For the last 6 months I have been looking, and reading about folders. I had made up my mind that I wanted one of two folders—the swift (I actually have read every post in that string) or the BikeFriday New World Tourist (there was a beautiful one on sale, and several on ebay). I wasn’t sure when it would happen, as I was waiting for some money to come in that would be earmarked for that. At any rate, 2 ½ weeks ago in my local craigslist, there was a Dahon Speed P8 for $300. I read everything I could about that bike, and decided it might be a great ‘first folder’. So I bought it. It was in great condition, and everything works well. I took it for a 10 mile first ride 10 days ago. My first impressions—the seat has GOT to go, and I don’t like the stock pedals. Yes, they fold, but they don’t have clips. I have been riding Looks or spd’s since Look put out their first pedal (the white one with red) about 25 years ago. I need to feel clipped into the bike.
I commute to work on a regular basis (50 miles round trip) on a fixed gear bike. I was riding it yesterday when I had a flat tire which damaged the tire. I limped to the bus stop and took the bus for the last 8 miles of my commute. This morning I decided I wanted to ride, so I might as well break in the folder. I moved the pedals from the fixie over, (I had already put a Specialized saddle on it), and rode to work.
I was pleasantly surprised. I was going faster than I expected to, and the range of gears was sufficient to actually get some speed up. The only guy that passed me going in to work was a guy on a cervelo time trial bike
I definitely need to do a couple of other tweaks—like bar ends. My bars are too close to my body, which makes climbing hard. Also, the bike is quirky when I stand up to go up hill—so I did most of the hills sitting down, which is counterintuitive (on the fixie, you grind and stand a lot).
I bought a rack for it (Thor) and a bag to ‘disguise’ it when I want to take it on the metro during rush hour. It is a bit on the heavy side, but I think I like it.
My search for a swift or a bike Friday is currently on hold, but my guess is I will be looking at those again in another year or so.