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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 07-08-12, 06:23 PM   #1
LDB
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Folding bike research

I've been thinking about this off and on for quite a while. I'm considering a folder so I can take it with me in my van. I wish I could say money is no object but have to put a budget on it. I'd like the best for the least of course but could go up to maybe $800 on the bike and $100 on a helmet etc. and tax for about $1k total budget. I've looked at the Thor website at the Speed D7 and Mariner D7. I also looked at the Downtube FS.

I'd use the bike on the street and maybe bike paths / trails but no real mountain bike type stuff. I'm looking for something with comfort and enough durability to ride a cobblestone street now and then and enough gears for an old and way out of shape guy to ride.

Last edited by LDB; 07-12-12 at 10:12 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 07-08-12, 06:44 PM   #2
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You have already looked at the right websites. I would recommend Thor; the new Tern bikes are getting good reviews. Downtubes have also generally earned a reputation as good bang for buck.
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Old 07-08-12, 06:45 PM   #3
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I'd do Tern Link P24H and a $50 dollar helmet.
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Old 07-12-12, 08:42 AM   #4
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Where can you find pricing on Tern? I've looked at their website and can't find it anywhere. I was looking at the Giant folder and like it. I'd really like to have a Raleigh folder as my dad had a Raleigh bike but I guess they don't make them anymore.
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Old 07-12-12, 09:02 AM   #5
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There was a Speed D7 listed on the San Antonio CL a week ago. The listing said for trade, but also says "make me an offer". The person even listed his buying price so you know where to start.

http://sanantonio.craigslist.org/bik/3120595005.html
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Old 07-12-12, 10:51 AM   #6
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I'd do Tern Link P24H and a $50 dollar helmet.
+1 to that, IŽd even go 40$ for the helmet and 10$ in beers, congratulating myself.
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Old 07-12-12, 11:08 AM   #7
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Where can you find pricing on Tern? I've looked at their website and can't find it anywhere. I was looking at the Giant folder and like it. I'd really like to have a Raleigh folder as my dad had a Raleigh bike but I guess they don't make them anymore.
Go to Thor's site. He has all the US Tern models listed with prices.

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+1 to that, IŽd even go 40$ for the helmet and 10$ in beers, congratulating myself.
Winner!
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Old 07-12-12, 11:16 AM   #8
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Btw, there's a Tern dealer in Houston. Always nice to try before you buy, and to have local dealer support.
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Old 07-12-12, 12:55 PM   #9
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You have already looked at the right websites. I would recommend Thor; the new Tern bikes are getting good reviews. Downtubes have also generally earned a reputation as good bang for buck.
Between the lower-end Tern bikes and the same-price Dahons I would go with the Dahons (from personal experience). For some reason the lower- end Tern frames weigh as much as a pound or two more.

The higher- end Terns use 'hydroformed' aluminum, but the lower ones don't. The lower- end Dahons

Otherwise, the components, hinges, ride, etc are all the same.

The Terns also seem to be a little more expensive.
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Old 07-12-12, 01:14 PM   #10
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... I'd really like to have a Raleigh folder as my dad had a Raleigh bike but I guess they don't make them anymore. ...
Raleigh has one folder in their USA line-up, the Folding i8. See:
http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/hybrid/folding-i8-12/
My experience has been that the Raleigh can be adjusted for a more upright riding position than the Dahons and/or Terns. It doesn't fold quite as nicely, but it has an 8-speed Nexus hub gear at a very attractive price. You should be able to get one at your local Raleigh dealer for less than $700. And, FWIW, although Raleigh is now the distibutor in England for Dahon, the Raleigh Folding i8 is NOT a rebadged Dahon.

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Old 07-12-12, 09:04 PM   #11
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Between the lower-end Tern bikes and the same-price Dahons I would go with the Dahons (from personal experience). For some reason the lower- end Tern frames weigh as much as a pound or two more.

The higher- end Terns use 'hydroformed' aluminum, but the lower ones don't. The lower- end Dahons

Otherwise, the components, hinges, ride, etc are all the same.

The Terns also seem to be a little more expensive.
NOPE the hinges are vastly different, most components are different, the ride id different ...
weights ? you put them on a scale ?
Hydroformed frames are usually heavier than regular alloy frames , but much stiffer ....

As being more expensive .... well compare the Link Uno with the Mu Uno ... well the Mu has nicer components, no doubt .. but that much nicer ?
They are different ..... not saying that they are better ... Dahons are pretty nice these days. No doubt
but way to much generalism and a couple of mistakes in your post ..
sorry

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Old 07-12-12, 09:40 PM   #12
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I can't offer any comparisons, but I do own a Mariner D7 and can say that I think it's a great bike. It's the only modern folder that I've ridden, but it rides really well, very much like a "real" bike; brakes work well, shifters are precise, and the styling is sharp. It was also the first, modern, small wheeled bike I've ridden, and it's still a huge pleasure to ride for the easy pedaling nature and comfy, upright position. These little things spin up quickly, and just feel fun.

The Mariner also comes with rack and fenders, so it's pretty ready for all kinds of regular use, just add a trunk bag and you'll be ready for comfy cruises all over the place. Gearing is sufficiently low to handle moderate hill climbs easily.

The one thing I really dislike are the pedals. They're folding pedals, and just can't take my 200lb weight without flexing. Thor sells some MKS removable pedals I intend to buy as replacements.

I recommend the Mariner for sure!
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Old 07-12-12, 10:16 PM   #13
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I have a Bike Friday folder and have been happy with it and am pretty familiar with a few other folder models from Brompton and Dahon.

But I frankly don't see much point in going with a folder just to carry it in your van. I can take the wheels off my full size Cannondale and put it in the trunk of my little Corolla sedan at least as quickly as I'd be able to with any folder I've used or seen. The trunk of the car (no folding seat) is pretty small so I'd expect your van to have far more room.

My folder is great for use on multi-modal trips using public transit systems that don't allow regular bikes and it's especially suited for airline travel since it fits inside a standard suitcase. But if I'm just going on a bike ride where I need to carry the bike to the start inside a car or van then I'll take one of my regular non-folding bikes
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Old 07-13-12, 02:14 AM   #14
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I have a Bike Friday folder and have been happy with it and am pretty familiar with a few other folder models from Brompton and Dahon.

But I frankly don't see much point in going with a folder just to carry it in your van. I can take the wheels off my full size Cannondale and put it in the trunk of my little Corolla sedan at least as quickly as I'd be able to with any folder I've used or seen. The trunk of the car (no folding seat) is pretty small so I'd expect your van to have far more room.

My folder is great for use on multi-modal trips using public transit systems that don't allow regular bikes and it's especially suited for airline travel since it fits inside a standard suitcase. But if I'm just going on a bike ride where I need to carry the bike to the start inside a car or van then I'll take one of my regular non-folding bikes
Sounds like one person one bike in a car. I have a smaller car (Starlet) and need to fit up to three (looong)peopel, three bikes and a bordercollie in there. No problem with the Bromptons.

The dog is not superhappy to share the space with my 20" folder when just he and I are going somewhere. If I then had to do the shopping to save fuel and time I could not do a weeks shopping. It all depends.
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Old 07-13-12, 07:11 AM   #15
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there's a Tern dealer in Houston. i hear that . thax @LDB ..
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Old 07-13-12, 07:21 AM   #16
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Actually I've had no problem with two regular bikes plus two people and assorted luggage inside the car (and a collie wouldn't have been a problem either). I agree that three would have been better with folders if they really needed to be inside - but at that point I tend to prefer to add a bike rack to the car. When I put the rack on the car I've had no problem carrying five adults, five regular bikes, plus our luggage for a trip.
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Old 07-13-12, 08:38 AM   #17
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When I'm out in the van I have to allow room for up to two 48x48x48 skids plus all my stuff to be out for 2-3 weeks at a time. A folded bike could go in the passenger footwell. Even without wheels it would be difficult to fit a standard bike with a maximum load. It's rare but since I never know if/when I have to allow for it.
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Old 07-13-12, 09:02 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by guitarplayerone View Post
Between the lower-end Tern bikes and the same-price Dahons I would go with the Dahons (from personal experience). For some reason the lower- end Tern frames weigh as much as a pound or two more.

The higher- end Terns use 'hydroformed' aluminum, but the lower ones don't. The lower- end Dahons

Otherwise, the components, hinges, ride, etc are all the same.

The Terns also seem to be a little more expensive.
The thing is as parts wear out you can upgrade them later in the years. But the only thing you can't change is the hinges on the frame! and the hinges between the bikes are VERY VERY different. The Terns are incredibly beefy compared to the Dahons if you see them in person, they have ALOT more surface area meeting up when you clamp them shut and the flex on the Terns are almost non existent. Try a typical dahon and a typical tern, when you try to wrench them hard to see if there is any flex then you'll see the difference. You can upgrade wheels and pedals and cranks as they wear out but you'll never be able to upgrade your frame. That might be your 1 or 2 lbs difference in the frame but you will feel the difference too once you start riding them.
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Old 07-13-12, 10:40 PM   #19
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When I'm out in the van I have to allow room for up to two 48x48x48 skids plus all my stuff to be out for 2-3 weeks at a time. A folded bike could go in the passenger footwell. Even without wheels it would be difficult to fit a standard bike with a maximum load. It's rare but since I never know if/when I have to allow for it.
If you put a folder in the passenger footwell it's going to be extremely uncomfortable for any passenger to sit there. Conversely, if you have a passenger seat available with no passenger filling it then it's generally possible to put a regular bike and its wheels in that space - no need to use any of the cargo space in that case. I really haven't found that folders fit all that much better than regular bikes with their wheels alongside - depending on the shape of the space sometimes the folder is a better fit but other times my regular bike is actually easier to stow. The major exception being to get within the airline requirements for standard baggage where a regular bike frame is just a little too long.
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Old 08-14-12, 03:17 AM   #20
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If you need to take the bike by car, Bike Nashbar will sell you a 4 bike 1&1/4" folding rack rack for $150. The hitch will cost you maybe $250 more, installed. This leaves the entire inside of your car free for people and their other stuff. As some one said, folders are great for bus, plane and train travel. They many also store more easily in small offices and homes. But there are simpler & cheaper methods if you just want to take your bike via automobile.
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Old 08-14-12, 08:05 AM   #21
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I am happy so far with my Giant Halfway ~$800 and my wife has a giant Expressway ~$450. You can see them in this Forum, " A Pair of New Giants" 08-13-12.
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