally would have preferred a $350 price point with a cassette based rear wheel even if the cassette was non Shimano/Sram and the derailleur was Microshift instead of Shimano/SRAM. The bike I suggested seems far superior with regards components and likely to be more reliable, smoother shifting and capable of more abuse for only a small price difference.

Also the Downtube site is very misleading.

States a cassette hub here then further down states its a freewheel.

https://downtube.com/faq/bike-compar...cations-table/

Looking at the video on the specific Nova page it can be clearly seen its a basic quality freewheel.

You seem to see this on various bike sites where they try to confuse potential buyers by mentioning 'cassette' which is not appropriate or accurate when there is no free hub.

Still seems a nice bike but compromised slightly by the cheap and weak drive train.
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Old 07-15-17, 08:40 AM   #13
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Bonzo,

#1 Can you please show me a $100 folding bike with a freewheel. Please understand I am not looking for no name ebay/alibaba stuff. Ideally I would appreciate a company & bike with a solid reputation.
#2 Can you please show me a $350 folding bike with a cassette ( not including our company ). Again I am looking for reputable companies/models
#3 How is the link you share misleading?

Thanks,
Yan
First of all I don't deal in 'reputable' or 'reputation' because I have no evidence to suggest that Downtube are better or worse than other suppliers I guess its a card you will play to try to upsell your product but me personally I'm interested in the product itself. Let's face it there are many importers of far east bikes who put higher or lesser margins on their bike depending on the efficiency of their operation, marketing costs and basically how much profit they want. If its the same freewheel it is the same freewheel with all the same expected operational qualities and lifespan between any brand of bike.

1. Here's a $120 dollar folding bike with a Shimano freewheel. There is another on the same site with a 7 speed at a similar price but more mountain bike style.

https://www.amazon.com/Fashine-Light...g+bike+7+speed

2. I've already shown a $350 bike which has a cassette and various other upgraded components and I personally have no information that makes that company less reputable than your brand.

3. On the downtube specification page you state 'Rear wheel: Quando 28H QR cassette hub w/machined rim' and then 'Cassette: Shimano 14-28T freewheel'. The rear wheel doesn't have a cassette hub and a freewheel isn't a cassette so both entries are misleading and inaccurate but imply a cassette is fitted. The first entry should replace 'cassette' with 'freewheel' and the second entry should have 'Cassette or freewheel: Shimano freewheel'. That would be honest and accurate.

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Old 07-16-17, 11:06 AM   #14
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Bonzo,

My apologies if the below sounds rude.

#1 The bike you share has a flawed design. It has a vertical shock with no horizontal component...I expect it to behave like a pogo stick.

Additionally there is only one review which states, "I have not buy one.but I saw a bike similar to this one,red,looks reaaaally cool,suit for students and young beautiful girls"

I am not sure that I see this bike as a viable option.

#2 Outside of our company you have not shared anyone that uses a cassette on $300 folders.

#3 You claim that we are deceitful. Please note that the Nova product page clearly states it uses a freewheel.

You edited the image of a page to make it seem dishonest. However I think your edits are an issue. The relevant page has a run down of specs on many different models ( all of which have cassettes except one ). Hence naming the row cassette is proper. I believe 99% of readers understand the specs correctly as listed. Does anyone have an issue with the page at https://downtube.com/faq/bike-compar...cations-table/ ?

Thanks
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Old 07-16-17, 12:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by downtube View Post
Bonzo,
Does anyone have an issue with the page at https://downtube.com/faq/bike-compar...cations-table/ ?
I do. Try viewing it on mobile. As a web developer I find all the bike websites just appalling, but at least your site isn't as bad as Dahons disaster.
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Old 07-16-17, 12:19 PM   #16
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Bonzo,

My apologies if the below sounds rude.

#1 The bike you share has a flawed design. It has a vertical shock with no horizontal component...I expect it to behave like a pogo stick.

Additionally there is only one review which states, "I have not buy one.but I saw a bike similar to this one,red,looks reaaaally cool,suit for students and young beautiful girls"

I am not sure that I see this bike as a viable option.

#2 Outside of our company you have not shared anyone that uses a cassette on $300 folders.

#3 You claim that we are deceitful. Please note that the Nova product page clearly states it uses a freewheel.

You edited the image of a page to make it seem dishonest. However I think your edits are an issue. The relevant page has a run down of specs on many different models ( all of which have cassettes except one ). Hence naming the row cassette is proper. I believe 99% of readers understand the specs correctly as listed. Does anyone have an issue with the page at https://downtube.com/faq/bike-compar...cations-table/ ?

Thanks
Yan
#1: I'm not vouching for either of those bikes they both look terrible and the Nova looks very nice generally but they all share an entry level quality Shimano freewheel that was the point nothing more.

#2: My point was always a $350 bike which was the Euromini model and said the small difference in price was justified for the stronger and longer lasting cassette based drivetrain and double walled wheels.

#3: The image was never edited I thought I'd better do a screengrab to make sure there was no confusion or claim otherwise. The only edit was the red lines to underline exactly where I meant. A quick check shows it is still exactly the same as when I posted. It hasn't been updated or corrected.

https://downtube.com/faq/bike-compar...cations-table/

I'm a little confused by your comments. Just so we are clear here. A cassette based hub is also called a freehub. The ratcheting mechanism is part of the hub itself. A cassette is then placed onto the freehub. This is generally a stronger, longer lasting and higher quality part over a freewheel. A cassette has no ratchet mechanism itself and can be a single collection of cogs or just a collection of loose cogs or inbetween.

A freewheel is a manufactured unit that contains both cogs and ratchet mechanism together and screws onto a thread on the hub itself. This is an entry level drivetrain nowadays of lower quality which tend to be much weaker, shorter life and have the infamous wobble related to how accurately the thread is machined into the hub. They also have a tendency to bend the axle quite easily if abused, bike dropped off pavement, heavy rider, pot holes etc which accentuates the wobble and makes adjusting gears even harder. Combined with a basic quality entry level derailleur it can be problematic especially if not regularly maintained. These problems are often seen in entry level bikes and even budget models of good brands. The issue can be made worse by folding bikes because the derailleur is so close to the ground and picks up more dirt and mud in bad weather but is also improved by the fact folding bikes normally only have a single chainset/ring so the chainline doesn't move as much. This doesn't mean all freewheel based bikes have problems but for me personally I think freewheels are best left for entry level models and one of the main reasons to pay more is to get a cassette based drivetrain.

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Old 07-16-17, 12:53 PM   #17
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Could I step in with a few comments? I have no ties to Downtube, EuroMini or any other folder or company, so my thoughts are strictly my own. I've got at least a couple dozen folders, and this is what I've learned.

First of all, I'm price-sensitive just like anyone else. So I get the idea that in a relatively inexpensive folder, there are going to be compromises. Freewheel vs. cassette is one. I'm sure Yan would love to throw a cassette into a $300 folder, but...

I don't think the general public realizes that designing and engineering a folder is much different than a non-folder. Not only do you have to make the folding bits work well together, but you have to make the entire bike safe to ride, hopefully long-lasting, and easy to fold/unfold. So much more money goes into the frame than a non-folder, which leaves less $ for components. We would like Yan to stay in business, so he does get to make a small profit, right? If he doesn't, what's the point of being in business?

On the freewheel vs. cassette issue on a folder, this is of course a consideration, but much more important to me - especially in a relatively inexpensive folder - is the issue of how well does the bike ride, how well do the folding bits work (play in hinges, ease of folding/unfolding, etc), and are they prone to excessive wear. All those issues are of primary importance, with parts selection being a secondary consideration. Not that the freewheel vs. cassette isn't an issue, but we're not talking about expensive folders here. It's unrealistic to expect high-quality parts on an inexpensive folder, all else being equal, unless you like having problems with the folding bits or the ride in general. There is no free lunch in folders. You get what you pay for.
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Old 07-16-17, 02:28 PM   #18
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I do. Try viewing it on mobile. As a web developer I find all the bike websites just appalling, but at least your site isn't as bad as Dahons disaster.
I realize they weren't talking about site design, but you're so right about bike websites and their crappy site designs. The only folding bike sites I'd say are well-designed are Brompton and Tern. Dahon's site is a hot mess! I gave up even trying to make a build on Bike Friday's site after it just crashed over and over again. With so many bike purchasers not having a lbs that carries folders, this is a huge missed opportunity.
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Old 07-16-17, 09:09 PM   #19
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I realize they weren't talking about site design, but you're so right about bike websites and their crappy site designs. The only folding bike sites I'd say are well-designed are Brompton and Tern. Dahon's site is a hot mess! I gave up even trying to make a build on Bike Friday's site after it just crashed over and over again. With so many bike purchasers not having a lbs that carries folders, this is a huge missed opportunity.
FWIW, I have zero problem using the builder @ Bike Friday's site (have you tried on another computer with a different browser?). Brompton's site is good as well. Dahon's site gives me a headache; it's not intuitive and I can never find the info I want (maybe they don't post it, who knows). Downtube's site is pretty simple and clear. As for the freewheel/cassette possible confusion, if you are buying a bike and not sure what it comes with, then you should ask. Inexperienced purchasers of low end bikes may not understand why it might be an issue, but they also are probably not going to attempt upgrades. If and when they decide they need something better, they'll get a better bike. On the plus side, it allows financiallly challenged folks the opportunity to get a first folder.
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Old 07-17-17, 05:21 AM   #20
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Thanks everyone for your advice. I've decided on a Downtube Nova! Excited to take a spin soon in folding style!
I'm obviously late to the game but I've owned a couple of Citizen Miamis for about 5 years now and although the components used on the Miami are rudimentary they are still functional and serviceable. I don't ride the Miamis much anymore since my Bike Friday and Brompton are my preferred folders and the Miamis have been relegated as backups in other parts of the country but I'm very pleased with both bikes which were $200 when I bought them.
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Old 07-17-17, 06:47 AM   #21
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Another satisfied Citizen rider chiming in. I bought a Citizen Miami about six weeks ago as a back up bike. I'm a daily bike commuter but at 6'3" and almost 200 lbs I ride large bikes. I tried a Brompton on an overnight trial promotion they ran last year but it was not confidence inspiring ride through DC traffic. The Citizen is actually a bit more reliable feeling on city streets for my large frame and high center of gravity. I do drive my car once or twice a month for work and despite having a bike share system in DC it's pretty essential that I have a way to get around after parking downtown and bike share dries up pretty quickly during evening rush and for hours after until the docks are rebalanced and the Citizen has worked as well as the other folders I've tried in terms of speed of set up from folded to ready to ride. I can't speak to the longevity of the components as the bike is only six weeks old but a low cost of entry for a back up ride and bike that may have to be locked up downtown for hours into the night and thus needs to be at least semi expendable ( terrible thing to have to say ) made it a good choice for me. I'm able to make repairs at this price. I hadn't seen the Downtube bikes and I like their color selection and may well have considered one of those over the Citizen for the color alone. I bought a bright orange Miami only because they didn't offer a high viz florescent yellow bike. I'm convinced that the more easily seen a bike is the longer the rider will go without being hit by a car.
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Old 07-17-17, 07:40 AM   #22
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I have no dog in the fight but I am a very avid promoter of cassette drivetrains. I understand why downtube has cassette in his spec sheet but agree that it should not be there.

I'm surprized no one suggested he upgrade to the downtube 8s for just a few dollars more.

For how I use a bike the nova would not work for me---not a high enough top gear.
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Old 07-17-17, 03:16 PM   #23
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I think freewheel is just fine for folding bike...(take this with a grain of salt, I've only owned 2 bikes with freewheel...but I've analyzed this topic thoroughly.).

Think of about it for a moment...freewheel was the industrial standard for decades...there're billions of freewheel produced for Schwinn ten-speed bikes...there're billions more freewheel on Walmart/Target bikes...still billions more will be produced in the future. It cannot be bad!

My theory is the bad rep comes from MTB and BMX people...who exceeded the design limit of freewheel technology!!!

Folding bike people don't jump curbs or going riding on rocky single track trails!!!

Don't be scared of freewheel!

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Old 07-18-17, 04:33 AM   #24
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... Think of about it for a moment...freewheel was the industrial standard for decades...there're billions of freewheel produced for Schwinn ten-speed bikes...there're billions more freewheel on Walmart/Target bikes...still billions more will be produced in the future. It cannot be bad!

My theory is the bad rep comes from MTB and BMX people...who exceeded the design limit of freewheel technology!!!...
Let's not forget there may also be a problem with modern freewheels because of lower quality alloys being used since, after all, they are now put on less expensive bikes. I've bent the axles of many modern freewheel hubs just from road riding yet that rarely happened in my younger years back when cassettes weren't even around or were still in their infancy and freewheels were the norm... and I certainly haven't become a more powerful rider now that I'm grandpa aged.
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Old 07-18-17, 02:39 PM   #25
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+1 check out Sheldon Brown's site for an explanation why freewheels are inferior and more prone to bent axles. There's more than 1 reason why they were abandoned.
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