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  1. #1
    12mph+ commuter
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    Folder for year round commuting in Chicagoland

    Hello friends, this is my first venture onto the folding forum.

    I recently moved to the Chicago area, and I'm getting used to commuting environment (similar but not identical to Minneapolis). I'd love some advice on whether a folder is for me (6'0", 170lbs).

    COMMUTE: I have a reverse commute that takes me 22 miles out into the suburbs. It's about 2 miles to METRA station, 30 minute train ride, and then another 5.3 miles to work. Full-size bikes are allowed on the train in reverse direction, but the conductor is at liberty to kick any cyclist off the train if he feels the cab is getting too full (makes me a little leery). I bike year round, so I'd need something that can take studded tires (I've got my eye on 20" marathon winters).

    APARTMENT: I have a third story walk-up apartment. I can get my 60cm road bike up and down okay, but it's not too pretty. The double door entry way at the bottom is annoying. I currently have two full size bikes, and my GF has one. Space isn't a huge issue, but I would probably sell my current winter ride if I got a folder.

    WHAT I WANT: I'd love a bike that packs small enough to be able to fly as checked luggage without any additional fee. It HAS to be compatible with some sort of studded tire. I would love something commuter worthy (rack and fender friendly, IGH of at least 3 speeds, capable to do road-side repairs). I need reliable and replaceable parts; they don't have to be light or fancy, just reliable. I don't really care about weight too much, it's the dimensions that make my 35lbs full size bikes awkward to carry. I don't really want to spend more than $1500. I'm also not opposed to used or vintage bikes, if they can get the job done.

    What are some good bikes that fit this bill?

    ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS:

    Would it be sacrilege to use an excellent bike like a Brompton in the winter? Would the salt/sand/slime eat away at the hinges?

    This bike seems about perfect for my spec requirement; what's wrong with it?

    Should I not worry about finding a spot for a full-sized bike during a reverse commute?

    I'm planning on going to some shops in the area this spring to try out a few different brands. Thanks in advance for all the help!

    Tyler
    Last edited by Scheherezade; 03-03-13 at 07:34 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    there's nothing wrong with a dahon vitesse.

    there are no studded tire options for 16" 349 wheels, so that would exclude the brompton.

    before dropping big dollars, i would consider a used bike like this helios:

    http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/bik/3593330343.html

    i've owned two of these. they are one of dahons better designs. in fact they have just released a new single speed version of it. its light and fast and very upgradeable. if and when you have developed a good feel for what its like to live with a folding bike, then you will have no problem getting the 250 back on resale to apply to a fancier, newer bike that suits your taste in folding bikes.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    For sheer foldability and travel, you can't beat a Brompton. Sure you can ride it in the winter: just wash it off periodically. BUT you won't be able to get decent studded tires. So since that is a limiting factor for you, you should probably look seriously at Dahon or Tern options that allow for better, capable winter tires.
    Rivendell Sam Hillborne and Hunqapillar; Brompton M6R Sage Green; Salsa Mukluk 3 FAT Bike; Nerdy Academic; Nikonian; Wing Chun; and a Patridge in a Pear Tree.

  4. #4
    12mph+ commuter
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    Quote Originally Posted by smallwheeler View Post
    there's nothing wrong with a dahon vitesse.

    there are no studded tire options for 16" 349 wheels, so that would exclude the brompton.

    before dropping big dollars, i would consider a used bike like this helios:

    http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/bik/3593330343.html

    i've owned two of these. they are one of dahons better designs. in fact they have just released a new single speed version of it. its light and fast and very upgradeable. if and when you have developed a good feel for what its like to live with a folding bike, then you will have no problem getting the 250 back on resale to apply to a fancier, newer bike that suits your taste in folding bikes.
    I saw that one. Steel frame looks like. Could the rear dropouts handle a SA or Shimano Nexus hub?

  5. #5
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    °Empty drums make a lot of noice... (Old Hungarian proverb).

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scheherezade View Post
    This bike seems about perfect for my spec requirement;
    Looks like the Toyota Corolla of folding bikes, and I mean that in the best possible way. For USD 600 (?), what's not to like? An excellent choice.

    If you decide on a 20" folder, pick up the Marathon Winters in the summer

  7. #7
    Banned.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scheherezade View Post
    I saw that one. Steel frame looks like.
    Hi, The welding indicates aluminium alloy to me, rgds, sreten.

    (Alloy welds are much bigger and more ripply than steel welds.)

  8. #8
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    There are days when the Metra says no bikes, even on reverse commuting. On these days, folding bikes are still o.k. (but may need to be bagged).

    Go out and ride some folding bikes and see what you like. With the right gearing and tires, I'm sure you can get a folding bike to fit your needs.

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

  9. #9
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scheherezade View Post
    I saw that one. Steel frame looks like. Could the rear dropouts handle a SA or Shimano Nexus hub?

    its aluminum and can be fitted with IGH

  10. #10
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scheherezade View Post
    I bike year round, so I'd need something that can take studded tires (I've got my eye on 20" marathon winters).

    capable to do road-side repairs).
    The Dahon will take BMX knobbies and the aforementioned studs,and will be easier to work on at the side of the road(and comes with a much better included pump). The V brakes w/Kool Stop salmon pads will also work better in the snow. It also allows for more adjust-ability of your riding position,and is way cheaper than the Brommie.

    C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport/Qualifier,Brompton S6L,Dahon Speed Pro TT

  11. #11
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    you might want to check this out: you could probably get this for 550!:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dahon-Mu-XL-...item1c30b52773

  12. #12
    New usename ThorUSA brakemeister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smallwheeler View Post
    you might want to check this out: you could probably get this for 550!:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dahon-Mu-XL-...item1c30b52773
    That one is pretty nice indeed. but local pickup only and maybe for a used bike a litle steep .... rei sold basically the same model for less with member incentives which was an awesome buy .... aggrevated me to no end as I as a dealer coudnt come close to the price.

    The above mentioned helios is alloy frame, and although pretty nice it was a little flexy .. I dont mind as i ride one almost like that as well. But I m not 6 foot tall either ...

    The DAhon vitesse is a nice bike
    http://www.thorusa.com/dahon/current/vitessed7.htm

    so is the Tern http://www.thorusa.com/tern/linkd7i.htm

    super low priced for what they are are the Dahon Vector p8
    http://www.thorusa.com/dahon/current/vector8.htm

    but that has external gears .....

    many many choices ...lol

    Best Thor

  13. #13
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    oops, i missed the part about local pickup only..

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