Hey guys I'm looking for a bike to ride to and from class and to ride daily through nearby parks and stuff. I wanted a folding bike so I could store it in my dorm and so I can take it in my car with me on the weekends to ride at home. Unfortunately I don't know to much about bicycles other than how to ride them and I've never spent all that much money on a bicycle before, so I'm a little uneasy because I do not want to buy and expensive piece of junk. I want the biggest bang for my buck, but I don't wanna end up buying a $300 model that doesn't work and breaks down within a year. Likewise I'm worried about buying a $700 model because I don't understand the the difference in the premium parts and wouldn't want to pay for anything that isn't necessary.
My price range is within $700 though I would like to stay under $500
The bikes I've been looking at are:
all of the downtube models, because first off they fit right in my price range and they all have 7 or more speeds and appear to be more of a simple bare bones design that focuses on function rather than elegance. Additionally they're all 20inch tire bikes which is what I feel comfortable with because I'm 6'1 150lbs. However I do not understand if it is worth the premium to get the 8H model over the 9FS or either of them over the brand new Nova model that is 1-2 hundred dollars less. Also I have no idea if it is worth upgrading from the 2009 models to the 09 and 1/2 models for another $50.
The Dahon Speed P8 and Speed D7 were the other models I was looking at. The Speed P8 was the most expensive of all the bike's I was considering. Out of all the dahon's the P8 and D7 seem functionally similar to the downtube models, multiple speeds, simple design, similar weight. However I do not know if it is worth the premium to get the P8 over the 9FS or other downtube bicycles. Also Dahon seems quite a bit more popular than downtube so I'm not even sure if downtube bikes are as reliable as dahon.
Lastly, I don't know if any upgrades or accessories are necessary, but if there are any recommended affordable additions that could be made I wouldn't mind looking into them. I don't know anything about bike maintenance either so if there are any tools or supplies I need to take care and preserve the bicycle I would like to know that too. Thanks =)