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  1. #1
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    What;s wrong with this one? (Stowabike)

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...pf_rd_i=507846

    26" steel Stowabike folding frame
    Zoom steel suspension 26" fork
    Alloy body spring shock, 750lbs/in
    18 speeds total
    Dual suspension, quality components from suppliers such as Shimano; KMC Z33 chain, Folded dimensions: L 39" x H 35" x W 23.5", Left shifter: Microshift 3 speed grip shifter, Right Shifter: Microshift 6 speed grip shifter, Front Derailleur: Saigun QD-23a, Rear Derailleur: Shimano RD-TZ50.



    I am a now novice bike rider. As a kid I rode daily, but that was 50 years ago and recently it's been 5 years since I rode.

    I would like a 26" wheel folding mountain bike. While my mind say Montague Paratrooper or equivalent, my pocketbook (until I find if I will really use a bike again) says much cheaper, like $200 or less - used is OK.

    I think I don't care about shocks as I have never ridden a bike with them. Seemingly cheap, poor ones would be worse than none at all.

    My preference would be a 3 speed internal, as my more recent limited experience bikes with many gears has been that I don't use the majority of them and more things go wrong with derailleurs.

    I will not be doing 50 milers, more like 5 or 10, but I do want to be able to use a variety of surfaces from paved road to semi-rough paths/trails (limited roots/rocks).

    I actually want a steel frame (a strong alloy would be out of my price range) as from my novice perspective strength is much more important than weight.

    I couldn't find many online reviews other than the Amazon ones so I am seeking input here.

  2. #2
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    Please explain why you're looking for a folding bicycle and how heavy would be to heavy?

    Probably the worst feature of the bike in your example is the front suspension fork. Also, headset might be 1" which would preclude you from upgrading it in the future. Usually, when you buy cheap bike (and sometimes expensive too) you'll want to upgrade tires, saddle, grips and even brakes so the price you pay, including upgrades, will surpass of what you could get for say $100 more if you got a better bike right away.

  3. #3
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    I agree with bbmike.
    I also feel if $200 is your budget try to find a used bike or craigslist or ebay or wherever.
    You can get great used deals since lots of people buy bikes thinking they want to get in shape but they abandon it like a gym membership.
    Why a mountain bike?
    Maybe a road, hybrid, cross, or other type of folder with different tires would suit you.
    We really need to know more.
    What are your dimensions, where you plan to ride, and where will you transport (car trunk, bus, train, etc) and stow (work cubicle, tiny apartment, etc) the bike would help decide.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbmike View Post
    Please explain why you're looking for a folding bicycle and how heavy would be to heavy?

    Probably the worst feature of the bike in your example is the front suspension fork. Also, headset might be 1" which would preclude you from upgrading it in the future. Usually, when you buy cheap bike (and sometimes expensive too) you'll want to upgrade tires, saddle, grips and even brakes so the price you pay, including upgrades, will surpass of what you could get for say $100 more if you got a better bike right away.
    The reason I want a folder is that I want to be able to keep it in the trunk of my car. (I do have a bike rack which at one time carried 4 bikes.)

    Why is the front suspension fork the worst feature?

    How does a 1" headset limit my upgrade options?

    The one thing I know I will want to upgrade is the seat as I want a wide cushy one. I am hoping one I have now will fit.

    I might want to upgrade to Kevlar tires, but would a bike that's $100 more come with those?

    I am used to cheap bikes so in a sense I won't know what I am missing from better (disc?) brakes, etc.

  5. #5
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    I am 5'9" and 190 lbs.

    I definitely want off paved road capability even those most use will be on paved roadways. Massachusetts and Maine.

    I doubt I will want to transport it on bus or train.

    I want to keep it almost permanently in my (small) car trunk (BMW 335).

    I don't know enough about hybrid or cross types to know if they would be something I think I would like. I know I do not want a road bike even though most use will be one roads. I know I want (semi-improved) trail/path capability.

  6. #6
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    With your requirements, I'd say you can go for this bike.

    If I was buying I'd skip the suspension because it's just more stuff that might wear out and go wrong.
    When you're talking $200 for a bike, the suspension is not going to be high quality and may rob you of pedaling power as it wallows underneath you.
    You might want to check this one, it's a hybrid with slicker tires.
    Its a little more cash, but it has better reviews too.
    http://www.amazon.com/Columba-Folding-Shimano-Speed-SP26S_BLU/dp/B002LT28J4/ref=sr_1_21?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1338736478&sr=1-21


    Bear in mind even if these fold, it's going to be a relatively big package since it has 26" wheels.
    There's no way around it because you'll want 26" wheels for off roading.

    A hybrid/cross is like a MTB but with slick city tires.
    A cyclocross is a road bike with off road tires, but that's not what you'll want as the posture is road race style.

    Lots of people put in tire liners instead of spending the cash on kevlar tires and from what I hear they're more puncture proof since they're solid strips of plastic.
    I've never used them so search through the mountain, commuter, or hybrid sections here to read up on them.

    1" headsets are kind of old school but you can still get plenty of nice ones.
    If you become an avid biker you'll want an entirely new bike later down the road anyway so I wouldn't sweat it.

  7. #7
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    Thanks, The Columba certainly needs to go into the list of possibles. Although I would prefer non-slick tires.

    How do you know it has slick tires? How do you know the other one has a 1" headset?

    I think I would prefer no suspension for the reason you cite.

    Based on your descriptions I think I still prefer the mountain bike style over a hybrid or cross.

    Thanks for the tip on the tire liners. I'll check those out.

    Is it correct that I can add some kind of mud or rain guard to just about any bike? I think that is another upgrade I would like to do.

    I just saw an old ad for a used Montigue 26" 24 speed folder that looks like the paratrooper model but is colored for $275. I didn't think I could get one of those in the $200 range.

  8. #8
    Senior Member ro-monster's Avatar
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    About the 26" wheels: If you're going to ride real mountain bike trails (rough single-track) as opposed to fire roads, double-track, or dirt and gravel paths, then you need the 26" wheels. But otherwise, 20" or 24" should be fine, and you will open up a lot more choices, since there are few 26" wheel folders made.

    Quote Originally Posted by TambourineMan View Post
    The one thing I know I will want to upgrade is the seat as I want a wide cushy one. I am hoping one I have now will fit.
    That's fine for now, but as you gain more experience and start to ride longer distances, you may change your mind about that. Nearly everyone finds a wide cushy saddle to be less comfortable after a while, especially if they are riding a bike which puts them in a forward-leaning position.

    Quote Originally Posted by TambourineMan View Post
    I am used to cheap bikes so in a sense I won't know what I am missing from better (disc?) brakes, etc.
    The one thing you will know you're missing is the joy of riding. Riding a poor-quality bike is just plain hard work, a good-quality one feels smooth and free.

    One thing to remember is that a folding bike is generally more expensive than a similar non-folding bike at the same level of quality, because the folding mechanism itself adds to the cost of manufacture.

  9. #9
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    What is wrong with it? to meet low price point, and sellers margins,
    all the parts have to be from the bottom of the list.

    I would not call it a single track usable bike, but one for pootling on at the most, gravel roads..

    YGWYPF .. I would not upgrade , but when you think of an upgrade ,
    put the money in a jar, instead, save to buy a nicer whole new bike,
    next time..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 06-03-12 at 12:26 PM.

  10. #10
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    Have you checked Craigslist? Checkout the montague line of folding 26" bikes. Tern has them also in the $500 range http://www.thorusa.com/tern/joec21.htm
    The Tern has Big Apple tires, 21 speed and probably lighter at 30 pounds.
    Dahon Jifo
    Dawes Kingpin 2speed

  11. #11
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    Judging by your requirements, I suggest a nice, affordable 20" folder like the 7-speed Columba 20" alloy.

    http://www.amazon.com/Columba-Foldin...8785938&sr=1-9

    It fits your pocketbook and is pretty decent on dirt and tarmac alike. The customer service is pretty good, which is important if you're new to folding bikes. The only downside, according to me, is that the handlebars aren't part of the folding assembly, and need to be removed everytime you fold the bike. If you're ok with that, I think you can consider it.

    Regarding suspension, I agree with your opinion. It's always better to do away with suspension entirely. Good suspension bits are quite expensive. Cheap ones will just give you a lot of trouble down the road (metaphorically speaking).

    (Of course if you're thinking about buying a used bike, it's a different story altogether.)
    Last edited by Doonbiker; 06-03-12 at 11:37 PM.

  12. #12
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    I clearly understand that if I spend $500, or $1,500 or $2,500 there will be less criticism of my choice.

    I want to spend $200 +/-.

    I understand it will have faults, I am just trying to avoid critical faults. Unless you can tell me it will be faster and less effort to walk, I want to try a $200 +/- bike. Many non-biking enthusiasts use $200 bikes. I am not and will not be a biking enthusiast.

    At this point I know I don't know some things. There are also things I don't know I don't know. I want to try to learn what they are. I don't want to spend $1,000 to learn them.

    The things I do know: I want 26" wheels. I want a mountain bike style. I want a strong frame.

    The one I think I would ultimately like is a Montague Paratrooper, but I am not ready to plunk that kind of money down without riding again as I have not ridden for about 5 years and that was on a street bike on gravel roads.

    I would consider used: I found this one which seems to be similar to a paratrooper except it is colored:



    http://savannah-ga.americanlisted.co..._19871521.html

    It is an old ad but if I can find one similar than I would be willing to go more than $200 as I think this might be sufficient so I do not end up having to buy another bike once I learn better for myself what I need/want and do not need/want.

    I cannot easily determine how this one differs from the Paratrooper model or even what its specs are.

    Any comments on this one?

    Can I get one for less than $275?

  13. #13
    Senior Member 1FJEF's Avatar
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    Yeah, if he's near you, go offer him less, with cash in hand.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by TambourineMan View Post
    I clearly understand that if I spend $500, or $1,500 or $2,500 there will be less criticism of my choice.

    I want to spend $200 +/-.

    I understand it will have faults, I am just trying to avoid critical faults. Unless you can tell me it will be faster and less effort to walk, I want to try a $200 +/- bike. Many non-biking enthusiasts use $200 bikes. I am not and will not be a biking enthusiast.

    At this point I know I don't know some things. There are also things I don't know I don't know. I want to try to learn what they are. I don't want to spend $1,000 to learn them.
    No one's blaming you, haha. $200 is not a small amount, you can get pretty decent non-folding bikes for that much. It's the folding design which increases the cost.

  15. #15
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Sounds like you dont really need a folder. Just take the wheels off a rigid bike thats stored in a car boot. Cheaper and better bike for the money if it fits and is compact enough for your car. 26" folders are not very compact
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8.

  16. #16
    lowlife bottom feeder BassNotBass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhkyte View Post
    Sounds like you dont really need a folder. Just take the wheels off a rigid bike thats stored in a car boot. Cheaper and better bike for the money if it fits and is compact enough for your car. 26" folders are not very compact
    +1.
    I plan on living forever... so far so good.

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