I'm only speaking from research here, as I have yet to purchase my first folding bike.
You're best bet would be to find a Dahon or Downtube with a rear rack on craigslist. For anything new, 250 is gonna be a bit cheap. You can get stuff for around that price, but no garuntee as to their quality. Most decent bikes will be around 400 to 500 dollars.
This being said, You can buy a Citizen Bike for $194 and $164 HERE
, but I have no idea as to the value of that. From what I can gather Citizen Bike is pretty crappy, but I have never ridden one so I couldn't tell you.
Downtube has their 2008 9FS for $300 HERE
. I hear this is a decent bike and you may look into getting this one.
Dahon makes their Boardwalk single speed that is being sold for $219.95 HERE
. You might look into this one as well. From what I have read it is of good quality (for that price) but it is only a single speed bike. If you dont have large hills and aren't worried about speed, this might be the best bet for you.
Other single speed folders might be good too. The KHS Latte
with an MSRP of $239 comes to mind. I have test ridden this one and it rode decently well. Looks to get around 8 mph top speed at a comfortable pace and flat lands.
As it is, the only quality folding bikes that you'll get for under 250 seem to be single speeds. Pay out 50 more and you'll get that 9 speed Downtube, which will allow for hills and give you more speed. Until we find out more info on the Citizen Bikes, I'd stay away from them if I were you.
Hope that helps.
Last edited by jdaniel; 06-11-08 at 08:29 AM.