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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 01-31-11, 11:26 AM   #1
AnnaDapple
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Citizen, Dahon, Downtube? Which one?!

Hi everyone!

So, I have decided I should really bike to campus, since my apartment is only 4.1 miles each way and driving there felt a bit ridiculous.

Therefore, I have decided to get a foldable, commuter bike.

Problem is, I don't know much about bikes and I can't test-ride any of these.

There is one bicycle shop in San Francisco that stopped carrying Downtube bicycles for this reason: 'We have been carrying Downtubes, but I'm not inclined to order any more of them until the manufacturer can show me that they'll reliably supply me with replacement parts. We have one that was damaged in shipping and have been waiting for several months now.'

What would you suggest I do in this situation? Any feedback, suggestions, advice would be very helpful.

Thanks!
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Old 01-31-11, 11:54 AM   #2
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Buy the folder from the shop you are most comfortable with and provides service parts. I for example have a 1993 Bike Friday and still can get parts from them. I also have some older Dahons and there are no parts available for them. I just got a newsletter from Bike Friday today. Otherwise this is the Ford vs GM vs Chrysler debate and there is not a correct answer only peoples opinions. Roger
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Old 01-31-11, 11:56 AM   #3
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Thanks Roger!

This is such a tricky situation, I'll check out the local store, they only have Dahons, but I don't want to out rule the Citizen though.
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Old 01-31-11, 12:24 PM   #4
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Downtubes are very solid bikes with good value. Great for someone just getting into folders. The parts used on Downtubes are very standard and widely available, so I'm not reluctant to recommend them. Dahons are good brand also.

Which area of the City are you riding along? Are there hills on the route? That will determine what type of bike you should look at. You will also want to consider the weight of the bike if you have to carry it up stairs or into the classroom (unless you have big biceps ).

Have you tried Warm Planet Bikes at the CalTrain station? They have a variety of folding bikes. Also, there are many Dahons on SF Craigslist right now for good prices.

I live in Half Moon Bay and own several folding bikes. You are welcome to test ride the ones in my collection to try different styles.
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Old 01-31-11, 12:51 PM   #5
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Sesame Crunch-

I live in the East Bay, Oakland area. I lift weights and play tennis, I'm buff!

That above quote with the Downtubes is from the owner of Warm Planet! I don't really know how to buy off Craigslist because I don't know what to look for if I go take a look.

Hey thanks for the offer! Might take you up on that =)
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Old 01-31-11, 01:15 PM   #6
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Sesame Crunch-

I live in the East Bay, Oakland area. I lift weights and play tennis, I'm buff!

That above quote with the Downtubes is from the owner of Warm Planet! I don't really know how to buy off Craigslist because I don't know what to look for if I go take a look.

Hey thanks for the offer! Might take you up on that =)
Hello Buff Tennis Lass, I see you are new and won't be able to P/M, but I might have the bike for you .. I'm in San Rafael .. shoot me an email ..
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Old 01-31-11, 01:26 PM   #7
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Alright, I only lift 8 lb weights.

What kind of bikes you got?
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Old 01-31-11, 01:34 PM   #8
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Buy the folder from the shop you are most comfortable with and provides service parts. I for example have a 1993 Bike Friday and still can get parts from them. I also have some older Dahons and there are no parts available for them. I just got a newsletter from Bike Friday today. Otherwise this is the Ford vs GM vs Chrysler debate and there is not a correct answer only peoples opinions. Roger
and what non standard parts you need for the Dahons ?
I might be able to help
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Old 01-31-11, 01:47 PM   #9
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Thor, any upcoming deals on your site? See Thor for a Dahon, he has the 3 speed Briza on sale.
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Old 01-31-11, 02:53 PM   #10
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Alright, I only lift 8 lb weights.

What kind of bikes you got?
"What kinda bikes don't you have?" would be an easier question for Maestro Bruce!
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Old 02-07-11, 06:39 AM   #11
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I'd give serious consideration to the Citizen bike line. I have a Citizen Tokyo and have traveled with it. I also have a Downtube but it's bigger and is not exactly a tidy fold. Citizen bikes are great to start with and you can always upgrade down the road.
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Old 02-07-11, 10:36 AM   #12
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I like my Tokyo, and like it better since I upgraded the gears - the original gearing was too low, too slow. The bike is sturdy, and the parts are standard, easy to upgrade or replace. Still ... when I can afford a better bike, I will replace the Tokyo. It is heavy for its size, and gears are still not ideal. Fold is reasonably good but the hinge is a bit flexy. AnnaDapple probably wouldn't have this problem, but I am at about the max weight for the bike, and to keep the seat from sliding down I have to tighten it too much for an easy fold - I'm sure a better bike would have a better seatpost locking mechanism. If you can afford a better bike, get one. If you can't, then a Citizen is not a bad stopgap until you can.
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Old 02-08-11, 02:06 AM   #13
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I have two Downtube Novas. One came a little damaged and I didn't have a good experience with Dr. Yan in getting that resolved, but the bikes themselves are fairly decent.

One misconception I had about these bikes was how small they will fold--it's not THAT small. I had crazy ideas of riding the thing to a supermarket, folding it up and taking it with me inside, but that's just not practical with this bike. Also, once folded, you have all these dirty parts (tires, chain, gear) exposed that make carrying it without dirtying yourself tricky. You should think about how you will handle the bike once you get to campus (there's alot of quick release parts [i.e. quick theft parts] if you're considering locking it up). For me, the "fold" just means I can put it in the trunk of my car and take it to the beach more easily.
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Old 02-09-11, 09:52 AM   #14
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I'd give serious consideration to the Citizen bike line. I have a Citizen Tokyo and have traveled with it. I also have a Downtube but it's bigger and is not exactly a tidy fold. Citizen bikes are great to start with and you can always upgrade down the road.
Thanks Niked! I might just get a Citizen, but I wish I could test ride one first
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Old 02-09-11, 09:53 AM   #15
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I like my Tokyo, and like it better since I upgraded the gears - the original gearing was too low, too slow. The bike is sturdy, and the parts are standard, easy to upgrade or replace. Still ... when I can afford a better bike, I will replace the Tokyo. It is heavy for its size, and gears are still not ideal. Fold is reasonably good but the hinge is a bit flexy. AnnaDapple probably wouldn't have this problem, but I am at about the max weight for the bike, and to keep the seat from sliding down I have to tighten it too much for an easy fold - I'm sure a better bike would have a better seatpost locking mechanism. If you can afford a better bike, get one. If you can't, then a Citizen is not a bad stopgap until you can.
Understood, what about the Dahons? The Eco or the Curve? Are they that much better than the Citizen?
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Old 02-09-11, 09:54 AM   #16
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I have two Downtube Novas. One came a little damaged and I didn't have a good experience with Dr. Yan in getting that resolved, but the bikes themselves are fairly decent.

One misconception I had about these bikes was how small they will fold--it's not THAT small. I had crazy ideas of riding the thing to a supermarket, folding it up and taking it with me inside, but that's just not practical with this bike. Also, once folded, you have all these dirty parts (tires, chain, gear) exposed that make carrying it without dirtying yourself tricky. You should think about how you will handle the bike once you get to campus (there's alot of quick release parts [i.e. quick theft parts] if you're considering locking it up). For me, the "fold" just means I can put it in the trunk of my car and take it to the beach more easily.
Yeah, that's what the owner of Warm Planet in SF also said about Downtubes. The bike coming damaged. Really lighto? I was thinking I could carry it with me into stores too. Aghs.
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Old 02-09-11, 10:02 AM   #17
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I put mine in shopping cart (Dahon Speed TR) all the time. Costco shopping cart... plenty of room (oversized shopping cart). Von's, Ralph's, etc (standard size) - just fine. Target, K-mart, Walmart (standard to slightly smaller) - just fine. Trader Joe's (smaller size) - I can put the bike in but... it's rather awkward as well as no space to put anything after.
I've yet to be refused of entry once I fold it up and put it in shopping cart at stores. I would think something with 16" wheel can probably accomodate even the smaller shopping cart fine... (or roll along...)
I did test ride folding bicycle concept for about month to two using really cheap (free to me... used to be $70 no name imported folding bike that was slow as snail with very awkward fold) to see if it's doable. Once I found it is possible, test rode few around and stuck with Dahon for it's value vs. quality of ride.
Very nice bike. I do 30 miles on it daily during weekdays.
I did save enough for spanking new Bike friday in the mean time but hasn't pulled trigger as I found I am not folding it as much as I thought for one... and the ride is more than adequate is another. Someday...
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Old 02-09-11, 10:05 AM   #18
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If you want to carry them into stores etc then I would recommend looking at a Brompton.

The fold is very small and all the dirty parts remain in the center. When folded and standing on the floor neither wheel/tyre touches the floor either, as there are two small rolling wheels on the frame and one on the top of the rear mudguard.

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Old 02-09-11, 10:11 AM   #19
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I put mine in shopping cart (Dahon Speed TR) all the time. Costco shopping cart... plenty of room (oversized shopping cart). Von's, Ralph's, etc (standard size) - just fine. Target, K-mart, Walmart (standard to slightly smaller) - just fine. Trader Joe's (smaller size) - I can put the bike in but... it's rather awkward as well as no space to put anything after.
I've yet to be refused of entry once I fold it up and put it in shopping cart at stores. I would think something with 16" wheel can probably accomodate even the smaller shopping cart fine... (or roll along...)
I did test ride folding bicycle concept for about month to two using really cheap (free to me... used to be $70 no name imported folding bike that was slow as snail with very awkward fold) to see if it's doable. Once I found it is possible, test rode few around and stuck with Dahon for it's value vs. quality of ride.
Very nice bike. I do 30 miles on it daily during weekdays.
I did save enough for spanking new Bike friday in the mean time but hasn't pulled trigger as I found I am not folding it as much as I thought for one... and the ride is more than adequate is another. Someday...
You know your shopping carts! Now that I think about it..Costco and Target are more than 4 miles away from me, I can't bike there anyways. But you can do 30 miles daily? That's awesome!
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Old 02-09-11, 10:11 AM   #20
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If you want to carry them into stores etc then I would recommend looking at a Brompton.

The fold is very small and all the dirty parts remain in the center. When folded and standing on the floor neither wheel/tyre touches the floor either, as there are two small rolling wheels on the frame and one on the top of the rear mudguard.

Regards

Jerry
Thanks Jerry, I'll check the Bromptons out, I was thinking Dahons, since the bike shops near me actually carry those. But I haven't asked about Bromptons yet.
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Old 02-09-11, 10:19 AM   #21
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All the info is here.

http://www.brompton.co.uk/

British made, so probably harder to get your side of the pond. Also very expensive

Regards

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Old 02-09-11, 10:24 AM   #22
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There is a Jetstream from Dahon on CL in Sf for $525 great deal.
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Old 02-09-11, 10:31 AM   #23
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All the info is here.

http://www.brompton.co.uk/

British made, so probably harder to get your side of the pond. Also very expensive

Regards

Jerry
Thanks Jerry. Yikes, I'll ask my local bike shop and see if I can test ride.
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Old 02-09-11, 10:31 AM   #24
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There is a Jetstream from Dahon on CL in Sf for $525 great deal.
Is that really a good deal? Maybe I'll contact them
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Old 02-09-11, 10:40 AM   #25
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If you want to carry the bike around, it's another argument for 16" wheels. Here's a picture of my 5'4" niece on my Downtube Mini, which has 16" wheels, with an 8 speed internal hub. It rides nicely and is smaller folded than 20" wheels.



You can get a sense of the fit of the bike, and again, are welcome to try it out.
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