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  1. #1
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    Dahon Curve D3 or Speed P8?

    I've read through many of the threads dealing with these two models separately, but I would need some advice and/or comparison on which to buy. I know it's kind of apples and oranges (one is a 16" wheel with internal gears, the other a 20" wheel with SRAM derailleur), though both come in red (lol). I am more inclined towards the D3, since I'd rather have a Sturmey hub with less maintenance and protruding parts, but I'm a bit worried about the short wheelbase and componentry of the D3. These are my dilemmas:
    1. Frame: Cromoly (P8) vs. Aluminum (D3). I know that aluminum can be good, but I'm a bit of a steel fanatic and always have suspicions about the cyclic fatigue of aluminum. On the other hand, however, I've already read TWO scary stories about the broken stem (also aluminum) on the P8 (one here, one on the Dahon forum by another guy). So, it seems that while the P8 might have a better frame, it has some problems with the stem. I also don't know whether the stem on the D8 is similar or sturdier. I don't plan on standing out of the saddle and pumping uphills or anythign like that. Since I'm moving to Chicago, I will likely ride on flat, urban roads, but still durability and reliability are of utmost importance since I'd rather avoid any nasty accidents due to failing metal parts.
    2. Gears: As I mentioned, I won't be riding uphill (or any hill for that matter). Thus, the three gears on the D3 should be sufficient (and I don't want to shell out 200 more on a SL). If the P8 came with a hub gear instead of the derailleur (as some of the non-US 2007 Vitesse models), I would go for it without hesitation. I also find it weird to have an 8-speed casette in the back with just one chainring up front, when my mountain bike has three chainrings for a similarly spaced casette in the back.
    3. Components: Bottom bracket is a cause for soem worry, since it seems that the D3 has an inferior version compared to the sealed cartridge unit on the P8. Any words on that? Also, the front hubs and brakes on the P8 are much better. However, I've read about problems with the spokes on the P8 (Dahon forum).
    4. Folded size: Clearly, the D3 is smaller, but many on this forum claim that the 20" bikes are not much larger folded. I'm not going to use it for commuting so much, but once or twice a year I may take it with me in a 29" Samsonite oyster to Europe and back. Weight is pretty much the same. Gaerlan's site (http://www.gaerlan.com/dahon/pack.htm) suggests that by removing the wheels, the P8 can also be be packed quite neatly. Moreover, the P8 has quick release hubs, which makes that faster. Has anyone tried the same with the D3? I mean, remove the wheels and put them in an oyster with the frame?

    Any help will be much appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Steve

  2. #2
    Senior Member kgibbs51's Avatar
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    The Curve can be had for $360. I'm in Chicago and find that the 3 speeds are enough to make it over bridges and overpasses and still keep up with car traffic. I've taken mine on 30+ mile trips and kept up easily with normal 18 speeds.

    I like the size of the Curve the best but that's because I use it on the train every day. Anything bigger would stick out into the aisle so I'm really glad I didn't get a 20" bike. My buddy bought a 20" Downtube and it is a lot bigger but since he has a reverse train commute it isn't a big deal for him.

    So for me at least size does matter. The fact that the bike works well and is inexpensive sealed the deal.

  3. #3
    New usename ThorUSA brakemeister's Avatar
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    Steve
    lots questions which you can ultimately only decide by yourself ....
    Keep in mind if you read about problems that there are a whole bunch of bikes out there ..In Dahons case in the likelyhood of 200000 this year alone and the speed P 8 is a good seller since years ... you can do the math ..... in other words dont fret it if you hear one or two owners with problems the percentage is really small. And usually these problems will be tackled and fixed anyhow....

    I like both bikes .... the Curve is somewhat more my ideal as a folding bike .... the speed will run a little better ( although just like you other questionsns, this is theoretical wisdom... the curve goes the same speed as long as you peddle the same )

    thor

  4. #4
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    In my opinion, there is a noticeable difference between the ride quality of 16" and 20" wheels. Moreover, there is a noticeable difference between the folded size of 16" and 20" wheeled bikes.

    While I prefer steel bikes to aluminum, I am beginning to think that in many practical ways, frame material makes little difference for the vast majority of cyclists.

    My experience has been that the extra gears come in handy in surprising situations. That is, if you ditty around in enough places and do a variety of things with the bike, hills seem to appear out of nowhere. Moreover, some days one is stronger than others. Then again, I have never lived in a truly flat area ... which I guess describes Chicago or some other cities in the Midwest.

    Bottom brackets are pretty inexpensive. If you like the Curve better than the Speed 8, why not swap the BB? I believe the Dahon BBs are standard (true?).

    It sounds to me that you are pretty far into the process. Have you test-ridden the bikes? That is a major perk for picking up a Dahon. There are many different dealers and normally you can find one available for a test ride. That would help a lot.

    Of course, you can go with my strategy ... get a 20" folding bike ... AND get a 16" folding bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steveadore View Post
    4. Folded size: Clearly, the D3 is smaller, but many on this forum claim that the 20" bikes are not much larger folded. I'm not going to use it for commuting so much, but once or twice a year I may take it with me in a 29" Samsonite oyster to Europe and back.

    Steve

    Since this is going to be used as a travel bike instead of a bus or train commuter, you would be better off with the 20' inch wheel bike. Make sure the bike fits inside the Oyster before making a purchase.

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    Thanks, kgibbs51. Where did you get yours? I'm moving to Chicago this weekend from Europe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brakemeister View Post
    Steve
    lots questions which you can ultimately only decide by yourself ....
    Keep in mind if you read about problems that there are a whole bunch of bikes out there ..In Dahons case in the likelyhood of 200000 this year alone and the speed P 8 is a good seller since years ... you can do the math ..... in other words dont fret it if you hear one or two owners with problems the percentage is really small. And usually these problems will be tackled and fixed anyhow....

    I like both bikes .... the Curve is somewhat more my ideal as a folding bike .... the speed will run a little better ( although just like you other questionsns, this is theoretical wisdom... the curve goes the same speed as long as you peddle the same )

    thor

    Thanks, brakemeister. I do see your point, but I wonder whether there have been no similar failure reports about the D3 just because fewer of them have been sold than the P8? Or is it because the D3 has better (stronger and heavier) spokes and a better stem design (though this seems pretty similar on the two bikes)?
    In waht way is the D3 more ideal? Do you mean folded size? And can it be packed in an oyster suitcase (removing the wheels perhaps, or pulling out the handlebar as Gaerlan suggest with the P8)?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
    In my opinion, there is a noticeable difference between the ride quality of 16" and 20" wheels. Moreover, there is a noticeable difference between the folded size of 16" and 20" wheeled bikes.

    Bottom brackets are pretty inexpensive. If you like the Curve better than the Speed 8, why not swap the BB? I believe the Dahon BBs are standard (true?).

    Of course, you can go with my strategy ... get a 20" folding bike ... AND get a 16" folding bike.
    What is the "noticeable difference"? I know that the D3 has a rather short wheelbase. Speed is not that important for me, neither are hills, as I said.

    Can anyone comment on the BB replacement?

    As to a stable of folders, sure, I would also buy a Brommie, maybe even a Tikit, BUT... that's a lot of money (and then I haven't even mentioned the genuine Dutch granny bike I crave for)

  9. #9
    New usename ThorUSA brakemeister's Avatar
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    I am beginning to think that Ilike the ride on the Curve as much as the 20 inch bikes.
    The handlepost is the same as all Dahons....
    yes the fold is a little smaller than the 20 inchers ..... and it folds easier than my Helios XX with dropbars ( which is my own doing of course )

    About that bottom bracket, .yes they are pretty universal, and I am sure once in a big time one gets old and grumpy I surely wouldnt exchange one on a new bike ....as preventive maintenance. That is something which could go hand in hand with a new lighter crankset, when the "mod" virus has infestet you.

    thor

  10. #10
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steveadore View Post
    What is the "noticeable difference"? I know that the D3 has a rather short wheelbase. Speed is not that important for me, neither are hills, as I said.

    Can anyone comment on the BB replacement?

    As to a stable of folders, sure, I would also buy a Brommie, maybe even a Tikit, BUT... that's a lot of money (and then I haven't even mentioned the genuine Dutch granny bike I crave for)
    The 20" wheels generally provide a more comfortable and faster ride since they absorb bumps much better; i.e., they accelerate in the vertical plane due to a hole or bump slower than a 16" tire. You also have a much wider tire assortment at 20" compared to 16". And as you suggest by referring to the Brompton, the wheelbase of 20" bikes is generally considerably longer than most 16" wheeled bikes (with the Brompton/Merc being the exception). However, I would say that the 20" wheeled bikes are more stable even in comparison with a "long wheelbase" 16" folder like the Brompton. Maybe it has something to do with the gyroscopic effect created by the wheel. Mind you, I am a statistician and economist, not an engineer or physicist.

    A lot of people are willing to make the tradeoff for either a 16" or 20" wheeled folder. My point is that, in my opinion, there is a noticeable tradeoff between the two. There is nothing inherently wrong with picking one over the other as long as it fits your purposes best.

    My suggestion of a stable of bikes was somewhat of a joke. I figure that most people--including myself--rather not make several large purchases at once. But it is a thought for the future. Perhaps you can keep an eye open for a decent used one on Craigslist or something of the sort.
    Last edited by invisiblehand; 09-11-07 at 09:32 AM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member kgibbs51's Avatar
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    Steve:

    Welcome to Chicago!

    I bought mine online at http://brandscycle.com which scares some people but it worked out fine for me. Kozi's Bike shop in Chicago has Curves but they are $60 more than the Manuf Suggested Price. http://www.bikesarecool.com is in Oak Park which is a close in Chicago suburb you should visit anyway and they have good prices.

    As far as size goes the 20" bikes won't make you any friends on the suburban rail (Metra) but you'll be allowed to use them. My best friend just bought a 20" Downtube and when you compare them the Curve is smaller. Small enough to wedge in between train seats and small areas whereas the 20" bike you'll have to hang out into the aisles where it'll get bumped.

    Now that's Metra. We also have the CTA which is our inner city light rail system. If you are going to live in Chicago proper (not the burbs) you'll most likely find yourself on that system. Its totally lawless! You can bring whatever you want on the train even a full sized bike in rush our if you want to deal with the crowd. In this case either a 16" or a 20" bike will be fine. You won't even need to bag it.

    As other mentioned, if you don't plan to use it daily on the train as part of a mixed commute perhaps a 20" bike is best, especially if you want to do day rides. I'm not sure how the airline packing goes as I've never done that but since Dahon sells the suitcases for these bikes I'd imagine either would be OK since assembly would be limited to just the air travel aspect of the trip.

    In this case, I'd test ride both bikes at Bikes Are Cool or Kozi's (has 3 city locations) and just go with what feels best.

  12. #12
    Senior Member kgibbs51's Avatar
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    Steve:

    Oh you might want to check out the Chicagoland Folding Bike Society website (http://www.geocities.com/rjmatter/). They have a forum and a classified section. I think someone is selling the luggage right now on eBay.

    My opinion of Craiglist for folding bikes are that people want too much for their well used stuff. I looked at several P8s that were all within $100 of a brand new one. That's not enough of a savings for me to risk no warranty. Used has got to be at least a 50% savings IMO.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by kgibbs51 View Post
    Steve:

    Welcome to Chicago!

    I bought mine online at http://brandscycle.com which scares some people but it worked out fine for me. Kozi's Bike shop in Chicago has Curves but they are $60 more than the Manuf Suggested Price. http://www.bikesarecool.com is in Oak Park which is a close in Chicago suburb you should visit anyway and they have good prices.

    As far as size goes the 20" bikes won't make you any friends on the suburban rail (Metra) but you'll be allowed to use them. My best friend just bought a 20" Downtube and when you compare them the Curve is smaller. Small enough to wedge in between train seats and small areas whereas the 20" bike you'll have to hang out into the aisles where it'll get bumped.

    Now that's Metra. We also have the CTA which is our inner city light rail system. If you are going to live in Chicago proper (not the burbs) you'll most likely find yourself on that system. Its totally lawless! You can bring whatever you want on the train even a full sized bike in rush our if you want to deal with the crowd. In this case either a 16" or a 20" bike will be fine. You won't even need to bag it.

    As other mentioned, if you don't plan to use it daily on the train as part of a mixed commute perhaps a 20" bike is best, especially if you want to do day rides. I'm not sure how the airline packing goes as I've never done that but since Dahon sells the suitcases for these bikes I'd imagine either would be OK since assembly would be limited to just the air travel aspect of the trip.

    In this case, I'd test ride both bikes at Bikes Are Cool or Kozi's (has 3 city locations) and just go with what feels best.
    Thanks, Kgibbs. I've checked the foldsoc classifieds too (damn, I wish I could have gotten hold of that Helios XL). I'll be staying in Hyde Park and going to the university, so there's not much of a commute there. I'd mainly ride along the lake, visiting friends on the north side and so on, for which the P8 might be better. But I want to trust those of you who say that the D3 rides (almost) just as well. And hopefully the Big Apples will smooth the ride.

    I see the point about local dealers (plus there's a sales tax too, I gather). Hmm, I guess I'll go with online dealers, maybe Thor, and opt for extra tune-up. I'm just worried about where to take the bike for later tune-ups or repair (I mean would local dealers like Kozi's honor the warranty if the bike wasn't bought from them?). I've also found Rapid Transit Cycles in Chicago, any experience with them? They seem to specialize in folders.

    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
    Steve:


    The 20" wheels generally provide a more comfortable and faster ride since they absorb bumps much better; i.e., they accelerate in the vertical plane due to a hole or bump slower than a 16" tire. You also have a much wider tire assortment at 20" compared to 16".
    Would that be true even of the Big Apples on the D3? A lot of people seem to be very happy with their comfort.

  14. #14
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steveadore View Post
    Would that be true even of the Big Apples on the D3? A lot of people seem to be very happy with their comfort.

    Yep ... I have Big Apples on the Mini. IMO, they certainly make a difference. But remember, you can get Big Apples in the 20" size as well.

    Have you test ridden the bikes? If so, then you should already have your answer. If you sense no difference or a very subtle difference, then you have already answered your question.

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    Senior Member kgibbs51's Avatar
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    Steve:

    OK, I hear ya now. Hyde Park doesn't really have great EL (CTA) access. It has some Metra stops though. However, most people take the Jefferies Express bus to get downtown. That bus has a bike rack on the front so you're golden whatever you do.

    As for riding up the lakefront that is the real deal. Not much in the way of hills at all but what we do have is plenty of wind. I've taken my Curve down there a few times. In spring when the wind is really whipping it can be fun going in 1 direction and impossible heading back.

    My 3 speed curve wasn't too much fun riding against the wind last May. I kept her in the lowest gear and I was still beat. That said, I've also done this punishment with my 18 speed mountain bike and it still ends up being really hard.

    The good thing is that you'd be using it for recreation and not transportation which makes a folder a good snivel option (meaning if the ride is painful you jump on the bus and take the bike partway).

    I think you should test ride a few options at those locations and buy whatever you think is bichen'!

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    Senior Member kgibbs51's Avatar
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    Oh, and I'd give Thor some referral points. He's done me right before.

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    New usename ThorUSA brakemeister's Avatar
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    hehhe Thanks
    about that warranty thing..... No dealer gives you warranty, its the manufacturer who does ( in this case Dahon) Every authorized Dahon dealer has to do his outmost to make things right in case there is a problem with a Dahon no matter where it come from.... if a dealer refuses ( and some do ) they are breaking their supplier contract ... ( this is standard fare in the bike biz or for Cars for example your ford waaranty is the same in Ca like it is in Michigan ... ) Anyhow having said that .... the warranty is not for set up or adjustment jobs ( like spoke tension ) its for a manufacturers defect ....and doesnt include labour for the work the dealer has to perform ...

    In the bike biz we have most likely the most leaniest way of dealing with problems.....

    thor

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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
    The 20" wheels generally provide a more comfortable and faster ride since they absorb bumps much better; i.e., they accelerate in the vertical plane due to a hole or bump slower than a 16" tire. You also have a much wider tire assortment at 20" compared to 16". And as you suggest by referring to the Brompton, the wheelbase of 20" bikes is generally considerably longer than most 16" wheeled bikes (with the Brompton/Merc being the exception). However, I would say that the 20" wheeled bikes are more stable even in comparison with a "long wheelbase" 16" folder like the Brompton. Maybe it has something to do with the gyroscopic effect created by the wheel. Mind you, I am a statistician and economist, not an engineer or physicist.

    A lot of people are willing to make the tradeoff for either a 16" or 20" wheeled folder. My point is that, in my opinion, there is a noticeable tradeoff between the two. There is nothing inherently wrong with picking one over the other as long as it fits your purposes best.

    My suggestion of a stable of bikes was somewhat of a joke. I figure that most people--including myself--rather not make several large purchases at once. But it is a thought for the future. Perhaps you can keep an eye open for a decent used one on Craigslist or something of the sort.
    I'm sure that the comments about 20 inch wheels versus 16 inch ones is generally true, but I'm reminded of the comments of reviewers about the Schwalb Big Apple tyres and the ride they give on the Curve. The tyres have been described as producing a fast ride that was as comfortable as that of a suspended bike.
    “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live." - Mark Twain

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    Comfort is relative

    An earlier poster nailed it - it depends on your experience and what you're used to when it comes to comfort.

    I have a strange bicycle collection - my usual single bicycle is an older Cannondale racing frame which most people consider pretty stiff. The other bicycle I spend time on is a steel framed Burley road tandem with 700c wheels which I ride with my wife.

    Compared to those two bicycles - the 16" wheeled D3 on Big Apple tires is like riding on a cloud!

    I have no other folder experience so I can't compare the D3 to a 20" wheeled folder. Nor do I have experience with mountain bikes, cruisers or other cushy rides.

    -Ken
    Last edited by ken_sturrock; 09-11-07 at 07:59 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kgibbs51 View Post
    Steve:

    I've taken my Curve down there a few times. In spring when the wind is really whipping it can be fun going in 1 direction and impossible heading back. My 3 speed curve wasn't too much fun riding against the wind last May. I kept her in the lowest gear and I was still beat.
    Hmm, sounds like I should go for the bike that can have optional masts and sails installed

    But back to my original question: has anyone experienced spoke or stem failure with the D3? Those are two points of concern about the P8, even though I realize that statistically it's a very low number of failures.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brakemeister View Post
    hehhe Thanks
    about that warranty thing..... No dealer gives you warranty, its the manufacturer who does ( in this case Dahon) Every authorized Dahon dealer has to do his outmost to make things right in case there is a problem with a Dahon no matter where it come from.... if a dealer refuses ( and some do ) they are breaking their supplier contract ... ( this is standard fare in the bike biz or for Cars for example your ford waaranty is the same in Ca like it is in Michigan ... ) Anyhow having said that .... the warranty is not for set up or adjustment jobs ( like spoke tension ) its for a manufacturers defect ....and doesnt include labour for the work the dealer has to perform ...

    In the bike biz we have most likely the most leaniest way of dealing with problems.....

    thor

    Okay, I see that you also offer the VIP service for newly purchased bike. Does that include checking and truing the wheels before delivery? And would I need to go to a local dealer for a second check after the first 30 days or so?

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    Senior Member kgibbs51's Avatar
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    Hmm, sounds like I should go for the bike that can have optional masts and sails installed
    They don't call Chicago the "Windy City" for nothing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kgibbs51 View Post
    They don't call Chicago the "Windy City" for nothing.
    Yeah, but I heard the "windy city" epithet was a reference to the city's political rhetoric back in the old days when labor was king. That said, a Chicago headwind can be a real killer, and as far as I can tell the Dahon D3 and P8 both put you in an upright position where your upper torso basically becomes a sail. To ride a bike in that, you have to get down in the drops and pedal hard, and it still sucks. On the other hand, if you can fold up the bike and hop on the el, well, problem solved!

    I ride and like 16" wheels, and I think you would find the D3 more versatile -- being smaller it will be easier to carry it up the steps to the el, for example, making it more likely you'll use it that way; and the combination of a folding bike and public transportation will put all of Chicagoland at your fingertips. When I was there, I had a roommate who told me there are hills in the western suburbs, but I always considered this an unsubstantiated rumor; I sure never got far enough out of Hyde Park to see anything I'd call a hill.

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    Senior Member kgibbs51's Avatar
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    I heard the "windy city" epithet was a reference to the city's political rhetoric back in the old days when labor was king.
    Actually, it was named the Windy City by New Yorkers in the 19th century because Chicago politicians were known to shoot off their mouths and talk big.

    As for 16" wheels I'd say I hardly notice them at all. The only drawback I see with small tires is that if you hit a pothole or curb you are more likely to highside. I've noticed that as long as the obstical is < the hieght of the hub you are OK. If its higher you'll have to plan a head and do a wheelie or you might have problems.

    That said, most sidewalks have curb cuts and potholes are relatively few (its not the 1970's anymore). I don't think the extra minimal hieght the 20" wheels are going to give you would make that much difference in these situations anyway.

    The benefits to the 16" wheel are smaller size and less weight. Another thing to remember is that the EL isn't ADA (handicapped) accessible. For the most part you'll have to hump the bike up the steps and through the turnstyle so smaller is better IMO.

    We have a lot of bike trails in NE IL that are accessable via train so if you want to get out visit the RTA's website (regional transporation authority) and get a map. The Chicagoland Bicycle Foundation also publishes a map of official area bike routes.

    Can you tell I'm a cartographer?

    Did anyone else see today that Mayor Daley wants to establish a bike rental program like they have in France? $1.50/30 minutes and a credit card deposit of $150 which is refunded when the bike is returned. Pretty interesting. Daley is a big bike guy. You wouldn't think so unless you met him.

  25. #25
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    Update:

    I went for the Curve D3 in the end. Test rode the Speed P8, and to be honest it didn't seem to be that much faster than the D3. And the P8 was actually less comfortable too. Also tried the Curve SL, which seems to have a less comfortable saddle, and comes without mudguards and rack, which the D3 has. Okay, the rack is not so useful, but the mudguards derfinitely are. The gearing is pretty good, I could roll at a satisfactory speed. I also bought the Bolso bag, which is a bit too large, but the older DoublePlay bag for 16" Dahons was somehow too tight and I couldn't fit the Cruve in it. On the way home from the bikestore I got several compliments, smiles and questions. A lady even asked whether it was for my kid or for me
    I'll ride it more tomorrow in my first Chicago Critical Mass
    So far, two thumbs up

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