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  1. #1
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    help for a folding bike noob

    Hi all,

    As the title says, I'm new to folding bikes and am looking for help from you seasoned pro's. The reason I want a folder is for the portability of it and the potential to bring it with me on trips out of the city/country, and as my main mode of transportation around the city. I just moved to NYC and will be riding from work-home-where ever else I need to go. I have read through the posts but have not come to a conclusion with which bike I want to get. So, I am looking for some help. I guess a bit of extra info is needed here:

    I am 5'-10", 150-160 lbs. I want to use the bike to ride around the city to see the different neighborhoods etc, and from borrowing a friends bike, NY has quite a varied terrain. As well, I'd like to take it out of the city and ride in upstate New York, Maine, etc. So, my rides on the bike will probably vary from going to and from work, to taking all day bike trips. Initially, I had my sights on the Dahon Jack bike, as it looked cool and was within my budget, which is around the $500 mark. But looking on some previous posts, I was turned off by the comments. I like the look and feel of the Jack, and I think I want a bike with at least 20" wheels. My office and apartment have no problems with me bringing in bikes, so I don't mind one that is a bit larger. The Cadenza 08 looks like the recommended choice, but that's a bit too much $$ for me I think. And that is the same with the Xootr bikes. I also toyed around with the idea of getting the Dahon Boardwalk cuz its quite cheap!

    So I'm struggling with the choices as there are too many, so if you guys can help, that would be much appreciated! Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    Check out the Downtube bikes also

  3. #3
    Menace on Wheels
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    I personally own a Downtube 2009 9 speed full suspension. I'm a bigger rider at 6' 1" and 238 lbs, and I pull my son behind me in a bike trailer and the bike rides well. If you're going to be doing a lot of touring with a lot of gear, I'd opt for the non-suspension model so you can get the fixed rack on the back.

    The bike looks small, but rides like a larger bike. By my measurements, the Downtube is actually a bit longer than the Swift shown below. The wheelbase on the Downtube is actually longer than on my brother's road bike, and the geometry is set up similar to a touring bike, and of course it's industry standard parts so you can customize it however you want.

    To see how a folding bike and a road bike compare, look at this image from the swift web site:



    If there are a lot of hills in your area, I've seen Yan mention the 9 speed is better geared out of the box for climbing than their 8 speed internal hub models, so that might be something to consider when looking over their different models.

    In your price range, I also know of the Citizen Bike, and some of the Dahon Speed D7 that might also fit your needs and budget.

    http://www.citizenbikes.com
    http://www.dahon.com/us/speedd7.htm

    Hope this helps.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the help guys. The downtube FS is looking like a really good option right now. And I think I would go for the 9 speed one too.

    PhotoByBike, where are you located? I just want to know if you ride your bike within the city, and which city it is. I guess what i'm aiming at is are you comfortable taking your downtube on 'harsher' terrain? Or even on long distances on major/back roads?

    Do you guys have problems for bike maintenance since it is order over the web?

  5. #5
    Menace on Wheels
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    I live in Raleigh NC, right on the border. Head out of my neighborhood in one direction, you're in the city. In the other you're in the country. I wouldn't have any problems riding this bike anywhere that I'd take a "full sized" road bike. This is my only bike. I've only had it for a few weeks, but I'm quite happy with it.

    As for harsh terrain, if you mean areas like where you'd take a mountain bike (down the side of a rocky hill, or anywhere that you have to do jumps to get over obstacles), then no, I wouldn't advise that on any folding bike, or any road bike for that matter.

    For roads and trails, I wouldn't have any hesitation. Long distance rides are actually something I'm setting my bike up for now. I plan to do a lot of mini tours with it this summer and fall, and at least one century (100 mile ride). The only concern here would be the tires. You may want to use different tires for trails that you do for distance riding. My additions and modifications were just preferences and not necessary, but they include:

    Brooks B17 saddle, trekking handlebar, replacement stem (to connect the new handlebars since they're a difference size than the stem that came with the bike), Dinotte front and rear lights, bottle cage and bottle, cateye computer, and Carradice Pendle saddlebag. The only other thing I'm contemplating is getting a set of Schwable Marathon Plus tires for touring. Needless to say you don't need to do all (or any) of this to your own bike, as it comes ready to ride out of the box. I just like tinkering with things.

    There are two things on the bike that are proprietary, the frame itself, and the post that comes out of the headset that your handlebars and stem connect to. This is common to all folding bikes, as the folding mechanisms aren't standard. Everything else on the bike is user serviceable. Tires, wheels, drivetrain, handlebars, seat, etc. and can be worked on either by you or a local bike shop.

    Once all the parts get here and I get a chance to finish it, I'll post some photos of the bike. I'm hoping to get everything completed before my road trip this weekend. I'm taking the bike out to the coast.

  6. #6
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    wow that sounds great. i think i am leaning towards the downtube FS 9 speed. oh yeah, one more question! it looks quite big folded in some of the photos i've seen on this site. what's your take on it? on their website, there are instructions and photos of packing it into a suitcase, how about just taking it on the train etc? thanks a bunch for your help!

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Check out the Downtube 8H as well--the SA internal hub is really sweet and great for starting and stopping in city traffic (because you can shift gears when stopped).

  8. #8
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    thanks for all the help guys - will hope to make my decision soon. anybody know of a place in nyc to test out a downtube?

  9. #9
    Celebrate Diversity! JSnow789's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by odang11 View Post
    thanks for all the help guys - will hope to make my decision soon. anybody know of a place in nyc to test out a downtube?
    This is where I ordered my Strida from.

  10. #10
    QVD
    QVD is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by odang11 View Post
    thanks for all the help guys - will hope to make my decision soon. anybody know of a place in nyc to test out a downtube?
    Hey guy, check out:

    #9 Roy's Sheepshead Cycle
    2679 Coney Island Ave
    Brooklyn, NY 11235
    718-648-1440
    http://roysbikes.com/index.cfm

    I hope the downtube works for you.

  11. #11
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    i just received my downtube 2009 IX FS! i haven't been able to ride it yet cuz i still need to get it tuned up at a shop, but thanks for all the help! can't wait to get on this thing..

  12. #12
    Building a better Strida
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    thanks for the update. now make it worth while and post some pics!

  13. #13
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    What is the general motivation for buying a 20" wheeled folder vs a 26" wheeled folder? The smaller bike is more portable, but wouldn't the larger have better structural integrity, stability and comfort?

  14. #14
    jur
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    Small wheels give many advantages over large wheels, especially in folders. Frame-wise, if a frame is designed well, wheel size is not an issue. Re stability, smaller wheeled bikes are more responsive due to smaller angular steering momentum, meaning they steer easily, like having power steering. Initially this may put a newbie off, but once you get used to it, big wheel bikes feel like a huge truck wrt steering.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  15. #15
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    Correct me if I'm wrong here, but as far as steering/stability goes greater angular momentum helps to keep you upright, right? For steering, at high speeds, I normally don't turn the wheel in the direction I want to go, but rather counter steer and lean into the direction I want to turn... I would imagine that counter steering and turning by leaning would be a litte more difficult with lower angular mometum? As far as equivalent quality of designs go, wouldn't a full size frame be able to take more torque and impact?

    Sorry if I'm way off base... and thanks in advance for clearing up my confusion.

  16. #16
    jur
    jur is offline
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    The angular moment of inertia I mean is the one around the steering axis. Big heavy wheel = difficult to turn handlebars.

    Counter steer is still the same, but requires less conscious effort. You'll find the bike almost responds to your thoughts.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

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