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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 03-22-08, 02:23 AM   #1
BB49
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REI's Novara folder by Dahon - just got mine

I picked up my REI Novara Buzz Fly-By, made by Dahon. I rode it once, then it started snowing again.

It is similar to the Dahon XL Sport, but a little lower spec, at a much lower price, thus a great value.
I paid $479, which is 20% lower than the regular price of $599, for REI members during March.

( Please do not turn this thread into a discussion of REI or it's dividends, go to the other thread for that )

Some readily noticeable differences from the Dahon XL Sport include:

The Nexus 8 gearhub is the regular version, not the premium.
No front welded on mounts for the KwikFlix luggage system.

Member 4cmd3 noted some differences on the other thread. (list edited)

Seatpost:
FlyBy = pump post, XL Sport = Kore

Grips:
FlyBy = Biologic, XL Sport = Ergon

Latch mechanism:
FlyBy = 2007 style, XL Sport = 2008 style

Tires:
FlyBy = Schwalbe Marathon Racer, XL Sport = Schwalbe Kojak

Pedals:
FlyBy: folding plastic , XL Sport = MKS EZY quick release pedals

Chain:
FlyBy: KMC Z410, XL Sport = KMC Z610RB (RB = rustbuster)

Front Hub:
FlyBy = "Formula" aluminum, XL Sport = Kinetix Neutron Pro

WEIGHT:
FlyBy = 27.3 lbs, XL Sport = 26.4 lbs


So far, I like the tires, and the seatpost pump works great.

I removed the very lightweight AL kickstand, because it made the folding harder.
I removed the light plastic fenders, just for my appearance preferences. I might cut them shorter and re-install.

I want to lower the gear inches after my test ride on some nearby steep hills.

Questions I have, please advise.

The rear gear (freewheel?) is 16 tooth. Can this be fitted with an 18, 20, or greater?
Are there better ways to lower the gearing?

Changing to the Dahon Radius ProLite handlepost, with a Syntace VRO handlebar.
I believe this handlepost will fold to the outside, rather than inside of the frame. This would make folding quicker, and allow me to leave lights mounted when folding.
Is this doable, any problems?

Any good suspension upgrade ideas, such as front hubs, seatposts, Ergon grips ?
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Old 03-22-08, 12:52 PM   #2
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In response to your question, you are able to change your rear sprocket. Replacements are universal between other modern geared hubs (S/A, Sram, etc.). You'd be looking for a three-splined design (sort of like a regular cassette cog, but with fewer notches) rather than a thread-on track-style cog. I think the only one that falls outside of this system is the Rohloff, which has a threaded one. Any LBS should be able to help you out. They come in sizes all the way up to 23 teeth. You could also use a smaller chainwheel to lower your gearing. That would probably be a more expensive route, depending on a number of things. I think the Nexus setup comes as a 1/8 and as a 3/32 inch width (I could be wrong about this), which would limit you to track or bmx chainwheels if the former is the case with your particular setup. Here's more info... http://www.sheldonbrown.com/nexus-mech.html#links

As far as suspension is concerned, the Cane Creek Thudbuster seatpost is great. Sort of pricey at around 140 dollars, but definately takes some of the bump out. It's also virtually maintenance-free, as it doesn't use a hydraulic piston. It has an elastomer insert that is switchable to increase or decrease suspension (sort of like skateboard bushings). It shouldn't interfere with folding; they're very popular on Bike Fridays. You could also try reducing your tire pressure just a bit if your rides are short-ish and you're good at dodging potholes. 20 inch Marathons are rated at 80 psi or so, so you could probably get away with 10-20 pounds less, depending on your weight.

I hope I've helped! Folding bikes are where it's at!

Last edited by thisispaxtonst; 03-22-08 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 03-22-08, 08:59 PM   #3
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Mine came in Thursday, I took it out for about 20 miles today--one of the privileges of living on the Gulf Coast. This was my first experience with a folder and an internal hub with more than 3 speeds. I'm satisfied with both. I wouldn't buy one of these to replace a road bike, but it will let me get my ride fix when I have to travel for work. It may even save the company some rental car fees!
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Old 03-26-08, 07:47 PM   #4
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I found rear cogs on a Dahon dealer website for $8 each, with 16, 18, 20, or 22 teeth. I will probably go with the 20 tooth. This will change my gear-inches to 22.6 on the low end, according to Sheldon Browns calculator.
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Old 03-27-08, 11:18 AM   #5
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Crap. I was just about to get one of these,and they're no longer on the website. Did they sell out I wonder?
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Old 03-27-08, 12:52 PM   #6
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Crap. I was just about to get one of these,and they're no longer on the website. Did they sell out I wonder?
I believe they did. They are not expecting another shipment until at least the summer.
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Old 03-27-08, 11:09 PM   #7
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Yes they did. I called and they said maybe July (well one phone rep said that the other said no date indicated on restocking). I also call three CO stores and none had any in stock as of last week.
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Old 03-28-08, 12:24 AM   #8
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REI just got a boatload of Dahon Speed D7s in Denim Blue or Sage Green for $429 ($343 with 20% member discount through March 30). It doesn't have a nifty curved frame, Nexus 8-speed hub and seat post pump like the Buzz Fly By but the D7 is slightly lighter (even though it's steel instead of aluminum) and faster (based on gear inches). The 7-speed Neos derailleur is quick-shifting and its small size is tucked under the wheel stay for some protection. I've read many positive comments on the D7. If you couldn't get a Fly By, it may be the next best deal through Sunday.
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Old 03-29-08, 01:30 AM   #9
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I heard at an REI store that they were sold out of Buzz Fly-By folders for this year. They told me they were getting another folder, with a deraillier, from Dahon. This is probably the D7 as noted by Chainstrainer. I rode a D7, it is a nice bike. I would prefer the D8, which I also tested.

I had my Fly-By in the REI store, checking out racks and bags. There was a huge interest in the bike from other customers and employees.

I really like my Buzz Fly-By, but I would be willing to trade it for a used Dahon Curve SL.
The new Curve SL is delayed, to July or even later, according to a Dahon dealer.
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Old 03-29-08, 02:44 AM   #10
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For the 16-inch wheels?
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Old 03-29-08, 04:12 AM   #11
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Only for the effects of the 16" wheels.
The Curve SL is lighter and folds a lot smaller.
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Old 03-29-08, 02:17 PM   #12
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Good point - it's 5 pounds lighter and several inches smaller in fold size. I already have a 16-inch Strida for the same reasons but it is not as small folded and only a slow single-speed (56"). It has the advantages of light weight (19.4 pounds), five-second fold, wheeled-folded form and ultimate design simplicity that work for me on short, flat urban routes. The 8-speed, 20-inch Fly By is for more demanding rides where the advantage of a folded form is still desired.
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Old 04-04-08, 01:34 AM   #13
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I have been able to use my Fly-By quite a bit now.
I tried the tires at the min of 50 PSI. The ride was soft, but the bike felt dragged down. I raised the PSI to 80, the bike was faster, but the ride is a little rough. I will probably settle around 70 PSI.

The stock saddle is crap. I replaced it with a Serfas RX-921L Men's RX. I really like this saddle. It feels great and has a very strong nose, more on that later.

The carry bag that come with the bike seems to be a Dahon El Bosso bag. It is strong and well made, but a very poor design. It does not work to carry something this bulky by a shoulder strap. You will knock over too many people on the train. A Brompton type slipcover with a drawstring bottom and a top hand hole so you can grab onto the saddle or frame is the way to go, or just use a trash bag.

I find it best to turn the seatpost around so the saddle faces backward when folding. This way the saddle and any seatbag does not conflict with the handlepost joint. It also places the nose of the saddle into an almost perfect balance point, if you want to carry the folded bike by the nose of the saddle. It carries really nice that way, and the Serfas saddle nose is very strong.
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Old 04-04-08, 11:30 AM   #14
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W00t! Managed to grab a Fly-By last weekend just under the coupon expiration date. One of the guys in the bike shop called around and found one in Atlanta. I should be getting it this weekend.
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Old 04-04-08, 02:43 PM   #15
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I evidently got the last Fly-By among all California REI stores just a couple days before the member discount expired. I've used it only a couple of times so far now but am impressed with its comfort, handling, features and quality. I removed the kickstand to allow for the smallest fold, which is not as compact as I would have liked but will do handily for my purposes. I am worried, though, about the potential wear-and-tear on the seat post pump that the bike rests upon when folded because it seems that the retaining tabs may eventually shear off leaving nothing to prevent the pump from unexpectedly dropping out of the seat post. I'd hate to think of the consequences of this happening while riding at higher speeds. The Dahon user forums have some posts on this issue.
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Old 04-10-08, 10:53 PM   #16
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I am bringing my bike to the shop tomorrow to get the rear sprocket changed from a 16 tooth to a 20. I am also changing the tires from 1.5" Marathon Racers to the 1.75" Marathon Plus. I like the Racers, but want a little wider tire for woodchip paths and the puncture resistance of the Marathon Plus. I might be able to ditch the seatpost pump for a suspension seatpost. The seatpost pump works very well, but it looks like it could fall out.
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Old 04-11-08, 12:07 AM   #17
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The seatpost pump works very well, but it looks like it could fall out.
Reportedly it often does, wrecking it. There are some tips at the Dahon forums how to fix this.
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Old 04-11-08, 12:46 AM   #18
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Reportedly it often does, wrecking it. There are some tips at the Dahon forums how to fix this.
Well, I'm not sure it's all that often but the fix is simple nevertheless. If you don't need the pump, you can change out the post as well as the seat. For me, I haven't had the thing long enough, but I'm being careful how I set it down folded - don't want to shear those nubs off, you know.
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Old 04-20-08, 09:46 PM   #19
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I changed the tires from the 1.5" Marathon Racer to the 1.75" Marathon Plus.
They work great for me. I can get a ride with 80PSI the same quality as 70PSI in the Racers.
They work better on woodchip paths. They weigh a lot more. I cannot feel the weight when riding, but I can feel the extra weight when lifting the bike.
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Old 04-25-08, 11:17 PM   #20
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I changed out the rear sprocket gear from a 16 tooth to a 20. Working out great for me.
I usually start in 3rd now, and have 1st and 2nd for hills.

The gear-inches are now about 23 to 70.
On the the high end, I am not quick for a bike, but still quicker than the fastest skaters on the trail.

The chain still clears the inside of the rear stay on the curved Dahon frame, but not by much.
If I had gone with the 22 tooth, the chain may have rubbed.
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Old 04-30-08, 10:02 PM   #21
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I added a Dahon Suspension seatpost. It has some good effect but not a lot.

I heard it can be adjusted for preload and sideplay. Can anyone tell me how?

I bought it from a local Dahon dealer (Calhoun Cycle) but they were worthless for info.
I wish I had ordered from Thor even though I would had to wait for FedEx/UPS delivery.
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Old 05-08-09, 11:08 AM   #22
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I'm new to this forum so please forgive me if I'm disturbing the thread with this notice:
I tried to test ride the Novara Buzz Fly By at REI (Manhattan Beach, CA store) yesterday. The store had one so I went down to try one and was informed by their on-duty bike mechanic that REI was holding all Novara Buss Fly Bys pending an issue with the folding stem. The mechanic was pretty cryptic and didn't was to reveal to much but said there was a retrofit in the works but probably wouldn't be ready to impliment for a couple of weeks. I really like the bike and would like to take advantage of REI's 15% anniversary sale that ends May 10th but don't know what's up with the recall. Anyone heard any news regarding this? REI.com shows this bike as "backordered".
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Old 05-08-09, 01:08 PM   #23
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I'm new to this forum so please forgive me if I'm disturbing the thread with this notice:
I tried to test ride the Novara Buzz Fly By at REI (Manhattan Beach, CA store) yesterday. The store had one so I went down to try one and was informed by their on-duty bike mechanic that REI was holding all Novara Buss Fly Bys pending an issue with the folding stem. The mechanic was pretty cryptic and didn't was to reveal to much but said there was a retrofit in the works but probably wouldn't be ready to impliment for a couple of weeks. I really like the bike and would like to take advantage of REI's 15% anniversary sale that ends May 10th but don't know what's up with the recall. Anyone heard any news regarding this? REI.com shows this bike as "backordered".
Did they even give you the option to buy one? I didn't think they even had them on the floor. There is a lot of discusson on this in the Dahon forums. Also, there was thread here as well.
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Old 05-08-09, 05:04 PM   #24
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I was told that if you place an order online, you will get the sale price, even if it doesn't become available until after the sale. I bought one last month using my 20% coupon and dividend, and I'm bummed I won't be able to use it for bike week.
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Old 05-09-09, 12:44 PM   #25
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RE: Suspended seatposts for folders.

I've got a thudbuster on my Swift and I really like it. I've also got a full suspension Downtube, and from now on, I'll be going solid rear suspension and Thudbuster (or the like). That opinion is all about being "out of the saddle."

Also, Suntour is now producing a couple of parallelagram style suspended post posts. Got one of those on my (speaking of previous REI products -->) K2 Easy Street,, and it's pretty sweet.


http://www.srsuntour-cycling.com/SID...gory&tnid=2466

http://www.thudbuster.com/products.html

Cheers....

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