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  1. #1
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    Newbie in need of immediate advice please :)

    Hello!
    I've recently relocated to Portland, OR and have been inspired by the bicycle culture here. I was forced to leave my mountain bike back home in L.A. and have been looking around on craigslist and the like for a replacement. After poking around on the web a bit, i've become enamored with the idea of a folding bike, and have more specifically set my sights on a Blanc Marine of France. As I am as new as it gets to the folding game, I was hoping for some first-hand advice on things to look out for. As it stands, the 16PM3 Blanc Marine seems well built and reasonably priced for a quality folder. Their 5 year warranty is also attractive. I don't need the smallest or fastest folder. I'm looking for a bike that will be comfortable for extended rides and be able to tote some luggage. I've been on the web for several days now reading about Bike Friday, Brompton, etc. These bikes sound great but are too pricey for my purposes. From what I've read about Dahon, they would seem a good alternative, only I read one thread by a guy who said his frame snapped unexpectedly after about 2 years and the bike was already out of warranty. I've been having a nasty time trying to find any information at all on the Blanc as it compares to other folders, as well as any user reviews. So please, if you have any information on these bikes, or can decipher anything from their website that i may have overlooked, i would be extremely appreciative! Thanks for reading, any advice at all is welcomed


    here's the one I'm partial to: http://www.folding-bike-performance....-16pm3.htm.htm

    (it is also available in a 20"- any thoughts on the pros of that model comparatively? I read something about increased tube availability for 20s)

  2. #2
    My legs hurt
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    I'd look elsewhere. The prices I saw for the link you posted were in Pounds Sterling / Euros. Can you get one of these locally? In any event, the specs don't really say anything specific and that always raises red flags for me. Probably the best thing for you to do is try to find a local dealer that has some (probably Dahons) for you to try out.

    I'm sure others here will chime in with specific model recomendations. I'm not that familiar with the details of Dahons, Downtubes, etc. -- All fine bikes, and worth looking at.

    I'm sure you can do better for the price than the Blanc Marine. What's your budget?

  3. #3
    jur
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    I am sure I have seen those bikes under other names. They are cheap mass-produced bikes from China originally named Aomeisi. See for example
    http://glasgow.gumtree.com/glasgow/70/53166370.html

    I would advise caution - this would be a below entry-level bike with the very cheapest of componentry on it. There are no reports here on these bikes but it is likely that they are a dodgy ride, such as very flexy frame, rear suspension that either bounces or saps pedaling energy... Also the gear range is very low, you'll be pedalling like a demented monkey at very modest speeds. And see that narrowing seat tube? Recipe for a cracked frame - too little seat tube holding on to a loooong seatpost. And how tall are you? That bike is suitable quite small people unless you like to ride very upright.

    May I recommend you look at the Downtube range instead? They have earned the reputation of great quality for the money. Or there are Dahons which are low priced but great quality. Have a look at Thorusa.com. You can rest assured that Dahon would not exist if their bikes snapped wholesale all over the place.

    Be advised that with folding bikes it is no different to conventional bikes - you get what you pay for. If you buy something with better quality you won't regret it.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  4. #4
    New usename ThorUSA brakemeister's Avatar
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    Hi thor here
    nothing about the other bikes in question
    just a not about the Dahon snapping in half statement ...

    All Dahons have 5 year warranty. All Dahons which get signed in the website or by mail from the owner have lifetime warranty.
    The Owners signs in himself but it is expected from the owner that he had a dealer ( any dealer) do a Pre delivery check on the bike he is signing in.

    Snapping frame ..I dont know about any one .... and I am pretty sure I would have heard about it :-)

    Thor

  5. #5
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    These prices are far too high for a bike of this (relatively low) quality.

    If you're looking for an inexpensive bike that's of good value, check out Downtube. Next up, look at Dahon. If you're willing to spend $600, Thor has a great deal: a Speed TR 2008. Your concerns about Dahon are misplaced.

  6. #6
    Senior Member GeorgePaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by feijai View Post
    Your concerns about Dahon are misplaced.
    +1.

  7. #7
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    Under those specific parameters, I would consider a Downtube Nova.

    Just my US$0.02

  8. #8
    Senior Member Foldable Two's Avatar
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    1) Go for 20" wheels - more practical if you are going to be doing longer rides.
    2) Agree, Downtube or Dahon are good choices for a first folder & on a budget.
    3) Caution, folders are not designed to be Mtn Bikes - unless you put down the bucks for a Bike Friday Pocket Llama.
    4) In Portland/Eugene area you have the opportunity to see and test-out lots of folders - Coventry Cycles has Dahon & Bike Friday, Clever Cycles has Brompton, Joe Bike has Abio, and if you go down to Eugene (120 miles to the South) you can visit the Bike Friday factory and the Center for Appropriate Transportation where one of the co-designers of the Swift makes the steel version - http://hpm.catoregon.org/?page_id=214
    5) Would suggest you look at an array of choices, so you can better evaluate the "entrance level" models.

    Lou
    Last edited by Foldable Two; 02-22-10 at 12:39 PM.

  9. #9
    Hooligan Abneycat's Avatar
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    Dahon bikes are quite fine. I own a Dahon Speed D7 and a Bike Friday Pocket Llama. True, the Dahon has got nowhere near the ride or outright durability that the heavy touring oriented Llama does but it also has nowhere near the price, offers a better fold, is still fun to ride about, and is perfectly durable for the urban riding it is intended for. Good value.

    As for the question between the 16" and 20" wheels, tire availability is considerably higher in the 20" size, yes. You can get things like winter tires, lots of folding tires, and top end tires in 20", and the tires are overall easier to obtain. That said, 16" has a very good selection and good quality tires are still available. Either size usually has what most people need, unless you're looking for something specific.

  10. #10
    Member BluePlate55's Avatar
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    FWIW, my husband and I both just got new Citizen Bike folders, and we're very happy with them! I was looking at Dahons originally, but the CBs were just much more affordable.

  11. #11
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    Thank you all so much for your advice and "$.02!" I obviously have some more research to do. Also, thanks for reassuring me about the Dahons- They seem a much better candidate now.

  12. #12
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    I'm surprised nobody's asked st.pansy about a budget. What are you willing to spend?
    Tour Journals, Blog, ride pix

    I'm in the celtic folk fusion band Baroque and Hungry. "Mended", our new full-length studio album, is now available for download.

  13. #13
    My legs hurt
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    ahem...

    Quote Originally Posted by bendembroski View Post

    I'm sure you can do better for the price than the Blanc Marine. What's your budget?

  14. #14
    Senior Member Foldable Two's Avatar
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    It's pretty safe to assume that when folks first come on here they are looking for "value" folders, and the bikes they are considering are normally a good clue as to their budget.

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