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  1. #1
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    light weight folding bike search

    im looking to get a light easy to fold normal sized wheels (24? inch) for a 5feet 4inch girl
    to commute in manhattan as well as to take on trips
    any links to sites or reccomendations will be appreciated.
    also i have a hybrid bianchi to trade with front shocks (local nyc area only for pick up) for the right folding bike

  2. #2
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    Tough combination, full-size tires and light weight, since tires aren't light--especially if you get into heavy-duty tires which you might want to cut down on flats while going to/from work. Another drawback is that larger wheels usually mean larger folded size.

    Besides Montague (which isn't really a folding bike), Dahon is the only manufacturer of full-size (26" wheel) folding bikes that I know of--most folders tend to have 20" wheels, with a few in the sub-20" category (Birdy, Brompton, etc). But according to Dahon's specs, the 26"-ers start at a bit over 26 pounds, not including a rack, horn/bell, or front and rear lights, all of which you'd need for commuting. Fully outfitted, you're looking at a package that's at least 28 pounds.

    If you're in Manhattan, Metro Cycles on Lexington between 87th and 88th (I think--maybe it's 88th and 89th) carries some Dahons, though I don't know if they carry the 26" wheelers. I think Larry & Jeffs, also on the UES, carry Dahons, but don't quote me on that. Your best bet is to head to the bike shop and kick the tires a bit, checking out rideability, ease of folding/folded size, weight, etc. You may even find that a 20" wheel size gives you more of the attributes you seek than the larger wheel, opening yourself up to look at other manufacturers besides Dahon. As long as you're on the UES (ha ha), you should check out NYCE Wheels on York between 84th and 85th as they carry a variety of different folders (but not Dahon).

  3. #3
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikestoworkny
    im looking to get a light easy to fold normal sized wheels (24? inch) for a 5feet 4inch girl
    to commute in manhattan as well as to take on trips
    I agree with Dubes, this is going to be a tough one, and a bike with 26" wheels might not fold small enough for what you need. Bikes like the Xootr Swift (~22 lbs) or the Dahon Helios (~24 lbs) may suit you better.

    Bicycle Habitat in SOHO has a decent selection of folding bikes; B-Fold on 13th Street specializes in Bromptons, and carries the Xootr Swift and 1 or 2 others. A Bicycle Shop on 14th also has a few folders.
    Last edited by Bacciagalupe; 06-30-06 at 08:09 AM.

  4. #4
    New usename ThorUSA brakemeister's Avatar
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    you are looking for 20 inch wheels.... fer sure... you want a lightweight folder ... with good tires ( which are easy to change later, if the bike doesnt already come with them )
    lightweight means that you need a derailleur modell,, and no accessories like fender carriers and all that fluff ( lol )

    Helios P 8 is around 500 dlr ..... I dont think that any store takes trade ins .... I would imagine that your Bianchi ( as long as it is not one of the few special limited edition handmade bikes ) is worth a hundred ( if it is in very good shape !)


    Thor

  5. #5
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    Hi Bikestowork,

    I am a 5'6" woman who rode a lady's 26" wheeled bicycle, (Peugeout, Raleigh) most of my life, which is, I think, the idea behind your mention of that fact. The wheels of my last, a Raleigh, were stolen, and I decided to give the rest away and upgrade to a lighter bike and then learned about folders, which resolved even more problems than I thought possible. I recently spent a couple of weeks researching folding bicycles before I finally chose a Downtube VIII H for various reasons, including price, quality, standard parts, maintenance free internal hub, solid rack for bungycording things to, design, good references and excellent technical support. I had particularly liked the step-through (open to pedal crank, no bar to put leg up over to get on) aspect of 'Ciao' by Dahon, but it seems to be available only in Europe, is quite expensive, and I'm not sure how easy it would be to have serviced in Montreal even if I'd got one. The German stepthrough 'Birzia' was a better price, but has only 3 speeds and similar issues as the Dahon (my guess is that it might be rather heavy as well).

    Hope that's of some help, and please let us know what decision you finally make!

    Anna

  6. #6
    Seņor Mambo
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    At least one dealer is stating that they will have the Dahon Ciao P3 in the U.S. by late July (I'm assuming 2006). Price is around $600 which includes shipping.

  7. #7
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    The only lightweight 24" wheel folder I know is airnimal

    The small size may be OK for a 5'4" rider but do check.

  8. #8
    New usename ThorUSA brakemeister's Avatar
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    That is correct I expect the first Ciao by end of july .... prrices are not fixed yet .... it looks that it will have a 5 speed and it will have the cool hub generator in the front wheel... ( although the bike comes without lights ... )

    Thor

  9. #9
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    Given you want large diameter wheels a normal bike with a short wheelbase and folding pedals , which you would chain in the street, might meet your criteria better than a folding bike. If you need to make it compact, pop off the wheels and head set, fold the pedals. Wrap in a painters tarp and bungee cords if you will load it on a bus or train.
    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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    Hi again Bikestoworkny,

    I wanted to clarify that when you mentioned the 24" wheel, I think you were thinking about standard/traditional ways of talking about the size of a bike. I learned that in folders, all of that is somewhat irrelevant, with wheels as small as 6"(!) in some of the more exotic folders, if I remember correctly. These bikes can fit most riders from 5'2" to 6'2" as the seat and handlebars heights can be adjusted according to the riders' requirements. As someone mentions, 20" seems to be the standard for folders as they are a good size, but not so big that the benefits of the folded compactness are lost or the feel of riding a 'normal' bicycle. !6" seems to be the second most common size.

    Thought a link to a Ciao description might be interesting for you (I'd forgotten that it has only 5 speeds - I'm used to 10, and they're all useful here in Montreal, so the lowest I wanted to have was 8. In NY that might not be such an issue.):
    http://www.electricbikesdirect.co.uk...608&category=5

    And this is a Canadian site, but I found that it has a great cross-section of folders for comparison, including other Dahons and the Birzia I also mentioned:
    http://www.jvbike.com/folding.htm

    I guess I should also throw in a link to Downtube so that you can see what I'm waiting to ride - hopefully next weekend at latest!

    http://www.downtube.com

    Happy hunting!

    Anna

  11. #11
    Seņor Mambo
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    If Thor says they're coming, then I'd put bank on it. But what's the deal with a hub generator and no light?

    (It was another dealer who listed they were getting Ciao P3s, but I'm sure exact models are subject to change.)

  12. #12
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    Get a breezer. Those are tiny bikes... and 5'4" ain't that short- I'm way shorter and I can fit any bike that you giants can also fit.

    Koffee

  13. #13
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    breezer 20 inch

    Quote Originally Posted by Guest
    Get a breezer. Those are tiny bikes... and 5'4" ain't that short- I'm way shorter and I can fit any bike that you giants can also fit.

    Koffee
    what bike do you ride?
    and where can i buy a breezer us/

  14. #14
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    I would go with a Downtube with internal hub. If you want more, the downtube bikes are very upgradable. If you budget is 500 or up, try a Dahon.

    But one thing is for sure: Your bike is a 20" wheel bike

  15. #15
    Senior Member wubrew's Avatar
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    bikestoworkny Just like you I was looking for a folder for commuting to work (1.22 mile.) I started with wanting the lightest and the best. I went through tons of reseach and came up with one simple principle in aquiring my first bike:
    Since I won't know what I want until I can(will never be able to) TRY them (ALL) myself (eventhough the advices out ther are great,) I stuck to a very low buget folder (eventhogh $$$$ is no problem) for a blind first time posession. After all you might not actually like to commute on a folder/bike after you do it for a few times.
    There are alot of Folder under $200-$400 out there. You can even get a brand new older model for halft the price.
    I got one through my local craig list a Trek F100 brand new. Even though it is 26ib for $275 (listed $449) If I change my mind on commuting on a folder I can alway used it for leisure. Not much loss compare to a $1000+ lighter a little more compact out ther. Wt range from 18lb to 35lb. Unless you plan to carry up the stairs almost all proprietry folder can be self adjusted to roll on its wheel while folded. My 16y old sophomore school back pack is approx. 50lb! She is 5'6" 100lb. Any way get the lowest priced reliable folder and try it out and then upgrade to your dream folder when you know you will want to commuteor/use it for lots of travelling. Just do not get anything no matter how cheap; that will attract unwanted attention. Especially in NY. Good luck.

  16. #16
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    I live in Manhattan and I collect bikes. I've got so many that I'm scared to say... I any event, I ride my folding bikes the most and am a certified weight weenie! So what do you want? Light , light and inexpensive or so cool it's worth carrying a couple of extra pounds for? The minimum you'll get away with is $550 (unless you're a better shopper than I).

    Light and cheap:


    Xootr swift in silver. Best deal in the lightweight sweepstakes, at least in a new bike. $600-650
    Used Dahon Helios SL (lightest derailleur folder ever). There's a guy in Chinatown selling one in mint shape. Probably let it go for $550 and it's 4 pounds lighter than a Xootr (16lbs).
    Giant Halfway. 23lbs. With a coool single arm front and rear triangle(s). $650

    Light:

    Dahon Mu SL: less than 20 lbs and a hydroformed frame. Quite cool. $1100

    Birdy 8spd. I ride one of these and it's very plush. A manageable 24lbs and a rally good ride. $1200. Larry/Jeff's 87th and 2nd.

    Cool as all get out and light:


    Go Bike. Canada's best vaporware. Impossible to find but cool as anything ever made. $1200 if you can find one.

    Dahon Jetstream P8 2005 (with Magura Hydraulic brakes. These are really amazing or 2006 (with only the wild front suspension). Just got one of these and the ride is fantastic. First suspended folder I've ridden that lets the pedal get to the metal. 24lbs and $800.

    Air Friday. Unbelievable ride quality. Finest of te finest but costs around $2500 to start.

    Bike Friday Pocket Crusoe. Another lovely bike and fast too. People use these as training rides everyday. Expensive though. Once again around $2500

    Moulton AM1. 10,000 Dollars better buy you the coolest bike ever made.

    Mrazek. Doesn't fold much like the Moulton. Definitely exclusive ad will have the whole LES fixie crowd i awe of you. $2000

    Just want small:

    Bike Friday Metro. Can be found on Ebay for around $700. Cool bike and pretty light. Not exactly a folder though.

    Dahon's new non-foldable 20 inch wheeled bikes are really interesting, Light and not so terribly expensive. Worth a look.

    That help? Wanna go for a ride in Central Park?

    DG1

  17. #17
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    Of course Airnimals come with 24" wheels and are quick and light. While folders, they aren't really commuting machines.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikestoworkny
    what bike do you ride?
    and where can i buy a breezer us/
    Koffee left the forums, so she won't likely answer you.

  19. #19
    Raleigh20 PugFixie, Merc LittlePixel's Avatar
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    It seems to me that the Airnimal is closest to your description. There are two main kinds in the 24" wheeled size - the base model joey and more extravagant chameleon. They're very nice bikes but as others mention - the fold is more of a 'touring-thing' than a '10-second-effort-at-your-destination' thing. Fast and light though...


    Chameleon


    Joey

  20. #20
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    Joey a great choice

    I have an Airnimal Joey. For commuting it's perfect - there are a number of different ways to configure the bike, according to your preferences. If the girl in question wants ease of use, I'd suggest a hub gear on the back (Airnimal sell a version with internal hub gear). Otherwise, if it's light weight that's more important, then go for a derailleur version.

    The stock models they do are perfectly good enough on the component side - mine's kitted out with all the best gear, but there's really no need to stray away from a stock model.

    I would certainly recommend 507 size rims though (there are two standard 24" denominations). It's a great size - in fact I prefer it to any other size - folding or not. Just as comfy as 26", much more manageable when off the bike, fast - perfect! Go for Schwalbe Marathon tyres too. No question.

    Sizing of the Joey is perfectly OK for a shorter person. BUT get measured up properly in advance, and then by choosing the right stem length, the steerer tube can be cut to size, the saddle position adjusted, and you've got something close to a custom sized bike!

    There's no need to go for a Chameleon. The Joey is more than adequate, and also very good value when compared to folding or even standard bikes. It's not wonderfully convenient to fold though. If most of the time for daily commuting it'll be left as is - fine. Then there's the option to break it down if you want to jump in a taxi home, or to take it on holiday. Having said that - the folding process is very simple. Just a little akward to carry.

    As far as the ride - I honestly think it's better than any larger wheeled bike I've ever ridden. In fact it's the best bike I've ever ridden. No kidding - though I'm sure many won't believe it's this good.

    If in doubt - just call up Airnimal in the UK.

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