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  1. #1
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    best folding bike?

    Hi, I'm looking to buy a folding bike. Does anyone know the best one for commuting and for longer ride use? It has been recommended I look at the Bike Friday: Pocket Rocket Pro, Tikit, Crusoe. A Brompton and Dahon have also been suggested but which of these is good? I am 5' tall. Thank you. -Rebelette

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    jur
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    Do a search for newbie in titles. Requests such as yours are a few every month.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  3. #3
    Senior Member Lalato's Avatar
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    At 5' tall, I think almost any folding bike would fit you. So then it's a question of what you expect out of the bike. All of the bikes you named have received good reviews from various sources. If you have the option, it might be best to find a local dealer to see if you can take some out for a test ride.

    --sam

  4. #4
    Senior Member jnb-rare's Avatar
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    Figuring out what was right for ME took a good month of reading and research to understand some of the differences between bike designs, including such things as frame, suspension, gearing, overall weight and foldability (and I still have LOTS to learn). My own budget and riding intensions narrowed the list, along with local availability. Test rides prompted a decision, although I still wasn't 100% sure at the time.

    A good local bike shop will work with you to identify the best "stock" bicycle, and possible upgrades to better fit your needs. With more emphasis on customization, Bike Friday will do the same -- identify a basic model, then build it for you with the components that best suit your riding.

    Be prepared to prioritize your needs, and to make some adjustments after riding for a while.

  5. #5
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebelette View Post
    Hi, I'm looking to buy a folding bike. Does anyone know the best one for commuting and for longer ride use? It has been recommended I look at the Bike Friday: Pocket Rocket Pro, Tikit, Crusoe. A Brompton and Dahon have also been suggested but which of these is good? I am 5' tall. Thank you. -Rebelette
    Jur is right ... that is, there are plenty of responses that describe the advantages of many bikes.

    But a fine-tuned response will require the following from you ...

    (1) budget?
    (2) a better description of your purposes ... what some people call long others call short
    (3) multi-mode commuting?
    (4) any other reasons for a folder? or ... why are you getting a folder?

    I can infer some answers ... Pocket Rocket Pro is in the $2K range ... but an explicit answer is much better.

    -G

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    I bought two 2006 Speed TRs for the wife and I. Having 24 speeds is nice. We like them very much, so much so the wife likes ridding it to work over her Trek 7100 and her $4000.00 Easyracer Foldrush. We own 15 bikes and I have to say if there can be only one bike in the house it would be the Dahon Speed TR 24.

    I hope this helps.

    Ciao,
    Timothy
    Quote Originally Posted by rebelette View Post
    Hi, I'm looking to buy a folding bike. Does anyone know the best one for commuting and for longer ride use? It has been recommended I look at the Bike Friday: Pocket Rocket Pro, Tikit, Crusoe. A Brompton and Dahon have also been suggested but which of these is good? I am 5' tall. Thank you. -Rebelette

  7. #7
    Senior Member onbike 1939's Avatar
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    Everyone will have an opinion on this but if you're looking for a folder that rides like a road bike then I'd buy the Airnimal Chameleon. I bought the Sports Pro for touring and am well pleased with it.

  8. #8
    New usename ThorUSA brakemeister's Avatar
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    the best one is the one you going to ride a lot and having fun doing it......

    thor

  9. #9
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    Letting us know why you need a folder will be a good hint to aid us on pointing you in the right direction.

  10. #10
    No Rocket Surgeon eubi's Avatar
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    Also let us know on what kind of roads you will be riding.
    Fewer Cars, more handlebars!

  11. #11
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    Hi, thank you for all your responses. I'm very new to posting on any boards, so I hope my Q's aren't too confusing.

    More details:
    -mostly street riding
    -big hills, on every ride (have to get home)
    -longer rides ~12-17 mph; 10-40 miles
    -ability to carry bags
    -5'0" tall/120lb wt.
    -price can vary if the bike is very well made and replacing my other bikes (but why is one bike $300 and another $2500?)

    Looking forward to more suggestions and thanks again.
    -rebelette

  12. #12
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Well, I still don't know why you need a folding bike.

    (1) Components can explain much of the difference in cost.

    (2) Some bikes are custom sized for its rider; i.e., Bike Friday. Others use high end aluminum or have high production standards.

    (3) If you are typical roadie, I would stick with the 20"+ wheels.

    (4) I think that the Bike Friday, Airnimal, and perhaps the new Reach all sound like good fits for you. All three makes have drop bars as an option. I have ridden the Bike Friday and Airnimal models. I went with the Bike Friday for the steel frame--I do touring as well as sport rides--, their excellent reputation for customer support, and the better selection of tires. I also think that it folds better, but that is subjective. I would stick with a bike that has a compact double or triple chainring which would rule out the Bike Friday tikit (at least for the time being).

    (5) I can pack/unpack my wife's and my Bike Friday for air travel in 40-45 minutes total. I don't know how long the alternative makes would take.

    (6) Since I don't know why you want a folding bike, I will suggest that you look at the Ritchey Breakaway and S&S Coupler bikes. For travel, many people choose to go that route. However, from anecdotal conversations, the typical pack/unpack time for these bikes is on the order of 45 minutes for one bike.

  13. #13
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    Based on what you are telling us, you might be better served with a S&S Coupler bike.

  14. #14
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    Perhaps the way I go about finding the right bike for me might worlk well for you. I make a list and take it with me when I go shopping for one. It is located on my World Of Folding Bicycles Web site at:

    http://www.geocities.com/folder_fanatic/Selection2.html

    to

    http://www.geocities.com/folder_fanatic/Selection3.html

    This list is very, very fliexible and should suit most anyone. Let me know how it turns out.

  15. #15
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebelette View Post
    -mostly street riding
    -big hills, on every ride (have to get home)
    -longer rides ~12-17 mph; 10-40 miles
    -ability to carry bags
    -5'0" tall/120lb wt.
    You could use almost any bike for this. I'd do a test ride of a Dahon that fits your budget, most come with racks. If the gearing isn't low enough to climb the hills, the LBS can swap out the front chainring. It's a very easy fix.

    If the Dahon does not feel comfortable, consider a Bike Friday. Tell them your budget first, then your height, then uses. Their bikes are custom fit to the rider, very handy.


    Quote Originally Posted by rebelette
    -price can vary if the bike is very well made and replacing my other bikes (but why is one bike $300 and another $2500?)
    Many things will alter a bike's price.

    - quality of the individual components
    - frame material
    - custom made frame vs mass produced frame
    - extras

    For example, a basic mass-produced $400 folding will have fairly basic components that will be OK for someone who rides, oh, 50 or fewer miles a week. A $700 folder will be almost the same bike, but with better components. A $2500 Bike Friday will most likely have top-of-the-line components, a custom-made titanium frame, and will weigh up to 10 lbs less than the $400 Dahon.

  16. #16
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    Wow, great suggestions and prompting questions.

    I need a folding bike for easy transport in the car. This will happen pretty frequently, so shorter breakdown times are better. I'm assuming most of these bikes are easily carried?

    Components are important. Most of all, an excellent ride is important. At the moment I'm leaning heavily towards a Bike Friday (mostly because of my size). I'm just a little worried that it might be overpriced.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebelette View Post
    Wow, great suggestions and prompting questions.

    I need a folding bike for easy transport in the car. This will happen pretty frequently, so shorter breakdown times are better. I'm assuming most of these bikes are easily carried?

    Components are important. Most of all, an excellent ride is important. At the moment I'm leaning heavily towards a Bike Friday (mostly because of my size). I'm just a little worried that it might be overpriced.
    On the contrary, very few folding bikes are easy to carry. In fact, most people seem to find it easier to roll most folding bikes like you would a full sized bike instead of carrying, if possible. Of course, sometimes there isn't enough room for a full sized bike...and that's when you need a folder. However, if the only reason you need a folder over a nonfolder is to put it in the trunk of a car then carrying it shouldn't be much of an issue.

    As far as Bike Friday's being overpriced...I'll let other people comment on that as I have never ridden one.

    [EDIT: Damn, why'd you have to go bring up Bike Friday? Now I'm thinking about buying a Tikit again.]
    Last edited by makeinu; 10-18-07 at 03:54 PM.

  18. #18
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebelette View Post
    I need a folding bike for easy transport in the car. This will happen pretty frequently, so shorter breakdown times are better. I'm assuming most of these bikes are easily carried?
    Easily? Well that depends. My wife can carry her Pocket Crusoe short distances; but would definitely need to put it in a bag to carry it in a train, up steps, and so on. Can she put it in and take it out of the trunk? No problem.

    The fold with a drop bar is a little clunky. But if you are carrying it short distances, it does the job well. One minute tops for putting it in the trunk of a car.

    Quote Originally Posted by rebelette View Post
    Components are important. Most of all, an excellent ride is important. At the moment I'm leaning heavily towards a Bike Friday (mostly because of my size). I'm just a little worried that it might be overpriced.
    Well ... I usually tell people to add $500 to a similarly spec'ed full size bike to get the price of a Bike Friday. For instance, to get a Surly Crosscheck or Soma Double Cross with 105 (triple) components at a local bike shop will run you approximately $1400-1500. To get a similarly spec'ed New World Tourist will run you about $2000.

    If you want regular road bike components--derailer drivetrain with STI shifters--then I doubt that you can find a much better deal than the Bike Friday. That is, the price of the Airnimal will be in the same ball park. The Road Reach has a Tiagra/Capreo combination of components with a double crank is something like $1500 (this is just from memory, so others should confirm or correct). I think that the Bike Friday with those components is something like $1700-1800. But there are other differences between the two products. Two quickies: The Reach has a suspension and the Bike Friday has a custom sized steel frame.

    Note that you can get 5% off the Bike Friday by being a member of Adventure Cyclist or League of American Bicyclists. You can also split the referral fee--$50?--with someone. Preferably, you would do this with someone local that lets you try their bike.

    Is it overpriced? It certainly is not cheap. But it is comparable to similar high-end folding bikes. It will be more expensive than a similar full-size bike.

  19. #19
    New usename ThorUSA brakemeister's Avatar
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    Speed TR with 24 speed dualdrive .... or actually a regular speed Pro with an add on tour carrier would do fine....its much lighter as it doesnt have all the bells and whistles
    ....................
    I think you want to have a wide spread gear ration and an easy to fold bike ....
    otherwise something like this would be ok as well
    http://www.thorusa.com/dahon/musltour.htm

    being biased of course ....

  20. #20
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    Neobike. Nuff said.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebelette View Post
    Wow, great suggestions and prompting questions.

    I need a folding bike for easy transport in the car. This will happen pretty frequently, so shorter breakdown times are better. I'm assuming most of these bikes are easily carried?

    Components are important. Most of all, an excellent ride is important. At the moment I'm leaning heavily towards a Bike Friday (mostly because of my size). I'm just a little worried that it might be overpriced.
    What bike are you currently riding that you like?

    If you are looking for an "excellent ride" or comfortable ride on small wheels, you might benefit greatly from suspension.. if you are looking for a production road bike folder (drops, brifters, gear range, light weight, etc.), you might want to take a look at a bike that is not as well known as some other offerings, Pacific Cycle's Reach Road... 22lbs, stability, comfort, speed, it's all there.. it's a terrific bike and one of the best folders I have ridden... if you're ever up in the SF Bay area, stop by and try out a few different folders.. Dahon, Airnimal, Birdy, Swift, Reach, Downtube.. good luck with you hunt..


    Bruce




  22. #22
    Senior Member Foldable Two's Avatar
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    rebelette,

    At 5' tall, your 'reach' might be a factor.

    The newer Dahons, with what is called "Biologic II" geometry, have a longer than normal distance between the seat and the handle bars.

    Look at Speed TR here:
    http://www.dahon.com/us/speedtr.htm

    Note the stem and seat post are not vertically parallel. The difference in this distance between my 2005 Boardwalk S1 (old design) and my 2005 Boardwalk D7 (Biologic II design) is considerable.

    The other difference I have noticed between my 2007 Bike Friday NWT and my Dahon D7 are the stiffer handle bar stem and overall smoother ride on the BF.The 27 speed DD is nice, too. I have never ridden a Speed TR for comparison.

    With the various offers BF has out you could likely put together a totally custom Pocket Crusoe for around $2,000. and a NWT for $400-$500 less.

    Attached is such a bike; my wife's 2007 Pocket Crusoe. She is 5'8", so yours would be proportionately smaller.

    ADD: There's also a BF known as the Petite Crusoe - their Customer Evangelist, Lynette Chiang (Mktng Rep), is 5'0" 95 lbs. and rides one. She has traveled all over the country/world with it, so it is definitely worthy of 40 miles/day and hills, too. Suggest you check it out:

    http://www.bikefriday.com/galfromdownunder-friday

    If you are purchasing a bike to do the duty of an automobile, then spending $2,000 for a suitable ride would not seem out of the question.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Foldable Two; 10-18-07 at 09:47 PM.

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