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  1. #1
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    Folding bike for the bus and shopping carts?

    Hi all,

    Looking to explore the wide world of folding bikes. I used to ride one as a kid, but have since moved on to road bikes for sport, and fixed gears for play. I have made it a personal goal of mine to go car-less as much as possible for my commutes/errands. So here I am.

    I've planned out a commute to work that would involve taking the bus, and I am familiar with enough stores in my area that I could easily bike to them.

    Now I just have to figure out which bike to get!

    - My budget is $1000 or less

    - I would like to have at least 3 gears (there are always some hills to tackle in Utah...)

    - So far, I have been looking at:

    1. 2008 Models of the Dahon Mu XL/Dahon Curve SL

    2. Current model of the Dahon Mu P8

    3. Xootr Swift

    All seem like pretty good choices, so of course I am having a hard time settling on just one.

    If I were to rate my own priorities for this bike, it would be:

    1. Lightness/Foldability (I know the Xootr swift fails in this regard, but could I get away with it on the bus/on a standard size shopping cart?)

    2. Ride Quality (This is a close second, since I can see myself taking my folding bike for ~15 mi. rides- Xootr Swift wins I guess, but are the Dahons that much worse?)

    3. Durability/Required Maintenance - I enjoy being my own mechanic for my road and fixie bikes, so I don't care so much about what needs fixing as long as it's possible to fix it!

    4. Aesthetics - I really don't care how it looks!

    Thanks again for any help, I do appreciate it!

  2. #2
    AEO
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    portability of a dahon is not bad, but getting the handlebars to fold up properly is slightly tricky, which could be a demerit for trying to fold it up before the bus arrives.

    ride quality for dahons are not bad at all. Although you might want to change out the tires for quality 1.75" over the standard dahon 1.5" tires.

    there are a few key maintenance points on the dahon, but nothing a home mechanic can't do. Hinges and latches can all be serviced by regular tools.

    My only real complaints about dahon are the seatpost setback (not enough in my case) and front wheel (replacing the front can be a hassle).
    I can't really say too much about the swift.
    Last edited by AEO; 04-13-11 at 04:20 PM.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
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  3. #3
    jur
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    I think you should go for a used Brompton.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  4. #4
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    If you can load the bike into the bus cargo hold then any bike with 20" wheels would be fine, even non folding bikes. If you have to take the bike on board in the passenger area I would say 16" or 18" wheels are a better choice. Either way Xooter Swift does not fold as compact as Dahon. Remember other people on the bus won't want to come into contact with your bike.
    2000 Montague CX, I do not recommend it, but still ride it.
    Strida 3, I recommend it for rides < 10mi wo steep hills.
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    1996 Birdy, Recommend.
    Wieleder CARiBIKE (folding), decent frame.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jur View Post
    I think you should go for a used Brompton.
    Oh man that would be sweet. Is there an online marketplace for them or do I need to scour ebay? Unfortunately the craigslist here in Utah is extremely sparse for folding bikes, let alone bromptons!

  6. #6
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    The shopping cart thing. . . I tend to think most folding bikes are too big and dirty to sit happily in shopping trolleys, if that's what you mean. One of the main reasons I'm hoping to become properly bonded to my Brompton is that it can function as a shopping trolley itself. . . whereas taking Dahons into shops is trickier.
    I doubt local supermarkets would be happy with me putting a bike in a shopping trolley unless it was bagged, and the whole bagging process is a PITA (the bag itself is bulky).

    As for public transport, if it's likely to be really crowded then all folding bikes are bigger than one would desire, and even a Brompton can be awkward.
    I reckon if a compact fold is what you're after go for a Brompton. If you can make do with a reasonably compact fold and would like better gearing go for a Curve.

  7. #7
    BikingYupik BikeKraft's Avatar
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    shopping carts are probably dirtier than your folder.
    a driver's test is not an IQ test

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by themothman421 View Post

    1. 2008 Models of the Dahon Mu XL/Dahon Curve SL

    2. Current model of the Dahon Mu P8

    3. Xootr Swift

    All seem like pretty good choices, so of course I am having a hard time settling on just one.

    If I were to rate my own priorities for this bike, it would be:

    1. Lightness/Foldability (I know the Xootr swift fails in this regard, but could I get away with it on the bus/on a standard size shopping cart?)

    2. Ride Quality (This is a close second, since I can see myself taking my folding bike for ~15 mi. rides- Xootr Swift wins I guess, but are the Dahons that much worse?)

    3. Durability/Required Maintenance - I enjoy being my own mechanic for my road and fixie bikes, so I don't care so much about what needs fixing as long as it's possible to fix it!

    4. Aesthetics - I really don't care how it looks!

    Thanks again for any help, I do appreciate it!
    I thnk more important is the bus situation. Is the bus packed and do you have any idea where you're going to place the bike once inside. There is no way you can put the folder on the seat next to you. I have never been on a bus where you can put the bike under the seat in front or between your legs. Maybe the CarryMe or Strida might be able to get away with this but Dahon or Brompton cannot.

    If there is an overhead rack on the bus, you might have some luck. Some folders can fit there like the CarryMe, Strida and maybe Brompton. Many think you can just go to the back but if the bus is packed, that might not be an option. City buses sometimes have a space between the rear door and the seat in front. In general, you may have to bring a cover just in case.

    Also, how far is your mult-mode commute? If it's under two miles, why not get a kick scooter like the Xootr or maybe even the Strida. I know you're looking for ride quality and performance but boarding a bus with a large folding bike each morning will get old fast if you have to stand in middle of the cabin picking up the folder each time someone gets off or having the deal with all the comments. A stick folder like the Strida or CarryMe will be much easier in the long run than a suitcase size folder.

  9. #9
    Bike Nerd Mr. Jim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jur View Post
    I think you should go for a used Brompton.
    +2

    Now as to how to locate one at a decent price. I looked into this last year before settling on something else. Here are the steps you need to take.

    1. Make friends with someone from the UK either here or on another forum. I already had a bunch so this was the easy step for me
    2. Look here, http://www.gumtree.com/for_sale/leis.../brompton_bike
    3. Be careful of a really low price, some are scams,some are stolen
    4. send your buddy money, have him purchase it and ship it to you.
    5. Still cheaper than a used US Brommie.


    BTW I didn't follow through with this, but passed it along to a buddy else where, he paid U.S. $500 plus $150 for shipping etc for a used M style brommie.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Lalato's Avatar
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    If you're in the Salt Lake area, the buses are rarely so crowded that bringing your folding bike on board is an issue. I take the bus to work every day here in SLC, and I just started riding again now that it finally stopped snowing (though the threat of snow tonight is making me rethink that decision).

    While I agree with others that a used Brompton would be best for bus and shopping, it's not so easy to get a used Brommie in Utah. The bike I use for multi-modal commuting (bus, Trax and bike) is my Bike Friday Tikit. It's not as perfect for your needs as a Brommie, but it handles most of your needs well.

    As for the bikes you listed, the smaller the bike, the better... so my recommendation would be the Dahon Curve. The other two bikes will work, but the Curve will be the friendliest for the bus on those rare occasions when the bus in SLC is crowded.

  11. #11
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    Thanks everyone for the suggestions, nice to see a fellow Utahn here as well!

    The tikit and a used brompton sound like amazing rides, I might have to see if I can hold out for one...

    I also saw some positive comments about the CarryMe, but I can't get over how small those wheels are!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by chagzuki View Post
    The shopping cart thing. . . I tend to think most folding bikes are too big and dirty to sit happily in shopping trolleys, if that's what you mean. One of the main reasons I'm hoping to become properly bonded to my Brompton is that it can function as a shopping trolley itself. . .
    Bromptons fit excellently inside most shopping trolleys. There's just enough room to place the bike, the bag, and a shopping basket. Fill the basket, transfer to the bag in the checkout line, reassemble outside, you're done.

    They also make a decent shopping trolley, esp. if you get a rear rack (I neglected to). Putting them in a bigger cart is more efficient, for me, in most cases, since without the rack the stability of the bike with a load in the bag is an issue.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Jim View Post
    +2

    Now as to how to locate one at a decent price. I looked into this last year before settling on something else. Here are the steps you need to take.

    1. Make friends with someone from the UK either here or on another forum. I already had a bunch so this was the easy step for me
    2. Look here, http://www.gumtree.com/for_sale/leis.../brompton_bike
    3. Be careful of a really low price, some are scams,some are stolen
    4. send your buddy money, have him purchase it and ship it to you.
    5. Still cheaper than a used US Brommie.


    BTW I didn't follow through with this, but passed it along to a buddy else where, he paid U.S. $500 plus $150 for shipping etc for a used M style brommie.
    Wow, I need to make friends with a UK user I guess, haha!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by themothman421 View Post
    Wow, I need to make friends with a UK user I guess, haha!
    Agreed.

    A Brompton for 250 BPS???

    I still think the OP will be left buying a Dahon in the end. Probably a 20' inch folder too.

  15. #15
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    Rats, I saw a Brompton for $700 on a CL in Alabama, I have a friend down there that could get it for me. Apparently, the guy sold it right before I called! Dammit!

  16. #16
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    I have a Dahon Boardwalk, and when folded, it fits quite nicely under my bus seat. As for shopping carts, even though I can store it underneath, it often is too hard to get under there and out because of the pedals. Often I just but it in the basket (and get funny looks from the rest of the shoppers) If you are taking the bike on the bus, I'd suggest a bike WITHOUT an external shifting system. In my opinion one with a hub shifter would be better, as your bike WILL get banged up leaving you having to replace and repair the deraileur frequently (at least I have in my experience).

    I love my Boardwalk. Its easy to ride and take care of. I've taken it up some pretty tough hills too, and although it takes effort, its still very doable.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by camroidv27 View Post
    I have a Dahon Boardwalk, and when folded, it fits quite nicely under my bus seat. As for shopping carts, even though I can store it underneath, it often is too hard to get under there and out because of the pedals. Often I just but it in the basket (and get funny looks from the rest of the shoppers) If you are taking the bike on the bus, I'd suggest a bike WITHOUT an external shifting system. In my opinion one with a hub shifter would be better, as your bike WILL get banged up leaving you having to replace and repair the deraileur frequently (at least I have in my experience).

    I love my Boardwalk. Its easy to ride and take care of. I've taken it up some pretty tough hills too, and although it takes effort, its still very doable.
    Interesting.

    An actual poster who uses a 20' inch wheel folder inside the cabin of a bus. I agree that in this case, an internal hub gear would be almost necessary since the bike will get banged up in a bus especially if you have to put it in a bag roll it on the side to get it under a seat.

    However, I believe the 7 or 8 speed Dahons cost alot so the OP may have to go with a three speed. When the Curve SL was an 8 speed, the cost was nearly 1K!

  18. #18
    AEO
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    the dahon neos RD, which is stock on just about all of the 16" and 20" dahons, is surprisingly rugged.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeKraft View Post
    shopping carts are probably dirtier than your folder.
    +1

    I do this occasionally in London, and never had any problems, except for quizzical looks, as it's an unexpected object in a shopping trolley.

    However, if anyone did take me to task (and why should they, I'm obviously there to spend money) I'd asked them why it was ok to have small, defecating humans (aka babies) in the trolleys.

    I've even done this at Whole Foods (yup, they have a few UK branches) which specifically says "no bikes", but security on the door just smiled as I loaded the bike into a trolley.

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