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  1. #1
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    advice for folding bike (uk)

    Hey everyone!

    I am looking for some advice towards buying a folding bike.
    For starters, I'm a girl and I'm not that tall (160cm) so I find the 16'' ones quite comfortable.
    I'm a total newbie on both folding bikes and bike mechanics - the only one I've tested was a brompton
    s2l and i liked it a lot.

    I'm looking for a folding bike for short distances, mostly commuting but also less than 14 kg.

    Because it will be my first folder i'd like to learn a bit on the mechanics and perhaps change a few stuff.
    Plus my budget is not that much - at a wild stretch, 400 GBP (800 USD?).
    Oh and I currently reside in the UK but I'm planning to move around Europe quite often so in case it breaks down, replacement parts may be an issue in other european countries (Italy/Cyprus/Greece).

    I have ruled out the Bromptons as a result and I am between the Merc and the beautiful Mini 2009 version. Largely due to a great article with pictures I found here.

    Do you have any other possible suggestions/recommendations? (locations to buy used folders are also fine with me)
    Do you know if the Mercs are still selling (can't find them on ebay)
    What do you think of a mini's delivery to the UK? Is it a big hassle? Does it come in one piece?

    Sorry for the newbish questions guys and gals and thanks a lot!

    senthais

  2. #2
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    And you don't like Dahon bikes??? I think is better than Mercs (and some models, imho better than Brompton) and you will find easier bike pieces for this brand in Europe

  3. #3
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    Hey pedrotronic,
    I'm all for suggestions as I said! do you have any models in mind? I've seen the mu and the curve L butI thought they were expensive, no?

  4. #4
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    With that money (in my country) you could buy Piccolo D3, Roo D3, Speed D7, Vitesse D7 2007 or Boardwalk D7 for example...and I think these are good models

  5. #5
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    Well vitesse, speed and roo are 20''. I'd rather avoid rayleigh - had a bike ages past and did not fancy that much. I'd prefer 16'' wheels so I could have a more compact size. The piccolo is not in stock in the UK unfortunately...seems only the curve d3 fits the bill..

    any other suggestions out there??I'm curious mostly for europeans riding a downtube mini - is it easy to fix if problems arise?

  6. #6
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    The 2009 Mini would be great and a rarity in Europe.

  7. #7
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Looks like the Dahon Curve and the Downtube Mini are two very good candidates for you. There have been many threads comparing the two, with no definitive winner. It all comes down to individual preferences.

    I think the best conclusion in comparing the two bikes is that the Curve is sexier, but the Mini is more practical due to the 8 speed hub and easy to find parts.
    I like to say one is the mistress, the other is the wife, but that would be sexist of me ...

  8. #8
    Life in Mono
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    My wife is same size as you and wont ride anything except her Strida.

  9. #9
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    wow guys you are quick! thanks a lot for the feedback.
    dyno: a rarity for sure - that's why i wonder where can i run if it breaks down
    sesame: are mini parts easier to find than dahon?that would make a great difference
    simon: i uhh don't like the triangle thingie on the strida ... this might sound weird..

    has anyone had the experience of getting a mini shipped over? That's what mostly worries me - if something happens in transit.

    cheers again, pints of harvey bitter for you all !

  10. #10
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by senthais View Post
    sesame: are mini parts easier to find than dahon?that would make a great difference

    has anyone had the experience of getting a mini shipped over? That's what mostly worries me - if something happens in transit.
    Mini parts are completely off the shelf variety. They can be found in any bike shop or off the Internet. That's one feature of Downtubes that I really like.

    As for shipping to UK. Another BF Poster Sammyboy is a UK distributor for Downtubes. You can send him a private mail and ask him about shipping.

  11. #11
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simple Simon View Post
    My wife is same size as you and wont ride anything except her Strida.
    I love my Strida5 too , and I'm a lot taller!

    But, it doesn't do everything I need. The Mini comes close, though .

  12. #12
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    The 8 speed Mini is a steal at 350 + a bit of duty, nothing comes close price wise in the UK, The 3 speed Curve is around 350, and the last time the 5 speed Curve SL was available is was around 550. The Merc can be had for 330 or 280 if you pay cash, allow say 100 more for a good service and some suggested mods and you have a fine robust 3 speeder. I think a bottom line 3 speed Brompton can be had for around 400. The Mini should be repairable by any LBS in europe; the Brompton / Merc have some unique parts, but I'm sure a phone call to UK would see them on their way to you in 48 hours max. The Dahons I'm not so sure about, there may be a problem there, here in Italy I see more Bromptons than Dahons on the road, and very few Dahons in dealers. I may be wrong, but I think you would struggle to parts quickly. Speak to SammyBoy about delivery of the Mini, he brought his own one in without problem, and was I think bringing one in destined for Belgium, so he should have a firm grip on deliveries and duty by now. I All the models mentioned are very good bikes, there is no problem with them that can not be overcome. My advice would be to buy what you really like, not what you think you need, riding a bike is about as close to self powered flight as a human can get, so its worth having a flying machine that is special to you.

  13. #13
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    guys thank you all for your kind comments.
    I think my heart was on the mini since i saw it here on the pictures with the brompton comparison.
    Also it seems that everyone has but good words to say about it. Plus, the generic parts mean I can fix it easily all over Europe.

    Just also to let you know that I spoke with Anitta and she says no more mercs for the forseeable future - she has sold them all.

    I have gotten in touch with sammyboy - will keep you posted and hopefully some pics will show up soon

    cheerio

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