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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 12-08-11, 07:14 AM   #1
lynchpool
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I need a bike and some advice please

Hi I live in London and have just got a new job which requires a cycle-train-cycle commute. So a fold up bike is definitely needed.

I am 30 years old, male, 1.90cm tall, about 70kilos and healthy although I have not cycled regularly for a number of years.

I am looking forward to the cycle commute as I also see it as an opportunity to increase my fitness. The cycle parts of the journey are 2miles and 3 miles but include hills and backroads. I imagine these roads will also get quite icy in the winter but there is no public transport.



My employers have informed me they do not have a cycle to work scheme so unfortunately I am on a bit of a budget. However I am still more than happy to pay upto 500.

As a preference I would like mud guards and if possible a chain protector guard for my clothes although this is not a major issue.

I have been looking and have seen a Dahon Vitesse P18 2011 Folding Bike which seems like a good bike to me but I wanted to get some expert opinions. I seem to read differing opinions on Dahon bikes, some saying they are great and good value whereas others say they import their parts from taiwan, implying they are cheaply made and thus expensive for the quality you get ????

I do not mind what brand it is but I would like to know what some of your opinions are.

Many thanks for all your help,

Conor
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Old 12-08-11, 07:55 AM   #2
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Nothing wrong with Dahon bikes in general. Most of the complaints I see here have to with spare parts availability.

That said, aside from the icy road bit, Bromptons are ideal in London. In your budget, you should be able to get a good used one, and some luggage.
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Old 12-08-11, 10:22 AM   #3
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+1, a 2nd hand Brompton is a suggestion, I anticipate the fold
meets the size requirements for most rail connections.
And the spares for them are easily acquired, such as a bit longer seat post.

Use caution on Icy roads, motor traffic is on the same slick surface.
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Old 12-08-11, 03:21 PM   #4
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Dahon makes bikes with a wide variety of component grade level. The issues I find with the internet is that, people tend to lump issues with lower grade bikes being the fault of just one brand. Dahon is not the only brand that does this. Ultimately, you are looking at a budget bike, because you have a budget to keep. But everyone's expectation of a quality bike is different, which is why you get a variety of good and not so good reviews.
Is this a good a bike for your commute? I think so. Is there a better bike than this for your metro? Perhaps, but as others had noted, you have to get a used bike as opposed to a new bike with recent technology. The downside of the internet is that, it is a collective thoughts of opinions of older products. Dahon is good at improving their line up every year and so does a number other makers as well.

Spare parts availability. The Vitesse P18 use standard Shimano components which is available from almost any bike shop. Brake levers and shifters; again available from any bike shop. Sometimes OEM parts (certain style shifter in funky matching colors or grips) are not available, but a generic part made by the same maker is available. The only time I'm concerned about parts is the derailleur hanger, the lattice assembly and hinge and the handle post which all of those are available from ThorUSA or a major Dahon dealership.

You can equip the Vitesse P18 with a pair of SKS 20" fenders (mud guard). Folding wise is fine as I folded both my Dahon Mu SL and Speed Uno on train commutes just fine. Just not as finesse as the Brompton which this I have to admit is B's strong selling point. Having said that, I see MORE Dahon on train commutes than Bromptons and Tikits in Vancouver, BC. The Strida is quite popular though.
The number of Dahons I think is probably contributed to "price" and immediate availability from some of our dealers locally.

Again, people I know who have Dahons are happy with the bikes.
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Old 12-08-11, 03:40 PM   #5
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Normally, I don't get into the which bike is 'best' kind of discussions, but in this case I really do think a used Brompton is worth exploring -- mostly because the OP is in London. The Brompton was designed specifically to be used in London. It's easy to carry through the ticket gates on the train / tube, the gearing is appropriate for the terrain. There's dealers all over the place, so finding someone who's familiar with the bike is going to be easy. The bike's not perfect, but I struggle to think of a better bike for multi-modal commuting in London.

The other thing I'll add is that if you get a used Brompton in good shape, and keep it in good shape, you're almost guaranteed to get all your money back if you choose to sell it. It's like a free bike! The trick in London is that a lot of the used Brompton's on ebay and gumtree are stolen, so be careful.

(Yes, Dahons are likely fine bikes never ridden one, so can't say one way or the other)
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Old 12-08-11, 03:51 PM   #6
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I'm still in the process of figuring out how easy/convenient it is to get a brompton through a standard ticket barrier (rather than the luggage gates). It's easy with my Dahon as it's a good kilo lighter than the brompton so I can carry it directly in front of me.

When it comes to packed tube carriages it really has to be a Brompton.
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Old 12-08-11, 04:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chagzuki View Post
I'm still in the process of figuring out how easy/convenient it is to get a brompton through a standard ticket barrier (rather than the luggage gates). It's easy with my Dahon as it's a good kilo lighter than the brompton so I can carry it directly in front of me.

When it comes to packed tube carriages it really has to be a Brompton.
Am I correct in remembering that you have a Curve?

I've always done what you just described with my Brompton: Bike in front, walk on through...
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Old 12-08-11, 04:18 PM   #8
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I am 1,95M tall and used to use a Dahon Curve on my bike/train/bike commute. I got rid of it and now use a 26" wheel Dahon Espresso. My ride in is 3.5 Mi/1.5 Mi, so roughly similar to yours. The 26" bike is worth it for my height. I found that I was overpowering the Curve and having rear axle slippage problems.

Are you taking the tube or a train? I remember my commute on the Underground as a college student there in 1998. The Central line was insane. No way would I have been able to get a bike on there-- sometimes I had to wait three trains before being able to get on!
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Old 12-08-11, 04:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bendembroski View Post
Am I correct in remembering that you have a Curve?

I've always done what you just described with my Brompton: Bike in front, walk on through...
I've got a Curve and a Vitesse, both are easy to carry in that way.
The problem for me with carrying the brompton is that I like to use the folding basket for carrying stuff and it doesn't have a shoulder strap, so I rely on luggage gates working and being able to roll the bike around with basket attached. I really should add a shoulder strap to it myself; keep meaning to get around to it.
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Old 12-09-11, 10:13 AM   #10
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To all of you who have replied, thank you kindly.

This is a great help, even if I am yet to make my final decision. So it seems the general consensus is that either aim for a 2nd hand Brompton or go for a brand new Dahon.

My job will be outside of London, in Kent so I am not actually purchasing the bike for commuting within London. I will be getting an overland train, no tube at all, and the main leg of the journey is the 3 mile cycle ride around the area of Sevenoaks.

Due to my lack of knowledge, I feel more inclined to purchase a brand new bike as I feel a bit safer in the knowledge that I can speak to the shop about it.

In my haste I was a little over optimistic about my height... I am just under 6" which I think is only about 1.82m ...

Thanks again for all your help

Conor
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Old 12-09-11, 11:10 AM   #11
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Just remember to come back and post pics when you get your new bike!
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Old 12-09-11, 12:28 PM   #12
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Some people leave beater bikes locked at the destination station. If you are commuting out of London it is a possibility. There are always issues with vandalism.
Check the train company for bike transport rules. You may be able to use a non folding bike which is cheaper and better value.
One advantage of folding bikes is that storage in the home is easier.
I use a Dahon 26" folding bike, I'm into my 4th winter of hard use. It is too big for folding in crowded carriages and not the kind that you need.
You can get 20" studded tyres (Schwalbe Marathon Winter) which will take you over ice safely at the cost of some rolling resistance and a bit of money.
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Old 12-09-11, 02:32 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lynchpool View Post
To all of you who have replied, thank you kindly.

This is a great help, even if I am yet to make my final decision. So it seems the general consensus is that either aim for a 2nd hand Brompton or go for a brand new Dahon.

My job will be outside of London, in Kent so I am not actually purchasing the bike for commuting within London. I will be getting an overland train, no tube at all, and the main leg of the journey is the 3 mile cycle ride around the area of Sevenoaks.

Due to my lack of knowledge, I feel more inclined to purchase a brand new bike as I feel a bit safer in the knowledge that I can speak to the shop about it.

In my haste I was a little over optimistic about my height... I am just under 6" which I think is only about 1.82m ...

Thanks again for all your help

Conor
Is this where you're heading train station wise?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Se..._station_1.jpg

If that's the case, look at the bikes they parked right in front of the station, which makes MichaelW suggestion excellent. Sometimes, I just leave my Dahon Speed Uno out at the my local Canada Line station, lock it up with a New York lock and then take the CL downtown to connect to Skytrain on my way pretty much anywhere -- Surrey, New West etc. While the Speed Uno is not considered a beater bike, it is the least desirable being other bikes being chained around are more valuable. The beater bike concept is excellent and I exploit the Uno for this. If your commute is relatively short and not really that hilly, a single or a dual speed bike is probably enough for you. Little maintenance and pretty theft proof, plus it really gets you in good shape in good time!
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Old 12-10-11, 06:35 AM   #14
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Also consider aMezzo, a cheap used Diblasi as good 16" inch options for commuting.
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