It's been years since I've ridden a bike and I'm looking to get back into it. I'm considering the low-end folders such as the Dahon Boardwalk D7 and the Bazooka Explorer-X (http://www.bazookasports.com/viewpro...at=1&product=4). Dahon seems to have a pretty good reputation, but what about Bazooka?
Are there any other folders in this price range that I should be looking at?
Hmm interesting. Frame design looks a lot like a Raleigh Twenty. I couldn't tell you anything about them though. How much does the bike cost? Must say they're web site is rather crap/uninformative.
I saw it here -
http://www.bikemania.biz/Bazooka_Exp...xplorer.htmfor $ 233,..
that is so cheap it is hard to imagine it is any good,.. i think the one i saw is the cheaper (older) steel version. The new Alu one seems to retail around $ 379. But still either variety don't look too great on pictures,.. hard to say, looks like the pedals are shoddy, front chainring is dodgy, the hinge is of the old school (do these fail?) variety, drivetrain components are cheap, fenders are way too short, 25 LB is not super light for an aluminium framed bike, not sure about that Skinny Alu front fork etc. Tires look pretty decent as does the general frame design/geometry, stainless steel spokes is cool.
And WTH is a "firewheel" i hope they don't mean "Freewheel" if they don't know what is a freewheel is they should not be in the bike biz. Maybe this is just my ignorance though.
My two cents and experience: When buying a (new) bike and opting for a real cheapy with many options (gears) it tends to mean that almost every component is substandard or even shoddy, i've owned two of these type of cheap folder bikes (even cheaper though) and they both were big let downs. The net result is that ride quality is seriously compromised from day one and it just gets worse, then if you want to fix the prob. you have got to dump copious amounts of cash and maintenance (replacement components) into the bike in order to rectify the problem.. If you then experience failure of a vital component (frame for example) the disaster is complete.
The Dahon does look decent, costs the same and pretty much superior in every way (folding, components and probably service). There must be loads of reviews on it which you could check, but it it is one of their cheapest models and that will reflect in the performance.
There is always also the option of buying a good second hand (that's what i did) or new more expensive from a better know/more reputable manufacturer than Bazooka. But don't take my word for it, in the end only people who have used any bike extensively can have a truly informed opinion on it.
But finally i'd like to ad that i think it is real cool that you are getting back to riding but consider this: What if buying a cheap bike means you will have a bad or even horrid experience and then pack it in altogether. You could be denying yourself from a valuable and healthy hobby and way of transportation in order to save a a few bucks. I 'd say, save some cash. Even if it takes you a few months i think buying something good (certain Dahons, Swift Folder !, etc. may be one of the best things you can do for yourself. Additionally if if biking somehow does not work out on these machines they retain their value quite well and you could sell them fairly easily for a good price i should think, much more so than cheap folders anyways.
You also might want to check out KHS and Downtube folders. We have been happy with both of those brands.
Thanks for the good advice everyone. I've added KHS & DownTube to my "To Checkout" list, and I will be cautious about the Bazooka. I've been checking some used bikes, but I'll post some questions about that in a different thread.