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  1. #1
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Deciding on first folding bike! Brompton? Tern?

    Would appreciate some honest feedback... for some reason, I got into my head that a folding bike would be really cool!

    Upfront disclaimer. Unlike many other members, I have no particular reason to get a folding bike: I don't live in an urban jungle, there are no commuter trains/buses to jump on, it's only a 30 minute walk to work or an 8 minute drive, I have a decent hybrid bike that I could commute to work with and just shove in my office (tight, but doable), and the city I live in is not overly bike friendly (yet - trails are coming!)... but I was thinking that I have to attend a number of conferences across Canada this coming summer and wouldn't it be cool to have a bike to tour around in my spare time!

    I've found from experience (e.g., dSLR photography) that "cheap" doesn't last so I rather pay more upfront than regret my decision later. Also, I figure I might as well get something I like otherwise I'll keep looking over my shoulder.

    My challenge is that nobody nearby sells any folding bikes that I've been reading about (Brompton, Tern, Dohan, etc.), so my options are limited to Toronto which is 4 hours drive away, mail order from across Canada or from the US, like NYCE Cycle.

    I've come down to a Brompton M6R, or something like a Tern Verge S11i. I really like the Brompton (maybe I've bought into its mythos), but I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe it appeals to the academic in me (I'm a professor).

    However, I might not have much choice in what I get. The Toronto store I located only sells Bromptons. Nobody else nearby really sells any other folding bikes. If I get the Brompton, at least service and warranty repairs are not too far away. On the other hand, if I get a Tern, would it be easier for repairs at my local cycle shop assuming the Tern uses more common off-the-shelf parts? Reasonable assumption?

    I understand Bromptons can handle riders up to 242 lbs, as can most Tern models. I weigh 225 lbs and am 5'11" - I work out a fair amount, so I'd like to think I will "push" the bike to some degree: I admit I'm not gentle with my equipment.

    I have no real opportunity to try these bikes out in advance, and nobody I know has a folding bike nor have they ridden one, so if I buy one, it will be sight/ride unseen. From the videos I've seen by NYCE, it looks like the "stretched out" frame of the Brompton might suit me. Can anybody comment on this? Also, I've decided on the M handle; I figure it would be more flexible overall than the S handle. A good move? The bike shop recommended I get the extended seat post.

    Finally... for any Brompton owners out there, how does a racing green body with sage green extremities sound? I originally wanted all black or all racing green, but the racing green/sage green combination has some funky appeal.

    Sorry for the long post... thanks in advance to anybody who can help!

  2. #2
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    I would have liked to have "discovered" folding bicycles through buying a older vintage one like the 2 vintage ones I have now. And bypass that built-for-basically-recreational-riding weakling Dahons that I spent several hundred dollars for as I did not know better. I stripped off for the best parts from both of my now former Dahons then sold them both for salvaging/restoring my first vintage one-my 1972 Raleigh Twenty. I never looked back. I would either buy a new Brompton (like I did with my now almost 7 year old Brompton) or buy solid well built vintage folders from the 1970s or perhaps the late 1960s.

    Whatever you decide, do test ride if possible many models and makes as you can both new and used. Something like bikes-new or used-should not be ordered online sight unseen unless you are experienced in bicycles-especially folding bicycles-and understand usually it is a All Sales Final and you are stuck with the product (like I was) since it is too much hassle and expense to ship it back even if the seller claims that they have a return policy. Do locate and patronize a exceptional local to you bike shop for upkeep and accessories. A local business nearby will be familiar with the terrain and the climate you will find yourself in.

    As for Brompton color, I was not too fussy. I was handed a off-the-shelf red one as that was the basic color and model at the time. Over the almost 7 years that I had it I added whatever appealed to me and made the bike better. I would not sell/trade it away for anything.
    Last edited by folder fanatic; 04-10-12 at 11:08 PM.

  3. #3
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    Ozonation - You sound like exactly my situation! Two weeks ago, I stumbled across a picture of a folded up bike and had to find out what it was. I have no need for a bike, nor a folder, but I became rapt with the design of the Brompton and researched for a solid week for many many hours. I watched videos, read reviews, read blogs, perused bike websites and a week later happened to be going to Portland for a weekend and would visit a bike store that sold lots of Bromptons. I ended up with my Brompton H6L. I had originally settled on an M6R like you, but ended up with an H6L.

    And along the dSLR front, I have more money in my Nikon stuff than this bike...and if you know which lens I'm talking about, one of my lenses is similar in cost to an average Brompton.

    As for your color question, I looked at every single photo on the Brompton site to help decide what color combo to get as well as Flikr sites. I did like the racing green body and sage green extremities. I went the range of getting an all claret, to all sage green, to racing green/sage combo, to cobalt blue/white to my final purchase: a non-color...raw lacquer! Raw lacquer is so cool looking. It really shows off the handmade nature of the bike.

    Good luck! If you do get one, post the pic of it!
    2012 Brompton H6L raw lacquer, hub dynamo lights, eazy wheels, C + Mini O bag, Ergon GP-1 biokork S grip shift, Lightweights spoke reflectors, Saddle Adapter pin.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Ah... too funny Purpleorchid... huh... must be a relationship between Bromptons and Nikons. I shoot sports, so I have a D3s and way too many big aperture lens. I could buy about 7 bikes with the amount of money I've sunk - I mean, invested - into my cameras!

    folder fanatic is right though... I almost never buy anything without trying it out first. I've tried out my various cameras, laptops, even my kung fu equipment repeatedly before I actually decided to buy it, even if it was only $50 or less. And here I am seriously contemplating buying a $2000 Cdn bike unseen and unridden.

    My obsession started over Easter when I realized I was going to be in Charlottetown, PEI for a conference next month. My wife and I honeymooned there 10 years ago and we hitched up our bikes to our car. Well, we never really used them much. It was too cumbersome to pack them in and out and we just ended up driving wherever we needed to go. I was thinking now that I'm going back, it might be nice to cycle a bit after the work is done and because time is tight, I don't want to bother heading down to a cycle shop to rent bikes. Even worse, the conference location is not downtown - it's sort of in the middle of a "somewhere" - so I doubt there will be cycle shops that nearby (although the conference does take place at a university campus).

    In June, I'm headed back to Edmonton, Alberta for another conference. I grew up there, and Edmonton has one of the most extensive, city wide bike trail systems in North America. Nice, paved, up and down the river for km and km, and lots of gradients to keep you occupied: it even passes behind a sewage treatment plant at one point! Aromatic! But I had great memories and I haven't ridden on those trails for almost 20 years now. You can spend almost a whole day riding along one river bank and returning along the other bank. The conference is not too far from the trails and I'm thinking it would be a shame not to go on them even if briefly.

    I got admit, raw lacquer is cool looking, but with far, fewer dealers and stock in Canada, I'm a bit limited to what I can choose from. A dealer told me they're getting the racing green/sage green in possibly, so I have to decide if I can live with the colour combo. I would have preferred all racing green, but maybe I should live a little, and maybe all racing green is a bit, ah, conservative? I can't believe I'm obsessing about the colour... I could buy from NYCE in the US, but if there was a problem, cross-border shipping a 30 lb, box of a bike gets really expensive.

    By the way, did you get lights for your Brompton? I see you have the "hub dynamo". Hey, I was thinking of getting the easy wheels and C bag too!

  5. #5
    jur
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    You are an ideal Brompton candidate. The sheer versatility of the Brompton won me over. I have owned a variety of folding and other bikes over the years; the Brompton turned out to be my "destination" folder. It can't do everything - I still have a Swift for fast road rides.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Thanks! My wife, believe it or not, does not think I'm crazy. I think she's waiting to see how I like mine first (assuming I go through with this purchase) to see if she wants to get one.

    ... still obsessing with the colour though... the interactive colour picker makes the racing green/sage green combo look better than it does in a web pic we saw...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
    Ah... too funny Purpleorchid... huh... must be a relationship between Bromptons and Nikons. I shoot sports, so I have a D3s and way too many big aperture lens. I could buy about 7 bikes with the amount of money I've sunk - I mean, invested - into my cameras!

    folder fanatic is right though... I almost never buy anything without trying it out first. I've tried out my various cameras, laptops, even my kung fu equipment repeatedly before I actually decided to buy it, even if it was only $50 or less. And here I am seriously contemplating buying a $2000 Cdn bike unseen and unridden.

    My obsession started over Easter when I realized I was going to be in Charlottetown, PEI for a conference next month. My wife and I honeymooned there 10 years ago and we hitched up our bikes to our car. Well, we never really used them much. It was too cumbersome to pack them in and out and we just ended up driving wherever we needed to go. I was thinking now that I'm going back, it might be nice to cycle a bit after the work is done and because time is tight, I don't want to bother heading down to a cycle shop to rent bikes. Even worse, the conference location is not downtown - it's sort of in the middle of a "somewhere" - so I doubt there will be cycle shops that nearby (although the conference does take place at a university campus).

    In June, I'm headed back to Edmonton, Alberta for another conference. I grew up there, and Edmonton has one of the most extensive, city wide bike trail systems in North America. Nice, paved, up and down the river for km and km, and lots of gradients to keep you occupied: it even passes behind a sewage treatment plant at one point! Aromatic! But I had great memories and I haven't ridden on those trails for almost 20 years now. You can spend almost a whole day riding along one river bank and returning along the other bank. The conference is not too far from the trails and I'm thinking it would be a shame not to go on them even if briefly.

    I got admit, raw lacquer is cool looking, but with far, fewer dealers and stock in Canada, I'm a bit limited to what I can choose from. A dealer told me they're getting the racing green/sage green in possibly, so I have to decide if I can live with the colour combo. I would have preferred all racing green, but maybe I should live a little, and maybe all racing green is a bit, ah, conservative? I can't believe I'm obsessing about the colour... I could buy from NYCE in the US, but if there was a problem, cross-border shipping a 30 lb, box of a bike gets really expensive.

    By the way, did you get lights for your Brompton? I see you have the "hub dynamo". Hey, I was thinking of getting the easy wheels and C bag too!
    Any chance stopping by Vancouver, British Columbia? We have a dealer here who is the largest Dahon, Tern and also Brompton dealer in Canada. JV Bike has most of the Dahons, and almost all Terns including the Verge S11i (nice bike) and the Bromptons ready for you to test ride. Right in front of the store is a bike path -- ride to your hearts content! The S11i is a really nice bike and comes with Alfine 11 hub.

    You actually justified yourself buying a folding bike! When you go to conferences, bring your folding bike along especially in Edmonton where there are excellent bike trails (bike paths) similar to what you find in Portland. If you fly Westjet, you may not even have to pay a fee to take it with you!
    Trek 5000 carbon road bike
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Actually, I was on the phone to JV Bikes to see if they shipped to Ontario. Sadly, no, I won't be anywhere close to Vancouver anytime soon. But in fact it was the Verge S11i that I saw on their website that caught me eye. Thanks for the suggestion anyways. The closest I got was riding a Fiori 8 folding bike at our local bike shop. It, ah, probably doesn't come close to what the Brompton or Tern would feel like. It was the only one in the shop too. Nothing else to choose from...

    By the way, since all of you are much better than me at this, and since I'm still obsessing over colour.... here is the exact colour combination (except for the handles) of the Brompton that I would be considering. http://bikesatvienna.blogspot.ca/201...on-colors.html Opinions on the colour combo?

  9. #9
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    Looks like the Brompton is your choice, since you're already mulling about the colour combo, which is a nice thing to be able to customise from the factory.

    I had a M3R in apple green (frame) + orange (ends). Colour combos are definitely a matter of personal taste but since the bike is going to attract attention anyway (small wheels and when you start to fold/unfold), you might as well pick a bright colour combo. NYCEwheels website has a great colour combo tool.

  10. #10
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    About bike. You`ll end up having two folders, oneB and one good quality 20" and sell your hybrid, that is my guess. Also less than one month after you recive your B your wif is buying hers. Wait and see .

    What bike: You talk about traveling and taking the bike. How are you traveling? If you want to take the bike on bus, plane or train there is only one bike, The B. Also remember that the nice shiny Tern you most of the time have to leave outside as bate for thievs. the B you can much more often bring inside with you. How big is the avreage hotelroom? Do you really want to leave the bike in the car?

    Colour: Remember the colour (s) you choose for the frame is not the only colours that wil be on the bike. Saddle, grips and luggage is also a must and then there is you on top of that...

    Personally i like one colour bikes, and I like small or no decals. Black or brown leather and some black nylon is hard to avoid. That is enough. Wery fast it is going to remind you of a tivoli.

    If you buy the bike in the picture buy the oposite for your wife and swap parts..

    Keep us updated on what you do!

    To what Folder Fanatic said: The ride quality of the older bikes is someting you have to try to understand. I hve several "R20 ish" 70`s detatchable bikes that we use a lot and that I rebuild and rebuild. They are great bikes after component swap, right lenght seatpost and so on. They do not fold or break down to the same compact size as modern 20" bikes. Maybe best suited if you are a "tinkerer" or live with one.
    Last edited by badmother; 04-11-12 at 04:47 AM. Reason: zPelLiNg
    °Empty drums make a lot of noice... (Old Hungarian proverb).

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jur View Post
    You are an ideal Brompton candidate. The sheer versatility of the Brompton won me over. I have owned a variety of folding and other bikes over the years; the Brompton turned out to be my "destination" folder. It can't do everything - I still have a Swift for fast road rides.
    I thought the Birdy was your all-round performance bike, and that the Brompton was more a case of 'finishing your collection' / airline-friendly travel bike? Didn't realize it'd taken pole position.

  12. #12
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    Not keen on racing green/sage combo, the sage looks too washed-out/faded next to the deeper green. I like black extremities with most colours, e.g. sage green:
    http://portapedalbike.com/wp-content...8-1024x768.jpg

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    Cobalt blue with raw or titanium ends looks nice too.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Casbah's Avatar
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    While I love my Tern and it suits my needs perfectly for casual riding and commuting by bus locally, I wouldn't recommend it for someone planning on traveling frequently by plane/train as the Tern doesn't fold nearly as compactly as the Brompton. So for you I say get the Brommie since you can afford it. P.S.-I like the sage color, the racing green...not so much.
    Tern Link D8

  15. #15
    Senior Member rex615's Avatar
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    Ozonation ,

    Good luck with your imminent purchase of a Brommie.

    As to color, if you are worried about speed, well...maybe you should read this thread before making your final decision. http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...kes-are-faster

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    I would go with raw, it has that high tech look. Matches the photography gear.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Too funny! My wife's favourite colour is red. Needless to say, the "claret" colour from Brompton caught her eye...

    As for my imminent purchase (I still can't believe I might do this), the only real reason why I'm debating colour is because the racing green/sage colour combo is the one the bike dealer is bringing in. So, rather than wait around for 4 to 5 weeks, I have to ask myself if I want (or can live with) this colour combo. Otherwise, I would have probably gone for all racing green. After seeing the racing green/sage green combo on the colour picker though, it looks pretty striking: all green seems a bit, well, boring? Unless I'm wearing it on me all the time, I tend to care less about colour. After I get enough dirt on it, I tend to not care at all. And I'm wondering when things start to fade a bit and chip due to wear and tear if a solid, dark colour might not be the best. I used to have a road bike when I was younger that I inherited from my Dad that was a dark, sparkly red that looked good at first but didn't look so good after a few years of good use. Bottom line: I'm try to rationalize the colour combo of the bike that is available now rather than waiting.

    In terms of travel, yes, it would be pretty much train/plane. Don't really do much with bus locally. I'm a bit paranoid about theft: we've had a couple of break-ins with cars, etc. and I got pickpocketed before in Montreal, so I rather not leave things about or in the car if I can avoid it. I guess from what everybody is telling me the Brompton is the best fit!

  18. #18
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    Before you order try both bikes, you can put both bikes into a normal luggage just the Tern would need some taking apart first.

    You probably tried the brommie at curbside in Toronto, the Tern dealer is called Urbane cyclist which is only 3 km's away from curbside! it's right at John and Queen st downtown. http://ucycle.com/. check it out first and ALWAYS test ride.

    The really funny thing is I'm in the same exact decision myself. I currently commute daily on my Strida sx but just itching to try something else. I don't need to multimode, just be able to stuff my bike under the cubicle is my main concern. I'm still wracking over myself on a singlespeed brommie M, just fenders. Or a Tern Link Uno, also just fenders no rack (like single speed simplicity both would be around the same gear inches as my Strida). From my 5 minute test rides the Brompton rode pretty well and fold cannot be beat by anyone, folding hinges where nice, smooth and crisp and had no play. The Tern rode just as well but somehow it felt stiffer with the beefy folding joints and doesn't really flex as much so you can mash it up those hills and 20 inch tires might make a difference with my semi rough commute to work (our roads aren't the best! winter kills it). The Tern also had buttery smooth almost frictionless hinges unlike the friction you feel when folding the dahon's (I fully oiled my wife's dahon jack hinge bolt and you can still feel friction unlike the Tern and B hinges which just swings open with one finger, These two bikes felt like it's in a different category! Both bikes somehow rode pretty upright for me cause of my arms but I love it cause I gotten so used to the way the strida felt. So yeah it's killing me cause I just recabled my strida and replaced a new ball joint cup and it feels nice and tight after 3 years of daily commuting (on my 4th year now!) and folding at least twice a day! Wife says you can't keep soo much bikes so I have to decide to sell or keep on riding, painful decisions some of you guys had to go through!
    Last edited by Azreal911; 04-11-12 at 09:59 AM.

  19. #19
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    Im assuming the Toronto dealer you mentioned is Curbside Cycle. I believe they just got a shipment of Bromptons after being out of stock for months. I'm still waiting on my Racing green H6R ordered through them a month ago.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Yes, I'm referring to Curbside! Wasn't sure if that many members would be familiar with the Toronto area. The irony is that I used to live there; in fact, only about a 10 minutes walk from Curbside. Now I'm down in Windsor. No dealers of just about any type of reputable folding bikes nearby; not even Michigan. If I buy, it will be sight unseen. No chance that I can get up to Toronto any time soon, nor anywhere else that has a Brompton dealer, to even test ride one.

    I was just on the phone with NYCE and asked about their bikes, etc. I asked about colour combos and they often specify dark (black) coloured extremities because it hides dirt, grime, and grease better. I was worried about fading, but I guess dirt and grease are more immediate concerns. Sage green extremities are probably not going to look so nice after a while. So, I'm seriously thinking of maybe ordering from them since they have several in stock. I just have to decide whether I'm willing to pay Canada Revenue an additional 13% in duty. Ouch. Mind you, NYCE is having a 15% sale on all Brompton accessories...

  21. #21
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    ozonation, I cannot comment on the color choice but would highly recommend test riding the bike model before you purchase. When I got my B, I tried two handlebar styles and liked one much more than the other (does not matter which one). You may try to locate B owners in your areas (craigslist, Brompton mailing list, etc). It's easier to change your mind before the purchase.

    As for Brompton in general, it's the most functional bike we ever had (including Dahon, BF, Moulton, Nova and Citizen).
    Happier than a camel on wednesday.

  22. #22
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    A bit heavy on the saddle..
    When you put the Steel Extended seat post on your Brompton order form,
    know it is also made using a thicker wall Tubing. [+30%] to have greater strength..
    no extra cost, new.

    FWIW, Bike Fridays Tikit is a folding bike with more drivetrain and build options.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 04-11-12 at 10:37 AM.

  23. #23
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    Hi Ozonation.

    I have a solid Apple Green Brompton that I picked up in the UK last year and paid duty on part of the value of the bike. Solid colors look fine too.

    Look for a good deal on a VIA rail fare? Porter Airlines to Toronto Island? Catch the Train into TO and visit Curbside and Urbane Cycle?

    I'm about an hour and a half away from Urbane Cycle. After going in and folding the tikit and looking at the Dahons last year, I decided that neither were for me. The Brompton with its more compact (and slower) fold worked best for me. In my opinion, the tikit was a better bike, the Brompton a better fold. It's so much a personal decision based on priorities.

    lnical.

  24. #24
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    Ozonation - I do have the dynamo lights (wasn't an option I was considering when I was originally customizing my bike online...they happened to be on the in-stock raw lacquer bike that I picked up that weekend). I haven't had a chance to use them in dusk/night, so I can't really comment on them, but it's good to have "just in case".

    BTW - I went to U of Toronto, and I was trying to guess where the "4 hours from TO" and which university it would be and my first guess was Windsor...guess I was right!

    I hear you on the color choice dilemma...it's a hard one! Have you perused the Brompton pics on the Brompton site? I recall seeing a lot of sage green/racing green pics. If it's not there, then it would be that Brompton flikr site.
    2012 Brompton H6L raw lacquer, hub dynamo lights, eazy wheels, C + Mini O bag, Ergon GP-1 biokork S grip shift, Lightweights spoke reflectors, Saddle Adapter pin.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
    Actually, I was on the phone to JV Bikes to see if they shipped to Ontario. Sadly, no, I won't be anywhere close to Vancouver anytime soon. But in fact it was the Verge S11i that I saw on their website that caught me eye. Thanks for the suggestion anyways. The closest I got was riding a Fiori 8 folding bike at our local bike shop. It, ah, probably doesn't come close to what the Brompton or Tern would feel like. It was the only one in the shop too. Nothing else to choose from...

    By the way, since all of you are much better than me at this, and since I'm still obsessing over colour.... here is the exact colour combination (except for the handles) of the Brompton that I would be considering. http://bikesatvienna.blogspot.ca/201...on-colors.html Opinions on the colour combo?
    Brompton then. It is ashame the East does not have the selection like we have in the west! Good luck on your new Brompton.
    Trek 5000 carbon road bike
    Masi Speciale CX touring bike
    Dahon Mu SL (performance hybrid road bike)
    Dahon Speed Duo (slow poker shopper or coffee getter bike)

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