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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 09-21-08, 11:31 PM   #1
randplaty
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Speed TR good for commuting?

I'm thinking of getting a Dahon Speed TR for mainly commuting but also for grocery shopping, going to the movies, going out to eat or whatever.

I like the idea of getting a folding bike because our apartment is very small and has little storage space. I could also take my bike up to my desk at work and not have to worry about it getting stolen.

My commute is a 9 mile one way trip with a few very large hills which is why I want the gears on the Speed TR. During the winter I'll probably be leaving work near sunset or even after, so I need lights. I also need racks to carry an extra change of clothes to work and perhaps for grocery shopping. It doesn't rain much here in San Diego, but when it does I'd still like to be able to bike to work.

Comfort is also very important because I'd like to bike to work every day and the trip may take 45 minutes one way.

Do you think the Speed TR is the best option or are there other less expensive options?
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Old 09-22-08, 12:46 PM   #2
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I'm thinking of getting a Dahon Speed TR for mainly commuting but also for grocery shopping, going to the movies, going out to eat or whatever.

I like the idea of getting a folding bike because our apartment is very small and has little storage space. I could also take my bike up to my desk at work and not have to worry about it getting stolen.

My commute is a 9 mile one way trip with a few very large hills which is why I want the gears on the Speed TR. During the winter I'll probably be leaving work near sunset or even after, so I need lights. I also need racks to carry an extra change of clothes to work and perhaps for grocery shopping. It doesn't rain much here in San Diego, but when it does I'd still like to be able to bike to work.

Comfort is also very important because I'd like to bike to work every day and the trip may take 45 minutes one way.

Do you think the Speed TR is the best option or are there other less expensive options?
It depends on how long you plan on keeping this bike, if you have some other bike or if it will be your only one. My own folders all have the Sturmey-Archer AW three speed hub only. I live and work with rolling hills surrounding the places I ride. I have had my first folder for 5 years. I am not young anymore (52 this Novemeber). And I prefer to ride in a more upright position and wear regular clothes, not spandex. I have had no problems with the gearing I have on each of my 3 folders (44t chainring, 13t rear cog). I can ride up any hill nearby except for one-so that is 99% of the time uphill without leaving the saddle to put more pressure or force on the pedals. I would recommend to test ride any and all bikes you might consider up similar hills. It is not how many gears the bike offers, but if the gearing is right for you. If you look at my photos and my descriptive Websites below, you will get an good idea on the simple basic models of both Dahon and Brompton I chose for my folding bikes. I prefer quality over how cheap I can get the bike.

If you plan on any rainy weather riding, make sure that you have fenders on the bike. I use simple battery powered lights (front and rear). They work fine for me.

Please let me know if you have any more questions or comments.

Last edited by folder fanatic; 09-22-08 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 09-22-08, 01:47 PM   #3
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Do you think the Speed TR is the best option or are there other less expensive options?
I own a Dahon Speed D7 and a Bike Friday Tikit. I have tried the Speed TR at my LBS and quite liked the way it rode. I'm attributing that to the Schwalbe Big Apple tires and the longer effective TT on the Speed TR vs. the D7. I'm 6' and like a 59cm TT.

For the price I would also look at the Tikit. The Tikit will fold much easier and faster which will prove a significant advantage if you plan of folding the bike a lot. The Tikit can also be sized to fit you whereas the Speed TR [like most Dahons] is a one size fits all design. You can get a 1 or 2 pannier front rack for the Tikit and a 2 pannier rear rack should be available soon.

The Speed TR is setup for touring so you get a wider gear range and can carry panniers on it stock which the Tikit won't do in the stock specification. The Big Apples and 20" wheels would be nice for rough roads.

If you can fit on the Speed D7 comfortably and the narrower gear range isn't an issue it would do what you need at less than 50% the cost of the TR or Tikit, but as I noted above the folding process is cumbersome.
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Old 09-22-08, 04:04 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies!

Hmm so you think that the gear range is not a top priority? That has been the top priority I was looking for so far. I currently ride a 18 speed huffy mountain bike and the hills are VERY difficult for me as it is. Most of the area around where I live have very long tough hills. When I tell people I plan to commute to work they think I'm crazy because of the hills around here. I don't plan on having two bikes so this new bike that I get will be for riding everywhere.
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Old 09-22-08, 06:10 PM   #5
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The TR is an ideal bike for your needs and very well equipped. I love the SRAM dual drive and the gear range it offers and if you get the TR you won't go too far wrong.

I agree the Tikit is a great bike but the 27 speed SRAM dual drive is the one you would need and it is a good deal more expensive than the TR. I'd prefer the Tikit if I was using public transport in between but the TR will prove slightly more versatile for your needs.
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Old 09-22-08, 07:52 PM   #6
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I don't own a speed TR, I do own another dahon (aluminum)
but since I am that someone who likes things to be everlasting, I strongly believe, that the
TR would be my dream bike.
there must be a very logical reason why dahon officially chooses the speed frame to be their touring bike.
it is steel. which I believe mythically is stronger than aluminum thus will last longer on long journeys...
it is just my believe.
so maybe, to avoid the high price for a TR, I might buy a lowest type of the speed frame dahons, and equip it to my needs, like lower gear inches...
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Old 09-23-08, 01:42 PM   #7
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I'd love to buy a Speed P8 or D7 and save a lot of money if it would still get me up the hill.

I thought the biggest hill was like a 30% grade but I calculated it and its actually a 11% grade at the steepest part (0.2 miles) so maybe it's not that bad and I just need to get more fit? The hill is about half a mile long and averages about a 7% grade.

I calculated some alternate routes and a lot of the climbs in the area have 7% grades over about a half mile... so there are a lot of similar hills.

Is this a tough hill or am I just weak sauce? Could a fit cycler take the hill pretty easily everyday on like a Speed D7?

Last edited by randplaty; 09-23-08 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 09-23-08, 04:08 PM   #8
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I'd love to buy a Speed P8 or D7 and save a lot of money if it would still get me up the hill.

I thought the biggest hill was like a 30% grade but I calculated it and its actually a 11% grade at the steepest part (0.2 miles) so maybe it's not that bad and I just need to get more fit? The hill is about half a mile long and averages about a 7% grade.

I calculated some alternate routes and a lot of the climbs in the area have 7% grades over about a half mile... so there are a lot of similar hills.

Is this a tough hill or am I just weak sauce? Could a fit cycler take the hill pretty easily everyday on like a Speed D7?
No I think you have deducted already one of the best bikes for your needs with a wide gearing range. Even seasoned bikers negotiate such hills with lower gears, albeit over long distances. No need to prove you are some hill conquering freak intent on building huge calf muscles lol! Your logic is sound desiring the wider gear range.
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Old 09-24-08, 12:52 PM   #9
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I purchased my Dahon Speed TR in 2006. Then it came with the Thudbuster LT suspension seatpost, which combined with the Big Apple tires provide a great ride, road or trail. I happen to love the Sram Dual Drive system, mine is 24 speed. I think that system is perfect for a folder since it eliminates the front derailleur. I've had zero problems with the bike, I've used it to cycle paved roads and dirt/gravel trails. It folds so fast I don't think the fold of the Tikit could be that much faster (perhaps 10 seconds?). On the Dahon, you flip open 3 latches (Seat/handlepost/frame) and fold, its quick. I like 24 speeds since its gives a wide range and I tend to be slow up hills. Oh, I live in Vermont and we know hills!

Brian
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Old 09-24-08, 04:08 PM   #10
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It folds so fast I don't think the fold of the Tikit could be that much faster (perhaps 10 seconds?). On the Dahon, you flip open 3 latches (Seat/handlepost/frame) and fold, its quick.
The hyper-fold Tikit requires no opening of latches of adjusting of anything on the bike to fold or unfold. This is much faster than the Dahon fold, but more important than speed is the fact every time you unfold the bike your bars vs. seat vs. pedal dimension is effortlessly in exactly the same spot. The benefit of this is that you'll fold/unfold the Tikit without a thought as you go about your day. When with friends on Dahons they'll carry locks and leave their bikes outside a building when we stop because the fold is enough of a PITA. I don't carry a lock when riding the Tikit - it's folded and unfolded faster than I could lock/unlock it.

I do like the Speed TR and the Big Apples + 20" wheels are nice plus as has been noted the Speed TR provides a wider gear range than the Tikit in stock trim. Dahons certainly are a good value for the $$$.
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Old 09-24-08, 06:15 PM   #11
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Vik - I've just seen the fold and can't quite believe it. I can't believe that you have friends that consider the Dahon fold a PITA - it take seconds, but I do admit the Tikit fold is something else!
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Old 09-25-08, 03:06 AM   #12
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Vik - I've just seen the fold and can't quite believe it. I can't believe that you have friends that consider the Dahon fold a PITA - it take seconds, but I do admit the Tikit fold is something else!
I just got a new Mu SL like mroli had. There is no way the Dahon's fold is a PITA, I totally second Mroli that it takes literally seconds and the SL latches together very nicely. There is a bit of marketing hype (effective though as it works) regarding the Tikit being wheeled when folded as I find the Mu SL very easy to wheel along when folded too. The advantage of the Tikit fold is it can be done in one action. However the difference in time between a Brompton, Dahon and Tikit fold is seconds once anyone is used to their bike.
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Old 10-09-08, 11:48 AM   #13
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how can i post a new thread i need help
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Old 10-09-08, 02:33 PM   #14
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Vik - I've just seen the fold and can't quite believe it. I can't believe that you have friends that consider the Dahon fold a PITA - it take seconds, but I do admit the Tikit fold is something else!
I own a Dahon D7 and I can assure you the folding & unfolding process is indeed a PITA.

To fold the bike I have to:

- open the handle bar QR
- rotate the handle bars until the controls are vertical
- close the handle bar QR
- open the steerer height QR
- lower the steerer
- close the steerer height QR
- open the stem assembly QR
- fold the stem assembly down
- open the seat QR
- lower the seat
- close the seat QR
- open the bike's main hinge
- fold the bike in half
- engage the magnets to keep the bike closed when carrying it

To unfold the bike I have to reverse the process while getting my cockpit adjustments where I want them:

- saddle height
- saddle rotation
- steerer height
- steerer rotation [side to side]
- bar rotation [front to back]

This process is sufficiently cumbersome that it's easier to lock the D7 outside a business than take it in. If I try and rush it I tend to get one or more of the cockpit adjustments off and then have to stop to fix the issue or I get irritated while riding.

By contrast I might fold/unfold my Tikit 5-7 times on a ride while taking care of errands, visiting with friends, etc... The Tikit fold is fast, but I think more importantly all the cockpit adjustments are fixed so every time you open the bike it's setup exactly the way you want it with no effort expended to make that happen.

On a positive note the Dahon D7 is cheaper than my Tikit and rides pretty well. I am a bit too tall for the bike so I'm cramped on it. Not a problem for getting about town, but not ideal for longer rides. It comes setup nicely with fenders and a rear rack. Given that my friends were not willing to spend more than $500 and were shorter than me I had no issues recommending a D7 to them.
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Old 10-12-08, 02:36 PM   #15
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Speed TR good for commuting? Yes My wife and I do so on our "2006" Speed TRs. We love them.
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Old 10-12-08, 03:07 PM   #16
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The Dahon fold is problematic if you have to change your handlepost extension; that's the fiddly part. I don't have to do that as my chosen handlebar height is fold-compatible.
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