Citizen Miami Review (2yrs), and Questions about the Dahon Boardwalk S1
First off, Hello! Looks like a nice forum here with plenty of knowledgeable people here!
I have a Citizen Miami (2009) 20in bike that I am looking to replace with something else. The bike is not terribly reliable for me. I have no car and so I use the bike in conjunction with the bus system to get to and from work with a daily biking distance of roughly 4 miles over flat terrain. To be honest, its been great only having to pay the bus fare, and no car insurance/gas! Sadly, in the city of Phoenix, being so sprawled out, on top of hot, it takes forever to get anywhere with our severely lacking and underfunded bus system.
My experiences with the Citizen Miami as a bike have been less than stellar. My biggest issue is the metal chosen for the screws, levers, and other mounting points. The cheap metal seems to strip away easily, and even bend. This makes it so the handlebar locking mechanism (along with all the others) can become loose, making the handlebars rock diagonally. Tightening the screw helps until it becomes stripped out due to the soft metal.
I am on my second bike from Citizen, as the first one's hinge on the frame snapped one day. It was just within the one year warranty mark, and thankfully, they replaced the entire bike. The customer service rep was excellent to deal with, and after stating that this is my main mode of transportation, agreed to ship me out a bike BEFORE I sent mine back. When I told the service person that I ride it every day as a commuter bike, they seemed surprised that it lasted this long. They were very easy to deal with, which was a nice surprise in this day. I wish more companies adopted their customer service ideals. Knowledgeable, helpful, understanding. I was VERY pleased with that part of the company.
Now, a year later, my second bike is having some severe issues. My rear rim keeps loosing spokes. I am able to bring it into true myself, but now with so many spokes missing, it won't stay in true (and to be honest, I don't trust the rear tire!) When working on the rear rim, I had issues putting it back into place, as there were no guides in the frame to hold it into position when tightening, making it so it could be off axis. Careful tightening and planning helped solve this issue, but it was annoying. The tread fell apart (it shredded in a way) and I was able to replace it with a BMX style tread easily enough. On both of the bikes I had, I noticed the gear cog would wobble when it was rotating, causing me to have to dial in the derailleur perfectly. When I pedal, I hear a weird grinding noise coming from the rear cog. The seat post likes to slip down when it is locked into position (again, soft metal tightening screw, but also due to the Phoenix heat affecting the plastic sleeve). One of the fenders ripped horizontally and had to be removed (though in Phoenix, we rarely get enough rain to warrant its use), and the other fender's rivets have come undone. The brakes are hard to get aligned, and don't provide a great stopping action like I am used to on my mountain bike. Its not a huge deal to me as I will stop when needed, but I have to put a lot of force on the cable. I never felt comfortable to put my full force into the bike as it didn't feel sturdy enough and was always wobbly. I think most of the parts were made in China.
Other notes I have found that I think apply to any folding bike: The derailleur WILL hit the rack of the bus if you put it on the bus rack on the front of the vehicle. I used a bungee cord and lifted the derailleur up to make it so the derailleur wouldn't get bent or damaged. (It makes the chain loose, so be careful when taking off the cord!) However, the metal used in the derailleur is also soft and very pliable, add the heat again, and its even worse. Also, if folding the bike, I always make sure my derailleur is facing up away from the floor, or it goes out of whack. When unfolding the bike, I have to pay special attention and care to the cables so they don't get caught on various screws and posts.
In any case, I am afraid to use the bike now with so many missing spokes, let alone the added workout of the warped rim rubbing against the brake pads. I do treat my bikes pretty rough, so I am sure poor folder is pretty much saying "I can't take it any more!"
But now, I'm in need of a new folding bike. I'm getting teased on the bus for not having the "monkey bike" and even missing the bus when the bike rack is full (having to wait another 40 minutes in the heat for the next one!) I have been looking around, reading a lot on bikes, and am curious on your thoughts as a community are of the 2010 Dahon Boardwalk S1. Knowing that I am a rougher rider than most, I want a bike that is durable and reliable. Also, having had so many issues with the folding action affecting the gearing system by pulled cables, pressure on the derailleur, and other factors, I believe having a single speed bike will be fine for my use. I will pretty much only use the bike for commuting and shopping. I have a nice folding wire basket that I can mount to the rear rack. I just want something that is pretty simple that won't need me to make weekly adjustments like my Citizen does.
Does anyone know if the screws and levers of the Dahon Boardwalk S1 are durable? I haven't been able to find any information on what kind of metal is used. When I saw an Eco 7 in the store, I examined their locking systems and found them to be leaps and bounds sturdier than the Citizen (However, it had the exact same gear shift and derailleur as the Citizen). Can anyone attest to the build quality of the whole bike, and how it stands after a few years of use? Taller riders (I am 6ft, 130lbs), is the non move-able handlebar post okay? What about the single speed, is it geared well enough for regular rides, including the occasional hill? I have read some conflicting reports on various reviews/forums (like this one)/blogs. Most are pretty positive, but still, any information from Boardwalk S1 owners would be valuable!
Taking the plunge, but also looking to the futrue.
I went ahead an purchased the bike (Boardwalk S1). It should be to my local store in two weeks. I fully intend on upgrading parts over time, the first of which will probably be a Sturmey-Archer S2C duomatic hub (which means I would have to build my first wheel!). Two gears, no cable to stretch, no derailleur to bend, especially since I only really used two gears on my Citizen. The goal is to make the bike have as few cables as possible, and most preferably none (I will also likely remove the front brake.). The idea behind the purchase is to be a starting point for me to build the bike for me, since in all my research and looking at many different sellers, brands, prices, I couldn't find the bike I really wanted. May as well build it! A good frame, then add the components that I want. Good thing I got the bike on sale ($150) at Performance Bike.
As for my Citizen, I am debating if I should replace the rear wheel with a single speed just to have an extra folder around (would cost me around $50). I figure I can see if there are any BMX style bikes out on the curb, or check my local Goodwill for a rear wheel. I rather spend the money elsewhere though, like on the hub! Or I could try to sell the Citizen for cheap too.