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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 03-21-09, 12:17 AM   #1
jimx200
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NEWB looking at folder bikes...help please

Brand new to folders here, but pretty experienced with road and mt. bikes. I'm a guy who loves travel and photography and am looking for a good, somewhat inexpensive, folding bike to carry my 6-2/210 lbs. on various types of roads...maybe some light trails too.

So far, I have seen (photos only) the Dehans, Downtubes, Bazookas, and Schwinn. I'm looking for something I can carry on a flight, ferry, or taxi. I know there are many choices and believe the importance of a test ride...however, my local bike shops are very limited or don't carry any folders. I prefer steel frames on my full size bikes, but that's mostly due to when I am riding 30-60 miles and don't want the aluminum road buzz from a chip seal road on 23c tires...painful. Your thoughts as to possibly 2-3 brands/models I should consider? Any online sellers you have high regards for would be also appreciated.
Thank you in advance.
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Old 03-21-09, 01:05 PM   #2
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For a flight you look for the smallest fold....Brompton.

For anything else, a whole bunch more are on the table.
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Old 03-21-09, 01:54 PM   #3
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The three magic phrases here are "6'2"", "somewhat inexpensive", and "carry on a flight". There's no bike which fits these constraints.

It depends on your arm reach, but at 6'2", you're likely well out of the range of most Dahons, Downtubes, and definitely way out of Bromptons. These bikes have short effective top tubes, which I'm guessing will result in an upright, weird riding position for you. I'd try a Dahon Speed P8 though, which runs around $500. If you really need cheaper, look at a Downtube 9 or 9FS.

A size-Large Bike Friday Tikit will fit nicely for you and also can be put into a Sampsonite F'Lite 31 suitcase. I think it flies better than Bromptons do. But Tikits start at $1000. A Bike Friday Pocket Companion ($900) doesn't fold well for ferries but nicely for flights.

A Swift will also probably fit you (and runs around $700), as will a Montague Paratrooper (around $800). But these bikes don't fold very small, and probably won't be going on flights.
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Old 03-21-09, 02:27 PM   #4
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Given the parameters you stated, I would also suggest the Downtube Full Suspension bike. It's relatively inexpensive, can handle your size easily, has suspension to handle a variety of road conditions. While the stock components are merely serviceable, they are easily upgradeable. Everything is standard.

The biggest negative is that it's around 29lbs, as I recall. You can remove a lot of weight with some "Low hanging fruit" upgrades. Can't carry it on an airplane, though. Check out the gigantic Downtube thread on this Forum - lots of feedback and tips from users.
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Old 03-21-09, 04:00 PM   #5
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Regarding steel vs aluminium, read this, then choose what you need and ignore the frame material.
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Old 03-21-09, 04:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimx200 View Post
Brand new to folders here, but pretty experienced with road and mt. bikes.
To me this is the key phrase.

In that I read that you have experienced lots of bikes and know the difference between quality and rubbish bikes. So, I would caution you to ignore the lowish price constraint and go for a better quality bike - Bike Friday.

They are steel (lots of people like that), are designed to take on flights (by packing them in a suitcase) and the ride quality is so very good that it will quite probably become your only bike. Plus they are made to size, the only folding bike where this is the case. Every single other folding bike is made in medium or even small (as they are aimed at the far east market). Check out vik's blog - he has several BFs. The versatile tikit in particular would be a great choice.

I might also put forward the Xootr Swift. Though they are size medium, you can fit a long stem and order it with a extra long seatpost; but the ride quality is just excellent. They don't fold small but well enough so you can throw it in the boot, and like many other folding bikes, with a little disassembly they pack into a suitcase. The Swift is only $679, about 1/2 of a BF.
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Old 03-21-09, 05:44 PM   #7
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Thanks guys, good stuff. My budget for a folder bike is around the $300. mark so the Friday bike is out ...at least until I get a better idea on how much I will use this kind of bike. BTW, that Xootr Swift looks very nice....again, more than I want to spend.
I would appreciate anyone's comments on the Citizen bike or the Pigeon bike. From what little I have read about the Downtube, they appear to be good "bang for the buck". Thanks again.
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Old 03-21-09, 07:21 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by jimx200 View Post
Thanks guys, good stuff. My budget for a folder bike is around the $300. mark so the Friday bike is out ...at least until I get a better idea on how much I will use this kind of bike. BTW, that Xootr Swift looks very nice....again, more than I want to spend.
I would appreciate anyone's comments on the Citizen bike or the Pigeon bike. From what little I have read about the Downtube, they appear to be good "bang for the buck". Thanks again.
For $300, you're not going to get anywhere near above walmart quality.
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Old 03-21-09, 10:43 PM   #9
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If I was trying to work in the $300 - $400 range, I'd also try to find a folding forum member that's getting ready to let go of something (at a nice discount). I've picked up a Swift, and a second Downtube through the forums.

Like Jur suggested, at 6' 2", you'd probably need a stem replacement to get streched out the Downtubes or a Swift.

If you could get hold of a used Swift, I think you'd find that suprisingly wonderful. You get fantastic flexability for transforming those bikes into whatever you want them to be, and you start with a wonderful riding, QUALITY base. But, don't think you're gonna find a lot used Swift's in $300 range. But wow, the are nice! You might be able to pick up a used frame for that (if you're lucky).

In a week or two I will be ready to "let go of" a Downtube VIII FS (full suspension) with SRAM STX trigger and a Deore derailluer. Even after letting go of that Downtube, I'll still have another almost equally equipped VIII FS "still in the stable."

If you would be willing to slap another zero on that number (as in $3000), we could find you a REAL NICE Moulton, and maybe even let you keep a few bucks.

Have fun and good luck,

Bob G.
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Old 03-23-09, 08:58 AM   #10
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Hello again, I found a bike called Yeah Bike. Would appreciate anyone's experience or observations on this folding bike.
http://www.yeahbike.com/folding-bikes/bike-HA061.html
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Old 03-23-09, 09:15 AM   #11
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I believe that are made by Dahon but a cheaper version. Check your local Craigslist for folders. For $300 you can get a new Downtube plus shipping.
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Old 03-23-09, 09:16 AM   #12
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http://www.downtube.com/product546.html On the description it states it will fit someone as tall as 6'4".
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Old 03-23-09, 03:08 PM   #13
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bikefriday.com might be a choice for you they custom make bikes

you call to order and they ask your specifics and they build them down to the componentry and riding geometry that you like ie flat , touring, or drop bars, wheel type 406 or 451[preferred], frame style geometry, color, etc etc
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Old 03-23-09, 03:53 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by jimx200 View Post
Hello again, I found a bike called Yeah Bike. Would appreciate anyone's experience or observations on this folding bike.
http://www.yeahbike.com/folding-bikes/bike-HA061.html
Yeah bikes are basically lower spec'ed OEM Dahons, ie rebranded. They are of the Chinese Dahon line where there are many more models marketed with entry-level componentry on mostly standard frames.

I have a Dahon/Yeah with essentially the same frame as the Dahon Helios. But surprisingly, it turned out a better ride than the Helios (which I also had for a brief time) due to a stiffer frame and handlepost. The Yeah handleposts are steel which is the old discontinued Dahon post, but the modern alloy Dahon post suffers from many many many problems, none of which plague the older stiffer steel post.

The fork will be steel, and the seatpost will have one of those old saddle clips. It will have 6 speeds, 14-28T freewheel and 6 speeds with entry-level shifter and derailer. Chainring is fixed. So the gearing is rather low for faster cruising and you can't upgrade - you will have to replace the rear wheel, shifter, derailer and crankset should you wish to do so.

The Dahons in general have probably the most twitchy steering of all folders.

That particular model looks like the same frame as the older Dahon Eco. Unfortunately the cockpit will be cramped, but you could saw off the top handlebar and cobble on a stem for some more room.

If you are really content with slow riding, then it will work. If you want to begin hammering, forget it.

I upgraded my Yeah with XT stuff and did a tour of Tasmania with it (see sig - my wife rode it). But she never felt good on difficult roads with the twitchy steering.
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Old 03-23-09, 11:22 PM   #15
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For $300, you're not going to get anywhere near above walmart quality.

that's harsh. i have a cheap citizen tokyo that i bought used for $100 and i can say that i am loving it. fast, sturdy, a beauty.
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