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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 06-24-05, 10:41 AM   #1
AltTransSkr
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I'm looking for a bike primarily for commuting and am interested in a folding bike. I also like the idea of a bike I can fold and easily put in a car, or take inside a store or restaurant with me rather than leave on the street. My experience is that people will eventually mess with a bike that's locked up outside. I live in Washington, DC, which is not bad for biking but does have hills, in particular, I have a fairly long uphill on the way home from work. I'm interested in the Dahon Cadenza, which is sold at a store near me, but was also curious about the Puma bike (not available to be seen near me, and I wonder if I could ride a single gear up the hill). I've also run across material on the Hummer folding bike which seems interesting--should be rugged if it lives up to the reputation. I'd much appreciate it if anyone on this forum has any thoughts and experiences with any of these, or folding bikes for commuting in general. BTW, I'm not interested in one of the small-wheel bikes--I want a full size folder.

Thanks! I edited this message on 6/26/05 to be more specific.

Last edited by AltTransSkr; 06-26-05 at 05:25 PM.
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Old 06-27-05, 11:32 AM   #2
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While I am an owner of a Dahon Boardwalk, I have test rode the Zero-G. The full size folders with 26" wheels will not be as compact as the 20" and 16" models. But they still fold into a somewhat compact bundle that will have to be negotiated into a larger area and not as neatly hid from view even bagged. They are a good buy because you can still somewhat bring them inside with you. Make sure that this size bike can be taken anywhere that you go or else you have just another bike that is force to sit outside and at risk of the elements and thieves.

Please let us know what you decide to do.
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Old 06-27-05, 12:28 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by folder fanatic
While I am an owner of a Dahon Boardwalk, I have test rode the Zero-G. The full size folders with 26" wheels will not be as compact as the 20" and 16" models. But they still fold into a somewhat compact bundle that will have to be negotiated into a larger area and not as neatly hid from view even bagged. They are a good buy because you can still somewhat bring them inside with you. Make sure that this size bike can be taken anywhere that you go or else you have just another bike that is force to sit outside and at risk of the elements and thieves.

Please let us know what you decide to do.
Thanks! How was the Zero G?

I'm very much leaning toward the Dahon--the Puma, although I kind of like the idea of a bike designed purely with urban commuting in mind, seems awfully heavy. 37 lbs? Also, not being able to test ride it easily is a problem. And I won't even mention the bagging it got from serious bikers on this board!

Folks on the board seem to think the Hummer bike doesn't come with good deraillures, and it looks to me that folding it requires removal of the front wheel--not a biggie, but the Dahon seems easier, at least from what I can tell.

OTOH, most people seem pretty positive about their Dahons.

Good point about making sure I can bring the bike inside at my destinations-I'll be following up on that.
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Old 06-27-05, 12:44 PM   #4
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I was walking past the Puma store in Soho when I notced they had a couple of bikes on display. I didn't ask but I really doubt they ever imagined anyone might want to test ride one of the bikes. The bikes seemed more like a display than demos.

Personally I'd go with a bike that's manufactured by a reputable company like Dahon, Bike Friday, etc.
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Old 06-27-05, 12:57 PM   #5
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I was walking past the Puma store in Soho when I notced they had a couple of bikes on display. I didn't ask but I really doubt they ever imagined anyone might want to test ride one of the bikes. The bikes seemed more like a display than demos.
Stacy, thanks for the info--I guess you're supposed to buy them because they look cool. I think I can take Puma off my list.
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Old 06-27-05, 10:11 PM   #6
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All things being equal I'd rather buy from my LBS than a glorified sneaker store
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Old 06-27-05, 11:32 PM   #7
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For several months I considered various folders including Dahons and Montague. AT first I like the idea of the Montage, Hummer etc, then I saw a few and was not impressed with the workmanship or components, also I hated the idea of having to remove the front wheel. Then I got interested in Dahon's but only 26 inchers cause I didn't wantone of those "kiddy bikes." Rode the Mariner 26 which I didn't like. Then I rode a Boardwalk, which I liked. Then a Speed P8 which I liked even more. Then a Vitise which I sort like, a Helois * which I really liked a lot. Then I found a 04 Speed TR for sale at a good price. One ride and I fell in love. The dual shift system has to be driven to believe. I have had it for a month now and ride 15 to 20 miles daily. Today I drove my old MTB first the first time since getting the 20 TR. I hated it, slow, heavy, steers like a Mac Truck.

So my belief now. 20 inch wheels are great and Dual shifting rules.

Try a Speed Pro or Speed TR before you buy anything else.
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Old 06-29-05, 03:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AltTransSkr
Thanks! How was the Zero G?

I'm very much leaning toward the Dahon--the Puma, although I kind of like the idea of a bike designed purely with urban commuting in mind, seems awfully heavy. 37 lbs? Also, not being able to test ride it easily is a problem. And I won't even mention the bagging it got from serious bikers on this board!

Folks on the board seem to think the Hummer bike doesn't come with good deraillures, and it looks to me that folding it requires removal of the front wheel--not a biggie, but the Dahon seems easier, at least from what I can tell.

OTOH, most people seem pretty positive about their Dahons.

Good point about making sure I can bring the bike inside at my destinations-I'll be following up on that.
I usually strongly dislike Aluminimun frame bikes, but I really enjoyed my time on the Zero-G. It handled the very smooth polished floor with sureness and swiftness that I rarely have experienced on a mountain bike (I rode it indoors at the Southern California Bicycle Expo last April.) The brakes were not grabby and were very smooth in holding on to the rim. Shifting was very smooth-like digging into a bucket of butter. Please read my report on this and other Dahon related topics on the Dahon forum as well as these forums here on this site. (www.dahon.com)
My own ride is the Boardwalk. This bike has similar handling characteristics of my larger, non-folding bike.
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Old 06-29-05, 07:07 PM   #9
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Thanks, I will check out your reviews. Good to hear nice things about the zero G.

Funny you should mention the Boardwalk. There's a guy selling one on Craigslist DC for 150, including a carrying bag. If there's not something seriously wrong with it, sounds like a good deal.
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Old 07-11-05, 10:45 AM   #10
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I'm having a fit finding any full-size folding bikes in my area (Washington, DC) to actually look at. Does anyone know of a shop that's likely to carry them? Thanks.
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Old 07-11-05, 11:16 AM   #11
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I think you should avoid the Hummer bike on principle...

I'm basically saying I'd rather give my hard earned cash to a more environmentally responsible company. Imagine the irony of riding a hummer folding bike and getting ran over by a schmuck in an H2 that 'didn't see you".

Check out www.fuh2.com for more on that...

I'd get a Dahon speed or a Brompton. Bromptons aren't so light but they fold so easily and so smaaaaaaaaaaall...

H
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Old 07-11-05, 12:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AltTransSkr
I'm having a fit finding any full-size folding bikes in my area (Washington, DC) to actually look at. Does anyone know of a shop that's likely to carry them? Thanks.
Try the Dahon's Dealer Locator available on their website:

http://www.dahon.com/locator/usdealers.htm

Dahon has a wide 26" model list that reflects the tastes of most of it's customers. I hope you are sucessful in finding the right bike for you.
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Old 07-11-05, 02:00 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by AltTransSkr
I'm having a fit finding any full-size folding bikes in my area (Washington, DC) to actually look at. Does anyone know of a shop that's likely to carry them? Thanks.
Spokes in Alexandria occasionally carries them. The folder specialty store in Vienna (Bikes@Vienna) might have them, but they tend to focus on the smaller-wheeled folders. What kind of riding are you planning to do? Don't discount the 20" folders right off the bat. I did, and I regret it. The 26-in folders are just not very manageble on transit, and I can't imagine taking it into a restaurant.

I like my Matrix, but I will likely sell it soon and get a 20-inch folder. Or I might keep it for guests and get a 20-inch folder for my winter commute, when I ride all the way to work in the mornings (14 miles) and take the Metro home in the evenings when it's too dark for me to ride.
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Old 07-12-05, 04:10 AM   #14
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Velogirl--thanks! I'll definitely try Spokes and the store in Vienna. Maybe they'll have a bigger selection than what I've been finding, which is maybe one or two folders per store.

On the 20" bikes--I did have a chance to try the Dahon Vitesse at a bike shop in Maryland on Sunday. I had mixed feelings. On the upside, it was a more solid ride than I had thought it would be. Although it only had a 5-gear hub, the range of gears was good enough for what I want it for, my daily commute. On the downside, I didn't really like the feel of the hub gears -- the shifting just felt less responsive and mushy (although I understand they're more or less indestructible. Still, adjusting a deraillure isn't that big of a deal). I'm also kind of a large guy, and the bike felt kind of ... I don't know, crampy. I couldn't imagine riding it for more than a few miles. Supposedly, the seat and handlebars were adjusted for my height, but I just felt like I couldn't extend to a comfortable position, like I can on a road bike. Although I also hear what you're saying about taking the bike on the metro--that is definitely a concern.

I just wish I could find a bigger selection to try.
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Old 07-12-05, 07:34 AM   #15
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Before you decide, go talk to the folks at Bikes@Vienna. They are folding specialists and can help you make a good decision based on your weight/size and riding style.
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Old 07-12-05, 09:30 AM   #16
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I will, absolutely! And I'll tell them Velogirl sent me!

So, as a Dahon owner, do you like their overall quality?
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Old 07-12-05, 10:28 AM   #17
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I will, absolutely! And I'll tell them Velogirl sent me!

So, as a Dahon owner, do you like their overall quality?
I've actually only been to BAV once. It's not convenient for me to get there. However, I was impressed with their selection. If I had known about BAV before I bought my Matrix, perhaps I would have ended up with a 20-inch bike. The problem was finding a place that had bikes to try out. BAV has lots

I think Dahons are well-made, but I'm not a folder expert by any means. I understand that Bike Fridays and Bromptons are better made, but they cost much, much more. I like that Dahons provide a choice in styles and prices. I'm new to this whole folder world, and have a lot more to learn.
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Old 07-17-05, 01:47 PM   #18
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Well, I'm sorry to say that my trip to Bikes@Vienna turned out to be rather fruitless. They do have a good selection, however, the salesman I got was for some reason extremely curt and even rude, and acted as though showing me a bike was a big imposition. I test rode one bike, and left.

Given the difficulty I'm having actually getting to test a variety of folders, I think I may just get a good road bike, which is easier to come by, and some good locks.
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Old 07-17-05, 03:18 PM   #19
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I'm a bit surprised you had a bad experience at B@V - I've been over there a number of times and they have generally been friendly and taken their time with me, even when things are busy. Perhaps call ahead, explain what you would like to look at, so they'll be expecting you rather than getting someone who is having a bad day.

A full-size road bike is (potentially) going to be a faster ride than the Dahon's; although the Speed 8 and Helios SL in particular feel pretty quick and I think look as good as many road bikes. Of course you do give up the portability of the folding package.
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Old 07-18-05, 08:11 AM   #20
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There's no excuse for being rude to customers. Too bad for BAV--they lost a customer, probably for life! And I'll be less likely to make the long haul out there knowing that I might be up for the same treatment. I don't get bike shop employees who have an attitude, and there are alot like that out there!

Don't give up on a folder if that's what you want. Try Spokes in Alexandria. My favorite bike shop is Proteus in College Park, Maryland, but they don't have folders. However, they will take the time to make sure you get the best bike for you (NOT the most expensive!)
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