Hi, all. I am an out-of-shape (5' 10", 205 lbs) middle-aged guy looking to get a folding bike to ride a couple of hilly, pothole-filled miles to and from work each day to get a little excercise. I am interested in a folding bike not because I need to fold it everyday but because I am serving overseas in Africa and the bike needs to be 1) easy to have shipped here; 2) easy to ship on to my next post; and 3) easy to throw in the back of the car when necessary.
I was initially very attracted to the simplicity and low maintenance of a single-speed folder, maybe even one with a coaster brake, but I am now thinking that a fairly hilly, up-and-down commute will make me regret not having multiple gears. Still, I would love to hear the arguments for or against a single-speed bike given my intended use. Ironically, there also don't seem to be many suitably single-speed folders in my price range..
In terms of affordable folders ($300-350 would be my absolute maximum, less would be better), here are some of the candidates so far. Weights are WITHOUT rack and fenders, whether they are included or not.
- Dahon Boardwalk S1 ($300, 1-speed, no suspension, 27 (?) lbs, with rack and fenders)
- Downtube Nova ($299, 7-speed, no suspension, 24 lbs, no rack or fenders)
- Origami Cricket ($299, 6-speed, full suspension, 29 lbs, with rack and fenders)
- Origami Cricket 7 ($349 7-speed, full suspension, 29 lbs, with rack and fenders)
- Origami Crane 7 ($309, 7-speed, no suspension, 25 lbs, with rack and fenders)
- Citizen Gotham 1 ($321, 1-speed, no suspension, 27 lbs, with rack and fenders)
- Citizen Gotham 7 ($341, 7-speed, no suspension, 28 lbs, with rack and fenders)
I would love to hear from anyone with personal experience with these bikes and/or these companies in terms of quality and customer service. I'd also welcome any suggestions from experienced riders on which of these bikes, or some other bike, would suit my needs.