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  1. #1
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    Foldable or Full Size

    Newbie here. Thinking of getting a Dahon foldable to get started with this hobby as it serves my main purpose - weekend casual ride. Also becos of space constraint in ferrying the bike to the east coast. However, many friends advised that I should get either the MT or the hybrid. Reason: better performance. Any advice ? I read that Dahon is a reliable foldable bike.

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    Senior Member caotropheus's Avatar
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    And what is your budget ?

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    Drops small screws noteon's Avatar
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    For weekend casual rides, it makes no real difference to performance whether the bike folds. My Xootr Swift is the best bike I've owned, folding or not.
    RIDE: Short fiction about bicycles • RUSA #5538
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    Senior Member caotropheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MustangBike View Post
    many friends advised that I should get either the MT or the hybrid. Reason: better performance. Any advice ?
    Yes three advices, first look at Jur's Swift, second, there is a folding bicycle forum member, that I cannot recall his username, that converted a Dahon Jetstream to a performance MTB and third look at little pixel's bicycles.

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    There are many tradeoffs available in the folding bike world.

    Folding bikes run a gamut "higher performance" (having real bike geometries, better materials, less flex, etc.) to "low performance". The higher-performance folding bikes do so by sacrificing on one or more of the following: either not folding into as compact or convenient a shape; or not folding very quickly; or being expensive.

    So here's my totally unfair approximate gamut of folding bikes manufacturers in the US from "high performance" (with the sacrifices above) to "low performance":

    Bike Friday > Montague > Xootr > Dahon > Downtube > Brompton > Strida > Mobiky

    It all depends on what you need. For example, you need teeny tiny, get Brompton. If you need very high performance, Bike Friday, then Xootr. If you need a mountain bike, Montague Paratrooper or a Bike Friday. If you need fast folds while retaining real geometries, the Bike Friday Tikit. If you need inexpensive, Downtube is good. The mainstream (but not super high performance) market is dominated by Dahon.

    As caotropheus said: what's your budget? That'll reduce one variable immediately.
    Last edited by feijai; 02-18-09 at 10:55 PM.

  6. #6
    Hooligan Abneycat's Avatar
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    There is some good advice going on here. I think that while Dahon is a nice folding bike for a relatively low price, it isn't a performance champion. There are some limitations to the design, like not being able to stand and attack due to the folding stem, being aggressive on it will cause failure. When it comes to folding though, Dahons are quite good city bikes. They do a nice fold, with a nice ride, for the price. Not exceptional, but certainly not junk at all.

    Personally though, I would still consider my Dahon Speed D7 to be enjoyable enough to ride for some fun scooting around. I'd ride it for fun, for sure, you just wouldn't catch me doing a century or some singletrack on it

    Xootr and Bike Friday are two excellent folding bikes without any big limitations so far as ride is concerned. Bike Friday is my personal favourite, and i'm now a Pocket Llama owner. These bikes are fairly expensive, but Bike Friday now has some pre-built models that are not custom, but are fairly affordable.

    Bike Friday's models are extremely high performance. They match them to fit your body and your riding style. They range from 19lb road machines to tough little monsters able to tag along with bigger cross country bikes quite well. The downside of the Bike Friday is fairly high cost, and that their Pocket bicycles are more designed for travel than quick, everyday folding.

    The ride of these bikes can pretty much be considered "on par" with big bikes. I would even go so far as to say that I enjoy the Bike Friday even more!

    It would help to know your budget, and the ways in which you will be ferrying the bike around.

  7. #7
    Female Member KitN's Avatar
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    Hi and welcome to the forums!

    First, how do you plan on using the bike? Are you going to be doing some leisurely biking about town or are you going to be hitting rocky, rough trails like hardcore mountain bikers do?

    Second, what is your budget? Can you afford to shell out nearly $2,000 for a folding bike or are you looking for the most economic (cheap) bike that you can get your hands on?

    Third, how often do you plan on traveling/ferrying to the east coast with it? Folded size and weight would really matter a LOT if you're going to be packing it up every weekend and taking it on a plane, boat or bus? (If you own a car and plan to drive it to the east coast, it wouldn't matter as much.)

    Fourth, is wheel size really important to you? Can you deal with teeny tiny wheels for your intended use or do you swear by wheel that are 24" or larger like standard bikes?

    Fifth, gears? In the areas that you'll be using the bike, are there a lot of hills? Or is it virtually flat? If there are any hills involved you'll probably want something with at least a few gears so some of the bikes mentioned above by other members would not suit you.

    Lastly, how tall are you and how much do you weigh? If you are really tall and/or really heavy this will limit the choices of folding bikes available to you.

    Picking a bike is really personal and has a lot of variables. You have to go with what works best for you and your intended use so ask yourself those above questions and let us know so that we can get you headed in the right direction. :-)
    Ride what you like. Ride in what you like.

  8. #8
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    Thanks pals.

    The information is really useful.

    I intend to ride along the coast (flat road most of the time). I am 1.78m and weight around 85kg. Budget around S$1k-2K (by the way I am in Singapore). Currently looking at either the Dahon JetStream P8 or the MuSL. Can't decide which to buy as I am still shopping around.

    Cheers!

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    Female Member KitN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MustangBike View Post
    Thanks pals.

    The information is really useful.

    I intend to ride along the coast (flat road most of the time). I am 1.78m and weight around 85kg. Budget around S$1k-2K (by the way I am in Singapore). Currently looking at either the Dahon JetStream P8 or the MuSL. Can't decide which to buy as I am still shopping around.

    Cheers!
    Dahon is a great brand with solid folding bikes but with your ample budget I'd suggest you upgrade to a Brompton or a Bike Friday Tikit but if you do have a specific Dahon model that you absolutely have your heart set on, then I suggest you get it.

    Out of the two bikes you mentioned, I'd go with the Mu SL. It's a good deal lighter, has more gears and has the "best" and "fastest" tires on the market (or so it states).
    Ride what you like. Ride in what you like.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the advice and suggestions.

    For a beginner like me, do you think it's a bit 'overkill' to get the MuSL ?

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    Senior Member kamtsa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MustangBike View Post
    Thanks for the advice and suggestions.

    For a beginner like me, do you think it's a bit 'overkill' to get the MuSL ?
    No. If you can afford it, why not.

    I would recommended to test drive your target bike if possible. Depending where you are located, this may or may not be feasible.

    Kam

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    Senior Member kamtsa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kamtsa View Post
    No. If you can afford it, why not.

    I would recommended to test drive your target bike if possible. Depending where you are located, this may or may not be feasible.

    Kam
    ... and if you plan to order online, this is one reputable Dahon dealer:

    http://www.thorusa.com/dahon/2008/musl.htm

    Kam

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    Quote Originally Posted by KitN View Post
    Dahon is a great brand with solid folding bikes but with your ample budget I'd suggest you upgrade to a Brompton or a Bike Friday Tikit but if you do have a specific Dahon model that you absolutely have your heart set on, then I suggest you get it.
    (Note that was $1-2K *Singapore* dollars. Which tops out at $1300 US.)

    Mustang, Bike Friday's representative in Singapore, digiNEXX, has a tikit Model-T at $1950, and a tikit 2 ride (hyperfold) at $2199. At the edge of your budget, but you should definitely test ride one. I'm guessing you're size-Medium Tikit. But at your height (about 5'8") your arm reach is almost certainly fine for a Dahon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MustangBike View Post
    Thanks pals.

    The information is really useful.

    I intend to ride along the coast (flat road most of the time). I am 1.78m and weight around 85kg. Budget around S$1k-2K (by the way I am in Singapore). Currently looking at either the Dahon JetStream P8 or the MuSL. Can't decide which to buy as I am still shopping around.

    Cheers!
    Had to drop in after you mentioned you were Singaporean. Currently own a Brompton and Tikit. Recently acquired a Dahon Speed P8 for my better half to ride with me (formerly rode a Carryme).

    Would like to offer a few observations.

    Dahon is the only brand that can accomodate a budget of 1000sgd for 16 inch and 20 inch wheelers. There are of course other brands that can cater to an even lower budget like Monotine and Aleoca. LBS's that offer them include Speedmatrix and their distributors + and......Boonbikes.

    If you are looking nearer 2000 sgd, you should take a look at Diginexx's (lavender st) offerings of Brompton, BF and Birdy to compare.

    Brompton would be great, because for Park Connector riding, the upright position is perfect for cruising. Plus if you don't mind investing in their front carrier block. (costly, but trouble-free) you get a stylo-milo bag to put your barang-barang (malay for stuff).

    I like my tikit because i get the options to change out a lot of components. BF Tikit is mostly assembled from standard sized bike components, like seatpost, stem and handlepost. Note that I have yet to take advantage of this.

  15. #15
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    For on-road performance, those bikes will kick the ass of all mountain bikes and most hybrids. MTB should be your last choice for road riding. People who talk down folding bikes often (not always) haven't ridden one, or at least not a decent one. Get down to a stockist, and try one out.

  16. #16
    Drops small screws noteon's Avatar
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    I have gripes with Dahon as a company (just in the interest of full-bias-disclosure), but I don't know enough about those particular models to be helpful. However, at 1.78m and 85kg, you might be big enough to care about how much the seatpost and stem/riser/handlebars flex. I'm 1.85m and 95kg, and the scary amount of flex I discovered when I rode the Bike Friday I was mentally prepared to purchase mattered to me enough that I bought a Xootr Swift that day instead.

    So before you decide on a bike, ride it, and ride the others available at the shop you're at. Don't just order online, and don't just rely on what people are saying. I knew the Swift was the right one for me about ten seconds into the test ride.
    RIDE: Short fiction about bicycles • RUSA #5538
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    Quote Originally Posted by noteon View Post
    I have gripes with Dahon as a company (just in the interest of full-bias-disclosure), but I don't know enough about those particular models to be helpful. However, at 1.78m and 85kg, you might be big enough to care about how much the seatpost and stem/riser/handlebars flex. I'm 1.85m and 95kg, and the scary amount of flex I discovered when I rode the Bike Friday I was mentally prepared to purchase mattered to me enough that I bought a Xootr Swift that day instead.
    Bike Friday's bikes are all extremely stiff, famously so, except one: the Tikit. The tikit has flex in two places: the handlebar stem and the seatpost. Much of the flex can be dealt with adequately, even for a heavy rider (like myself).

    First understand that much of the Tikit's flex issues weren't flex at all: they were really play in the handlebar stem stemming (er...) from stem latch not being adequately tightly closed because the early (2007) two-cable hyperfold designs weren't taut enough. That has been remedied. With proper tightening, the superthick one-cable design is plenty tight.

    Most of the remaining flex is due to Bike Friday's choice of tube thickness in the stem and the seatpost. To accommodate heavier and stronger riders on the size-Large tikit, Bike Friday has thicker walled tubing than on the size-Medium and size-Small: this adds about a half a pound. It's a mistake: they should have provided the thicker tubing on all of 'em. The net result is that a heavy rider on the size-Medium will feel too much bounce in the seat and will be able to bend the stem too much, particularly side to side.

    You can fix much of this by replacing the tubing. On the stem it's easy: just replace the top half of the stem with the top post of a size-Large. It's just a hunk of tubing which you can have cut, or Bike Friday can ship you one. On the seat, you can swap the bottom (colored) half of the seatmast with thicker tubing as well, but you'll need to ask Bike Friday to make one for you that's the right length. Which they'll do. If you're at the shop, ask the owner to show you a size-Large and use that as your estimate for ultimate degree of flex.

    I have a medium but have the weight deserving a large. With the replacement seatmast the bounciness is gone: it's great. With the replacement stem, I can still tug on the stem more than I can on a Dahon (and much more than I can on Brompton's non-telescoping design), but it's far better than it was with the Medium and is more than acceptable.

    Even so, you're always going to have some degree of stem flex on the Tikit. But unlike seatmast bounce, stem flex is easily gotten used to and really does have very little effect on riding (compared to other stuff like rider geometry -- Dahons and Bromptons are unacceptably cramped for taller riders -- or squirreliness in the front wheel -- another Dahon and Brompton bugaboo).

    The tikit is an extremely nice bike. Don't let the flex dissuade you: it should be the least of your concerns.

  18. #18
    Drops small screws noteon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by feijai View Post
    The tikit is an extremely nice bike.
    So's the Swift, with no flex to start with, for less.

    (The OP will shortly discover that people tend to be partisan in favor of our own purchasing decisions...)
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  19. #19
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MustangBike View Post
    Thanks pals.

    The information is really useful.

    I intend to ride along the coast (flat road most of the time). I am 1.78m and weight around 85kg. Budget around S$1k-2K (by the way I am in Singapore). Currently looking at either the Dahon JetStream P8 or the MuSL. Can't decide which to buy as I am still shopping around.

    Cheers!
    As a "hopeful" casual rider, I would not spend a lot of money on your first bike. You did not write much regarding your expectations, but it sounds like you will almost always be on roads and multi-user paths instead of single-tracking. So a MTB is way overkill and almost certainly much slower for the type of riding described.

    I have ridden the Speed and Mu series. I find the Mu series a much stiffer bike which is probably a good thing since you are on the heavier side. But I think that the Mu SL is more than you need. In my experience, new riders usually change their preferences quickly and often get a different bike that suites them better. Consequently, I think that you are better off getting a lower-end bike that you can use in the future as a secondary "beater" bike.

    If you are motivated by the Dahon models, I would test ride the Speed P8 and Mu P8 and save the money for accessories like a rear rack and some bags, spare tubes, patch kits, emergency tools, and so on. Ask about swapping the Mu P8 Marathon Racers to Big Apples which is better suited for casual riding. These bikes also appear to have more "normal" wheels which are generally considered better for traveling since they are more robust and easier to adjust/fix.

    Take a peek at Jay Gaerlan's webpage on travel bikes. He is a Dahon dealer and provides some details that you might find helpful.

    http://www.gaerlan.com/bikes/who.html
    http://www.gaerlan.com/

    I would test ride as many bikes as possible. I've ridden the Bike FRiday tikit and Xootr Swift folder and both are good alternatives with their advantages. You might also find a Birdy dealer in Singapore too. Test ride the low-end model (Red?). Perhaps you want a steel travel bike ... test ride the Bike Friday 20" wheel models.

    As you see, the point is test, test, test, test, and then test some more. A little bit of effort and time now will make your decision a much better one.

  20. #20
    Female Member KitN's Avatar
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    Invisiblehand makes some great points and offers some solid advice. Heck, everyone in here has posted some great feedback and advice.

    The main idea is to know what you want and then test the heck out of as many bikes that you can get your hands on before buying to make sure you've found on that fits your needs and usage.

    Good luck.
    Ride what you like. Ride in what you like.

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    Quote Originally Posted by noteon View Post
    So's the Swift, with no flex to start with, for less.
    Yes. But the Swift won't fit in my closet or in my hatchback trunk. I'd soon as keep my mountain bike.

  22. #22
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    what about a folding full-sized bike, like the Dahon Cadenza or the Montague folder?

  23. #23
    Drops small screws noteon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by feijai View Post
    Yes. But the Swift won't fit in my closet or in my hatchback trunk. I'd soon as keep my mountain bike.
    Clearly you need a bigger car.
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  24. #24
    Life in Mono
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    Quote Originally Posted by noteon View Post
    (The OP will shortly discover that people tend to be partisan in favor of our own purchasing decisions...)

  25. #25
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alpacalypse View Post
    what about a folding full-sized bike, like the Dahon Cadenza or the Montague folder?
    They are pretty awful for air travel. AFAIK, you need a special suitcase to fit the bigger wheels and keep the suitcase flight legal to avoid airline surcharges. Those suitcases are pretty expensive compared to those available for 20" wheel bikes.

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