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Old 08-02-08, 05:05 PM   #1
Lalato
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Analysis Paralysis! Help Please.

Looks like I need a new folder. I know all the details of the available bikes, but I find that I'm having a hard time coming to a decision. I have the dreaded analysis paralysis. I come here seeking help.
  • I'm 6', 230 lbs. I'm in decent shape, but I will be losing some weight. For now I need a bike that can handle that weight.
  • I also need a bike that can handle multi-modal commuting and multiple fold/unfolds in a given day.
  • I have no preference between 16" or 20". Folded size is nice, but not important.
  • I'm not a roadie or tourer. I mostly do some casual riding with my wife when I'm not commuting.
  • My easy budget is $500. My "this could hurt a bit" budget is $1000.

Thanks for your help in this trying time.
--sam
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Old 08-02-08, 05:11 PM   #2
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How small do you need it to fold? The Swift I've been riding for about a month suits your requirements, but it's not a teeny-folding bike. More a fit-in-a-car-trunk kind of thing.
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Old 08-02-08, 05:14 PM   #3
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Looks like I need a new folder. I know all the details of the available bikes, but I find that I'm having a hard time coming to a decision. I have the dreaded analysis paralysis....
Have you, despite the specs in your head said "bäh, not that one" to a special folder?
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Old 08-02-08, 05:43 PM   #4
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I say Downtube Mini 2009!
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Old 08-02-08, 06:49 PM   #5
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How small do you need it to fold? The Swift I've been riding for about a month suits your requirements, but it's not a teeny-folding bike. More a fit-in-a-car-trunk kind of thing.
I do need to ride on the subway during rush hour sometimes. I think the folded size of the Swift might be too big for this.

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Have you, despite the specs in your head said "bäh, not that one" to a special folder?
I haven't ruled out anything out. One concern I have is the maximum rider weight that many folders have. I'm above the maximum weight of most of the available folders and I wonder if it will cause problems.

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I say Downtube Mini 2009!
The Mini isn't designed for people of my weight. Max weight is 215 lbs. I weigh 230, plus I also use a backpack for an additional 10 lbs. I've seen Sammyboy's pictures of his weighed down Mini, but I have doubts about the bike handling that kind of load on a regular basis.
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Old 08-02-08, 09:25 PM   #6
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I do need to ride on the subway during rush hour sometimes. I think the folded size of the Swift might be too big for this.
I would take it on the subway during rush hour if I had to, but it wouldn't be my favorite thing to do.
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Old 08-03-08, 12:02 AM   #7
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On the subway ... then I guess you can get a tikit. Just make sure you tell them your weight requirements.
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Old 08-03-08, 06:31 AM   #8
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I would agree - that Lalato may be at the boundary of what is doable not just on a mini, maybe, but on a 16" wheeler, weightwise. I speak from experience here, after having worked with a merc (bromclone) for a while now and still not being sure that I am not just to heavy for it..... And even multimode aint easy if you have to carry the thing, as I do from one side of a huge rail station to another to get a connecting train.

A mini might be different, but I wouldn't buy without trying, to be sure. I had a downtube half suspension, though, on 20", and that was absolutely fine at a similar loading. But the dilemma then is the fold. Try a birdy, secondhand ?

What I am also wondering is whether to renovate two old sized clunkers, and ride one to the station at the start of the journey and keep one at the station at the other, locked, and if they get stolen they get stolen, kind of thing....
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Old 08-03-08, 08:41 AM   #9
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I would take it on the subway during rush hour if I had to, but it wouldn't be my favorite thing to do.
Here in Chicago they won't even let on the platform unless the bike is folded. The concern with the Swift is that the folded package is so large that they'll just balk at having me on the platform and I'll have to wait until after 6pm to ride the trains. It would make me late to some things. That's not the end of the world, but certainly not my preference.

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On the subway ... then I guess you can get a tikit. Just make sure you tell them your weight requirements.
The Tikit is definitely under consideration. The problem is that a Tikit with what I would want is in the painful to my wallet zone. If it ends up being THE bike that I should get above all others, then I would probably find a way to scrape together the cash, but it won't be pretty.

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A mini might be different, but I wouldn't buy without trying, to be sure. I had a downtube half suspension, though, on 20", and that was absolutely fine at a similar loading. But the dilemma then is the fold. Try a birdy, secondhand ?

What I am also wondering is whether to renovate two old sized clunkers, and ride one to the station at the start of the journey and keep one at the station at the other, locked, and if they get stolen they get stolen, kind of thing....
A second hand birdy would be awesome, but finding one is the real problem there. I've scoured the interwebs to no avail. A second hand large Tikit would be great too. I've seen a few, but only on craigslist where the seller wanted only local pickup. Oh well.

I too have considered just getting two junker bikes as you describe, Gus. The main concern there isn't so much whether one gets stolen... it's what do you do when you arrive at the station and your bike is gone? Walking is always an option, but certainly nowhere near as fun as riding.

--sam
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Old 08-03-08, 09:02 AM   #10
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Here in Chicago they won't even let on the platform unless the bike is folded. The concern with the Swift is that the folded package is so large that they'll just balk at having me on the platform and I'll have to wait until after 6pm to ride the trains. It would make me late to some things. That's not the end of the world, but certainly not my preference.
Yeah. Too bad; the Swift sounds good for everything else you needed.

The reinforced Tikit somebody suggested could do what you need, but my unsolicited advice is that you make sure to ride one first.
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Old 08-04-08, 08:04 AM   #11
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Yeah. Too bad; the Swift sounds good for everything else you needed.

The reinforced Tikit somebody suggested could do what you need, but my unsolicited advice is that you make sure to ride one first.
Yeah... if the Swift folded a little smaller, it would be perfect. I'm going to finally test ride a Tikit this week, probably tomorrow.

--sam
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Old 08-04-08, 08:09 AM   #12
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Yeah... if the Swift folded a little smaller, it would be perfect. I'm going to finally test ride a Tikit this week, probably tomorrow.

--sam
Make sure the Tikit you test ride has the newer style stem and cable system (unless you test ride a Model T version). You can tell the difference by looking at the cables. The newer style has one thicker cable, while the older one has two parallel cables.
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Old 08-07-08, 12:27 PM   #13
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I test rode a Tikit, but they only had the old style stem and cable system. It was definitely flexy and loose. The rest of the bike, however, rode extremely well. Way, way better than my Giant Halfway.

In looking at the Bike Friday Tikit... I think that for me, the Model T might be better. The simpler design means you never have to worry about that cable going wonky on you.

I also had a chance to test ride a Brompton M3L. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I found the ride to be good. The gearing is surprisingly pretty wide for a 3 speed bike. The ride is a little bouncy though, and I'm not sure I like that. I would also need the taller seat post as the standard one felt way too short.

I would say between the two bikes it's a virtual tie... Both bikes seem well put together (except the old style stem on the Tikit). They both ride well overall (with the Brompton having the bouncy issue which is honestly minor for me).

I declined to ride a Birdy as it was well beyond my price range. I also declined to ride a Dahon Curve as I am above the weight limit. They had a Mu SL which I now wish I would have taken for spin, but I can do that some other time I guess. They didn't have any other Dahons on display or I would have test rode one for sure.

All in all, I would definitely buy a bike from Rapid Transit... and if I decide on one of the ones they carry, they'll definitely get the sale. Very friendly... and knowledgeable. The bonus is that if you buy $1000+ bike from them you get 2 years of service for free.

Wish I had a chance to see a Swift in person to really judge how big the folded size is. It appears enormous in pictures, but it's really hard to judge it. Would be nice to find a pic of a folded Swift with a folded Dahon or other 20" folder.

Anyway... the most important thing to note is that I'm driving to work these last few weeks... and it really bites!

--sam
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Old 08-07-08, 05:06 PM   #14
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I do need to ride on the subway during rush hour sometimes.
I do trust this isn't on the third rail... Oh I guess with rubber tyres you'd be ok. Most people wait for the train before heading off down the tunnels!
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Old 08-07-08, 06:15 PM   #15
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Oh I guess with rubber tyres you'd be ok
The lycra-clad bodies scattered through the New York subway system bear mute testimony to two facts:

1. Modern tires are made of synthetic rubber, which conducts electricity.
2. New Yorkers don't read the Thursday Science Times as much as they used to.
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Old 08-07-08, 06:16 PM   #16
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Wish I had a chance to see a Swift in person to really judge how big the folded size is. It appears enormous in pictures, but it's really hard to judge it.
I have a Swift and a tape measure, if you need something besides the published specs.
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Old 08-07-08, 08:17 PM   #17
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What size Tikit did you ride?
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Old 08-08-08, 02:30 AM   #18
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What size Tikit did you ride?
It was a Large. Other than the steering flex, it felt really good. I could tell that if the steering flex issue were fixed, it would actually ride better than the Brompton (with or without the bouncy effect).

The only thing I didn't like about the Large Tikit is that when folded, it wouldn't sit properly on its peg. It just fell over. I wonder if newer models have a slightly longer peg/stand for it as that was pretty annoying.

The Bike Friday didn't have any accessories and felt slightly lighter than the Brompton (also sans accessories), despite being the "Large".

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=noteon]I have a Swift and a tape measure, if you need something besides the published specs.
I didn't find published specs. I'll look again... I guess I must have missed them.

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Old 08-08-08, 03:11 AM   #19
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I have to say the Tikit is a fine bike. However for multi-mode commuting the Brompton is very hard to beat. I've had one for 3 months now and think it is a fantastic bike. The only issue is is price but it does pay back over time in my case as I save a bit on ym train fare each day if travelling off-peak and a lot of money if travelling peak. My job is flexible but requires me to travel regularly into central London by train and then I use the Brompton for anything from 6-8 miles depending on the day. It also goes everywhere with me socially too. Because of its excellent fold and small footprint, people never object to it or find it invasive. I've also found it to be a durable bike and a more than capable ride. Actually it's very agile in an urban environment!

The 6 speed is by far the best for all-round use. If budget is an issue then the Downtube Mini is pretty unbeatable at its pricing point. Just get velcro straps or a bungee cord to keep it latched together.
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Old 08-08-08, 09:36 AM   #20
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The 6 speed is by far the best for all-round use. If budget is an issue then the Downtube Mini is pretty unbeatable at its pricing point. Just get velcro straps or a bungee cord to keep it latched together.
Sadly, the Mini is not rated for my weight otherwise I might have snapped one up already. It has received a lot of good reviews from people I have come to trust on these boards.

I think the Brompton is definitely a great bike, but the price of the six speed is somewhat prohibitive. I might be able to get a no-frills Model T Tikit or Brompton M3L past the wife, but beyond that it would start getting into some rough country.

That said, now that I've test ridden both bikes I feel a bit more comfortable buying a used one. I could have snapped up a Brompton a while ago, but didn't feel good about buying another bike without testing first.

My preference right now, however, is to buy a new bike... and the Tikit and Brompton are definitely in the lead. I'll be test riding a couple of Dahons this weekend and we'll see how they compare.

Thanks for all the suggestions folks.

--sam
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Old 08-08-08, 04:37 PM   #21
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I didn't find published specs. I'll look again... I guess I must have missed them.
No, I can't find them either. I just assumed there would be some.

I'll measure the bike once my three-year-olds are in bed. The measuring tape is an object of great value until then.
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Old 08-08-08, 05:33 PM   #22
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Xootr Swift folded dimensions attached.

This is with the handlebars detached, which I usually don't bother doing.

The measurements are very simple. If you want me to measure something specific, let me know.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg swift-dimensions.jpg (52.9 KB, 33 views)
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Old 08-08-08, 09:36 PM   #23
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Thanks, noteon. Those pics are great.

--sam
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Old 08-09-08, 12:57 AM   #24
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Quote:
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...I would say between the two bikes it's a virtual tie... Both bikes seem well put together (except the old style stem on the Tikit). They both ride well overall (with the Brompton having the bouncy issue which is honestly minor for me).
--sam
Hi Sam,
there is a most simple way to modify the Brompton to not be bouncy. For your weight its probably just that the brompton elastomer is slightly too soft. Just swap the suspension rubber for a harder one. You can use the Birdy elastomers for example. All Birdy elastomers are a tad harder than the brompton-rubber. Ask Littlepixel, he swapped the rubber for the hardest - the green. I now use the red one. The softest, I believe still less bouncy than the black brompton rubber is the yellow one.

Some find the m-bar too flexible. If that is the case you can go with the s-bar which is stiffer but which will lead to a more aerodynamic posture if you need the longer seatpost.
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Old 08-09-08, 05:06 AM   #25
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It was a Large. Other than the steering flex, it felt really good. I could tell that if the steering flex issue were fixed, it would actually ride better than the Brompton (with or without the bouncy effect).

The only thing I didn't like about the Large Tikit is that when folded, it wouldn't sit properly on its peg. It just fell over. I wonder if newer models have a slightly longer peg/stand for it as that was pretty annoying.

The Bike Friday didn't have any accessories and felt slightly lighter than the Brompton (also sans accessories), despite being the "Large".
Along the lines of Sam's suggestion about getting a model T instead of tikit to ride, does the model T have a stiffer handlebar/handlebar post than the tikit to ride (either versions)?
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