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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 03-12-06, 04:43 AM   #1
garfangle
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Dahon v. Giant v. Downtube

I recently had my previous bike stolen (Giant Cypress '02) and I was looking into getting a folding bike. I have about at most $500 to spend on the bike and would like to know what are your opinions on which bike do you consider the best for use as a light urban/sidewalk riding vehicle? Also, I will be using the bike to transport groceries and stuff not exceeding 30lbs.

My measurements: a guy that is 5'6"; 140 lb; 27" inseam.

My choices from research to date (MSRP):

Giant Halfway: $500
Downtube 2006 VIII FS: $299
Dahon Piccolo D3:$399
Dahon Speed D7: $329
Dahon Sweet Pea: $249 (!!)
Dahon Vitesee D5: $499
Dahon Mariner D7: $359

Ciao.
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Old 03-12-06, 05:30 AM   #2
Tomaso
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garfangle
I recently had my previous bike stolen (Giant Cypress '02) and I was looking into getting a folding bike. I have about at most $500 to spend on the bike and would like to know what are your opinions on which bike do you consider the best for use as a light urban/sidewalk riding vehicle? Also, I will be using the bike to transport groceries and stuff not exceeding 30lbs.

My measurements: a guy that is 5'6"; 140 lb; 27" inseam.

My choices from research to date (MSRP):

Giant Halfway: $500
Downtube 2006 VIII FS: $299
Dahon Piccolo D3:$399
Dahon Speed D7: $329
Dahon Sweet Pea: $249 (!!)
Dahon Vitesee D5: $499
Dahon Mariner D7: $359

Ciao.

Hi Garfangle,
From your list thiis would be my top 7:

1. Dahon Speed D7
2. Giant Halfway
3. Dahon Vitesse D5
4. Downtube
5. Dahon Mariner D7
6&7 (Sweat Pea & Piccolo) are resp. a kid's bike and a bike to carry on boats, RV's,....

I am a little biased though, as I own two Dahons (Impulse D7 & JetstreamP8), but I am really happy with both bikes. DT is great value for money, but not really a bike I'd consider to buy.
The Giant Halfway is a good alternative, for more info on the Halfway check out Rafael Guerra's posts.
I am sure others will have a different Top3, DT is all over this forum, so you'll find lots of people saying DT might be the one for you.
The only way to convince yourself is to actually ride these bikes, only then you know you have made the right choice. That's a problem for the DT as you will have to order it through the net, you cannot try it first. And personally I will never buy a bike without having ridden it first. 300 bucks might not be a lot of money for a folder, but will it be the one you're looking for?

Good luck!
Tom

Also check out the Dahon Speed P8, cool bike!
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Old 03-12-06, 06:47 AM   #3
garfangle
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I forget to include Dahon Speed D8: $499
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Old 03-12-06, 07:29 AM   #4
DaFriMon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garfangle
I forget to include Dahon Speed D8: $499
Tomaso's comment that it's best to test ride a bike before buying is valid, of course. Even with a Dahon, though, the most common brand, this can sometimes be hard to arrange. Depends on where you live. You might be lucky enough to find a shop with a decent selection of Dahons. A more common experience is to find that they have one two year old Boardwalk in the back, and they're willing to order other models for you. Sometimes you just have to take the plunge, or stick with non-folders.

Anyway, I like my Speed P8, a couple of years old now; it's a good commuting bike. One thing to look at ahead of time is what upgrades you might want to make, and include that in your budget. Several Dahons now have the SDG seating system. Fine, if you like it, if you don't, you have to replace the entire seatpost to use a different brand of saddle. (Mine is a 2004, so it came with a standard seatpost clamp). Also, since you're a little shorter than average (so am I), you may not like the fixed height handlebars that come on some of the low end Dahons. Again, this can be upgraded, but you'll want to evaluate the cost ahead of time so it won't catch you by surprise. On your list, this is every Dahon except the Speed P8 and the Piccolo.

I think you'll find that the 7 or 8 speed Dahons with 20 inch wheels ride a lot like a comfort bike or hybrid with larger wheels. From your list I'd pick the Speed D7 (with possible handlepost upgrade) or Speed P8.
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Old 03-12-06, 10:41 AM   #5
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Hi
I am Dahon dealer sooo of course I am biased.... lets try to make the list shorter by elimination.

Giant Halfway: $500
Downtube 2006 VIII FS: $299
Dahon Piccolo D3:$399
Dahon Speed D7: $329
Dahon Sweet Pea: $249 (!!)
Dahon Vitesee D5: $499
Dahon Mariner D7: $359

Giant Halfway: $500 dont know too much about them , they seem to be nice though. Giant makes a lot of other bikes, and the folder is one little tiny little part of their range......

Downtube 2006 VIII FS: $299 I will have to buy one and ride it a while before I can make up my mind.
good customer service, a little heavy maybe, some parts are rather cheap, but than so is the bike.People seem to like them, but start upgrading them right away ( and than spend much more than the original purchase price, which is ok of course, just difficult to compare it pricewise )

Dahon Piccolo D3:$399 16 inch wjeels are nice if real small package is needed, ( boat, plane, small trunk, my wife has one, but she rather rides my 20 inch bike ,cause it feels much more like a big bike )

Dahon Speed D7: $329 7 speed no nonsene folder with fenders and carrier and 7 speeds, has fixed handlbar height

Dahon Sweet Pea: $249 (!!) for real small folks, or kids, its a sweet bike, but is smaller and feels smaller than a piccolo

Dahon Vitesee D5: $499
My choice for a "can" driven bike... there is almost a religious belief of most internal geared owners, that a derrailleur is sub. They DO have a point. I am a derrailleur guy, but the internal geared bikes are tempting... ( I probably will custom built a MU SL with 8 speed red stripe Shimano and Schlumpf before you know it, ouch....... that will be expensive), fixed handlbar height, but fenders and alloy carrier , chainguard. a great commuter

Dahon Mariner D7: $359 same as speed D 7 jus different colour and different marketing, In my eyes its the same bike , just a little more expensive.... go for the Speed D 7 instead

Speed P 8 ( under 500 ) my favourite. P = better componets than D models. Big apple tires, adjustable handlepost

About the SDG seatpost and seat. Most people like theirs , The velvet saddle ( wider and ultra comfy) is finally available and not very expensive ( 25 dlr ) The SDG saddle system allows for more adjustment while it is lighter than a regular saddle setpost combination. Just that you cannot get a whole lot of different seats for it.

Dahon has its own bb board and customer service is also great, I have not encountered a real problem which wasnt solved ( either from firendly help on the forum, or from Dahon direct)


My choices from above list

SpeedP8
SpeedD7
Vitesse 5

as I said I am biased and I dont want to talk down on the other bikes , just that I dont know enough to take them into consideration compared to the dahons

Thor
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Old 03-12-06, 11:20 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garfangle
I recently had my previous bike stolen (Giant Cypress '02) and I was looking into getting a folding bike. I have about at most $500 to spend on the bike and would like to know what are your opinions on which bike do you consider the best for use as a light urban/sidewalk riding vehicle? Also, I will be using the bike to transport groceries and stuff not exceeding 30lbs.

My measurements: a guy that is 5'6"; 140 lb; 27" inseam.

My choices from research to date (MSRP):

Giant Halfway: $500
Downtube 2006 VIII FS: $299
Dahon Piccolo D3:$399
Dahon Speed D7: $329
Dahon Sweet Pea: $249 (!!)
Dahon Vitesee D5: $499
Dahon Mariner D7: $359

Ciao.

My first pick from your list (by a wide margin) would be the 06 Downtube FS.. the only caveat being your inclusion of carrying 30lbs of groceries as I would assume a solid mounted rear rack to a non-active rear suspension would be the preferred choice... there are seat post mounted racks and ThorUSA sells a rack for active rear suspensions, but I have never had occation to want or install one on my FS... I own 2 DT FS's, 5 Dahons ranging from a Helios P8 to a SpeedPro and Jetstream XP and a wonderful Xootr/Swift.. All of the Dahons and the Xootr I have would be over your $500 budget. On a day to day basis, over a variety of road/trail surfaces, my Downtube gets the most action.. it is more stable than most folders and certainly more comfortable due to it's front and rear suspension... you will find many on this forum (both newbie and experienced) will recommend the Downtube, and for good reason... you might want to go Here and read what others have said in the past few months.... good luck with whatever you choose.. if you are in the San Francisco area, feel free to contact me for a demo ride on anything I have in my shop.

Bruce
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Old 03-12-06, 12:22 PM   #7
maunakea
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@ garfangle It's hard to advise about which folder without knowing your riding profile.

How many times a day will you have to fold/unfold your bike?

Will you use it on public transportation?

Will you ever tour on it?

What is your riding terrain, namely hills?
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Old 03-12-06, 03:56 PM   #8
garfangle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maunakea
@ garfangle It's hard to advise about which folder without knowing your riding profile.

How many times a day will you have to fold/unfold your bike?

Will you use it on public transportation?

Will you ever tour on it?

What is your riding terrain, namely hills?
I will have to fold/unfold it about twice a day.

I will occasionally use it on a commuter train.

I will rarely I'll tour with it.

My riding terrain is flat to slightly hilly.
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Old 03-12-06, 04:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garfangle
I will have to fold/unfold it about twice a day.
You need a fast, easy folder in your price range. Dahon or DT


Quote:
Originally Posted by garfangle
I will occasionally use it on a commuter train.
Easy to bag. No crucial need for extreme smallness. 20" wheels


Quote:
Originally Posted by garfangle
I will rarely I'll tour with it.
From a price POV, don't need FS or touring equipment that would indicate waiting for a used touring bike rather than a new bike.


Quote:
Originally Posted by garfangle
My riding terrain is flat to slightly hilly.
6 speeds are enough. You could even go SS if you're in shape. FS would be nice but not crucial. Plenty of Dahons and DTs in your price range.


Conclusion. Dahon or DT, 20" wheels. Find the best deal. eBay has plenty of both. I have both. I prefer the DT FS for that pothole I didn't see (don't you just love pavement divots from backhoes) or can't avoid. Potholes are much more of a threat on 20" wheels than on 700c wheels.

Last edited by maunakea; 03-12-06 at 04:53 PM.
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