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  1. #1
    Senior Member Jeffbeerman2's Avatar
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    Folder for Dating and Travel? Advice please

    I currently have a Surly crosscheck commuter (set up like a touring road bike with an internal hub and chainguard) and a Trek 1200 road bike.

    I love cycling for commuting/errands and recreation.

    I have been dating a woman who doesn't own a bike

    I have considered buying a folder in the past, to take along on trips and to just have in the trunk of the car for when opportunity presents itself. I just haven't gone ahead with the purchase because it is a lot of money for something I'm not sure I will ride much

    Now I am considering buying a folder so my date can ride it.

    I have a couple folder questions first.

    1.) I've been browsing threads and it seems that air-travel with a folding bike isn't really feasible considering luggage size and weight restrictions. Can anyone actually say that they have managed to really travel easily with a folding bike through an airport in the states? (easily is defined by not having to take the bike apart, argue with the baggage people, pay additional fees, or leave everything but the bike at home)

    2.) I'm used to 700C wheels. How much will the ride degrade on 20 or 16 inch wheeled bikes?

    3.) Please recommend specific bikes. I'm budgeting about $400 including setup, delivery, and accessories. A bit more than $400 is OK if you don't think I can meet my needs for that
    My Needs:
    -Has to look good enough that a 26 year old woman would not mind being seen on it .
    -Must include rack, fenders, and some sort of chainguard
    -Must have high-quality tires with some sort of flat protection, I don't want to have to spend $70 replacing junk stock tires
    -Must be decent quality
    -Will be ridden on bike paths and slowish streets with only a handful of easy hills.
    -Must fit in the trunk of a compact car (ford escort)
    -Should be easy to get parts/service at any LBS
    -I'm a fan of suspension seatposts, but not a deal-breaker
    -I'm guessing that any stock saddle will stink, but a decent saddle would be a plus

    4.) Let me know if you think I should get a folder at all, or just buy a $350 comfort/recreational bike for her to ride. I'd get gift points for that anyhow.

  2. #2
    BF Risk Manager
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    The Dahon Curve D3, Mariner D7 and Vitesse D7 come closest to your pricepoint and specifications.
    Regards, MillCreek
    Snohomish County, Washington USA

  3. #3
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    What are you going to ride with her? If you are sticking with the full-size bike, then I would find a used hybrid for the woman. You could easily stick to your budget. And you could be confident about what you are purchasing and what to expect.

    Alternatively, if you are getting a small folding bike to ditty around the neighborhood, then a pair of these cheaper folding bikes are quite utilitarian and fun for a couple.

    Otherwise, at that price level, there will be a large disparity between the bikes in several dimensions.

    Regarding specific bikes ...

    Roughly speaking, the commuter Dahons fit your specs reasonably. There is a thread on the Dahon Curve D3 ... as opposed to the SL ... which you should read. My wife thinks that they are cute and they are quite utilitarian. Although you will never mistake it for your Crosscheck. If you get the more expensive Klickfix bags, however, you will almost certainly go over your $400 budget. But several reports suggest that they are worth every penny.

    -G

  4. #4
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffbeerman2
    I currently have a Surly crosscheck commuter (set up like a touring road bike with an internal hub and chainguard) and a Trek 1200 road bike.

    I love cycling for commuting/errands and recreation.

    I have been dating a woman who doesn't own a bike

    I have considered buying a folder in the past, to take along on trips and to just have in the trunk of the car for when opportunity presents itself. I just haven't gone ahead with the purchase because it is a lot of money for something I'm not sure I will ride much

    Now I am considering buying a folder so my date can ride it.

    I have a couple folder questions first.

    1.) I've been browsing threads and it seems that air-travel with a folding bike isn't really feasible considering luggage size and weight restrictions. Can anyone actually say that they have managed to really travel easily with a folding bike through an airport in the states? (easily is defined by not having to take the bike apart, argue with the baggage people, pay additional fees, or leave everything but the bike at home)

    2.) I'm used to 700C wheels. How much will the ride degrade on 20 or 16 inch wheeled bikes?

    3.) Please recommend specific bikes. I'm budgeting about $400 including setup, delivery, and accessories. A bit more than $400 is OK if you don't think I can meet my needs for that
    My Needs:
    -Has to look good enough that a 26 year old woman would not mind being seen on it .
    -Must include rack, fenders, and some sort of chainguard
    -Must have high-quality tires with some sort of flat protection, I don't want to have to spend $70 replacing junk stock tires
    -Must be decent quality
    -Will be ridden on bike paths and slowish streets with only a handful of easy hills.
    -Must fit in the trunk of a compact car (ford escort)
    -Should be easy to get parts/service at any LBS
    -I'm a fan of suspension seatposts, but not a deal-breaker
    -I'm guessing that any stock saddle will stink, but a decent saddle would be a plus

    4.) Let me know if you think I should get a folder at all, or just buy a $350 comfort/recreational bike for her to ride. I'd get gift points for that anyhow.
    You must really like her to go through all that trouble of buying a bike for someone else. My dates never did anything like that for me. They just like to buy and drive their own motorized vehicles. For you I have some suggestions:

    1. Buy the bike for yourself. Folding bikes in general are very flexible in adjustments. Unless the both of you are very extreme in height range, these bikes should cover you. I do keep a folding bike for guests and curious test riders. But all of them are mainly "workhorses" used and kept for a wide range of purposes I want in a bike. Besides, have you considered what to do with the bike when and if she leaves you? Even a few hundred dollars is alot of money for someone of limited means.

    2. The most travel friendly folding bike that does not require lots of breaking down and taking apart components is the Brompton. Even that bike I am loathe to take it with me on commercial flights (although other here have and do take it with them via checked in).

    3. I started out with a Dahon Boardwalk (modified by my bike shop). My other Dahon-a Piccolo (no longer offered)-was $450.00 complete CA tax added in-including a new, slightly blemished saddle that I really like. These are simple, yet well thought out bikes for my own use. And for others if and when it is necessary. If they don't like it, these bikes are still mine and I could do with them as I pleased.

    I think you should buy the folding bike if that is what you want, modify it if need be, and invite your girlfriend to ride it if she wants. If she chooses not to, you not stuck with a bike you don't realy want and try to dump it on someone else if you don't want it anymore after a short period of time. You may not get what you paid back.

  5. #5
    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    1.) I've been browsing threads and it seems that air-travel with a folding bike isn't really feasible considering luggage size and weight restrictions. Can anyone actually say that they have managed to really travel easily with a folding bike through an airport in the states? (easily is defined by not having to take the bike apart, argue with the baggage people, pay additional fees, or leave everything but the bike at home)

    Yes, my Birdy only requires the wheels and one pedal to be removed in order for it to fit in a 29" suitcase. A Brompton or a Curve should be even easier.

    2.) I'm used to 700C wheels. How much will the ride degrade on 20 or 16 inch wheeled bikes?

    On a good folder? Not at all. On a crappy folder? A fair amount. I much prefer my Birdy over comparably equipped road bikes (Shimano 105/Ultegra), and wouldn't want to do a century on anything else. I found the Mu SL to ride a bit hard with the same tires (Schwalbe Stelvios). 70 miles on that sucker and I was dust. The one Bike Friday I tried also produced a very good ride...something like a road bike.

    3.) Please recommend specific bikes. I'm budgeting about $400 including setup, delivery, and accessories. A bit more than $400 is OK if you don't think I can meet my needs for that
    My Needs:
    -Has to look good enough that a 26 year old woman would not mind being seen on it .
    -Must include rack, fenders, and some sort of chainguard
    -Must have high-quality tires with some sort of flat protection, I don't want to have to spend $70 replacing junk stock tires
    -Must be decent quality
    -Will be ridden on bike paths and slowish streets with only a handful of easy hills.
    -Must fit in the trunk of a compact car (ford escort)
    -Should be easy to get parts/service at any LBS
    -I'm a fan of suspension seatposts, but not a deal-breaker
    -I'm guessing that any stock saddle will stink, but a decent saddle would be a plus

    If you aren't flying with it, get a well used Swift or Bike Friday. If you are flying with it, a Birdy. There is a Birdy on eBay now (no relation) that has ironically been partially consumed by a bird. It looks to be a 1990s era 21 speed, which is light but does not have luggage capacity like modern ones. I think the older ones have various other problems, such as rattles. Probably the Swift and Bike Friday will also have trouble fitting in the trunk of your car.

    4.) Let me know if you think I should get a folder at all, or just buy a $350 comfort/recreational bike for her to ride. I'd get gift points for that anyhow.[/quote]
    If you are flying with it, you don't want a full size comfort bike. If you are putting it in your car, it depends on your desire to have racks.

    Incidentally, it sounds like you are planning on making off with this bike yourself. If it's really just for her, the Dahon Curve D3 is probably the ideal bike. But if it's for you, you probably want something nicer. I'm just saying!

  6. #6
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    I've been called by other forum members in the past both a folder AND a dating specialist, so I believe I can give an educated and experienced opinion.

    Short version of the answer: just buy a $350 comfort/recreational bike for her to ride.

    Long version available upon request.

    14R.

  7. #7
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 14R
    I've been called by other forum members in the past both a folder AND a dating specialist, so I believe I can give an educated and experienced opinion.

    Short version of the answer: just buy a $350 comfort/recreational bike for her to ride.

    Long version available upon request.

    14R.
    I think that the rest of us want to see the long version ... has to be entertaining.

    Although it probably deserves a sticky of its own.

  8. #8
    Senior Member JeremyZ's Avatar
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    This depends more on your date than anything else. Does she even WANT to bike with you, or is this just your wish? Be careful, as you might come across like you're trying to change her lifestyle.

    What I would do is this. Buy a folding bike for yourself. When you want to bike together, let her ride one of your nice bikes. Since you're a cyclist and she isn't, you will keep up just fine. In fact, you may get a bit of a workout keeping up with her, or at least it will be closer to even. If the relationship doesn't work out, you still have the bike(s). If it does work out or she DOES end up really liking biking, then either you or she can buy her a bike of her choice. (folding or otherwise)

    Having one folding bike to do everything isn't realistic. The ones that ride the best are expensive and/or not as portable. (i.e. not as compact fold)

    For throwing in your trunk, a 20" bike is a good bet, however I'm not a fan of folding bikes having external gears & derailleurs. They make things dirty, catch on things, and just generally get in the way. The smaller, 16" wheeled folders by Dahon have internal hubs, either 3 speed (as on the Curve D3) or 5 speed (as on the upgrade Curve, forgot the model no.) The 16" wheeled ones fit in more places easier, and are more realistic to take on public transit. For any of them, taking them on a plane will mean getting a hard case and packing it well. It would be considered another piece of checked luggage. I think most airlines allow you two pieces of checked luggage, under a certain size/weight for no extra charge. It would be about a 50 lb. package, which would probably be OK.

    For what it's worth, my wife loves my Curve D3. It was $360 shipped, but they seem to be going for $380 shipped now. (from sunrisecyclery.com) If the bike is cute, the right color, and relatively comfortable, women will usually like them.

    If your relationship is pretty far along and you can afford it, it would make a good gift, but it doesn't seem like it is, if she doesn't even have a bike, hehehe.

  9. #9
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand
    I think that the rest of us want to see the long version ... has to be entertaining.

    Although it probably deserves a sticky of its own.
    Count me in! I'll spring for popcorn!

  10. #10
    Member locostbamboo's Avatar
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    re;folder and dating

    Quote Originally Posted by SesameCrunch
    Count me in! I'll spring for popcorn!
    Yes, please long version.

    Rob

  11. #11
    Senior Member Jeffbeerman2's Avatar
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    I'm the original poster.

    Yea, I was trying to get away with buying a bike for me that she could ride when she comes over. I've only been dating her for a couple months, and she has shown interest in wanting to go riding with me (she knows I'm a bike nut).

    because I've been eyeing folders, and they fit a wide range of people it crossed my mind to get a folder and she could ride it when she comes over. If she was really into riding I could spend $800-$1000 to get her a nice bike later, and I'd get off the fence on buying a folder.

    The problem was solved on the way home frm work tonight. I stopped into a bike shop and they had a trek Nav 200 for $230 (marked down from $400). It's a comfort bike and a small enough investment (plus I'll get non-occasion-gift-sex )

    I'll eventually get a folder, and probably spend more than $400 if I give myself time to find the right one for me.

    Thanks everyone for your replies to my specific questions. I'm more excited to shop for a folder now

    Cheers,

    Jeff

  12. #12
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    well, the OP already solve his problem, and I am REALLY struggling to finish my thesis so I can get my bike and travel. Maybe when I am done I will get back here to share my dating/folding bike experiences...

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