First timer: Choosing a lightweight folder for an urban, multi-modal commute!
Yeah, another "help me choose" post! Sorry, but I don't know anyone who rides a folder, I love to ramble, and I am new to cycling! I had a bike as a kid that I rode around the park, but it's been years! I'll definitely need to practice on some quiet trails and streets before I venture out into traffic.
- Most days the bike will be used for a four mile urban commute. Plenty of potholes, but mostly flat terrain.
- It needs to be easy to fold and carry short distances, as I frequently need to use the bus, train, or subway.
- I'm 5'7", 120 lbs., and have a bone condition in my left wrist. The lighter the bike the better!
- I NEED the bike to have a handbrake! And gears are a nice perk, but ultimately I think I can get by without them for my purposes.
- I'm an intern, so I need to balance my desires for a portable, pleasant, lightweight, attractive ride with the harsh reality that I make minimum wage. If cycling works out for me, I figure I can upgrade down the line, when I have a "real" job.
I've been strongly considering the Dahon Speed Uno ($402 from Amazon). Only 24.2 pounds! The thing is, I'd need to get a handbrake installed. Is that something I could get a local bike shop to do relatively affordably and painlessly? I realize that the handbrake adds some ounces, but it'll be scary enough adapting to biking in traffic as is, I don't need to get the safety blanket of a handbrake taken away from me too!
The Dahon Mariner ($599) is pricier and is 26 pounds, but has both handbrakes and gears ready to go. The Tern Link D8 ($650) is even pricier and probably the maximum weight I would consider at 26.6 pounds, but it seems to be touted as a really high quality, sturdy bike for the price. Is a Tern worth it?
My favorite thing to lust after is the Dahon Jifo ($899), but I'm not sure I can justify paying that much. I think I'm correct in assuming that the bitty 16" wheels would be more twitchy and troublesome on crummy, poorly maintained city roads? Yes? Somebody talk me down, because the rapid, tiny fold and 20 lb. weight sounds like a dream come true!
The Dahon Curve ($699) is a cute 16" folder that appears more versatile than the Jifo, but at 25.4 pounds and $700, I wonder if I wouldn't be better off getting the cheaper Dahon Uno and putting some brakes on it after all.
Or am I just being a total nutcase about buying my first bike, and would be better off buying one of the 20 year old Dahons I always see pop up on Craigslist for $125ish? I've been stalking my city's listings for a while and the only folders I've seen have been from 1996 or earlier.
Thanks for any thoughts, warnings, or suggestions you have, they'll be much appreciated!