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  1. #1
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    In need of cheap folder bike

    Aaaaaaauuuugh!

    My brother, whom I love to death, does not ride bikes. However, he wants to ride my custom made, Bike Friday Pocket Rocket to the D.C. area to work every day, since I'm leaving my bike with him while I'm in Chicago. The thought of him riding my bike gives me the chills and makes me feel a bit faint, but the fact that he wants to ride makes me think I should help him. I've given him permission to ride my bike every day with a page long list of conditions, but a folding bike will be his Christmas gift. I know him, though. I'm not going to invest in a Pocket Rocket for him, but I thought a nice, cheap bike he can throw around would work for him. Something that's easy to fold. Did I mention it has to be cheap, by the way? He would need something with easy gearing, since he hasn't ridden a bike in so long, I don't think he understood what I was talking about when I tried to explain gear ratios and which gears he can ride and how to shift. I've never seen him ride a bike before. He's in his late 20's. I'm scared.

    Did I mention this bike needs to be cheap?

    Help all. I'm going to have a nervous breakdown if I hear he left it out in the cold, didn't secure it and it got robbed, shifted crazy and broke the drivetrain, rode it in the rain and left it out to rust, etc.

    Help!

    Koffee

  2. #2
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    The Dahon Boardwalk D6 sells for between $250 and $275. Dahon has dealers in most larger cities. LL Bean, and others sell this model "on line". Six speeds, including a "mega" gear for hill climbing. Fenders and rear rack are ideal for commuting. A carry-on bag is available for carrying the bike into work. It weighs about 26 to 28 pounds (although it is not clear that spec includes the fenders and rack). Dahon seems to do a good job of marketing to boat owners, as a number of marine suppliers also stock the Boardwalk.

    It was advertised at $252 at www.ahoycaptain.com/shop/bicycles.html


    There is a three speed version that might work on a "flat" commute. It has the advantage of enclosed gears, and less stuff to get out of whack or to adjust.
    Last edited by alanbikehouston; 11-26-04 at 10:55 PM.

  3. #3
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    This sounds cool. I did a little checking around on the internet. Does anyone have experience with the Birdy, btw?

    Thanks for the suggestion, alan!

    Koffee

  4. #4
    Senior Member royalflash's Avatar
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    never ridden the birdy but I think Alanbikehouston is right - the lower end Dahons are GREAT value for money- I have a Dahon Imulse D6 and it is a good little bike. The components are basic but adequate and it runs very well. I would recommend though that the hubs and BB (ball bearing type) are reassembled/readjusted after you buy it. My hubs particularly were adjusted too tight from the factory and more grease makes the hubs/bb run a lot more smoothly. Doing this really made it feel like a more expensive bike.

    It would probably also be a good idea to check the spoke tension on buying and after a few weeks as I read on the Dahon forum that someone had a spoke breaking problem after 3 months with their new Dahon Helios. Mine have been OK though.

  5. #5
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    I can make my brother take the bike in every few months for an inspection. I kind of don't trust him anyway with routine maintenance, which is why I'm freakin' about leaving him my bike. But again, I do want to encourage him to ride, and I want to make it easy on him... just not on my bike if I can help it!

    There was an Itzy Breezer at Interbike. Anyone have an idea about that one?

    Koffee

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    I had a Birdy Blue (the 3 x 7 gearing one) and it was an excellent bike. It had a riding position like a bigger bike and felt quite racey. Not Cheap though! I currently have a Dahon Speed TR and it is lovely. smooth and quick and I got it for £575-00 in the UK so I assume it'll be less in the US. Any questions on the Dahon and they have their own forum at http://www.dahon.com/forum/index.php

  7. #7
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    Thanks. I'll be checking through that forum.

    Today I go through the bike stuff with him. *gulp*

    Koffee

  8. #8
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    Koffee, I live in the Chicago Area, Does Metra require that your folding bike be covered to bring it on the train?

  9. #9
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    Spokes in Alexandria, Virginia has a Dahon Boardwalk. I don't know the price, but if you want him to go look at it, it is local. That's the bike I would recommend.

  10. #10
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    Velogirl, are there good bike shops out in Arlington? I'll be living close to Gleeb St.- just down the street from Best Buy.

    Is there a Performance store there too?

    For everyone else, I spoke to my brother's wife. It turns out he just wants to ride MY folding bike, but she thinks he wouldn't want a folding bike at all. So I have to get him another normal sized bike. I just have to decide if I'm going to get a hybrid or a mountain bike.

    Koffee

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    Koffee,
    There are quite a few good shops in Northern Virginia. I work in Alexandria, and am not as familiar with Arlington. I live in Maryland, and my favorite shop is Proteus in College Park, Maryland. Here are some shops in the area. You can google these for exact locations. There are more, for sure.

    Proteus, College Park, MD
    Revolution, Arlington VA and DC
    Big Wheel Bikes, Alexandria VA
    Wheel Nuts, Alexandria VA
    Spokes, Alexandria VA
    City Bikes, DC
    Capitol Hill Bikes DC
    Pro Shop, DC
    I like all of these. There is a Performance in Rockville, MD, but I have not been there. I'll keep an eye out for a guy riding your Bike Friday who looks like he shouldn't be!

  12. #12
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    Thanks! I'm going to check into these stores and see if any of them have some cheaper hybrids I can get my hands on for my brother.

    If you see a guy riding a small folder, tell him "God is watching!".

    Koffee

  13. #13
    Senior Member formulaben's Avatar
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    Koffee, I got my Dahon Speed P8 online from an ebay retailer for $429, with the "double play" travel bag and shipping included! The normal retail is $470, IIRC. The only changes I made were the quick-release pedals (the plastic folding pedals didn't appeal to me) and I added some bar ends. I have been away from home and put the bike to the test this week. So far, it is doing great. I may put smaller tires on it eventually, but other than that, it is a great deal for the price, IMO. Also, it folds super fast! Just email Phoebe at Folding Bikes Etc or call 800.906.7552 and she'll give you the details. She was very helpful with my purchase.

  14. #14
    Man About Town eff-J's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by formulaben
    Koffee, I got my Dahon Speed P8 online from an ebay retailer for $429, with the "double play" travel bag and shipping included!

    [snip]

    Just email Phoebe at Folding Bikes Etc
    Did they send you the bike pretty much "straight from the factory", or do they do any kind of set-up, tuning, etc., first?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by velogirl
    Koffee,
    There are quite a few good shops in Northern Virginia. I work in Alexandria, and am not as familiar with Arlington. I live in Maryland, and my favorite shop is Proteus in College Park, Maryland. Here are some shops in the area. You can google these for exact locations. There are more, for sure.

    Proteus, College Park, MD
    Revolution, Arlington VA and DC
    Big Wheel Bikes, Alexandria VA
    Wheel Nuts, Alexandria VA
    Spokes, Alexandria VA
    City Bikes, DC
    Capitol Hill Bikes DC
    Pro Shop, DC
    I like all of these. There is a Performance in Rockville, MD, but I have not been there. I'll keep an eye out for a guy riding your Bike Friday who looks like he shouldn't be!
    I like College Park Bicycles, also, as well as REI, which is in college Park and Northern Virginia.

  16. #16
    Senior Member formulaben's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eff-J
    Did they send you the bike pretty much "straight from the factory", or do they do any kind of set-up, tuning, etc., first?
    When it arrived, it was ridable after putting more air in the tires. The warranty isn't validated until you take it to a dealer to have a safety check, but I've put nearly 100 miles on it, and aside from a small tweak of the brakes, it was ready to roll. It has mountain style brakes and the back one was rubbing, so I turned the adjustment screws to center it. The folding mechanism is quick and easy; it beats the Bike Friday hands down on this one, but the BF is slightly more compact. When I get back from my trip I'll take it to the dealer for the validation and let you know how it goes.

  17. #17
    New usename ThorUSA brakemeister's Avatar
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    agree with formulaben
    usually a little extra air into the tires is all whats needed.

    The warranty is a little tricky thing, check on the Dahon website, I think you can enter the stuff there and have full warranty. I think this is in place, so even if you try real hard to find a dealer, but cannot find one, that the warranty is ok.
    This is a little tricky cause of liability issues, as well as dealer contracts dealers have with Dahon. Obviously Dahon would like to help the dealers to get business. But the most important part for Dahon is YOU the customer, therefore there will be no problem with warranty, in any case.

    brakemeister

  18. #18
    Man About Town eff-J's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brakemeister
    The warranty is a little tricky thing, check on the Dahon website, I think you can enter the stuff there and have full warranty.
    And just to clarify, you get a regular, five-year warranty on the frame only (including the hinge mechanisms) when you buy a Dahon, no matter where it's from or how it's set up.

    Having it tuned by a bike shop before riding it will extend that into a lifetime warranty for the frame and hinge (although really, how's Dahon gonna know if you've ridden it beforehand?). Note that the bike shop doesn't necessarily need to be local--you can buy from a place that tunes it before shipping it to you (like Better Bicycle supposedly does).

    It looks like registering on their website will do the same thing too, but I never seem to have my serial# handy when I think to do that.

  19. #19
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by koffee brown
    However, he wants to ride my custom made, Bike Friday Pocket Rocket to the D.C. area to work every day
    just be thankful he doesn't want to use your DeRosa.

  20. #20
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    It wouldn't even be up for discussion if that was the case.

    Koffee

  21. #21
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    Koffee,

    There is a Performance store in Arlington, VA (Bailey Crossroads) and another one in Springfield, VA (Springfield Mall).

    Javier
    Woodbridge, VA

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Javier
    Koffee,

    There is a Performance store in Arlington, VA (Bailey Crossroads) and another one in Springfield, VA (Springfield Mall).

    Javier
    Woodbridge, VA
    My brother lives like right off Gleeb Street... just down the street from the Best Buy. Is the Arlington store you're talking about close to that Best Buy? Because I can just go to that store and pick up the bike I'm getting for him there.

    Thanks for the info.

    Koffee

  23. #23
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    Koffee,

    The Performance store in Arlington, VA is located at the intersection of Columbia Pike with Route 7. There is a Best Buy across from the Performance store.

    I believe that the Best Buy you are referring to is located in Potomac Yard (Glebe Rd meets Route 1; close to Ronald Reagan National Airport). There is no Performance store there.

    By the way, I don't remember seeing any folding bike at those Perfomance stores.

    Hope this helps.

    Javier
    fortymlshot (at) yahoo (dot) com

  24. #24
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    Thanks. I'm not going for a folder bike for my brother- just getting a regular performance bike for him. I'll check with my sister-in-law once I get there and see which Best Buy you're talking about, since she works at Best Buy (probably not the location you're referring to).

    It does help. Thanks.

    Koffee

  25. #25
    meb
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    Quote Originally Posted by koffee brown
    Thanks. I'm not going for a folder bike for my brother- just getting a regular performance bike for him. I'll check with my sister-in-law once I get there and see which Best Buy you're talking about, since she works at Best Buy (probably not the location you're referring to).

    It does help. Thanks.

    Koffee
    The nearest Performance Bike is the one at Bailey’s Crossroad, which is 1-2 miles from Arlington down Columbia Pike in Fairfax County.

    The Performance Bike Stores in Springfield and Rockville are a little larger than the Bailey’s Crossroad store and are both within 1-2 blocks of Metrorail stations if that becomes an issue. My experience is the staff at the Rockville store tends to be a little more knowledgeable than the other Performance stores. They may have more selection at the Rockville store.

    Papilian Cycles is about ½ mile NE of the intersection of Columbia and Glebe, my understanding is they are mountain bike and bmx oriented. Ski Chateau is proximate Papilian.

    Where is he riding to and from-that might affect smoothness of bike trail/road or risk of theft?

    The Best Buy in Arlington is in Pentagon Centre 1 ½ miles north of Glebe Road. There is a Best Buy in Potomac Yard in Alexandria ½ mile south of Glebe Road and Arlington and a Best Buy at Seven Corners about 1 1/2 miles from Arlington at 50 and 7, maybe 2 miles from Glebe Rd.

    Bikes@Vienna is a recumbent and folder specialty shop. I know they carry Dahon and Breezer among their folding brands. Breezer have internal gear hubs which is often a plus for folders. The I7 model is about $500. Very knowledgeable owner and staff. When looking from 349 tires I noticed they have ISO 355 tires so they might sell Birdy’s. Birdy is an expensive high end touring folder, not quickly folded.

    The Spokes on Quaker Lane in Alexandria is about 1 mile down the Quaker lane from Shirlington and would be fairly close to the Glebe-Jefferson Davis Highway area that sounds most likely where your brother lives. There is a Spokes at Belle Haven which carries an Alexandria mailing address although it is actually about a mile south of the Alexandria-Fairfax line (smart mechanics at this store).

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