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  1. #1
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    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!

    Thank you!
    Last edited by camroidv27; 09-23-10 at 03:02 PM.

  2. #2
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    yes. dahon is a workhorse and pretty much reliable. check this out: http://www.performancebike.com/bikes..._1084816_-1___

    question : if you have a citizen folding bike why don't you fold it and hop in the bus instead of putting it on the front bike rack ?

  3. #3
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    a) That is the exact link I was looking at, and the Performance Bike shop isn't too far from me.
    b) I find it takes less time to put it on the bike rack than it does to fold it up. Although my morning driver has requested that the bike be folded so I can bring it on; he just thinks its cool. But sometimes I bring it on, sometimes I leave it on the rack. I figured I'd put that info out there for others to think about when putting their smaller wheeled bikes on the rack.

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    The S1 is slow and you cannot pedal backwards so I don't like it much for commuting. The riding position is really upright because the handlepost is close to the seat. I think your better off getting something else.
    Why buy 10 cheap bikes when one nice one will last longer!

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    As for the riding position, I actually enjoy riding upright, so that wouldn't be too much of an issue for me (riding my mountain bike right now has me longing for the folder)
    Slow on the other hand is a different issue. I assume slow would be < 10 mph? If so, then yes, too slow.
    And pedaling backwards might be an issue too, to line up my pedals when I come to a stop. However, less cables the better in my experience. I'm torn on that particular point.

    I am also considering the Eco 3... but am wary of its shifter. If I could find an internal 3 gear hubed bike with 20in wheels, that would be great!
    Last edited by camroidv27; 09-23-10 at 04:26 PM.

  6. #6
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    Incidentally, if a spoke breaks, you need to replace it or have it replaced; just truing the wheel with one less spoke won't cut it. As you've discovered, if you do that, more and more go, because that's not how wheels are designed. A spoke can go on any bike, so if you spend a bit more for a Dahon or Downtube, and you get a spoke breakage, make sure to get it replaced, or the same thing will happen.

  7. #7
    jur
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    Since you are using the bike as transport which needs to be reliable, why not get something of good quality? Why spend (ie waste) money on another cheapie? Remember the amounts you are NOT spending on fuel etc etc, not to mention the health benefits. So it does not make any sense to me that you want to buy another entry-level bike. They are simply not up to the sort of work you are meting out. Seems to me a Bike Friday or something along those lines is a sensible option for you. Save up if you can't afford it out-right.

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    @SammyBoy: Very good to know! Thanks! I should just replace them and see if I can limp along again.
    (The spokes on the Citizen, like the rest of the screws and parts, are also softer metal prone to stripping out)

    @jur: That's a lot of pennies to save! It is possible to do so, and I've seen around that Bike Friday gets good reviews. Something to consider as well, like Folder4Life's Sig says "Why buy 10 cheap bikes when one nice one will last longer!" If I end up having to buy a new bike per year, then after 6 years I would be at the same cost as a new Bike Friday. Will a Bike Friday last me 6 years? My old GT Palomar mountain bike lasted 10 years (with MANY repairs, and LOTS of abuse. I probably paid for that bike 3 times over in repairs.) before its frame finally gave way, and it wasn't too expensive (around the 300 range if I remember right)

    What I should do is go to a bike store and try some out.
    Last edited by camroidv27; 09-23-10 at 05:30 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Foldable Two's Avatar
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    OK, I guess I have some experience in this area. I'm 6'3" (200 lbs though - bet OP is 230, not 130, though) and I own a 2005 Dahon S1 and two Bike Fridays. I have owned the S1 for over four years and the Fridays are one and three yrs old.

    I have ridden the S1 a lot, but don't do it everyday. I have replaced a number of bolts with Hex style bolts. I have a Dahon specific Thudbuster seat post which gives a bit more height, so set at max height it comes near my needed 38.5"-39" seat to pedal distance. To get a more comfortable reach I installed mini bar ends and use them most of the time. I have also replaced the orig. V-brake and it's plastic lever with a low-end Avid set-up - it's lots better. I also have Tioga Pool Comp 1.75" tires. It's not a fast bike, but I am 67 and it's used mostly to go to the store or for social rides on Rails-to-Trails bike paths. After 4 years it's in great shape.

    The Fridays are different animals. One is a custom NWT - perfect fit for me and the other is a Pocket 8 (large frame) purchased this time last year and set-up similarly to the NWT. It's also a great bike. If I had never ridden a BF I could likely be happy with the Dahon. I am not hard on bikes and I maintain them pretty aggressively.

    The weak part of the S1 is the handle bar stem riser - something I never worry about on my Fridays. If I could have only one bike it would be my NWT (Dual Drive, 27-speed). If I were on a restricted budget, I'd select the Pocket 8 or a Pocket Companion (24-speed).

    Having read and participated in this Forum for over 5 years, I see many riders start with a "budget" folder and upgrade within a year or two to a higher quality ride - and multiple folders, too :>)

    If you can possibly afford it get a good one to start with - you'll be $ ahead. Sounds like a tikit or maybe a Brompton would work for your commute. At 230 lbs, you are at, or passed the limit for most folders. (I think the tikit has a heavy rider upgrade.)

    Lou

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    The Dahon S1 Boardwalk is a great little bike, offering a lot of Value for its small price. Its rugged, trouble-free, folds easily and if in the future you want to convert to it a 3 speed with a SA internal Hub, its a reletively inexpensive conversion(google utah trikes for a price). I bought one used for $75 last year(now stolen) and it was the best bike for the money I ever had. Go for it! They frequently turn up on CL(at least they do in my area) and can be had for under $100 used in good condition. The guy I bought mine from weighed around 240 pounds at 6'3" and he reported no problem with riding his Boardwalk as far as durability. And a year later he's still riding his Boardwalk with no problems.
    Last edited by miamimike; 09-24-10 at 01:35 PM. Reason: sp

  11. #11
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    If you're 6'3 and 230, consider a Downtube full suspension. It's likely that you can't get full leg extension on the Citizen, or indeed on any Dahon, and there are few folders which are really rated for your size. I've had my main FS for around 3 years, admittedly not riding it every day, but sometimes riding it great distances, and often carrying significant load beyond my own 6'3, 240lb ass, and it has not suffered so much as a broken spoke. I've replaced the tyres, for ones that resist punctures more and rolling less, and I added drop bars because I'm a tart, essentially, but it has been bulletproof.

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    Indeed I am 6ft at 130lbs, a string bean (naturally. skinny genes run in the family). Just means I don't have much to haul. I am comfortable in terms of height and reaching the pedals on my Citizen, but the seat is extended to its "MAX" mark.

    Seems like the overall census right now is:
    The Boardwalk S1 is a decent bike for its price, but I would get a lot more life and pleasure from a Bike Friday. Definitely need to ponder. Sadly, even though I don't have a car and can save that way, means it will be a few years till I can fully save for a nice Bike Friday bike.

  13. #13
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    There's a lot of ground in between those two bikes, and some very interesting beasts inhabit it. I don't think you need to pay Bike Friday money to get a bike that'll be a lot nicer than a Boardwalk.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Foldable Two's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sammyboy View Post
    There's a lot of ground in between those two bikes, and some very interesting beasts inhabit it. I don't think you need to pay Bike Friday money to get a bike that'll be a lot nicer than a Boardwalk.
    Agree - most folks do NOT start out with a Bike Friday. If you need a folder now, get one you can afford, now.

    Sorry about not believing your weight was 130 lbs - I am an American, and I don't think we have any citizens these days that are 6'3" and 130 lbs!!!

    Let us know what you decide to do.

    Lou

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    Quote Originally Posted by camroidv27 View Post
    I am on my second bike from Citizen, as the first one's hinge on the frame snapped one day.
    Thank you!
    Did you happen to take a picture of the break?
    If so could you post it?
    a driver's test is not an IQ test

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    The part that broke was the retaining portion for the locking pin. The pin fell out, meaning either it could fold on me while riding, or I would have to permanently keep the bike unfolded. Citizen, after I sent them these photos, recognized that it was a frame failure, and sent me a new bike. It looks like it was a weak weld.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    That's scary. Good thing you didn't get hurt. In the future, you will probably move up in bikes like the most of us. You should consider what you really want instead of worrying about the price since all bikes will pay themselves off eventually (at least I think so!) in good health, transportation, back up transportation, trips etc....
    Why buy 10 cheap bikes when one nice one will last longer!

  18. #18
    BikingYupik BikeKraft's Avatar
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    Thanks for the photos.
    So, did this happen while locking the frame open,
    or worse, while underway?
    a driver's test is not an IQ test

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    It happened while riding. I had been hearing creaking stresses in the frame for a while, and when pushing myself up a slight hill, I heard a snap. Things got a little wobbly, and I noticed the hinge moving, so I stopped and walked the bike the rest of the way to work. I walked back a bit and found the little loop part laying on the ground in the bike lane. Trust me, it was a lot better than my old GT Palomar frame snapping in two!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by camroidv27 View Post
    It happened while riding. I had been hearing creaking stresses in the frame for a while, and when pushing myself up a slight hill, I heard a snap. Things got a little wobbly, and I noticed the hinge moving, so I stopped and walked the bike the rest of the way to work. I walked back a bit and found the little loop part laying on the ground in the bike lane. Trust me, it was a lot better than my old GT Palomar frame snapping in two!

    Well now we have to hear that story too!
    a driver's test is not an IQ test

  21. #21
    Pedaling fool ShinyBiker's Avatar
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    "When I told the service person that I ride it every day as a commuter bike, they seemed surprised that it lasted this long. " LOL

    When I first got into folding bikes, one of my first was a Boardwalk S1. It was great, but I had to return it b/c I found that I needed more gears in my somewhat hilly area. However, knowing that Phoenix is flat, it should be good for you. Just find the gear that works best on your current bike and replicate it by changing the rear sprocket size and sheldon's gear calculator (http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears/). I would buy it from Performance since they have a 100% satisfaction guarantee. You can try it out for a few weeks then return it if you think it's substandard.

    It sounds like you're putting a lot of stress on your rear wheel. Have you considered a BMX wheel? They're readily available and are built to take abuse. A lot of kids are selling their BMX bikes on CL all the time. Personally, I'd be nervous putting a Bike Friday on a bus rack everyday.

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    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.
    Last edited by camroidv27; 09-29-10 at 01:07 PM.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Foldable Two's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by camroidv27 View Post
    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.)
    It's not going to stop very well without that front brake. I upgraded mine to an Avid set-up including replacing the stock 'plastic' handle with a metal one.

    Lou

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    Quote Originally Posted by camroidv27 View Post
    Indeed I am 6ft at 130lbs, a string bean (naturally. skinny genes run in the family). Just means I don't have much to haul. I am comfortable in terms of height and reaching the pedals on my Citizen, but the seat is extended to its "MAX" mark.

    Seems like the overall census right now is:
    The Boardwalk S1 is a decent bike for its price, but I would get a lot more life and pleasure from a Bike Friday. Definitely need to ponder. Sadly, even though I don't have a car and can save that way, means it will be a few years till I can fully save for a nice Bike Friday bike.
    man, don't let people suck you into paying for a bike friday. a stock bf is about $600-700 more than the price of a boardwalk. they are about $900, to start.

    if you cannot afford that, then don't get it and don't feel pressured by the bf crowd, the brompton crowd, the moulton crowd, or the dahon crowd into paying more than you really want to or can pay.

    i would however say pay a little bit more for better quality - that's my motto with everything. but that doesn't mean 3-4x what you wanted to pay to begin with. i wish people would respect that. for some people, saving $1000+ dollars for a bike is difficult. it's not something everyone can do quickly and he seems to need a bike soon....

    you could get a dahon speed p8. it is made of steel (i believe) and is about $550 or so. the eco also is fine. downtube's nova also is at a good price. even the dahon espresso. these are perfectly good bikes.

    if you were going to buy a car and your budget was $12000, would you spend 3-4x that for "better" quality? no you would not (at least i hope you wouldn't). you would find the best you could at your budget. so, stick with your budget. when you make more money or can manage to save save save, get something that costs more or is better quality.

    also keep in mind that you may not want to do a daily commute on a $1000+ bike. i live in los angeles and my bike (vitesse) already attracts attention. i wouldn't want anyone to see me with a brompton, moulton or bf and think $$$$. people who steal bikes for a living know what they cost. i once saw a guy on the subway with a brompton and he looked like he was guarding it with his life.

    do what's best for you and your wallet. k?
    Last edited by merry2; 10-03-10 at 11:50 AM.

  25. #25
    Senior Member megavovan's Avatar
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    You can just buy a whole rear wheel with the hub already in it.
    I got this 3 sp set for my Dahon S1 a while back, just replaced rear wheel, ran a shifter cable to the back and it's been running great since...
    http://lightenupbikes.com/shimano-ne...el-silver.aspx
    Quote Originally Posted by _beaver_
    ...if i am cruising along on the road about 20 or so & some roadie on his bike zips by me real close while looking at me with a smirk.... race is on!!

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