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  1. #1
    DocRay
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    Oh wise folding ones...I need advice.

    I have a ten kilometer commute to work, I can't bring my MTB or road bike to work because they are too expensive to lock unattended. I can't bring them into my office because the office and elevators are too small.
    The logical alternative seems to be a folding bike I can bring into my office. What I would really like is a bike that would resemble my road bike for fit (maybe with drop bars?). I also have a 500 ft climb on a long hill back home, so even three speeds would be ok. 16" wheels should be fine, the roads are good here. No suspension, I hate suspended bikes.

    I tried to look at the Strida, but regardless of what the Strida website says, the bike cannot fit anyone over 6' without the bars being far too close, and I was not impressed with the quality. I tried a few generic Chinese-built bikes, but the quality is Woemart or worse, two broke on the test ride.

    I'm looking at around $600..any ideas?

  2. #2
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocRay
    I have a ten kilometer commute to work, I can't bring my MTB or road bike to work because they are too expensive to lock unattended. I can't bring them into my office because the office and elevators are too small.
    The logical alternative seems to be a folding bike I can bring into my office. What I would really like is a bike that would resemble my road bike for fit (maybe with drop bars?). I also have a 500 ft climb on a long hill back home, so even three speeds would be ok. 16" wheels should be fine, the roads are good here. No suspension, I hate suspended bikes.

    I tried to look at the Strida, but regardless of what the Strida website says, the bike cannot fit anyone over 6' without the bars being far too close, and I was not impressed with the quality. I tried a few generic Chinese-built bikes, but the quality is Woemart or worse, two broke on the test ride.

    I'm looking at around $600..any ideas?
    Used Brompton or possibly a Merc if you can find one I am in the same boat, but saving pennies for a Brommie. I am 6'2" ride a normal 64-67cm frame. I also tip the scales at just shy of 200#. I have had a hard time even finding folders to test ride. I did find a couple of Dahon 20" wheeled bikes, but they really don't fold as small as I would like. I really want internal gears and a generator hub. So Brompton looks like the winner, just have to save up for it. Maybe get a beater road bike and take the risk of locking it up outside?

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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  3. #3
    too many bikes
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    I assume you have no folder store nearby to try various bikes (other than a Strida). Therefore, order a DT Mini. 30 day return policy. You may like a larger wheel (ISO 406) since your commute is longer, so order the larger non-sus DT as well. Try both. At worst, you're out shipping and will have gained significant experience and knowledge from days of riding.

  4. #4
    DocRay
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc
    Maybe get a beater road bike and take the risk of locking it up outside?

    Aaron
    I tried this, bought a $35 POS bike and locked it to a fence -they cut a hole in the fence and stole it.
    I've had three bikes stolen from around the campus in 5 years.

  5. #5
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocRay
    I have a ten kilometer commute to work. The logical alternative seems to be a folding bike I can bring into my office. What I would really like is a bike that would resemble my road bike for fit (maybe with drop bars?). I'm looking at around $600..any ideas?
    H'm, kind of a tall order in that price range....

    I'd say look at the Xootr Swift. $700, around 22 lbs, aluminum frame, superbly stiff, 8 speeds, good components, crisp shifting, fully upgradeable.

    Although it comes with flat bars, this will probably get the closest to a real road bike feel in your price range. It uses a lot of standard parts, so it should be easy to adjust to your regular setup; you can even flip the stem if it makes you feel OCP or macho or whatever.

    Also, while it doesn't have the most compact fold, switching to drops won't really compromise the fold (unlike lots of other folding bikes).

    James_Swift is the maestro of Swift handlebar conversions, so he can give you tips on swapping to drops, bullhorns and so forth. You could also look into custom setups.

    Downtube might be another option, as they are priced pretty low and iirc use more standard parts than a Dahon. However, I haven't used one, so I can't say if it offers a more solid ride than the Dahons; I can say that they look kludgy and heavy though. Plus, while the fold will be a little more compact than a Swift, I think you'd have lots of issues folding with drop bars. (Bullhorns might work better.)

    Definitely avoid the lower-end Dahons (e.g. Speed D7). Some of the midrange models, like the Mu ($600ish) might be ok. The thing about Dahons in your price range is: 1) the handlepost is SUPER flexy, so you can't pull back on the handlebars, and 2) lots of proprietary parts, so don't plan on upgrades, 3) the wheels suck 4) they tend to be heavy.

    Keeping in mind that I haven't used a Strida: I don't think it will fit the bill if you're looking for a road bike feel. Wheels are too small, kevlar belt drive + internal hub is convenient but definitely not efficient.

  6. #6
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocRay
    I have a ten kilometer commute to work, I can't bring my MTB or road bike to work because they are too expensive to lock unattended. I can't bring them into my office because the office and elevators are too small.
    The logical alternative seems to be a folding bike I can bring into my office. What I would really like is a bike that would resemble my road bike for fit (maybe with drop bars?). I also have a 500 ft climb on a long hill back home, so even three speeds would be ok. 16" wheels should be fine, the roads are good here. No suspension, I hate suspended bikes.

    I tried to look at the Strida, but regardless of what the Strida website says, the bike cannot fit anyone over 6' without the bars being far too close, and I was not impressed with the quality. I tried a few generic Chinese-built bikes, but the quality is Woemart or worse, two broke on the test ride.

    I'm looking at around $600..any ideas?
    Your bike storage problem was one of the main reasons why I went to exclusively folders at present. So you are going in the right direction as far as security goes. As for the choice, you will find a very wide range of makes and models to choose from. I have three folding bikes at present: 2 Dahons (20" Boardwalk and 16" Piccolo) and a 16" Brompton Companion. I prefer the internal hub gears-just as long as the drivetrain is geared to the varied terrain that I usually encounter. Each bike has a AW three speed hub which has a long history of dependable service. My bikes cover the wide range of height sizes and shapes of people. The Brompton has a rear suspension-a floating rubber tube that dampens any bump and uneveness of the road (on smaller wheels, I garentee that you will feel each little bump). I recommend you stick to the name brands like Dahon, Downtube, Brompton, Montague, or others for your bike. Your $600 will be better spent. These bikes are not toys, they are real bikes that deserve real attention. And do test ride before purchase. For more information, see below:

  7. #7
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    Get a regular bike you are willing to chain up. A 16" Brompton is the best choice for easy storage. Dahon Mu XL has 20" wheels and suspension which will help with rough road surfices. Fully suspended Birdy at 18" is another possible choice.
    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.

  8. #8
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    DocRAY.. I could go on and on,I've responded to a post like yours the other day.The folkes here and now
    have some fine options and ideas for shure. i'd touted the virtues in folders in general that other post.You seem to be on the same page with me on that as far as the theft issue etc. Don't over-look the obvious though,DO lok at Dahon,I'm not sure where they're made.I 'm shure it's an "American Co.". Many LBS,s have them.Dahon has many models.A bike in your range will present no problem.If the LBS doesn't have the model you want or they're way over-priced,buying them thrugh a site is OK.I would not have minded using an LBS.I looked at them there,I'd seen them in stores since the sixties.The LBS I'd checked out were priced 600 for a steel one(no charge for thier lousy attitude).My wife found it for 500 on the net 5 years ago. It's infinately adjustable,easy-fast to break-down and set up(less than 2 minutes to fold,4 to set-up).It takes an hour or so to practice the first time.I weigh 240..back THEN,I weighed 340(which MAY
    account for the attitude I mentioned). It wasn't a problem then.It's still a blast to ride.I've taken it to boring inlaw-visits as well, like taking a piece of luggage.I have the Helious model.It's light,it's not frail
    it worksand rides better than you'd guess.Some may say neg. things..??.. consider it as option,that's all.

  9. #9
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    DocRay:

    Check out this thread: Packable (airline) road racer for under $1000

    That poster was looking for a portable bike with some performance capabilities (which I assumed for your 10K, 500ft elevation) commute. Lots of good debate there.

    I am biased since I have bought 5 Downtubes in the last year (not all for me). I have to contradict Bacciagalupe's speculation that DTs are kludgy. They are very sturdy bikes and very economical. Some of the stock parts will need to upgraded for your commute - pedals, seat, etc. You may not like everything that comes stock with the bike, but it's easy to upgrade, since DTs use only standard parts (unlike most other mfgs). The frame and handlebars are very solid. I'm 6' and 187 lbs and an aggressive rider.

    Good luck.

  10. #10
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    A Xootr Swift sounds like the right bike for you.

  11. #11
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    Folding bikes are not as small once folded as one may think.

    The Xootr Swift will make a perfect riding bike, but will be a nice chunk of metal once you are inside your office. I would go with a Brompton or Merc if you don't have enough space. It's not like replacing your road bike, but you will get used to it.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by 14R
    Folding bikes are not as small once folded as one may think.

    The Xootr Swift will make a perfect riding bike, but will be a nice chunk of metal once you are inside your office. I would go with a Brompton or Merc if you don't have enough space. It's not like replacing your road bike, but you will get used to it.
    Yeah, but an office is much bigger than a car trunk or bus/train seat. We're basically talking about the difference between something the size of a stool and something the size of a chair. I find it hard to believe that the the extra weight, money, and compromise in ride quality is worth the extra 10 inches he would save by going with comparably equipped Brompton. Seriously, 10 inches matters in a car trunk, but not a room corner, utility closet, or elevator.

    The Swift is a well respected bike and if this isn't the perfect application for it then I don't know what is.

    I can't believe what some of you guys suggest sometimes:
    noob- I'm looking for something that will fit in the back of my pickup truck.
    BF member- I suggest a Brompton for the compact fold.
    Last edited by makeinu; 04-10-07 at 04:23 PM.

  13. #13
    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    What you seem to be describing (except the drop bars) is a Dahon Mu P8, which runs about $550 and is equipped with decent components. At 24 pounds, it's a bit heavy b/c it has a pump in the post and other amenities. But it folds small, rides similar to a road bike, and is cheap. It has 20" wheels, but the fold is decent. Gaerlan or Thor will set you up with the drop bars and other mods you need. (Personally, I would try to get the bike weight down closer to 20 pounds by swapping out the seat post and would swap the stem for the stiffer non-adjustable model along with your drop bars. If you really want a road bike feel, have the shop put Stelvios on it. Gaerlan will swap these things out at minimal cost.) See: http://www.dahon.com/us/folding-bicy...erformance.htm and http://www.gaerlan.com/bikes/mu/mu.htm.

    If a small fold isn't needed, a Swift is a beautiful bike as well. Nothing else in that price range I can think of that will give you a road bike like feel.

    I had a Mu SL for a while, and while I didn't like the hinge, I could barely tell the difference between it and a road bike.

    A final option is a low end Bike Friday, but it has a difficult fold and cheap components for a $600 bike. You won't be able to find a used folder for a decent price b/c they retain their value.

    I ride a Birdy mostly because it has no hinge, folds smaller, and performs as well, but it is out of your price range and has (albeit very stiff) suspension. Because of the way the suspension is set up, it is as efficient as a hard tail. The bike is 105/Deore XT equipped and set me back $750 used plus upgrades. Not for you, but hey, that's what I ride.

  14. #14
    Life in Mono
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    If you need gears for Hills, and want THE smallest folded package: Brompton, nothing comes close (except clones: - then choose: do you want to be 'kosher' - or fuel the rip-off merchants ?).
    If you have to walk any distance with Bike folded: Strida (the weird riding position becomes OK with use - in fact the very upright riding position is great for visibility in traffic, and as any fixie rider will tell you, at 54" it WILL climb hills, as the triangular frame is very stiff).

    These comments are from daily personal experience, not just hearsay ... its mainly the engine that counts !
    Last edited by Simple Simon; 04-10-07 at 05:23 PM.

  15. #15
    DocRay
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    Quote Originally Posted by geo8rge
    Get a regular bike you are willing to chain up.
    As I stated, this is no longer an option. There is no safe way to lock a bike.

  16. #16
    DocRay
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    Quote Originally Posted by makeinu
    A Xootr Swift sounds like the right bike for you.
    I think you're right, or downtube.

    I should mention I'm 6'4".

    I likey this:

    Last edited by DocRay; 04-10-07 at 10:00 PM.

  17. #17
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocRay
    I think you're right, or downtube.

    I should mention I'm 6'4".
    If you're 6'4", the Full Suspension model will be the only Downtube that'll fit you. Here's mine:


  18. #18
    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    I know you don't want suspension, but here is some eye candy...

    And of course, the Mu SL: http://www.dahon.com/us/musl.htm
    Attached Images Attached Images

  19. #19
    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    One thing to think about is that you might want to go into stores or cafes, in which case, the Swift isn't such a great choice (since it's big when folded). I don't use locks in NYC. Ever.

    Even a $20 bike will get its wheels crushed by some drunken frat boy. Oh how I miss the crack epidemic.

    Also, why would anyone on this forum recommend a regular bike? Given the choice, I'll take my Birdy over a road bike any day. The bike is just as fast, the wheels are stronger, and you can take the bike anywhere, even on board airplanes, without hassle.

  20. #20
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by makeinu
    I can't believe what some of you guys suggest sometimes:
    noob- I'm looking for something that will fit in the back of my pickup truck.
    BF member- I suggest a Brompton for the compact fold.
    It's more like this:

    noob- I'm looking for something SMALL that will fit in the back of my pickup truck, that is full of stuff and I can't fit a real bike.

    BF member - If SPACE IS AN ISSUE, try a Brompton for the compact fold.



  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocRay
    I think you're right, or downtube.

    I should mention I'm 6'4".
    I considered both a downtube and a swift when I was looking for a bike that I could stick in my closet instead of locking outside. I ended up buying a Downtube instead of a Swift, mainly because I'm a cheap ass, and I love it. However, you should know that Downtubes are generally pretty heavy (heavier than the specs on the downtube site admit). I don't mind the weight as I was looking for more of a town bike, but you might not be happy if you're looking to replace your road bike.

    I can't say much about fit, as I'm only 5'7", but I will say that although I love my Downtube, I probably would have bought a Swift if I were willing to lay down the extra dough.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Fear&Trembling's Avatar
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    Mid-range Dahons (Speed, MU P8 -as suggested by pm124) or the Swift would probably be best given your price range. If you can stretch a bit further the KHS F-20r is nice, or you could get a Downtube and pimp it up like Sesame C.

    Very few folders come equipped with drops or bullhorns, but the Swift lends itself best to this conversion. If you go with a Swift - get the longer seatpost. I assume the larger folded size will not be an issue in your office, but if you do have to tuck it away under your desk this is where the Swift's larger folded size is a drawback.

    My choice would be a Swift - but if you want to modify it to drops the cost will increase, but you can always upgrade at a later date...

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