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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 03-03-04, 01:57 PM   #1
Neroman
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Folding Bicycle

I live in an apartment and I want something that would be easy to bring in and store. I'm really interested in a folding bicycle and I was just wondering if anyone knew any reliable companies or models that I should consider. My price range is $150 to $400. I'm looking for quality and durability.
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Old 03-03-04, 02:01 PM   #2
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At the price rante you selected, Dahon is the only way to go. There's no way you can afford a Brompton, Birdy or Bike Friday with the amount you stated. You could probably get the Dahon Speed 8 for that amount. I have the Speed 8 and it's made very well and a real looker. Don't buy the cheapest Dahon out there which is the regular Boardwalk model without gears.
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Old 03-03-04, 02:10 PM   #3
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Dahon would be my suggestion too. www.dahon.com - they have quite a few bikes available in that price range.

What sort of distances are you considering?
What type of surface - roads, sealed or unsealed bike paths, trails etc?
How many miles per week?

Your intended use for the bike will have quite an impact on what bike suits you best.
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Old 03-03-04, 02:12 PM   #4
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I will be riding on road for atleast 5-8 miles a day...yikes...I saw a Trek folding bike for $400. Would that be any good?
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Old 03-03-04, 02:17 PM   #5
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What do you think of the Dahon Espresso or the Matrix?
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Old 03-04-04, 07:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neroman
I will be riding on road for atleast 5-8 miles a day...yikes...I saw a Trek folding bike for $400. Would that be any good?
That's impossible. The Trek folding bike is selling for $900.00 dollars. If you can get the Trek folder for $400.00 dollars, it would be a steal. It uses some of Dahon's technology but the frame is all Trek and so are the wheels.

Where did you find the Trek folder at $400.00 dollars?
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Old 03-06-04, 06:58 AM   #7
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wow, i was lookin' at getting a folding bike for my wife

anyone got one?

what are the disadvantages?
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Old 03-07-04, 08:00 AM   #8
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I own a dahon piccolo . I like it ,also check out the Dahons on q bike which will link you to e bay some older used ones are available for little money. They will be heavier than the current models though.For a 5-8 mile commute I would recommend the speed P8 an 8 speed with 20 inch wheels.

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Old 03-07-04, 08:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blkglf
wow, i was lookin' at getting a folding bike for my wife

anyone got one?

what are the disadvantages?
What will she use it for? Smaller wheels accelerate faster but they also have less mass so you have to keep pedaling. Smaller wheels tend to be stronger than larger wheels and lighter . They also allow the bike to be folded smaller. 20 inch wheels are a good size. My Dahon piccolo with 16 inch wheels wieghs 26 lbs.I also own a Bike friday metro a similiar one from BF costs around 700 dollars . I really like riding my BF but I hate folding it . It is a 7 speed with an 86 inch top and 36 inch low. Dahons speed P8 comes well recommended and It does not drive me bonkers to fold a Dahon.

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Old 03-08-04, 09:59 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neroman
What do you think of the Dahon Espresso or the Matrix?
Dahon improved the Espresso this year is it's not as heavy as years before. I like it a lot. I really like the Matrix but I believe it costs more than $400.00 dollars.
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Old 03-08-04, 10:06 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blkglf
wow, i was lookin' at getting a folding bike for my wife

anyone got one?

what are the disadvantages?
James posted some disadvanges. I'll post some more.

1. Folding bikes that have 20' and 16' inch wheels are less efficient than a bicycles with 700 cc inch wheels. You can get better efficiency by changing tires to Scwhalbes and increasing the air pressure above 70 PSI.

2. Folding bikes that have 20' and especially 16' inch wheels have an added element of danger in that a large pot hole can throw you off the bike. You have to be careful when riding at night

3. Folding bikes that have a 20' and especially 16' inch wheels provide a harsher ride so you may have to purchase a suspension seat post. I have the Piccolo and cannot ride more than 6 miles without the suspension seat post. With the suspension seat post, I can ride much, much longer.

4. Folding bikes that have 26' inch wheels (Matrix) don't suffer from the above problems but they fold into a larger package which may cause problems trying to board a bus. I you have no intention of boarding a bus a larger wheel (26') may be just for you.
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Old 03-08-04, 12:17 PM   #12
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I'll be posting about this latest purchase later, I'll be cleaning and photographing my new addition to the stable, it comes in as number 20. Not much information on the WWW about it. It is a single speed 20" Nealeco/Bianchi, still has the fenders, and the bottle generator light, along with the inexpensive brake sets. Haven't weighed it yet. Looking forward to riding it though, not the 23 miles, well maybe once, just to do it. I stumbled on a folding bike site that had pictures of foldies resting while on a century, not sure if it was a metric or not.
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Old 03-08-04, 02:29 PM   #13
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thanks for the replies re disadvantages... that has been very useful

my wife is not really into riding.... we'll be only riding together in parks and so on

we live in a apartment and my mtb already takes up enuff space... so a folding bike would be ideal

another question.... yes, it seems the main disadvantages are less pedalling efficency, bumpier ride and danger with ruff ground BUT

are folding bikes more dangerous and less stable?
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Old 03-08-04, 02:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blkglf
thanks for the replies re disadvantages... that has been very useful

my wife is not really into riding.... we'll be only riding together in parks and so on

we live in a apartment and my mtb already takes up enuff space... so a folding bike would be ideal

another question.... yes, it seems the main disadvantages are less pedalling efficency, bumpier ride and danger with ruff ground BUT

are folding bikes more dangerous and less stable?
The answer is no. The advantages far outweight the negative when it comes to apartments. These are the advantages.

1. The frame is very stiff and will not fold into pieces. Many people are afraid that a folding bike will collapse in two pieces when riding. This is NOT the case. I have been riding my two folding bikes for 4 years and they NEVER broke in two pieces. There was a time when the seat post was sliding down an inch or two every few miles and cleaning/tightening the quick release fixed the problem. Dahon has improved the quck release and all hinges over the past three years so this is not a problem anymore.

2. The 26 inch folding bikes by Dahon (Matrix, Espresso) ride the same as a hybrid. Since you are not an extreame bicycle rider, the folder makes perfectly good sence. I would not recommend these folding bikes if you intend to jump off cliffs and do extreame down hill (mountain bike) riding.

3. The folder is the perfect commuter. I can ride use my folder on subways and rail transport without the need to box the bicycle or obtain special permission. During rush hour, my folder can ride the trains where a full size bike would not.

4. I've been able to store my folder in the closet. If you have an airplane or boat, the folding bike is the only way to go.
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Old 03-08-04, 06:08 PM   #15
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I have a Boardwalk 6. Both my wife and I like it a lot. But it does have specific limitations. It doesn't climb very well and it is a little twitchy. The climbing is more related to the flexibility of the handlebars than the gearing. You just can't pull on it all that hard. You can't try the hands off thing. It just wont go straight without some active hands on the bars. My longest ride last year (a 50+ miler on the Silver Comet) was actually on my Dahon.

It isn't quite as efficient as a regular bike, but for shorter fairly flat rides, it does quite well.
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Old 03-08-04, 09:04 PM   #16
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My new addition
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Old 03-09-04, 07:19 AM   #17
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My new addition
Nice Bianchi. I wonder why Bianchi stopped making folding bikes? They weren't that bad and I happen to think folding bikes may one day account for the majority of hybrids sold. If you don't need road bike performance or mountain bike ruggedness, a folder makes perfectly good sense.
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Old 03-09-04, 07:05 PM   #18
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I commute on a Brompton in the summer and fall, it's an L3 16" wheels. I had to save up for the $1200 but it's worth it. It folds in 10 secs, fits under my desk at work and under my bedside table at home. I bought the pannier that is especially made for Brompton and it is absolutely wonderful for grocery shopping, I just fold my bike, put it under the grocery cart, no fear of bike theft. The drawbacks are the same as other posters- avoid potholes and debris, the brakes are kind of iffy in hilly areas, forget about riding it in the winter. But for short distance commutes, I love my Brompton, it is both useful and beautiful.
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Old 03-19-04, 04:40 PM   #19
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cool, thanx for the advice

i was looking around at the dahon... but only a couple of stores in sydney sells 'em

it was also a bit pricey for a intermittent ride by my wife A$500+... so i decided to look @ the trading post

ended up finding a nice cheap folding biker from a private importer...

it runs revo shimano shifter and basic 6 spd deralleur, v-brakes, aluminum frame, all quick release, alloy rims..... it is a copy something frame.... feels quite solid until you start standing up to crank hard up hills

overall, i am very happy with it and will take a pic and post it up

only thing i changed was the seat, which was some cheapie crap with springs.... put a gel san marco spring seat with a new kalloy post.....
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Old 03-19-04, 04:41 PM   #20
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oh yeah, it cost A$250
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Old 03-19-04, 09:48 PM   #21
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20 years ago I had an imitation Raleigh folding 20. One problem I found on steepish hills in bottom gear, I kept doing wheelies.
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Old 03-21-04, 04:36 AM   #22
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no such prob with this one... quite stable until you start standing up and cranking hard... the handlebars are not as stable as a normal bike
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Old 03-23-04, 11:06 AM   #23
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Check out the Breezer I3 or I7, the I3 has a three speed internal gear hub and costs 499.99 and the I7 has the 7 speed shimano internal gear hub at 749.00. Both are great bikes that fold easily and ride the real thing.
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Old 03-23-04, 02:58 PM   #24
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Regarding Dahon bikes:

I did a ton of research before buying my Dahon Helios XL, and thought that it was the wisest move, but have to say that in my experience, it's been a mistake. I've had several major problems with it.

1. The folding handlebar stem originally installed on the Dahon sheared off the very first moment that I rode the bike. I had ridden a distance of about four feet (in my driveway) and so wasn't moving fast. Which was a lucky thing, as I fell forward to the ground with the now disconnected handlebars in my hands. Just as bad, a nearly month-long battle ensued with Dahon's customer service to get the problem fixed. Eventually the stem was replaced and installed, but it was a major hassle.

2. The Shimano Nexus 7-speed internally geared hub started making a grinding noise after a few months of riding. Again, a major customer service headache: it took many phone calls between the dealer, Shimano, and Dahon to get the bike repaired under warranty. And then, about two months after the shop "fixed" the grinding problem, the wheel started wobbling (slightly) on the axle. I took it apart and found that the ball-bearing retainer that held the rear-hub bearings had disintegrated and been chewed into shrapnel inside the Nexus hub. I've gotten conflicting reports on the best route to repair (the bearing retainer has been discontinued and I'm told I can use loose bearings, which makes me nervous; also many conflicting reports from different parties about the proper grease to use to repack the hub) and after my last customer experience with Dahon I doubt that they'll be eager to help me.

In addition, I've had a a few smaller problems with the bike:

3. General creaking, which is impossible to remove, despite checking tightness and lubrication of every imaginable part

4. Extreme stiffness of the main frame hinge: I've tried cleaning and lubricating this with three different types of lube (WD 40, lightweight machine oil, and pin-point sprayable lithium grease) and it still keeps stiffening up.

My biggest gripe, though, is about Dahon's customer service. In all my dealings with them, they have been extremely slow to respond. To their credit, they tried to make me happy, in one instances giving me a free carrying bag for my trouble. But this didn't outweigh the dozens of hours I had to spend writing, emailing, phoning, and carting the bike back and forth to the dealer to get it fixed.

Don't get me wrong. The Helios XL seems to be fairly well engineered, rides nicely, and folds to a very compact size. But I've had so many problems with it that I'm a bit disenchanted.

Many people have already told me that clearly I got a lemon and that Dahon should have replaced it for me from the start. I wish now that I had asked them to do this for me.
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Old 03-24-04, 07:54 AM   #25
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mmm.. no such prob with my one...

only the left folding pedal makes a click noise as you go a full rotation... but only happens with force
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