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  1. #1
    Senior Membre doraemonkey's Avatar
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    A D7 in the hand, or a Brommie in the bush?

    Hi there,

    I really want to buy a Brompton... one day. For me, they'd be the best equipment for the application: compact fold, and good quality. But they are expensive! 850 minimum here in France, and then I would probably get an optioned one and drive the price higher.

    Now, there is a compromise decision that I could take. I am taking a vacation in the US soon, and using my strong Euro, I could get a Dahon Speed D7 for the equivalent of 250 ($400). That's a significant savings compared to the Brommie. Is the quality of the D7 good enough? Or am I going to regret buying the thing?

    My basic use of the bike would be taking it on the TGV train when I go to Paris (once a month on average) and taking it with me on the plane or the trunk of the car for vacations or other travel. I bike a lot and average about 5000 km per year commuting to work on my current full size bike, and I often tour in the summer. Will the D7 ride well, fold small enough, and last...? or should I save and wait one or two years and get what I really want: a titanium Brompton with a Brooks saddle.

    So the situation comes down to: is a bird in the hand worth 2 (or 3) in the bush? The debate is raging in my head, I hope to dump it on the forum a bit. Thanks for the relief.

  2. #2
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    I have a D7 and a Tikit - the D7 rides well and folds into a reasonably small package. The quality of the bike is decent - no serious complaints so far. Given the price it is a good value. Two of my friends just bought D7s and are happy with them.

    The only issue with the bike is that the cockpit size is fixed. You'll have to determine if it fits you or not. If not there is no horizontal adjustment available once you've set the seat and bars at the height you need them.
    Last edited by vik; 03-17-08 at 01:57 PM.
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

  3. #3
    New usename ThorUSA brakemeister's Avatar
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    d7 speed has an adjustable handlebar stem ..... actually since 2 years now ....
    Yes it is a good bike . rides very well folds small for most ....
    Thor

  4. #4
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    You could also get a Brompton here in the US. Prices start at $879 (or 563 Euros).

  5. #5
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    I wouldn't compromise.

    FYI I've used a Dahon Mariner (basically a D7) on tour, as well as other bikes.

    In general Dahons have their advantages, but the D7 model is not optimal for your touring uses. The problem with the D7 is that it has some proprietary parts, including in the drive train, that may be difficult to replace or upgrade -- particularly the "Neos" rear derailleur. That's a custom part that can't be replaced or upgraded except by the same derailleur.

    As far as touring, the general Dahon design has some pluses and minuses. Packing is a pain in the twees, plus if you use a hard-shell suitcase you've got to keep track of said suitcase during your tour. Geometry is actually decent for touring, but the stock racks are too low and the chainstays might be short. Even with small panniers you'll scrape your bags on the ground every now and then, and you have to watch for heel strike.

    So, a few options. One is to get a different Dahon; not exactly sure which, but at a minimum avoid anything with "Neos" in the drive train.

    Second, Brompton: yes, you'd have to get a model better than the basic one, if you're going to tour anywhere with hills. Also, the brakes apparently suck. I know some people have toured on Bromptons but it would not be my first choice.

    Third option is a Xootr Swift, $700 USD. I have not found the Swift to be optimal for touring but it's acceptable. The good thing is the frame is rock solid, it folds fast, it rides fast, it has a few more adjustment options than most folders, and almost all the parts are standard. The negatives are that the fold is bulky, the ride is a little harsh, packing is a pain, and the geometry isn't quite there for loaded touring. You'd also have to get a wide cassette (11-32) and probably a lower front (50? 48? 42?) as well.

    Bike Friday is probably the superior option, but may not fit your budget.

  6. #6
    Senior Membre doraemonkey's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice guys,

    Actually, I don't plan on doing any touring with the folding bike except for day trips. Basically I would use the folding bike while on travel for getting around a city, or getting to the city from the airport. But I wouldn't do any 100km rides on it. I do that on my current mountain bike converted to a tourer...

    Hmm... sounds crazy to go to the US to bring back a brompton to europe. Why isn't the euro actually stronger in europe? Argh! I know, I know, there is about 20% sales tax, but still...

    On avoiding the Neos, I was thinking about the Mu XL sport with the nexus 8, but that brings me near to Brompton prices...

    So basically I am oscillating between cheap and now, or expensive and later.... middle doesn't sound right to me... at least I figure, if I get cheap, I could sell it later when I am ready financially for the Brommie (I could get it, but all the € are in the mortgage)...

  7. #7
    lube addict
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    This is a user review of a 2005 Dahon D7 updated 11 months later:

    http://www.foldsoc.co.uk/d7.html

    Also check out the thread on the REI Buzz Novara Fly By lower down. It's very similar to the Mu XL (same frame, 8-speed Nexus) but only $599 (about 400 euros?) or pay the $20 lifetime membership fee and buy it by March 30 for $479.
    Last edited by chainstrainer; 03-17-08 at 09:14 AM.

  8. #8
    Small wheels ARE better! OldiesONfoldies's Avatar
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    U cd get a Bike Friday tikit for abt US$900 only! I dare say it rides much better than the Brompton though not as compact. Packing into the Samsonite is easy and makes travelling with it a real breeze.


  9. #9
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    BTW - just something else to consider - the D7 would make a nice spare bike for guests to use when they visit when you upgrade to a Brompton down the road. Assuming you have space to store it.
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

  10. #10
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Ahh, day trips.... a Dahon is OK. I put my D7 in the overhead of Belgian trains several times, conductors were fine with it, no additional bike fees either. (20" wheels on cobblestones, on the other hand....) I believe the next step up (Speed P8?) is only $550 or so.

    Bromptons get imported to the US from the UK, and the dollar is doing pretty badly against the GBP. So even if the Euro is strong, it would have to be stronger than both the USD and GBP for that to even start to make sense. Better to get it in Europe / UK.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by doraemonkey View Post
    Hmm... sounds crazy to go to the US to bring back a brompton to europe. Why isn't the euro actually stronger in europe? Argh! I know, I know, there is about 20% sales tax, but still...
    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    Bromptons get imported to the US from the UK, and the dollar is doing pretty badly against the GBP. So even if the Euro is strong, it would have to be stronger than both the USD and GBP for that to even start to make sense. Better to get it in Europe / UK.
    The weak dollar doesn't seemed to have rippled through to US Brompton prices yet.

    International trade philosophy aside, if the price is right then what does it matter where you buy it?

  12. #12
    New usename ThorUSA brakemeister's Avatar
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    NEOS Dahon derrailleur blues Baccia is singin .....
    keep in mind that so far all Neos equiped Dahons came with a extra free Derrailleur hanger which allows to use any derrailleur no matter what brand.... In other words if you do not like the Neos.... get anything different ...

    Thor :-)

    How about a Mu 98 of 07 vintage ..good bike ..reasonable priced

  13. #13
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    I wouldn't compromise.
    Barring the really extravagant desires -- for instance, titanium components -- I agree. Find the bike that best fits your needs and get it. My experience is that you will be dissatisfied with anything half-*****ed.

    EDIT: Don't forget that you can buy a used bike.

  14. #14
    Senior Membre doraemonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vik View Post
    BTW - just something else to consider - the D7 would make a nice spare bike for guests to use when they visit when you upgrade to a Brompton down the road. Assuming you have space to store it.
    I think vik is hitting the right notes... I'll probably get the D7 as a first foray into folding bikes... 250! who could not go for that? It is definitely affordable right now, and when I upgrade to better mechanics, i'll pass it down to the wife, or our future kids.

  15. #15
    Senior Member wrafl's Avatar
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    I have a '06 D7, my first folder and looking to upgrade in the future. The D7 perform flawlessly and not a
    single mechanical issue other than a flat tire. It's fun to ride with good acceleration and can go the distance easily (70 miles or more). As suggested by someone, you can use it as a spare bike when conditions are not suitable for riding or when you have a technical issue with your primary folder.

  16. #16
    Senior Membre doraemonkey's Avatar
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    So I've pretty much made up my mind to get a Speed D7... I see that there are some 2007 models left that are selling for $30-$50 less than the 2008 model. Other than the color, is there any difference between the models other than asthetics?

    Reading the specs on resellers, I see that there are a lot of discrepancies compared to the Dahon site. Performance Bike says the new one is aluminum, but I am pretty sure that it is still Chro-mo. Another site says that it has the Neos 2.0, but the Dahon site states only the Neos 1.

    So where should I get the bike? I am visiting my sister in NYC in mid april... should I get it from a LBS when I get there, or do I order one on the internet? I already planned buying parts from Performance for my other bikes.

  17. #17
    Pedaling fool ShinyBiker's Avatar
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    Another option is a Merc Brommie clone. Much cheaper than a brommie and the quality is better, from what I've read. There is a fleabay seller that has these ocassionally. Check the folding bike wiki. I've only seen 3 speed IGHs on fleabay, but the components are better than your base brommie.
    Last edited by ShinyBiker; 03-23-08 at 07:17 PM.

  18. #18
    eight spokes somnatash's Avatar
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    Hi doraemonkey:
    if you really want a brompton, ShinyBikers idea with the merc is not bad! (Although I don't agree that components are better in the merc than in the brompton -at least not in the 3Speed which I only know) but:
    1) with the merc you have the same geometry (well nearly, merc has a slightly shorter frame) and you can long test if this geometry is really for you, if not you will be saved from a costly error.
    2) the parts are mostly interchangeable - so if later equipped with the brommi, you have the merc not only as a guest/spare bike but also its parts as "emergency-spares".
    3) you said your dream is a ti-brommi with brooks saddle, this indicates that you aim for the highest quality brompton. Maybe you will like to upgrade/convert the ti-brommi even more after some time e.g. rims, spokes, handlebar, pedals, hub, cranks, mudguards, seatpostpin, rolerwheels, etc....most parts can - after been taken away from the brommi - then be swapped to the merc to make a lighter and better merc (merc parts, except main frame, are in total heavier then brompton parts).
    4) if you like crafting, you can also go and build a "light bike" with merc alu frame and brompton ti-parts which will be very easy to carry. Combine the rest of the parts to a heavy "monster mercton" to have a bike to "hand down" to your wife (as a woman I wasn't very amused to read that part of your ideas ;-).

    Lucky spending
    Somnatash
    Last edited by somnatash; 03-24-08 at 05:15 AM.

  19. #19
    Bicycling Gnome
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShinyBiker View Post
    Another option is a Merc Brommie clone. Much cheaper than a brommie and the quality is better, from what I've read. There is a fleabay seller that has these ocassionally. Check the folding bike wiki. I've only seen 3 speed IGHs on fleabay, but the components are better than your base brommie.
    Everyone here knows I'm a fan of the Merc, but I think I'd have to dispute the idea that its components are better than the Brommie. The parts are fine except the dire original chain tensioner, and they are perfectly serviceable. It's a good reliable little bike of exactly the same geometry to the Brommie of about 1990. You can swap parts between them, but the merc spares are SO CHEAP, you'd have to be mad to be putting Brommie parts onto the merc, often at three or four times the price of the Merc bits. You can get an entire rear wheel with sturmey archer three speed gear unit inside it for I think 35. You'd only need a tube and tyre to put it to use. Also, the referred to ebay seller (Anita) has the bikes in stock and will be happy to sell you one any time, not just when she has them up on ebay.

  20. #20
    eight spokes somnatash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvilV View Post
    ... The parts are fine except the dire original chain tensioner, and they are perfectly serviceable. ...You can swap parts between them, but the merc spares are SO CHEAP, you'd have to be mad to be putting Brommie parts onto the merc, often at three or four times the price of the Merc bits...
    Merc parts are fine...but mine "out of the box" needed quite some work and on a close look one can well see, its much inferior to b. which is OK for the prize difference.

    "mad"? Well, not necessarily (maybe only if one can judge the merc as total crap, not worth to be upgraded ). Doreamonkey considers to have ti-bromm and brooks "one day", implicating that he is willing to spend quite a lot later. I was only extra polishing (though upgrading the ti-brommi is not as easy as one might think): ti-bromm and brooks: + ti-spokes,+Pantour-hub/Phil wood race hub, + Velocity rims,...He then would have the brompton parts "for free" and at hand.
    See e.g. what Littlepixel did with the Merc-frame...I read Steve Parry swaps bromm parts onto the merc. To be honest: I am at the beginning of such a project (my new merc and my bromm are interchanging there genetic structure ....hmhm EvilV might be right after all: its mad ;-)
    If I again was to buy my first folder and already fancied a brompton, I would probably start with the merc.
    Last edited by somnatash; 03-24-08 at 10:51 AM.

  21. #21
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    Doraemonley why don't you look at a Downtube FS? These are really good value on ebay.co.uk at the moment. They have a good reputation on these forums and are better than the cheaper Dahons. I have an FS and it is a really good ride. I've hired a Brompton for the weekend and while it's a good bike with a great fold the FS is a much better ride. I'd have recommended the 8 speed Hub bike, the Downtube VIIIH but it's out of stock in Europe now. See:
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Downtube-FS-Fo...QQcmdZViewItem

    You can also see a review on:
    http://www.foldsoc.co.uk/Mike/downtube.html

  22. #22
    Pedaling fool ShinyBiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShinyBiker View Post
    Another option is a Merc Brommie clone. Much cheaper than a brommie and the quality is better, from what I've read. There is a fleabay seller that has these ocassionally. Check the folding bike wiki. I've only seen 3 speed IGHs on fleabay, but the components are better than your base brommie.
    I mistyped. I should have put "accessories" rather than components. I do not own a merc, and all my experience is from here and seeing it in said auction site. I understand you get the dynamo light, front bag and a couple of other extras you don't get with the base brompton. That's what I meant.

    I'm probably going to get the merc, somnatash. Just got to save up the $$$...

  23. #23
    Bicycling Gnome
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    Quote Originally Posted by somnatash View Post
    Merc parts are fine...but mine "out of the box" needed quite some work and on a close look one can well see, its much inferior to b. which is OK for the prize difference.

    "mad"? Well, not necessarily (maybe only if one can judge the merc as total crap, not worth to be upgraded ). Doreamonkey considers to have ti-bromm and brooks "one day", implicating that he is willing to spend quite a lot later. I was only extra polishing (though upgrading the ti-brommi is not as easy as one might think): ti-bromm and brooks: + ti-spokes,+Pantour-hub/Phil wood race hub, + Velocity rims,...He then would have the brompton parts "for free" and at hand.
    I understand what you are saying, I just felt that people probably buy the Merc to save money.It certainly isn't crap.
    See e.g. what Littlepixel did with the Merc-frame...I read Steve Parry swaps bromm parts onto the merc. To be honest: I am at the beginning of such a project (my new merc and my bromm are interchanging there genetic structure ....hmhm EvilV might be right after all: its mad ;-)
    If I again was to buy my first folder and already fancied a brompton, I would probably start with the merc.


    Good luck.

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