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  1. #1
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    Less Common Folders

    I am new to this site so forgive me if I make some faux pas. I noticed that some people get upset if a new thread is started unnecessarily. I have developed a fascination for folders in an effort to have one that is light, portable and good quality. To that end, I first started with a Dahon Helios P8 which didn't work for my body habitus (I'm 5'0", female), also its too bulky. I just bought a Handybike on ebay for $125 ish plus shipping. This seems to be the other extreme. I could see using it to go from one office building to the next but that is about it, it feels somewhat unsteady also and potentially hazardous for that reason. I think it will end up being something kids will ride if they visit my home.

    I test drove a Brompton the other day and wasn't favorably impressed either with how it handled. I didn't feel stable on it. I have ordered a Downtube Mini shortly and plan to use this for light touring, I think it will be fine for this. However, I am still looking for an easily unfolded bike to get me from the parking lot to the office (1/4 mile) its all flat, with a minimum of fuss. The Mobiky might be just the trick, it sure looks cool. Anyone have first hand experience? There are reviews on Amazon, but they didn't help much. I'd rather get the opinion of experts here.

  2. #2
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    maybe a scooter

    For a simple 1/4 mile one-way route and superfast fold, you might consider a electric scooter in place of a bike. The Go 2000x is a mean little machine:

    http://www.gosportinggoods.com/

    You will require a smooth riding surface.

  3. #3
    too many bikes
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    USD 449 buys a lot of bike.
    for scooters: http://www.xootr.com/xootr/nscooters.shtml

  4. #4
    Raleigh20 PugFixie, Merc LittlePixel's Avatar
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    Hey there; the Dahon Sweetpea might be your 1/4mile bike as it's tiny and uncomplicated and a lot less money than a brompton. With small wheels things will always feel a little unstable at first - I think it's as much to do with familiarity as the bike's actual stability. (I say this being in london uk where people of all sizes zip about on Brompton's as happy as Larry..

  5. #5
    Senior Member downtube's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smokeyrules
    I am new to this site so forgive me if I make some faux pas. I noticed that some people get upset if a new thread is started unnecessarily. I have developed a fascination for folders in an effort to have one that is light, portable and good quality. To that end, I first started with a Dahon Helios P8 which didn't work for my body habitus (I'm 5'0", female), also its too bulky. I just bought a Handybike on ebay for $125 ish plus shipping. This seems to be the other extreme. I could see using it to go from one office building to the next but that is about it, it feels somewhat unsteady also and potentially hazardous for that reason. I think it will end up being something kids will ride if they visit my home.

    I test drove a Brompton the other day and wasn't favorably impressed either with how it handled. I didn't feel stable on it. I have ordered a Downtube Mini shortly and plan to use this for light touring, I think it will be fine for this. However, I am still looking for an easily unfolded bike to get me from the parking lot to the office (1/4 mile) its all flat, with a minimum of fuss. The Mobiky might be just the trick, it sure looks cool. Anyone have first hand experience? There are reviews on Amazon, but they didn't help much. I'd rather get the opinion of experts here.
    I love the Mobiky! Very cool bike and great for rolling in/out of an office elevator. It is not very light, however I can't imagine anyone carrying it since it is made to roll.

    Thanks,
    Yan

  6. #6
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    The Mobiky I tried seemed heavy, possibly not true of newer versions. Strida might be a better choice, it can be rolled after it is folded.

    DT mini has small dia wheels, like the Brompton. I think you would have the same concerns with the mini as the brompton. A cheaper alternative is the Dahon 'sweat pea'. No gears but costs less than the mini. Dahon probably has a better parts package with fewer no name brands.

    You should consider chaining the bike outside your office.
    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.

  7. #7
    Is this your card? woofman's Avatar
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    The Mobiky ($700 on Amazon) seems a bit pricey, while the Chrysler PT Cruiser Folding Bike ($270 on Amazon) may suit your needs at a more reasonable price. However, for my money and pleasure, I'd stick with the DT mini. After you ride it you'll be convinced.

  8. #8
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smokeyrules
    I am still looking for an easily unfolded bike to get me from the parking lot to the office (1/4 mile) its all flat, with a minimum of fuss. The Mobiky might be just the trick, it sure looks cool.
    Another vote for "go for a scooter." Scooters are light, small, cheap, require almost no maintenance, are 2.5x faster than walking, and much faster to collapse and store than a folding bike.

  9. #9
    Member, Schmember DaFriMon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smokeyrules
    . . .I have ordered a Downtube Mini shortly and plan to use this for light touring, I think it will be fine for this. However, I am still looking for an easily unfolded bike to get me from the parking lot to the office (1/4 mile) its all flat, with a minimum of fuss. . .
    I may have missed something, but why order any bike exclusively for a quarter mile flat trip? Why not just walk?

    Or if you do want to save a little effort, then the scooter suggestion seems good.
    You're right, I do have more bikes than I need.

  10. #10
    Tuck Fexas SoonerLater's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaFriMon
    I may have missed something, but why order any bike exclusively for a quarter mile flat trip? Why not just walk?
    For a 1/4 mile, I'd walk, but then I'm stalking this forum trying to find the best buy on a folder to ride just 1/2 mile each way.

    I have to pay $120/month for parking, but there is free parking 1/2 mile away. I thought if I could find a good buy on a folder, I could save money. My van is big enough to accomodate my full size bike with the front tire removed. I reckon that the time to put on the front tire is about the same as folding most bikes, but it would be a beast to get up the elevator, whereas I think that an UNfolded folder would roll right in the elevator without difficulty.

    Someone might say -- correctly -- that both of us ought to just WALk, but I can't resist the technonerd appeal of folding tech.

  11. #11
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    Walking

    Walking just isn't as fun and with a bike, I can sleep just that much longer in the morning.
    Like many people in this group, I have more bikes than I really need, but its still fun. The idea of a Scooter is good but (and don't take this the wrong way) as a professional woman I think it would
    look a little undignified and also I'm not that good at it. I'm just wondering if there will be too much
    overlap between the Mobiky and the Downtube Mini. I think women have a harder time with fitting.
    I thought about the Strida but I don't meet the recommended height requirements.

    The other bizarre thing about some of these lesser known bikes, you try to send emails to their headquarters and they either bounce back or they can't answer your question.

  12. #12
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    I am going to go through your comments and question shortly. Let me state that I am too female, only about 2 inches taller than you. I own two folders (a Brompton and a Dahon Boardwalk) and one British three speed clunker from the 1960's. I slightly adjusted the bikes to fit me better. I favor the upright postion when riding. And don't apologized about learning about folders-that is what we do best here and are reason for being. Now to your comments:


    "one that is light, portable and good quality" -smokeyrules

    The good quaility bikes from most folder makers are now reflecting this philosiphy. My heaviest one-the fullly accessorized Dahon-only weights in at about 30 pounds. Earlier folders were more in the 36 pound range (which is way beyond my ability to carry one).

    "...started with a Dahon Helios P8 which didn't work for my body habitus (I'm 5'0", female), also its too bulky" -smokeyrules

    I heard of complaints from other female users that the Dahons tend to feel stretched out or long in the reach from saddle to handbar area. This is not a problem for me since I prefer to ride in a upright position. I have rode road bikes before I "retired" and now only use the folders and the occaisional bout on the old bike. Critical fit appears to be in the more you lean over (as in mountain or road bikes) when you cycle. That is when the differences between the men and the women appear to be the greatest on a bike. Men have longer arms and torsos. Bikes are fitted for men. Sadly unless you buy a female fitted bike (like a Terry) or have a bike custom made for you (Bike Friday), women are likely to run into this problem.

    "I just bought a Handybike on ebay for $125 ish plus shipping. This seems to be the other extreme. it feels somewhat unsteady also and potentially hazardous for that reason." -smokeyrules

    I can't comment on Handybike. I never even seen one. But do remember when you go from a 700cc, 27" or a 26" wheel full size bike, you will feel funny for a while (depending on your own ability to adapt to a new smaller wheel size). After some practice, I never had any problems with my bikes again. Give youself a break and be more tolerant with your initial adjustment period. And make sure you take that bike as well as any bike to a good Local Bike Shop for a thorough tune up. This is a very important step when you break in a new bike-and a lot of people tend to neglect.

    "I test drove a Brompton the other day and wasn't favorably impressed either with how it handled. I didn't feel stable on it. I have ordered a Downtube Mini shortly and plan to use this for light touring" -smokeyrules

    I felt the same way with my own Brompton when I test rode the demostrator model at the shop that sold me the bike. The owner told me to allow for the different tires that she put on it due to some person blowing up the rear tire. The bike felt funny to me when I rode it around the calm side streets (a good place to practice). Yet I bought it since the bike had heaps going for it (see my other threads for more info on the locating Brompton Seeking and purchasing Brompton Found! of my Brompton). I since traveled with it all around Southern California with it. The only major thing I had to do to fit to me was rotating the brake levers foward or upwards a bit to prevent cramps in my hands and wrists-it stopped it completely).

    "I have ordered a Downtube Mini shortly and plan to use this for light touring, I think it will be fine for this. However, I am still looking for an easily unfolded bike to get me from the parking lot to the office (1/4 mile) its all flat, with a minimum of fuss..." -smokeyrules

    When I was younger, I rode a skateboard for that distance in college. In the work world, I use one of my folders. One of the major reason I purchased a Brompton and a Dahon was the staying togeter compact package that each one is-the Brompton even more so. I can place the Brompton in the tightest, most cramped patches of area that is around to transport or store it especially in crowded trains, buses, taxis, tiny cars, restaurants, bars, office cubicles or desks, or even in a suitcase in a plane.

    If you still have any questions or comments, let me know.
    Last edited by folder fanatic; 09-15-06 at 12:53 PM.

  13. #13
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    Mobiky

    Downtube, can you be more specific about why you like the Mobiky? How would you compare it to your own line of bikes. . .I believe you are affiliated with Downtube if not the owner.

  14. #14
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    Since your goals are to save money and to only bike a short distance from "Car" to "Work", I'd say that your priorities should be (in order)

    -Small. 16" wheels preferable to 20". If you're a (pardon me) short rider, you'll appreciate the smaller size. Your car will too, and you'll be less likely to have to win a semantics argument at the front door of your job ("It's not a bike, it's just bike parts, now that it's been disassembled...")
    -Quality. Don't get something el-cheapo, like a no-name folder just because it has small wheels. Give preference to companies that have been around for a bit, and who have a track record for product support and customer service.
    -Price. If you can get in for less money, do it. Don't ride this curve all the way to the bottom, or you'll be buying a Walmart-quality bike and it likely won't last. However, you won't be saving money if you spend $1200 on a superb folder that you only drive between the parking area and work, in order to save $??.?? per year on parking.

    I'd say that the DT mini is a safe bet, followed closely by Brompton, then more distantly Stida, then Mobiky.

    Don't base your opinions on the smaller-wheeled bikes on only a 1/2 hour ride around a few blocks. If you're used to riding larger-wheeled bikes, it'll take a bit of getting used to the feel of the smaller wheels. Many folks report that the smaller wheels feel "squirrely" at first, but within a short time feel "responsive" instead. If test rides are available, see if it is possible to borrow them for 20hrs... rent them if necessary. Test them out for a good long ride, test the fold, see what they feel like to load and unload from your car... wrestle them through the door of your house/apt.

    Good luck with it though. Follow up with a review and your opinions of whateer you do test out or buy.

  15. #15
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    I collect folders and here are two pictures that show three of my less common ones hung up in the shed. The green bike is a Raleigh Twenty and the backgroundpicture is a Sears folder fron the 1970s. The secon picture is of a Safari with an aluminum Bickerton in the back ground. Roger
    Attached Images Attached Images

  16. #16
    Man About Town eff-J's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bookishboy
    I'd say that your priorities should be (in order)
    You might also want to add...

    - Speed of folding.

    If it takes too long to get the thing out of the car, set it up for riding, then fold it back once you get where you're going, then it you could get close to negating any time advantage over walking. Especially when you're only talking about a couple of blocks' distance.

    - Jeff

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    Quote Originally Posted by eff-J
    You might also want to add...

    - Speed of folding.

    If it takes too long to get the thing out of the car, set it up for riding, then fold it back once you get where you're going, then it you could get close to negating any time advantage over walking. Especially when you're only talking about a couple of blocks' distance.

    - Jeff
    Absolutely, although I'd probably put it on equal terms with "folded size" and "neatness of fold".

    Altogether, I'd give preference to the Brompton except that it is noticeably more expensive than the DT.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by smokeyrules
    I think women have a harder time with fitting.
    I thought about the Strida but I don't meet the recommended height requirements.

    The other bizarre thing about some of these lesser known bikes, you try to send emails to their headquarters and they either bounce back or they can't answer your question.
    My wife agrees with you about fitting!

    A friend brought her daughters around recently; her 13 yr old is about 5' & she rode it no problem at all, even though the seat is set up for a 5' 6" rider. I checked my manual & it says 4' 9" to 6' 4", but their web site (UK) says 5' 4". I'd imagine you would be ok at a lower seat setting. As others say, the small wheels do take a little while to get familiar with.

    I've also sent emails with either no, or vague, responses to questions. The exception has been Strida (UK) where I got prompt, courteous, & helpful replies.

  19. #19
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    I never rode one but what about a simple unicycle for that very long straineous 1/4 mile ride. No folding issues to deal with. Probably might be fun.

  20. #20
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    My 'two cents' : I know zip about the Downtube mini, so cannot comment on that.

    How important is appearance to you? If it's paramount, then Dahon makes a bike called the Mu XL which is very good looking and will probably elicit alot of good attention as you ride and they have a very fancy variant of this, called the Mu SL, r.that is downright sexy; though expensive. Xootr makes a bike that's very good looking as well (at least if you buy it in silver. The blue is pretty ugly, if you ask me). Bike Friday makes professional level bikes that are really good looking (have a look at a Pocket Rocket Pro in full Campy Record), but the best of these can cost $6k, and they don't really fold, they sort-of break apart.

    The Brompton for a mile ride, is probably a great choice. Dahon makes a few very lightweight bikes with 16" wheels (as another mentioned earlier on) and they fold to only a bit bigger than the Brompton, but aren't as neat a fold. Still worth the look. The Birdy might be a good choice, because it rides very well (though it tends to keep bouncing a bit once you get it started), but folds not so well. The Giant Halfway would be a very nice choice both because it looks kempt and rides well. Not prohibitively expensive either. The Halfway also has the advantage of larger wheels: It looks more as you might expect a bike to look.

    The electric scooter is great fun but dies a horrible death if you ride it through even a piddling puddle, much less actual rain. I know, I've killed three. Probably not a functional option. A push style Xootr is an attractive idea, but you may be right, the world doesn't seem quite ready to accept the image of a professional on a scooter.

    To sum it all up: I'd say the Brompton or the Halfway.

  21. #21
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    Someone Help me, I'm addicted

    Thank you everyone for all your input and technical expertise and experience. I'll eventually post a systematic analysis of the Dahon, Handybike and Downtube Mini, once I receive the latter, from the perspective of a short female.

    I've also decided after all your input, that I'll probably buy the Mobiky as well. I think it will add to my repertoire. Obviously, I'm addicted.

    As a height challenged person (5' 0") I have found that none of the standard folders seem to feel stable, it is like the center of gravity is not where it should be, or I feel stretched out. I'm sure in the hands of many of you tall males, the Brompton and Dahon are great.

    I did consider the Bike Friday and talked extensively with one of the sales people (who are excellent by the way), but although the performance would likely be great and it would be custom made for me, it is really not made to fold quickly.

    In addition to these above, I already have a Woman's Ironman Centurion with a shortened tube top and a Woman's Dual Suspension Trek Mountain Bike. So I already have high performance bikes for specific needs.

    Eventually I'll find good homes for my Dahon Helios P8 and the Handybike I just got on ebay. The Handybike is more a novelty. If I could train my cat to ride on the handlebars we can be a circus act.

    Anna

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