Originally Posted by WAR85
What are your opinions on folding bikes? I am really thinking of getting one. The idea of being able to take your bike anywhere seems cool. Anyone own one?
I have two Dahon folding bikes. In my opinion, Dahon gives you the best bang for the buck when it comes to folding bikes and can fully recommend only the models costing more than $400.00 dollars. I would also recommend the Bike Friday for serious touring overseas. I would NOT recommend a Bike Friday if you intend to use it with trains and buses each day. Using a folding bike in conjunction with multimode transport requires a "quick fold" and this is not the Fridays' strength. Furthermore, I don't think you want to treat a $1,500.00 Bike Friday as a town bike to be used in snow, mud, rain and salt.
Other folding bikes from Europe (Brompton/Birdy) are nice but they are waaaaay overpriced in the U.S. and parts have to be ordered overseas. I would stick with Dahon and Bike Friday if you're situated in the U.S.
Some notes on folders.
1. Hybrids at best - All folders are just hybrids at best because of the smaller wheel. Don't believe the hype that these bikes are just as fast as a Lightspeed. To get road bike performance, you'll have to spend over 1K and that's too much to spend on a town bike. In order to get that fast, you would have to peddle like a madman and it's just not efficient. But you are making a compromise when getting a folder.
2. Increased danger - Folders with that smaller wheel can throw you off more easily. At night, you will have to be more careful where that front wheel goes and it's an extra element of danger. Not too much but it is there.
3. Hard ride - The smaller wheel gives you a much harder ride than a bike with 700 cc wheels. You're going to need a good Brooks saddle with springs if you intend on buying a folding bike with 16' inch wheels. I find a twenty inch wheel folder with high pressure tires give a much harder ride than road bike with similar wheels