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  1. #1
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    Tall Riders of Downtube Novas: how is it really?

    Guys,

    I need a folder for commuting, allowing me to bridge a 2.5-mile gap between train lines. I'm not 100% I'll be doing this for years, so at least for now, I'm not looking to spend a ton of money.

    I was a pro bike mechanic back in college, so I don't mind a fixer-upper with good bones, but here in SoCal Craigslists, Dahons are about the nicest used folders out there and they go for around $250, give-or-take.

    On the other hand, Downtube Novas go for close to the same amount for new, and I know from reading old posts here that they're pretty highly regarded for the price, and technologically, they seem very very similar to the 5 year old Dahons I see on Craigslist.

    However, I'm 6'2" and 185 lbs, and Downtube says that the Nova isn't recommended for riders over 6 feet tall, and I'd love to know why that is.

    I can see that the Nova's seatpost is 550mm long, allowing for a "Maximum saddle to pedal distance of 38 inches" (according to the Chinese manufacturer's specs at: http://www.truebicycles.com/contents/es/p180.html), which is one more inch than, say, a Dahon Speed 7, which says it's suitable for riders up to 6'4". Huh?

    I've superimposed photos of each on each other, can can see the Nova's handlebars don't pitch forward as much as the Dahon's, but the Nova's seat is angled farther back, so the overall seat-to-handlebar difference doesn't seem that much different between the two.

    So, tall riders of the Nova: please check in and tell me what the straight dope is for riding a Nova.

    I just need to go 2.5 miles each way, twice a day, in about 20 minutes each way, or not really any faster than 10 miles an hour, over flat terrain with just one turn. I'll need to lug it up quite a few flights of stairs, so the Nova's light weight and quick fold appeals to me, as does its price. I used to ride centuries on road bikes, FYI.

    Thanks for the advice,
    Warr

  2. #2
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    I own a Dahon Speed D7 and at 5'11" it's too small for me. It fits my 5'6" GF fine. There is a big difference between theoretically being able to pedal a bike and doing so comfortably enough you want to do it on a regular basis. Your a fair bit taller than me so you'll have even more trouble getting a decent fit.

    I would definitely try before you buy if at all possible.
    safe riding - Vik
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  3. #3
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    Check out this Downtube and see how it fits http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sgv...216841775.html
    Speed Uno
    Dawes Kingpin 2speed

  4. #4
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    Speed Uno
    Dawes Kingpin 2speed

  5. #5
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    Dynocoaster: Thanks for the pointers, but the 9FS was sold on the first day it was posted, and the Expresso is a size Medium, and it doesn't really seem to fold small enough anyway. There are a few Dahon Speed 7's in San Diego that are around $250 or $300, which is Nova territory.

    Vik: So the Speed 7 was too small, you say. In what way? Not enough legroom? Handlebars too close, or too short? Balance all wrong? I'd love some insight.

    Thanks guys. Keep the thoughts and comments coming...

    Warr

  6. #6
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wernst View Post
    Vik: So the Speed 7 was too small, you say. In what way? Not enough legroom? Handlebars too close, or too short? Balance all wrong? I'd love some insight.

    Warr
    The distance between bars and saddle was too short. Weight distribution front to back was not ideal. I can and did ride that bike for a while, but within a few months I had bought a size large Bike Friday Tikit [~58cm effective TT] which I've owned for the last 3-4 years.

    I tried out a Dahon Curve at the time I bought the Speed D7 and it was so short [saddle to bars] I could only ride it a few blocks before giving up and looking for a a bigger frame.

    I think Dahons can be a great value for the right application if they fit. My GF is using the Speed D7 and although she doesn't love the cumbersome fold she likes the price [free!] and it fits her fine so she can ride it for several hours. We just don't fold it unless absolutely necessary.
    safe riding - Vik
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  7. #7
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    I never thought I'd come to see the advantages of being 5'6", but it definitely helps if you ride folders.

  8. #8
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCFlack View Post
    I never thought I'd come to see the advantages of being 5'6", but it definitely helps if you ride folders.
    Yes it does...opens up nearly all the options nicely...
    safe riding - Vik
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  9. #9
    2 Old 2 B New B spudston's Avatar
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    I'm 5'11 and ride a Mariner D7. I'm not sure if it's the same size as a Speed D7 but it's not too small for me. I once rode it 30 miles in one day. People are all "built" differently though. Some have longer (or shorter) arms, legs or torsos, so the only way to be sure is to test ride the bike.

  10. #10
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spudston View Post
    I'm 5'11 and ride a Mariner D7. I'm not sure if it's the same size as a Speed D7 but it's not too small for me. I once rode it 30 miles in one day. People are all "built" differently though. Some have longer (or shorter) arms, legs or torsos, so the only way to be sure is to test ride the bike.
    Very true. Most one size folders have short saddle to bar distances, but have seatposts that go up quite high favouring folks with long legs and shorter upper bodies.

    A test ride is the best way to know what will fit well.
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

  11. #11
    Senior Member jobtraklite's Avatar
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    Anther data point.

    I'm 6'2" and find that both the Dahon Speed P8 and MuP8 with the seat post set 1 inch from its max give me as comfortable a fit as any bike I've ever had.

  12. #12
    Senior Member JosephLMonti's Avatar
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    People keep mentioning their height, but I think referencing one's inseam and arm length would be more relevant.

  13. #13
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JosephLMonti View Post
    People keep mentioning their height, but I think referencing one's inseam and arm length would be more relevant.
    True....I don't have a measurement for you, but I'm 5'11" and my bikes tend to have a ~58cm TT and very little stand over [in a saftey bike frame]. So my legs aren't as long as my upper body.
    safe riding - Vik
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Foldable Two's Avatar
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    At 6'3" with a 6'6" arm span and a saddle to pedal distance of 39", I found the Dahon D7 and S1 seat posts a bit short. The reach of the D7 wasn't bad, but the S1 has only been usable with short bar ends, where my hands usually rest.

    FYI: I gave the RED S1 to our 13 yr old grandson this last weekend as a Valentine's Day present. His parents both have folders (Fridays) and packing his GIANT road bike into the SUV was becoming tiresome. He's about 5'6" right now, so it will work for him for at least several years.

    Lou

  15. #15
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    Hey guys, a follow-up.

    I found a local shop with a few Dahons, including a Speed 7. I took it for a nice test ride, and found it to be totally comfortable. I don't think I'd want to ride a century on it, but it was perfectly fine for me 6'2" frame for, say, a 5 or 10 miler easily.

    In fact, the distances seem about the same as my old (I guess they are now "vintage") mountain bike. It looks like the Nova has a slightly shorter stem-to-seat reach, but even so, I think it'll be just fine.

    Dr Yan hasn't been responding to my requests for some measurements, so I'll open a new thread about the Nova's exact measurements.

    Thanks guys,
    Warr

  16. #16
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    I'm shy of 6' and not tried any Downtubes. But I own two Dahon P8 series and must concur with Vik: they're much too short (handlebar to seat). As a result, they force a very upright position on me.

    I think it will depend on your preferred bike riding position. I'm not crazy racing bike guy, but I'm also not Mary Poppins, and the P8s make me ride more like Mary Poppins. Bromptons even more so. As a result I own a tikit.

  17. #17
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    Just wanted to post here in case anyone in search of an answer to this question still (like I was until I got my Nova a few days ago): I'm 5'11" and it fits me great - and I prefer a super upright position, which it has.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Pinigis's Avatar
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    The Origami Mantis will accomodate a rider up to about 6'4" and 38" maximum seat to pedal distance, with a full suspension, for similar money.

  19. #19
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    I would nt worry about it.
    I am 5"11 and my ns8 fitted fine. I estimated fitted up to 6"2.
    Not tried nova but extending seat posts and stem extender s are cheap enough. I fitted cut down upside down drops and a ultergra crank and sti. This is the best riding folding bike I have ever owned. Around 20.
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

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