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  1. #1
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    Which folding bike is really worth the money?

    Hi All,

    Recently relocated to Bracknell and often need to commute into London for a week at a time. Rather than driving 10 miles to Maidenhead I thought it would be good to cycle it instead so I'm interested in getting a folding bike so I don't have to leave it at the station. I've done lots of shopping around and to be honest the obvious choice seems to be a Brompton. Everyone has them on the trains from what I can see! I've done some reading on them and they seem like a Marmite bike - you either love them or hate them. But generally though I get the feeling they are more of a fashion statement and if you have a folding bike it has to be Brompton.

    Not one to conform to fashion statements I really aren't too fussed about what make and model the bike is, so long as I get plenty of bike for my money!

    The question is - for around a 9/10 mile bike ride (each way) what would you recommend as the best bike? I've done a 24hr test of a Brompton S6L at Evans Cycles and generally I was pretty happy with it and I managed one 15 mile ride and it was more comfortable than expected. Not ridden anything else yet though so I'm still open minded.

    I've seen this one: Wiggle | Dahon Vitesse D8 2014 | Folding Bikes

    That's much less than half that of a Brompton so I have to question if its really worth spending any more?

    Money isn't really too much of a problem but call me old fashioned I just want to ensure I get plenty for my money if I'm spending anything over £500! I've searched around these forums and although I've found similar queries the responses seem to be mixed.

    Sorry for the essay guys - hope you can help!

  2. #2
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    And I've just found the thread(s) I was looking for right in front of my eyes!

    Sorry for the spam guys!

  3. #3
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    xootr swift on ebay, just bought one and its great, will sell them on ebay for 650 but has buy it now price for 600!

  4. #4
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    cheap short term or durable long term?

    Depends ... many find the wider fold in half design common to Dahon & all its copiers a bit more unwieldy to deal with, folded.
    but they are cheaper to own long enough, to determine the shortcomings, for yourself
    Last edited by fietsbob; 08-26-14 at 03:57 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Still Pedaling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robbiebrown34 View Post
    Hi All,

    That's much less than half that of a Brompton so I have to question if its really worth spending any more?

    Money isn't really too much of a problem but call me old fashioned I just want to ensure I get plenty for my money if I'm spending anything over £500! I've searched around these forums and although I've found similar queries the responses seem to be mixed.

    Sorry for the essay guys - hope you can help!
    It all depends on your needs. If you are a daily commuter that has to fold, unfold, push, pull and carry your bike a number of times during your commute, then you might just want to spend the extra money for a Brompton, as an example. Not to mention how compact they are for storing under a desk at work and on a bus or train that you use during the commute. They are easy and quick to fold, carry, push and pull, especially, like I said, if you have to do all this a number of times during your commute. A cheaper bike that doesn't fold and unfold as neatly and is a chore to carry, push and pull will probably make you go back to your former way of commuting. It all depends on your needs.
    "It's best to remain silent and be thought the fool, then to open your mouth and remove all doubt" -- Mark Twain

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    If it is Dahon you need to test it ( the one you are taking home). Dahon do seem to have a clicking sound problem it is annoying. I just return mines.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Still Pedaling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nycmessenger View Post
    If it is Dahon you need to test it ( the one you are taking home). Dahon do seem to have a clicking sound problem it is annoying. I just return mines.
    Now that's interesting. I had purchased a couple of cheaper folding bikes just over a year ago and they had an annoying clicking sound. I attributed it to the fact that they were cheaper bikes with cheaper quality components. They went back to where I purchased them toot sweet. I never thought I would hear someone mention that they are having a similar problem with a higher quality bike like a Dahon. Makes me feel much better now that I purchased a Brompton. I bought it a year ago July of '13. It rides as beautiful as the day I bought it - to quiet and smooth. One of the best purchases I have ever made. I absolutely love my Brommie. I wouldn't trade this in on any other bike.
    "It's best to remain silent and be thought the fool, then to open your mouth and remove all doubt" -- Mark Twain

  8. #8
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    I suspect you would trade it for a rolfholf disc birdie in titanium frame version. Etc
    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
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    Robbiebrown, sounds like you need a Mezzo.
    Mezzo I4 (converted to dual drive), Whyte PRST-1, Trek 1200, Dahon Jack, Bickerton (work in progress)

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    I'm not sure if this is applies to everyone but I just think 16" wheels are just too small. I think 20" wheels are the sweet spot. I've accidentally hit too many pot holes to make me think otherwise. I will say this... think of the future. I think bikes have a funny way getting under your skin and you'll likely be taking it on joy rides for longer and longer trips as you get stronger and stronger. I want a bike that I can upgrade as my needs change over the years and I don't have a lot of room so I only have one bike. The brompton is a great bike. It folds small, has very little maintenance but I just don't like only having max six gears. Upgrading is very tricky. I chose a dahon vector p8 with eight gears, gorgeous two toned paint job, comfortable quick ride, lots of goodies, and all for 800. It folds small enough to put next to me on the train, and I do very little maintenance. For the 2k you spend on a brompton, you can get a really sick Tern, Dahon, bike Friday, swift, and many other foldies. If your looking to spend under 1k, you have a lot of choices so really think about what you need....and in the end, try to integrate that with what you can really lust after because this should be thought of as a long term purchase. Read some advice and go with your gut. Enjoy the search....that's fun too!

  11. #11
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    Brommies have a double-fold for compact size.
    It is easier to fold them than not fold them.
    For crowded commuter trains and under-desk storage, nothing can really beat it.

    "But generally though I get the feeling they are more of a fashion statement"
    they used to be ridden by the beard and sandals brigade.
    Brommies may be trendy right now, but they work better than anything else in that role.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Shahmatt's Avatar
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    Bromptons do fold compactly but aren't very easily maneuverable on the trolley wheels on anything other than a smooth tiled surface.

    You could consider bikes that balance on the two main wheels after folding. That is, grab the seat and push. These don't fold as small, but they are much easier to maneuver over imperfections on the surface.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shahmatt View Post
    Bromptons do fold compactly but aren't very easily maneuverable on the trolley wheels on anything other than a smooth tiled surface.
    Well... it's not the easiest, but it's not THAT hard...
    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.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Shahmatt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
    Well... it's not the easiest, but it's not THAT hard...
    Some find it easier than others I suppose. I shan't debate the point.

    Let the OP/TS note that the Brompton is pushed on tiddly trolley wheels, and it is possible to find folding bikes that are not.

  15. #15
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    Thanks for the helpful comments guys. I think I'm going to head into Evans Cycles at the weekend and test ride a few others. I've ridden the Brompton S6L and I liked it but the only ones they have for sale are in colours I don't like. They have an S3L in black or white which is fine but for a 9 mile commute to the station I aren't sure if it will cut it without testing first.

    Some of you have mentioned manufacturers I've never even heard of so I'm also going to research on those too.
    The bike ideally needs to be taken on the train, then up some stairs when I get to the office and then under the desk (or in the cloak room). So basically I don't want it to fall apart when handling whilst folding and I think around 12-14kg is the maximum I would want to carry along with a laptop bag.

    I'll have a browse around and also head into a few shops at the weekend and see how things go. Thanks again all

  16. #16
    cpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by robbiebrown34 View Post
    So basically I don't want it to fall apart when handling whilst folding and I think around 12-14kg is the maximum I would want to carry along with a laptop bag.
    The Mezzo commuter bag that is specifically designed to fit on the Mezzo rear rack has a laptop compartment. The Mezzo is probably the closest alternative to a Brompton.
    Mezzo I4 (converted to dual drive), Whyte PRST-1, Trek 1200, Dahon Jack, Bickerton (work in progress)

  17. #17
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
    Well... it's not the easiest, but it's not THAT hard...
    Agreed. You can get bigger trolley wheels which helps. It just takes a bit of wrist to keep bike upright in any case.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    I agree 20" is about the sweet spot reguards ride improvements against folding size.
    20" bikes ride well but are a significantly larger lump . I tend to avoid taking my 20" downtube in to shops and it limits the number of bikes in the boot of my car to one or two bikes.

    If you can cope with a 20" bike from the compactness then I think it's a better option. Their are many dahon users on the trains I catch.

    16" bikes can handle well and fit well but without upgrades and tinkering none do ime.
    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.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by robbiebrown34 View Post
    The bike ideally needs to be taken on the train, then up some stairs when I get to the office and then under the desk (or in the cloak room). So basically I don't want it to fall apart when handling whilst folding and I think around 12-14kg is the maximum I would want to carry along with a laptop bag.
    I am surprised I have not seen mentioned the Strida EVO with 18 inch wheels. With a comfortable saddle and either the bent handle bars or the new M-style handle bars 10 miles would be easy. For taking on the train, folding, rolling and carrying up the stairs the Strida was designed for just this.

    Bill Wilby Disclaimer, I am the owner of Strida Canada West

  20. #20
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    IMO the best value for the budget conscious is a Dahon Boardwalk D7 or D8. I have two 2010 D7`s in my (small) rental bike fleet and plan to add 2 or 3 of the 2015 model once released. Simple with no frills (except perhaps for the cromoly frame) but it is durable, reliable and the ride quality is actually superb for day to day riding. They get more positive feedback from customers than the Tern C7`s I also have.
    Last edited by owenfinn; 08-26-14 at 04:09 AM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhkyte View Post
    I agree 20" is about the sweet spot reguards ride improvements against folding size.
    20" bikes ride well but are a significantly larger lump . I tend to avoid taking my 20" downtube in to shops and it limits the number of bikes in the boot of my car to one or two bikes.

    If you can cope with a 20" bike from the compactness then I think it's a better option. Their are many dahon users on the trains I catch.

    16" bikes can handle well and fit well but without upgrades and tinkering none do ime.
    Considering I had a 20" Dahon MU Uno and it felt twice as cumbersome compared to a standard Brompton, I think your own body size matters.

    I'm 5'7, 155lbs and with an unmodified single-speed MU Uno - chosen because it was one of the lightest folders in the Dahon range at that time - was still annoying to heft and move around on multi-modal transport.

    I suspect those closer to 6' might find not find it noticeably less troublesome.

  22. #22
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    I take my Dahon on the train and don't bother to fold it. I do a reverse commute and the train is usually pretty empty so it's not necessary to fold it. Still, when I do occasionally fold it on the train its no big deal. When I move it around the station I don't bother folding it.

    I've never owned a Brompton, but I do find my Dahon to be exceptionally comfortable for riding long distances and I appreciate the 18 gears and disk brakes. I try to minimize folds though.

    One thing I have noticed...maybe this is just part of the folding bike thing- I have to keep a narrow 8mm open ended wrench in my bike bag because the folding handle post junction keeps loosening which makes for play. After every few folds I have to give it a quick tighten.

  23. #23
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dadbar View Post
    ...maybe this is just part of the folding bike thing...
    bolt will loosen under consistent vibration, but what you describe is truly a "dahon thing". i would advise removing the bolt and applying a small piece of teflon tape to the threads nearest the bolt head. when you re-install the bolt, tighten it until it's very snug, but don't over-do it.

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