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  1. #1
    Senior Member sprockets's Avatar
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    Brand new Dahon vs. used Bike Friday

    So I am considering a Dahon Speed P8 or Speed Pro for a folding bike. The pros for Dahon

    1. There are several LBSs in my area that carry them so I'll have a good selection and support if anything goes wrong.

    The down side of a Dahon:

    1. The more I read the more I find people are having problems with parts breaking and build quality issues. That's a concern for me, especially since I look at bicycles as a long term investment.

    2.I have also read that Dahons are not as stiff as Bikd Fridays and do not accomodate larger riders as well. I am about 6'3" and 210 lbs so size is definitely an issue.

    I was looking at Bike Fridays and they seem like a quiality chioce as well. The problems I have are:

    1. They are more expensive

    2. There is only 1 LBS in my area that carry Bike Fridays and they are crazy expensive. They are selling the Dahon P8 for $180 more than all the other LBSs in Toronto. They also don't carry the New World Tourist model.

    If anyone would care to weigh in on this with their opinions I'd appreciate it. I am looking to use it for travel but would like a bicycle that will perform almost as well as a full size but can be packed into a standard 30" suitcase (with a little disassembly)
    *************************
    As god as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly

  2. #2
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    I don't own a Bike Friday, but I do have a 2005 SpeedPro. It's an excellent bike, with excellent components. I'm particularly impressed with the wheels - they roll forever. I also love the DualDrive gearing - what an incredible range. The brakes are excellent also. The cockpit gives me (6' tall) more than enough room to stretch out. The Dahon also folds better than most BF models (other than Tikit).

    I have not personally been able to justify the premium for a Bike Friday.

  3. #3
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    I've owned an '04 Speed P8 and an '07 BF New World Tourist

    Most Bike Fridays are sold direct from them (in Oregon), and are custom made for you. As you know, this does not come cheap.

    Sesame is right about the folding - Dahons fold far quicker than my NWT (the Tikit is a different story).

    I'm 6' 2" and hit a peak of about 215 on these bikes (now a little bit less!!). The Dahon was never absolutely comfortable, but perfectly decent for my 15 mile (one-way) commute. The NWT fits like a glove, and I don't have to worry about being a little too heavy for the bike.

    If cost is a big factor, keep an eye out for pre-owned Bike Fridays at: http://bikefriday.com/PreOwned. If you see one that might work for you and your budget, the sales folks will make sure it's going to work for you (in terms of fit and intended use).

  4. #4
    Senior Member Foldable Two's Avatar
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    The wife and I just went from 2 - Boardwalk D7s to 2 - Fridays (a Crusoe and an NWT).

    We enjoyed the Dahons for over two yrs - they fold very well; easier than the BF - but there is a world of difference in the ride. (Please note: I still have my Boardwalk S1 that as use as my going to the store bike.)

    Both of these bikes have Dual drive set-ups with 27 gears. Even my wife, who has never had a good bike before, realized there is a big difference. No one is going to get her Crusoe away from her. I would rate the Dahons as good starter folders, or for shorter rides (less than 20 miles) & without big hills.

    I am 6'3" and 205lbs dressed. I like the custom fit, too. This is our 5th, and likely last set of bikes - we are in our mid-60's.

    One add to "gazers" note above: There are some stock model NWTs (8 or 16 speeds) for under $1,000, at the URL he mentions.

  5. #5
    Senior Member sprockets's Avatar
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    I was originally thinking about their used selection on their web site but looking closely into it, the used bikes are only available to the lower 48 states.

    From the web site:

    "We do apologize, our Pre-Loved Bike Friday's are only available to customers in the lower 48 United States. But, if this affects you and you've got to have one then please consider a 'New' Bike Friday - and if you need it in a hurry, ask our friendly Travel Consultants about an 'expediting fee' to get it when you like, or see what your options are for a custom built Bike Friday that's expedited. Occasionally, we have a bike or two get cancelled, so don't be certain we can't build you one when you need it... "
    *************************
    As god as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly

  6. #6
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    One way to look at this is what type of full size bike do you ride? The more high-end your full-size bikes the more likely the Bike Friday premium is worth it to you.

    I can tell you that when I was 195 pounds, I could flex the hell out of the Dahons I tried out. But I think that they are a good value. I decided that since my bikes tend to last forever, I would pay for the Bike Friday.

  7. #7
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprockets View Post
    I was originally thinking about their used selection on their web site but looking closely into it, the used bikes are only available to the lower 48 states.
    "
    The US$ is so cheap now. You could probably fly down, buy a bike and fly home without hurting too much .

  8. #8
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    I guess it depends on the Dahon models you intend to buy. There are forum members who had inexpenisve Dahon models and are trying to compare them Bike Firdays costing 2 or 3 times as much. If you purchased a Dahon costing as much as a Bike Firday, (1K) the quality goes way up.

    If you have the money, buy the Bike Friday but only do this if it's new. These are custom bikes and buying a used model that doesn't fit could be a costly mistake.

  9. #9
    Senior Member sprockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
    One way to look at this is what type of full size bike do you ride? The more high-end your full-size bikes the more likely the Bike Friday premium is worth it to you.

    I can tell you that when I was 195 pounds, I could flex the hell out of the Dahons I tried out. But I think that they are a good value. I decided that since my bikes tend to last forever, I would pay for the Bike Friday.
    You make a very good point here. The only other issue to address is the "What will I use this for?" issue. I see myself mostly using it for running around cities that I am travelling to and, when I am done, stuffing back in the suitcase and heading off to the next town or city. When I'm not travelling I think it'd primarily be stuck in my car trunk in case the urge strikes me or if I go camping for getting around the camp ground. Maybe I can fit one on my Goldwing? Who knows. That being said, if these bikes truely can perform like full size bikes then I could see myself using it more for touring from town to town for a vacation in some foreign country. I couldn't see it replacing my Canondale Bad Boy or my ancient Trek 2100 any time soon but for spontaneous day trips to the Niagara region or something it might be handy.

    Then again, if I buy a high quality one (which I usually lean toward) I'd like to know that it will be able to meet my current and future needs. Proper fit, stiffness, finish, durability - these are all things that are important to me in my decision to make a purchase. Obviously comparing a P8 or a D7 to a Bike Friday NWT isn't a direct comparison. However I also want to avoid purchasing a more affordable bike to find that it's too small or doesn't meet my needs. I'd also be very disappointed if it had quality issues on top of that.

    I guess what I really need to know is "Do these folding bikes perform as well (or at least in the same range) as a decent quality full size bike?" Really the best way for me to determine that is to ride one, which is sadly not much of an option as far as Bike Friday NWTs go.
    *************************
    As god as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly

  10. #10
    Senior Member Foldable Two's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
    I guess it depends on the Dahon models you intend to buy. There are forum members who had inexpensive Dahon models and are trying to compare them Bike Fridays costing 2 or 3 times as much. If you purchased a Dahon costing as much as a Bike Friday, (1K) the quality goes way up.
    The entrance level Boardwalks got us into folding bikes, and having had nothing better than a Schwinn Varsity up until then my wife and I were very happy with the Dahons. As we rode more around this area, we realized we needed lower gears, and closer spacing of those gears, to deal with the elevation changes we were encountering.

    Yes, the higher priced Dahon models are better, and fewer proprietary parts I think, but the fit doesn't change if you are 6'3" (as the original poster is, and I am, too). The only current model that would have met our needs is the Speed TR with Dual Drive and 24 speeds. However, it's basic geometry is the same the Boardwalk.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
    If you have the money, buy the Bike Friday but only do this if it's new. These are custom bikes and buying a used model that doesn't fit could be a costly mistake.
    Good Advice - and as mentioned, the Canadian dollar is doing great vs. the U.S. dollar right now.

    Having Bike Friday only 120 miles down the road, and owning a home in Eugene, OR (when our daughter was going to college) also affected our decision. Basically, we were willing to pay more for locally built, high quality, custom fit bikes. These are not likely considerations for most folks.
    Last edited by Foldable Two; 11-23-07 at 02:33 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member sprockets's Avatar
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    I just spoke with Bruno at Bike Friday. They have free shipping to Canada until the end of November. He decided that they will probably extend that since the Ontario Provincial government has decided to get rid of the provincial sales tax of 8% on all bicycles under $1000.

    This definitely makes the NWT a very hot deal in spite of the folding difficulty compared to the Dahons.
    *************************
    As god as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly

  12. #12
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    SPROCKETS ...

    If you are desperate to test ride a NWT, then try to find a local Bike Friday club. They are all over the place and most owners are willing to let another take it for a quick spin.

    If that doesn't work, try asking the Bike Friday YAK group for Ontario owners.

    I can write that my NWT is a wonderful road bike. Because of the holiday, I really can't spend too much more time blabbing on all of the fine details. The small wheels do result in some differences between the full-size bike--mine is a cyclocross bike with road tires--but there are positives and negatives. I can write that on many rides, I prefer the NWT.

    Good luck.

  13. #13
    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprockets View Post
    I guess what I really need to know is "Do these folding bikes perform as well (or at least in the same range) as a decent quality full size bike?" Really the best way for me to determine that is to ride one, which is sadly not much of an option as far as Bike Friday NWTs go.
    Yes. The performance is about the same.

    The fit is a different story. A custom bike will generally be better for larger or smaller folks than one size fits all bikes.

    Another consideration you'll have is packability. Neither the Dahon nor Bike Friday fits very well in a suitcase (takes a while to pack). You can go with a slightly oversized suitcase like the F'lite or a smaller bike like a Brompton (drop fit with no modifications into a specially designed suitcase but not very comfy for 20+ mile rides they say) or Birdy (more of a performance touring bike).

  14. #14
    Senior Member sprockets's Avatar
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    After speaking with Bruno again, I am starting to lean toward the NWT. I'll probably opt for a large frame stock model (60" - the max they make is 62" so I don't think there'll be much of a difference). I also like the company philosophy toward the environment (even though I'm not really a tree hugger by any stretch and I'm pretty sure that Pandas taste delicious). Performance wise I don't think I'd be suffering much and from a travel point of view the suitcase trailer is a totally rawkin' idea! Now it's jsut a matter of timing. I have to find out if there'll be duty on the bike ordering it from the US and if it'll be subject to the PST. If not, then I won't bother waiting until after Dec. 1st to order.
    *************************
    As god as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly

  15. #15
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    i am the last thing to being an enviromentalist, but i have a NWT and a PT and i ride them all the time. I dont have a pdoblem with their folding i just do it . i have my NWT folded in the travel bag not the suitcase in the rear seat area of my ford 150 crewcab. when i have someone back there i put it in the bed. i feel it will last for a long long time . i have folded it and takedn it on the airplance to flordia and oregon very easily

  16. #16
    Senior Member sprockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by igor455 View Post
    i am the last thing to being an enviromentalist, but i have a NWT and a PT and i ride them all the time. I dont have a pdoblem with their folding i just do it . i have my NWT folded in the travel bag not the suitcase in the rear seat area of my ford 150 crewcab. when i have someone back there i put it in the bed. i feel it will last for a long long time . i have folded it and takedn it on the airplance to flordia and oregon very easily
    Does your NWT have the folding seat mast or the new "easy pack" removable mast?
    *************************
    As god as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly

  17. #17
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    I forgot to mention i have two dahons, an expresso and a piccalo. the expresso was a gift and i bought the piccalo just to try it. i dont believe they have the legs ( by that i mean the longevity) that the two fridays have. that said i am keeping both of them just cause i can

  18. #18
    Senior Member Foldable Two's Avatar
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    We got folding seat masts on both of our Fridays. I really didn't want any extra extraneous parts (other than the handlebars) when I folded the bikes. It's also Bike Friday's recommendation if you fold your bike(s) often.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foldable Two View Post
    We got folding seat masts on both of our Fridays. I really didn't want any extra extraneous parts (other than the handlebars) when I folded the bikes. It's also Bike Friday's recommendation if you fold your bike(s) often.
    Exactly right -- the "EZ pack" seat mast is easier to pack, but takes longer to fold. My dad has the folding seat mast (because he puts his is his car a lot) and I have the EZ Pack. I can beat him into the suitcase, but he beats me into a car trunk. I'm even worse than the std NWT because at just under 300lbs I have a bolt rather than a QR -- of course I was way *over* 300 before the NWT
    '07 Bike Friday New World Tourist www.TheMadBrewer.com

  20. #20
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    if i remember correctly both of my fridays do not have the easy pack seat masts. i can still fold them ok and i really am not in a speed contest to fold the bikes. if i was ocmmuting i wouldnt be either i would just do it and it takes what it takes. i dont think i have ever seen the other kind

  21. #21
    Senior Member sprockets's Avatar
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    I'll probably go with the folding mast since I want to leave this in the trunk of my car when I'm not travelling. I'm also liking the trailer concept though I'm not 100% convinced it's worth what they are asking. Something like that wouldn't be too hard to make on your own for quite a bit less, would it. Does anyone here have one and care to comment on it?
    *************************
    As god as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly

  22. #22
    Wheelsuck Fat Boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sprockets View Post
    even though I'm not really a tree hugger by any stretch and I'm pretty sure that Pandas taste delicious
    This is freakin' hilarious. Even if you are a tree-hugger you gotta laugh at this quote.

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