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  1. #1
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    Suggestions Needed - First Folder

    I'm about to start a new job working at a University. I'll have to park a few blocks from the building I'll be working in; for most people this would be a problem, but I've always wanted an excuse for riding a bike to work. I want a folder for obvious reasons.

    Cost is a big factor (with this job, I'm trading money for benefits). I'd like to keep it under $300, but since I will be using it every day, I also want it to be a comfortable well-made bike.

    I've been looking at several Dahons, a Downtube Nova, and even watching a few vintage bikes on ebay. Anybody care to point me in a direction?

  2. #2
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    buy used. you will almost certainly get more for your money than trying to buy a new bike for 300. use your local craigslist or other venue to search for newer dahon or xootr swift or other mid-range bikes. these bikes are likely to have been well taken care of and serviced. they will also be equipped with good quality components as stock. also, prepare to be softly trolled/marketed in this forum: "perhaps you might consider a citizen bike/ origami/ greenzone?" etc.
    Last edited by smallwheeler; 11-25-12 at 02:20 PM.

  3. #3
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Origami bicycles
    has extended their Black Friday sale through Monday. Three of their four models are now under $300 (before shipping). It's worth at least taking a look. I've got no relationship with them, but I've read good things on the forum.

    In general, you need to decide what you want, even after deciding you want a folder. Do you want something that folds really small (16" wheels) or something that is easier to ride further distances (more likely 20") or up hills (more gearing). Lighter bikes are usually more expensive than heavier ones. For your basic folder, I don't think you'll go wrong with one of the Origami bikes, the Nova, or any of the Dahons assuming the have the features you want.

    Cheers,
    Charles
    http://Charles.Plager.net
    http://RecumbentQuant.blogspot.com

  4. #4
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    Amazon has the Dahon Speed Uno for $300 shipped for the next hour as part of a lightning deal. It's single speed & coaster brake only though.

  5. #5
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    We dont have blocks in the UK, but according to wikipedia there are approx 8 blocks to the mile, making a block about a furlong, so a few blocks is what, 2 or three furlongs ?

    If money is tight, as you say it is, is it really worth spending $300+ (because it will be +) to cover that distance a day, or are you envisioning some other cycling activities ?

    Oh, and will you have somewhere secure to keep the bike once you get to work, (because folders are, for sure, thief magnets) ?
    Jetstream P11 ; iXi

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diode100 View Post
    We dont have blocks in the UK, but according to wikipedia there are approx 8 blocks to the mile, making a block about a furlong, so a few blocks is what, 2 or three furlongs ?

    If money is tight, as you say it is, is it really worth spending $300+ (because it will be +) to cover that distance a day, or are you envisioning some other cycling activities ?

    Oh, and will you have somewhere secure to keep the bike once you get to work, (because folders are, for sure, thief magnets) ?
    Besides for riding back and forth to my car, I'd also use it to get lunch, and to get to class and back (part of the reason I took a job at a University was for the free clases).

    I plan on taking it into my office and storing it next to my desk, but there are also bike racks everywhere on campus where I could lock it up.
    Last edited by toasterburn; 11-25-12 at 02:48 PM.

  7. #7
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    The Green Zone at $199 looks like good bike for what you need.
    http://www.greenzonebikes.com/20-fol...speed-red.html

    Write up
    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...Value-Edition)
    Dahon Jifo
    Dawes Kingpin 2speed

  8. #8
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    speed uno is on ebay too:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/DAHON-Speed-...item1c2dd5e406

    also:
    smoothhound, a premium bike with some sweet extras:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/2010-Dahon-s...item19d6fde8bf

    ritchey breakaway:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ritchey-Brea...item3f1f6d6760

    tern link d7:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Tern-Link-C7...item35c1e62e3d

    bike friday pocket companion a premium bike with excellent components:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Bike-Friday-...item2c6a1df119

    breezer (which is dahon OEM if im not mistaken):

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Breezer-Fold...item3a7bb8c94e

  9. #9
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    inevitable:

    "Origami bicycles has extended their Black Friday sale through Monday."


    "
    The Green Zone at $199 looks like good bike for what you need."

  10. #10
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smallwheeler View Post
    inevitable:

    "Origami bicycles has extended their Black Friday sale through Monday."


    "
    The Green Zone at $199 looks like good bike for what you need."
    You say that like it's a bad thing; I disagree. I do agree that one should also look at used folders as well.
    http://Charles.Plager.net
    http://RecumbentQuant.blogspot.com

  11. #11
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    i have concluded, based on ten + years of experience owning and riding folding bikes, that a new, good quality folding bicycle cannot be purchased new for 300 usd or less. the quality of the components on such a bike are going to be bottom-tier or near to it. that includes all the little unseen parts that make a bike functional and enjoyable to ride, like, the headset, the bottom bracket, the hubs, bearings, cog, derailleur, rims, spokes, tubes, tires, brakes, pads, cables, levers, every nut and screw, etc. this list doesnt even include the things that make a folding bike unique - the folding frame and mechanisms! within the first 3-6 months of ownership of the origami/greenzone/giordano/kettler/, if the cyclist intends to continue riding the cheap bike, he/she can count on replacing a lot of the stock parts with the result that the initial 300 investment quickly becomes a 500 investment as the end user will not be spec'ing his or her replacement parts out of a wholesale dealer's catalogue. he or she will be paying full retail (or close to it). then, the niggling questions begin to emerge - was it really a good investment? should i really be spending extra money on improvements to this platform (the frame itself)?

    consider this: the person who pays 800-1500 usd for a folding bike is very likely to take quite good care of it, keeping it well serviced and generally clean and stored indoors. this is a reasonable assumption that i have observed proven time and again. buying such a bike in good used condition is a good investment. for example, i recently test rode a used dahon cadenza p8. its a premium bike kept in excellent condition by the seller who was asking 400 for his 5 year old bike. this bike features as stock:
    Frame: OAX Series, 7005 aluminum, patented LockJaw Hinge™, replaceable derailleur hanger, integrated head tube
    Fork: dahon SlipStream Fork, Puro™ U7 aluminum, double butted tubing, disc/V/canti brake compatible

    Handlebar:Ritchey, 6061-T6 aluminum, straight, 31.8 mm
    Stem: dahon F.I.T. Stem, patented ATS technology, 6061-T6 aluminum

    Headset: dahon Fusion, Zero stack, cartridge, conical spacer
    Grip/Bars Tape:Ergon Grips, for trigger

    Saddle:BioLogic Aria Saddle

    Seatpost:BioLogic PostPump Seatpost, 27.2 mm

    Seat Clamp:Aluminum with high leverage lever
    Front Brake:Shimano Disc, Mechanical, Shimano Disc Rotor
    Rear Brake:Shimano Disc, Mechanical, Shimano Disc Roto
    Brake Levers:Avid FR5 Brake Levers


    Front Hub:Shimano Disc, 32H, black
    Rear Hub:Shimano Alfine, 8 spd, 32H, black
    Spokes:18/8 stainless steel
    Nipples:Brass nipples, black ano
    Rims:WTB SX24, disc only, doublewall
    Tires:Schwalbe Big Apple, 26" x 2.0", RaceGuard puncture protection, 75 psi
    Shifter(s):Shimano Alfine RapidFire Plus
    Crankset:Truvativ IsoFlow, 38T, CNC alloy guard
    Cassette/Freewheel:Shimano, 16T
    Bottom Bracket:Cartridge, sealed bearings
    Chain:KMC Z610RB, RustBuster Chain

    Kickstand:Aluminum
    Clip System:Magnetix Technology

    Accessory:Reflective Trouser Strap

    Tool:T wrench Allen tool

    what are the component specs for an origami bike?
    http://www.origamibicycles.com/specs.php

    or a greenzone?
    http://www.greenzonebikes.com/20-fol...um-red.html#r1

    as you can see, they are built up with the cheapest components available. stamped metals, cheap alloys, and screws and bolts that you would buy at a .99 store in 100ct packs.

    the wheelset alone on the used dahon cadenza 8 is worth more than the brand new complete origami cricket or green zone bike in total.

    the reason i even take the time to address this is, its bums me out to see an enthusiastic rider, new to folding bikes, get disgusted with a cheap-o bike recommended by members of the forum and come to the conclusion that folding bikes are crap and a waste of money. i personally hate that...
    Last edited by smallwheeler; 11-25-12 at 08:47 PM.

  12. #12
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    The OP stated that they were looking for a folder under $300 and that is what we have been trying to address.
    Dahon Jifo
    Dawes Kingpin 2speed

  13. #13
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    actually, the OP said, "I'd like to keep it under $300, but since I will be using it every day, I also want it to be a comfortable well-made bike."
    so, in fact, recommending low quality new bike brands does nothing to help the OP make an informed decision.




    Last edited by smallwheeler; 11-25-12 at 08:48 PM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member bargainguy's Avatar
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    Every folding bike is an exercise in compromise. The question is - on a limited budget, what must you have versus what is nice but not essential?

    I'd be on the lookout for the Fuji folding MTB from the 90's that was a promotional item for Marlboro cigarettes. I found one for $45 recently, and despite a stable full of folders, gotta admit - well designed bike, relatively quick fold, not so many weirdo one-off parts - so it gets a big thumbs up from me in the price vs. usefulness dept in the folding world.

    Don

  15. #15
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bargainguy View Post
    Every folding bike is an exercise in compromise. The question is - on a limited budget, what must you have versus what is nice but not essential?

    I'd be on the lookout for the Fuji folding MTB from the 90's that was a promotional item for Marlboro cigarettes. I found one for $45 recently, and despite a stable full of folders, gotta admit - well designed bike, relatively quick fold, not so many weirdo one-off parts - so it gets a big thumbs up from me in the price vs. usefulness dept in the folding world.

    Don
    i agree, don. that's a solid performer AND hundreds of them on craigslist...

  16. #16
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Hi SW,

    Quote Originally Posted by smallwheeler View Post
    actually, the OP said, "I'd like to keep it under $300, but since I will be using it every day, I also want it to be a comfortable well-made bike."
    so, in fact, recommending low quality new bike brands does nothing to help the OP make an informed decision.
    You made some good points, both here and your previous post. I'll be a bit more careful next time. I do agree that we don't want people to not like folding bikes because they get a bad first folder.

    Here's one problem as I see it:

    There's a big difference between somebody who's looking for their first folder who knows a lot about bikes and someone who doesn't. If it's the latter, it is much harder for them to evaluate the condition of a used bike. This puts people without experience (or without a friend with experience) at a big disadvantage.

    A used bike is almost certainly going to need a tune-up and have some parts replaced. This is not a big deal at all for somebody with some experience with bikes, but can be quite troublesome for new riders. I know that Origami, for example, does tune the bikes up before they send them out (which depending on what happens during shipping may or may not be sufficient). We've seen the owner of Origami post repeatedly on these forums trying to make sure that his customers are happy and getting their bike up and running. To me, that's worth a lot. I've recently had not such good luck trying to get parts for another manufacture's bike from the manufacturer itself.

    In my garage at the moment I have both a Green Zone (several years old) and an Origami (and even a friends Downtube 9 with front suspension). The frames are similar, but one big difference I found is how the stem folds. It is a much more significant, solid piece of hardware on the Origami than the Downtube. I can't yet say much about the rest.

    The reason I find this relevant is that what I was most disappointed by in my Green Zone was the folding stem. I can replace the derailleurs/shifters/brakes easily enough if I want, but the folding stem is problematic to replace and in the case of the Green Zone, it wasn't very effective upon arrival (again, my Green Zone is several years old and this may have been addressed, although from the pictures it looks to be the same mechanism). As another poster in another topic pointed out, it's often the potential of the bike that's important.

    I haven't looked, but I'm assuming there's a sticky post in this forum that talks about these issues. Maybe standard protocol ought to be to link this post for new posters so they can get the back story, while also suggesting that they post their intended usage, bicycle experience, and even location (as I've noticed several members here will do a CL search in different areas of the country for new posters).

    Cheers,
    Charles
    http://Charles.Plager.net
    http://RecumbentQuant.blogspot.com

  17. #17
    Senior Member Bill Fold's Avatar
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    Well put, Charles.

    I feel very confident with my Origami's frame. As I learn more about cycling components - and more about my personal cycling goals - I expect to be upgrading some components . . . eventually. In the meantime, this bike gives me a great oportunity to enjoy cycling and grow in my knowledge of the sport.

    I have made some modifications that have little to do with the component concerns expressed in this thread: I swapped out the raised handlebars for trekking (butterfly) bars and the folding pedals for non-folding, metal pedals with Power Grips. Both changes have made an enormous difference in the quality of my riding experience.

    Would I like to make drivetrain changes? Yes. Would it be easier to make those changes if there were already more expensive components on the bike (e.g., cassette freehub rather than a freewheel hub)? Yes. However, for the time being I am going to focus on improving the engine - me.


    Best regards,

    Bill
    2007 Montague MX
    "I made a lotta special modifications myself." -Han Solo

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by smallwheeler View Post
    i agree, don. that's a solid performer AND hundreds of them on craigslist...
    I am sure you found hundreds on the local craigslist when you lived in Montana too. Didn't you? So quickly we forget what it is like living in the boonies.

    Even here in a university town, there were no folding bikes around. Actually out of 15K or so students I think only maybe 500 of them even ride a bike. My estimate would be that there are about 100 serious riders in the spandex crowd on their $5K bikes, and maybe 20 utility type riders in town whom most consider bums or drunks that lost their drivers license. However since NC allows 49cc scooters with no tags, no insurance, and no license needed, the drunks do not ride bicycles. All the rest of the folks you see riding on the greenway trail (all 2.5 miles of it) are purely recreational/exercise riders, they usually give up in a month or so.

    The point of all that is you have to drive 100-300 miles to look at a craigslist folder, and then you have no idea if it is a bargain or a piece of junk until you actually see it. If you have no experience with folding bicycles, it is just so much simpler and cheaper to just buy a cheap one off the web. Hopefully the next bike will be something that does not have the problems you find out the cheap one has.

    Now if someone in NYC can not find something nice on craigslist, they were not looking very hard, but many of us live someplace like Helena.

    Another point about cheap bikes. Some of us do not need to go far nor fast. If your longest trip is 5 miles, and your max speed is 15mph, buying a $1000+ bicycle is silly. From what I have seen most of the folding bikes in the $200-300 range are fine for that. Sure many of us may eventually buy a nicer bike, but it will be because we want a nicer bike not because we need one.

    Oh yes, I once had one of those 19# multi-thousand-dollar bikes, I gave it away.
    Graywolf--
    http://www.tomrit.com

    Longing for a stately old roadster

  19. #19
    Senior Member Pinigis's Avatar
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    We prefer: inexpensive, reasonably-prIced, or attainable. Cheap just sounds...well...cheap.

  20. #20
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    I think after looking at all of my options, I've narowed it down to these two bikes:

    A used 2004 Dahon Boardwalk on craigslist for $150 and free pickup.

    or

    A new Origami Crane on sale (today only) for $250 plus shipping for a total of $300.


    Any thoughts between these two?

  21. #21
    Senior Member Bill Fold's Avatar
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    Is the Boardwalk is a single speed (S1) or a 7 speed (D7)? (If you are not already aware, there are two models.)
    2007 Montague MX
    "I made a lotta special modifications myself." -Han Solo

  22. #22
    Senior Member bargainguy's Avatar
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    The Origami guy who posts here won't like this, but I suggest starting with the Dahon if this is your first folder. If you like it, you keep it and spend 1/2 the cost of the Origami. If you don't, you can probably sell it for close to what you paid if not more.

    The tendency is to want to get the best bang for your buck right out of the starting gates, which is understandable, but with folders, one of the things I found out is that specs on paper don't tell you whether the bike works for your particular needs.

    A few years back, I picked up a Giant Halfway. Thought I'd like it, but it took a few months of riding to uncover what I liked and what I didn't. Fold was quick. Construction was decent. All good, no? Yet two things really bothered me - 32 lb. weight and riding position where the saddle is pretty much directly over the rear wheel. All kinds of unintentional wheelies, and I'm not a heavy guy. The last one was a dealbreaker for me, and I sold it.

    Don

  23. #23
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    i'm sure mr. pinigis would graciously extend his sale in your case toasterburn, as you are clearly on the verge of a purchase.

  24. #24
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bargainguy View Post
    The Origami guy who posts here won't like this, but I suggest starting with the Dahon if this is your first folder. If you like it, you keep it and spend 1/2 the cost of the Origami. If you don't, you can probably sell it for close to what you paid if not more Don
    common sense...

  25. #25
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    Single Speed. I'd rather have gears, but the price is much lower so it's a trade.

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