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Old 07-15-15, 02:24 PM   #1
fourknees
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Durban Bay Pro 7 - Review

Long time biker, first time folder….I've been looking to get a folder for many years for many reasons. Keeping in the trunk for short rides, ease of transport when taking all bikes in the family to a rail trail/event or to ride to and take with on public transit. This bike popped up last week - Durban Bay Pro 7 - They were on sale at Target.com for half off or $200. Unfortunately the graphite color was out of stock, but I decided to go for it in red. I ordered two, one red, one yellow. If initial impressions are good after 60 days with one, I'll have a second for my wife, otherwise I will return to target unopened still in box.

I didn't see much in reviews online, other than a couple on amazon, but have followed the forums here for a long time and picked up a lot of information.

I’ve ridden for many years are various types of bikes, a couple single day 200 mile rides on a road bike and currently I ride an electra townie 21d – by far favorite bike – and yes, no problem climbing 15% grade hills on it or going 50+ miles.

For folder experience I've test ridden several over the last few trips as I’m in different cities for work: brompton, bike friday tikit, bike friday companion, xootr swift, dahon speed P8, dahon curve, downtube FS9 and an older single speed worksman. I also have a folding adult kick scooter – a Xooter Mg.
For the 16 inchers I preferred the ride of the tikit vs brompton. In the 20 inchers I liked the swift, bike friday and dahon speed P8, but I came to the realization that for what I would use it for, the cost ($800-900)/benefit wasn’t great enough to warrant the purchase yet as a first dive into folders. So I was considering budget folders: downtube nova, origami crane 8, and fbike – something in the $350 or less range, while also keeping an eye on craigslist.

I also need a bike with a fairly upright ride to avoid wrist pressure and something that would accept full fenders (the northwest is wet) and possibly a rear rack (not a seat post mounted one).

Initial impressions/observations:

It was in fairly good shape out of the box, well packed, no scratches, rust, etc.

Adjustments out of the box: Tires needed to be inflated. The valves barely protrude from the rim (only threads/valve cap stuck out beyond rim), so I had to work to get the pump sealed on them. I had to adjust the handlepost stem as the handlebars slightly off from straight with the wheel. Derailleur needed adjustment. All expected items. Brakes needed no adjustment.

No water bottle holder mounts. Not a big deal and knew this going in. Does have mounting points for a rack. Fenders are very rigid and the struts don’t like they will get knocked out of place easily.

I’ll post update with more experience riding/folding as there isn’t much information out there on this bike.

Bay Pro | Durban Bikes
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Old 07-15-15, 09:26 PM   #2
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For $200 that bike looks great.

Thanks for the review so far and keep us posted on a long term review.
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Old 07-16-15, 06:10 AM   #3
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Looks way better than the Origin8 F3 I tried. Nice intro,...I'm quite anxious to read the updates.
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Old 08-12-15, 02:50 PM   #4
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One Month Update

About two weeks after receiving the bike, I kept feeling like something was off. For those of you who ride a lot, it was the same as when you just know your tire pressure is low without checking. In this case the bike seat itself felt not level from side to side.

To make sure I took it completely off the post and got out the levels. The seat sloped at least 1.5cm from one side to the other. The seat rails were messed up and it wasn't something that could be bent back into place.

I sent an email to the customer service per the website: Contact | Durban Bikes to: [email protected] on a Monday afternoon with the three pictures (two below) and my address. By the end of the day I received a reply simply stating, they would be sending me a new seat and would ship it out the following morning. Wow, that was easy. The following morning I received an email with the UPS tracking number. Four business days later (So. California to Oregon) I received not only the seat, but it was attached to a new seat post including rear reflector as well. No problems with the new seat. In short - I was very pleased with the customer service.

I have ridden this bike about 20 miles in the past month. Having a folder is great. I still prefer my cruiser when I don't need to fold, but folders really open up new options. Very easy to fit in the trunk of a car for a ride home.

My wife also has ridden the bike about 5 miles and had no complaints and said it feels very similar to her hybrid bike. (2001 men's raleigh c40 that she's had since new)

A few new observations:
- I notice some creaking every once in awhile, which seems to come from near where the handlebar fold is. I just need to find the contact points to add some grease. However if feels solid.
- The folding pedals have worked fine, but they don't inspire confidence to really put stress on them. Could just be the all plastic construction that has me cautious. I guess with time I'll tell.
- The magnets that hold the bike together when folded are very strong. It has taken me a pull or two to open the bike on several occasions. I bike did also come with a velcro strap, but I haven't used.
- I have noticed the fenders are very slightly crooked, along with the stays holding them in place. This won't impact their performance, however if you're OCD about symmetry it may bother you. The stays are very, very rigid. I tired bending them with not a budge, I think I'd need to remove from the bike and use a vise. The thickness is 2-3x more than a planet bike fender stay.
- Brakes seem soft, but are very grippy and stop the bike well.
- It rolls very well in the folded position with the seat post extended and used as a handle.
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Old 08-13-15, 07:28 AM   #5
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Nice review and write up! Have fun with the bike. It looks a lot like a Dahon bike to my untrained eye. I suppose they're all similar given that Dahon (and others I assume) manufacture other brands.
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Old 08-13-15, 09:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fourknees View Post
About two weeks after receiving the bike, I kept feeling like something was off. For those of you who ride a lot, it was the same as when you just know your tire pressure is low without checking. In this case the bike seat itself felt not level from side to side.

To make sure I took it completely off the post and got out the levels. The seat sloped at least 1.5cm from one side to the other. The seat rails were messed up and it wasn't something that could be bent back into place.

I sent an email to the customer service per the website: Contact | Durban Bikes to: [email protected] on a Monday afternoon with the three pictures (two below) and my address. By the end of the day I received a reply simply stating, they would be sending me a new seat and would ship it out the following morning. Wow, that was easy. The following morning I received an email with the UPS tracking number. Four business days later (So. California to Oregon) I received not only the seat, but it was attached to a new seat post including rear reflector as well. No problems with the new seat. In short - I was very pleased with the customer service.

I have ridden this bike about 20 miles in the past month. Having a folder is great. I still prefer my cruiser when I don't need to fold, but folders really open up new options. Very easy to fit in the trunk of a car for a ride home.

My wife also has ridden the bike about 5 miles and had no complaints and said it feels very similar to her hybrid bike. (2001 men's raleigh c40 that she's had since new)

A few new observations:
- I notice some creaking every once in awhile, which seems to come from near where the handlebar fold is. I just need to find the contact points to add some grease. However if feels solid.
- The folding pedals have worked fine, but they don't inspire confidence to really put stress on them. Could just be the all plastic construction that has me cautious. I guess with time I'll tell.
- The magnets that hold the bike together when folded are very strong. It has taken me a pull or two to open the bike on several occasions. I bike did also come with a velcro strap, but I haven't used.
- I have noticed the fenders are very slightly crooked, along with the stays holding them in place. This won't impact their performance, however if you're OCD about symmetry it may bother you. The stays are very, very rigid. I tired bending them with not a budge, I think I'd need to remove from the bike and use a vise. The thickness is 2-3x more than a planet bike fender stay.
- Brakes seem soft, but are very grippy and stop the bike well.
- It rolls very well in the folded position with the seat post extended and used as a handle.
From my experience with my folder, if there is creaking its likely coming from the hinged part of the frame of handlepost its not the hinge itself. If that's the case grease won't help. Usually the hinge is loose so the contact points are rubbing. This happens every now and then but just requires some tightening. Once its tightened, you should be good to go. Sometimes it sounds like its coming from the handle post but its actually the frame, so give both an adjustment. (P.S. you want it tight, but not to the point where you have to force it shut)
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Old 10-23-15, 01:03 PM   #7
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Update: Handlepost creak went away. I've used this on several multi-modal trips, and it is still working great. Takes up so much less space than full size bike on the light rail. Keeping the bike folded and the kickstand down, but the seat post up is a good way to move it around without carrying it. Then when "parked" the kick stand helps lean it against a wall, etc.

One issue I discovered this morning. The bolt in the bottom of the main folding hinge was about to fall out. I'm assuming this was from folding and unfolding. Luckily I caught it before it fell out and I was riding. I was going to get some Lochtite to help prevent this in the future. Any other suggestions? There was nothing on the threads of the bolt. (the bolt in the top was also slightly loose) I'm thinking I don't want those bolts over tightened to prevent stripping the threads in the actual frame. Any recommendations? Do other designs only use one bolt from the top through the entire hinge?
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Old 10-26-15, 05:24 PM   #8
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Here's a picture of the hinge with the small bolt removed. I put lochtite on both bolts. It does look like a the bolts screw into a long pin. That made me feel much better. I thought just these two tiny bolts were holding the frame hinge together.
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Old 11-30-15, 06:50 PM   #9
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November Pics

Some more pictures.

Under the desk at work:


"Roll Mode"


No problems with hinge bolts since adding lochtite.
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Old 12-03-15, 07:38 PM   #10
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Costco was selling Durban Bay bikes for a while; not sure if they still do, but the reviews were pretty good overall. Great price!
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Old 12-10-15, 09:43 PM   #11
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Tempting to order one. I have a 20% discount from my Target black Friday purchase. Will be $160 shipped. Does it weigh 26 lbs as advertised? Freewheel or cassette?
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Old 12-11-15, 03:13 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
Costco was selling Durban Bay bikes for a while; not sure if they still do, but the reviews were pretty good overall. Great price!
I recently saw this too, but it was for a different model than mine, the "Jump" which has a rear suspension. I'm a Costco person and would say you couldn't go wrong with their return policy.
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Old 12-11-15, 03:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midwest Ullrich View Post
Tempting to order one. I have a 20% discount from my Target black Friday purchase. Will be $160 shipped. Does it weigh 26 lbs as advertised? Freewheel or cassette?
I'm pretty sure it's a freewheel. Don't be fooled by the "Pro" in the name, this isn't a high end, but I feel provides an excellent value especially at what I got it for at $200. Also mine didn't come with a rear rack, nor was I expecting it because it wasn't advertised. The Durban website does show one on this model.
I will check the weight tonight and update this post. It won't be scientific, as I'll weigh myself and then myself holding the bike.

I'm at about 60 miles on this now, lots of shorter trips with folds, but two lunch rides of about 8 miles. Less miles will accumulate on this bike now that the Oregon rainy season has started.
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Old 12-12-15, 07:09 PM   #14
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Freewheel. 27.5 lbs with my very unscientific method. My scale only does increments of 0.5 lbs.
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Old 04-01-16, 06:00 PM   #15
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9 Month, 150 Mile Update

This little bike continues to do well. Current mileage on the bike is about 150 miles since new (9 months). It's probably been folded well over 60 times.

Everything appears to be in good shape. I did feel at one point that the seat post would gradually slip down over the course of several miles, but also riding over rough roads. Cleaned the seat post and seat tube. This seems to taken care of the issue, but will continue to monitor.

Rear Rack - This bike did not come with a rear rack. I received one during the holidays. It is the one made by Durban for their bike and came with a bungee cord that has three cords which are all connected at each end. I believe the cost was $40. It's worked fine, it's a rack. Good spot to attach the U-lock when needed or attached a trunk bag. Using a pannier you'd run into heal strike, at least with my bags and size 10 foot. The rack also helps keep items from bumping into the fenders, etc to some extent when in my trunk.

The bike lives in my trunk and is often for quick lunch rides of about 6 miles. Longest ride on this has been 14 miles. Ride can be rough on rough roads with bumps/potholes, but most bikes are when your other go to ride is an electra townie. I can see that larger volume tires or suspension would be beneficial on a 20 incher, but it doesn't seem necessary for the areas I rend to ride.

On my initial post I commented that I purchased two of these bikes. I did end up returning the other one before the time requirement. Never opened the box to see what the "yellow" looked like and had no problems when doing this at Target. It wasn't that I was unsatisfied, I just knew after riding this (my first folder) that I would end up with a different type of folder, most likely of higher quality.
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Old 04-01-16, 06:15 PM   #16
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I'm still looking at folders. Reviews like this are really helpful.
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Old 04-04-16, 03:55 PM   #17
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Size in Trunk



Here's a pick to gauge size in a 2003-2013 model Toyota Corolla trunk. With wheels in first, you can get another identical size bike in the trunk, however if may not lay flat on the floor. It may need to be put in on a diagonal. Taking out the seat tube/seat would probably help too.
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Old 06-27-16, 04:47 PM   #18
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One year review - 260 miles

I've had the bike now for about a year and have ridden about 260 miles since new.
- no flats, although the tires are showing some wear, but are still in good shape
- no more creaking since last posted about

Some observations on the bike (that probably apply to most other folders too):
- The shorter wheel base has been nice in several situations. During some of my commutes, there is no need to collapse the bike completely and I still feel like I'm taking up less space.
Folding pedals:
1. They are nice to have when walking with the bike and voiding hitting your shin/calf.
2. The pedals on this bike are 100% plastic and I treat them gingerly and always try to make sure my feet are nearest the crank arm to hopefully avoid breakage.
- Low step over is nice for easy on/off.
- When I unfold the bike and start to ride, I do need to adjust the gearing one click on the grip shifter. I'm assuming the folding pulls on the cable and pulls it slightly out of the gear setting.
- I do notice the bike isn't as happy (by sound) when in the highest or lowest gear as the chainline is on a more severe angle than when in the middle gears of the freewheel.
- With this style of frame fold, I do always lay the bike on the non-derailleur side in the trunk. In general I have had to watch the derailleur to make sure it doesn't get knocked out of alignment (such as on the commuter train or even pulling it in/out of car trunk)
- I've been regularly inspecting the stem and frame latch areas. The frame latch screws have remained in place since the lochtite was added. I did slightly tighten the frame latch. There is some wear on the parts of the frame that come together on in the frame hinge.
- Both latches can be annoying when folded and placing in a car/transporting. The frame latch isn't too bad, because you can put it back against the frame. However the stem latch flaps around and doesn't sit flat against either surface it's connected to when the bike is folded. While I haven't had a problem with it yet, I do wish it had a latch that screwed down like a Brompton or a BF Tikit. This does appear to be a weaker design of the bike. I did see a newer model Durban recently and it looked like this may have been beefed up a bit.
- Compact size recently allowed me to put this bike and a 16 inch wheeled kids bike in the trunk of our compact car.
- I could use less gear inches on the low end (currently about 34.7 gear inches), but the times I've needed them has been short in distance and easy to walk. High-end gearing has been fine for me (69.4 gear inches).

The picture of the bike on the commuter train shows that you could fit this next to a full-size bike that would be hanging vertically on a hook. To the left of my bike is a black trough where the other wheel from the hanging full-size bike would be placed.

Overall still very pleased with the bike and the versatility of the folder...I'm already day dreaming ahead for the next bike, although this one is doing just fine.

Durban_on_MAX.jpg
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Old 05-23-17, 01:56 PM   #19
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425 Miles - Pedals are toast

Update: After only 425 miles the stock folding pedals are done. They didn't fall off, but they had movement in each direction so they are gone. For the time being I've now put on some standard platform pedals from a 15 year old hybrid bike. They feel much more solid and so far I haven't had any complaints not being able to fold them, so I may stay with the non-folding pedals.
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Old 08-08-17, 01:36 PM   #20
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Two Year Update - 607 miles

The Durban is still going strong. This bike splits time with my "big bike".

Other observations:
- Other than the pedals failing (bearings, not the folding part) everything is still stock. I do prefer riding the bike with non-folding platform pedals. I haven't noticed any situations for me where this has caused a problem, on light rail or storing in car trunk.
- The paint has worn off on several areas of the main frame hinge. The hinge still feels tight.
- One of the tiny screw/pins with on lever part of the handle bar stem post hinge was loose causing scratching on the handle post it self(where the lever clamps down). I screwed it back in and haven't had any issues since. Playing around with these two screw/pins (there are two) it doesn't seem to make the clamp righter or not, but only seem to hold the pieces together inside the lever together?
- Tires will likely need replacing soon as I've noticed some cracking on the sidewalls.
- I've had the chain jump off the front chain ring 2 or 3 times recently. This has occurred when I'm in the highest gear, but I haven't completely figured out what caused this. I suspect I was changing gears and hit a bump or perhaps the inside of my heel touched the chain up as the pedal was coming up.

Side note - Not sure if the company is still operating in US. Social media is quiet, nothing is available on their website. only retailer selling is Walmart and only a couple models. I've emailed to see if I get a response on their status.
Update - email bounced back as couldn't be delivered and when calling it's a busy signal.

Last edited by fourknees; 08-08-17 at 02:01 PM. Reason: company update
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Old 08-08-17, 02:56 PM   #21
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Thanks again for the updates. Sounds like it is a great bike for the money.
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Old 08-08-17, 03:00 PM   #22
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I thought they were growing and we're doing well.

Hopefully they are ok.

Thanks
Yan
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Old 08-08-17, 05:09 PM   #23
fourknees
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Maybe they will resurface...Facebook and instagram pages are broken links now..for what the bike is and what I paid, I agree it's a good value.

I still would like some lower gear inches. I'm also still working on the best system for me to carry stuff. I'm intrigued by the headtube options for other folders. Currently I use a backpack and rack top bag set up.

I have the opportunity for a free 24 hour test ride of a Brompton coming up as part of their "try brompton" campaign. I'm hoping it will be a M or H, six speed with reduced gearing. Only done the short loop around the block test ride on a Brompton. Will be interesting to put it through my commute and see the comparison.
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