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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 04-30-12, 10:12 PM   #1
chgurlsng
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I'm 4'8" and I need a bike. :)

Well, it's been six years since I've posted on Bike Forums. I have lurked from time to time, but it's been so long I forgot I was even a member.

The time has come for my car to be semi-retired (she's aging so I'll only be using her in thunderstorms and on trips longer than 5 miles from home). I live in a metro area and there are bike paths almost the entire commute to my university which is about three miles from my house. The grocery store is one mile. My church is about 10 miles, but since it's only once a week, I'll probably drive.

Let's see here:

I'm 24 years old, 4'8" tall, and I weigh 98lbs.

My inseam is 26 inches.

I live on the second floor of my apartment, so I'll be carrying the bike up and down a lot.

I have a screened-in porch where I will store my bike when it's at home.

At school, there are many places to lock up bikes, but I'm still afraid of theft because I live in a dangerous area.

There is one mammoth hill on my commute to school. Other than that, it's pretty flat.

I would love to own a foldie after reading about them. I think they would meet my needs as a very small woman. I am a bit worried about reaching the handle bars properly, though.
Anything is better than my freebie youth Pacific MTB that is uber heavy and doesn't go past 3rd gear. It took me 45 minutes to get to school on this bike when I did a test run last week. I would consider myself to be in pretty fair shape, but this bike just would not go any faster.

Does anyone have any advice or recommendations? Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-30-12, 10:26 PM   #2
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What is your budget for a folder?
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Old 04-30-12, 10:27 PM   #3
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Where are you located? If you can find a store near you that sells multiple brands of folders, the best bet is to test ride them. See which one fits you best and rides well for you.

Also, what is your budget? There is a wide range of prices depending on the brand: Brompton, Dahon, Tern, Citizen, Bike Friday, etc.

When you're at school, would you be carrying the bike around with you from class to class? Or do you have a place, like a locked office to leave the bike during the day?

How many gears does your current MTB have? If it "doesn't go past 3rd gear", perhaps it just needs a full tune up and it will be better.

If you keep your current bike, then you can leave it locked up outside and be less paranoid about it being stolen.

I know I've given you mixed messages of "get a folder" and then to "keep your current bike". But just trying to give my humble opinions/questions, hoping you eventually end up enjoying your bike rides, no matter what bike it is.

Good luck!
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Old 04-30-12, 10:32 PM   #4
chgurlsng
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I'm looking to spend around $500 but could go higher than that if I found something I loved. I live in central Florida.

I could probably find somewhere to keep the bike locked up on campus in a friend's dorm, but I could also carry it to most of my classes.

The current bike has 5 speeds. It is heavy for me to lift up and down stairs and cheaply made (it's just a wal-mart bike that I found in the garage of my old house). Perhaps if I put road tires on it and put some better components, it could be fixed up, but I'm not very knowledgeable about this sort of thing.

Last edited by chgurlsng; 04-30-12 at 10:40 PM.
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Old 04-30-12, 10:57 PM   #5
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It's not worth spend money and effort on Walmart bikes. Get something you will enjoy riding. How about the 16" Citizen Tokyo?
http://www.citizenbike.com/catalog.a...&product_id=10
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Old 04-30-12, 11:22 PM   #6
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A smaller 16"wheeled folder, as Jur suggested, will likely be your most cost effective solution. Otherwise, a Petite Bike Friday (their small sized frame might not be small enough) - possibly a tikit - would be a good, but far more expensive solution.

Lou (who is on the other end of the height spectrum)
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Old 05-01-12, 03:18 AM   #7
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One possibility is the Dahon Eco C7, which has 20" wheels. Comparing its listed specs (assuming they are accurate, hahaha) to other Dahon bikes, this model seems to have the shortest reach (seatpost-to-handlebar distance) and shortest saddle-to-pedal distance of the current Dahon bikes. The minimum seatpost-to-handlebar distance is listed as 23.2", and the minimum saddle-to-pedal distance is 24.4". (You might want confirm these measurements with a dealer or with someone who owns one, and to compare the reach measurement to that of your mountain bike.) There is also the possibility of changing the handlebar to one which sweeps back in case you want to shorten the reach further (when in doubt, ask Thor). Or a handlebar which sweeps back and which also has a drop in case you want to lower the handlebar, since the C7's handlepost is not telescoping. Note that this kind of handlebar change is not possible with some of the Tern bikes which can only take flat handlebars.

The gearing of the Eco C7 in gear inches is listed as 37" to 73". So if you think 37" is low enough for that monster hill on your commute, then the C7 might be a candidate for you. One way to tell is to figure out what gear you use on your mountain bike when you climb that hill. The C7 seems to come with fenders, but you'll have to get a rear rack for your stuff. It is listed at $500.

As for the Tokyo, I will note that it seems to be undergeared, with a top gear of 46.1". This may or may not be okay for you, depending on your riding preferences. It does have a low gear of 23.1", which would be more than adequate for that hill. And, at $170, it's obviously the inexpensive choice. You might also want to look around some more at the Citizen website and read the specs for the different bikes. It seems some of their other bikes might fit you, too. For example the Citizen Alhambra.

These bikes are heavy enough that plan on wheeling them to your classes instead of lugging them around.

Link to Thor's C7 page:

http://www.thorusa.com/dahon/current/ecoc7.htm

Citizen bikes:

http://www.citizenbike.com/catalog.asp
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Old 05-01-12, 07:06 AM   #8
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Bike Friday has made bikes for people who are much shorter than you are. They are custom but that is really what would fit you the best. You could call them at their 800 number and see what it costs. They are not a high pressure sales group like an auto dealer but will serve you well. Roger
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Old 05-01-12, 08:21 AM   #9
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look real hard to find a CURVE SL with derrailleur from Dahon.... those are superlight and will fit you great. No longer in the program but sometimes they are on Criagslist or ebay...
Alternatively a 8 speed internal gear Curve SL ..... than a Curve D3 with internal 3 speed ... The 3 speed is probably half the price of a SL in the used market
That would be perfect .... maybe not that easy to find ..but if you do ... its would be worth it

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Old 05-01-12, 09:18 AM   #10
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So right now my seat post to handlebar post distance is about 17" if measured from the tip of the seat to the handlebars. I don't know if this is the proper way to measure or not. I've also never been fitted for a bike before, but I used one of the online calculators recommended in the road bike section and it says I should have 16" from seat post to handlebar. I think I'd have to modify the bike.

I don't know anyone with a folding bike that I could try out and searching google for folding bikes in the tampa/orlando area has not yielded any results yet.

The Bike Friday website looks awesome! I wish I still lived up in Washington, I'd drive down there.
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Old 05-01-12, 09:25 AM   #11
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The measurements in the specs are for handlebar to seatpost, not tip of saddle. But 17" doesn't sound so bad, since the seatpost would obviously be a few inches further back.
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Old 05-01-12, 09:57 AM   #12
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Ok, from the seatpost to the handlebars it is 22". The thing is, since I've never been fitted for a bike before, I have no idea what to look for. I don't think the bike I have now is a good indication of a bike that fits, but I don't really know how a bike should fit to begin with.

There is a CURVE SL on ebay right now. Hmm. This could be an option if the handlebars could be modified.

I would love to have a Bike Friday, but they are way above my price range. I am also not that experienced of a rider yet so I have no idea what I like in a bike. They are definitely an option to keep in mind for the future, but I just don't think I'm ready for something quite that nice yet...
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Old 05-01-12, 09:58 AM   #13
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chgurlsng. If your ride the west orange trail (winter garden or apopka) your welcome to test my downtube Nova. i posted a few pics in the downtube thread. Just PM to find a time to meet up.
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Old 05-01-12, 11:18 AM   #14
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Lots of folders have just 1 big tube with maybe a small triangle
formed with a brace tube to the crank bearing part of the frame

so locking it up is needing more than a U lock..

Yea bikes are taken from college campuses a lot, encouraged me to move ..
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Old 05-01-12, 12:29 PM   #15
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I'm only going to have the bike at school during the day for short periods of time. I might be able to lock it up in the music practice rooms in a locker, or ask a teacher who rides if I could store it in his office.
Thor, do you happen to know the seat post to handlebar dimensions on the Curve SL?
The Citizen bike looks almost perfect. I just don't know if 22" between the seat post and the handlebars is how I should be riding or not. What would I need to do to modify the bike in the event that I purchased it and the handlebars were too far away?
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Old 05-01-12, 05:03 PM   #16
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How comfortable are you riding your current mountain bike (forget for a moment the improperly adjusted gears)? Do you feel stretched out? Cramped? The ideal thing would be for you to visit a local LBS which sells folding bikes and try them out.
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Old 05-01-12, 05:29 PM   #17
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Brompton makes just 1 bike size, But .. they make a saddle adapter pin, too.

with it the seat can be a couple inches ahead of the seat post.. to shorten up the reach.

bought separately it can modify any plain seat post..

Dutch and Brompton dealer in Portland uses SAPs
on bikes for setting up old sport bikes with a bit too upright a seating position,
behind the seatpost to get a greater setback seat angle.
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Old 05-01-12, 07:05 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chgurlsng View Post

There is a CURVE SL on ebay right now. Hmm. This could be an option if the handlebars could be modified.
that is a nice bike. try to bid on it.
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Old 05-01-12, 07:24 PM   #19
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There will be a new Origami bicycle in early June that may fit the bill for you. It is a 16" wheel, aluminum folder with a Shimano Nexus 3-speed internally geared hub. It will come in at about $450. I don't have a good photo to share, but I will have one in about three weeks.
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Old 05-01-12, 07:41 PM   #20
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I was in Winter Garden back in March and there was a bike store just about to open that had several folders. I don't remember the name of the shop. They were right down town near the trail.
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Old 05-02-12, 01:40 AM   #21
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The seatpost to handlebar length on my custom Bike Friday is 17.5". I'm 5'3, so the actual size you would want, ideally, would probably be less than that. However, it doesn't look like that's in your budget.

Another way of dealing with a too-long top tube length is by raising the handlebars (or by raising the handlebar stem and replacing the handlebars with ones that are swept back). Raising the stem several inches above the saddle will make you less stretched out; swept back handlebars will as well). I'm perfectly comfortable on my Brompton (I think it has a 21" length) because the raised handlebars mean that I'm not overextended.
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Old 05-02-12, 03:00 AM   #22
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The seatpost to handlebar length on my custom Bike Friday is 17.5". I'm 5'3, so the actual size you would want, ideally, would probably be less than that.
This also means that her junior mountain bike is too big for you.
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Old 05-02-12, 04:59 AM   #23
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chgurlsng , you might have a look at this thread about folders with a short reach. Some ideas in there to modify a bike to better fit you.

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-a-short-reach
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Old 05-02-12, 06:20 AM   #24
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That girl is 5'1" and she couldn't reach her handlebars. I'm 5 inches shorter. After reading about all of these options, I just don't think this is going to work. I'm also noticing that they almost all weigh like 30 pounds. That's kind of heavy since I only weigh 95lbs and I'll be carrying it up and down stairs. I might as well get a good quality youth bike. Perhaps I'll head over to the family section and ask around there to explore my options. Thanks, guys!
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Old 05-02-12, 06:33 AM   #25
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http://ridethisbike.com/products/Ken...lding-bike.htm

Kent Compact 16 is about 25lbs with handlepost folding to the outside - in case you'd want to fit a different handlebar to it, like this (you'll need a stem too):

http://www.amazon.com/Sunlite-Tourin...5956927&sr=8-9

Ridethisbike.com also has 12" folding bike that's 22lbs but there's little info about it...

Last edited by bbmike; 05-02-12 at 07:56 AM.
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