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Old 07-18-05, 09:51 AM   #1
Rincewind8
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Downtube folding bike

Hi!

I found these "Downtube" folding bikes online and was wondering if anyone here owns one, has tested/seen one or knows of any independent review of any kind. From the description and the pictures on the webiste it looks pretty nice. Also the price seems quite reasonable.

Any thoughts...?!

Here are the links to the bikes:

http://www.downtube.com/catalog/prod...3c90514771fac6

http://www.downtube.com/catalog/prod...3c90514771fac6
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Old 07-18-05, 03:45 PM   #2
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It looks like a Dahon wanna-be. It resembles my Dahon Boardwalk.
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Old 07-18-05, 10:54 PM   #3
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non replacable chainring ? spindly steel seatpost, sun race shifter ?

and what about the bad roads, which makes the cars dont slip backwards ?
( maybe snow in the mountains on St Thomas ? )

well I dont know .... the compononents are certainly sub standard if you compare it to a boardwalk.... and comparing it to a jetstream p 8 is hilarious at best ...

take a testride for sure, than try a boardwalk and see for yourself

Thor
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Old 07-19-05, 02:26 AM   #4
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I have always liked my suntour shifters .I understand Sunrace is suntours latest form.If you have never used sunrace shifters are you qualified to criticize them?Inferior compared to what?Shimano or Sram. As for the non replaceable chainring my boardwalk has one as well.Spindly steel seatpost? My yeah has one and it is not spindly.I do not like the latches though ,dahon has better seatpost and frame latches in my opinion and I have used the type present on the Downtube.I think the reference to the roads made in the ad copy for downtube simply referred to gravel offering more traction in certain conditions than concrete or asphalt.The shipping charges are high is he shipping from China ( Or wherever these are manufactured )direct?

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Old 07-21-05, 07:30 PM   #5
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I have seen and ridden a Downtube viii. It seems very nice and fits me (5'2) much better than my dahon speed8 (I had to change the handlebars - speed8 is way too long for me and causing back and wrist pain). Seat is much nicer than speed8 to me and it is standard type so it can be changed. To me it is very similar to my friend's KHS F20-iv. I do not know how it would fit a taller rider (although handlebars are easily adjustable with quick release) - but for my height - downtube is much more comfortable. I don't know anything about sunrace componants - shifting worked okay as far as I could tell and the chain has not fallen off yet nor have gears been slipping as on dahon.

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Old 07-22-05, 07:34 AM   #6
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Other downtube viii info - the pedals seem to be all plastic and they fold like the Dahon - but the plastic may make them less substantial than the ones on dahon. No flats reported on downtube yet- many on my dahon (I had two in the first week). The folding mechanisms on downtube are not quite as smooth or quite as quick as on dahon - but only require a little more effort (time increase is not significant that I have noticed - certainly less than 1 minute). Folding mechanisms are (to my unprofessional eye) exactly like the KHS F20iv. I am going to trade my speed8 for awhile and try commuting on Downtube while partner uses dahon for more gentile (park) riding- I am particularly interested in whether the tires hold up better to urban commute and also whether gears slip/chain drop as on dahon. I got the downtube for less than dahon boardwalk 7 would cost for partner (did not want to spend much on a bike she would possibly not ride). My needs are not quite as extensive as some - I have a hybrid for more major riding - but I need a small reliable(so far dahon has not been as carefree as I would like) commute bike that will fit in my small office, in a small apartment, and reasonably easily fit into almost any vehicle. My commute is not much - 4 miles each way - so I will give it a test.

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Old 07-25-05, 09:46 PM   #7
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I have now ridden the downtube 20 miles (Sunday and Monday) in rather hot St. Louis weather (bike was fine - just too hot to ride much for me - 100 degree temps). It is a nice bike so far and I like the way it handles and fits me - gears all seem to work well - no slipping or chain dropping or flat tires. It is somewhat heavier than the dahon speed 8, although I can pick it up and carry it without trouble (I have not tried the carrying bag yet) and the grips on the handlebars are not as wide - so someone with large hands might find it uncomfortable. I like the end bars (I think that is what they are called) - but again - they are rather small and I have placed them in a way others might not - but I am comfortable with them. The downtube is less twitchy or sensitive (I cannot think of another word to describe it ) than the dahon - whether from weight or other I don't know - I like the ride of the downtube better - but I am used to a heavier hybrid - not a road bike (which - when I borrow one from a friend - also seems more sensitive or twitchier to me). I found that the back wheel did not skid or slide like on the dahon when I go fast around corners or into turns and downtube can take traffic bumps and low curbs better in my opinion. This is not to say dahon is not a good bike (it was certainly a more expensive bike and componants may be better, and the folding mechanisms are nicer - but dahon has been in the shop for chain/gear problems- not as useful for commuting but possibly not as big a deal to someone who is better at bicycle mechanics than I am) and I will use it for certain things - but downtube does fit my short fire hydrant shaped body better and possibly my riding style. It does ride very much like the KHS F20iv If I can figure out how to post pictures, I will.

Last edited by farrellcollie; 07-25-05 at 10:11 PM.
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Old 07-26-05, 07:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by folder fanatic
It looks like a Dahon wanna-be. It resembles my Dahon Boardwalk.

For what it is worth, and remember that I did buy a dahon , I had two different lbs try to talk me out of dahon - one urged the giant halfway and the other encouraged the khs folders - both said they had worked on dahons and found the quality wanting. Neither carried any folders in stock and said they could order any of them- so I don't believe it was because they wanted to sell me something they just had lying around.
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Old 08-16-05, 10:23 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone!

I finally bought a Downtube VIIIFS (the full suspension model) about a week ago. I got it new on e-bay for around $200 plus $27 shipping.
After I got it I took it for a very short test ride and decided that the "top tube length" is to short for me. Therefore I installed a regular stem on the head tube and switched the flat handlebar to drop bars. I also changed the crankset and now have a 52 tooth chainring.

Today I commuted to campus on it and it rides great. My commute is about 16 miles each way. I was actually quite surprised how fast the ride is. The suspension takes care of most bumps and the seat is very comfortable. The have the seatpost at the extension limit and wish it would extend one or two more centimeters, but I really like to be stretched out on a bike.
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Old 08-16-05, 07:29 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rincewind8
Thanks everyone!

I finally bought a Downtube VIIIFS (the full suspension model) about a week ago. )

Yeah - I am glad to have another downtube rider around. I have ridden mine (non-suspension) for 3 to 4 weeks without problems. I thought - because mine fit me so well (5'2) that a taller person mgiht find it a bit short. GLad you are working around that problem. Full suspension - does it make it impossible to use a rack or do you carry gear in a backpack? Or even carry no gear at all?
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Old 08-16-05, 09:09 PM   #11
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Thanks - I was just curious about commuting with full suspension because I thought the rack thing was not as easy. Although it appears I was wrong.
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Old 08-17-05, 07:48 AM   #12
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I got the orange one. And yes at 180cm (~5'11) it originally is somewhat short for me since i like to be stretched out. (one of my "regular" bikes even is a 59cm frame)
I actually have a rear rack on it. It is one of those racks that attach to the seatpost. I can't take very heavy things, but it easily carries a change of clothes and some tools.

As soon as I have pictures, I will post them.
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Old 08-17-05, 10:50 AM   #13
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Thanks a lot! i am now going to wake up in the middle of the night with an unquenchable desire for that second bike.
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Old 08-22-05, 05:06 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farrellcollie
Yeah - I am glad to have another downtube rider around. I have ridden mine (non-suspension) for 3 to 4 weeks without problems. I thought - because mine fit me so well (5'2) that a taller person mgiht find it a bit short. GLad you are working around that problem. Full suspension - does it make it impossible to use a rack or do you carry gear in a backpack? Or even carry no gear at all?
Hi all, I'm new here to 'bikeforums' but not new to 'folders' as I have 2 Dahon Helios 8's, a new 05 Jetstream XP and a new 05 SpeedPro. Recently I purchased 3 Downtube VIII FS (two whites and an orange). One I sold to one of my customers who is a teacher and rides it around campus, one is a birthday present to a girlfriend, and the other one is my day to day workhorse for errands and general street and some dirt trail riding. Below is a little impression I wrote a few weeks back that went on the Downtube site. After riding it steady since, I like it even more for it's ability to run smoothly on rough paved roads as well as trails. Amazing bikes for the money the new ones are now going for on ebay. Anyways, here's what I wrote:

I like 'folders' and have been riding Dahons for a few years (Helios
P8s). Just recently I bought a new Downtube VIII FS. It is an outstanding
value and an excellent 'all around' folder. It's very comfortable and
stable on 'less than perfect' roads. I take it on trails and broken roads
that I would not consider on the Helios. At 30lbs it's not the lightest
of the bunch, but it feels and gives a confident ride that is appreciated .
I think the gearing is optimum for the intended use. Little included extras
like braze-ons for a waterbottle/air pump, a traveling bag, bell, dual
chainring guards (I've yet to throw a chain), telescoping handlebar all
add to great value. Having good quality components with a strong frame,
strong wheels, great brakes and front and rear suspension with excellent
customer service at a very competitive price add up to a winning bike. I
actually bought a second one for another location. The FS has become my
first choice for my general day to day in town riding .

Bruce
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Old 08-22-05, 06:32 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by af895
Nice! Got any close-up pics of the bike? (stuff like the derailleurs, QR's for the stem, seat-post, shocks, shifters - oh! and the hinge!)

I did a review of the KHS here: http://www.halffg.pwp.blueyonder.co....oc/canada.html

Maybe the Folding Society would publish a report on the Downtube too.

I figure the longevity of a bike is inversely proportional to it's weight. I'll take beefy anyday. Besides, 29lbs isn't bad. The DT site leaves out some details - maybe you could fill us in. What's the actual seat-post length and diameter? How far can you extend the stem and what's the distance from center of bottom bracket to top of seat with the post at max-safe extension?

One thing my bike didn't come with was a bag to carry it folded. Any idea if DT will sell the bags seperately?

Thanks!
Chris
Hi Chris,

I'll get you the measurements later after my workday. The included bag is terrific, made well, and the bike fits in easily for me. I even use it for my Dahons. I don't know if Dr. Yan (DownTube owner/designer) would sell them outright, but he is very accessible by phone and I've talked to him a few times. They certainly would be worth a few bucks. One thing I forgot to mention about the FS models is that they are quiet on the road and don't creak from the hinges, seat, or steering posts like some folders. The main folding hinges look like over-kill to me (and are not pretty) and even have a spring loaded pin which fits in a hole to prevent the hinge from coming apart even if the main hinge handle were to come completely loose. The spring loaded pin must be 'defeated' to un-hinge.

Here's a link to more pics you may not have seen:

http://www.downtube.com/images/Bikes_7-14/

Bruce
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Old 08-22-05, 07:47 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by af895
Very cool. This pic: http://www.downtube.com/images/Bikes_7-14/BikeinBag.jpg
...left me with a question.

Is that little black bobble to the right of the bag with the bike in it - actually what the bag looks like folded up?! (if so, I MUST HAVE ONE)

Yup! It's designed to attach to the rear seat when not in use......Although the pic shows the bike sticking out of the bag, it can be completely enclosed and zipped up....ahha

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Old 08-22-05, 07:50 PM   #17
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FRICKIN' AWESOME!!! That's EXACTLY what I've been looking for! Something I can pack down and stuff in a pannier when I'm riding and then open up and put the bike in when I need to jump a train!!!

Oh boy - I've so gotta send Dr.Yan an email. Hope he doesn't mind selling the bags seperately. I didn't know about Downtube before I bought a folder. :\
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Old 08-22-05, 10:28 PM   #18
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wow - I am going to have to try my downtube bag now.
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Old 08-23-05, 05:57 AM   #19
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If you don't have any luck, try finding a bag for the Breezer i7 (which is what I am using for my Gobike). It works the same way. Not sure what bike you have, but maybe you could even use the smaller i3 bag. Like the i7,my bike is a bit taller and narrower than most when folded. As a result, the i3 bag is too small and I couldn't use a bag that would fit, for instance a 20" Dahon. Avenir also has a similar bag for their folders, but I think that the bags come with the bike, so they may not be sold separately. Good luck.
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Old 08-23-05, 10:59 AM   #20
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Any views on suspension vs. non-suspended Downtubes?
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Old 08-23-05, 11:58 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by zowie
Any views on suspension vs. non-suspended Downtubes?
I have the suspension one. Obviously the suspension (especially the fork) is not the latest and greatest in suspension technology, but it soaks up the bumps relatively well and doesn't bounce too much while pedaling.
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Old 08-23-05, 07:32 PM   #22
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As far as I can tell the company seems to be plugging along, slowly. Seems that they have a great design, but limited resources. There are a couple of international sites marketing their products, and they still answer their phones, respond to e-mail, etc.
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Old 08-23-05, 07:55 PM   #23
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Why didn't I see this thread before I ordered the Dahon Boardwalk S1? For a little more to get a full suspension would be excellent. Do I need another folder? Decision decision...
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Old 09-01-05, 06:43 PM   #24
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I am the designer of the Downtube Bike, my name is Yan Lyansky. I wanted to thank everyone for all the kind words about our bikes. There were some people that mentioned problems in trying to contact us in earlier posts. If anyone has any questions about the bikes please email me at yan@downtube.com or call my cell at 215-313-4844. I try my best to help all our customers in a timely fashion, however, my response may be delayed because I am a full time professor.

Overall, we are very excited about our bikes, in our first month we sold about 150 and sales are increasing. We are able to sell our bikes for less than our competition for several reasons. We design/import/distribute/retail our bikes. This allows for phenominal cost savings which we pass on to our customers. We feel many quality products are overpriced, our goal is assist in making a more efficient market.

To clear up some points brought up in earlier posts our seatposts are aluminum, the only steel components are the chainring, and the stem. The frame, brakes, barends, cranks, hubs, handlebar, and cassette are all high quality aluminum. Next years model will add an alloy stem, alloy chainring, and lighter wheels. I love some of the ideas brought up in this forum and we will use many in our future designs.

Thanks,
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Old 09-02-05, 10:21 AM   #25
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I'm always pleased when manufactures come onto boards (bicycling or other subjects). I don't know why more do not -- they or at least their employees must read them.

I'm wondering what size tires & tubes the current downtube takes, for availability of spares and options for replacement.
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