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  1. #1
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    Looking for a bike for L.A. commuting

    I was looking at both the Dahon Cadenza and the Dahon Jack for getting around Los Angeles. I use the Metro service and am curious if anyone else here has brought a folding bike on any of the buses mainly the Orange line. Also I am a taller guy at 6'3" so I was curious if these bikes where large enough for me to ride comfortably.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    I... Don't care. nekohime's Avatar
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    I've brought my Kent Ultralite folder onto the Orange line a couple of times, and I take it every day on the Red line and other buses. It fits just fine. I don't think the full-size folders will do very well on the bus though. The buses get pretty full, and the driver will probably make you unfold and put it on the rack anyway.
    Wanna join my charity folding bike ride? Sign-up here!
    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    you should learn to embrace change, and mock it's failings every step of the way :p

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeadOne View Post
    I was looking at both the Dahon Cadenza and the Dahon Jack for getting around Los Angeles. I use the Metro service and am curious if anyone else here has brought a folding bike on any of the buses mainly the Orange line. Also I am a taller guy at 6'3" so I was curious if these bikes where large enough for me to ride comfortably.

    Thanks
    Quote Originally Posted by nekohime View Post
    I've brought my Kent Ultralite folder onto the Orange line a couple of times, and I take it every day on the Red line and other buses. It fits just fine. I don't think the full-size folders will do very well on the bus though. The buses get pretty full, and the driver will probably make you unfold and put it on the rack anyway.
    I would agree with Nekohime. The full-size folders might seem to be nice and compact, but they are not. They only can fold in half, the handlebars and stem cannot rotate and flip down along side the bike like the 20 and 16 inch wheel size compact models can. Plus the large wheel of the 26 or 27 inch wheels don't allow the tucking it folded package into a odd nook or cranny like the smaller models do. I have 3 folders ranging from the 16 inch wheel size to the 20 inch size. And I do take them on crowded buses/trains in the Los Angeles area (including Metro). While all three have been taken aboard these more crowded vehicles at one time or another, the 16 inch ones win hands down as I do not care to use the front racks and don't like to be forced to take another train/bus due to crowding inside of the cabin as well as the always full front racks. If you are concerned about your height, don't dwell on it too much. The smaller wheeled folders are far more adjustable and allow for a wider range of sizes and shapes than the bigger bikes. Just be sure to test-ride various folders to see what is the best fit for you.

    And do remember to always cover your bike to prevent being thrown off the bus/train by a "bike prejudiced" person of authority.

    Please let us know what you decided. For more information on folding bikes see:

  4. #4
    Explorer CaptainSpalding's Avatar
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    +1 on Nekohime's and Folder Fanatic's assessments that a folder with 26" wheels will be very unwieldy for mixed commuting.

    What are the bike legs of your commute like on either end of the Orange line ride? The distance of the rides, plus whether or not they involve any climbs, will help you to know where to strike the balance between small folded size vs. "big bike" ride.

    For example, if you have a short, flat ride on either end of the bus/train ride, nothing beats the Strida or Mobiky Genius for small folded size and ease of handling on and off the bus or train. But if you had long rides or hills at either end, it would be a slog and you'd be miserable. It is a great feature that you can roll them while folded, so you only have to actually lift them for curbs and steps. I have the Genius, and I suppose someone of your height might find the reach a little close, though.

    At the other end of the spectrum you have the the 20"-wheeled Dahons, Downtube, Swift, etc. which provide a great ride, and if you get versions with a wide range of gears, can handle hills quite nicely. You could certainly find one among these that would suit your physical proportions.

    As a happy medium, (or compromise, depending on your point of view,) the 16" wheeled bikes, including the Brompton, Downtube Mini, and Dahon Curve, can achieve a slightly smaller folded size than the 20" bikes.

    Finding more than one model in any LBS can be tough. I've had the best luck at Helen's in Santa Monica. They usually have several Dahons on the floor. I live in the S.F. valley, and if you have trouble finding bikes to test ride, I'd be happy to let you try out my Genius and Dahon Jetstream. The Jetstream's geometry would be representative of several of Dahon's 20" models, I think.
    I came to say I must be folding . . .
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    Dahon Helios SL
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    or not . . .
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  5. #5
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    DO NOT buy the Kent Ultralite folder. It is a completely cheap and cheap looking bike.

    Do NOT buy the Dahon Boardwalk It is a single speed and is very heavy. And if you are under 6'0" you will find it terribly uncomfortable and annoying since the handle bar and stem are one piece of metal and cannot be lowered to be leveV with the seat position.

    Dahon D7 is what you want.

  6. #6
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    Wow, MyDad--what a quick decision. There are folks for whom the Kent and the Boardwalk have worked well given particular situations--enough so that you shouldn't bar a person from considering them.

    You can modify the one piece stem on the Dahon, though how low one can set it, I'm not sure. And sometimes, some prefer singlespeed. The D7 may be a great bike, but whether it's THE bike for the OP is really up to the OP and his/her situation. Sounds like they're just gathering info. to make a well informed, personalized determination.

  7. #7
    I... Don't care. nekohime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by My Dad View Post
    DO NOT buy the Kent Ultralite folder. It is a completely cheap and cheap looking bike.

    Do NOT buy the Dahon Boardwalk It is a single speed and is very heavy. And if you are under 6'0" you will find it terribly uncomfortable and annoying since the handle bar and stem are one piece of metal and cannot be lowered to be leveV with the seat position.

    Dahon D7 is what you want.
    Well, I have the Kent Ultralite, and I agree that it is cheap. Cheap components, cheap everything. It's not so cheap looking though--most people who are not in the know estimate it at 350+. When I say I got it for $150, their jaws drop. And well, it was the only thing I could afford at the time, and it serves its purpose. I like it well enough, but if I had more money I'd definitely gloss over this one.

    The Dahon Boardwalk has a 6-speed version. The single-speed isn't that good for LA and our hills, but if you feel masochistic, or if your commute is in a relatively flat area, then it's perfectly fine.
    Wanna join my charity folding bike ride? Sign-up here!
    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    you should learn to embrace change, and mock it's failings every step of the way :p

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by nekohime View Post
    The single-speed isn't that good for LA and our hills, but if you feel masochistic...
    Are you referring to me as masochistic? :


  9. #9
    I... Don't care. nekohime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadfix View Post
    Are you referring to me as masochistic? :

    Yep.
    Wanna join my charity folding bike ride? Sign-up here!
    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    you should learn to embrace change, and mock it's failings every step of the way :p

  10. #10
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nekohime View Post
    Yep.
    Ok, on that note I'm looking for a Swift frame to build up as a fixed gear as I could use a little bit compactability.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by My Dad View Post
    DO NOT buy the Kent Ultralite folder. It is a completely cheap and cheap looking bike.

    Do NOT buy the Dahon Boardwalk It is a single speed and is very heavy. And if you are under 6'0" you will find it terribly uncomfortable and annoying since the handle bar and stem are one piece of metal and cannot be lowered to be leveV with the seat position.

    Dahon D7 is what you want.
    Quote Originally Posted by nekohime View Post
    Well, I have the Kent Ultralite, and I agree that it is cheap. Cheap components, cheap everything. It's not so cheap looking though--most people who are not in the know estimate it at 350+. When I say I got it for $150, their jaws drop. And well, it was the only thing I could afford at the time, and it serves its purpose. I like it well enough, but if I had more money I'd definitely gloss over this one.

    The Dahon Boardwalk has a 6-speed version. The single-speed isn't that good for LA and our hills, but if you feel masochistic, or if your commute is in a relatively flat area, then it's perfectly fine.
    I really cannot comment on the Kent since I actually never even seen one in person. The Boardwalk S1 is another matter. It is true that it is only a single speed, but it comes complete stocked with geared or paired with the right sized chainring/cog for managing the rolling hills around Los Angeles somewhat. I have had mine for almost 5 years now. I did "cheat" and converted the drivetrain to a 3 speed which can handle the hills surrounding my house with ease (and I am 50 years old!). My stem is non adjusting but that is fine with me since it is something I don't have to readjust it to the prefered level over and over again. And it is made of steel making it stronger and longer lasting than aluminum. I would recommend to look at the more enclosed type of hubs with internal gears or single speed since for the smaller wheel folding bikes, there is less chance of damage lke with the derailleur sticking out-or down rather-type of bike. My original advice still stands about having the novice folding bike owner test riding as many bikes as he/she can.

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    Get the best and lightest folder you can afford. The D-7 is better than the Kent and Boardwalk in all ways.

  13. #13
    I... Don't care. nekohime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by My Dad View Post
    Get the best and lightest folder you can afford. The D-7 is better than the Kent and Boardwalk in all ways.
    Well, if he is to get the best and lightest folder he can afford, he can gloss over the D7 too, and get one of the Dahon Mu bikes, like the MuXL. Those are about the same as the price of the Cadenza, and have better components than the D7.

    Quote Originally Posted by folderfanatic
    I really cannot comment on the Kent since I actually never even seen one in person. The Boardwalk S1 is another matter. It is true that it is only a single speed, but it comes complete stocked with geared or paired with the right sized chainring/cog for managing the rolling hills around Los Angeles somewhat. I have had mine for almost 5 years now. I did "cheat" and converted the drivetrain to a 3 speed which can handle the hills surrounding my house with ease (and I am 50 years old!). My stem is non adjusting but that is fine with me since it is something I don't have to readjust it to the prefered level over and over again. And it is made of steel making it stronger and longer lasting than aluminum. I would recommend to look at the more enclosed type of hubs with internal gears or single speed since for the smaller wheel folding bikes, there is less chance of damage lke with the derailleur sticking out-or down rather-type of bike. My original advice still stands about having the novice folding bike owner test riding as many bikes as he/she can.
    FF's advice about the hub gearing is sound. I'd love to have an hub geared bike--less parts to clean and lube drivetrain-wise, less oil to rub on your clothes, less maintenance, etc. And yes, test ride the bikes! I'm gonna be holding another one of my SoCal Folder Rides (see sig for details, same route) in the summer, and if you go to one of those, you can test ride many different models of folders.
    Wanna join my charity folding bike ride? Sign-up here!
    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    you should learn to embrace change, and mock it's failings every step of the way :p

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by My Dad View Post
    DO NOT buy the Kent Ultralite folder. It is a completely cheap and cheap looking bike.

    Do NOT buy the Dahon Boardwalk It is a single speed and is very heavy. And if you are under 6'0" you will find it terribly uncomfortable and annoying since the handle bar and stem are one piece of metal and cannot be lowered to be leveV with the seat position.

    Dahon D7 is what you want.
    MyDad strikes again with his ill informed know-all comments. MD the Kent is fine for people who need a cheap bike for commute and go and as an entry into the expensive world of folding bikes. It's sure done Nekohime fine as a student on a budget and she's still going strong on it from what I've read!

    Well, if he is to get the best and lightest folder he can afford, he can gloss over the D7 too, and get one of the Dahon Mu bikes, like the MuXL. Those are about the same as the price of the Cadenza, and have better components than the D7.
    Well said Nekohime! Exactly if you want to go for super light its the Mu XL or even the Mu SL.

    Shows how much you know Mydad, including the removed thread you started on about the SR8 hub and your stupid insults to people in the UK. Also I see you are very rude on this thread too. Do people like you ever learn?
    Last edited by mulleady; 05-20-08 at 11:53 AM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeadOne View Post
    I was looking at both the Dahon Cadenza and the Dahon Jack for getting around Los Angeles. I use the Metro service and am curious if anyone else here has brought a folding bike on any of the buses mainly the Orange line. Also I am a taller guy at 6'3" so I was curious if these bikes where large enough for me to ride comfortably.

    Thanks
    The new Dahon Cadenza 8 has a great spec with disc brakes and a lovely Shimano hub. If you prefer the larger wheeled folder then that is the best I've seen. I'm not qualified to comment on regional US commuting services but this model would be accepted under the term folder on peak hour London trains in the UK.

  16. #16
    Explorer CaptainSpalding's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mulleady View Post
    I'm not qualified to comment on regional US commuting services but this model would be accepted under the term folder on peak hour London trains in the UK.
    In all that I've read on the MTA and other websites, there is no formal definition for what constitutes a folding bike. The Cadenza, while it certainly fits the criteria of a folding bike, might not be the wisest choice.

    Many have commented that MTA personnel are often uninformed as to the folder policy. Also, for practical purposes, the judgment of MTA personnel on scene trumps the MTA's written rules. (i.e. there's no point in arguing with an MTA official who tells you you can't bring your bike on the train/bus.)

    It's an assumption on my part, but my hunch is that the smaller the bike, the better your chances of getting past the goons.
    I came to say I must be folding . . .
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    Dahon Helios SL
    Strida 5.0
    Twenty project


    or not . . .
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainSpalding View Post
    In all that I've read on the MTA and other websites, there is no formal definition for what constitutes a folding bike. The Cadenza, while it certainly fits the criteria of a folding bike, might not be the wisest choice.

    Many have commented that MTA personnel are often uninformed as to the folder policy. Also, for practical purposes, the judgment of MTA personnel on scene trumps the MTA's written rules. (i.e. there's no point in arguing with an MTA official who tells you you can't bring your bike on the train/bus.)

    It's an assumption on my part, but my hunch is that the smaller the bike, the better your chances of getting past the goons.
    Sounds very wise advice your side of the water CS! Better off with a 20" wheel folding bike then!

  18. #18
    I... Don't care. nekohime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainSpalding View Post
    In all that I've read on the MTA and other websites, there is no formal definition for what constitutes a folding bike. The Cadenza, while it certainly fits the criteria of a folding bike, might not be the wisest choice.

    Many have commented that MTA personnel are often uninformed as to the folder policy. Also, for practical purposes, the judgment of MTA personnel on scene trumps the MTA's written rules. (i.e. there's no point in arguing with an MTA official who tells you you can't bring your bike on the train/bus.)

    It's an assumption on my part, but my hunch is that the smaller the bike, the better your chances of getting past the goons.
    Very true, as I've been told to unfold and put my bike on the rack by uninformed bus drivers even if the bus was REALLY empty. I'd understand if it was full and there was no space for me + bike, but bleh. It's not a problem at all for trains though. It might be a problem for the Orange line. I don't take the orange line often, but I'm under the impression that it gets as full as the other Metro rapid lines, so nope, don't even try to bring a full-sized folder on. I don't even push it with my 16in folder when it's really full.

    It helps to have a "regular" bus driver who kinda knows you and recognizes you and your bike. The regulars on my morning commute are amused instead of angry or annoyed when I fold my bike and bring it in. They know it doesn't take up much space and I can keep it from rolling on people's toes and stuff.
    Wanna join my charity folding bike ride? Sign-up here!
    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    you should learn to embrace change, and mock it's failings every step of the way :p

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by nekohime View Post
    Very true, as I've been told to unfold and put my bike on the rack by uninformed bus drivers even if the bus was REALLY empty. I'd understand if it was full and there was no space for me + bike, but bleh. It's not a problem at all for trains though. It might be a problem for the Orange line. I don't take the orange line often, but I'm under the impression that it gets as full as the other Metro rapid lines, so nope, don't even try to bring a full-sized folder on. I don't even push it with my 16in folder when it's really full.

    It helps to have a "regular" bus driver who kinda knows you and recognizes you and your bike. The regulars on my morning commute are amused instead of angry or annoyed when I fold my bike and bring it in. They know it doesn't take up much space and I can keep it from rolling on people's toes and stuff.
    Such commuters aren't even worth worrying about. There's always some grouch somewhere ready to glare or even have a go and would never have the wherewithall to cycle or appreciate the beauty of bikes. I've seen your bike in pics on the SoCal Ride thread and it must fold no bigger than a large suitcase. When I get the train into London Paddington, some passengers are really ignorant or inconsiderate and tend to congregate in the main doorwells and are reluctant to move down the carriage. This makes it hard enough to embark with or without a folding bike! To make matters worse some trains like the 09:36 run from outer satellite towns stopping at all stations and the operator First Great Western run only 4 carriages, therefore jampacking the train. I always try to get on and ask people to move down the carriage politely but firmly. If they have a go I tend to say 'blame the operator for a poor service and don't pick on cyclists and that I at least have the consideration to have a bike that folds no bigger than a large suitcase, so get over it'. After that I ignore them and don't engage. As for glares they can glare away lol!

    Most people are very positive and admiring of folding bikes though and every day it seeds a desire in someone to get one. As I said before on a thread, there is a global pandemic called foldinitis. May it never find a cure!
    Last edited by mulleady; 05-21-08 at 02:00 AM.

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