A good example here is the Dahon Boardwalk S1 (my first folding bike I ever owned). It has increased by about 100-150 dollars since I bought it in late 2003 (the listed price on the Performance Bike Site is $299.99 as of December 24, 2011). But as an occasional bike for limited usage observed by an reviewer on the same Website:
".....I bought this folding bike for occasional use, to take inside Metro if I need to ride in the downtown area, or to pick up a rental car. It proved very useful for those purposes.......This is not the absolute best folding bike out there; I tried out more expensive models that were lighter, and folded to a much more convenient shape; but for occasional use this one does the job just fine. I should mention this model was sold at a substantially lesser price when I bought it a couple years ago....."-http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1107200_-1_1595009_20000_400325#ReviewHeader
Click on Customer Reviews tab.
Last edited by folder fanatic; 12-24-11 at 07:17 PM.
I think in some respects Bromptons are poor quality bikes and it's to do with either the short-sightedness of the company or the restrictions of a business of that size and the value placed in spare parts availability. The price of an M3L on the Brompton website is now £790. . . ouch.
Dahon have been able to address aspects of folding bike design that Brompton have left alone, in particular the integrated headset design that maximizes tube diameter and thickness in the area under the greatest stress. . . this strikes me as a core design problem. Tern appear to have gone a stage further with this. Brompton are left with a headset type that was never intended for the long stem designs of folding bikes and the result is a lot of flex (unless you're comfortable with the short-stem S-type). Even the cheaper / cheapo folders have mostly moved to Ahead systems. Curiously, AFAICS the lack of trail in the Brompton fork could very easily be addressed without altering the folded dimensions by adjusting the angle of the frame hinge ever-so-slightly. It's really a tiny alteration but would involve creating/maintaining more product lines. But I don't see why this wasn't done already when they changed wheelbase or earlier. It seems as though it's not going to happen unless there's a direct competitor to the Brompton.
Maybe Mezzo will pull something out the bag. . . with optional rear suspension and more luggage options I'd be interested in the bike. Though I guess that'd bring the bike a few steps closer to looking like a Brompton, and presumably the various companies are reassured that they're able to keep some separation/clarity of brand identity. At the moment picking between Brompton and Mezzo is something like picking between twitchy bouncey ride with good luggage/crap gearing and very stable bone-shaker ride with poor luggage/good gearing, a choice that seems not at all ideal.
What about Pacific Cycle's IF series of bikes.
They appear to fold quickly, can roll when folded, seemly unconventional as other top end folders.
I hope to see/ride one of these bike in the near future. Unfortunately, they also seem hard to find.
Folders: Brompton Raw M6R, Xootr Swift w/discs , Paratrooper Pro (Raxel build w/discs), Pacific IF Reach Gone: Dahon Helios (P8)(XL)(SL), DownTube Mini, 2 Raleigh 20s, Montague
@Chagz / OP : I agree very much with what you've observed. Interesting thinking about what that means about the market type for that to be true. Tern so far seems to be nothing. Their quality differentiation from the parent will take 5 years to prove, if they can make it that long with no real innovation.
Jim... merry christmas first of course ....
I dont know, if you look, ride, own, enjoy a Tern you will most likely find out, that nobody wanted to re invent the wheel, just cause to be different, nobody wanted to invent something , just for the reason to "invent or die" BUT... a wholebunch of pretty good people looked at every corner, every, this and thought hard, how to make it better.... They have succeded in most parts, but there is always room to make it even better yet.
I think radical innovation usually doesnt work in the real life, 3dcad drawings turn me off. For me innovation is in the small details. to make the bike more usuefull and better for years to come....
Compare the folding bike market with the diamond frame market, and you see plenty innovation. All sorts of novel folding methods have entered the market recently: IF Mode, tikit, that Chinese crazy fold (Free Ride?), Dahon Curve, Dahon Curl, to name just a few off the top of my head.
My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/
Are CEOs overpaid? Probably, but on a percentage basis, the government gets a far bigger cut. I wish the government had to work as hard for their taxes as I do, then they might be more careful with how they were spent. I will be reincorporating in America next year, running my business remotely from Japan (where I love to live). With a national debt of around 230% of GDP, Japan is setting itself up for a big fall. For all the taxes levied here, they still manage to spend double what they gain in revenue. If I ran my own business that way they would put me in jail.
That's so true regarding Ventura! I live here now - and it's serious (ridiculously so) roadies, the poor and beach cruisers. There are a few of us starting to bike, tour and trying to commute but the roads are bad for commuters right now! Of course I know that is an excuse, but . . .
There is a guy in Ventura starting his own hand-built bikes (Not folders) - I think his blog is Ocean Air Cycles (not Open Air - like the bike shop).
I've seen two Bromptons in the last two months (I've been looking!) while around town.
Hey, here's a rare sight - four Fridays on the Promenade, Christmas week 2010.
Those are some good looking bikes!!!
Talking of innovation, I'm really surprised at the low takeup of Gates belt drive by folding manufacturers. Belt drive offers even more advantages to folding users than regular users, eg clean to carry, lift and store in an apartment, maintenance-free for occasional users. The single rear stay design such as Mu has no rear triangle to break open and is suited to folder design.
Bromptons are stuck with a chain due to their fold mechanism but for everything else, belt drives should rule.
Having thought about it some more I've realized that the thing that irks me most about the folding bicycle market is that there aren't competitors to Brompton that are using essentially the same folding design (bar mezzo, sort of). I don't know the extent to which that folding design belongs to Brompton, without patents the intellectual copyright stuff seems unclear. With all the fold-in-half designs around there's a push towards quality in the details and signs of steady progress now with Tern and Dahon going head to head. New bikes like the If Urban or whatever it's called, look very nicely conceived and cater well for a sector of the market. Wacky new designs keep appearing but they're novelty items really as the folds are crap. Essentially, in terms of compact folding bicycle design nothing comes close to the Brompton except the Mezzo which is really a variation on the basic theme. There's such potential to develop better engineered bikes around that basic design but as things are it's not going to happen. For all the talk of Bromptons being engineering marvels, in terms of the engineering aspects that effect ride quality the quality isn't really there. Competitors like the Dahon Curve sacrifice ride quality as the wheelbase has to be shortened due to the fold. The future lies in a fusion of the good aspects of a variety of brands of bike, but the brompton-style fold would be at the core. Having enjoyed riding a Dahon Curve I keep thinking there's great potential in 305 wheels and Big Apples, with a Brompton-style fold it'd result in an even smaller package and in some respects ride quality would be improved.
Innovation isn't needed, it all exists already, it's just a question of how well it can be done.
With the Brompton (I have one too) the fold of course keeps the chain internal and thus provides some protection from getting oil and muck everwhere, when you transport it.
source = gates belt usage:
The following actions will cause damage to your belt and may cause it to fail.
1. Crimp 2. Twisting 3. Back bending 4. Inverting 5. Zip Tie'ing 6. Crimp
FAQ, "Do I need to replace my belt if it comes off the pulley under power ? ... replacement is recommended .. "
Last edited by JimBeans83; 01-09-12 at 10:04 AM. Reason: source/faq
Years ago, I asked Josh Hon the same question as to why he didn't copy the Brompton's design. He felt the Dahon Picccolo was every bit as good as the Brompton. Seriously. He actually felt the Dahon Presto Lite was waaaaaaay better than the Brompton. Those in the cutting edge who make folding bikes are very proud of their product and don't want to produce a 100% knockoff of a competitor.
That's really to reiterate what I've said, the Presto Lite was superior to the Brompton of the time in terms of components and weight, gearing, etc. so someone prioritising those aspects would prefer it. Brompton don't need to compete on those terms as there's no competitor to their fold, so the development of their product occurs at a snail's pace and there's no downwards pressure on prices.
Yup, Capitalism will not kill inflation, just push down Labor compensation.
More Shopping is not the cure.
I thought people like you and me could afford better bikes, cars, computers, etc. today under evil capitalism than we could 30 years ago, but I could have been wrong...
"When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.
"Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008
being new to the forums and reading through a few replies on this topic has Kansi had much exposure on here?
EDIT: well a quick search answered that question although having owned one of the bikes in question I'm still really looking forward to them being re-released.
Last edited by danieledwards; 01-11-12 at 07:10 AM.
What sort of innovation is lacking, exactly?
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