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  1. #1
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    Can you recommend a bike for my situation?

    I'm 5'2", female.
    I live in a 6 floor walk-up apartment
    I'm in NYC - I will only be riding it at Central Park or the NYC Greenway for leisure and exercise. I won't be riding in traffic with cars since I'm too chicken.


    With that said, does anyone have any recs for me? I came the folding bikes subsection because I figure they would be the lightest bike so I can carry it to my apartment.

    So far, I have heard very good things about the Dahon Speed 7 or Vitesse D7HG, but I'm not sure if there are better recs out there. I'm not sure if these 2 bikes are too specialized or advanced for what I'm using it for or perhaps I need more?

    I also don't want a 16 inch wheel because those look like baby wheels and just looks weird when I saw them on the streets. I"m also afraid it won't be that stable. I'm not very good on my bike, so I feel safer on something sturdier. Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Lalato's Avatar
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    Honestly, if you're looking for something light, you'll do better getting a non-folding bike. I'm not saying that you shouldn't get a folder, but based on your criteria, a regular bike would fit your needs best. Folding bikes are generally heavier than comparable regular bikes.

    If, however, you have your heart set on a folder... the best thing I can tell you right now is to go to one of the NYC area shops that sell folders and give a few a test ride. Pretty much any folder will work for the type of riding you're looking to do. Now it's just a matter of testing a few out to see if they'll work for you. Here are a few NYC area shops...

    http://nycewheels.com/
    http://bfold.com/

    Good luck!
    --sam

  3. #3
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bettybl View Post
    I'm 5'2", female.
    I live in a 6 floor walk-up apartment
    I'm in NYC - I will only be riding it at Central Park or the NYC Greenway for leisure and exercise. I won't be riding in traffic with cars since I'm too chicken.


    With that said, does anyone have any recs for me? I came the folding bikes subsection because I figure they would be the lightest bike so I can carry it to my apartment.
    If you are optimizing for weight you might do better with a full sized bike. Something aluminum or carbon fiber can be pretty light. If the stairs in your walk up are tight, or you are tight for storage space in your apartment, then a folder might be just the thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by bettybl View Post
    So far, I have heard very good things about the Dahon Speed 7 or Vitesse D7HG, but I'm not sure if there are better recs out there. I'm not sure if these 2 bikes are too specialized or advanced for what I'm using it for or perhaps I need more?
    The Xootr Swift might be a good match for you.

    You know most people need to buy their folding bikes sight unseen, but in NYC there are at least two bike stores that specialize in folding bikes. You can go and get expert advice and, more importantly, test ride the options and see what you like.

    NYCE Wheels is in the Upper East Side, and BFold is near Union Square.

    Good luck!

    Speedo

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    OH wow, I really had no idea at all that full size bikes are lighter than folding bikes. I just figured since they're smaller, they should be lighter too Do you have any recs for a light full size bike for a short person? And hopefully cheaper than a folding bike?


    I hope to be able to check out both shops recommended and actually get a feel for how heavy they feel. Thanks again

  5. #5
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bettybl View Post
    OH wow, I really had no idea at all that full size bikes are lighter than folding bikes. I just figured since they're smaller, they should be lighter too
    Be careful with that generalization. The light, full-sized bikes they're referring to also costs in the thousands of dollars. You can get full-sized bikes that weigh 40lbs too. It depends on how much you want to spend.

    Your best bet is to go bike shops and look around.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by bettybl View Post
    I'm 5'2", female.
    I live in a 6 floor walk-up apartment
    My wife was in the exact same situation. I got her a full-sized light sport hybrid. As mentioned here, you'll generally find that folding bikes are heavier by a tad than their non-folding brethren, mostly because of the added complexity of the folding mechanism.

    I also don't want a 16 inch wheel because those look like baby wheels and just looks weird when I saw them on the streets. I"m also afraid it won't be that stable.
    Many folding bikes aren't super stable but that's not because of the wheel size per se: it's because of the geometry of the bike necessary to achieve a good fold. I have a 16" wheel folding bike and it rides pretty well, more stably than the larger folding bikes.

    I can't speak to weird: but people literally stop me in the street to tell me that THAT BIKE IS AWESOME! So...

  7. #7
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    My jamis commuter 3 feels pretty light and it's a fairly inexpensive bike. I don't have any trouble lifting it in and out of my truck and I'm 5 ft 2 in as well. I have a folder, but it's sort of heavy. I've gotten used to hoisting it and throwing it into my Toyota's trunk, but it did take some adjustment. I'm not sure how I would do on six flights of stairs... Plus it's sort of awkward when I take the handlebars out and put it in between the folded wheels... but I love my folder and I imagine it would be handy in a big city...

    I guess I would go and do some lifting at all the bike shops. If you tell your LBS what your needs are, they'll try to steer you in the right direction... and if you keep doing research, you can evaluate their reccomendations.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SesameCrunch View Post
    Be careful with that generalization. The light, full-sized bikes they're referring to also costs in the thousands of dollars.
    Or thousand, singular. You can get some pretty light bikes for not too much money if what you are looking for is only a light bike.

    Best bet is the looking around. If she goes to those two shops she'll be in good shape.

    Speedo

  9. #9
    crazy bike girl msincredible's Avatar
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    I agree with the recommendations. My full-size CF bike, which cost a bit over $1000, is lighter and much easier to carry up and down stairs than my folder.
    Countries I've ridden in: US, Canada, Ireland, UK, Germany, Netherlands, France, China, Singapore, Malaysia
    States I've ridden in: Illinois, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, California, Nevada, Missouri, Colorado

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by msincredible View Post
    I agree with the recommendations. My full-size CF bike, which cost a bit over $1000, is lighter and much easier to carry up and down stairs than my folder.
    Yeah, but that's not really a fair comparison because the available choices in folders are, on the whole, much more utilitarian all around.

    Make no mistake, smaller bikes are lighter, but the mere 20-30% size reduction sought by most folding bike purchasers isn't nearly enough to overcome utilitarian additions like wide tires, fenders, overbuilt wheels, suspension, etc. However, it's all a matter of degree; My 8" wheeled bike is under 18 pounds with racks, fenders, lights, overbuilt frame (enough to carry two people), etc and it's extremely easy to carry up and down stairs.

    Quote Originally Posted by bettybl View Post
    I also don't want a 16 inch wheel because those look like baby wheels and just looks weird when I saw them on the streets. I"m also afraid it won't be that stable. I'm not very good on my bike, so I feel safer on something sturdier. Thanks for your help.
    This is your problem right here. Since bicycles are so bare and without facade, you can't expect something to be different unless it also looks different. Your criteria is biased against the best choice and in favor of whatever is normal. I mean, think about it, if a wheel isn't small enough to look weird then how can you expect it to be extraordinary in weight?

    Also, I assure you that the smaller the wheels the sturdier they are. Larger wheels are fragile and unwieldy.

    Hate to say it, but your expectations are unreasonable and irrational. If you restrict yourself to things that are normal then you can never have something that's better (by definition).
    Last edited by makeinu; 01-16-09 at 11:09 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    I think a STRIDA is the bike for you.

    strida news for 2009 press info inside

    There is a cheaper copy also. Ask EvilV.
    Last edited by badmother; 01-17-09 at 02:29 AM.

  12. #12
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    Strida Mini ?
    .... lighter, smaller (and costs less than other Stridas), bearing in mind you are 5' 2"
    or CarryMe ?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by badmother View Post
    I think a STRIDA is the bike for you.

    strida news for 2009 press info inside

    There is a cheaper copy also. Ask EvilV.
    I wanted to say that too, but was put off by the lady's dislike of small wheels.

    The Strida is tiny and light weight. I am not familiar with Central Park, but have got the view from somewhere that NY is pretty flat. The Strida has only one gear so you wouldn't want to be riding it up those hills in SF I have seen on TV

    I have to tell you, I wrote some stupid things about stridas before I rode one - how it was a clown bike and so on. I am ashamed of my ignorance now. The design is great; it is so compact as to be beyond wonderful, it weighs (by comparison to my other bikes) next to nothing, and it is a lot of fun.

    It handles in a less frisky way than my Brompton copy. Now when I ride that, I feel uneasy for the first few minutes. You can also get strida now in a smaller size - I think it's called the mini.

    Also - for apartment living, you really need something that will fold up small, or be small when it isn't folded. There is no more compact AND ridable bike than the strida. Also, the fold is so fast and easy that you won't be deterred from folding it up. It literally takes a few seconds to turn it into something the size of a set of golf clubs.

    All I can say is try out a strida, but make sure they adjust the seat height properly for you so you get a fair idea of what it is like when properly set up. If you don't like it, then it cost you nothing, and if you do, you'll have a lot of fun.

    PS - in considering anything I say about Stridas - please be advised that I only have a knock off and not a real one.
    Last edited by EvilV; 01-17-09 at 05:51 AM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member edwong3's Avatar
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    Your requirements are attainable provided the budget you have available can match them. Let's see. You want a light weight bike, with at least 20 inch wheels. You are also saying that you live in a 6th floor apartment in a building that apparently has no elevator. In addition, the purpose you have for your future bicycle is mainly recreational.

    If you can spend up to $600, maybe the Dahon MU P8 is a good option. It weighs less than 25 lbs.

    http://www.thefitnessstore.com/Qstor...8+Folding+Bike

    And if you got some extra bucks, and you really want to go lightweight, the MU SL 9 is under 20 lbs.:

    http://www.thefitnessstore.com/Qstor...d+Folding+Bike

    But, if you're on a tight budget, the Citizenbike "Gotham" model is also sub 25 lbs., and looks just as good as the Dahon.

    http://citizenbike.com/catalog.asp?p...1&product_id=7

    Obviously the Dahon's higher price also means it has higher quality parts in it than the Citizenbike, but for your intended use, the Gotham should work well.

    And as others have said, high quality, non folding bikes are another option if you don't need for it to fold.

    Good luck,
    Edward



    Quote Originally Posted by bettybl View Post
    I'm 5'2", female.
    I live in a 6 floor walk-up apartment
    I'm in NYC - I will only be riding it at Central Park or the NYC Greenway for leisure and exercise. I won't be riding in traffic with cars since I'm too chicken.


    With that said, does anyone have any recs for me? I came the folding bikes subsection because I figure they would be the lightest bike so I can carry it to my apartment.

    So far, I have heard very good things about the Dahon Speed 7 or Vitesse D7HG, but I'm not sure if there are better recs out there. I'm not sure if these 2 bikes are too specialized or advanced for what I'm using it for or perhaps I need more?

    I also don't want a 16 inch wheel because those look like baby wheels and just looks weird when I saw them on the streets. I"m also afraid it won't be that stable. I'm not very good on my bike, so I feel safer on something sturdier. Thanks for your help.

  15. #15
    Senior Member edwong3's Avatar
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    Your requirements are attainable provided the budget you have available can match them. Let's see. You want a light weight bike, with at least 20 inch wheels. You are also saying that you live in a 6th floor apartment in a building that apparently has no elevator. In addition, the purpose you have for your future bicycle is mainly recreational.

    If you can spend up to $600, maybe the Dahon MU P8 is a good option. It weighs less than 25 lbs.

    http://www.thefitnessstore.com/Qstor...8+Folding+Bike

    And if you got some extra bucks, and you really want to go lightweight, the MU SL 9 is under 20 lbs.:

    http://www.thefitnessstore.com/Qstor...d+Folding+Bike

    But, if you're on a tight budget, the Citizenbike "Gotham" model is also sub 25 lbs., and looks just as good as the Dahon.

    http://citizenbike.com/catalog.asp?p...1&product_id=7

    Obviously the Dahon's higher price also means it has higher quality parts in it than the Citizenbike, but for your intended use, the Gotham should work well.

    And as others have said, high quality, non folding bikes are another option if you don't need for it to fold.

    Good luck,
    Edward



    Quote Originally Posted by bettybl View Post
    I'm 5'2", female.
    I live in a 6 floor walk-up apartment
    I'm in NYC - I will only be riding it at Central Park or the NYC Greenway for leisure and exercise. I won't be riding in traffic with cars since I'm too chicken.


    With that said, does anyone have any recs for me? I came the folding bikes subsection because I figure they would be the lightest bike so I can carry it to my apartment.

    So far, I have heard very good things about the Dahon Speed 7 or Vitesse D7HG, but I'm not sure if there are better recs out there. I'm not sure if these 2 bikes are too specialized or advanced for what I'm using it for or perhaps I need more?

    I also don't want a 16 inch wheel because those look like baby wheels and just looks weird when I saw them on the streets. I"m also afraid it won't be that stable. I'm not very good on my bike, so I feel safer on something sturdier. Thanks for your help.

  16. #16
    hipster traffic dodger ChiapasFixed's Avatar
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    hopefully the OP will enjoy riding her bike around the park and quickly realize how useful it is as a transportation device in NYC! Especially with all the new bike trails! This is where the added benefits of a folder in the city may be revealed to her: being able to hop on the train, bus or taxi, being able to take into buildings, or taking it on the plane for vacations or visits to distant relatives!
    For this reason I would recommend a lightweight folder with a nice ride, like the Swift!
    I suppose a Dahon might be ok too, but I am opposed to anything with a clamp halfway through the main tube, I like bikes to LAST but thats just me (ducks).
    IRO Mark V Pro, home made bamboo track bike, eddy merckx corsa extra, Airnimal Joey, UGADA Tikit

  17. #17
    Senior Member Lalato's Avatar
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    An addendum to my first post...

    I agree with others, 16" wheels would be perfect for someone that is 5'2". I'm 6' tall and my 16" wheeled folding bike is great.

    But since the OP noted a bias against 16" wheels, I doubt a 20" wheeled bike will make her feel any better. I honestly suggest looking for a lightweigt commuter or road bike sized to fit someone 5'2".

    That said, if the OP should still try out the folders... and definitely try out the 16" bikes. I think she'll be pleasantly surprised.

    --sam

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    Thank you everyone for your wonderful recs. For now, I will be doing more research into:

    Xootr Swift
    Dahon Mu P8
    Citizen Gotham

    One last question though. The Citizen Gotham is much much cheaper than the other 2 options. Is there a reason for such cheap pricing? Does it break easily or what? The weight for it is also light, only 23 pounds.

  19. #19
    I... Don't care. nekohime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bettybl View Post
    Thank you everyone for your wonderful recs. For now, I will be doing more research into:

    Xootr Swift
    Dahon Mu P8
    Citizen Gotham

    One last question though. The Citizen Gotham is much much cheaper than the other 2 options. Is there a reason for such cheap pricing? Does it break easily or what? The weight for it is also light, only 23 pounds.
    The weight is inaccurate on the Citizen bike...it's much heavier than that.
    Wanna join my charity folding bike ride? Sign-up here!
    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    you should learn to embrace change, and mock it's failings every step of the way :p

  20. #20
    Senior Member edwong3's Avatar
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    bettybl,

    Most of the times, a bicycle manufacturer will quote a weight on a certain model by weighing it without pedals, and/or the saddle. Some will go to the extreme of using the smallest frame to come up with their published weight. I kid you not!

    Of course, most of the times, this is not revealed in the sales literature meant for public "consumption". I think one time, I seen a road bike advertisement that had in very small lettering near the bottom of the page, and it said something like "Weighed without pedals".

    This practice is more prevalent amongst makers of higher end bikes, where low weight is a premium, and a sale can be literally gained, or lost by grams.

    Getting back to the Gotham's claimed weight; in another thread someone who had bought one, had this to say:

    "Hello,

    My first folding bike (and first bike in 30 years) is a Citizen Gotham. As a pilot, I have been meaning to get something to throw in the back of my Cessna for years and weight is of a paramount concern. The stock Gotham fit the ticket and comes in at 24 pounds, as weighed by a bike shop scale. It is a great little bike and serves it's intended purpose for the most part."


    You can read his comments, as well as others, both good and bad about Citizen bikes in general (Not just the Gotham), by clicking on this link:

    Citizen Folding Bikes - Relatively new?

    It does make sense about what this person stated in his post about his Gotham's weight, as my Flying Pigeon folding bike weighs about the same, or maybe a few ounces more since I took off the rack, and fenders. Both bikes have very similar components.

    And by the way, you might want to include this bike (Flying Pigeon) among your possible choices. The Flying Pigeon is even less money than the Gotham. It is available on eBay.

    Here is my bike, the Flying Pigeon, which I got from a distributor selling through eBay...



    and here is the Gotham.



    The important thing is, do your homework. First pick out something that will fulfill your needs in a bicycle, and then consider everything else (price, features, customer service, etc.).

    Good luck

    Edward



    Quote Originally Posted by bettybl View Post
    Thank you everyone for your wonderful recs. For now, I will be doing more research into:

    Xootr Swift
    Dahon Mu P8
    Citizen Gotham

    One last question though. The Citizen Gotham is much much cheaper than the other 2 options. Is there a reason for such cheap pricing? Does it break easily or what? The weight for it is also light, only 23 pounds.
    Last edited by edwong3; 01-17-09 at 11:54 PM.

  21. #21
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    Thanks Edward I know nothing about bikes at all. I just want an affordable and lightish one for the parks to have fun with. I searched for flying pigeon and it's only $110 (http://cgi.ebay.com/Folding-Flying-P...3286.m20.l1116) definitely a big YAY (and they have red too, another YAY) for my wallet.

    May I ask do you feel the bike is at all quite heavy with all the pedals and seating (say, compared to a dahon bike if you have one to compare to). Also, would you wholeheartedly recommend this bike or have certain reservations about it? Thanks once again.

  22. #22
    Senior Member edwong3's Avatar
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    Hi again!

    The "Pigeon" has a light feel to it because it is relatively light. If anything, for the money, it is probably the best value to quality ratio of any folder that I am aware of. The frame is magnesium alloy which is slightly lighter than aluminum. Other parts like the seat post, and the handle post are aluminum alloy. There are some steel parts, and accessories like the rack, the fenders, and the chain ring.

    Now keep in mind, bikes like the Swift, mid-upper range Dahons, and some others not mentioned in this thread, come with higher end parts, and perform accordingly. However, the parts in the FP would be good enough for the intended use that you have planned.

    Reservations you ask? If you decide to get this bike, or any other model for that matter, in which you purchase via the internet; it is highly recommended that you take it to a bike shop to have them adjust everything for you.

    The next thing might not even be an issue for you. The stock seat post that came with the FP, was a little too short for me. That is not a problem at all for you since you are 5'2". I am at least 5'9" with a 29" inseam, so that was one issue for me. The other thing about the seat post was that after I would ride the bike for a mile or so, the seat post would have slipped back into the seat tube about an inch. That was annoying, especially since the post was a little too short for me to begin with

    I tried tightening the quick release as much as I could, I also cleaned the seat post, and the shim with 97% alcohol to dissolve any traces of oil. It helped but didn't eliminate the problem completely.

    Well by chance, a day or so before the FP arrived, I had placed an order for a 400 mm long seat post from "bikeman.com" for my other folder, a Qile Duo VST II. T I noticed that the diameter was the same. 28.6 mm! So when the new seat post came in, I used it in the FP, and took the post from the FP, and used it in the QD. It worked! Now I had the height I needed for the FP, and since the new seat post has a serrated finish to it, it no longer slipped.

    As I stated this might not be an issue for you since you are lighter than me as well.

    Well that's all I have to say for now. Feel free to ask more questions if you have them.

    Regards,
    Edward

    Edit: I forgot to answer you question about the weight issue. The bike comes in at 28 lbs. with the rack, and fenders. Those are some of the parts I mentioned that come in steel. When I took off those accessories, I weighed the bike again, and it come down to 24-24.5 lbs! The rack is quite heavy. It is very well made however, and it should be able to support some good weight. As it is now, the FP compares favorably with the mid range Dahons in weight. It is right now even lighter than the Speed P8.

    Quote Originally Posted by bettybl View Post
    Thanks Edward I know nothing about bikes at all. I just want an affordable and lightish one for the parks to have fun with. I searched for flying pigeon and it's only $110 (http://cgi.ebay.com/Folding-Flying-P...3286.m20.l1116) definitely a big YAY (and they have red too, another YAY) for my wallet.

    May I ask do you feel the bike is at all quite heavy with all the pedals and seating (say, compared to a dahon bike if you have one to compare to). Also, would you wholeheartedly recommend this bike or have certain reservations about it? Thanks once again.
    Last edited by edwong3; 01-17-09 at 08:24 PM.

  23. #23
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    If you look at some of the older threads there is 2 or 3 about the Fying pigeon in the last 1-2 weeks. At least two peopel bought it an wrote about it. Sounds like more than enough for your use. Also I think that if you buy an expensive high end bike you need a cheap one too, that you can lock up for 5 minutes without being scared all the time.

    I think for your situation (6 stairs to flat, riding in the park on flat ground) I still think the weight of the bike is ine of the most important things. If it is too heavy you are going to just leave it in the flat. In that case maybe roller skates is better.

    I still suggest the Strida or a cheaper copy (ask EvilV). Just take the time to get used to the super cool design!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVVgsQt1DK4
    Last edited by badmother; 01-18-09 at 10:55 AM. Reason: 2pelLizg

  24. #24
    Bicycling Gnome
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    Quote Originally Posted by bettybl View Post
    I'm 5'2", female.
    I live in a 6 floor walk-up apartment
    I'd like to see a 5'2" woman carry most of these bikes upstairs more than a very few times. I'd suppose that <1% of women would be prepared to regularly carry a bike up six floors - if that.

    The only bike for a situation like this is a Strida - and you won't like carrying that up six floor either. Most of the rest are none starters for regular use in this situation.

    You can grip the strida in your right hand below the seat, take the left handle bar grip in your left hand, lift up your right hand to the shoulder and push the left down, and the bike up ends into a very portable state. No part gets in the way of your body, and it is great for going upstairs like that. I know this because one of my routes has a long outside staircase on it, and I do this most days.
    Last edited by EvilV; 01-18-09 at 06:00 AM.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvilV View Post
    The Strida is tiny and light weight. I am not familiar with Central Park, but have got the view from somewhere that NY is pretty flat.
    While the Strida may be a good choice for compactness and weight (I don't own one), please be aware that New York is NOT flat. I wouldn't buy any bike that doesn't have at least 3 gears, and given a choice I'd opt for more, no question. There ARE hills in Central Park, and if you intend to do any riding elsewhere in New York, be aware that there are parts of Manhattan that are most definitely hilly.


    Quote Originally Posted by EvilV View Post
    I'd like to see a 5'2" woman carry most of these bikes upstairs more than a very few times. I'd suppose that <1% of women would be prepared to regularly carry a bike up six floors - if that.
    I agree with this, except I'd include myself, a 6'2" man. 24 lbs. may not sound like a lot but it IS a lot when you have to carry it up stairs. I love my folder, but honestly, if I was living in a 6 floor walkup and looking for a bike for recreational use, I'd be looking for a non-folder under 20 lbs. if possible. I'll add that in my experience carrying my folder in its UNFOLDED state feels a lot lighter, probably because of weight distribution, than when it's FOLDED. So for me that defeats the whole purpose of getting a folder if you're thinking it will be easier to carry up stairs when folded.

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