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Old 03-30-08, 07:19 AM   #1
mattbike
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Please help me choose a folder!

Hi everybody,

This is my first post so please be gentle with me!

I haven't ridden a pushbike for at least 15 years and have recently come to thinking that i've been missing out as they seem to have come on a long way from the awful heavy mountain bike i used to ride.

For the last 11 years, i've been a motorcyclist though the majority of that time has been spent on monkeybikes- no, not those god-awful minimotos little punks ride around housing estate on! Proper road legal mini motorbikes.

Anyway, i've recently moved to within a couple of miles of the hospital where i work and a mile from the shops, so the monkeybike has become redundant as a commuter as i choose to walk such short distances. Walking is becoming a bit slow and boring now!

So, i'm in the market for a pushbike that i can use on a daily basis for work and shopping. A folding bike is the obvious choice.

My main considerations are as follows:

Budget up to 400
Cool/funky looking
Quick folding
Small enough and light enough to wheel/lift up 2 steps to live in my porch
Descrete enough to carry through a hospital corridor
Comfortably suits my small frame and very short stature of 5'0"

Bike's currently on my shortlist are Dahon Curve D3 (270ish) Mezzo i4 (389) and Mobiky Genius (a tad over 400 posted). I would have put DT mini on the list but it's too expensive to ship to the UK.

I would be very grateful of any comments on the suitability of the above for my means and which, if any would best fit the bill? Any other models i've missed that would do the job better?

Cheers, Matt
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Old 03-30-08, 10:14 AM   #2
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At the risk of complicating things, if you don't have hills to contend with, you may wish to consider the Strida. It is the easiest to roll around. It has only one gear, but if you don't have to climb anything, it does its job exceedingly well. It also certainly fits your criterium of "cool/funky looking".



http://www.strida.nl/en/

WARNING: You'll have to be an extravert to ride this bike. You'll get a lot of strangers asking you about it.
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Old 03-30-08, 10:19 AM   #3
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The toughest of your criteria is likely to be carrying the bike through a hospital corridor so let's focus on that. If it can be solved then the rest should not be a big problem.

Hospital corridors are often long and it is not fun carrying a moderately awkward to very awkward package weighing from 20lb to more than 30lb plus other luggage for a long distance.

Wheeling the folded bike may not be an option in a hospital corridor because of water / mud on the tires.

Is there bike storage on the hospital site, preferably covered? If so, this issue goes away. Security issues will have to be dealt with but they can be dealt with.

David
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Old 03-30-08, 01:42 PM   #4
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Thankyou both for your replies.

The journeys i will be making are indeed across flatish terrain. I was under the impression that Stridas didn't suit the very shortest of adult riders such as myself though?

With regards to parking/storage at the hospital, i should elaborate.

There are uncovered areas that i could lock a bike up but they are out of sight of staff and could potentially attract unwanted attention. My monkeybike has been tampered with in these areas before. I'm also keen to avoid fiddling with locks and leaving the bike exposed to the elements. I wouldn't dismiss doing this if the folding bike route doesn't work out- but i would still need something small enough to park in my porch at home.

The length of the corridor between where i would dismount and the changing room i would leave the bike is fortuantely shortish- perhaps only 50m and i would usually only be carrying a small lunch pack. Rolling the bike on it's wheels may be possible when dry but as you say it's not an option if i've been riding in the rain.

Cheers, Matt
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Old 03-30-08, 03:02 PM   #5
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I've just discovered another bike to add to the mix.

Pacific Carryme...
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Old 03-30-08, 03:12 PM   #6
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The journeys i will be making are indeed across flatish terrain. I was under the impression that Stridas didn't suit the very shortest of adult riders such as myself though?
Just the opposite is true. It would suit you just fine. I does not suit taller folks. If your route is flat, then you really need to look at it. The Strida takes less than 10 seconds to fold/unfold. It is designed to roll around, so walking it down the halls would be a cinch.

There are lots of videos of Stridas on Youtube. Please take a look at them and you'll get a sense of the uniqueness of that bike.
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Old 03-30-08, 03:22 PM   #7
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Cool! I stand corrected.

I'll go check it out now.

Cheers, Matt
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Old 03-30-08, 06:30 PM   #8
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I've just discovered another bike to add to the mix.

Pacific Carryme...
One of the regular posters here, named Makeinu, has a Carryme and is a big advocate. You may want to contact him and get his comments.
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Old 03-30-08, 08:35 PM   #9
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Anyway, i've recently moved to within a couple of miles of the hospital where i work and a mile from the shops, So, i'm in the market for a pushbike that i can use on a daily basis for work and shopping. A folding bike is the obvious choice.


Small enough and light enough to wheel/lift up 2 steps to live in my porch
Descrete enough to carry through a hospital corridor
What kind of shopping do you intend to do? Folding bikes are limited with this regard because they are usually not accepted inside a store or shopping mall unless they are folded. But doing this requires you to lug the bike everywhere which is why you won't see folders inside malls are supermarkets. The best bike for this type of shopping would be the Strida or CarryMe. It will still be cumbersome at best but these bikes can be rolled easily, especially the Strida.
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Old 03-31-08, 12:57 AM   #10
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See the Mezzo I4 thread

Lee
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Old 03-31-08, 02:59 AM   #11
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Why not try and get hold of a fullly loaded Dahon Ciao P8? They used to be 499 and come with rack, mudguards, hub dymano and hub gears, a great spec. was bike of the year in Netherlands in 2006. See:
Rutland Cycles were clearing them on ebay recently for the knockdown price of 240 with postage and you could try ringing them on 01572 737 872. If not still currently listed at discounted price by one ebay seller for 300 with free postage, see:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Dahon-Ciao-20-...QQcmdZViewItem
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Old 03-31-08, 03:10 AM   #12
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You could also consider a Downtube FS. The 2007 model is being cleared by them at 169 + 25 shipping on ebay UK, this is a steal. See: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Downtube-FS-Fo...QQcmdZViewItem

I have one of these and it's a very versatile bike with a fairly compact fold and I bring it through the corridors of my university where I work in London to store in my office. Being a 20" wheel folder it's also better for riding off-road on trails and towpaths thany many of the smaller 16" folders since you live in the lovely county of Dorset. You might get more value out of a 20" for commuting and leisure riding where you live. You can also read a review of the FS on:
http://www.foldsoc.co.uk/Mike/downtube.html

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Old 03-31-08, 03:48 AM   #13
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One of the regular posters here, named Makeinu, has a Carryme and is a big advocate. You may want to contact him and get his comments.
Yes, i've been reading the comments on earlier threads. It does sound quite suitable and it's certainly fairly unique. I'm not totally sold on the styling but it's probably something that grows on you.

Cheers, Matt
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Old 03-31-08, 03:58 AM   #14
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What kind of shopping do you intend to do? Folding bikes are limited with this regard because they are usually not accepted inside a store or shopping mall unless they are folded. But doing this requires you to lug the bike everywhere which is why you won't see folders inside malls are supermarkets. The best bike for this type of shopping would be the Strida or CarryMe. It will still be cumbersome at best but these bikes can be rolled easily, especially the Strida.
I don't drive a car so ideally i'd like to be able to do all my grocery shopping- in reality, i think at best, i would be limited to small top-up shopping trips and continue to do my main shop by foot.

My plan would be to carry the bike folded, within the shopping cart and when i'm done, secure the shopping to a rack on the back and the rest inside a rucksack.

Mezzo looks to have a good rack/bag for this but i'm leaning towards the Dahon Curve as it would probably get the fewest dissaproving looks when carrying it through the hospital. It's also priced towards the lower end of my budget. I haven't discounted any of the suggested models so i'm not really much closer yet!

Cheers, Matt
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Old 03-31-08, 04:05 AM   #15
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Why not try and get hold of a fullly loaded Dahon Ciao P8? They used to be 499 and come with rack, mudguards, hub dymano and hub gears, a great spec. was bike of the year in Netherlands in 2006. See:
Rutland Cycles were clearing them on ebay recently for the knockdown price of 240 with postage and you could try ringing them on 01572 737 872. If not still currently listed at discounted price by one ebay seller for 300 with free postage, see:
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Dahon-Ciao-20-...QQcmdZViewItem
Well that would be perfect if it wern't for the styling. Great specification. It's a cracking deal too but just not to my taste.

I think the folded size of a 20" might be a bit too big for me too.

Cheers, Matt
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Old 03-31-08, 04:21 AM   #16
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You could also consider a Downtube FS. The 2007 model is being cleared by them at 169 + 25 shipping on ebay UK, this is a steal. See: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Downtube-FS-Fo...QQcmdZViewItem

I have one of these and it's a very versatile bike with a fairly compact fold and I bring it through the corridors of my university where I work in London to store in my office. Being a 20" wheel folder it's also better for riding off-road on trails and towpaths thany many of the smaller 16" folders since you live in the lovely county of Dorset. You might get more value out of a 20" for commuting and leisure riding where you live. You can also read a review of the FS on:
http://www.foldsoc.co.uk/Mike/downtube.html
Yes, actually, the Downtube is one of the first bikes that caught my attention when i first started considering a folder. The price and the reviews i've read are very positive indeed.

The reason i've decided not to buy one is the lack of mudguards, rack, stand and relatively large size.

But i totally get your point about value for money and the versatility of the bike. As you say, Dorset is a lovely County and we're spoilt by the beautiful countryside which would be near impossible to explore with a sub 20" wheeled bike. There again i could always buy a cheap MTB for that purpose.

I have to say, i am biased towards the cheeky appearance of small wheels! Off-topic but my monkeybike has 10" wheels and reaches 68mph on the road. It would probably be alot better with larger wheels but it's a hoot to see the faces of other motorists!

Cheers, Matt

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Old 03-31-08, 06:48 AM   #17
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Matt you if you want a small folder then I recomemnd the Brompton clone, the Merc. The UK seller for this bike is a lady called Anita and she said she would do it off ebay and not using paypal (cash or bank transfer payment) for 280 (normally 3330 on ebay). This bike has a very good reputation on thse forums and comes with dynamo with where rear light stays on red when stationery, mudguards, rack and a front carrybag set (Brompton dealers charge over 100 for bag plus holder). EvilV a reg on these forums swears by the bike. You can email Anita through ebay, see:
http://myworld.ebay.co.uk/123maddy/
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Old 03-31-08, 08:00 AM   #18
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EvilV a reg on these forums swears by the bike. You can email Anita through ebay, see:
http://myworld.ebay.co.uk/123maddy/
The Merc is a good bike. Anita gives excellent customer service. Even from across the Atlantic Ocean ...

I thought that some people could get their Brompton purchase subsidized too. With the subsidy, it may be the case that it becomes competitive with the Merc.
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Old 03-31-08, 08:39 AM   #19
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I thought that some people could get their Brompton purchase subsidized too. With the subsidy, it may be the case that it becomes competitive with the Merc.
There is a govermnent scheme to encourage the use of cycles,which can be applied to any bike, not just Bromptons, there is a substantial cost saving to the rider/employee.
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Old 03-31-08, 09:47 AM   #20
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There is a govermnent scheme to encourage the use of cycles,which can be applied to any bike, not just Bromptons, there is a substantial cost saving to the rider/employee.
Well, there you go. That should change what is affordable.
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Old 03-31-08, 11:08 AM   #21
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You could also consider a Downtube FS. The 2007 model is being cleared by them at 169 + 25 shipping on ebay UK, this is a steal. See: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Downtube-FS-Fo...QQcmdZViewItem
Thanks for the link. Do you know where there's a picture of the actual bike they're selling though, as the ebay page looks like a cut & paste from the IXFS page?
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Old 03-31-08, 11:23 AM   #22
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...I'm also keen to avoid fiddling with locks and leaving the bike exposed to the elements. I wouldn't dismiss doing this if the folding bike route doesn't work out- but i would still need something small enough to park in my porch at home.

The length of the corridor between where i would dismount and the changing room i would leave the bike is fortuantely shortish- perhaps only 50m and i would usually only be carrying a small lunch pack. Rolling the bike on it's wheels may be possible when dry but as you say it's not an option if i've been riding in the rain.

Cheers, Matt
We've recently returned with our Strida's from a longish holiday & no bike locks. We took them *everywhere*; hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, malls, ad nauseum.......

As they're long, very slim, & easily "strollable", they're not intimidating or likely to upset people, as their size, weight, & "footprint" is less than that of most baby buggies (strollers?).

They're easy to wipe down before entry to a building, if it's been raining, & even though we had rain, by the time we'd gone over the typical "welcome" mat, the wheels left no trail so again no objections from anyone.

However, beware that people in general are fascinated by these bikes, & you won't get far without being asked about them! :-) We in fact feel that is a positive safety point, as they do attract attention whilst riding on the road.

They can be stored vertically by the simple expedient of a slice of old inner tube over the handlebar & brake lever. When I go to the dentist, mine stands in the very narrow space between the last seat & a wall in the reception area :-)

HTH
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Old 03-31-08, 11:51 AM   #23
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Matt you if you want a small folder then I recomemnd the Brompton clone, the Merc. The UK seller for this bike is a lady called Anita and she said she would do it off ebay and not using paypal (cash or bank transfer payment) for 280 (normally 3330 on ebay). This bike has a very good reputation on thse forums and comes with dynamo with where rear light stays on red when stationery, mudguards, rack and a front carrybag set (Brompton dealers charge over 100 for bag plus holder). EvilV a reg on these forums swears by the bike. You can email Anita through ebay, see:
http://myworld.ebay.co.uk/123maddy/

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Merc-3spd-long...QQcmdZViewItem

I quite like the look of that. Would you say that it's the best of the small folders in my budget? The fact that it's a Chinese knock-off puts me off a little bit but if it has a good reputation on here that counts for alot.

The only information i'd read on the wider-internet didn't sound too encouraging! That's why i hadn't really considered it up until now. Taken from atob buyers guide:

Merc *
400
The Merc is an attractive Chinese pirated clone of the Brompton, correct in most respects, and apparently upgraded from the classic British bike, thanks to a light alloy frame. The reality is a bike that weighs 13.2kg (heavier than the steel Brompton), on which almost nothing works properly - the saddle slips down, the brakes barely function, the front carrier block is a bit dodgy, and the cables get in a tangle when you fold it up. If offered one at the ludicrous price of 499, just say no. We should add that the Merc seems to be attracting a vociferous following: ' just as good as a Brompton...', 'a Brompton rider stopped and offered me money for it...', etc, etc. We can only say that these dynamic qualities were not immediately obvious in the bike we tested. If it really has improved, we may well return. Watch this space!
Dysfunctional pirate copy

Maybe they got a dud model to test?

Cheers, Matt
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Old 03-31-08, 12:01 PM   #24
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We've recently returned with our Strida's from a longish holiday & no bike locks. We took them *everywhere*; hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, malls, ad nauseum.......

As they're long, very slim, & easily "strollable", they're not intimidating or likely to upset people, as their size, weight, & "footprint" is less than that of most baby buggies (strollers?).

They're easy to wipe down before entry to a building, if it's been raining, & even though we had rain, by the time we'd gone over the typical "welcome" mat, the wheels left no trail so again no objections from anyone.

However, beware that people in general are fascinated by these bikes, & you won't get far without being asked about them! :-) We in fact feel that is a positive safety point, as they do attract attention whilst riding on the road.

They can be stored vertically by the simple expedient of a slice of old inner tube over the handlebar & brake lever. When I go to the dentist, mine stands in the very narrow space between the last seat & a wall in the reception area :-)

HTH
That sounds like the sort of treatment that i'm hoping for and i don't mind having to talk to people about it, i'm used to that with the monkeybike!

Cheers, Matt
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Old 03-31-08, 12:02 PM   #25
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Maybe they got a dud model to test?
That is the AtoB test right? My understanding is that they have strong connections to Brompton and had fit when someone imported a Taiwanese copy to Britain.

Really, the Merc is a fine bike. We moved further out from the District and never used the Merc anymore. For a while I also rode an older version of the Brompton too. I don't recall the Merc being deficient in any particular way. The new Brompton bikes do have a longer wheelbase, can be acquired with better brakes/titanium parts, and have the different handlebars.
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