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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 08-28-09, 06:52 PM   #1
TXChick
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Must have a folding bike! Know nothing about them!

I've decided I must have a folding bike. I recently moved halfway across the country into a tiny apartment and the big bikes had to be left behind. We literally have no where to store a full-sized bike.

The problem is that I know absolutely nothing about folding bikes and they seem really expensive. I don't have a whole heap of money. I've been looking at the Citizen bikes and my husband seems to think something under $300 is reasonable. I'm mostly curious about wheel size. What is the difference in ridability on a 16" wheel v. 20"? Also, what does a first-time folding bike owner/rider need to know about them?

Thanks!
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Old 08-28-09, 08:47 PM   #2
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What kind of riding do you want to do with the folder? That will influence the suggestions for you.

A smaller wheel size generally will mean a "twitchier" ride and maybe slightly rougher going over bumps. However, if you're just riding on smooth road surfaces, the difference is not that great.

In the price range you described, you should be looking at Downtube bikes www.downtube.com. Great value for the price. Solid build for the most part. 30 day return guarantee.
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Old 08-29-09, 12:16 AM   #3
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im in the same situation with you before i got my folder. i have a mountain bike from college and now live in an apartment and just have no room. im sure the veterans will give you a more detailed response, but from what i initially gathered, the 20" will ride like a full size bike vs the 16" though the 16" will be more compact on folding and storage. in my case, after checking all the info here, i went for the downtube 9fs for a little over $400. a little bulky due to the full suspension, but worked well with my apartment and storing it inside.
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Old 08-29-09, 06:39 AM   #4
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Go retro. Fix up a Raleigh 20. Once you go retro, you'll never go forward.
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Old 08-29-09, 07:57 AM   #5
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Check out your local Craigslist for deals.
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Old 08-29-09, 08:55 AM   #6
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what do you need to bike to do?
So far it sounds like a 16 or 20" Dahon or Downtube would suit your Budget best and still get a decent bike.
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Old 08-29-09, 09:16 AM   #7
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+1 on a bike w/ 20" wheels. You don't need 16" wheels just for storing in your apartment and 20" wheels will be cheaper in the long run (and probably the short run too) due to the compatibility w/ BMX bikes.

I haven't personally tried a Citizen, but I give two thumbs up to a Downtube.
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Old 08-29-09, 10:50 AM   #8
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Downtube Nova.

Because I want to see a first hand review.

Seriously, though, I think the Nova offers a great value for the $$.
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Old 08-29-09, 11:18 AM   #9
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Downtube Nova.

Because I want to see a first hand review.
+1

Yes, you must get a Downtube Nove, now! Anything else would be wrong. Buy it now!
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Old 08-29-09, 12:39 PM   #10
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+1

Yes, you must get a Downtube Nove, now! Anything else would be wrong. Buy it now!
Hmm! Do I detect a note of sarcasm?
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Old 08-29-09, 02:35 PM   #11
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Hmm! Do I detect a note of sarcasm?
No, but we need a review.

Therefore he must buy it!

Seroiusly it look great value for money
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Old 08-29-09, 06:39 PM   #12
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Go for sex appeal, practicality is silly. Think Daphne vs Velma.



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Old 08-29-09, 07:12 PM   #13
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Thanks, guys! Hadn't heard of the Downtube, so I'll check those out.

I commute eight miles each way via public trans. I'm looking for a bike that I can ride in case the trains aren't running, or that I can take with me and have the option of riding home some days. It's all paved in both directions. (Weight is a consideration, I guess, although I know I can't afford the super-light models.)
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Old 08-29-09, 09:41 PM   #14
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After reading a few hundred posts here (not kidding), I think I'm going to go with the Citizen Tokyo for a starter folder. I'm going to sleep on it.
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Old 08-29-09, 09:41 PM   #15
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ridethisbike.com has an EZpack folding bike...good for 5 miles +/-

i paid 130 for one.

i usually ride my road bikes to commute. but its 20lbs, 12"wheels and does fine over train tracks.

nice for what ive used it for: quick city riding. folds very small too
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Old 08-29-09, 11:37 PM   #16
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If you are going on the bottom dollar route, you might wanna consider this too, http://www.amazon.com/Schwinn-Loop-7.../dp/B000Y2PRTI
If you end up not liking it, I think Amazon pays shipping going back.
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Old 08-30-09, 02:42 AM   #17
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After reading a few hundred posts here (not kidding), I think I'm going to go with the Citizen Tokyo for a starter folder. I'm going to sleep on it.
My understanding is that the Tokyo has quite poor gearing and handling, and is very heavy. (see here). If you need inexpensive, reconsider a Downtube. And 16" wheels will do nothing for you: go 20".
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Old 08-30-09, 02:54 AM   #18
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I'm going to leap in with the same question as the first responder to the thread.

What kind of riding do you do?

Hard core hammer exercise miles and miles from home?
Easy rides, close to home?
Utility rides to the store to pick up milk?
Commuting to work?

There are a lot of folding bikes and some fill a niche better than others.
Figure out what your riding goals or mission is and then work around that.

John
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Old 08-30-09, 03:09 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXChick View Post
After reading a few hundred posts here (not kidding), I think I'm going to go with the Citizen Tokyo for a starter folder. I'm going to sleep on it.
sleep on it and make sure that when you wake up citizen tokyo is not by your side. speaking from someone who had a citizen tokyo. although it is nice looking, features are quite limited and once you have it you will think twice on why you bought it. first - it is so slow, secondly - it is heavy, thirdly - components used are so so. getting frustrated with its gearings, i decided to checked CL and found a dahon boardwalk d6 and never looked back. when i test rode the boardwalk i could tell the speed difference right away from my tokyo. bought the boardwalk for only $125 but well worth it........ with respect to citizen tokyo - it brought me to the folding bike world and to this forum....that i will be forever grateful to my tokyo...

Last edited by vmaniqui; 08-30-09 at 03:30 AM.
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Old 08-30-09, 03:23 AM   #20
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I would go for the Downtube Nova. You are unlikely to be able to test ride it ,but it should ride alot like a dahon speed or simular.
This would be an excellent start. You are not likely to be disappointed like you could well end up being with the Citirzen. It is also likely that you will get a good return on the Nova should you sell it.
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Old 08-30-09, 09:23 AM   #21
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Since you're new to the folder world, go to some local bike shops and try a few different bikes. Both 16" and 20" are ride-able. With 16", you will get a smaller fold.
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Old 08-30-09, 01:10 PM   #22
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So your type of riding will be "multi modal", meaning you are probably going to combine the train with riding some of the distance on the bike. In this case, a 16" wheel bike might be best as it will more more compact, and reduce the chances of bumping into the train passengers when you board it.

If you choose the Tokyo, be sure to take it to a bike shop, and have them give it a complete tune up. This will assure that the bike will function as it needs to.

Another 16" model you should probably look at if you're willing to invest some more money, and still stay below the $300 mark is the Kent Compact Nexus which comes with a 3 speed internal gear hub, and fenders, and a rack just like the Tokyo. This bike appears to be a good candidate for multi modal commuting, and a few pounds lighter than the Tokyo to boot.

Here is the link: http://ridethisbike.com/products/Ken...lding-bike.htm

This bike is available from other dealers online too, but Larry (the owner of RideThisBike) is very helpful.

Good luck in your search.

Edward Wong III
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Old 08-30-09, 01:30 PM   #23
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I haven't bought anything yet. I'm not going to go with a 20" bike. After watching numerous videos online with people folding and carrying the 20" models, I'm just not going to do that. I'm short and a small person. I can't lug around something that size.
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Old 08-30-09, 01:37 PM   #24
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hmm... I'm actually selling a Citizen Tokyo in very mint condition(the bike probably has been ridden for less than 10 times total, I personally rode it for 4 times) for $100 bucks, but I'm in CT...

The tokyo is pretty good for the price, few things I've noticed when I used it:
- it is a bit heavy for carrying up & down the stairs, if you intend to use it on subway, I'm pretty sure it'll get your heart rate up carrying up & down the stairs unless you have very strong arms.
- the handlebar stem does not seem to be as stiff as those higher quality(priced) folders.
- the low gears are almost too low, I basicallly just left it on the highest gear all the time. but then again I just bought a single speed folder, so that might just be my preference
- built quality seems solid, although I have no long term experience with it and I didn't ride it much.
- the cables on it are easy to get tangled up when you unfold the bike, so gotta be careful there.

hope this helps.

edit: oh one more thing, it cannot be rolled when folded.

Last edited by shinew; 08-30-09 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 08-30-09, 02:22 PM   #25
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I haven't bought anything yet. I'm not going to go with a 20" bike. After watching numerous videos online with people folding and carrying the 20" models, I'm just not going to do that. I'm short and a small person. I can't lug around something that size.
I own a Tokyo. On the good side, it does fold a bit smaller than a 20" bike. This is one of the reasons I like my bike - it fits in a very small closet. But it IS heavy, so you may find that the smaller size doesn't help when you carry it. I'm willing to carry mine a block or so, but no further. And I have to agree with what vmaniqui and shinew have said about the gearing - it is too low and too slow. I'm improving that by changing my gears, and will report how that works in a few weeks.

Finally, take seriously edwong3's advice about taking your new bike, whatever you get, to a local bike shop for a check-up and tuning. I wish I'd done that with my Tokyo - would have saved me some trouble and expense.
Quote:
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oh one more thing, it cannot be rolled when folded.
Yes it can, but there isn't a good handle for pushing or pulling. The seatpost is at the wrong angle and so are the handlebars. I'm thinking that a rope or strap tied at the hinge might work - haven't tried it.

Last edited by JCFlack; 08-31-09 at 06:13 AM.
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