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  1. #1
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    Reasonable priced folding bike for a tall fellow?

    Hello there:

    I'm looking into buying a folding bike because of lack of space at my house (I live in California). I'm looking for one that is under $300. However, I have a slight issue. I'm about 6' 3".

    Is there any hope for me ;-)


    Thanks!

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    There are few "reasonable" regular bikes that are under $300. So no, you're not going to find anything in the folding world that fits your bill.

    In the $300-400 range you're talking Dahon or Downtube. But if you are 6'3", I doubt any Dahons or Downtubes will fit you: their top tubes are too short for people that are even 6'. You're going to be looking at a more expensive bike: a "full sized" Dahon folder, a Swift, size-Large a Bike Friday Tikit, a Montague, etc.

    It's time to look at a used folding bike: a Swift perhaps, assuming it folds small enough to be useful for you. Good luck and sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

  3. #3
    jur
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    The Swift is really only a medium sized bike (22" top tube). Xootr can supply an extra long seatpost and a long stem will get the cockpit length right.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

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    Sure, there's always hope . . .

    Hi there. I'm 6'2", and I have a Downtube that I can ride well enough. I was worried about the height issue before buying, but it hasn't been a problem for me yet. It's possible the extra inch in height that you have on me would make it impossible for you to ride a Downtube, but I kind of doubt it. I test-rode a couple of Dahons that I didn't end up buying, and it felt like they fit me as well, so I wouldn't despair if I were you. Anyway, Downtube's FAQ page includes this statement:

    Q Will your bikes fit me?
    A All our folding bikes have a seat tube that is angled back. This allows our full suspension frames to fit most riders from 4ft 10in - 6ft 5in. Front suspension and no suspension bikes will fit most riders 4ft 10in- 6ft 2in.( 32.5" inseam ). In addition to the frame geometry we include an adjustable angle stem; this allows a nearly custom fit. Recreational riders can tilt the stem angle up for relaxed riding comfort, while racers can reduce the angle to get a more aggressive fast paced ride.

    Hope this helps!

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    Here's the thing. Dahon also claims a rider height of 4'8" to 6'4". But it's not true unless you're interested in "riding" rather than *riding* your bike. For anyone over about 5'10", these bikes start getting weird, inefficient geometries. I am 5'11" and my Dahon, claimed to be for up to 6'4", is *not* normal feeling. The handlebars are several inches too close to the seat, uncomfortably so, and the handle bars induce an odd steering. It's fine for lightweight riding, but it's not a real bike any more.

    The three points of concern are: the angle and height of the seat, the angle and height of the handlebars, and the position of the crank with respect to the seat. Dahon can heavily angle the seat back, and make the handlebars nearly vertical with respect to the front wheel, but it can't change the crank position. So as the seat goes higher, it also goes further and further behind the crank to the point where you're doing a lazy-boy riding position (Dahon doesn't do that as a result). Alternatively, as the handlebars go higher and higher, their angle of attack with respect to the front wheel gets less and less and the bike gets weirder and weirder feeling to steer.

    Downtube has the same exact issues.

    I believe there's only one way around this: to change the length of the top tube. That requires a whole new bike. It's basically the reason Bike Friday sells their Tikit in three sizes. So what we need to determine is: which bikes have "long" top tube lengths, besides Tikits, which are way out of the poster's dollar range?

  6. #6
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    I'm 5'11" and my Vitesse fits pretty well, but I've a short body and long legs, so with the saddle high and the bars low I effectively lengthen the saddle-handlebar length. If it were any shorter I'd have trouble with the riding position.

  7. #7
    jur
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    Quote Originally Posted by feijai View Post
    I believe there's only one way around this: to change the length of the top tube. That requires a whole new bike. It's basically the reason Bike Friday sells their Tikit in three sizes. So what we need to determine is: which bikes have "long" top tube lengths, besides Tikits, which are way out of the poster's dollar range?
    Folding bikes have such a small market that they are made in "one size fits all", ie medium size. Every one of my folders (R20, Swift, Mini, Reach, birdy...) all have exactly the same length (effective) top tube of 55cm. So unless the OP is willing to sit up and beg while riding, he is out of luck.

    (The request for a reasonably priced bike of $300 does suggest he has zero experience so sit-up-and-beg could be right for him anyway.)

    (Come to think of it, my Yeah must have a longer effective top tube; I fit it fine without a 120mm stem...)
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  8. #8
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    I am 6'4" but with a 33" inseam. All torso. Reach is my big issue. I couldn't afford a tikit so I got a Dahon Speed P8 and performed a mod that I read about here. Sawed the clamp off the top of the handlebar post in order to fit an ahead style stem. Now the reach is perfect for me.
    Atom Bomb

  9. #9
    ...poet... timo888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Khojem View Post
    Hello there:

    I'm looking into buying a folding bike because of lack of space at my house (I live in California). I'm looking for one that is under $300. However, I have a slight issue. I'm about 6' 3".

    Is there any hope for me ;-)


    Thanks!
    For sizing, I'd recommend a 26" folder. Sizing would be less of an issue and they don't take up much storage space. Examples: Dahon Jack, Dahon Espresso, Montague folding mountain bike.

    Although some of the 20" folders could be outfitted with taller seatposts and longer stem-riser and/or stem, that could raise the price by $75-100 and still might not yield a very comfortable ride for you at 6'3".

    With respect to cost, your best chance of staying close to your budget is to buy pre-owned. Or you could try to find a deal on a 26" folder-- perhaps close-outs of an earlier model year. LL Bean, for example, is selling the Dahon Espresso for $399 plus shipping. And there are Montagues on eBay for $499 with free shipping. You can get the Dahon Jack on eBay for $469. The Espresso on eBay (in large frame) for $410 with free shipping.

    Note that when buying Dahons on the internet, it is prudent to have a local bike shop check the bike out before you ride it if the Seller has not already done so. Most do not. To qualify for Dahon's extended warranty you are in fact required to take that step. ThorUSA.com, a Dahon dealer that sells via the internet and does the pre-ride tune-up/check for $50, has no prior year 26" bikes in large frame size at the moment, but is selling the 2008 Espresso in large for $430 + $50 with free shipping.

    Regards
    T
    Last edited by timo888; 10-03-08 at 10:58 AM.

  10. #10
    jur
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    Quote Originally Posted by timo888 View Post
    For sizing, I'd recommend a 26" folder. Sizing would be less of an issue and they don't take up much storage space. Examples: Dahon Jack, Dahon Espresso, Montague folding mountain bike.....
    Not sure you're right... I don't know what those bikes' size are but they are likely to have the same "one-size-fits-all" resulting in the same fit problems. I don't think bigger wheels make any difference at all.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  11. #11
    ...poet... timo888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jur View Post
    Not sure you're right... I don't know what those bikes' size are but they are likely to have the same "one-size-fits-all" resulting in the same fit problems. I don't think bigger wheels make any difference at all.
    Actually, some of the 26" folders are available in small, medium, and large frames. Not sure whether all sizes are available in all markets, however.

    Regards
    T

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