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  1. #1
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    Citizen Folding Bikes - Relatively new?

    I have recently began a search for a reasonably priced bike to possibly start commuting on every once in a while. I may also do an electric conversion to help the trip a little bit if I do decide to commute on it more often (9 miles each way).

    The bikes can be found at: http://www.citizenbike.com/.

    The price seems right, decent looking frame with fenders, rear rack and 20" tires.



    The only problem is I can't really find many reviews or impressions on this bicycle.

    I have found some videos of the bike in action.

    Promo video: http://youtube.com/watch?v=zxh-l2dg90E

    7 minute overview (of someone selling one, who couldn't mount an engine on it): http://youtube.com/watch?v=q8UR_gDgx6g

    Any thoughts or impressions I'm missing?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Raleigh20 PugFixie, Merc LittlePixel's Avatar
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    The frame looks like a clone or licensed version of the frame used on the Dahon Mu XL, which has a similar set of features, which you can look at here.

    This bike looks fairly well equipped in terms of what it has (rack, fenders) though for that pricepoint you won't be getting the best components, and if it does the mileage you intend you may find things like the bearings wearing quicker than you hope.

    This isn't necessarily bad - I'm not trying to discourage you - as most parts will be easily replaced, but the old adage 'a stitch in time saves nine' rings true with cheaper bikes and it's sometimes better to pony up a little more off the bat so you get known components with a degree of durability built in.

    Also - It's a fair bit heavier (about a kilo) than the equivalent Dahon too which might be of interest if you fold it and carry it often.

    You might also want to include bike by a manufacturer called Downtube bikes in your decision;
    They are also very reasonably priced and get very good reviews from a lot of happy owners on this forum, a lot to do with the ease of which they can be upgraded using standard bike parts, or - in your case - perhaps with the addition of an electric drive.

    Also - Yan - the creator/owner can often be found on this forum for help/advice/wantlists of features; It's nice to have that human link sometimes and he wouldn't frequent the forum if he was worried about the quality of the product!
    Last edited by LittlePixel; 04-23-08 at 08:06 PM.

  3. #3
    hubgears BB49's Avatar
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    I met someone who had a Citizen bike.
    It was very heavy, he weighed it, 36 pounds, which I would believe over any ad. 30 pounds is very heavy, 36 is a ship anchor.
    He paid $175, for $225 he could have got the ligher aluminum model.
    It is a cheap bike at a cheap price. Do not invest any extras, other than air for the tires.
    Notice the cockpit is very tight, the handlepost does not angle away from the seat, like all good folders do.

    You need to use an expensive hub motor and good nickel or lithium battery, if you want an electric bike that gives assist greater than its weight penalty.

    Definitly look at a Downtube or a Dahon if you to put any more money into the bike.
    You will spend maybe twice as much, but have four times the bike.

  4. #4
    hubgears BB49's Avatar
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    I saw on the Citizen website that they had an aluminum version.

    They claimed 23 pounds, but that is unbelievable. Dahons with lighter components weigh more.

    It was priced at $274, not bad, not great, for cheap folder that probably weighs 28 pounds.

    That is getting so close to Downtube prices that it would be a much better investment to get a Downtube.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BB49 View Post
    I saw on the Citizen website that they had an aluminum version.

    They claimed 23 pounds, but that is unbelievable. Dahons with lighter components weigh more.

    It was priced at $274, not bad, not great, for cheap folder that probably weighs 28 pounds.

    That is getting so close to Downtube prices that it would be a much better investment to get a Downtube.
    The Downtube has been the other bike I've been looking at so I've been very interested to find some comparisons or first hand experiences with the Citizen. I'm located in Florida and it appears they are too but I don't have any local dealers unfortunately.

  6. #6
    --End Transmission-- Klaw's Avatar
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    Notice only the Shimano grip shifter is listed as a name brand component. The other components are going to be very suspect. Pedals, crank, gearing, brakes. Secondly Downtube offers a 30 satisfaction guarantee... meaning if it's too small, light, doesn't fit you... return it. Citizen has no such offer and their warranty looks a bit suspect. Caveat emptor and all that.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Caaah's Avatar
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    My co-worker got one (the Tokyo model) about a month and a half ago and is now trying to get rid of it. It looks great online, and I almost ordered one myself, but we quickly changed our minds once it showed up. It is very heavy and there aren't enough gear inches (which as you may notice they don't specify on their website). She feels like she's spinning like crazy even on the highest gear. Plus, it needs a set up once out of the box. The folding hinge on the frame was so tight once she unfolded it, she had to take it to the LBS to get it folded again.

    After I saw it, and saw her problems with it, I definitely changed my mind about getting one. I went with the Dahon Curve D3--I got a 2007 model for about $350 with shipping. I'm very happy I spent the extra money.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caaah View Post
    My co-worker got one (the Tokyo model) about a month and a half ago and is now trying to get rid of it. It looks great online, and I almost ordered one myself, but we quickly changed our minds once it showed up. It is very heavy and there aren't enough gear inches (which as you may notice they don't specify on their website). She feels like she's spinning like crazy even on the highest gear. Plus, it needs a set up once out of the box. The folding hinge on the frame was so tight once she unfolded it, she had to take it to the LBS to get it folded again.

    After I saw it, and saw her problems with it, I definitely changed my mind about getting one. I went with the Dahon Curve D3--I got a 2007 model for about $350 with shipping. I'm very happy I spent the extra money.
    Excellent, thank you for that bit of information. Finally a bit of a hands on review to have something to work with.

  9. #9
    Senior Member kamtsa's Avatar
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    >> Secondly Downtube offers a 30 satisfaction guarantee... meaning if it's too small, light, doesn't fit you... return it. Citizen has no such offer and their warranty looks a bit suspect. Caveat emptor and all that.

    Citizen does have 30 days satisfaction guarantee. This is from their FAQ:

    Returns policy

    "Returns require a return authorization number for processing. A return authorization number can be obtained by emailing us at returns@citizenbike.com. This return authorization number must be clearly marked on the outside of the package upon return. In order to offer our customers the lowest prices possible, we must have certain limits on our return policy in regards to shipping fees. Therefore, all shipping charges, outbound and return, are non-refundable. For items purchased with free-shipping, the current cost of shipping, of similar items without free-shipping, is non-refundable. Returns can only be accepted within 30 days from the purchase date. For backorder items, returns are accepted within 30 days from the shipped date. There are no restocking fees for returned items."

  10. #10
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    I've been getting ready to buy my first folder. I looked at a slightly used Citizen Tokyo, rode it around the owner's parking lot - so I didn't get to try many gears. It had a fairly comfortable ride, but it definitely was heavy despite being small. When the owner unfolded it for me, she got the handlebar clipped wrong, so we couldn't get it unclipped to refold it. She wrote me later to tell me that she'd finally got it. Small thing - but gave me a bad feeling about the bike - it should be difficult to fasten things the wrong way - kind of like how it isn't possible to plug most computer cables wrong.

  11. #11
    Senior Member edwong3's Avatar
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    Here is a video on YouTube that shows the proper way to fold a Citizen Bike:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8vp52CUACk

    Notice that at about the 25 second mark on the video, the presenter starts to fold the handlebar stem, and it is a two step process. In addition to undoing the familiar quick release mechanism, you must press on a "safety lock" to get the handlebar to collapse down. This is a very good feature that even some more expensive bikes don't have.

    Just because the owner of the bike you tested didn't know how to do this correctly, it shouldn't be used as a sole argument against the Citizenbike. However, if you'll notice, the model in the video, is the "Gotham". It is my humble opinion that this is probably the only model from that brand that one should consider buying unless money is an immediate issue. The alloy frame, and parts on the Gotham does enhance performance over the steel models.

    I think Citizenbike would do a good thing if they offered an aluminum version of the Tokyo in their line with higher gearing. I bet it would weigh in the 24-26 pound range.

    I think it would sell very well considering that lighter weight with the more compact size as compared to bikes with 20 inch wheels, would make it very attractive to not only to recreational riders, but commuters who may use multi-model transport, or are totally self propelled.

    Just my "dos centavos" for what it's worth

    Edward




    Quote Originally Posted by JCFlack View Post
    I've been getting ready to buy my first folder. I looked at a slightly used Citizen Tokyo, rode it around the owner's parking lot - so I didn't get to try many gears. It had a fairly comfortable ride, but it definitely was heavy despite being small. When the owner unfolded it for me, she got the handlebar clipped wrong, so we couldn't get it unclipped to refold it. She wrote me later to tell me that she'd finally got it. Small thing - but gave me a bad feeling about the bike - it should be difficult to fasten things the wrong way - kind of like how it isn't possible to plug most computer cables wrong.

  12. #12
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    When she unfolded the bike and locked the handlebars, she got the quick release turned around backward, so that it was VERY difficult to release it to re-fold the bike. My point is that it should be impossible to do it backward. Oh, and the one on the Tokyo looked different than the one in the video. No "safety lock" that I could see.

  13. #13
    Senior Member edwong3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCFlack View Post
    When she unfolded the bike and locked the handlebars, she got the quick release turned around backward, so that it was VERY difficult to release it to re-fold the bike. My point is that it should be impossible to do it backward. Oh, and the one on the Tokyo looked different than the one in the video. No "safety lock" that I could see.
    Yes, actually I did notice the folding mechanisms are different on both the "Gotham", and the "Tokyo". The "Miami" has the same folding mechanism as the "Tokyo". Can't explain why it was possible to turn the quick release on the bicycle you saw backwards. Anyway, my comment that the "Gotham" is the only model Citizenbike has that I would even consider still stands. It seems to be of much better quality than the other two.

    Edward

  14. #14
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    My wife and I bought two Miami Citizen bikes back in Oct. I can't say we love them, but we do like them and have had great fun while riding. They are what they are, a lower cost folding bike with cheaper components. At around $400.00 including shipping(total both bikes) them to our front door, we are pretty pleased with our bikes. Within a couple of weeks after they arrived, I took both to a great local bike shop to have the bikes fine tuned by professionals. No problems whatsoever with the bikes after that. These are fine bikes for the money, but I wouldn't consider one for everyday 365days a year commuting. Lazy days riding, like around the neighborhood, local parks and taking them with us on our RV. Taking them with us this weekend to Cape San Blas, Florida for some camping, fishing, walking and slow bike riding.
    When I first got the bikes I had a minor issue with the brakes, and the dealer like to broke his neck trying to help me. Send me a whole new back brake assembly. After taking it to the local BS, found out I didn't need it, but I'm keeping it for maybe a future brake failure. Good people at Citizens Bike.
    My wife and I both own regular size bikes, both costing much more than the folding bikes, that we love to ride day and night. But for out of town excursions its hard to beat the folders.

  15. #15
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    Hello,

    My first folding bike (and first bike in 30 years) is a Citizen Gotham. As a pilot, I have been meaning to get something to throw in the back of my Cessna for years and weight is of a paramount concern. The stock Gotham fit the ticket and comes in at 24 pounds, as weighed by a bike shop scale. It is a great little bike and serves it's intended purpose for the most part. However, I am still investigating how to change out the gearing for my long legs and another post is already started here:

    Upgrade a Citizen Gotham

    Because of this problem, pedaling anything over six miles is torture, even though I am in great shape. Top gear just feels like it is the smallest gear to me. Otherwise it looks pretty cool for a folding bike, although I do get accused of mugging a circus clown for it by other "tough guy" pilots.


    Good Luck,
    Dr. Z.

  16. #16
    Senior Member kamtsa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klaw View Post
    ... Citizen has no such offer and their warranty looks a bit suspect. Caveat emptor and all that.
    Citizen does provide 30 days satisfaction guarantee

    http://www.citizenbike.com/guarantee.asp

    Kam

  17. #17
    Senior Member kamtsa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edwong3 View Post
    Yes, actually I did notice the folding mechanisms are different on both the "Gotham", and the "Tokyo". The "Miami" has the same folding mechanism as the "Tokyo". Can't explain why it was possible to turn the quick release on the bicycle you saw backwards. Anyway, my comment that the "Gotham" is the only model Citizenbike has that I would even consider still stands. It seems to be of much better quality than the other two. Edward
    I had the Gotham for two weeks (until returning them for break and gearing issues) and was very happy with the folding mechanism. I never seen the Tokyo and Miami models so I cannot comment about them.

    Kam

  18. #18
    Female Member KitN's Avatar
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    Hi everyone. I just received a Tokyo Citizen bike. My first folder was stolen, while properly locked (!!!) in NYC. I was devastated and really upset.

    Anyway, I settled on the Tokyo Citizen for several reasons:

    1. 16" wheels: I can't have anything, regardless of the price, that has larger than 16" wheels! I would have gotten the more expensive alloy Gotham Citizen bike if they had a smaller 16" wheeled model. The 20" wheels are just too big for my intended use.

    2. Pricepoint: Money is an issue right now so I can't afford to drop $550+ on a Dahon or $990+ on a Bike Friday Tikit. I'll have to save up money for those but in the meantime I needed a folding bike desperately for commuting and the Citizen does the trick money-wise.

    3. Return Policy: "30+1" return policy. I have 30 days to return it if I'm not happy and get my money back (less shipping charges). And there's a 1 year warranty on the bike. I am aware that others have a warranty but their bike cost more than 3 times as much.

    4. Customer Service: Before purchasing the bike I had a few questions so I called up the 800 number and was greeted by a pleasant guy who answered all of my questions without hesitation. No being put on hold. No automated voicemail. Just a real live human being that picked up the phone AFTER NORMAL BUSINESS HOURS that was polite and helpful.

    5. Design: I like the curved frame of the Citizen bikes. It reminds me of the Dahon Curve 3 which I would have bought if I had an extra $400+ sitting around burning a hole in my pocket.

    Because of the cold here (and ice/snow) I have only had a chance to ride my new Tokyo once, but so far, it's okay. The brakes needed adjusting. And the gear shifting isn't as smooth as it could be considering that it has Shimano gears. (But I do appreciate the gears because my last folder that got stolen only had ONE gear and that was a b**** at times to peddle.)

    The bike came with a few scratches and scuffs (!!!) which was very disappointing to me. Right out of the box underneath protective cardboard that was wrapped around the frame I saw scuffs and scratches. The seat has a small hole in it and a few light scratches on it... On top of that, the seatpost started SHEDDING tissue-paper thin pieces of metal that cut my fingers!!!

    I contacted Citizen via email about this and they got back to me promptly, apologizing, and saying that they will immediately send me out a replacement seatpost and seat. When I receive the seatpost and seat, ride around a little more on it, I will decide if I want to keep it.

    So far I do like the bike. I'll have to ride it a bit more to make my final decisions but all-in-all, for the money, it's decent a bike. It's an entry-level folder. Nothing more.

    I'll post back when I receive the new seatpost/seat and have spent more time riding it to give a more rounded review.
    Last edited by KitN; 01-14-09 at 04:37 PM. Reason: Spelling

  19. #19
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    Citizens

    Sounds like you had the same experience as me. A few problems with the bike when you got it, called customer service and got good results, and waiting on replacement parts. Like you are thinking about doing, I took my bike into a local BS and had them tune it up. Mine rides great. This past Sunday my daughter and her husband & 3 kids came over and we all went bike riding. My wife & I have two folders and 3 26" reg size bikes. They brought 3 of their bikes with them for the kids. My wife rode my Gary Fisher and my daugher rode her Trek, and my son in law rode an 10 year old 26" 21 speed that still rides like a champ. I was regulated to my beautiful red 20" Miami Citizens bike. We rode a total of 14 miles, and I had no trouble keeping up with them. Yes, I have to pedal more, but the flip side is I get a better workout. Yes, I prefer riding my Gary Fisher, but the folder is a heck of a lot of fun. Just keep it tuned and I you should have a great time with your 16" Citizen. Many happy rides to you.

  20. #20
    Female Member KitN's Avatar
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    Hi Trider! Thank you for the advice but I'm confused about wht you mean by "tuning" the bike. What is involved in tuning? How much does it cost & what should I expect to be better?

    Thanks in advance! :-)

  21. #21
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdweezer View Post
    The Downtube has been the other bike I've been looking at so I've been very interested to find some comparisons or first hand experiences with the Citizen. I'm located in Florida and it appears they are too but I don't have any local dealers unfortunately.
    If you are anywhere near Jupiter/Juno/A1A you can come look at and ride my NS9
    Ive posted a lot of stuff about it here if you do a search. I have mixed feelings on it.
    I really like it a lot, but Yan dropped the ball on the derailleur and tires. If I had known
    then what I know now, I think I would have just gone with a Dahon or other higher
    grade model right from the start.
    Last edited by -=(8)=-; 01-14-09 at 06:22 PM.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by KitN View Post
    Hi Trider! Thank you for the advice but I'm confused about wht you mean by "tuning" the bike. What is involved in tuning? How much does it cost & what should I expect to be better?

    Thanks in advance! :-)

    "Tuning" is just a figure of speech for lack of a better word. Maybe I should say "fix it" or "make it ride better". I am very new to riding bikes, so I won't pretend to know bicycle language. But I had the bike shop guy "true" the tires, check chain tension, adjust the brakes if needed, check the gears, sprockets and derailers for adjustments, and anything else he feels needs attention. He "tuned" both our folders for around $60.00 total. It was worth the money.

  23. #23
    Female Member KitN's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info! I took my Tokyo Citizen to a LBS and the owner adjusted my derailieur/gears, oiled the chain and slightly tightened my brakes all for $5! I think that's a great deal!

    Since it cost so little and he was nice, I spent some money on getting a headlight and replacing those crappy plastic handles that made my hands hurt.

    With the tune-up the bike rides better but I'm having a problem with the seat constantly slipping down. The quick-release for the seatpost is too loose. No matter how tight I put the screw for the quick-release it's never tight enough and after a few minutes of riding, it slides down ever so slowly. It's driving me crazy.

    Does anyone know who to keep a quick release seat post from sliding down while riding over time?

    Thanks in advance.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by KitN View Post
    Does anyone know who to keep a quick release seat post from sliding down while riding over time?
    Clean the post and the inside of the tube _very_ well. Then put some oil on the quick-release surfaces where they slide over each other, and allow the oil to work into that plastic bit. That will allow you to make the QR much tighter without extra force, while the clean surfaces of the post will take care of any greasiness that might have caused slipping.

  25. #25
    Female Member KitN's Avatar
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    I'm confused... I'm supposed to make the inside greasy in order to make it not slip? *confused*

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