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  1. #1
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    Help Me Find a Folder

    So here is the deal. I have a short commute to work and I really want a folder to stash in my office, to take with me on business trips (I love the idea of the Dahon hard airport case) and to take down to my grandfather's in FL to ride with him (which requires an airplane ride). I have been looking at Dahon, BikeFriday and Brompton. I have also been riding single speed and fixed gear bikes for the past year now. So I would like to convert or buy one in a single speed configuration. I am also right at 200 lbs so it has to hold up to my weight. I want something fast and light, I can't stand slow bikes.

    Requirements:

    - single speed or conversion a possibility
    - heavy duty for my heavy duty weight
    - aluminum, cuz I don't want to deal with rusting since it will be a commuter/in the rain some
    - easy to fold
    - will fit a hard case that can be taken on a plane without extra charges
    - the ability to use panniers, so a back and/or front rack

    Thanks in advance guys and gals!
    Last edited by Vrede; 01-03-08 at 01:37 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member DVC45's Avatar
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    Downtube Mini!
    ----------------------->
    Not single speed, but great value for the $$, IMO.

  3. #3
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    If you want an aluminum bike, you just eliminated Bike Friday and Brompton. So it sounds like you are looking at a Dahon. Check with Gaerlan.com regarding packing the Dahon into a suitcase.

  4. #4
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    Maybe I should be looking at steel. Am I just insane worrying about rust?

  5. #5
    Lonesome No More nigelme's Avatar
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    From reading these forums and talking with BSOs (Bike Store Owners) and indeed those crazy Bike-Courier dudes (London) - STEEL is the way and the light - ALI crumbles into dust like a pathetic Dr Who monster. A friend has a Hetchins which was originally used to ride around the deck of the ArK and it's still going strong. I have a Downtube(Ali) and a Brompton (Steel- but always dried and stored indoors); they're both great!
    Last edited by nigelme; 01-04-08 at 02:06 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    The Xootr Swift does a lot of what you want. It may be a bit of a compromise on some items. It's fairly light (aluminum), strong, has been single speeded by many users, can be wrestled into a hard case, and people have demonstrated it with panniers.

    Everything you could possibly ask about the Swift can be found in this thread.

    Speedo

  7. #7
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    Yeah, after reading your post, I was going to suggest a swift, but Speedo beat me to it. And I own a Dahon. Of course Xootr never has written me back a response requesting their frame pricing.
    Pax
    Tulsa, OK
    '12 Gravity Zilla, '12 Giant Talon 29'r, '88 Jamis Quest, Redline 9.2.5 (wrecked), Steyr Clubman, Raleigh Technium, GT Hardtail, DK Signal, Eastern Shovelhead

  8. #8
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WorldPax View Post
    Yeah, after reading your post, I was going to suggest a swift, but Speedo beat me to it. And I own a Dahon. Of course Xootr never has written me back a response requesting their frame pricing.
    You can get frame sets from Peter Reich. Go to swiftfolder.com.

  9. #9
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vrede View Post
    Maybe I should be looking at steel. Am I just insane worrying about rust?
    I think frame material should be relatively low on the priority list. Rust will not be a problem with regular cleaning/maintenance.

  10. #10
    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    Sounds like material is not the concern. Aluminum tends to be lighter. Steel tends to warn before it breaks, and can be repaired in the boondocks. Both are equally reliable on a well built/well designed bike, and a good bike will be highly unlikely to fail unless you are in an accident. Both also oxidize, but aluminum less quickly than steel. A high end bike will be treated on the bare surfaces on the inside, but any bike can be treated to prevent rust.

    Unless you are OK with a singulator/chain tensioner, you probably want a bike designed with stationary chain stays. That leaves out the Brompton and Birdy, which are two of the easiest bikes to pack in a suitcase and the two that are among the best built bikes. (Though the Brompton is too uncomfortable for most as a touring bike.) It also mostly leaves out Bike Fridays, though there may be a model without a hinge between the bottom bracket and the chainstay (??).

    The Swift is probably the best fixie bike, but the most difficult to pack, and cannot be packed into an airline legal suitcase or anything close without complete disassembly, I hear tell. That, once again, leaves the Dahon. The 2008 Mu models look to be winners, with improved frame hinges and stems, but Dahon has a long history of less than perfectly reliable hinges. The Mu SL is not going to be a good touring bike given the lack of spokes in the wheels (one branch in there and you are done with your tour). I would also highly suggest that you have Gaerlan build your bike for you. I bought my Birdy from him and had him build my wheels and he has always done an exceptional job. He will also tension the spokes, another problem associated with the factory built Dahons.

    Bike Friday is of course the king of custom built folders. But I have yet to talk to someone who has been able to fit one in an airline legal suitcase without major disassembly. Like the Dahon, you will probably need to go with a larger 31"-33" suitcase and hope for the best at the check in counter.

    Even my Birdy requires removal of the wheels, front spring, seatpost, and one pedal to fit in a 29" suitcase. It is probably one of the best for touring, with a high quality frame build, an outstanding ride, great luggage capacity, and easy packability, but a *very* bad choice for a fixie. It uses standard parts, but any slight deviations from the precise factory build causes problems (e.g., a chainline that is slightly off spec. The spec chainline would be terrible on a fixie, and you would drop the chain every time it was folded if you deviated.)

    In sum, I would consider a 31" or larger suitcase a new Dahon Mu P8 when they come out. If you are a risk taker at the check in, your very best bet would be a Swift and a ginormous suitcase. If you are wealthy, you could also have the most of all worlds (aluminum, fixed chainstay, packable, fast) and get a Moulton Bridgestone for $2K (available only in Berkeley, UK, Japan), but it would not fold. I have found that folding is critical on tours unless you also want to pack a 20 pound Kryponite chain.

  11. #11
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    I bought a Dahon 7 for my first bike and frankly it sucks.
    I think for the money Downtube will be my next purchase.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by pm124 View Post
    The Swift is probably the best fixie bike, but the most difficult to pack, and cannot be packed into an airline legal suitcase or anything close without complete disassembly, I hear tell.
    Yeah, but disassembly should be easier for a fixie because there will be less fiddly brake/gear cables to deal with.

  13. #13
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    Thanks everyone. I checked out a Dahon Speed over the weekend and I was not impressed at all. I thought the main latch on the main tube is sketchy at best. I guess steel might be the way to go. I really want this bike very light and small to be packed.

    PS I thought BF had single speeds that you can buy directly from them.

  14. #14
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vrede View Post
    PS I thought BF had single speeds that you can buy directly from them.
    They do.

  15. #15
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    I am going to test ride a BF Tikit this weekend.

  16. #16
    Senior Member cmcanulty's Avatar
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    Try a downtube they are aluminum and nice bikes

  17. #17
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vrede View Post
    I am going to test ride a BF Tikit this weekend.
    There is a fixed gear Tikit available @ 18.6lbs.
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vrede View Post
    Maybe I should be looking at steel. Am I just insane worrying about rust?
    It isn't much of a problem unless you are riding on heavily salted roads. I've been commuting year round in Seattle (it rains here) for years on steel bikes with no rust problems.

    Otherwise one of the fixed gear Bike Fridays meets your requirements.

    alex

  19. #19
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    Went for a test ride this weekend and tested the:

    BF Tikit
    BF Pocket Rocket
    Dahon Hon Solo
    Dahon Mu SL

    The tikit was flexie and rode horrible in my opinion. It felt like my grandfathers 1980's folder! The Pocket Rocket felt like a real road bike. Both Dahons were about the same, however, the MU SL rolled like dream. I will be getting the Dahon MU XL because it has track style drop outs. I will just have to get a rear wheel made so I can convert to single speed. Cheers to everyone!

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