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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 08-26-07, 07:12 PM   #1
jnb-rare
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Veteran folder-owner advice welcomed

Mid-fifties, looking to get back into cycling to improve general fitness. Most likely use of this bicycle is short runs up to around 60km.

It's impossible to really get an idea about a bike's long-term suitability with a very short test ride. So I'm hoping that some of you may have more extensive experience with some of the folders I'm considering. My initial choices are somewhat dictated by availability in my location (Toronto). Here's what I'm considering, but I'm certainly open to any and all comments and advice:

Dahon Jetstream P8: Available locally. Any experience with the suspension, long-term?

Dahon MU P8: Available locally. Less expensive than Jetstream, about the same weight, not quite as sporty on the components.

Dahon MU SL: eBay, in the U.S. vendors look legit, but the whole eBay/shipping-to-Canada/etc. process is a bit scary. The bike looks good on paper (same frame as MU P8, I think, but improved and lighter components/wheels/fork and front suspension hub). I've not had the chance to ride one.

Birdy Silver: Available locally. Bit out of my price range. Haven't ridden yet.

Bike Friday NWT: Worth the wait? Worth the extra money? Shipping, duty or other hassles coming to Canada?

Thanks for bearing with my newbie questions.
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Old 08-26-07, 08:23 PM   #2
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Bike Friday NWT: Worth the wait? Worth the extra money? Shipping, duty or other hassles coming to Canada?

Thanks for bearing with my newbie questions.
I'm a fifty year old NWT owner. Worth the extra money and worth the wait to me. For you? If you are really only going to do rides in the 60 km range, maybe not for you. If you have to fold and unfold with each trip, maybe not for you. If you don't need the options in terms of fit and gearing that a NWT provides, maybe not for you.

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Old 08-26-07, 08:31 PM   #3
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I'd stick to whatever you can get locally.

Mu P8 is probably a decent choice. The SL is not worth the trouble, and it really will ride at about the same speed as the P8 etc. The P8 also has less proprietary stuff than the lower-end Dahons or the Jetstream.

Jetstream, suspension is unlikely to break. Probably OK if the other bikes don't have a smooth enough ride for you.

A Bike Friday is worth it if:
you need a custom fit
you plan to tour more than once a year
you know what components you want
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Old 08-26-07, 09:38 PM   #4
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Since you seem to be an experience cyclist, I think it is important for you to test-ride some Dahons. Some models at least are very flexy which may not appeal to you.

I like the Jetstream, Dahon has done a stunning job on it.
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Old 08-27-07, 07:06 AM   #5
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Don't buy anything on eBay from the US, you will probably pay a fortune in duties...

As you are in Toronto, you are probably aware of the vendors selling Dahon.
In case you are not:

Duke's Cycle
Urbane Cyclist
Racer Sportif

The only one I have not visited is the last one (just not my part of town).

Last time I was in Duke's they had a Speed P8 and a Speed Pro TT on the floor.
With Urbane, they have quite a bigger selection generally... both Dahon and others.

Any of the vendors should be able to order in whichever model you want.

PS. who's carrying the Jetstream and Speed P8? I don't recall seeing them in my travels. Maybe I was just distracted by all the Speed Pro TT's...
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Old 08-27-07, 07:59 AM   #6
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Thanks for the advice -- especially about shipping from the U.S.

Speedo: You're correct that the longer tour advantages of the NWT don't apply as much to me. Quick-fold would be nice as I plan to use transit (or sometimes car) to get to a nicer start location. For a 60KM ride, I'd rather not spend the first 15km and the last 15km getting out of/back into the city.

Bacciagalupe and Jur: thanks for addressing my concerns about the Jetstream. I rode the Jetstream and the MU P8 and liked them both. The Jetstream would likely be more comfortable for longer runs. It seemed that the Jetstream stem was a good fit for me (fortunate, as it isn't telescopic like the MU P8).

4cmd3: I saw the Jetstream and the MU P8 (not the speed P8) at Urbane Cyclist about a week ago. I know I'm starting my hunt late in the season, so availability is limited, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they are still available. And, yes -- they had a Speed Pro TT there, but I didn't ride it.
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Old 08-27-07, 08:11 AM   #7
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Another quick question: if I choose one of the Dahons, I'll likely look at different pedals than the Suntour folding, in part to enhance power and efficiency. I'm used to toe-clips, but recently my wife bought me a pair of Shimano mountain-bike sneakers which are SPD compatible. Any recommendations? Are regular pedals (i.e. non-folding, and non-quick-removeable) going to get in the way of bicycle folding? Any recommendations?
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Old 09-06-07, 01:15 PM   #8
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Ohhhhhhhhh. Now I've gone and done it!

LBS had sold the Jetstream, but I got to try a Mu SL (built for someone else) and I really liked it. They had two more in boxes (they're an authorized Dahon dealer), so I coughed up the dough. The only problem is that they're so busy it might not be properly checked, tuned and ready till after the weekend (they are down a mechanic). I *almost* said "just gimme the box" but I'd rather have them do it in case there's anything wrong.

This is more bike than I really need. But what the heck -- I purchased my last bike 20+ years ago and I still use it. And this is far less money than SOME mid-life-crisis purchases I could have made!

For Torontonians/Canadians, Urbane Cyclist should have one more Mu SL available. They also had a good assortment of other Dahon models including a Mu XL, Mu P8, Speed TR, Speed Pro, and Curve SL.
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Old 09-06-07, 01:41 PM   #9
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Ohhhhhhhhh. Now I've gone and done it!

LBS had sold the Jetstream, but I got to try a Mu SL (built for someone else) and I really liked it. They had two more in boxes (they're an authorized Dahon dealer), so I coughed up the dough. The only problem is that they're so busy it might not be properly checked, tuned and ready till after the weekend (they are down a mechanic). I *almost* said "just gimme the box" but I'd rather have them do it in case there's anything wrong.

This is more bike than I really need. But what the heck -- I purchased my last bike 20+ years ago and I still use it. And this is far less money than SOME mid-life-crisis purchases I could have made!

For Torontonians/Canadians, Urbane Cyclist should have one more Mu SL available. They also had a good assortment of other Dahon models including a Mu XL, Mu P8, Speed TR, Speed Pro, and Curve SL.
Congratulations! I wish you much enjoyment with your new folder.

Don't be so smug about what you spent though. One folder is like one potato chip... I own a Bike Friday, but I keep thinking of reasons why I "need" a Brompton, or a Xootr Swift.

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Old 09-06-07, 01:42 PM   #10
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Excellent. Welcome to the fold.

-G
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Old 09-06-07, 01:51 PM   #11
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Definitely let the shop build it up at their leisure.

They should also be willing to give you a couple of free tune-ups. Make sure to get it tuned early, as in within the first 50-150 miles.
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Old 09-06-07, 02:41 PM   #12
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Thanks for the encouragement.

Speedo, my wife is already worried about my re-interest in bikes. But the next step might be a more portable camera rather than a "touring" folder to complement the SL. About six weeks ago my wife and I went on a walking tour in Ireland and I took my usual kit of of Digital SLR and a few lenses. One of the days we cycled, and even though I have a good camera backpack, it was just too much (especially on the hills).

Bacciagalupe, I'll certainly plan to take it for a tune after the first couple-hundred K. By then the cables will have stretched, and everything else will have had a chance to loosen up.
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