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Old 06-15-08, 12:14 AM   #1
Ragekage
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Please help me start folding

Hey Everyone,

I'm looking for some help finding a folder to fit my very limited budget. I'm taking classes this summer semester at the local community college. I'm only 18 going on 19 and I've recently moved out of my grandma's place. (Bad living situation at home. My dad's not a very good guy, and I live with my 26 year old sister who has three kids ages 4/3/2.) I moved out to kind of get a taste of life and to start fending for myself. I felt like I was being held back at home, since I was stuck parenting three children.

Okay, so enough of that. The situation is I'm a poor 18 year old going to college, pretty common scenario lol. I walk 10 mins to the nearest train station in the morning and take the train to the nearest stop and walk another 30mins to the college. In addition, I have no license. (Working on getting one, but it's hard to find people willing to help me practice driving.) So, I pretty much have to walk everywhere I go. I often travel back and forth to my old place which is a 30 min walk one way. My karate school I attend is also near my old place so I have to walk 30 mins there and back whenever I have class. Alot of walking.. ugh.

Now I love to stay in shape and I have nothing against walking, but sometimes it's nice to get things done a little quicker. I've never been a major biker, but I'm really interested in starting. I know very little about bikes. I know how to ride one, two hands, one hands, no hands, that's about it. However, I'm willing to learn as much as I need to, to get an affordable efficient folder. My idea is to get a folder so I can take it with me on the train without much of a hassle. I work at the college I attend, so I'm positive I can even take it with me to class and store it in my boss's office so I wouldn't have to worry about theft. The problem is that most of the folders being recommended on these forums are around the 400-500$ price rance. I'm working with a 100$-200$ budget, and 200 is pushing it. I'd really like to keep it nearest to 100$.

So my question is, is it worth investing in the 400$ folders? Can I get a descent experience with a cheap folder. Maybe there are descent cheap ones, or maybe there are beat up expensive folders that need alot of work that I can get for cheap. I really wouldn't mind doing alot of extra work to modify a cheaper folder if it's worth my time. I wouldn't want to buy a 200$ folder and spend 200$ modifying it so it rides just as good as a 400$ folder, ya know what I mean? So, what do you guys recommend I do, or what folder do you recommend I buy? I'm 6'1 and I'd like to get a 16" so it folds a little more compact, but it seems like 16" tend to be more expensive.

I hope my expectations aren't impossible to meet.
Thanks in advance for helping,
Ryan
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Old 06-15-08, 12:29 AM   #2
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for an 18 yr old, your writing is really good. In this generation of bling n ice and pimped-out-rides, you've shown me there is still hope, LOL!

Ok, the sub $200 folders are on amazon, kent folding bikes etc. If weight isn't too much of an issue, get one with multiple speeds, and prob 20" wheels for distance.
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Old 06-15-08, 01:40 AM   #3
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Thanks, I try my best. lol.

I've seen the Kent, Schwinn, Zport, Citizen, ect.. bikes on amazon and ebay for 150ish. What's the difference in quality between the above and a standard 450$ folder? It's obvious I can't produce the same ride quality without investing nearly the same amount, but my reason for posting is an attempt to find the biggest bang for my buck. Like I said, I don't mind starting projects. If it isn't too difficult to learn, maybe I could purchase a junked quality bike and refurbish it. However, if the quality between the cheapo bikes and the brandnames isn't extremely noticeable I'll probably be better off purchasing a cheap folder. If I do buy a Kent ect.. which of the "kent quality" do you recommend? Weight and size is an issue, but beggers can't be choosers. I'd prefer to get something that's rather light and folds more compact, but I'll take what I can get.
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Old 06-15-08, 03:09 AM   #4
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I'd look at www.downtube.com

they have some nice folders worth stretching the budget a little for, and offer a really good ride.
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Old 06-15-08, 03:09 AM   #5
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"It's obvious I can't produce the same ride quality without investing nearly the same amount, but my reason for posting is an attempt to find the biggest bang for my buck."

A new bike isn't always an investment - most of them are worth 20% less when you wheel them out of the shop. In financial speak, they're a depreciating asset. Shops tend not to mention that.

So - look for used for the biggest bang for your buck. 20" folders arguably are less affected by potholes, 16" wheeled scoots give less hassle on trains. Your choice.

Lighter is better - folders get carried - less friction is better. An easy fold without tools is also considered useful. Expensive componentry or alloy frames increase the risk of your bike (or wheels/ seatpost) being stolen.

Quality components cost real money, so the trick is get a bike where almost nothing needs replacing and run it until stuff breaks. By then you may be able to afford a more expensive bike. Don't pooh-pooh cheaper Walmart type bikes - they get you mobile - they don't break your heart if they get stolen, and they're all three times more efficient than walking...

Another discount trick is to look online for used Dahons, Downtubes etc, or dealer close-outs on 2005/6/7 bikes. A further one is yacht chandlers - they often have folders for yachties - based on older Dahon frames with cheap but servicable components.

I'm in the UK so can't comment on USA prices, but asking around this forum for a used folder might work. Many of the folderisti get upgrade-itus and have spare bikes they'd be happy to pass on. Expect to pay 50% to 75% of the discount retail price for a used folder two or three years old in really good condition.

It's also important to try a few before you buy. If you're tall and buy a small bike there could be issues with knees hitting handle bars or cramped leg/arm positions. I hit the handle bars on my first mail-order 16" folder - so really you must try before you buy it - especially if it's 16" wheeler.

20" folders are ok on trains though - as long you cover them up to keep grease off passengers.

A few people love fixed gear single speed bikes. Most think 3 - 7 gears (or more) extends the bike's usefulness.

Hang around here for a week and see what turns up. Also let peeps know your rough locale, in case somebody's got a used folder for sale near you. Look in the local area used listings, and of course, Ebay. Folks on here will tell you if an Ebay price is too high.


Before you get a bike, maybe get the bike lock while you still got the cash. Folders you can often carry inside, but there are occasions you'll need a good lock or two.

Also think of your 'bicycling' rather than get sucked into thinking about bicycle hardware. It's too easy to get prodded into that 'my dérailleur's lighter than yours' shtick. There are peeps on here ride more with their $200.00 steel-framed folders than others with $2000 alloy bikes. And vice-versa.

Enjoy.

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To delete your other two posts click on the EDIT then DELETE buton at the bottom of them.

Last edited by snafu21; 06-15-08 at 03:35 AM.
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Old 06-15-08, 07:53 AM   #6
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The main difference between the "cheap" folders and more expensive ones are...

Weight: The cheap folders tend to be significantly heavier than the more expensive bikes.

Components: The components on cheap folders tend to be a step below those on more expensive bikes. For example, a bike might advertise Shimano components, but it will be from Shimano's "cheapest" line.

Another, less tangible, difference is ride quality. This is mostly subjective, but there can be design differences that compromise the ride quality on cheap folders... and honestly on cheap bikes as well.

All of that said... find yourself a cheap folder to start with. Or, if you can, get a used one from craigslist or eBay. I doubt you'll be totally disappointed with a cheap or used folder. If you have a question about a specific one that you see on craigslist or ebay feel free to post about it here. The folks here will be more than happy to help you.

I bought my Giant Halfway used on eBay for $226 shipped. It normally goes for $500. Since it was used, I'm learning how to fix the things that need fixing and I'm learning what I do and don't like about the bike. I have a severe case of upgrad-itis... and I know before the summer is over I'll likely have a Bike Friday Tikit (saving my pennies as we speak).

--sam
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Old 06-15-08, 08:57 AM   #7
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ah yes, the used market is a much valued resource and I would highly recommend craigslist.com. I bought, sold and then bought another folder on in Toronto. The ralligh 20 is an older bike, but heavy. For $150 there is a folder at walmart that has speeds and is possibly lighter and NEW. I would take a long look at the ones there. I just took a ride on the $100 walmart special that has 12" wheels! Folds really compact, rides decent and is around 20 lbs to boot. Finding replacement tires would be a challenge and really, there is no speed to be had from such a small bike, so 16" and up, but walmart in Canada does not have much.
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Old 06-15-08, 09:13 AM   #8
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Camping in the world.

Hi RageKage ,check the Camping world website .I recommend the Dahon folders there over the Yeah folders but both are ok and the yeah folders are a lot cheaper.The prices are very good .I am surprised no one has brought this up.

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Old 06-15-08, 10:07 AM   #9
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Thanks for the comments everyone. A few of you asked to know more about my location, I live in downtown Bartlett, IL. I live really close to two grocery stores, two 7/11's and a CVS, two trainstations (the Bartlett and Hanover), three or four bars, a library, an Ace hardware store, my dojo, and a bunch of fastfood and other restraunts. It's pretty cozy down here. Everything I mentioned is within walking distance, but I'll definately benefit from having a bike.

It's nice to hear that it's worth starting with something cheap. I guess I have two ways to go at this point. I could either find a used bike on craigslist/ebay (and this forum if anyone is selling) or I could buy a new Kent type folder. So, if anyone knows anyone selling a folder for cheap near my area just let me know. Otherwise, is a folder like this worth buying? It's going pretty cheap right now on ebay, I could afford to get something a little pricier if this bike isn't quality. http://cgi.ebay.com/New-Kent-Superli...QQcmdZViewItem There's also this bike, the cheapest of the Dahon on the campingworld.com http://www.campingworld.com/browse/s...s/skunum=18015. Is this single speed all that much better than the kent one above? I've seen a few kool looking Omstar folders, are they any good?

I have a bike shop near by called Spin Doctors. It was closed today so I didn't have a chance to go inside, but I couldn't see any folders through the glass. I'd like to try one out before I buy something offline so I'm not stuck with a bike that's too small. If anyone knows of any bike shops near by just let me know.

Also, that Raleigh 20 bike looks pretty old school. I like it, but someone mentioned it was pretty heavy. Is it back breaking? What could you do to make it lighter?
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Old 06-15-08, 11:03 AM   #10
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dude, get to your nearest walmart

http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...uct_id=5238216




$124.

I don't think this price can be beat from any online retailer and then after shipping etc etc.

just go here, pick it up, take it home, inflate the tires to max pressure and practice folding and unfolding a few times so you don't get embarassed in public!

good luck!
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Old 06-15-08, 11:09 AM   #11
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dude, get to your nearest walmart

http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...uct_id=5238216




$124.

I don't think this price can be beat from any online retailer and then after shipping etc etc.

just go here, pick it up, take it home, inflate the tires to max pressure and practice folding and unfolding a few times so you don't get embarassed in public!

good luck!
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Old 06-15-08, 11:28 AM   #12
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The Kent is fine. There is a student on here from LA who uses a Kent and is perfectly happy with it and has used it extensively. Isn't there Nekohime?

For $124 you can't go wrong and it does the job no matter what anybody says. If you get addicted then you cna upgrad ein the future. By the way what heighh are you?

Well she likes her Kent but covets a raw lacquer Brompton

Last edited by mulleady; 06-16-08 at 05:42 AM.
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Old 06-15-08, 11:34 AM   #13
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The kent looks pretty nice, 124$ is right in my range so I'll check it out. Oh, and I'm 6'1.
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Old 06-15-08, 12:26 PM   #14
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The Walmart / Kent bike is widely reported here to be "not worth the money."

If your route is flat, get a Dahon Boardwalk from Performance Bike for $180 + S/H. Not my fave, but better than the Kent.
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Old 06-15-08, 01:07 PM   #15
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Hey... now that I know you're in Chicagoland, I can offer some better advice.

Metra allows full-sized bikes on their trains so don't be too concerned with getting a folder. Another thing... because they allow full-sized bikes, you don't necessarily need to fold your bike when you get on the train. If you do get a folder, don't worry about size (unless you plan on using it on the "L" during rush hour).

My only concern with the Kent Ultralite is that it might be too small for you. Definitely test ride it before you buy.

--sam
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Old 06-15-08, 01:12 PM   #16
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Here is a great deal on a Curve
http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/bik/717166066.html
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Old 06-15-08, 01:31 PM   #17
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I got a ride down to walmart, since I had nothing better to do. They were out of stock on the Kent. I didn't even get to test ride any folders, poo. So I'm still looking for deals. I'm aware you can ride full size bikes on the metra train, but since I don't own a bike of any kind I figured I'd get a bike that wasn't so clumsy. I figured a folding bike would be ideal for a better riding experience. I could avoid any kind of theft during class by keeping it stored in the art department where I work. If it were to rain on my ride back home after class, I could always fold it up and catch a bus. Also, I don't have a backyard and the garage is rather full so it'd be nice to be able to store it inside the house. Seems like there would be alot of situations in which I could benefit. However, I haven't had a chance to ride a folder yet so maybe the riding experience doesn't match that of a real full size bicycle. YaI'm pretty tall, maybe I should be aiming for a 20" folder, especially since metra wouldn't mind. What about those Raleigh 20 bikes? Someone said they're pretty heavy, but how's there perfomance? If they're not back breaking, maybe they're the kind of bike for me. Does anyone know a bike shop near downtown bartlett/hanover that carries folders?
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Old 06-15-08, 01:44 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Ragekage View Post
Hey Everyone,

I'm looking for some help finding a folder to fit my very limited budget. I'm taking classes this summer semester at the local community college. I'm only 18 going on 19 and I've recently moved out of my grandma's place. (Bad living situation at home. My dad's not a very good guy, and I live with my 26 year old sister who has three kids ages 4/3/2.) I moved out to kind of get a taste of life and to start fending for myself. I felt like I was being held back at home, since I was stuck parenting three children.

Okay, so enough of that. The situation is I'm a poor 18 year old going to college, pretty common scenario lol. I walk 10 mins to the nearest train station in the morning and take the train to the nearest stop and walk another 30mins to the college. In addition, I have no license. (Working on getting one, but it's hard to find people willing to help me practice driving.) So, I pretty much have to walk everywhere I go. I often travel back and forth to my old place which is a 30 min walk one way. My karate school I attend is also near my old place so I have to walk 30 mins there and back whenever I have class. Alot of walking.. ugh.

Now I love to stay in shape and I have nothing against walking, but sometimes it's nice to get things done a little quicker. I've never been a major biker, but I'm really interested in starting. I know very little about bikes. I know how to ride one, two hands, one hands, no hands, that's about it. However, I'm willing to learn as much as I need to, to get an affordable efficient folder. My idea is to get a folder so I can take it with me on the train without much of a hassle. I work at the college I attend, so I'm positive I can even take it with me to class and store it in my boss's office so I wouldn't have to worry about theft. The problem is that most of the folders being recommended on these forums are around the 400-500$ price rance. I'm working with a 100$-200$ budget, and 200 is pushing it. I'd really like to keep it nearest to 100$.

So my question is, is it worth investing in the 400$ folders? Can I get a descent experience with a cheap folder. Maybe there are descent cheap ones, or maybe there are beat up expensive folders that need alot of work that I can get for cheap. I really wouldn't mind doing alot of extra work to modify a cheaper folder if it's worth my time. I wouldn't want to buy a 200$ folder and spend 200$ modifying it so it rides just as good as a 400$ folder, ya know what I mean? So, what do you guys recommend I do, or what folder do you recommend I buy? I'm 6'1 and I'd like to get a 16" so it folds a little more compact, but it seems like 16" tend to be more expensive.

I hope my expectations aren't impossible to meet.
Thanks in advance for helping,
Ryan
Hello Ryan,

I think I can meet your expectations. Look at them as more of a shopping list to locate the right bike for you. I noticed that price is a very big consideration for you. It is a make or break proposition on whether or not you can get any folding bike for that matter. So let me recommend the best one for that price. It is a new bike, rather than buying used (which is next to impossible now with the gas/petrol price spiking). I owned this model for almost 5 year now. It is very simple, yet durable. It could fit most anywhere a 16 inch folder could (I should know, I have 2 of those)! And it was the first folder model I ever bought and still have it at present. It is the Dahon 2008 Boardwalk S1. The price still hovers at around 200 US dollars. It can be ordered at any bike shop. I recommend this as one of the unpleasant things about new Dahons is they can be a real headache out of the box. They need to be tuned up at purchase, and about 1 month or 300 miles. Sometimes they need to be taken back even more times. That is why when you purchase any bike, especially Dahons, make sure you know and understand the new bike tune up policy before you buy. I cannot stress this point any more. Then focus on purchase price. And be sure to read my own Web sites on all my folding bikes listed below:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Boardwalk S1.jpg (23.5 KB, 27 views)
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Old 06-15-08, 02:54 PM   #19
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If you want to save money you could learn to repair your own bike. Then components will not be as much of an issue. See if there is a repair course at a LBS, bike co-op, or bicycle club. or find a knowledgable person to show you. parktool.com might help too.
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Old 06-15-08, 03:12 PM   #20
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I say at $124 try the Kent!
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Old 06-15-08, 04:29 PM   #21
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I can not track down a Walmart that has the Kent bike in stock. I've called four Walmart's near my location (one being a supercenter) and none of them have it. None of them were even able to track down a Walmart that carries it near by. Online it's out of stock, and is sold in "limited stores". I've located a few bike shops nearby that I'm gonna check out come Monday. I'm not sure they'll have the Kent bike or any folding bikes, since none of there sites have folding bikes posted. There's a shop in Shaumburg that had 1 or 2, one of them being the Boardwalk S1. I may be stuck with that, since it might be the only one I have a chance to test drive. The Boardwalk S1 looks promising, so I wouldn't mind buying one. I'd just really like to test the Kent, since it's only 124$ and 16".
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Old 06-15-08, 04:54 PM   #22
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I'm with the folks who think that the Dahon is a better bike in this price range.
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Old 06-15-08, 05:32 PM   #23
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It's a close call. The Kent has some gearing at least and the Boardwalk S1 is single speed. Thats OK if your cycling is all mostly flat RK. To be honest if you can stretch then get this for $299. Also the guy who runs the company really is one of the best and so helpful. This bike is worth the few extra $'s:
http://www.downtube.com/product534.html
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Old 06-15-08, 06:17 PM   #24
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I say at $124 try the Kent!
I rode in the charity ride that Nekohime put together recently, and had the opportunity to ride her Kent. I would say that at $124, it is a good value. But it might not be appropriate for everyone. I'm only 5'8", and the seat-to-handlebar distance of the Kent made it feel really cramped to me. For a six-footer it might be even more so. The riding position seems to exacerbate the gearing as well, which can be described as anything but athletic. I really recommend that, even more so than for other folders, it's important to see this bike before riding. It does fold into a very compact package, and the built-in handle on the frame makes it easy to handle while folded.

Meanwhile, Ragekage, I definitely hear you when you say it's tough to find a bike shop that has folders on the floor to test ride. Do some online research, narrow the field, and then post again, asking about specific bikes. 16" or smaller really is better where multi-mode commuting is concerned.
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Old 06-15-08, 06:34 PM   #25
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Hey RK... Here's a list of folding bike dealers in Chicagoland...

http://www.geocities.com/rjmatter/dealers.html

I have not been to any of them yet though I do plan to test ride some bikes at Rapid Transit soon.

--sam
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