My wife and I both ride Trek 7.2 FX's (my wife on the WSD variant). We are currently living in separate cities while I finish out college. We're looking to get a folding bike that she can take on the plane when visiting me (or that I can ride when I'm back home). We both have our Treks with us at our individual locations. After I get back home, I'll be able to use the folding bike when I'm on the DART rail.
This is what I am considering when looking for a good folding bike:
-Can be folded to take on a plane. So it shouldn't be oversized (by Southwest Airlines standards: Maximum weight is 50 pounds and maximum size is 62 inches (length + width + height) per checked piece of luggage.)
-Can travel up to 15 miles in one stretch, 30 miles round trip.
-Can keep up with the Trek 7.2 FX easily. That is, a comfortable pace of about 12 mph, cruising pace of 15 mph. and hefty pace (top speed with slight downhill) of 20 mph. (This is about what we maintain with our Treks at our current fitness levels).
-Terrain will be COMPLETELY FLAT! I live in Lubbock, TX. The outlying towns are called Plainview and Leveland for a reason. It is very windy here, but there are no hills to speak of.
-Decent price. Max spending will be around $450 dollars, but would like it below $300 dollars.
I am 5'9" and weigh 175 lbs. My wife is 5'6" and weighs about the same (but man does she look good ) Any advice would be helpful.
I was looking into the Dahon Speed D7. My wife and I have both tried out the 2008 KHS Latte Folding-1, and the Dahon Mariner D7. We liked the Mariner a lot better than the Latte. Seemed more solidly built and able to obtain higher speeds with less effort.
Based on your descriptions, a lot of folding bikes can handle the terrain. However, folders with 20" wheels will be harder to fit into a suitcase without taking some time (20+ minutes).
I have come to like 16" folders, like the Downtube Mini. They ride just as well, and are smaller and easier to transport. The Mini folds into a standard suitcase pretty easily (see this thread here: Packing a DT Mini is an Samsonite Oyster).
I just finished a trip to Oregon where I rode 35 miles one day and 25 another at a fairly fast pace (17mph average). The bike is very sturdy and rides nicely. There's a big thread on the Mini in this Forum, just do a search and you'll see all the comments.
Any thoughts on that one? On a side note, you guys really like the 16 inchers, huh? Are 20 inchers really that much more difficult to get on a plane? I figured if I stuck it in a carry bag, wrapped in a quilt, it would be fine. In any case, thanks for the responses. I'm looking for into the 16 inchers now and will see what I can find.
I haven't tried one. Derailleurs and folding bikes are not, in my experience, a good combination.
Originally Posted by jdaniel
Money is an issue. We would be relying on our Treks to get around mostly, with the folder for use when we visit each other and for use on the rail line.
I've also run into the Citizen Bike: Miami.... Any thoughts on that one? On a side note, you guys really like the 16 inchers, huh? Are 20 inchers really that much more difficult to get on a plane? I figured if I stuck it in a carry bag, wrapped in a quilt, it would be fine. In any case, thanks for the responses. I'm looking for into the 16 inchers now and will see what I can find.
Downtube provides a solid bike at a no-frills price. I'm pretty sure a bike cheaper than a Downtube is going to sacrifice in quality; but I don't know Citizen Miami, and can't speculate how that sacrifice in quality will present itself there. It might be fine (but derailleurs and folding bikes are not, in my experience, a good combination).
I like the 16" wheels because they give me a very convenient bike. There does seem to be some sacrifice in stability (but it's hard to tell, because it's hard to distinguish the effects of wheel size from the specifics of frame design). I take my Mini on a commuter train twice each work day, and I can tell you that it's not exactly easy. It fits fine; but it's a tight fit; there's a right way to do it, and if I do it a wrong way, it doesn't fit at all. I have taken my 20" Raleigh Twenty on the train exactly twice, and I found far fewer spaces available for that size bike. It was difficult enough to convince me not to try it again. Possible, yes; pleasant, no. To be fair, a different 20" bike might be fine, but I haven't tried it.