Main Tokyo Station vs Dahon XX vs GoBike vs Birdy
Greetings all -
Long time peeper, finally a joiner.
There is a real possibility of relocating to Japan sometime in the future, so have been streamlining the necessities of life. As the two main forms of transportation over there are rail and bicycle, folders seemed like a natural. Not to mention the size of an average apartment.
I happened to acquire a Dahon XX awhile back, which I believe was the lightest folder at the time. It's a nice bike that rides well and looks sharp, but I'm not sure if it would be the best thing for hammering through the Japanese rail system on a daily basis. Anyone who has dealt with the Tokyo main station will understand. Nothing like having to make your way through a stirred up ants nest of humanity to make your next train, which is at the other end(several hundred meters) and three levels up. And you better get there in time, as the train will leave exactly as scheduled. It's the one place where the famous Japanese politeness slips a bit and is no place for the timid or frail.
The last couple of trips over I payed particular attention to the obstacle course one needs to run at most stations, turnstiles and the like, as well as the crowds, and have started thinking the XX is just a bit too bulky.
I think this will be the case for most of the frame hinged bikes, at least the 20" wheelers. I'm very attracted to the aesthetics and engineering of the GoBike and it seems to be very robust in construction, if Chop's photos of him and his bike having a lay-down are any indication. Looked like the bike came out of it better than him. I know it's heavier than the Helios, but it seems that the fold would compensate in terms of carrying maneuverability. And it looks like it would hold up better to daily thrashing. Wondering if anyone has had a chance to put one through it's paces in a busy rail environment.
I would be doing a fair amount of regular riding in the countryside and maybe a little touring as well, which is why I've been mostly interested in 20" wheeled bike. However, I've been seeing lots of good things about the Birdy and have started to consider them as well.
Would appreciate any feedback from folks with experience. I'm not partial to any brand, but need something that will be able to handle a fair amount of abuse and hills. Not much is flat over there.
Another consideration is that the XX has low milage in very nice condition, and it would be painful to watch it deteriorate as a daily driver. I think it would be happier in the hands of a more casual user.