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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 08-20-09, 08:06 PM   #1
Ryka
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First Folding Bike

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 =)
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Old 08-20-09, 10:34 PM   #2
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Check out Craigslist in your area for some of these bikes. For $500 you can get some pretty nice used folders. Welcome to the fold.
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Old 08-21-09, 10:17 PM   #3
Ryka
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I wouldn't mind buying a used bike, though having a warranty would be nice. Unfortunately craigslist didn't have much regarding folding bikes in my area. That being said, I was more or less looking to know if there is noticeable differences between riding a 400$ downtube or a 600$ dahon. Or whether one brand is more reliable than the other, or more "new folder friendly." For instance, though I don't know much about bikes, would it be worth buying a cheaper folder such as the nova downtube and making upgrades or additions that would makes its performance similar to that of a more expensive bike and save me money in the end or something along those lines? Or is this difficult to do? Or simply what folder that suits my needs (traveling to class, karate, and other shorts distances, as well as longer daily rides through parks with a few hills here and there) would you recommend?
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Old 08-22-09, 06:51 AM   #4
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If you are looking for a good used bike on Craigslist, you'll probably have to watch the list a while - items come and go with regularity. I've found that the best way to do this is to set up an RSS feed for my search, which Craigslist makes pretty easy to do. When you see something that interests you, e-mail the seller quickly - anything good won't be available for long. Don't be afraid to ask questions about the item, and definitely try before you buy.
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Old 08-22-09, 07:34 AM   #5
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There is also a decent search engine www.searchtempest.com that allows you to search craigslist acrtoss multiple cities.
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48 Rudge Whitworth Sports - 59 Schwinn Panther II - 68 26" Columbia Roadster - 79 Schwinn Spitfire 5
68 16" Graziella Tandem Folder - 73 Raleigh Twenty Folder - 89 16" Dahon Stainless Classic III Folder - 05 20" Dahon Jetstream P8 Full Suspension Folder - Dahon Mu XL Sport
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Old 08-22-09, 08:00 AM   #6
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Hi Ryka:

Welcome to the world of folders. I understand how daunting it can be to buy your first folder. There is so much variety in folders, much more so than with full size bikes, so it's really hard to choose, even when you know the brands and components.

Dahons and Downtubes are both reliable companies and make good bikes that will last. Dahon is obviously much more established and bigger. I have had many different models from both companies. I think you can be assure that you won't be throwing your money away when buying from either company.

If you're just looking for a functional, working bike, and you're not "brand-conscious", then Downtube bikes give you better value, in my opinion. Their frames are solid and reliable. Their standard shifters and derailleurs are not as good as Dahon's in general, but they work fine, and are easy to swap out when you are ready to upgrade. Downtubes are designed to use standard parts, and therefore are easy to fix and modify. There are many discussion threads in this forum, just use the search function and you'll be able to read what many of its users say about their bikes.

Dahon has many more models to choose from. You get a dealer network that can provide support. It generally costs a bit more, but their standard components are slightly higher quality.

So, have fun shopping, but you can shop with confidence.

PS: You're pretty tall, so make sure the model you pick can fit you well in terms of seat height and top tube length.
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Old 09-09-09, 03:37 PM   #7
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Folding Bike Recommendation

With you being 6ft-1in I think you would be better off with a 24inch folder. I am 5'-10" & find the frame is just about maxed out for my size. I have not owned a folder before so I am not sure if that is common to all 20inch models. Mine is for sale by the way as I am going strictly Bent - 1 trike & a Quad. My folder is a Caddie Up & has 6 speed Shimano, fenders, kickstand, (Stupid) bell & a carry bag. It's as new. I have owned it for 6 months & it seems like a decent bike. I bought it originally to take with me on plane trips but decided it was just more luggage to lug around so I have decided to go the comfort route with a Recumbent. The Hipparion I am making myself & the Pedalcoupe is an experiment to see how much interest there is on the West Coast for becoming a Dealer for them. If you are interested I'm asking $175. Cdn. I'm close to the Border so bringing it across is not a problem.
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Old 09-09-09, 03:49 PM   #8
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Hopefully you weren't riding the bike as pictured.. the front fork is installed wrong and pointing backwards..
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Old 09-10-09, 07:31 AM   #9
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Actually the Fork is installed correctly. I was trying to view through the view finder at the same time trying to keep the bike steady on a windy day. All that happened is the fork swung around before I had the handlebars clamped on & I snapped this photo & uploaded it before noticing my error.
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Old 09-11-09, 07:06 PM   #10
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This bike fits thru 6'1 and you can get it cheap! 3 speeds Flat, Up hill and Down hill.......
1970 sears tote cycle
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Old 09-11-09, 07:42 PM   #11
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I bought a Raleigh Twenty years ago after reading Sheldon Brown's article about them. Its a cool folder. Mine cost $300 off eBay.
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