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Old 08-01-08, 05:59 PM   #1
Corsaire
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DAHON bikes (foldable) for commuting

I want to start commuting by bike to my new job, 15 miles one way. But unfortunately I can only go so far since local roads would only allow me to go for up to 8 miles, after that local, bikeable roads end and there's no way to cross the Hackensack river into Secaucus, NJ - unless you get onto major highly traffic hwys like Rte 3 and adjacents which would be way too dangerous, I mean these are big traffic hwys with no shoulders, no way. I don't even believe bikes are allowed on these hwys anyway.

So, I've decided to half commute by bike and bus accordingly. To the nearest bus station would be about
3 miles by bike, take the bus, and then 2 miles by bike again to my work.
So I'm deciding in favor of getting a foldable Dahon bike, but which model.

Any Dahon foldable users out there?


Would the Urban or Road would fit the ticket?


Please, advise.

http://www.dahon.com/us/folding-bicycles-us-models.htm

Thanks,
Corsaire

Last edited by Corsaire; 08-01-08 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 08-01-08, 06:15 PM   #2
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We'll be needing you height & weight & budget.
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Old 08-01-08, 06:26 PM   #3
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We'll be needing you height & weight & budget.
I'm 5'8", 163 lbs, rather proportionally built. I could spend up to $ 1,500.00

BTW, where I live is rather hilly.
Thanks,

Corsaire

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Old 08-01-08, 07:10 PM   #4
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Will you need to carry anything on the bike or will you use a backpack or other bag? Will you be commuting in the rain?
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Old 08-01-08, 07:15 PM   #5
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Will you need to carry anything on the bike or will you use a backpack or other bag? Will you be commuting in the rain?
I'd use a back pack to compromise the bike as little as possible, making it as easy to fold as possible too. I'd definitely be commuting in the rain, and would love to have a good choice of gears for hilly streets. Longest stretch would be 8 miles.

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Old 08-01-08, 07:35 PM   #6
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Another crucial info bit... do you ride bikes at the moment? (Dancing on the pedals suggests you do.) If so, it would influence the choice of bike, ie if you ride a roadie, you'd appreciate something that rides as nicely.

For $1500 you can get a really nice folder. The Dahon Mu SL comes to mind, the Speed Pro. You could consider other makes as well. Dahon is not the only game in town, just the most well known. Bike Friday, Swift, Birdy may be on your list as well.
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Old 08-01-08, 08:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corsaire View Post
I want to start commuting by bike to my new job, 15 miles one way. But unfortunately I can only go so far since local roads would only allow me to go for up to 8 miles, after that local, bikeable roads end and there's no way to cross the Hackensack river into Secaucus, NJ - unless you get onto major highly traffic hwys like Rte 3 and adjacents which would be way too dangerous, I mean these are big traffic hwys with no shoulders, no way. I don't even believe bikes are allowed on these hwys anyway.
Corsaire
LOL..... I know exactly what you're talking about because I live Jersey too. ;-)

I think what's more important is the bus and how packed they are duing rush hour. You can do an inexpensive test and buy a Dahon Bolso bag and fill it up with clothes. Make it real thick so that bag is tight and rather large. Now take this big bag to the bus stop and try to boad. Do this exercise for two weeks and if you have no problems, buy the bike ASAP!

On the other hand, if the bus driver tells you no large bags during rush hour. If the bus is packed and there is no place to put the bag? Then you better think again about buying ANY folding bike. Don't forget to get your money back for the bag. You won't be needing it.

The best bike for a bus would be a Strida or Carryme. However, since you have hills, get one that has a lot of gears. Try to get a bike with 16' inch wheels because smaller is better. However, 20' inch wheels are fine but don't forget to test the bus drivers using my exercise.
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Old 08-01-08, 08:46 PM   #8
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For $1500 you can get a really nice folder. The Dahon Mu SL comes to mind, the Speed Pro. You could consider other makes as well. Dahon is not the only game in town, just the most well known. Bike Friday, Swift, Birdy may be on your list as well.
+1 Agreed
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Old 08-01-08, 09:06 PM   #9
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[QUOTE=Corsaire;7186993 there's no way to cross the Hackensack river into Secaucus, NJ -
Would the Urban or Road would fit the ticket?

[/QUOTE]

Wait a second! You're going from Hackensack to Secaucus?

This is a simple solution to this problem. Forget the bus! Take NJ Transit at Anderson Street or North Hackensack station and now you can use ANY folder. That Spring Valley Train is a large one and has plenty of seats and places to put your bike.

Once you arrive at the Secaucus train station, you can bike anywhere. I've ridden my bike all over Secaucus but it is surrounded by highways. There are only a few places to get out and the train is one of them. The other two roads in Secacus is Secacus Road or County Road.
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Old 08-01-08, 09:24 PM   #10
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Since you got the bucks go with an internally geared hub, like on Dahon Mu XL. Mu SL has a derailer that will require more maintenance. I think you will be happy with 20" wheels on a train. On a crowded bus you might want 16" wheel like the Dahon Curves.

FWIW:
Dahon has a female frame with similar parts.
Worth considering is Strida which might work for your commute.
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Old 08-02-08, 04:31 AM   #11
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Quote:
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Wait a second! You're going from Hackensack to Secaucus?

This is a simple solution to this problem. Forget the bus! Take NJ Transit at Anderson Street or North Hackensack station and now you can use ANY folder. That Spring Valley Train is a large one and has plenty of seats and places to put your bike.

Once you arrive at the Secaucus train station, you can bike anywhere. I've ridden my bike all over Secaucus but it is surrounded by highways. There are only a few places to get out and the train is one of them. The other two roads in Secacus is Secacus Road or County Road.
No where in my post I suggest I'm coming from Hackensack, I said that the Hackensack river is tough to cross w/o getting onto hwys, which would rather suggest I'm coming from West instead. I live in the
Wayne/Totowa/Little Falls area.

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Old 08-02-08, 07:06 PM   #12
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How about riding to the train station at Wayne, Little Falls, or wherever you want nearby. Then take the train to Secaucus transfer and ride to work if you work in Secaucus. For a challenge you can ride from Newark to Secaucus. I've never done neither, but I ride the MuXL and I like it a lot. I ride from Jersey City to NYC with the PATH in between.
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Old 08-02-08, 09:39 PM   #13
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Does it have to be Dahon? The DownTube folders offers the best value, IMO.
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Old 08-02-08, 10:28 PM   #14
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+1 for Dahon Mu XL
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Old 08-03-08, 01:44 PM   #15
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Wow ! Small world this is. As it turned out when I went on a club ride yesterday, a friend of mine had a Dahon Pro TT which he doesn't use no more, so I borrowed it from him for a few days to try and test it.

It looks cool, I've pushed it to 25 mph so far on the flats around the house, and put on the frog pedals for better pedaling, I can't believe it rides smooth over rough pavement!.....I have yet to fold it and take it w/ me on a train or bus. We'll see. If it works out
I might buy it from him, hopefully cheap. How much would you pay for a used one?

Corsaire

PS Ok I folded it, and noticed that the handle bars won't collapse since there's no adjustable lever like the seat post. In order to fold the handle bar you would need to carry an allen key to unscrew both bolts everytime, that's a big minus in my book.
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Old 08-03-08, 03:22 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Corsaire View Post
I'd use a back pack to compromise the bike as little as possible, making it as easy to fold as possible too. I'd definitely be commuting in the rain, and would love to have a good choice of gears for hilly streets. Longest stretch would be 8 miles.
I thought the longest stretch was 3 miles?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corsaire View Post
Wow ! Small world this is. As it turned out when I went on a club ride yesterday, a friend of mine had a Dahon Pro TT which he doesn't use no more, so I borrowed it from him for a few days to try and test it.

It looks cool, I've pushed it to 25 mph so far on the flats around the house, and put on the frog pedals for better pedaling, I can't believe it rides smooth over rough pavement!.....I have yet to fold it and take it w/ me on a train or bus. We'll see. If it works out
I might buy it from him, hopefully cheap. How much would you pay for a used one?
Now try taking it on the bus with you. Just as you've found it rides more like a regular bike than you expected, I think you'll also find that taking it onto a bus is more like taking a regular bike than you expect.

Quote:
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PS Ok I folded it, and noticed that the handle bars won't collapse since there's no adjustable lever like the seat post. In order to fold the handle bar you would need to carry an allen key to unscrew both bolts everytime, that's a big minus in my book.
Just put flat bars.

BTW, what is your motivation for trying to commute this way? The reason I'm asking is because, in my opinion, Dahons are really not the best choice for a commute like this. Practically speaking the best tool for the job here would be something like a Carryme or a Strida, but if you're looking to inject a preexisting cycling hobby into your commute you might not necessarily want the best tool for the job.

Last edited by makeinu; 08-03-08 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 08-03-08, 03:37 PM   #17
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If you can spend $1500, forget dahon and get a bike friday. Seriously.
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Old 08-03-08, 04:25 PM   #18
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I'd use a back pack to compromise the bike as little as possible, making it as easy to fold as possible too. I'd definitely be commuting in the rain, and would love to have a good choice of gears for hilly streets. Longest stretch would be 8 miles.

Corsaire
The benefits of carrying things on a rear rack far outweigh the compromises to your fold size. Carrying things in a backpack is a big pain the butt for me...
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Old 08-03-08, 05:32 PM   #19
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I've just been reading about the BF Tikit, it seems like there's tons of info on this foldable, and people seems to rave about it.

Do anybody know if the Tikit comes w/good gear ratios for steep hills and decent performance?

I like performance, and to be able to hit 25 and up mph (flats) on the Tikit would be exciting if possible.

I really want the best of both worlds, love how fast the Tikit folds too, awesome.

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Old 08-03-08, 06:17 PM   #20
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MU SL with fenders and a tad fatter tires

nice and light and still fast
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Old 08-06-08, 05:43 PM   #21
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Today, I went to test the BF Tikit in NYC, in doing so I took w/ me my friend's Dahon Speed Pro TT to see
how it fairs getting on and off trains. So, this post is about the Dahon SP Pro TT. I had to make two train connections to get to Hoboken, and then get on the PATH. The way back was much more straight forward, just the PATH back to Hoboken, and the one train back to my town.

I can definitely say that this particular Dahon model is not for this type of commuting, even though it folds
well, it lacks a good latch of sorts to keep it folded, the magnets it uses to accomplish this fails everytime causing inconvenience, on and off and moving along with it on hand, plus the horn handle bar sticks out a bit too much. To make it pass the PATH revolving entrance it was necessary to hold it over my head. NJ Transit trains, although they allow folded bikes, they sure haven't bother to accomodate space seats and isles for this. It was ackward just trying to find suitable small space area inside the trains, in most cases (mind you I went off rush hour).
At one point an ticket controller lady (in her late 50's) was disturbed my the folded bike presence, she complained she has already been hit by one of those while working on the train. So, she was rattled and finally made me move the bike from the corridor to over one the seats.
The PATH experience was much better, plenty space by the seats, but again, it was off rush hour, perhaps during rush hour is a totally different story.

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Old 08-06-08, 07:38 PM   #22
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The only PATH turnstiles that are bike friendly are the larger handicap ones. I think they are only at the 33rd, Hoboken, Pavonia, Journal Square and possibly Newark stops.Those turnstiles do not use turnstiles, instead they open inward so a wheelchair can get through. That works well for a bicycle as well. When exiting Hoboken at rush hour I recommend exiting from the front of the train closest to the NJ transit train station. Once past the PATH train exit up the steep steps and not the long hallway. The steps are steeper, but less crowded. Once on ground level you can double back toward the train station. From 6:30am to 9:30am or so and 3:30pm to 6:30pm you have to have your bike folded. I see people at those times still come on with unfoldable bikes. Yesterday I happened to be on the PATH at 4pm and did not fold it. Nobody bothered me and the train to Hoboken was not crowded. Closer to normal rush hour the bike rules might be enforced more. I generally commute on the off hours so I never fold my bike when in the PATH. I generally stand next to the middle pole and move the bike to accomodate people exiting/entering on open doors. I also take advantage of the empty wheelchair area which normally fits two seats that are removed to accomodate a wheelchair. With your back to the wall and your front tire near the sliding doors there is still plenty of room for people to enter and exit the train.

As for the magnet situation, my MuXl stays in place when folded. The rear rack on my MuXl might make a difference as well since I carry it from there when not using the El Boso. I have the airzound horn on my handlebars. It is positioned so I can still fold the bike and have access to the horn when riding without moving the horn.
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Old 08-06-08, 07:46 PM   #23
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