I don't know why I'm intrigued about folders, but I just am. They are cheap, and cute.
A few random questions.
Do they fit like a normal bike? As in, will the reach be like my road bike, or will I have to add a stem like it seems possible to do.
Drop bars seem quite rare, is this to keep then small when folding? If you add a stem and drop bars, will they take the abuse of twisting the bar side to side as in riding out of the saddle?
It seems the Downtube and the Dahon are the major players in the states for a cheaper bike (400 or less), any others?
Is this bike crap and should be avoided? or does it have some legitimacy? http://www.citizenbike.com/catalog.a...1&product_id=7
Can't help you with the citizen bike, but some folders do fit like a normal bike.
Some other members can help you with the drop bars since I am not experienced with them (but I know some people use them).
In one way or another, folding bikes are really cool and everybody should have at least one.
I've been researching them and intend to buy a Friday. Both Swift and Friday can fit like a full size bike, and also pack in an airline friendly suitcase, so I'll choose between them. They are not cheap. Some of the less expensive ones I see in some bike stores tend to have a more upright position, which I don't want, or can't extend the seat high enough for me (I'm about 6 feet, so not way above average) or aren't rated for my weight plus baggage (I'm well over 200 lbs myself so I wouldn't ride the Citizen with a loaded pannier.)
Other considerations about the Citizen: it is a 6 speed with a single 48t front chain ring so you'll have fewer gears and not as wide a range of gears as on a road bike with a double or triple front crank. That's ok if you are riding in casual urban/suburban conditions, but you might have trouble on the steepest hills, or if you really ride fast.
The Citizen looks suspiciously like a Dahon re-badge to me.
Much like current 6-speed Yeah Bike or the 7-speed Boardwalk (both sold thru camping world).
Neither has as good a component level as my 2005 Boardwalk 7-speed or 2005 Boardwalk single-speed, based upon seeing them at our local CW store.
Car free since 1995
Also, it's a large chunk of steel. So even if it is cheap, you're better off with slightly less steel on a Downtube for the same price (try Ebay). If you are at all serious about biking, there is no free lunch. I would consider spending some money for a decent bike.
More importantly, if it's just a novelty item, you've got no concerns. But if you are actually going to fold it, ask whether you are going to put it in your largish car/fly with it (Downtube, Swift, Friday) or need something that's smaller (Dahon/Downtube Mini or Birdy/Brompton).
Each of these is ordered by ascending price.
The flexing depends on your weight and riding style, as well as, the bike quality. I have a Bike Friday NWT and it rides just as well as my Nova after all of the pros and cons. My wife likes her Crusoe better than her road bike.
If you are going cheap with a Downtube (or such) but want a road bike, you should expect to do a lot of upgrades yourself. You can save some bucks with that method, however.
Just look through the Downtube thread. You will see a few examples with drop bars. And yes, it generally does effect the size of the fold.
Car free since 1995
Folders also force you to ride with your hamstrings and quadraceps, just as you should. The side-to-side forces you are describing possibly go more in to twisting your bars, frame, and cranks than actually directing force into forward motion.
But, no, I wouldn't pull or twist on any folder with a long foldable stem. This force could potentially lead to stem breakage, and places a tremendous amount of force on the headset (think of the force of your forks accentuated by the pull of a very long lever). Dahon is possibly a big offender in the area of broken stems, judging from their forum (no reported deaths). Birdy has had at two reported stem breaks on earlier models, but also shipped a lot of bikes with drop bars in the past (through Burley as an OEM). This on stems that are much more solid than Dahon stems! Probably any other folding company with tens of thousands of bikes with folding stems out there has, too.
Otherwise, the ride is great. I prefer my folder to a road bike. My speed average isn't any different on my performance folder than on a road bike, and the wheels are half the size! Also, it's trained me how to ride ;-).
Totally correct. We have found that we need more gears (wife especially) just for the elevation changes within the city of Vancouver WA. I would upgrade to Bike Friday NWTs if wife wasn't so "I have never had a good bike so I would not know the difference" I would order two of them with 24 speed set-ups PDQ.
Originally Posted by cooker
I think the Dahon's fold easier and more compactly, but the Fridays are very acceptable for hauling around inside a small hatchback or an SUV. (FYI: I did have a chance to ride a NWT at the Bike Friday factory several months ago.)