Dahon folding: Boardwalk 6?
I'm about to move to the 'burbs & become a peak-hour train commuter so I'm researching folding bikes (I'm not crazy about the keep-a-bike-at-both-ends-of-the-line solution). Thinking about the Dahon Boardwalk 6, mainly on price and reputation (one of their Speeds wd be nicer but it's not in the budget). Comments? Has anyone ridden one of the '03 or '04 models that claim to have stiffened up the front end? And I'm used to going around on 130psi road tires: how much slower do you go on those squidgy 60psi 20" tires they come with? I'll be riding only about 2.5 miles to the train but occasionally I expect I'll want to ride the 18.5 miles home (on roads or paved paths).
The thing is I want to ride one before I buy it and folders seem to be rare in bike shops. What's the etiquette on asking a shop to order something you aren't positive you will buy?
Thanks for any input/suggestions,
Understand the price concern, but internally geared hubs (Helios???) are nicer for city riding... being able to switch gears at a stop is good in the city. I think at least one of the Speeds has the SRAM dual-drive, which is a combo internal hub/deraileur set up. Another advantage of a pure internal hub is there is not as much chain exposed to rub off on you as your are folding/carrying the bike. I also think the Boardwalks are among the heavier bikes Dahon produces.
Originally Posted by neon
My LBS typically requires a deposit (i think it was %60) to special order a bike for a test ride. They refund the deposit if you do not purchase. However, I don't know if that would apply to a more exotic bike such as a folder.
I have about 7 bikes and two of which are Dahon folders. Personally, I do the keep-a-bike-at-both-ends-of-the-line solution and find it to be very practical and easier to do than a folder. I use junk bikes and the system works like a charm.
Originally Posted by neon
However, if you want to go the folding bike route for utility cycling, Dahon is your best bet. Forget getting the Birdy, Brompton or Bike Friday because these bikes are way too expensive and parts have to be ordered overseas. A utility cycle should be inexpensive. I would only suggest a Bike Friday if you plan on doing extensive touring overseas but not for commuting on a day to day basis as folding that bike is bear!
As for the Boardwalk 6, it's not a bad bike but you're going to be dissapointed if you come from a road bike background. The tires are slow and would be an issue but you are not traveling far to the train station. (2.5 miles). Therefore, the performance issue is not really a concern in my opinion. You could always upgrade to a higher presure tire at a later date.
The Boardwalk 6 is probably Dahon's lowest end folder. Lets understand that town bikes are not supposed to be fast in the first place because you're looking for something that's going to get beat up from the elements. This is why you need two bikes. I've never believed that a folding bike should be your only cycle because the compromises make it a slow and unconfortable weekend ride. A town bike is a utility cycle and things like fenders and a rear rack are more important than a carbon seatpost.
I would recommend a Boardwalk 6 for commuting to work only. (Change the saddle too!) Save your pennies and get a nice road bike for that Sunday afternoon when you want to do 18.5 miles from home in the most efficient way possible. A folding bicycle that could effectively replace a high priced carbon bike would require you to purchase a Bike Friday costing over 1K and do you really want to treat this high end cycle like a town bike? (mud, snow, salt) Of couse not! This is why you need an inexpensive town bike for utility cycling only and a more expensive bike for that nice sunny Sunday afternoon. In that regrad, the Boarwalk 6 fits the bill especially when using multimode transport.
Hi Dahon Steve what do you think of the Dahon vitesse (see http://www.dahon.com/autoexpress.pdf) - I have four bikes one of which is a handybike (it was v. cheap on ebay). I would like to get a proper folder though someday (when my wife lets me) and the vitesse looks like good value for money and folds nicely
I don't have a serious roadbike so I don't know your level of expectations, but my Boardwalk works fine for me. My girlfriend took it once to DC with me, and we did 15 miles around the city with no problems. I was on my mountain bike (~$500). I think the Boardwalk has better build quality. And it does fold/unfold in less than 15 seconds with little practice. Gearing (6spd) is a bit too low for cruising above 15mph, but adequate for city riding. I don't have experience with other folders, but dahon website, www.dahon.com has very friendly and effective user forums and I felt pretty comfortable buying the Boardwalk without a test ride. Dahon has more expensive models which can be serious tourers. But you can't beat the Boardwalk for cost/performance ratio. I would love to test ride their higher end bike though, so see how much better they could be than the Boardwalk.
The 2005 boardwalk has much better gearing than the 2004 but the gearing on the 2004 can be changed ideally with a 11-34 tooth shimano megarange freewheel and a 7 speed gripshifter. Use a washer to space out the drive side and have the shifting fine tuned by your LBS if you are not handy that way.