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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 10-20-17, 10:51 AM   #1
shryke
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Folding bike - practical choice for teenager riding to school?

Round trip distance to school or bus stop would between 1.5 and 7 miles, depending on which school he goes to.

Would he be able to fit it on the bus? (3' x 2' x 1-1.5' sounds bulky to me...)

Would it be a practical choice for non-school-related transportation & paved path recreation? (This would be his only bike, at least at first, as it would replace his current, too-small mountain bike. Note: he doesn't actually do any mountain biking.)

Given the limited range of gear inches (32"-64" on the bike he wants), will he be able to keep up with his dad and me, riding a city bike with slicks (me) and a mountain bike with commuter tires (his dad)? He wants a 20" wheel model.

Also given the limited range of gear inches, will he be able to get up modest inclines (roughly 4-6% grade) without too much difficulty?

Finally, would a new Citizen Miami be a good choice? Our budget is about $300. I've looked on CL for used folders, but have found only poorly-rated big box store folding bikes.
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Old 10-20-17, 10:57 AM   #2
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Not going to find much at that price in 2017.


It may be needing service at a proper bike--shop, which big box stores are just never doing.

they only throw bikes together good enough to make it thru the cashier ..



...
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Old 10-20-17, 11:00 AM   #3
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What does he plan to do with the bike once he is at school? Will it come in with him, or stay outside?

A wider gear range is always better, but in the flat lands of Ohio, will he encounter more than a 5 of 6% grade? Well, also, some higher-end gearing may be beneficial as this is going to be his only bike.

Email me at [email protected], or call me at 855-767-4426, I have an option that might work for you.
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Old 10-20-17, 08:31 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shryke View Post
Round trip distance to school or bus stop would between 1.5 and 7 miles, depending on which school he goes to.

Would he be able to fit it on the bus? (3' x 2' x 1-1.5' sounds bulky to me...)

Would it be a practical choice for non-school-related transportation & paved path recreation? (This would be his only bike, at least at first, as it would replace his current, too-small mountain bike. Note: he doesn't actually do any mountain biking.)

Given the limited range of gear inches (32"-64" on the bike he wants), will he be able to keep up with his dad and me, riding a city bike with slicks (me) and a mountain bike with commuter tires (his dad)? He wants a 20" wheel model.

Also given the limited range of gear inches, will he be able to get up modest inclines (roughly 4-6% grade) without too much difficulty?

Finally, would a new Citizen Miami be a good choice? Our budget is about $300. I've looked on CL for used folders, but have found only poorly-rated big box store folding bikes.
I see a Dahon Boardwalk near Columbus (Mansfield) for $90 on Craigslist. Looks to be a 7 or 8 speed. Add a narrower seat and get a tune up at your local bike shop and you will come in under budget.

Check in with your bus company to see if they allow folded bikes on the buses.
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Old 10-21-17, 09:22 AM   #5
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edelay - I saw that CL listing too. I contacted the seller days ago and haven't heard anything, so I suspect it sold and s/he forgot to take down the listing. Based on the size and placement of the logos, I think it's a 2002 or 2003 Boardwalk 6 model. And in picture #7 it looks like the frame is dented. Though if it's a steel frame that would be less of a problem than if it were an aluminum one.

pingris - I'll check out your bikes!

ETA: where we live, he won't encounter more than about a 6% grade. The only reason we have that much of a grade is because we live at the top of a river valley. There is a nice bike path along the river, and we live on the well-named Summit Street. Most of his riding would be on fairly flat terrain.

Last edited by shryke; 10-21-17 at 09:25 AM.
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Old 10-21-17, 10:59 AM   #6
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A folder for elementary or high school? That's a lot of lugging around - on and off the bus twice a day, plus whatever he's carrying with him in a backpack.

I'm assuming he's not lugging it around to each class so he'll be locking it up outside. That makes it a target for theft. If he does this, recommend that he remove the front wheel and take it to class with him (or put the front wheel in his locker if it fits) so that the lock can't be broken and the bike ridden away.

The only way a folder makes more sense here than a non-folder is the ride to and from the bus stop, and it's a lot of lugging around just for that. I think it's probably easier to explore a used mountain or road bike and have him do the entire trip that way without the bus. My school was a few miles away and I would ride pretty much all year - even in the dead of winter - but not everyone wants to do that.
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Old 10-21-17, 12:01 PM   #7
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bargainguy - that's exactly why I'm asking these questions. He is enamored of folding bikes right now, and I'd like to get him a bike he loves. But I feel like a touring bike or rigid mountain bike would make more sense for his needs. If he chose a non-folder, it would be much easier for us to find a nice used bike on CL that would be less attractive to thieves. In fact, I've found quite a few listings for quality used road, touring, and mountain bikes in our area. But I figured I'd ask about folders on this forum to get a variety of opinions before trying to steer him in one direction or another.
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Old 10-21-17, 01:09 PM   #8
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I hear you. It might be that the idea of a folder is more attractive than actually using one. For your $300 budget, unlikely to get one much under 30 lb. unless it's a single speed, which would not be that useful for anything other than flat terrain. It would be nice if he could borrow or rent a multispeed folder (!) just to see how much lifting and lugging he's in for.
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Old 10-21-17, 02:58 PM   #9
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There really isn't a good hop-on-and-off-the-bus-every-day bike besides the Brompton. It's very easy to underestimate just how big the fold is on Dahon-style fold-in-half frames, which is what you'll find for $300. Even the incredibly compact (and expensive) Brommie feels like a pretty large piece of kit when you're trying to lug it around in a crowd of people.

If you can't find a used one anywhere near your budget, might I recommend a Dahon Uno? They're $400 new, less used. One gear, one coaster brake, and unusually light for that price range (I owned one). He'll still have to deal with the size, but it's slightly smaller without all the extraneous bits, and the lightness counts for a lot when tossing it around a bus in a hurry.

This may not be ideal gearing, but I think the Uno can handle the grades you're talking about. It's a cheap, light, simple introduction to folding bikes which will help him decide if it's really his thing.

Last edited by Joe Remi; 10-21-17 at 07:25 PM.
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Old 10-21-17, 03:36 PM   #10
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Many folks on here have upgraded and modded these bikes, so you can search and read about them. Not folding, but a nice frame minivelo in your price range. Let the kid trash the components. If the buses have racks on them it would work. He's gonna lock up at school anyway. Save Up to 60% Off Mini Velo Road Bikes, Roadbikes - Mercier Nano Mini Velo Bicycles
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Old 10-21-17, 05:15 PM   #11
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If he is going 1.5 miles get a Xootr scooter. Scooters make sense for short distances. Bikes are better for longer distances.

Thanks
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Old 10-21-17, 08:22 PM   #12
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I have found an old chromo 10 speed with 27 inch tires can usually be fitted with 700 c wheels and 35 mm studded tires and long reach brakes. I ride my surly steamroller this way most days in the winter and on days I can't I doubt a folder would work either. A rigid mountain bike with studded tires would be a little better. In nicer weather cheap slicks from performance bikes would make things an easier ride.
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Old 10-25-17, 05:24 PM   #13
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My 10 year old daughter can easily ride 7 miles on her 16" Citizen folder.

I don't see why anybody older should have any problems after building up to it (assuming not ridiculous hills )
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Old 11-01-17, 09:30 AM   #14
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I had a different view of dealing with my kids. If it is my money being spent I buy what I think is best for them with input to make sure they will use it. If he wants a folder have him save up and pay half.---$300 is pretty minimal for a new folder. I doubt he will find a $300 folder effective for getting on and off the bus.

Single speeds---I had just one since my youth---don't work for me at all. I want tall gears so I can ride without spinning out. A folder without a high gear near 90 inches doesn't work for me either.---65 gear inches ---no way.



Both my boys used their bikes for transportation through college.
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Old 11-01-17, 01:53 PM   #15
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Our 8-year-old frequently does 20 to 25 mile rides on his Origami Wasp (16" with a modified seatpost to match his height). A teenager should have no problems.
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Old 11-01-17, 03:13 PM   #16
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The advantage to single speed is simplicity and, in my experience, very little maintenance, so good for someone with little time or inclination or experience in bike mechanics to just jump on and ride. I like 80 GI for dry and relatively flat riding but 65 for studded snows and hiller rides. Having ridden single and fixed for about 10 years I only recently started riding geared bikes again. They are all fun and good for different reasons.
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Old 11-06-17, 07:33 AM   #17
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I'm recommending a Dahon Vitesse D3. Super value. Super Durable. Coaster brake fun in the rear with hand brake and the Sram I-3 hub. Post pump seat post too.

I've been very happy with the ones I have had come through the shop and the price is fantastic.

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