Folding bike - details...
Thanks for the response and suggestions. We will be using the bikes for riding around towns when we travel, for daily use in the winter while we are living in Mexico. Would like bikes that are light weight, yet sturdy. Sounds like 20" wheels are what we should be looking at. Folding small,and light enough to carry up 3 flights of stairs to our apartment while living in Mexico. Basically flat terrain, cement boardwalk in Mexico, roads and park trails in the states. Hope this is more helpful, for suggestions to us - you are the experts! Hopefully we could find used ones on the internet? From what I have read on this site that might be some feat - sounds like there are not many available. I saw them all over Europe, used by people after getting off of the trains. We would like them to become part of our lives - but need advice from those of you "in the know." Thank you, Sunnrize
Finding the right folding bike should be tailor made to the individual(s) needs and desires, both present and with future growth potential built right in. I did this for my and my family's own folders with 99% accuate anticipation. My bikes are rather simple in design and approuch. I purposely purchased the entry level or budget models of Dahon (Boardwalk S1 converted to AW three speed) and a Brompton C type. Both were customed ugraded to what I wanted, rather than what a bike designer thought I should have.
For the type of riding and terrain that you will find in Mexico at that time of year might approximate my own bike's features. You will be happy with a wide variety of folders. The used market may offer what you want-then again it may not. I no longer buy used since the technological development of the folding bike goes foward rapidly and the price range dictates a more satisfying bike offered new than used (more choices, warrenty, and price more reflective of it's true value-not an inflated one. Just don't rush in and buy just anywhere. If you are new to the folding world, stick to a bike shop rather than on-line. Go to shops that carry at least one known brand (Dahon, Bike Friday, Brompton etc.) and try out the bikes. Then decide.
Some questions to ask yourself to help you decide:
1) How much do you want to spend? How much are you willing to spend?
2) How small do you need the bike to fold? Almost all websites for these bikes will tell you the folded dimensions of the bike and show a picture of it folded.
3) How important is weight? Do you need it to be under 25 lbs., under 23? Would 30 lbs. be alright? If you're carrying it a lot, this will be important, but, other things being equal, low weight implies a high price penalty.
4) How long will you ride the bike at any one time? Many small wheel bikes are fine for short distances but get very tiring and uncomfortable over long distances. And how important is comfort for you? Generally (but not always), bigger tires, longer wheelbases, and suspended frames/seatposts/forks will make for a more comfortable ride.
5) Will you ride on rough terrain (not sure what kind of park trails you mean)? If the answer is yes, this will probably cut down on the likely candidates. And how wide a range of gears do you need? If all the terrain you're on is always flat you might get by with a one or three speed.
6) How difficult are you to fit? One of the best things about folders is the wide range of sizes they can be adjusted to, but some are better than others for the extremes.
The problem with folders is that they are hard to test drive. No shop near me has any sort of selection. Before buying mine I rode a couple that clearly weren't right for me. I ended up ordering one without riding beforehand, based on reading the posts in this forum and how people described its strengths and weaknesses (as well as the price I could get it for). It turned out to be an excellent choice for what I wanted, but would be wrong for others with different priorities. Read a lot of the old posts and you'll get a pretty good sense of what each bike is best and worst at.