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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 07-31-08, 08:55 PM   #1
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Where to buy my bike - LBS or elsewhere?


I'm looking to buy my first folding bike (see my post from a few days ago.) I live within easy walking distance of a big bike shop (Toga Bikes). They sell Dahons but they sell out so quickly there are none on the sales floor They're very busy and I have had mixed experiences with the staff. . They do offer free minor tune ups and adjustments if you bought your bike there. Even if I don't buy a bike from them, I'm sure I'll be in there for parts and repairs in future. I don't plan to do a lot of repairs and upgrades myself.

I've seen a lot of positive recommendations for the Downtube in this forum. That's great, but the closest authorized dealer seems to be in Coney Island (a good hour away by subway). I'd buy a bike there, but I probably wouldn't be back for service.

So, question to all of you - especially Downtube owners - where did you buy your bike, and where do you get it serviced? Are most bike shops familiar with the Downtube and able to service it, or will I have to make trips out to Coney Island?

If I settle on a Dahon, is it worth the price premium (maybe 10% + tax) to buy my bike at the LBS, or should I scout out the best price online and have it assembled & inspected at the LBS?

Thanks for your responses.
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Old 07-31-08, 09:09 PM   #2
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Thor at his prices include shipping and he is a regular here. Yan sells his bikes thru or on ebay. both have great customer service. Get a new bike and then have it serviced at a good lbs or learn to do it yourself.
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Old 07-31-08, 11:06 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Dynocoaster View Post
learn to do it yourself.

I chose that route. Its fun and rewarding. I'm glad I did.
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Old 08-01-08, 08:59 AM   #4
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where did you buy your bike, and where do you get it serviced?

Mail order.

Routine servicing is easy, if you can operate a computer. Most things can be adjusted by turning the bike upside down on your cream-shag-pile carpet, and fiddling with allen wrenches.

If you need more than gears and brake tuned-up , take it to your LBS. Dahon want you to have your bike profesionally set-up to kick-start their warranty, and stop you killing yourself by riding off without any brakes..
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Old 08-01-08, 10:45 AM   #5
Tommy C
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LBS for warranty ?

So do i have to take the bike to my LBS in oder to activate the warranty ? what if i decided to do it on my own ? does it mean i won't have Dahon's warranty ?
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Old 08-01-08, 10:58 AM   #6
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Dahon vs Downtube:
-Dahons are usually much lighter. On paper Downtubes weigh about the same, but the numbers are not accurate (at least of the bikes I've tried...haven't heard complaints about the weight of the Mini though).
-If you don't know what you want at all then it's better to get a Downtube because they are cheaper (so no big deal if you make a mistake).
-If you basically know what you want it's better to get a Dahon since they are much nicer out of the box.
-If you have a very specific preference in components then Downtube is better because it uses more standard parts (so your specific upgrades are more likely to fit).
-As a smaller company Downtube has better factory direct customer service.
-Dahon has a better warranty.
-Dahons are more ubiquitous, which means easier test rides and more choice in bike shops to buy from (so, for example, it's easier to get a discount on MSRP or better in store service).

Downtubes should be serviceable at any shop, but for most usual maintenance issues so should Dahons.

As far as where to buy, is one of the cheapest places to get a Dahon. Although they offer free shipping on most bikes they're also located right at the Wantagh LIRR station which is a 45 minute trip on the LIRR from Penn Station. If I were you I'd print out the brandscycle website, take a trip over there, test ride, ask them to price match the website (they will do this), have them assemble and tune (to lock in the warranty), and ride it home (using your closest LBS for future parts/maintenance). Just make sure they have the models you're most interested in in stock before going (because the website listing isn't necessarily representative of what they have on the show floor...for better and for worse).

Originally Posted by Tommy C View Post
So do i have to take the bike to my LBS in oder to activate the warranty ? what if i decided to do it on my own ? does it mean i won't have Dahon's warranty ?
I believe you still have 5 year warranty, but you need the LBS to get lifetime warranty...not sure how Dahon enforces this.
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Old 08-01-08, 11:06 AM   #7
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Folding bikes are easy-cheap to ship so buying off the net is not a problem. If you buy one with an internally geared hub/single speed there will be less routine maintenance as with derailers. I suggest you learn to adjust your own brakes as knowing how to do it could be a safety issue as some point.

Dahon's warranty - They have their own message board, post there. The warranty would only cover major issues like the steering tube breaking. As far as assembling yourself it might be worth the money to have a LBS inspect as there might be little things off that you did not notice. If you are good with mechanical things than you probably can inspect yourself.
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Strida 3, I recommend it for rides < 10mi wo steep hills.
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Old 08-01-08, 12:13 PM   #8
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i bought my downtube 9fs from i got it in like 3 days, in perfect condition. my first folding bike and its awesome. i think the style of the bike looks way better than the dahons on the same price range. the dahons look more of a little kids bike (my personal believe). i dont think you will go wrong with the downtube 9fs.
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