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  1. #1
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    Help me choose best folding bike for my money please

    First I would like to say Hi to this forum. This is my first post. I did some search on this forum on this topic but I still can't decide which folding bike to choose. I would like a new bike rather than craiglist used bike, because from where I live Albany NY there isn't much listed anyway. My main consideration are not a fixed gear, reliable, low price and weight in that order. I need a reliable bike for commuting to work 3.5 miles one way when temperature start to warm up. I have narrow it down to this 3 model, in no particular order.

    1) Downtube Nova; $299 currently out of stock tho
    Downtube Nova Folding Bike

    2) Origami Crane; owner Paul mention in his email there will be new model with 8 speed, new price maybe sub $349+$30ship (not sure).

    3) Dahon Vybe C7A; I heard a lot of good thing about this brand, not sure for this model. $$369 shipped.
    Amazon.com : Dahon Vybe C7A Obsidian Folding Bike Bicycle Vibe : Sports & Outdoors

    I have no experience with bike and if I have to adjusted it when I received it, I would like one with minimum time and resources as possible (not sure how much it will cost if i have to take it to bike shop). Thank you, I apologize if this question has been asked many times.

  2. #2
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    To me it seems like you have done your research and you really can`t go wrong with any of those bikes you listed the first two are well reviewed and used here on the forums and the 3rd one is coming from one of the biggest folding bike manufacturers so it will have really good reliability for years. But any of the three you would have no problems with and there are a LOT of reviews on the first two bikes in this forum if you search.

    One thing though you said that you don`t have any experience with tinkering with a bike then I suggest once you get it in the mail is to then bring it to a local bike shop to tune the bike up for you. Doing so you will have the gears set correctly and the wheels trued and all the nuts and bolts tightened which you will probably miss if you just take it out of the box and ride. It`s a cost that you will have to consider probably around $60 or so with ANY bike you purchase through the mail. Some will offer a tuneup before delivery and it`s a extra cost. But it is highly suggested if you want to fully enjoy the new purchase.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by a53ng View Post
    ... I still can't decide which folding bike to choose. I would like a new bike ... My main consideration are not a fixed gear, reliable, low price and weight in that order. I need a reliable bike for commuting to work 3.5 miles one way ... .
    IMHO, you should also consider this one:

    Tern folding bike Link C7

    We have sold several of these (Tern Link C7), and all of our customers seem to be very pleased with this model.

    -HANK RYAN-
    Norman, Oklahoma USA
    DISCLOSURE: I have an ownership interest in an independent bike shop that is an authorized dealer for Raleigh, Dahon, Tern & Brompton.

  4. #4
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by a53ng View Post
    First I would like to say Hi to this forum. This is my first post. I did some search on this forum on this topic but I still can't decide which folding bike to choose. I would like a new bike rather than craiglist used bike, because from where I live Albany NY there isn't much listed anyway. My main consideration are not a fixed gear, reliable, low price and weight in that order. I need a reliable bike for commuting to work 3.5 miles one way when temperature start to warm up. I have narrow it down to this 3 model, in no particular order.

    1) Downtube Nova; $299 currently out of stock tho
    Downtube Nova Folding Bike

    2) Origami Crane; owner Paul mention in his email there will be new model with 8 speed, new price maybe sub $349+$30ship (not sure).

    3) Dahon Vybe C7A; I heard a lot of good thing about this brand, not sure for this model. $$369 shipped.
    Amazon.com : Dahon Vybe C7A Obsidian Folding Bike Bicycle Vibe : Sports & Outdoors

    I have no experience with bike and if I have to adjusted it when I received it, I would like one with minimum time and resources as possible (not sure how much it will cost if i have to take it to bike shop). Thank you, I apologize if this question has been asked many times.
    you should always try to test-ride a bike before you buy, even if you later decide to buy from a different source.

    in my experience the best deals on bikes for a limited budget (or any budget really) are found on the used market. craigslist, gumtree, or similar.

    new bikes at this price point are almost always under-greased, over-tightened, and not adjusted. so, whether you buy new or used, if you have no experience with bike maintenance, you will need to have the bike serviced at a bike shop. factor in 40-60usd for that service.

    if, depending on your location and circumstances, you absolutely have to buy a mail order bike, the obvious choice here is the dahon vybe considering that the other two bikes listed are basically knock-offs of dahon and likely of inferior quality. although that becomes more difficult to parse these days as dahon is now making/ subcontracting knock-offs of their own products.

    also beware of shills and fake "reviews" like the kind you see on youtube...







    Last edited by smallwheeler; 01-06-15 at 02:17 PM.

  5. #5
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    Just visited the forum tonight after a long absence. I have a Downtube Nova for the past several years (4-5) and can say it's a very good bike for the money. I'm not a heavy user, but I estimate 2-3 times most weeks (fall, winter and spring here in Florida). Only a new rear tire and new brake shoes. I did splurge on a new seat very early on. I do my own maintenance, but the bike was in very good adjustment right out of the box. YMMV

    Good luck

  6. #6
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    Test fold and ride, if you can at all, definitely some of the best advice. Even if you're not going to buy, using the craigslist for some hands on, even if it isn't this model, might inform you some to push you towards or away from something.
    What kind of riding are you planning to do? That can make a difference, in which one we might recommend.
    I could have sworn last year Dahon Vybe C7As were $300 bikes, both online and in store (San Francisco). Maybe they were $400. The guys I bought my Mezzo from, really wanted to sell me a Dahon and it wasn't about money. They considered the fold easier and the larger wheel ride impact. Buying a bike at an LBS, generally you not only get the $60 initial tune up\build included, but a year of service, should be included and that can tip the scales in favor of local shop. For me, I could get the Dahon at an LBS with initial tune and a year of service included, so it'd be no contest if these were my options.
    You can also buy an Origami from Sports Authority. You have a Sports Authority in Albany, NY and they have a free shipping no weight deal going on their web site, right now. I don't think Sport's Authority has a wrench, like some other sporting good stores, though. They probably don't have the 8 speed yet, either.

    I'd suggest making some pros and cons lists for your comparison. Comparing things side by side in a spreadsheet generally helps me with these kinds of decisions. Example, Downtube Nova lowest cost vs 8 speed Origami vs Dahon prestige and those blue accents. What's more important to you? Item by item, you decide which is "better", eventually one of them will have the winning amount of winning features.

    Overall it seems you've narrowed it down enough, I'd say it's time to get shallow. If you put up three good pictures, then which one catches your eye first or color you like best, etc.? You can't really go wrong, so just follow your instincts.

    For me personally, I have different priorities, so I'd end up with none of the above. If you can wait, then I wouldn't let something being available now sway the decision.
    Last edited by washuai; 01-09-15 at 04:09 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member downtube's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smallwheeler View Post

    if, depending on your location and circumstances, you absolutely have to buy a mail order bike, the obvious choice here is the dahon vybe considering that the other two bikes listed are basically knock-offs of dahon and likely of inferior quality. although that becomes more difficult to parse these days as dahon is now making/ subcontracting knock-offs of their own products.
    Can you please define the word knock-off. Also please explain how our bikes are knock-offs.

    I think the relevant question is "which bikes is superior". I would encourage you to address this question. Our specs/components are better than anything else in our price range.

    Thanks,
    Yan

  8. #8
    Senior Member atombikes's Avatar
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    atombikes

  9. #9
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    Dear a53ng:

    I have bought a used 1980's dahon that was $60 a reliable commuter. I also have a new GreenZone folder that was $ 200 new (plus $ 30 for shipping). I have had the Greenzone for 3 years and so far no problems. I even took it for a 400 tour of the Erie canal! On this same tour were two Bike Fridays that both required emergency trips to a bike shop for repairs. Best of luck!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Pinigis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smallwheeler View Post
    you should always try to test-ride a bike before you buy, even if you later decide to buy from a different source.

    new bikes at this price point are almost always under-greased, over-tightened, and not adjusted. so, whether you buy new or used, if you have no experience with bike maintenance, you will need to have the bike serviced at a bike shop. factor in 40-60usd for that service.

    if, depending on your location and circumstances, you absolutely have to buy a mail order bike, the obvious choice here is the dahon vybe considering that the other two bikes listed are basically knock-offs of dahon and likely of inferior quality. although that becomes more difficult to parse these days as dahon is now making/ subcontracting knock-offs of their own products.

    also beware of shills and fake "reviews" like the kind you see on youtube...

    Test rides are a great way to ensure that a bike fits you, but it can take days to be sure that it fits your needs and you lifestyle. Origami does offer a two-week test drive for bikes ordered directly from our site.

    Although I assume that Smallwheeler means well, but broad generalizations about quality, without first-hand experience, do everyone a disservice. You will find many proponents of Downtube and Origami on this forum (and elsewhere) and these are generally people with first-hand experience with these products.

  11. #11
    Senior Member ThorUSA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pinigis View Post
    Test rides are a great way to ensure that a bike fits you, but it can take days to be sure that it fits your needs and you lifestyle. Origami does offer a two-week test drive for bikes ordered directly from our site.

    Although I assume that Smallwheeler means well, but broad generalizations about quality, without first-hand experience, do everyone a disservice. You will find many proponents of Downtube and Origami on this forum (and elsewhere) and these are generally people with first-hand experience with these products.

    soooo how does that work in reality ..... testride for 2 weeks...
    Customer pays shipping back and forth ? which will be close to 80 to 100 dlr ? You get a used bike back, which you gonne sell for 50 % off regular price ? Or donate it to a good cause ? I am sure you are not selling it as new for full price.
    Meaning ..even with the customer accruing immense shipping charges , you also make a big loss on that " sale" which means that other customers have to pay for that loss .....
    interested how that works

    thor
    Having fun selling Terns and Dahons for a living. My personal website is also my business website, same as my profile name, therefore no link given to follow forum rules.

  12. #12
    Senior Member ThorUSA's Avatar
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    back to the original post
    Tern offers the B7 and the C 7... the C7 is being discounted at this time and almost the same price as the B7 .... both bikes are great and the B7 in my opinion will take over the place of the C7 due to very minor differences in spec. For most people it will be a question of what color they like better. As an intersteing point... the B7 C7 have an height adjustable handlepost but no front tube bracket to mount a klickfix ....

    choices choices :-0

    thor
    Having fun selling Terns and Dahons for a living. My personal website is also my business website, same as my profile name, therefore no link given to follow forum rules.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Pinigis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThorUSA View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Pinigis View Post
    Test rides are a great way to ensure that a bike fits you, but it can take days to be sure that it fits your needs and you lifestyle. Origami does offer a two-week test drive for bikes ordered directly from our site.

    Although I assume that Smallwheeler means well, but broad generalizations about quality, without first-hand experience, do everyone a disservice. You will find many proponents of Downtube and Origami on this forum (and elsewhere) and these are generally people with first-hand experience with these products.

    soooo how does that work in reality ..... testride for 2 weeks...
    Customer pays shipping back and forth ? which will be close to 80 to 100 dlr ? You get a used bike back, which you gonne sell for 50 % off regular price ? Or donate it to a good cause ? I am sure you are not selling it as new for full price.
    Meaning ..even with the customer accruing immense shipping charges , you also make a big loss on that " sale" which means that other customers have to pay for that loss .....
    interested how that works

    thor
    The two weeks is trial is spelled out on our web page. The purchaser is only responsible for shipping one way which can range from 18 to 50 dollars depending upon location. If the buyer does not like the bike for any reason, they simply let us know within 2 weeks and we send a return label for the bike to be shipped back.

  14. #14
    Senior Member ThorUSA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pinigis View Post
    The two weeks is trial is spelled out on our web page. The purchaser is only responsible for shipping one way which can range from 18 to 50 dollars depending upon location. If the buyer does not like the bike for any reason, they simply let us know within 2 weeks and we send a return label for the bike to be shipped back.
    if one wants to take a couple of bikes to a Cruise in the Bahamas, they order it.... try them out during their Caribe adventure on one of those huge boats, than after they return .. they just send an email ... and voila ... cheaper than renting for a couple hours ...

    and your other customers paying for it in the long run ...

    hmmm???
    Having fun selling Terns and Dahons for a living. My personal website is also my business website, same as my profile name, therefore no link given to follow forum rules.

  15. #15
    7ft of Cet-Bak Nightdiver's Avatar
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    Any business that offers an excellent trial period and/or return policy runs the risk of abusive customers. I must imagine that the reason some very popular businesses continue to do so is because of a net gain from the policy.

  16. #16
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    REI changed their return policy.

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