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looking for a first folding bicycle

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looking for a first folding bicycle

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Old 07-03-01, 05:50 PM
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ViciousCycle
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looking for a first folding bicycle

I live in Chicagoland, and am considering getting a folding bicycle. My current need is to bicycle up to 5 miles to the train station, take the train, and then bicyle about 4 miles to my job site.

Since I'm not sure how well a folding bike will work for me, I'm thinking of starting off with an inexpensive no-frills bike, such as the Dahon Roadbike. On the other hand, I'm willing to spend a few dollars more rather than end up with a bike that won't hold up to how I intend to use it. Suggestions, anyone?

(I'm currently using one train and two bicycles to get to work. I ride my first bike to the train station, take the train, and then get to my second bike. My second bike is a garage sale beater that is probably worth less than the U-lock that I use to lock it up.)

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Old 07-03-01, 07:15 PM
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JonR
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Just let me say I really admire your determination! Using two bikes and the train to get to work--wow. Now, that's what I call responsible commuting!

As for the folding bike, I don't know--I've never used or even seen one. But there are other forum members who know about them, especially, I think, some European ones.

Nine miles sounds like an awful long haul--each way, if I understand you right--on a folding bike. But as I say, my experience is limited to photos and a very few comments I've read.

Some (trans-Atlantic?) advice, please, for this brave Chicago soul!
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Old 07-04-01, 08:43 AM
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MichaelW
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There are 2 folding bikes of quality. The Birdy and the Brompton. Both are available with a variety of transmission and accessory options. The Birdy has a good suspension system , is lighter and rides better, the Brompton rides OK and folds up smaller. The Sachs hub-gear transmission is probably the most useful option. You can fit fenders, rack and lights as befits any useful bike.

Neither will ride as well as your 2 beater bike solution. Why do you need to change ? A well configured beater is hard to beat.

If you ride other routes or travel by train elsewhere, folders can be really handy. I could certainly do with one. Im still planning my carbon fibre monocoque folding frame. One of these days....
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Old 07-04-01, 12:07 PM
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mike
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Before spending a lot of money on a folder, I suggest you get an older Bianchi or Raleigh folder just to see how practical one would be for your needs. Folders are not good for putting on any significant miles.

You should be able to get one for about $30 to $50 at a garage sale or from the police bicycle sale (I think the Chicago police do this). Better yet, maybe you could borrow one for a week or so.

I suggest that you stay away from folders with externally mounted derailures. If a derailure takes a bonk while you are carrying it, your ride will be ruined until you have the time to fix it. Get a single speed or an internal geared hub. You don't need a lot of gearing in Chicago and big gear ranges aren't that necessary on the small tired folders anyway.
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Old 07-05-01, 10:46 AM
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I have to agree with MichaelW. The setup you have now is probably much more convenient than using a folder. I think that except for very specific sets of circumstances, the IDEA of a folder is better than the actuality.
1. Folders are expensive.
2. The ride is not that great.
3. You have to lug the thing around.
4. Even the most convenient folder is going to be more cumbersome to set up every time than loading and unlocking your second bike.

Your current setup sounds very workable. You can always pick up another beater for $20-25 if something happens to one of yours. If you have space, etc., you might go ahead and get another and get it fixed up to have in reserve.
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Old 07-06-01, 06:10 AM
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ViciousCycle
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Bikes: My frame is covered in reflective tape. After adding ridiculously large handlebars, a comfy seat, and enough carrying capacity to haul a Thanksgiving grocery run home, the manufacturer wouldn't recognize it.

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Thanks for all of the responses. I've decided not to mail-order one at this time. If I ever get a chance to test-ride one, I may reconsider.

(Actually, what I need is a mini-street sweeper that attaches to the front of my bike and clears the broken glass in front of me.)
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Old 07-06-01, 07:44 AM
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Originally posted by ViciousCycle
(Actually, what I need is a mini-street sweeper that attaches to the front of my bike and clears the broken glass in front of me.)
I like that idea! Maybe high pressure blast of air from a front fork attachement, pointing out like a bazooka!
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