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  1. #1
    QVD
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    High Performance Urban Bike Suggestions

    Hi,

    I'm in the market for a high performance folder and would like your opinions and advice. I have been eyeing the Dahon Speed Pro TT for a while. It rides really quick and agile and looks amazing. I've been looking at recumbent trikes as well, but portability is a big criterion.

    My intentions are to ride to work (with some possible public transportation) as well as long distances on the weekends. Do you have any suggestions on similar models or bad experiences with the Pro TT?

    Your input would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    My experiences with public transportation would pretty much exclude the use of 20" folding bikes on a subway/metro system.

    With the understanding that I have never ridden a Bike Friday tikit, that is probably the bike you are looking for ... http://www.bikefriday.com/tikit/robspinkone

    You can ask PM124 about his Birdy too.

    There are people that seem to get a lot out of a Brompton/Merc. But the bike isn't a performance bike in my opinion.

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    From my experience, best all-around performer is birdy. Its folded size is almost as small as brompton, and with some tune-ups (better drivetrain, stelvio tires, etc) you can even do some century riding with your friends without much problem.

  4. #4
    rhm
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
    My experiences with public transportation would pretty much exclude the use of 20" folding bikes on a subway/metro system.
    +1

    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
    There are people that seem to get a lot out of a Brompton/Merc. But the bike isn't a performance bike in my opinion.
    +1

  5. #5
    QVD
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    Hey,

    Thanks for your responses! I like the bikefridays -a little above my price range though (tikits or pocket rockets are pushing $2500+). How do they compare with the Pro TT? I'm told the number of speeds on the TT edge out it's competitors in the same price bracket. Or is there a huge performance difference between 16 and 24 speeds?

  6. #6
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QVD View Post
    Hey,

    Thanks for your responses! I like the bikefridays -a little above my price range though (tikits or pocket rockets are pushing $2500+). How do they compare with the Pro TT? I'm told the number of speeds on the TT edge out it's competitors in the same price bracket. Or is there a huge performance difference between 16 and 24 speeds?
    Let's see ... I don't have their brochure handy. But there are tikits with the SRAM Dual Drive. Check their website for a price. My guess is $1500.

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    They have Tikits starting at $999 and someone was saying that Gaelans has upgrades.
    http://www.bikefriday.com/

  8. #8
    QVD
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
    My experiences with public transportation would pretty much exclude the use of 20" folding bikes on a subway/metro system.

    With the understanding that I have never ridden a Bike Friday tikit, that is probably the bike you are looking for ... http://www.bikefriday.com/tikit/robspinkone

    You can ask PM124 about his Birdy too.

    There are people that seem to get a lot out of a Brompton/Merc. But the bike isn't a performance bike in my opinion.
    Invisiblehand - what city do you live in? I've contacted my city transportation department and they say there are no guarantees that the driver will allow a folded bike on the bus. Yet I've seen people haul huge pieces of luggage or even little carts. Talk about forward thinking...

  9. #9
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QVD View Post
    Invisiblehand - what city do you live in? I've contacted my city transportation department and they say there are no guarantees that the driver will allow a folded bike on the bus. Yet I've seen people haul huge pieces of luggage or even little carts. Talk about forward thinking...
    I hope you don't mind me chiming in, QVD, but I thought I can answer your questions and concerns. I live in the Southern Califonia area, right in the middle of the urban part. I take my folders on the bus or train, but with a difference. I always cover them BEFORE I board, or even the bus/train is in view. I use all sorts of bags/slipcovers. You can see many examples of them on my Flickr Website World Of Folding Bicycles below. I even include a pattern and instructions on making your own very simple bag to cover your bike. You are experiencing "bike prejudice" in full bloom. I always pass my own folders off as luggage except for "Bike To Work Day" when I purposely keep them uncovered. On that day only I use them as a free pass for many of the bus/train lines surrounding my house.

  10. #10
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    QVD - I suggest you just bite the bullet and bike everywhere! Who needs public transportation when you have a bike?!?

  11. #11
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QVD View Post
    Invisiblehand - what city do you live in? I've contacted my city transportation department and they say there are no guarantees that the driver will allow a folded bike on the bus. Yet I've seen people haul huge pieces of luggage or even little carts. Talk about forward thinking...
    I live near Washington DC.

    Metro rules allow folding bikes onto trains unencumbered during off peak hours and in a bag during peak hours. I forget the rules for buses. But I believe that with large packages that a bus driver and prevent anyone from coming aboard.

    That said, a bike in a bag will rarely provoke a response.

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    QVD
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    I'm starting to think it is "bike prejudice"! The rules are similar in my city -bikes are allowed on subways, but off peak-hours, which is when I'd use it..and driver's discretion for buses.

    Thanks, folder fanatic, I guess I'll become that guy on the bus with the huge piece of luggage.

  13. #13
    jur
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    I think the Swift should be a contender. People love to mention it doesn't fold small but that is from a side perspective. From above is is quite small once folded. If you got a bag cover for it and folded it, the bag while big from a side perspective, would be skinny and not occupy a lot of floor space.

    Plus it is one of the best performance folder out there. Check my sig. I have done very long rides, fast rides and hard climb rides on mine.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

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    Quote Originally Posted by QVD View Post
    Invisiblehand - what city do you live in? I've contacted my city transportation department and they say there are no guarantees that the driver will allow a folded bike on the bus. Yet I've seen people haul huge pieces of luggage or even little carts. Talk about forward thinking...
    Most won't allow bikes of any kind during peak hours. If you can disguise it properly, you can take it on. The most successful bike to get on subways I've seen is a Strida (excluding the silly ones from Mobiky and CarryMe), but it's hardly high performance. I'd spring for the tikit for $999. "Performance" folders aren't really right for this application. Get small, solid, and convenient. As a daily commuter on a folder, it beats up a bike pretty hard to use it every day on a longish ride and fold it 4-6 times a day. A hub gear and built like a tank should be your first and foremost requirements. You're going to beat the s##$ out of this thing commuting.

  15. #15
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    I had a SpeedPro (not the TT, tho). I got it for the same reason you are looking at - to be a high performance bike that would be easily transportable. Truth be told, I was disappointed in its performance and I eventually sold it.

    The steel frame and SRAM DualDrive make it too heavy to be a "performance" bike. I found myself lagging behind in the hills all the time, when I'm usually in front in my road bikes. I eventually bought a used Dahon Helios 20th anniversary edition which weighs in at 17lbs. Now, I'm back in the front on hills when I ride it with my group.



    I have no criticisms of the bike otherwise. It's a solid bike. Just don't expect to be as fast as you normally are.

  16. #16
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    I have a Birdy, though I've had it barely two weeks and only have 50-100 miles on it so far. First impressions are that it's pretty fast, and certainly a lot more comfortable than my Swift was. But - the big disclaimer here would be that the streets of SF are shockingly bad. I imagine that the Swift is probably faster on smooth roads, but round here that doesn't happen much.

    I'll probably write more about the Birdy when I've got more time in the saddle.
    ICE B1, Brompton H6, Schwinn Mirada drop-bar vintage mtb

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    Quote Originally Posted by SesameCrunch View Post
    (...) I eventually bought a used Dahon Helios 20th anniversary edition which weighs in at 17lbs. Now, I'm back in the front on hills when I ride it with my group.
    Nice ride Sesame!

    I had those clip-on drop bars for a while too, it was a good setup.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Smith View Post
    The most successful bike to get on subways I've seen is a Strida (excluding the silly ones from Mobiky and CarryMe), but it's hardly high performance.
    Please, can't we get over the small wheel bias? This is the folding bike forum for Christ's sake.

    It's been well established that the Strida is the most ridiculous bike in existence. That's not to say there's anything wrong with the Strida, but at least the Mobiky and Carryme the standard U-shaped folding bike geometries.

  19. #19
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by makeinu View Post
    It's been well established that the Strida is the most ridiculous bike in existence.
    Excuuuuse me!

    You and what other biking god established this fact?

  20. #20
    Building a better Strida
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    i can testify that its hardly a performance bike. It takes the legs like pistons to get the thing over 20km/h and then you look like a crystal meth addicted circus performer runaway.

    I love mine to death but as a performance bike? Unless this idea of performance is folding up and riding a packed subway with ease, then sure. If its anything to do with riding on the road, even a more aggressive tucked riding position is difficult to maintain without bar-ends, or maybe bullhorns... and even then, ur only doing 20km/h!

    until i can figure out how to get a duospeed hub or save my pennies for a schumpf speed drive.. i don't think its gonna happen..

    someone in asia has made it into a performance folding e-bike tho

    unfortunately tho, this was the only pic i found of it..

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    decide on tire size - you want probably want 20" or slightly smaller Birdy.

    Decide on drive train - I suggest a 3 speed, although single speed, or newer 8 speed internally geared hubs might work to. I advise against a derailer bike. too much maintenance for a commuting bike.

    Once you know wheel size and drive there will be only a few bikes to choose from.
    2000 Montague CX, I do not recommend it, but still ride it.
    Strida 3, I recommend it for rides < 10mi wo steep hills.
    2006 Rowbike 720 Sport, I recommend it as an exercise bike.
    1996 Birdy, Recommend.
    Wieleder CARiBIKE (folding), decent frame.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SesameCrunch View Post
    Excuuuuse me!

    You and what other biking god established this fact?
    Being the most ridiculous person in existence I believe I have the authority to be the judge of all ridiculousness.

    It's a perfectly good bike mind you, but there's no denying that it's nutty.

  23. #23
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by makeinu View Post
    Being the most ridiculous person in existence I believe I have the authority to be the judge of all ridiculousness.

    It's a perfectly good bike mind you, but there's no denying that it's nutty.
    OK, I'll buy that last characterization .

    But I loves my Strida , nutty as it is.

  24. #24
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    So QVD - what have you decided on?

  25. #25
    QVD
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nrb9 View Post
    So QVD - what have you decided on?
    I'm not sure, though I've narrowed it down to a Pro TT or Pocket Rocket. Have you decided? It appears you need a bike that's as capable to ride in Europe as it is in, say, Edmonton.

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