To ease the discussion, I've punched the Downtube FS numbers into Sheldon's gear calculator. Numbers from:
And also attached the gear calculations for my Dahon Mu P8, whose gearing I really like:
Dahon Mu P8:
My own experience (having owned 2 (not Downtubes)) is that low-end cheap folders tend to have incredibly low gearing. I have no idea why. Incredibly frustrating. I got rid of my low end folder before knowing anything about gearing calculation. Now, I realise, it's just a matter of changing the chainring (or the whole crank if it's attached). Kicking myself for that. Moral: do the calculations before buying a bicycle; don't assume the gearing will be correct for you.
You would think that climbing hills in a bicycle with very low gearing would be pleasant: but it wasn't. The whole thing was so flimsy that it seemed to struggle with the effort more than I was.
(NB: this is not to imply that the Downtube gearing is low, or that the Downtube is a cheap folder. I'm just making a comment based on my general experience with other
(NB2: from eyeballing the numbers above, it would seem the Downtube & MuP8 have the same smallest and largest rear sprocket. But that the MuP8 has a 53T chainring, while the Downtube has 48, which explains the Downtube having a lower gear range. )
NB3: No idea on the Downtube Nova rear cassette, but this thread suggests the high gear inch is 61+. http://www.downtube.com/Folding_Bike...79,981#msg-981
Last edited by havm66z; 11-28-10 at 08:07 AM.
Reason: Added Downtube Nova information