First folding bike, which one? - Curve D3, Speed P8, DT Mini
OK, so I am strongly considering buying a folding bike. Here is some things about me and why I want a folding bike. Please excuse and poor terminology, as I am new to the biking world.
- I am 5'9", about 165lbs - I think that is some what important when choosing a bike.
- I have never been that into riding bikes, but I think it is the best way for me to get some exercise and maybe enjoy the exercise. I also think commuting with and leisurly riding a folding bike would be fun.
- I live in the DC area, so a lot of things are close to each other, but sometimes driving there is just not worth it. And there is not always a safe place to lock up your bike.
- I also want it to be compact enough, so that I can easily put in the trunk of my Subaru WRX Sedan, and easily fold and unfold it when doing so. (maybe even 2 - one for me and my girlfriend)
- I am not sure how much I will bring it on the metro... but if I like riding it enough, I could see that happening as well.
- My current commute to work is about 5 miles one way. But I figure it could go up to 15 miles, if I change jobs.
- It is not a real hilly area, but I can think of 3 decent hills that I may have to ride up about 10 times a month (just a guess).
- I don't plan on going long distances but if I wanted to ride 30 miles on it some day, I wouldn't want it to be an uncomfortable ride or a struggle.
- I'd like to stay under $550. The best bang for the buck is what I am looking for.
- I would like a reliable bike, as I am no the most handy person. I do not have a desire to tinker with a bike to make it better or upgrade any major parts.
So, I have been dooing some research and I think my favorite options are the Dahon Curve D3, Dahon Speed P8 (maybe D7), and the Downtube Mini (of which there seems to be various forms).
I probably will be able to test ride the Dahon's in the next 2 weeks, but I am not sure about the Downtube. And I know that will help with my decision. But if the only sub $550 bikes a test out are Dahon's, I may not make the right decsion.
I like the Curve and the Mini because they are the most compact. I like the Speed P8 because it is closer to a "real" sized bike and it seems to have the best build materials. However, from what I read the Downtubes in general have a better gear build. And the DTs have suspension, which I've read can be a good or bad thing, depending on the rider. I think the Dahon's look better, but that is not so importnant. I actually like the lesser gears on the Curve as it keeps it simple for me, and I never liked the higher gears on the 10+ speeds I've ridden (but that could be do to lack of riding experience). It seems like the Curve comes with the most accessories, but I could be wrong (I like the mud guards, which I am sure can be easily added to the other two). Ok, I could go on and on, but that should be enough info for now.
Any advice or input to help me make a decision is greatly appreciated. Thanks!!
I would go with an internal hub folder like the ones you are looking at. If less is better then go with the Curve. If you want a small fold , more gears and if you do decide to modify go with the Mini.
i like the sound of the dahons but im not sure about the dt
Originally Posted by what bike?
I have a Mini and love it. I think it would meet your requirements nicely. The only thing I'd be hesistant to use it for is a really long ride (say, 50+ miles). 30 miles would be fine.
im just not sure about it dyno, ive heard good things about them but their not a big international company like dahon (well not as big) and i dont know much about them so im being a bit hesitant
It has been in business since 2003 and Yan has been attentive to his customers. Because it takes a lot of standard parts it is easy to walk into a LBS and replace parts if necessary.
There are two minis on downtube's site...
The Capreo Mini: http://www.downtube.com/product533.html
And I guess the standard mini: http://www.downtube.com/product540.html
The 2009 version of the regualr mini is about $519, the 2008 is $459.
The Capreo mini is $585.
I can see the Capreo uses Capreo parts, but I am not sure how much of a difference that makes... is it worth the extra money?
Also, do Downtube bikes still need a bungee cord to stay folded? That is kind of annoying.
The Capreo is made for folding bikes and comes on folders costing twice as much and more. The Mini has the 8 speed internal hub and again a bargain for bikes in its class. I would get the drivetrain that meets your needs.
I would go for one of the 20 inch Dahons for your first folder. The bike is more like a regular bike's feel and handling than the tiny 16 inch or 305 wheel size of the Curve. The Speed D7 usually comes completely decked out for the commuter with fenders and a rear rack. The Speed 8 is usually comes fenders & rear rack free (extra cost to add on). This bike has better components than the D7 along with the Big Apple tires that are supposed to be really nice. But you can add a simple suspension system to the D7 like I did with mine. The Speed 8 is also a good 100 dollars more than the D7, shifting it to the limits of your set budget. See the photos listed below for inspiration. But whatever you decide, make sure you test ride it first!
Originally Posted by 14hours
For what it's worth, I have the "regular" internal hub Mini. I think it's worth having the internal hub because it means you can shift while stopped. Perfect for those sudden stops and starts in city traffic. Also, hub gears are protected from the elements and you have less exposed greasy stuff to get on your clothes.
I bought the 2009 version because of the more compact fold in the new model (the handlebar stem folds between the wheels). It stays together fine without a bungee cord: either I'm carrying it balanced against my hip or I've got it bagged.
I realize the may be dumb/obvious questions, but I have know idea... my last bike was a Huffy
So the 8sp has 24 gears, and the 9sp has 27 gears, correct? Thats sounds like overkill for me, but then again they aren't much more then the Curve D3, pricewise. And having only 3 gears may not be enough?? Why would the Curve be worth the price? Does the Speed P8 have 24 gears?
its about the quality of the bike, you have to take into consideration how light the bike is, how small it folds, how comfortable, its make, the materials its made out of etc.
The Mini Capreo has 9 gears, the Mini S/A hub has 8 gears.
OK, an non-folding bike owner was telling be that the 8sp and 9sp, meant 3 one one side and 8 or 9 on the other. There for 3*8 = 24 gears. But I guess he is wrong or it is different with standard bikes. I just assumed he was right cause I have seen that on moutain/road bikes.
Originally Posted by Dynocoaster
I like the idea of the internal hub... question though, how is the color, the pastel green doesn't seem that attractive to me... as these "little" bikes already look kind of like a kids bike.
Originally Posted by Urbanis
I would call it a mint color, you can repaint it.
I just went through this same search and I also live in the DC area. You should try out the bikes at both Bikes @ vienna http://www.bikesatvienna.com/ and College Park Bikes http://www.bike123.com They are the only ones in the area that sell a large line of folding bikes and offer free adjustments for the life of the bike.
I ended up with the Vitesse D7HG after trying out the dahon speeds and Downtube 9NS because I liked the fit and finish of the Dahon and I liked the maintenance-free internal hub. I very nearly bought the speed p8 though- it's a great bike and its top gear will make you faster downhill. The bike fits in a honda trunk no problem and I take it on the various trails in the area.
There you go, giving me more work to do
Originally Posted by Dynocoaster
Yeah, I was going to go to the Vienna shop to check out the Dahons soon... do they carry Downtube's too? I saw the College Park shop on downtube's list.
Originally Posted by mjw
Do you think you could fit two 20s in the the Honda trunk?
I wasn't at first thrilled with the color, but now I find it charming and cute. It's such a wonderful bike, I wouldn't sweat the color, frankly.
Also, I think looking like a kid's bike can work to your advantage--it's less likely to be a tempting target for thieves.
I recently got a Curve and love it - love how small it folds down (I couldn't carry anything much bulkier). My one regret is that it only has 3 speeds. I've got a hill on each end of my commute and my hill-climb gear does not cut it.
I love love love the internal hub though, I will never go back. Being able to shift gears while stopped has changed my life.
Vienna doesn't carry downtubes but has a huge stock of folding bikes and other non-conventional bikes. College Park bikes does have downtube but you should call in advance to make sure they have what you want to test. (I didn't test the mini for example) They have two shops but will transport a bike between them if you give them notice. You can also email Larry who is the owner.
You probably could fit two 20s in a honda but not sure.
OK, so while I am still considering a 20" Dahon, I think I want a sub-$550 bike with the internal hub. The internal hub sounds like something I would like. That would rule out most 20" Dahon's. The Vitesse can probably be gotten for around $600, which most like will not work for me. So, unless someone can tell me the internal hub is not that special, these are my current options that I know of:
Dahon Curve D3 - Best price I could find is $479
Downtube mini 08' - $439 with discount
Downtube mini 09' - $499 with discount
Downtube 8H - $409 with discount
Downtube 8FH - $479 with discount
I think I want to go with the more compact bike, Curve or Mini, but if you think I should be convinced otherwise, please try.
What I like about the Curve over the Mini:
- The tires (not sure what upgrading the mini would cost, maybe $35 each or more?)
- I like the style of the Curve better - The mini kind of seems like a girls bike, not meant to offend anyone.
- The accessories, mudguard, etc
- It most likely stays locked in place better then the downtube mini
What I like about the Mini over the Curve:
- More gears - how hard will hills be on the Curve?
- Slightly more compact when folded.
- I feel like if this was my only bike I'd be OK, where I am not sure about the Curve.
- There seems to be a stronger fanbase for Downtube.
Here are some questions, that may help me decide:
Will the 5 extra gears of the Mini allow for faster or longer trips, if desired?
All around I don't know which is has better quality parts?
How much would Big Apple tires for the Mini cost?
Any opinion on which one is more reliable?
And finally, which one would you choose for your folding bike if you could only have one folding bike?
"The mini kind of seems like a girls bike"
It's a cute bike and a conversation starter, if you're looking to meet someone (kind of like dogs and babies). People are fascinated by folding bikes.