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  1. #1
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    Curve SL or Swift Folder...

    Hi guys,

    It's been a long time since I've posted, but after spending almost two years with my Dahon Helios P8, it was finally stolen last Monday. I usually fold it up first before locking the bike so as to deter anyone from stealing it, but was in a rush and forgot to do this. While I'm a little upset, my Helios P8 served me well and was getting a bit long in the tooth because I used it to commute every day. I'm not sure if this is endemic to the Helios line, but I found the frame to be a bit creaky and squeaky. I always thought that it was due to the Re-bar frame.

    As upset as I was to loose such a faithful workhorse, I was also excited at the prospect of getting a new bike. Two years back, I was really drawn to the Swift Folder and almost purchased one, but the folding aspect really was an issue for me. I live in a small apartment so space is at a premium. Folding aside, they seem like great bikes.

    I initially test drove a Brompton, but was really turned off by the squirrely ride. Granted, it was a fairly windy day, so it wasn't the most ideal condition, but I felt for the price, the ride wasn't confidence inspiring. I still love the look though.

    When I initially set out to get a folding bike, the Mu SL had attracted my eye, but delivery of the bike wasn't guaranteed for many months. I have since fallen out of favor with the bike, because in person, it doesn't seem like the right proportion to me from a style point of view.

    That being said, there is something about the Curve SL that seems just right. I really like the look of the bike, however, I wondering if having even smaller wheels than the Brompton will produce an even squirrelier ride. Can Schwalbe Big Apples be that good? Will the Curve SL produce a "slower" ride than the Helios? (I do like going fast along the West Side Highway bike trail on occassion.)

    So my dilemma is this, should I go with my original wish of getting a custom made Swift Folder from Peter despite my ever persistent fold size concern or should I check out the Curve SL? Thanks guys in advance for your advice.

  2. #2
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jss273nyc View Post
    I initially test drove a Brompton, but was really turned off by the squirrely ride.
    Really? That is a bit surprising given your experience with small wheels. How far and long did you test ride the bike?

    Quote Originally Posted by jss273nyc View Post
    ... however, I wondering if having even smaller wheels than the Brompton will produce an even squirrelier ride. Can Schwalbe Big Apples be that good? Will the Curve SL produce a "slower" ride than the Helios?
    Well, the bike's geometry will have a lot to do with the ride. Moreover, wider tires have additional "height" compared to skinny tires. 305s with Big Apples may not be that much smaller than 349s with skinny tires. So I would just test ride the bike.

    The tires are really good.

    The ride will be slower.

    Quote Originally Posted by jss273nyc View Post
    So my dilemma is this, should I go with my original wish of getting a custom made Swift Folder from Peter despite my ever persistent fold size concern or should I check out the Curve SL?
    Those are very different bikes. Maybe you should be more descriptive regarding what you are going to use the bike for and your standards. How compact/fast fold do you need? How much of a trade off between ride quality and compact fold are you willing to make? Do you want to roll the bike? The more details the better.

  3. #3
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Here, lemme make it easy for you.

    The fold on the Curve is excellent; fold on the Swift sucks. However, in many ways the Swift rides like a high-quality hybrid, and in that respect will beat the snot out of most $700-or-less folders.

    So if you need a small fold, and ride quality isn't all that important, go for the Curve SL. If fold size is completely irrelevant, and ride quality is at a premium, Swift.

  4. #4
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    Here, lemme make it easy for you.
    Everything has to be soooooooo easy today!

  5. #5
    Senior Member Loch's Avatar
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    If you can, test ride a Curve SL.

    The only drawback to the Curve are gearing options and shorter wheelbase.
    The bike itself is very comfortable, fast and folds pretty small.
    Generally I am just as fast with the Curve as I am with my Speed Pro. The only exception is longer distances and hilly terrain, the speed just gives me a much wider gearing which makes it faster.

  6. #6
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    I don't have experience with the curve SL, but my wife has an amazingly cute Curve d3, which appears to be very similar to the SL except for the 5 speed hub. My opinion is that the bike rides quite fast. My wife could keep up with me on my helios p8 up to about 6th gear by her getting into 3rd, so speed shouldn't bee too much of a problem. I'd guess (I'm pretty new to this) that with the gear range listed on the 5 speed hub you won't be able to do the hill on the NYC greenway next to the little red lighthouse all the way up to 181st and ft washington, which is about the most bruising uphill in manhattan, but for most other riding you're probably going to be going a pretty similar speed as you would have on your old helios.

    My helios disappeared 2 weeks ago, too, so I feel for you

    I'm planning on looking at the BF tikit because I really like the fold. I feel like the dahon fold wasn't what I needed to go grocery shopping - it was almost good enough.

    A few notes about the Curve D3 (and by extension the SL, I think): The magnet that's supposed to keep the curve d3 from opening is kind of a joke. It holds fairly well once it's locked, but it makes it more fidgety to fold and unfold the bike. Beyond what the Helios needed, you have to fix the handlebar angle, so the additional step gets added of releasing the handlebar, adjusting the handlebar angle, locking the handlebar at the beginning of the folding process. At the end, there's also folding and wiggle things around if you want to get the body to fold closely enough to enable the magnet to contact and hold.

    Also, my Helios was creaking after about 2 years of ownership - almost all of it in the stem, but from the beginning there was some problem with the spacing between the crank and the bit of the frame behind it scraping under some conditions.

    I'm looking at the tikit because the wider gearing (than the helios) is something that I want, and the stability of the rid is reputed to be much stronger. I've seen the tikit, but I need to ride it just a bit to convince myself. It's a bit more expensive, but it doesn't seem pricier than the average brompton. If only it had a 9-speed internally geared hub

    -Peter

  7. #7
    NY / New Haven biker
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    Testing the Curve is a good idea-- and let us know where you do, as I want my girlfriend to try it.

    I'm not sure if many people here have experience with both, so your testing would be really appreciated. I have a Swift in the city and could not be happier. The fold is not the tightest, but it is super quick and the bike itself rides very well. I highly recommend getting it custom built with a hub gear-- in fact if it's a choice between a stock Swift or Curve, I'd go with the Curve simply because of the hub gear-- the internal gears are just so well-matched to city commuting.

    If you want to test ride the Swift, you may want to talk to Recycle-a-bicycle or B-Fold. (The former can customize.)

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loch View Post
    If you can, test ride a Curve SL.

    The only drawback to the Curve are gearing options and shorter wheelbase.
    The bike itself is very comfortable, fast and folds pretty small.
    Generally I am just as fast with the Curve as I am with my Speed Pro. The only exception is longer distances and hilly terrain, the speed just gives me a much wider gearing which makes it faster.

    The other problem with the Curve is that it is one size fits many, where it is many who are on the shorter end of the sizing spectrum. I'm 5'11" and the Curve is way too short for longer rides.

    I do like the design, I just wish they made a stretched out version.

    alex

  9. #9
    Brompton M3L, Strida 5.0
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    When I bought my Brompton in NYC, I tested rode it (an M3L) vs a Swift vs a Curve D3.
    My initial impression was that the Brompton rode the worst of all 3 (Swift certainly the best).

    Yes, that's right. I think the Curve D3 rides "better" (primarily, less harshly) than the Brompton.

    But worst is relative. It's still okay. What seemed squirrely at first, now seems responsive. And you can't beat the Brompton for compactness and for the luggage options.

    Swift is by far the best bike, but by far the worst folder.

    I'd also check out the tikit.

    You can test ride all 4 at nycewheels, on the upper east side (web site also).

    Caveat - after having a bicycling accident a few years back, I don't hammer. Mostly I'm a 12-14mph Hudson greenbelt commuter, with occaisional joy rides in Central Park. I'm not trying to get somewhere the fastest. I'm trying to stay alive and enjoy the ride. Point being, if you like to ride hard, your choice of bikes will probably be different.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Loch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by awetmore View Post
    The other problem with the Curve is that it is one size fits many, where it is many who are on the shorter end of the sizing spectrum. I'm 5'11" and the Curve is way too short for longer rides.

    I do like the design, I just wish they made a stretched out version.

    alex

    I'm also 5'11" and my curve fits me perfectly (with a slight mod ). I've done several 30-40 mile rides with it and it is very comfy. It also folds faster.


  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loch View Post
    I'm also 5'11" and my curve fits me perfectly (with a slight mod ). I've done several 30-40 mile rides with it and it is very comfy. It also folds faster.
    I'm 6'0 - the fit is fine. I rode 20 comfortable miles yesterday - but I'd love to have your set-up for longer rides. hmmmm

  12. #12
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    Loch,

    What stem are you using on this picture? My friend is 5'11" and might be interested in something similar for his DT Mini.

    Thank you?

  13. #13
    Senior Member Loch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 14R View Post
    Loch,

    What stem are you using on this picture? My friend is 5'11" and might be interested in something similar for his DT Mini.

    Thank you?
    This is the stem that comes with the downtubes. I think it is called an UNO adjustable (I haven't seen the exact stem for sale lately), there are many stems that are very similar that should work the same way. The key is to find one that tightens on the side with a 5mm allen. Then you can replace that with a quick release and washer (for faster folding).

    This stem would probably work very well also.

    http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...%20ATB%20Stems

    I'd stick with the shorter sizes so you don't create too much leverage, file the portion of the stem off in the picture indicated below to get a more vertical position for folding, and don't forget you will need a 1 1/8 to 1 inch shim to fit the stem to the handlepost (available at any good bike shop).



    I've got over 1000 miles so far on my curve, running this stem and it has been great. (I'm 5'11" and 175lbs).

  14. #14
    Senior Member Loch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by owenfinn View Post
    I'm 6'0 - the fit is fine. I rode 20 comfortable miles yesterday - but I'd love to have your set-up for longer rides. hmmmm
    Like you, I thought it was pretty comfortable with the regular stem, but my preference is to be lower and more stretched out for most of my riding. For casual riding I will often flip the stem up, and if I'm riding into a headwind I will put it all the way down.

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