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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 06-17-09, 09:51 PM   #1
trumpetology
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a comparison and then I'll leave well enough alone

I have researched and test drove and researched some more over the last few weeks and these are the options I find in my price range. Please tee off on why you think one is better than the other:

Dahon Speed D7 2008 $386 slightly larger than the 2009, but slightly lighter as well 10400 cubic inche

Dahon Speed D7 2009 $432 15% smaller when folded than the 2008, but a little heavier to carry 8775 cubic inches

Downtube fs9 $359 shorter high gears in gear inches. but a more forgiving ride 9345.6 cubic inches

and lastly the : eco 3 $339 11.7 x 31.2 x 25.7 26.7lbs 9381 cubic inches


all prices are at reasonable dealers. I have test driven all the dahon, but not the downtubes.

My needs: tall 6'2" 170 lbs. 23 miles commute roundtrip. 13-miles the most in any one time.

Votes?!??!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!? Would really love to hear your votes an reasons. Maybe I can wake up to a mayhem of votes! I would enjoy. This forum is awesome and I appreciate that it is here.

Nick
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Old 06-17-09, 10:30 PM   #2
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Nick, I understand and empathize with your price limits: but I don't think any of these are good bikes for you. Folded size shouldn't be your main concern: long-term bike rideability and fit should be. You're 6'2" and need a bike that will go a fair distance each day. These bikes all have stunted top tubes which will likely enforce an inefficient, upright posture on you that won't make for good long-distance riding over the long term. You're riding this bike every day to work and school. I think these bikes aren't good investments for you.

Think of the bike as a necessary career item: and it's saving you $1000 easy in MetroCard fees a year. Don't cheap out. If you really want a folding bike, seriously reconsider a bike around $800-1000. A Bike Friday Tikit will fit you properly, as will a Bike Friday Pocket Sport. A Swift perhaps, or maybe a modified top-end Dahon Speed or Mu with the outside-folding version stem riser and some kind of horizontal stem fitted, might also fit you acceptably (talk to thor at http://www.thorusa.com). Go say hi to bfold.com in Manhattan for various Bike Fridays and Swifts. Ride these bikes before you make your purchase.

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Old 06-17-09, 10:46 PM   #3
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+1 on considering a better bike: Tikit or Swift are good, with the Tikit being the more practical of the two, in my opinion.
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Old 06-18-09, 06:40 AM   #4
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Sorry if we're ganging up on you, but I personally would not hesitate to splurge on a better bike for a 23 mile round trip daily commute.

Is this commute in addition to a train ride or are you just folding to take into the office and/or apartment?
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Old 06-18-09, 08:34 AM   #5
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Well the idea would be to avoid taking the train as much as possible in order to save costs. But I would want it to be able to fold for times of bad rain and such.

I see there is a strong consensus about buying a better bike, but I am worried that if I don't keep up my riding through the winter months I will have lost a lot of money in the process. I am figuring savings of $50 a month from metro card (monthly is 80 so that allows me 15 subway trips a month)

So at that rate a year of straight riding is equal to about $600. Being honest about winter, we are looking at about $450 in savings. Perhaps I can justify a slightly higher price. Anything in the $600 range that still folds well?

After looking up the swift and the tikit some more: the swift is way too big (i need certain folded dimensions to get it into work.) and the tikit is really expensive.
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Old 06-18-09, 08:40 AM   #6
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also, my cost concerns include buying a carry bag, a pump, a lock (for the NYU part of my trip), headlight, etc. So there is going to be a lot of hidden costs I have to be ready for. I appreciate the help though.

Is there a budget way to get a bike that fits me and my needs better than these I have found?
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Old 06-18-09, 08:50 AM   #7
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Dude...If you are looking at occasionally folding the bike and looking for something that will comfortably fit over a long commute, I'd have to suggest checking out a SwissBike...Dunno where they have them In NYC though..
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Old 06-18-09, 09:00 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by itsajustme View Post
Sorry if we're ganging up on you, but I personally would not hesitate to splurge on a better bike for a 23 mile round trip daily commute.

Is this commute in addition to a train ride or are you just folding to take into the office and/or apartment?
I can understand a choice to spend less to test out the idea of cycle commuting. I don't recall the many details from the other thread. But I agree that if one is fairly certain that utility/commuter cycling lifestyle is in the cards, then getting the right bike is a good idea. Long story short, a fun to ride useful bike will get used a lot more than an acceptable bike.

Back to the bikes listed earlier, as makeinu pointed out so many times, don't let the volume of the fold through you off. With the understanding that we are avoiding extreme circumstances, often the shape of the fold, how well it rolls, and the folder's weight -- lighter makes it easier to bring inside, IMO -- is more important in my experience. Note, I am not saying that volume matters nothing at all. But it often is over emphasized.

Generally the choice between Dahon and Downtube comes down to how much you enjoy tinkering and whether additional LBS support is important to you. Dahon has a lot of accessories designed for the bike. This can be very important for a utility bike. I would see how the bike folds and rides with stuff on it if you are using this for utility purposes. With small wheel bikes, I like carrying the load on the front of the bike rather than the rear since (1) most folders are rear heavy and (2) it improves the bike's handling by slowing down the steering. Provided that the ergonomics are acceptable, probably any of the bikes listed will be better than OK as a commuter.
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Old 06-18-09, 09:05 AM   #9
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You might also want to consider depreciation & re-sale value in your calculations. A Used Bike Friday, Swift, Birdy, etc is going to still be a desirable item long after a lower end Dahon, etc has dropped off the scale.
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Old 06-18-09, 09:20 AM   #10
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In terms of LBS, the only downtube dealer is in the middle of nowhere brooklyn! so the dahon offers that convinience.

I have noticed Dahon speed D7s being sold at $250 (2007 model) on craigslist and getting snapped up in days, so they seem to be depreciating slowly.

the whole size thing is just that I have to be able to conceal it in a bag. no questions.
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Old 06-18-09, 09:26 AM   #11
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I don't mean to sound argumentative...

I appreciate all the comments, I am just limited in what I can accommodate.
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Old 06-18-09, 09:32 AM   #12
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... Is there a budget way to get a bike that fits me and my needs better than these I have found?
Buying a well-kept, reasonably-priced used bike worked for me. (I realize you have not had much luck finding a used bike.) Be sure to check Craigslist postings in every area that you can get to and in areas where you have friends who could inspect the bike and store it until you could pick it up. I checked Craigslist postings almost everywhere in the U.S. The bike I purchased was 400 miles from me. On my initial email I asked if the seller would be willing to ship the bike if I paid for the shipping. Most Dahons can be shipped for less than $50. Many times a used bike will include some accessories (lock, lights, pump, etc.) that would cost you more than the shipping.

After you have some first-hand experience and a better idea of what features in a folder you like and what features don't really have value for your purposes, you should be able to sell the used bike for close to what you paid (not including shipping).
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Old 06-18-09, 09:36 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by trumpetology View Post
Well the idea would be to avoid taking the train as much as possible in order to save costs. But I would want it to be able to fold for times of bad rain and such.

I see there is a strong consensus about buying a better bike, but I am worried that if I don't keep up my riding through the winter months I will have lost a lot of money in the process. I am figuring savings of $50 a month from metro card (monthly is 80 so that allows me 15 subway trips a month)
In that case I'd go with the Dahon. The only reason I was suggesting something more expensive was because I was worried you might not have any choice but to ride the 23 miles on a bike that might not be ideal for you. However, since you have the option of taking the train half way or even the whole way and you're basically trying things out I think the Dahon would be an excellent choice which you can always sell for something else if it doesn't meet your expectations or once you have more experience to base your preferences on.

As to which Dahon, I'd go with the cheaper model because more likely than not the change in weight and folded size are more due to a change in measuring method than actual bike. You shouldn't have any problem getting parts and support for your Dahon in NYC and the Downtubes are heavier than advertised which will be a thorn in your side as you're carrying it bagged.

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Originally Posted by trumpetology View Post
So at that rate a year of straight riding is equal to about $600. Being honest about winter, we are looking at about $450 in savings. Perhaps I can justify a slightly higher price. Anything in the $600 range that still folds well?
Winter riding is better because you don't get all sweaty.

Last edited by itsajustme; 06-18-09 at 09:41 AM.
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Old 06-18-09, 09:41 AM   #14
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In that case I'd go with the Dahon. The only reason I was suggesting something more expensive was because I was worried you might not have any choice but to ride the 23 miles on a bike that might not be ideal for you. However, since you have the option of taking the train half way or even the whole way and you're basically trying things out I think the Dahon would be an excellent choice which you can always sell for something else if it doesn't meet your expectations or once you have more experience to base your preferences on.

As to which Dahon, I'd go with the cheaper model because more likely than not the change in weight and folded size are more due to a change in measuring method than actual bike. You shouldn't have any problem getting parts and support for your Dahon in NYC and the Downtubes are heavier than advertised which will be a thorn in your side as you're carrying it bagged.



Winter riding is fun because you don't get all sweaty.
Thanks for the wonderful feedback. It's interesting that the measuring techniques change. (crafty, huh)

I'll have to try this winter riding not sweating would be nice!
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Old 06-18-09, 09:43 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by HGR3inOK View Post
Buying a well-kept, reasonably-priced used bike worked for me. (I realize you have not had much luck finding a used bike.) Be sure to check Craigslist postings in every area that you can get to and in areas where you have friends who could inspect the bike and store it until you could pick it up. I checked Craigslist postings almost everywhere in the U.S. The bike I purchased was 400 miles from me. On my initial email I asked if the seller would be willing to ship the bike if I paid for the shipping. Most Dahons can be shipped for less than $50. Many times a used bike will include some accessories (lock, lights, pump, etc.) that would cost you more than the shipping.

After you have some first-hand experience and a better idea of what features in a folder you like and what features don't really have value for your purposes, you should be able to sell the used bike for close to what you paid (not including shipping).
Definitely still hoping to find a used one. checking c-list a couple times a day. though I wouldn't buy one shipped cause the one I went to view in Jersey had NOTHING to do with the specs the guy posted!! Oh, well.
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Old 06-18-09, 09:51 AM   #16
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Thanks for the wonderful feedback. It's interesting that the measuring techniques change. (crafty, huh)

I'll have to try this winter riding not sweating would be nice!
Truthfully I'm just guessing, so you tell me. You said you test rode them all, did you test fold them and notice a difference? If you're that concerned about it you can buy from thorusa.com, who, unlike many Dahon selling shops, is extremely knowledgeable and accommodating.

Just make sure you have good gloves and earmuffs for winter. Those are the only two parts that get cold for me.

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