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  1. #1
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    advice for newbie to folding bikes

    Hi all,

    I just moved from boston to NYC. In Boston, I spent a lot of time on a Lemond poprad that I modified with fat slicks (42's I think) v brakes, 3 speed bars and mtb levers, a brooks saddle, fenders and bmx style platform pedals. I also cut it down to a 7 speed, removing all but one chainring up front, and shifting with a thumb shifter I had in the parts bin.

    for a 6'2" 145 pounder, it was a comfy cruiser that I could take up and down curbs, over rough pavement and ride fast and hard when I had the spirit to move.

    The bike is too big to store in our NYC apartment, and there isnt a bike ready garage within 15 blocks (west side of harlem) so I am looking into folding bikes.

    I went to a store in lower mahattan that has a great rep on yelp, but my salesperson was not very forthcoming or generous, so I only got to ride a tern verge x10 and a dahon (model?), and only up and down the block, not around any corners. The tern was pretty nice, minimal slop in the joints when riding, reasonably comfy etc. The dahon's head set/folding neck had a bit of slop that did not inspire confidence.

    I am inclined to go for a 16 to 20" wheel bike, with one chainring up front, with strong brakes and a nice ride with enough range to cruise/commute and do some mild urban assault (curbs at least)

    Any recommendations? I am willing to buy new or used and customize.

    many thanks
    Dedalus
    Last edited by dedalusw; 09-21-12 at 05:03 PM. Reason: typos

  2. #2
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    Check out NYCE Bikes, they have Brompton and Dahon.
    Speed Uno
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  3. #3
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    Bfold has quite a few choices
    http://www.bfold.com/StoreFrameset.htm
    Speed Uno
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    The Swift folder may be just right for you height as it can be ordered in a large and is very easy to upgrade.
    http://www.xootr.com/folding-bicycle.html
    Speed Uno
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  5. #5
    Senior Member fusilierdan's Avatar
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    +1 for NYCWheels. I'd check out some Dahons on line and go for one of the longer frames or the one with the stem. Can't remember the model. I have a MU P8 that I've ridden through cobblestones and other rough surfaces seemed to hold up. I'm only 5'5" so the bike fits pretty well as far as I'm concerned my other bikes (non folding) fit a little different. 33 - 92 gear ratio covers most of my riding.

    Ride a few to see how they fit is the best thing.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedalusw View Post
    ...for a 6'2" 145 pounder,..Any recommendations?...
    Eat a little more.

    Go to NYCEWheels... I'm sure you could find something there that would suit your needs. Of course this all depends on your finances and needs but personally I would check out the Dahon Speed D7. I prefer steel frames, especially for folders, and the D7 has a butted 4130 chromoly frame. If you can afford it you may also want to check out a Brompton.

    According to your height and weight I'm guessing you have a relatively short torso and long legs so your choices may be limited unless you can source an aftermarket seat post of the correct length to fit whatever bike you like (IIRC the D7 has a very long one to suit riders with a long inseam).
    I plan on living forever... so far so good.

  7. #7
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    My inseam is about 32".

    The lemond I ride is a 59/60 frame.

    I'll check out a swift at nyce.

    thanks !

  8. #8
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Sounds like you need something tough. Suggest not a Brompton, or Mezzo, Bike friday tricket for the riding you want to do. None are great out of the saddle or for hopping curbs.
    , 20 inch wheels bikes are better option ie
    a Dahon jetstream
    a mini Velo ( dahon smoothhound),
    Swift,
    Birdie, (18 inch)
    paffic reach,
    joey,
    Animal,
    Moulton,
    ifmode??


    Swift seems good recomenedation to me.
    what about ss couplers, or a satoria 90 decree stem just to make a conventional bike narrower to store in corridoor>
    Last edited by bhkyte; 09-22-12 at 08:35 AM.
    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. Birdie red.

  9. #9
    Portable Audio/Bike Lover tds101's Avatar
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    Get the xootr swift - it's (IMO) the perfect folding bike w/20" wheels.
    Fitness is only a side effect,...I feel alive when I ride!!!

  10. #10
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedalusw View Post
    I am inclined to go for a 16 to 20" wheel bike, with one chainring up front, with strong brakes and a nice ride with enough range to cruise/commute and do some mild urban assault (curbs at least)

    Any recommendations? I am willing to buy new or used and customize.

    many thanks
    Dedalus
    Given that you're in NYC, you can test ride just about everything. Since some folding bikes are less flexible ergonomically, I'd spend more time test riding since you're at the upper bound of fit for most one-size-fits-all bikes.

    Since a teeny tiny size does not seem necessary, I'd stick with a 20" (ERTO 406) wheel bike. The selection of tires is much better. On average, it is also easier to get appropriate appropriate gearing with a 20" wheel relative to the 16" wheel.

    You didn't mention a budget.

    In your shoes, I'd test ride all of the standard 20" bikes ... Bike Friday, Swiftfolder, Downtube, Dahon/Tern. From what I understand, all of those bikes can be used with a front derailer which may be important if you ever decide to use your bike in a different manner (touring?). All of those manufacturers make models that can fit wide 20" tires which will improve the ride and performance during an "urban assault".

  11. #11
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    I'll get over to NYCE as soon as I can manage and try out a Swift! And maybe some other 16/20" bikes

    budget... up to $1500 if the bike is convincing. Although, being new to NYC, I'm inclined to spend a little less until I get how to lock a bike up NY style etc. I have not purchased a bike new since 1999, and am not up for having a bike stolen.

  12. #12
    Portable Audio/Bike Lover tds101's Avatar
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    A folding bike isn't supposed to be locked up on a NYC street. I would know, I've lived in every borough in NYC. A folding bike is meant to be kept indoors - safe. Especially considering what they cost compared to the average crap chained up on the streets.
    Fitness is only a side effect,...I feel alive when I ride!!!

  13. #13
    Senior Member bargainguy's Avatar
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    OK, I have a completely different suggestion. Just a thought, as I have enough folding bikes to fill a small stable - Bike Fridays, Dahons and a new Brompton, to mention a few.

    Fuji made a folding mountain bike in the 80's/90's. It's red, no other color. Was a promotional bike with Marlboro - pay $100 and 2000 "miles" (each ciggy pack had a 5 mi. sticker) - meaning 400 packs. So give up half a lung and a C-note and it's yours.

    Anyhoo, these can be found quite cheaply. I just bought one tonite for $45. Gives you curb hopping ability, reasonably quick fold, and certainly while not as nice as any of the modern folders, on the streets of NYC, wouldn't slow you down as much as you think.

    Don

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    dedalusw,

    I gave you a lead via PM, it will not not show up in a search. You have to search "folding" and look at Saturday's listings.

    Ratdog

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    Ratdog, I called the guy, probably too late, although the post was still active. Thanks tho!

    Don, I'll look into it.

    tds101, Some day I'll lock it up somewhere. Its bound to happen. I do see folders locked up once in a while. Maybe I walk away right before they are lifted? (wink) I'll consider myself warned though, and will keep this in mind when I am ready to buy and ready to ride.

  16. #16
    Portable Audio/Bike Lover tds101's Avatar
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    Hey, we're both NYC'ers, we know the deal. Just make sure you lock up tight as a drum.
    Fitness is only a side effect,...I feel alive when I ride!!!

  17. #17
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    dedalusw, which store did you try out at first?

    If you're unsure in how to jump in, I think ratdog's idea of scouring Craigslist is a great one. I've seen some pretty decent Dahon's on there (in the NYC area) that I would've jumped on had I not purchased a Verge x10.

  18. #18
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    Get a bag and keep it with you. There is a Xootr Swift on Ebay and 2 days to go.
    Speed Uno
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  19. #19
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedalusw View Post
    budget... up to $1500 if the bike is convincing. Although, being new to NYC, I'm inclined to spend a little less until I get how to lock a bike up NY style etc. I have not purchased a bike new since 1999, and am not up for having a bike stolen.
    IMO ... especially if you're new to folding bikes ... go used. Especially if you go Bike Friday. I'd regularly check the Bike Friday YAK for postings. A year with a folding bike will be informative.

  20. #20
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    Speed Uno
    Dawes Kingpin 2speed

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    Quote Originally Posted by dedalusw View Post
    Hi all,

    I just moved from boston to NYC. In Boston, I spent a lot of time on a Lemond poprad that I modified with fat slicks (42's I think) v brakes, 3 speed bars and mtb levers, a brooks saddle, fenders and bmx style platform pedals. I also cut it down to a 7 speed, removing all but one chainring up front, and shifting with a thumb shifter I had in the parts bin.

    for a 6'2" 145 pounder, it was a comfy cruiser that I could take up and down curbs, over rough pavement and ride fast and hard when I had the spirit to move.

    The bike is too big to store in our NYC apartment, and there isnt a bike ready garage within 15 blocks (west side of harlem) so I am looking into folding bikes.

    I went to a store in lower mahattan that has a great rep on yelp, but my salesperson was not very forthcoming or generous, so I only got to ride a tern verge x10 and a dahon (model?), and only up and down the block, not around any corners. The tern was pretty nice, minimal slop in the joints when riding, reasonably comfy etc. The dahon's head set/folding neck had a bit of slop that did not inspire confidence.

    I am inclined to go for a 16 to 20" wheel bike, with one chainring up front, with strong brakes and a nice ride with enough range to cruise/commute and do some mild urban assault (curbs at least)

    Any recommendations? I am willing to buy new or used and customize.

    many thanks
    Dedalus
    I'm currently traveling in NYC now out to Philly, so I would highly recommend NYCewheels at upper Manhattan. Take advantage of their free Brompton test ride every Sat. I missed their promo ride though I really enjoyed 12th ave along the Pier. Holy smokes, roads in Manhattan are rough and full of potholes! Go try Tern in Central Park and enjoy!
    Trek 5000 carbon road bike
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    Dahon Mu SL (performance hybrid road bike)
    Dahon Speed Duo (slow poker shopper or coffee getter bike)

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    Quote Originally Posted by tds101 View Post
    A folding bike isn't supposed to be locked up on a NYC street. I would know, I've lived in every borough in NYC. A folding bike is meant to be kept indoors - safe. Especially considering what they cost compared to the average crap chained up on the streets.
    My observation in NYC with bikes locked up in Manhattan in a few days here is everybody are using chains to lock up bikes. But that's pointless because 2 bikes I saw today got there chop shopped right in front of people and nobody did anything about it!
    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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