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  1. #1
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    Purchase advice requested: Downtube Nova or something else?

    Hello all,

    I've been lurking here for a long time and finally decided to register because I would love some advice. Last year I purchased a $50 Dahon of unknown model (its non-stainless steel, 20" wheels, and older, but its been spraypainted), and I absolutely love it. Its a single speed with a coaster brake, horrible off road tires, non-folding pedals, a non-working front brake, and it weighs a ton. But I use it every chance I get. I keep it in my trunk and hop on it during my lunch hour, or when at home I'll ride to the grocery store for smaller trips. I have even ridden to Home Depot and loaded the rack up with window blinds!

    I am looking to replace it with something a little more sophisticated, multiple-speed, and a little easier to fold and carry with me into a store (I lock up my current one), or to roll around folded (virtually impossible right now). My typical uses would be to run short errands (a couple of miles), and for leisurely rides around town with my wife and friends. Every once in a while I may take it out for twenty miles with my wife. I'm about 5' 8" and 180 lbs, and in reasonably good shape.

    I've been looking at around the $300 mark, which of course includes the Downtube Nova that is so highly regarded on this forum and pretty light. But I'm worried that I'm going to regret not getting a Dahon, such as the Eco C6 (which is just too expensive for me to justify at the moment). And it seems that I would have to do some work to the Nova, such as a new saddle, fenders, and a rack, where the Dahon already has the fenders and a decent saddle.

    So I guess my question is would I be happy with the Downtube Nova? Or should I put off my purchase until I can eventually spend a little bit more and get the brand that's been around forever and the bike that has some of those little extras? Or are there other bikes I should be considering?

    Thanks in advance for any advice!

    Jared

  2. #2
    My legs hurt
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    I would think that $300 could get you a good used folder, if you are game.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by bendembroski View Post
    I would think that $300 could get you a good used folder, if you are game.
    Unfortunately, there isn't much of a used folder market in the Tampa, FL area. I watch craigslist religiously, but all that shows up are typically older Dahons and much older Raleighs. That said, there is an older (non-current) downtube 9 speed front suspension on there right now for $275...

  4. #4
    Senior Member kamtsa's Avatar
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    Nova is a good bike of the money. My wife has a green one and loves it. She rides 20-30 miles at a time with no problem. The bike is light and rolls nicely when folded (use the saddle as an handle). We don't care about racks and fenders on our bikes but if it is important to you this is something to consider. The components are not high end but work well with no problem so far.

    Another option is getting one of the Citizen bikes. They are 4 hours driving away from you. Their bikes are about the same class as Nova and from my experience, they have very good customer service.

    Edit: Eco C6 $395 shipped here http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/75572...pping&subrnd=0
    Last edited by kamtsa; 01-24-12 at 09:51 PM.
    Happier than a camel on wednesday.

  5. #5
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    I got one. Like it so much considering getting another for wife. Only thing i dont like is the paint job which easily scratches.

    Like the standard dropout spacing in case want to use other normal components.

  6. #6
    Bike Nerd Mr. Jim's Avatar
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    I would not get hung up on a brand, especially on a budget. In any sub species of bike there is always a company doing a little more for a little less. In the folding bike world that seems to be citizen atm. I personally like the gotham 2, but this one fits your price range and specs, add a rear rack for $7. http://www.citizenbike.com/catalog.a...1&product_id=1
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Jim View Post
    I would not get hung up on a brand, especially on a budget. In any sub species of bike there is always a company doing a little more for a little less. In the folding bike world that seems to be citizen atm. I personally like the gotham 2, but this one fits your price range and specs, add a rear rack for $7. http://www.citizenbike.com/catalog.a...1&product_id=1
    Thank you for the suggestion! Looking at the citizens, the Miami certainly has decent specs especially for the price, but 32 lbs seems pretty heavy for a bike meant for portability. The Gotham 2 comes in at a more reasonable 27 lbs and looks great, but its heavier and more expensive than the comparably equipped Downtube Nova.

    kamtsa
    Nova is a good bike of the money. My wife has a green one and loves it. She rides 20-30 miles at a time with no problem. The bike is light and rolls nicely when folded (use the saddle as an handle). We don't care about racks and fenders on our bikes but if it is important to you this is something to consider. The components are not high end but work well with no problem so far.

    Another option is getting one of the Citizen bikes. They are 4 hours driving away from you. Their bikes are about the same class as Nova and from my experience, they have very good customer service.

    Edit: Eco C6 $395 shipped here http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/75572...pping&subrnd=0
    toango
    I got one. Like it so much considering getting another for wife. Only thing i dont like is the paint job which easily scratches.

    Like the standard dropout spacing in case want to use other normal components.
    Thanks to both of you as well. I would like to put a rack and fenders on it so that I may use it while in my business clothes for meetings around town. The standard drop out spacing of the downtube is certainly something to consider for easy modification/replacement later on.

    So a couple more questions (thanks for indulging me!):

    Does the Downtube have some sort of system to keep the bike folded, like the magnets on the Dahon?

    So the sentiment I'm getting from everyone is I won't regret not saving for or waiting to get the Dahon Eco 6, the Downtube is just as much bike (and perhaps moreso) for less money?

  8. #8
    Senior Member kamtsa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jared K. View Post
    Does the Downtube have some sort of system to keep the bike folded, like the magnets on the Dahon?
    No built in locking mechanism. It may came with a velcro strap, am not sure. We store the bike in the trunk of the car so don't need any. The frame hinge holds it to some degree when folded.

    My son has a Dahon Mu P24 and he did not have good experience with the magnetic latch. He lost the rear part twice and the latching is not that great. Also, it does not roll as well as the Nova when folded.

    The Nova also has under the BB a trapezoid stand that is very useful to protect the chainring as well as keeping it standing while folded. Very useful.

    BTW, the Nova is 'Dahon Licensed' and has a Dahon hologram sticker to prove it. The main hinge looks very Dahon'ish, the stem hinge does not (it's a self adjusting hinge, like Brompton. I like it more). Read item 7 of this post. It suggests that Dahon's involvement is more than just allowing Downtube to use its hinge design:

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...1#post13684703
    Happier than a camel on wednesday.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by kamtsa View Post
    BTW, the Nova is 'Dahon Licensed' and has a Dahon hologram sticker to prove it. The main hinge looks very Dahon'ish, the stem hinge does not (it's a self adjusting hinge, like Brompton. I like it more). Read item 7 of this post. It suggests that Dahon's involvement is more than just allowing Downtube to use its hinge design:

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...1#post13684703
    Well that is interesting. That would suggest that the same group that builds Dahon frames builds the Downtube Nova frame.

    About the steering, I noticed that the Downtube appears to use a relatively standard threadless fork that could be replaced/upgraded very easily, whereas the Dahons all look proprietary throughout their entire steering setup. I'm all for standardized parts, so the Downtube seems to keep looking better.

    Is there anyone that has some experience with the Dahon Eco 6 that might be able to chime in? I would love to hear from an owner on his/her experiences with the Dahon.

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