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  1. #1
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    Newbie needing help choosing a budget folder

    Hi there, I'm pretty new to folding bikes and have little knowledge of bike mechanics in general (though I pick hands-on things up quickly so I intend to learn.) I'm very small: 5' 1", 140lbs. I've recently moved with my family to a smaller townhouse which happens to be within biking distance of quite a bit. It's becoming apparent that my current bike, a hybrid giant, isn't going to fit in my home and be easy to take in and out. In fact, it's currently in storage across town. So, with my Entry-level job in mind, I'm looking at a budget of roughly $200. I've been doing a little research and am stuck between a few options:

    The Citizen Bike Tokyo at about $250 with shipping and the options I'd like.

    The Walmart Genesis Folding Bike at $200 not including any bike rack or seat replacement.

    The Green Zone Premium Edition 16 currently on sale for about $200 with shipping. It includes a comfort seat, bike bag, fenders, bike rack and bottle holder in the price and weighs only 24lbs.

    The best value SOUNDS like the GZ but I can't seem to find mention of this bike anywhere. Does anyone know if this bike is of a decent quality?

    Also, which bike might be the most beginner-friendly (requires the least setup, doesn't need a bunch of modifications, etc.)?

  2. #2
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    I am also new to folders but I have spent some time on a Brompton when traveling in England last year and some rides here in the US also.

    I'm one of the folks that bought the Genesis bike recently. Honestly, I don't think much is required to modify if you don't choose to. I have replaced seats and grips on every bike I ever bought so that was just a given to me. Personally I didn't think the seat was as terrible as others did. The grips are a little thin but my standards are kind of crazy. I have a super padded bar on my hybrid bike. Like ridiculous to most people. Most complained about the freewheel noise. I thought I had a noise but then I discovered that the stand on the bottom of the bike was spaced too close to the inner chainwheel guard and was rubbing when I pedaled. I bent that out of the way when on a ride. No big deal. My freewheel appears to be a different brand than the earlier posters bikes. So that may be why I don't have the same noise they had. The finish is surprisingly good. It does not have a cheap appearance.

    The GZ seems like a good deal but the wheelbase looks very short to me. It's hard to judge without overlaying images. Personally that is something I would consider. I can see how small wheels would contribute to harshness in the ride as they don't roll as easily over obstacles. The approach angle for a small wheel is more upright than with a larger wheel. But I believe that the wheelbase, the distance from axle centerline to axle centerline is what contributes to the 'twitchiness' that people complain about with folders. As an analogy, if you drove a really long pickup truck, you would have slower steering response than with a short wheelbase sports car. So in the same way, shorter wheelbase bikes are going to respond quickly to steering inputs. There's a lot more to consider in the design of a car because steering input can be varied. But a bike has a direct connection from your hands to the wheel.

    Based on that consideration, if the wheels are bigger the bike wheelbase almost has to be longer which should make it more stable. Especially at the low end of the price spectrum.

    I think the Brompton rides well for a small wheeled bike because of the longer wheelbase. If you look on the internet you will see comparisons people make to their full size bikes. I sometimes forgot how small the wheels were. Once someone else on a brompton rode past me, said hi. I thought Oh my gosh, am I really on that circus bike? Very stable ride but harsh on bumps. I could deal with that because it was more occasional. The stability is something you would continuously notice if it were poor.

    Am I going to mod my Genesis? Yes. I want a wider gear range and more comfortable contact points. Would I need to? No. I could live with it as is.

  3. #3
    Senior Member downtube's Avatar
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    None of the options are ideal, however the Walmart bike has less obvious problems ( gearing, wheelbase )....hence it is best. I would recommend you try the Genesis.

    Thanks,
    Yan

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    Thanks to both of you for your replies! You've both put forth a better case for the Genesis so I'm probably going to go with that one after my next paycheck. I just realized they have a 3 year care plan for $18 too which covers repairs and replacement so that's an additional benefit to the free shipping and local pickup. I wouldn't of known anything could've been problematic about the GZ wheelbase if you hadn't said anything (haven't developed an eye for that sort of thing yet) so thank you for your input!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ConureDelSol View Post

    The Citizen Bike Tokyo at about $250 with shipping and the options I'd like.



    Also, which bike might be the most beginner-friendly (requires the least setup, doesn't need a bunch of modifications, etc.)?

    I own both a Citizen Miami with 20" wheels and a Brompton with 16",so I get a good idea at both ends of the price range.The citizen is a good solid bike for the price of $230,no it doesn't ride like a Brompton ($1800)but i wouldn't knock it for a lower end bike and I still use it.It also comes almost fully assembled with very little to do,if I remember the only thing I did was plug in the adjustable steering bar and post and delivered anywhere in USA for total cost of $230.The tokyo is listed at $169 (unless they have raised the price since I checked last )plus $30 delivered with a smaller fold than the Miami at 28lb.
    I don't think you can miss if you buy a Citizen.

  6. #6
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    check your local craigslist. a higher quality used bike is almost always going to be better than a cheap new one. also, for what's it's worth, i would never advise buying anything at walmart.






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    Quote Originally Posted by downtube View Post
    None of the options are ideal, however the Walmart bike has less obvious problems ( gearing, wheelbase )....hence it is best. I would recommend you try the Genesis.

    Thanks,
    Yan
    I'm impressed with your response. You had the opportunity to tell the OP to save his money and step up to a more expensive bike. But I feel you respected the situation and gave an answer that answered the question. A lot of responses give answers to unasked questions. Must be the confidence in your product.

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    I've bought a used Citizen Tokyo. Needed a bike that would fit in my luggage for a trip.
    Seemed ok; rode fine and didn't break down for the short time that I used it. It is what
    it is; an entry level bike for entry level riders. Most cyclists that start with this bike and
    sticks to cycling; will probably upgrade to a faster, lighter bike($$$).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FR2T...6zPoymgKaIoDLA

  9. #9
    Senior Member downtube's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kurtp13 View Post
    I'm impressed with your response. You had the opportunity to tell the OP to save his money and step up to a more expensive bike. But I feel you respected the situation and gave an answer that answered the question. A lot of responses give answers to unasked questions. Must be the confidence in your product.
    Don't look into it too far, it was just a truthful answer to a simple question.

    Thanks,
    Yan

  10. #10
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    You might consider locking the hybrid outside with two good locks.

    With a budget of $200 and a willingness to work on bikes, you might consider the used market.

    Both of the options above, of course, depend heavily on where you live.

  11. #11
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kurtp13 View Post
    I'm impressed with your response. You had the opportunity to tell the OP to save his money and step up to a more expensive bike. But I feel you respected the situation and gave an answer that answered the question. A lot of responses give answers to unasked questions. Must be the confidence in your product.
    i'm not exactly sure how sending someone off to buy a walmart bike constitutes an "impressive response", particularly when the second sentence in your post probably suggests the better option.

    sometimes "unasked questions" are those that may have been overlooked and sometimes it's a good idea to offer suggestions that potentially provide more options with better results.

    for example, no one who responded to this thread suggested looking for a used bike. of course, it may be that the availability for used bikes in the OP's area is limited but, would we not be remiss if we omitted this obvious and prudent suggestion?

    not only that, but remember that hundreds of other people searching the internet for advice may also read this thread. should they only see recommendations for big box store and mail order bikes?

    well, according to many, the answer is to that question is... yes. it's a simple calculation, right? budget @ MSRP = options.



    a protip on used bikes:

    very often people buy bicycles based on some resolution they've made to get fit or commute to work. people often fail to keep such resolutions and as a result, the bikes are often under-utilized and end up living in a closet or garage for a few years basically in new condition. after staring at this physical reminder of the person's inability to meet his or her goals, these pieces of like-new sports equipment are sold on the secondary market at prices that are a fraction of what was originally paid. this equates to a "good value for money" purchase for the new buyer.

    a comparative example:

    which would you rather have: an $800 dahon helios that you bought used for $300 or a new GZ nimbus1000 that costs $200?

    in the above example, the dahon can be viewed as an asset that likely retains value should you need or want to sell it:

    •the frame for this model is comprised of double or triple butted tubing and will have been tig welded under a comparatively high level of quality control.

    •it will have a good to superior quality wheelset, drivetrain, saddle, and brakes.

    •as these components are desirable, should you decide to upgrade or modify this bike, you will be able to sell the existing components to significantly offset the cost of your upgrade.

    conversely, the shiny new $200 bike that still smells of off-gassing plastic, is a liability that begins depreciating the minute you take it out of the box:

    •the composition of material and construction of the frame is likely of mysterious origin and quality. chances are that the importer doesn't even know for sure considering the standard practice of manufacturer sub-contracting and under-spec'ing of materials and construction.

    •the components will be z-grade, bottom-of-the-line parts that almost certainly will be under-greased and overtightened everywhere it counts. the saddle is likely garbage. the derailleur will most likely be out of alignment and if you don't have bike maintenance knowledge or bike tools, you will most likely need to take it to bike shop to have it properly set up to ride. it's an exercise in frustration and throwing good money after bad.

    real-time examples of better quality used bikes in the $150-400 range from around the country:

    dahon helios: $400:



    dahon curve $375:



    montague swiss bike $199:



    mobiky genius $250:



    dahon shadow $375:



    dahon mu uno $325:



    fuji 4130 cromo $120:



    montague hummer $225:


  12. #12
    jur
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    Quote Originally Posted by ConureDelSol View Post
    Hi there, I'm pretty new to folding bikes and have little knowledge of bike mechanics in general (though I pick hands-on things up quickly so I intend to learn.) I'm very small: 5' 1", 140lbs. I've recently moved with my family to a smaller townhouse which happens to be within biking distance of quite a bit. It's becoming apparent that my current bike, a hybrid giant, isn't going to fit in my home and be easy to take in and out. In fact, it's currently in storage across town. So, with my Entry-level job in mind, I'm looking at a budget of roughly $200. I've been doing a little research and am stuck between a few options:

    The Citizen Bike Tokyo at about $250 with shipping and the options I'd like.

    The Walmart Genesis Folding Bike at $200 not including any bike rack or seat replacement.

    The Green Zone Premium Edition 16 currently on sale for about $200 with shipping. It includes a comfort seat, bike bag, fenders, bike rack and bottle holder in the price and weighs only 24lbs.

    The best value SOUNDS like the GZ but I can't seem to find mention of this bike anywhere. Does anyone know if this bike is of a decent quality?

    Also, which bike might be the most beginner-friendly (requires the least setup, doesn't need a bunch of modifications, etc.)?
    Did you read the FAQ?
    New to folding bikes, can't choose? Read this FIRST
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by smallwheeler View Post
    i'm not exactly sure how sending someone off to buy a walmart bike constitutes an "impressive response", particularly when the second sentence in your post probably suggests the better option.

    My point was that I have seen many similar posts on this forum. The OP says ‘I have a budget of $X’. Then the responses are typically:

    “Save your money, buy something nicer.” – But that doesn’t respect the budget of the poster. It might be exactly what they can afford. It implies they are too cheap or too impulsive to wait.

    “Buy Used” – Sound advice. I agree as I have said myself at times. Why not benefit from the depreciation that the first buyer suffered.

    Here are some reasons:

    Not every city has a choice selection of bikes, particularly folders. I check nearly daily cities I can or would travel to for various reasons. My list is DC, Baltimore, Philly, Detroit and sometimes others when I have special travel planned. It can be slim pickin’s. You would think the mixed mode commuter towns would have a big selection, but they can get snatched up quick. I’m not afraid to travel. I drove 200 miles RT for the last non-folder I got from Craigslist.

    All lot of sellers want nearly what they paid. Not all but quite a few. Saving $50 off of retail probably isn’t worth the trip and lack of assurance.

    Some buyers just don’t want the hassle. I called on a few used folding bikes before I bought mine. No response from some sellers. It’s a low priority for a lot of sellers. They have lives.

    A newby doesn’t necessarily feel comfortable assessing whether a bike is in good repair or a good value.

    Just like a new bike can be out of adjustment, so could a used bike. The difference is that the older bike could have some miles on it in that condition and be worse for wear. Again a newby might not feel comfortable buying an unknown quantity.

    No warranty. None. Even if the seller was dishonest and said it ran great. A new bike is at least a known quantity.

    Discomfort with face to face personal trades. Again, I have purchased items from Craigslist sellers but I always have that in the back of my mind. It may be infrequent but people do get robbed even in public spaces.

    There seem to be a fair number of stolen bikes on line. Again for another purchase I started seeing posts from other buyers that a seller was shady. I put that buyer out of consideration but I didn’t notice the other feedback until I was nearly ready to pick it up.

    A new folder will likely not suffer from the typical big box ‘out of adjustment’ problem because it would be adjusted and put in the box at the factory. Not hauled out of the box by someone in the back room doing a multitude of different bikes with little knowledge of any of them and then stocking the milk.

    The Used bike choices pulled as examples look really nice. Too bad I never seem to see those. But maybe like other folder newbys I don’t know the brands and models well enough to make a good selection. By the way 2 of the 8 bikes listed were within the OP’s stated budget. 2 others were within $50. The others were a bit over implying ‘save more money before you buy’.

    It would be nice if the responders put themselves in the situation of purchasing something about which they knew very little. Seeing it from another’s perspective is always beneficial to both parties.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sdwphoto View Post
    I own both a Citizen Miami with 20" wheels and a Brompton with 16",so I get a good idea at both ends of the price range.The citizen is a good solid bike for the price of $230,no it doesn't ride like a Brompton ($1800)but i wouldn't knock it for a lower end bike and I still use it.It also comes almost fully assembled with very little to do,if I remember the only thing I did was plug in the adjustable steering bar and post and delivered anywhere in USA for total cost of $230.The tokyo is listed at $169 (unless they have raised the price since I checked last )plus $30 delivered with a smaller fold than the Miami at 28lb.
    I don't think you can miss if you buy a Citizen.
    With the shipping and a better seat, bottle holder and rack the cost for a Tokyo is about $236 so that is about right. The Miami isn't a whole lot more so I was wondering if the Miami is more preferable at all?

    Quote Originally Posted by smallwheeler View Post
    check your local craigslist. a higher quality used bike is almost always going to be better than a cheap new one. also, for what's it's worth, i would never advise buying anything at walmart.





    I appreciate the sentiment but aside from the fact that I'm uncomfortable with buying anything off of Craigslist, I'd like to have a new bike to learn with rather than one that could be used and potentially have issues (I wouldn't know exactly what to look for at this point anyway).

    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
    You might consider locking the hybrid outside with two good locks.

    With a budget of $200 and a willingness to work on bikes, you might consider the used market.

    Both of the options above, of course, depend heavily on where you live.
    I live in a townhouse and the little patio on the back is very small and already has the A/C and the grill out there. I have a feeling that my parents wouldn't be too keen on me using that space up. I'm also a little worried about what might happen to it when it's exposed to the elements. There's no overhang to protect it from rain either.

    As I mentioned above, I'm not really comfortable with Craigslist in general but I have taken a look and found a grand total of 0 listings in my area for folding bikes.

    And yes Jur, I did read the FAQ.

  15. #15
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ConureDelSol View Post
    With the shipping and a better seat, bottle holder and rack the cost for a Tokyo is about $236 so that is about right. The Miami isn't a whole lot more so I was wondering if the Miami is more preferable at all?



    I appreciate the sentiment but aside from the fact that I'm uncomfortable with buying anything off of Craigslist, I'd like to have a new bike to learn with rather than one that could be used and potentially have issues (I wouldn't know exactly what to look for at this point anyway).



    I live in a townhouse and the little patio on the back is very small and already has the A/C and the grill out there. I have a feeling that my parents wouldn't be too keen on me using that space up. I'm also a little worried about what might happen to it when it's exposed to the elements. There's no overhang to protect it from rain either.

    As I mentioned above, I'm not really comfortable with Craigslist in general but I have taken a look and found a grand total of 0 listings in my area for folding bikes.

    And yes Jur, I did read the FAQ.
    well, seems like you've covered the bases and received opinions from different perspectives and also you've read jur's excellent FAQ. good job on doing the homework. good luck with whatever choice you ultimately make.

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    What are your thoughts on the Schwinn Loop?

    I also just realized I actually live in the same zip code as the HQ for Origami bikes! I may see if they'll let me take a test ride so I have an idea of what they are like. It's out of my budget, but the fact that I live in the same area is too much of an opportunity to pass up.
    Last edited by ConureDelSol; 03-12-15 at 06:31 PM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ConureDelSol View Post
    I also just realized I actually live in the same zip code as the HQ for Origami bikes! I may see if they'll let me take a test ride so I have an idea of what they are like. It's out of my budget, but the fact that I live in the same area is too much of an opportunity to pass up.
    there are all going to be approx the same quality.

    i saw this: Amazon.com : Xspec 20" 7 Speed City Folding Compact Bike Bicycle Urban Commuter Shimano Black : Sports & Outdoors

    it's the cheapest one.


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    Quote Originally Posted by ConureDelSol View Post
    With the shipping and a better seat, bottle holder and rack the cost for a Tokyo is about $236 so that is about right. The Miami isn't a whole lot more so I was wondering if the Miami is more preferable at all?
    the Maimi's 20" wheels will give you a more comfortable ride than the Toyko's 16" and the frame is a bit larger and allows you to make more comfortable adjustments.The gearing on mine is 6 spd with a good range for hills and flats. Also, the gearing makes mine faster than some of the Brompton standard 6spd I riders I hang with .The index shifting works smooth and is reliable but I would assume the same goes on the Toyko.
    Since both bikes weight about the same I would think the only deciding thing would be how small the fold is on the Toyko. My Maimi is not the smallest when it comes to folding but it is not bad either.One thing I will say is that the Miami is very easy to roll on both wheels when folded.I had a Dahon that I never liked folding and trying to roll around.The Miami can be folded with both wheels side by side and securely locked together with ball and socket catch that will not seperate like a Dahon. The best thing to do in my opinion is to leave the seat and handlebars up and just fold the bike in half,stand behind the rear end and just to the left side,put left hand on left side handlebar and your fingers of right hand under back of seat and tilt the bike back toward you and then push forward for an easy roll.Turning is easy and you can pivot in a short space.if need be.Going backwards just push down on left handlebar to bring the right side wheel up and back up.I take mine to the supermarket all the time.
    Hope that helps you make a decision.

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    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ConureDelSol View Post
    What are your thoughts on the Schwinn Loop?

    I also just realized I actually live in the same zip code as the HQ for Origami bikes! I may see if they'll let me take a test ride so I have an idea of what they are like. It's out of my budget, but the fact that I live in the same area is too much of an opportunity to pass up.
    you should ask him if he has any of these "fox" bikes left. maybe you can get one for super cheap?


  20. #20
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ConureDelSol View Post
    I live in a townhouse and the little patio on the back is very small and already has the A/C and the grill out there. I have a feeling that my parents wouldn't be too keen on me using that space up. I'm also a little worried about what might happen to it when it's exposed to the elements. There's no overhang to protect it from rain either.

    As I mentioned above, I'm not really comfortable with Craigslist in general but I have taken a look and found a grand total of 0 listings in my area for folding bikes.
    Sorry about that. I missed the earlier reference to Craigslist; but yes, the lack of folding bikes in the local market is expected in many areas.

    With a bit of regular maintenance, rain shouldn't bother the bike much. And if it is in your little backyard/patio then naturally you can put a cover on it. FWIW, I was actually thinking of locking it overnight somewhere more public. But this depends on your neighborhood.

    My thought is that you have a bike in hand and you might as well use it to see whether bike commuting is going to be your cup of tea. Even if it gets stolen at some point or if the weather eventually proves too much for regular maintenance, you'll have the experience to know whether a "biking lifestyle" is going to work for you and an opportunity to save some bucks for a nicer folding bike.

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    Jeez, I look for info on folding bikes as (another) newbie (other than having owned a few bikes...not particularly special...just riders) and what do I get into? Dissertations on the evils of WM et al & why NO ONE should EVER buy anything from them! Hey, I'm not a WM PR person, just an ordinary non techie guy who is interested in a folder without spending big bucks just so I can appear to be knowledgeable on the subject. I'm just looking for a serviceable bike that can easily be transported around my town to pedal about. Nothing special. No high tech clap trap BSing with other bikers to try to impress them. Guess I'll just take my best shot & forget all the mumbo jumbo & agenda-ing baloney.

  22. #22
    Senior Member downtube's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1cowboy View Post
    Jeez, I look for info on folding bikes as (another) newbie (other than having owned a few bikes...not particularly special...just riders) and what do I get into? Dissertations on the evils of WM et al & why NO ONE should EVER buy anything from them! Hey, I'm not a WM PR person, just an ordinary non techie guy who is interested in a folder without spending big bucks just so I can appear to be knowledgeable on the subject. I'm just looking for a serviceable bike that can easily be transported around my town to pedal about. Nothing special. No high tech clap trap BSing with other bikers to try to impress them. Guess I'll just take my best shot & forget all the mumbo jumbo & agenda-ing baloney.
    You have stated the stuff you don't want. The relevant question is what you need...your height/weight, main application for the bike, and budget.

    Thanks,
    Yan

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    Quote Originally Posted by downtube View Post
    You have stated the stuff you don't want. The relevant question is what you need...your height/weight, main application for the bike, and budget.

    Thanks,
    Yan




    Huh? Think you're addressing another question. No matter. I'm moving on to buying something simple & forget all the "political" views, tech stuff et al. Heck, I'm not Lance Armstrong (thank God!) and don't spend all my waking ours dinking with a bike. Thanks anyhow.

  24. #24
    Senior Member
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    Jun 2014
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    Southern Maryland
    My Bikes
    Trek 820, Cannondale F500 with Trekking bars and road tires, Bianchi Alfana, Panasonic PCI "Les Maillots", Cannondale M1000 Tandem, Schwinn Johnny, Trek Lime, 1964 Armstrong, 1962 Raleigh Gazelle, 1964 AMF Hercules, Brooklyn Cruiser Driggs
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1cowboy View Post
    Huh? Think you're addressing another question. No matter. I'm moving on to buying something simple & forget all the "political" views, tech stuff et al. Heck, I'm not Lance Armstrong (thank God!) and don't spend all my waking ours dinking with a bike. Thanks anyhow.
    Don't give up on the opinions stated here. There are a variety of people with different experience, expectations and level of interest in wrenching on bikes. But through all the opinions stated you will probably get enough information to make a buying decision that's right for you. And you'll probably also learn something that you hadn't even considered before.

  25. #25
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    South Jersey
    My Bikes
    Diamondback Response, Greenzone Folder, Huffy and Free Spirit
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    Dear ConureDelSol:

    I was in your shoes two years ago when I had to get a folder (my car was dying and I needed to keep a bike in the car at all times). I ended up getting the GreenZone because of an enthusiastic review on this forum. If you use the "search" feature I am sure you can find it.

    I am very happy with my GreenZone Value Edition folding bike. The bike is light and has good components for it's price. It is also easy to put together when it was shipped, and I made a few replacements (front rack, lights and different saddle). Last summer I did an Erie canal tour with hundreds of other cyclists. There were three folding bikes on that tour: mine and two bike Fridays. The GreenZone was the only folder that did not have to see the bike mechanic on tour.

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