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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 03-29-08, 11:13 AM   #1
Gilzean
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Newbie - Downtube or Swift?

Hi All,

This is my first post…I know there are hundreds of posts on what bike to choose but was wondering if anyone can push me in the right direction based on my requirement? I know nothing about bikes other than how to ride one and have been looking for a folding commuter bike for a couple of weeks, I have it narrowed down to a downtube FS or swift. My price point is $300 to $700 I would like quality for my money.

I will be riding a total of around 8 miles a day 5 days a week (bike 3miles – train – bike 1mile) then back again, I like downtube mainly because of price, reviews, Yan seems like a nice guy and because it’s one of the better looking bikes available in my price range. I like the Swift because it looks good, tough and the guy who started it also seems like a good guy (although he sold it off to Xootr). Bike Friday are too expensive and I don’t like Dahon cause they are the big player in the game. (these are my personal opinions and I’m not looking for a fight about them). I’m not really worried about weight…

I like the idea of biking a bit more and once I buy one I’ll probably bike a little on the weekend and maybe enter a couple of short triathlons.

Does anyone have any suggestions for me? Can someone send me a link to the ‘downtube mega thread’ so I can see some pics and read more? (I have tried looking but can’t find it)

Thanks..
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Old 03-29-08, 12:50 PM   #2
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Since you are talking short distances and a train ride each way I'd lean towards the Downtube Mini
Review of Downtube Mini with internal hub

It won't ride as well as the Swift, but it folds better and I really like mine.

The mega Downtube thread is here
Downtube folding bike
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Old 03-29-08, 01:04 PM   #3
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Xootr are good people to deal with and if you have a technical question you get an answer from Peter anyways. I like the Swift because it's solid. It doesn't have a latch and hinge in the frame. It has pivots of the same type as you will find on rear suspension mountain bike frames. I like the Swift over a Dahon for the solid design. It's essentially a hingless design just like BikeFriday, but at half the price.

I have two Dahons that have a hinge on the frame like the DT. Both Dahons fold into a trunk quicker than the Swift, albeit all will fold equally small in the end. So if you will be folding all the time, maybe consider the DT much closer, or shed your bias and look into Dahons as well .
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Old 03-29-08, 03:12 PM   #4
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How crowded will the train be? I think the fold on the Downtubes is a little more compact than the fold of the Swift.

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Old 03-29-08, 03:19 PM   #5
Gilzean
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Boston Commuter rail, expect it to be crowded but not NYC subway like... Another plus point for the swift is the roads in and around Boston are terrible and I predict the swift would handle the roads better.
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Old 03-29-08, 04:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedo View Post
How crowded will the train be? I think the fold on the Downtubes is a little more compact than the fold of the Swift.
That depends on how you look at it. People tend to look at the side picture and conclude it's BIG. But the Swift has much smaller footprint than the Downtube. If the bike is leaned up against a wall or you stand next to it holding it upright, then almost no extra room is taken up. This is why I would regard the Swift as a good multi-mode option.
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Old 03-29-08, 04:42 PM   #7
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Jur - I have just looked at the pictures of your swift...Very nice! Now i am even more confused...
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Old 03-29-08, 08:05 PM   #8
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Gilzean,

You mentioned you're not concerned about weight and I believe the thread is focused on 20" wheeled folders. Considering the short distance to the train station and how often you need to fold and unfold, I'd seriously consider a 16" folder, and be concerned about weight.

When I got my first 20" folder (Dahon) I didn't realize how quickly it can become uncomfortable when hauled around.

Get a 16"er and a bag. It will go in the bag easier, you won't have the hassle of the train police and rush hour traffic.

The 20" folders are fine for me because I fold them once in a while. Either for storage or infrequent transport. I can't imagine using one for a daily intermodal commute and having it last. I read similar opinions here by other people. I don't have a 16" folder to give you more input, but consider the DT mini.
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Old 03-29-08, 08:18 PM   #9
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I also have a 16" Downtube Mini. I have commuted with it many times (28km each way), and also done a lightly loaded tour with it. It would be fine.

But that said, I have made mods (read improvements for me) to mine - it is no longer so close to out-of-the-box.
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Old 03-30-08, 10:42 AM   #10
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One thing OP should mention is his height. DT is not suitable for those that are taller.
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