I posted a month ago looking for a budget folding bike, and ended up getting a Dahon dream (HT660), a 6 speed Chinese model, from ebay for $320. My other options were: Dahon Curve for $375 (after 15% off) but it was out of stock for months, Carryme for $425 but it felt unstable. I loved riding a $200 vintage Dahon from Mt Airy cycles, but it was heavy and I was afraid I would pinch my fingers folding it.
Here's the summary so far:
- It looks really nice.
- Easy to fold, though the hinge is a bit stiff. No worries about pinching my fingers.
- Easy to carry while unfolded, definitely improvement over my current full size that I've carried up and down 10 escalators/stairs per day until now for going to the subway.
- Comes with rack and fenders and kickstand, and fenders are very light. Rack holds the baskets I already have.
- Took exactly 1 month to arrive and coordinate delivery with USPS, so another month lugging my full size bike up and down subway stairs.
- 1 pedal was missing.
- Pedal was the cheap kind, not folding.
- It weighs 28 lbs, not 25 as claimed.
- The two year warranty is in Chinese.
- Lacks the standard Dahon built-in magnets, so falls open slightly while rolling.
- Rests on the plastic chain guard while folded if you don't put the seat down, so you need to lower the seat while folded to avoid damaging the chain guard.
In retrospect, the $200 bike a month ago would have been a much better decision. It's not much heavier and slightly less awkward while folded because of the little wheel underneath. I'm sure I will enjoy riding it once I get the folding pedals I've ordered online (I don't want to get a cheap pedal in the meantime because I have a hard time removing pedals by myself.) Or possibly just learning to ride a Carryme so that it felt stable.
It is slightly tempting to try to sell this on Craig's list and get another. Mostly I am just disappointed that it took a month to get this, and even after a month I can't even ride it and I'm about to leave town for half a month so won't get to enjoy it in the good weather.
I've learnt that in the world of folders your better off saving up for a bike that costs more intially, rather than buying cheaper and it costing more in the long run. Or of course buying a quality 2nd hand bike. Also, the cheaper models seem to have more problems or hassle than expected.
I've spent £140 on making my bike more suitable for me, all within the first 2 months.
I recommend you do whats needed to make the bike work for you, learn from the experience and start gradually saving (from your next paycheck so that you don't notice it too much) a fund for your next bike.
Ps, If you think the Carry Me is hard to learn, you haven't seen anything yet!
I am 5'2" and it is a good size for me, but it's made for Asian market so I'm not sure how tall someone can be and comfortably ride it. I think I posted the original post when I had PMS because now that I've adjusted the brakes and am mostly done adjusting the derailleurs and am awaiting my folding pedals ($18 including shipping from Niagara cycle), I'm happy with it. It's very cute.
Vintage Guerciotti Strada SL, Guerciotti Ares, and Motobecane Cafe Century Pro
These folding bikes are amazing!! I just returned from Spain yesterday and they're extremely popular there. Folks were actually folding them and lugging them into restaurants where I dined ... sure way of preventing them from being stolen. I went to their local bike stores and they were going for about 200 Euros and up. I am contemplating getting one myself.
I visited China last week, and bought the Dahon HT660 or HT-660 from a Dahon store in Yangshuo. It was 765 yuan without bargaining. Equivalent to < Australian Dollar $200 even with the current depressed AUD. Probably about $120 USD. It says Dahon Dream on the side. And on the rear triangle says "China domestic model".
I got an additional pair of folding pedals for 56 yuan.
I didn't bother bargaining, probably cos I was sick of bargaining after a week in China. Although I got a "free" front Dahon bag that hooks on to the handlebars.
It fit in the original box, and I am stopping over in Malaysia before going back to Australia.
I don't disagree with the OP about the pros and cons. I think the seat height needs to be 5cm higher. I'm 166cm. I'll try to find a telescopic seat stem somehow.
Just as an aside, bike accessories are so cheap in Malaysia, although likely lower quality. Just got a bell, 2 LED lights, a cable lock for RM45 (20 AUD).
Lots of bicycles on the streets of Yangshuo. But I did not see a single Dahon on the road. Lots of Giant bicycles, and unknown brand foldies. Those had the hinge in the middle like Dahons do, but I didn't get to fold any. New ones were selling in shops for 350-550 yuan--not sure if they had gears. I was going to get one of those before seeing the Dahon shop.
The Dahon shop did not have many models available. Probably only 3 that had gears. Apparently this was a small branch, and Guilin had a bigger range. There was a Jetstream and a... "Speed" lookalike called a.... ?Hunter? The chinese name was "Horserider". One was 2000+ yuan. The other was 4000+ yuan -- I may have the prices wrong. I didn't get those cos of the price difference, and also because the cheaper one didn't have fenders.