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  1. #1
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    Good Folding bike less than $1000.00 ?

    I am totally confused on what type of folding bike I should buy?

    As of now I look to get a bike to put in mileage more like a road bike. Anyway, i heard that some systems are dangerous with their latching mechanism.

    Is there a place where I can find a review of these bikes ?? Are they all the same ?

    The Dahon Zero G mountain bike looks nice and the Cadence Dahon looks really nice as well and is about 800.00 What do folks think of these items ?


    Thanks,

    Jay

  2. #2
    Member, Schmember DaFriMon's Avatar
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    For quite a few reviews, look here ( http://www.foldsoc.co.uk/) and click on the test reports link. The most recent report is on the Cadenza.

    It would be a good idea to consider models with 20 inch wheels as well as 26 inch. You'll be surprised at the performance on a good one. For under $1000, you could look at a Xootr Swift with maybe a few upgrades (http://xootr.com/xootr/swift/bikes.shtml) or possibly a customized Swift. Start by reading this thread (swift folders ) You could also look at entry level Bike Fridays ( http://bikefriday.com/main.cfm?fuseaction=home.main ). And, of course, Dahon has a couple of models that are worth considering.

    Just for the record, my experience is with Bike Fridays and Dahons with 20 inch wheels. I have never ridden a Swift, but they have a very good reputation.
    Last edited by DaFriMon; 05-18-06 at 07:07 AM.
    You're right, I do have more bikes than I need.

  3. #3
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Jayhuse: There are plenty of options in the sub-$1000 range. It'll be good to know what you plan to use the bike for, and if there's a specific advantage to the fold that piques your interest. Do you have a miniscule apartment? Do you plan to use it for your commute? Do you just want to get a normal bike, that you can throw in the trunk of your car and not have to bother with a bike rack?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayhuse
    I am totally confused on what type of folding bike I should buy?

    As of now I look to get a bike to put in mileage more like a road bike. Anyway, i heard that some systems are dangerous with their latching mechanism.

    Is there a place where I can find a review of these bikes ?? Are they all the same ?

    The Dahon Zero G mountain bike looks nice and the Cadence Dahon looks really nice as well and is about 800.00 What do folks think of these items ?


    Thanks,

    Jay
    I've got a Zero G and it is a terrific bike with excellent specs... the disc brakes, SRAM X.7 drivetrain, trigger shifters, Manitou front suspension, WTB wheels/tires and a rock solid Joe Murray designed frame add up to quite a package and a super value in the folder world .... if you're looking into a 26" wheeled bike for multi-terrain and don't need a small folded package, the Zero G is worth a serious look... I also like the Cadenza, and it is set up as mostly a pavement bike, but looks sweet nonetheless! If you don't need 26" wheels and still want something stable in the 20" arena to take off road regularly, I also use a non-stock Downtube FS(full suspension) with an 8spd hub gear for many of my trail rides.. if you want to stay mostly on pavement or groomed paths, then you have a multitude of choices and a lot of reading ahead .. haha

    Bruce

    Bruce

  5. #5
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Our research and experience test-riding folders

    We are also in the market for a folding/travel bike and have a similar budget. We have test-ridden a few bikes and plan to test ride at least one more. I can write that the type of riding you intend to do will be important.

    Since we were interested in packing the bike and taking it on planes for travel, we determined that the 20" wheel bikes were best for us since they seem to be a good compromise between portability and ride quality. A decent fold is nice for general transport (public or in the back of an ordinary auto). Erika is going to use it as a one-a-week commuter. The folding quality is great for when she wants to take public transportation back (for instance, in the case of inclement weather). Otherwise, we are best described as sport tourers. Our rides are generally around the 40-60 miles range. We occasionally ride in centuries and other organized rides. We are also a big fan of drop bars--something that can be troublesome with these folding bikes.

    We have ridden a Dahon Helios P8, Speed P8, Speed Pro TT, and Mu SL. We have also ridden a Bike Friday NWT and Pocket Rocket. We want to test ride a Swift Folder (Xootr). The Downtube folder also looks quite interesting and is upgradable.

    The Bike Fridays ride very well and are customizable, but are out of our budget (the aforementioned models are custom built and sized). However, they do sell bikes that are in our range--Pocket Tourist and Pocket Pilot--but they don't appear to fold very well (from what I gather on their website they are designed to pack easily). Given their reputation and my impression from the other bikes, I expect them to ride well. Gauging from the components on the bikes and comparing it to component groups on full size bicycles, you are paying a pretty big premium for a Bike Friday.

    In general, the Dahon bikes seemed to be a pretty good bang-for-the-buck. They fold quite small in a straight forward fashion. Note that other than on the Mu SL, I felt some flex in the frame with moderate riding (I am 6', 200 lbs.). My wife, however, did not notice anything of the sort (5'3", 110 lbs.). The higher end models, however, do not pack particularly well. So you will run into problems if you want to take them onto a plane. However, Gaerlan Cycles will upgrade the Speed P8 and Helios P8 to something like the Speed Pro for a pretty reasonable price. There is a good discussion of packing a Dahon and some of the modifications on their website. http://www.gaerlan.com/ Overall, Dahons appear to be an excellent commuting bike.

    There is a gigantic thread on the Swift Folders. Overall, the reviews are quite positive and they are upgradable. Their biggest limitation is that one cannot install a front derailer. Their fold is not as compact as the Dahon; but from what I gather it is still small enough to take on public transport with little hassle. According to Peter Reich (co-inventer) putting drop bars can be troublesome because of limitations on running cables with a multi-gear system--although he did not say it was impossible. But I have yet to see a Swift Folder in person; so I am just regurgitating a conversation. The next time we are in Philadelphia or NYC, we are test riding a model.

    Lastly, there seems to be a big following for the Downtube folder. There was an article on him and the bike in Adventure Cyclist. He only sells them online (downtube.com or ebay.com). But the wheelbase suggests a relatively stable ride and they are more than reasonable. The components are pretty standard so--as the Downtube thread suggests--one can modify the bikes accordingly. The bike appears to fold compactly; although I cannot tell how it compares with the Dahon. If I was 20 pounds lighter, at the present price of $280, I would give it a whirl and see if I could make a touring bike out of it. But my feeling is that I would run into the same flex problems that I experienced with the aluminum Dahon Helios.

    I'm interested in other's thoughts on the subject. On a side note, I have been trying to learn how the Dahon Speed Pro TT could have STI shifters attached to a SRAM Dual Drive hub (would bar cons work as well?). It would solve our issues with installing drop bars on a lot of folding bikes.

    Good luck.

    -Geof

  6. #6
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    I have downtube VIII and a dahon speed8 - both 2005. I do not often fold either one - but would not say one is easier necessarily than the other -although the dahon may have a slight edge on it- the dahon fold is prettier - but they both fold down to approximately the same size and they take me the same amount of time. The speed8 feels faster to me and would probably feel more fun over long ride -but downtube has been more useful for me as a commuter - I had a lot of trouble with flats on dahon, the brakes have had to have some work (not the pads), the telescoping handlbars quit telescoping after the first week and is now very difficult to raise or lower(and I do not know why nor does lbs nor did it seem dahon knew when I wrote them about it). Downtube - has needed no work, no flats and has been my most used folder because I commute on it and I felt like it was more reliable - it came with fenders and small rack.

  7. #7
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    In response to what type of riding I will do.

    Well, I will be doing street pavement type riding. I want a bike that can eat up mileage as fast as possible. I wil be doing a comutte to work that is about 18 miles one way which is probably around 40 miles total in a day. So effficiency is probably something to think about.

    Additionally I have an awsome carbon frame bike I just bought BUT, I have a few reservations about it. First I am sort of worried about getting it ripped off if I leave it on my bike rack somewhere. It is like 2K worth of junk. I also made the mistake of not planning to get on the Airforce base for work. It appears that my commute is great up to the last 2 miles then it becomes dangerous as hell.

    Essentially everyone is packed into driving lanes where they are checked for security. Well the traffic is funnelled into 2 to 4 lanes and these guys get off of lanes very fast. I tried my first commute the other day with my bike and said WOW this is nuts. I have talked to other guys about biking in an they all say the same thing. IT IS dangerous as hell.

    SO not to be long winded I need a way to like bike but also maybe carry it in a back pack then reaseemlbe it once I get on the other side of the base.

    I thought about trying to keep the bike somewhere else as well or hidding it. Just trying to come up with ways to bike an commute without running the risk of trying to pack a bike in somebodies car or if my wife transports me an the bike NOW i have to get 2 bike racks on our cars.

    It just seem that the Folding bike might be an option to give me more options without restricinting myself.

    Anyway another question is I am 6,2 an 195lbs is that too heavy for a folding bike ? What is the so called bounce or bend that guys are talking about when riding a bike ??

    Thanks

    Jay

  8. #8
    Member, Schmember DaFriMon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayhuse
    Well, I will be doing street pavement type riding. I want a bike that can eat up mileage as fast as possible. I wil be doing a comutte to work that is about 18 miles one way which is probably around 40 miles total in a day. So effficiency is probably something to think about. . . .
    SO not to be long winded I need a way to like bike but also maybe carry it in a back pack then reaseemlbe it once I get on the other side of the base.
    Most folders will fit into some kind of bag, but it may be a bit large and awkward to carry for long distances. Dahon has a bag called the El Bolso which they claim will carry any of their folders, including the 26 inch models. Bike Friday has a bag for their bikes. These have shoulder straps. Most other brands either have their own (optional) bags, or will fit into another brand of bag. Don't know about a suitable bag for a Swift, but there may be something that will work. You can also carry a folded bike in one hand without a bag, but again it may be awkward for more than a short distance. Or you could just walk the bike along a sidewalk until it's safe to ride again.

    I thought about trying to keep the bike somewhere else as well or hidding it. Just trying to come up with ways to bike an commute without running the risk of trying to pack a bike in somebodies car or if my wife transports me an the bike NOW i have to get 2 bike racks on our cars.

    It just seem that the Folding bike might be an option to give me more options without restricinting myself.
    It does give you more options. Certainly it's easier to throw in somebody's trunk if you need to bum a ride. Folded and bagged, there's more chance you'll be allowed to keep it in inside, but find this out first. If there isn't a problem with bringing large packages inside, it shouldn't be an issue, but you don't want to be caught by surprise.

    Anyway another question is I am 6,2 an 195lbs is that too heavy for a folding bike ? What is the so called bounce or bend that guys are talking about when riding a bike ??
    There are heavier people than you riding folders. Dahon gives an upper weight limit of 230 lbs, which includes rider and luggage. You can probably go a bit over without breaking anything. I think Swift is about the same. Bike Friday will ask you your weight and sell you a frame to suit it. I don't think your weight will be a problem with any brand, unless you also lug enormous loads. Small wheeled folders may have a bit more flex than normal bikes, particularly in the long handleposts and seat posts. Generally nothing to worry about with a good brand.
    Last edited by DaFriMon; 05-19-06 at 07:18 AM.
    You're right, I do have more bikes than I need.

  9. #9
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    Start with the wheel diameter you want.
    2000 Montague CX, I do not recommend it, but still ride it.
    Strida 3, I recommend it for rides < 10mi wo steep hills.
    2006 Rowbike 720 Sport, I recommend it as an exercise bike.
    1996 Birdy, Recommend.
    Wieleder CARiBIKE (folding), decent frame.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand
    I'm interested in other's thoughts on the subject. On a side note, I have been trying to learn how the Dahon Speed Pro TT could have STI shifters attached to a SRAM Dual Drive hub (would bar cons work as well?).

    -Geof
    I was interested in this myself, so I took my Raleigh Twenty to my LBS and tried my SRAM Dual Drive with 105 STI shifters...it worked perfectly after a little adjustment. On a negative note, I have read that the internal gears don't like friction shifters, so just make sure you can get bar cons with indexed 3 speed front shifters...if they exist. I've only been able to find friction style front shifters(of the bar con variety), but what do I know?

    Another thing you might be interested in is that when I climb in my "small ring", I feel like I'm losing efficiency because of the internal gearing. It may actually be only a minimal mechanical loss, but I do feel it, and that is REALLY no fun when you are climbing. I just thought you might want to know, since you are planning on touring. I'm thinking of changing over to a double crank and losing the internal gears altogether.

    juan162

  11. #11
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    SRAM DD with STI

    Quote Originally Posted by juan162
    I was interested in this myself, so I took my Raleigh Twenty to my LBS and tried my SRAM Dual Drive with 105 STI shifters...it worked perfectly after a little adjustment. On a negative note, I have read that the internal gears don't like friction shifters, so just make sure you can get bar cons with indexed 3 speed front shifters...if they exist. I've only been able to find friction style front shifters(of the bar con variety), but what do I know?

    Another thing you might be interested in is that when I climb in my "small ring", I feel like I'm losing efficiency because of the internal gearing. It may actually be only a minimal mechanical loss, but I do feel it, and that is REALLY no fun when you are climbing. I just thought you might want to know, since you are planning on touring. I'm thinking of changing over to a double crank and losing the internal gears altogether.

    juan162
    Hey Juan,

    That is good to know. As I wrote earlier, we are interested in the Swift folder which doesn't handle a front derailer well. So a "granny" gear would be helpful for sore knees; even with the efficiency loss.

    Peter Reich also stated that the Swift folder really isn't designed for a front derailer. So you can see why we are so interested in the Dual Drive.

    So when you installed it on your Raleigh Twenty--I assume that you changed the rear derailer as well--what is the adjustment needed for the internal hub. I am fairly clueless to how the shifter interfaces with the hub. From what documentation I can find, it would appear that you ran the cable from the left 105 shifter to the click box. I assume that the slight adjustment was to simply tighten/loosen the cable until you could switch into all three internal gears.

    If memory serves me right, I thought that the space between the rear stays on a Raleight Twenty was too narrow for modern hubs. Did you have a LBS bend them open?

    That must be a neat bike ... although a bit heavy.

    -Geof

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand
    Hey Juan,

    So when you installed it on your Raleigh Twenty--I assume that you changed the rear derailer as well--what is the adjustment needed for the internal hub. I am fairly clueless to how the shifter interfaces with the hub. From what documentation I can find, it would appear that you ran the cable from the left 105 shifter to the click box. I assume that the slight adjustment was to simply tighten/loosen the cable until you could switch into all three internal gears.

    If memory serves me right, I thought that the space between the rear stays on a Raleight Twenty was too narrow for modern hubs. Did you have a LBS bend them open?

    That must be a neat bike ... although a bit heavy.

    -Geof
    Geof,

    Someday I'll get around to putting up pics of my bike, but to answer some of your questions:

    1. The shimano 105 'brifters' worked just fine with the derailler that came with my dual drive hub. I guess the indexing must be comparable between the two systems.
    2. I attached the shifter just as you had assumed. All I really had to do was get the length of the cable correct. Nothing fancy at all and it took all of 2 minutes. I unfortunately didn't have the cash for the shifters, but my LBS guy and I are tight, so he let me borrow one off one of his showroom bikes for the experiment.
    3. I spread the rear triangle myself (it's actually really easy check out Sheldon Brown's site for details) and had my LBS carve into the right rear chainstay to give clearance for the chain. It didn't weaken the chainstay as my LBS guy welded in more steel to fill in the hole. You can see it here:

    http://www.thebikestand.com/raleigh-folder.html

    You can also see from the pics how I stupidly drilled an extra whole to hang my derrailler - hey, we all make mistakes, especially when you're learning on the job. I will have my LBS fill in the hole during the next stage of development.
    4. It does weigh a bit, but I am just north of 230lbs, so I can lose alot more weight off of my body than I can my bike.
    5. While I do feel like the internal gears are a little less efficient, I still use the 'granny gear' when I need to and am happy that I have it.

    In conclusion, if you like the Swifts but you need more gears, the SRAM dual drive might be a viable option. Good luck with your decision,

    juan162

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    I recently purchased a used steel frame Swift from Peter. I had him put dual chain rings 54/39 and a 9 speed cassette 11-34. The chain can be easily manually shifted to the smaller ring while riding, using your shoes. I would love to get a front derailleur on it. Of course with the steel frame, it might be doable.
    If you are in no hurry and would like the Swift in a steel frame, you can contact Jan at Human Powered Machines. he seemed to feel that he could put a front derraileur.

    http://www.catoregon.org/hpm/index.htm
    Last edited by stargazer48; 05-22-06 at 09:04 PM.

  14. #14
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    I have a bike friday p[ocket tourist and a new world tourist. They fold basically the same. I haew folded them to travel to fla adn to or. After i totally screwed it up the first time i called BF and they walked me through it then it was easy. The pocket tourist with 8 or 16 speeds might well fit within your budget. My 24 speed was just a little over a grand. I also have a couple of dahons and they easily fold. In the md part of the dc area try college park cycles on nash rd in college park.

  15. #15
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    I've got a Chiorda Safari I'll sell ya for less than $1000.00

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