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Old 02-01-18, 05:57 PM   #1
Kevindale
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Suggestions on buying a folding bike in the Netherlands

I'll soon be moving to Amsterdam from the US for a job. I have several road bikes, but will likely only take one with me, with the plan to just use it on long weekend rides. I expect to be commuting to work by bike, and I've already seen that a road bike isn't a good fit for that. When I was there for the interview, I saw that people most people park beater bikes outside, with a few having folders that they bring into the workplace. That got me thinking about getting a folding bike, both for commuting, and for occasional train/bike touring around the Netherlands and Europe on weekends and vacations.

I like the idea of a fairly nice folding bike instead of a heavy, rusty beater bike for getting around town. I like even more the idea of traveling by train with a folding bike. I've been reading a lot of the threads here, and I have some sense of the trade offs involved. I don't imagine needing to take the bike on airplanes. I'm skeptical that I'll do full-on touring trips, but I can see needing a bike with a rack and the ability to carry a few things. I think fast, tidy folding will important, along with a ride that isn't insanely far from one of my road bikes. I'm tall and thin, so my weight isn't an issue at all.

Suggestions on where to buy, and what to look for?
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Old 02-01-18, 06:03 PM   #2
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https://www.ternbicycles.com/nl/
https://www.brompton.com/Find-a-Store
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Old 02-01-18, 07:42 PM   #3
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For the most compact fold, the Brompton wins, but it might not meet your criterion of having a ride that's not insanely far from your road bikes.

The Bike Friday Tikit was once considered a Brompton competitor, but it's out of production. You might be able to find one on the used market. I have one, and it's my bike of choice when I need wider range gearing than my Brompton M3L, along with a much better riding position. A different Bike Friday model - say the Pocket Rocket or New World Tourist - might work for you as well, although they're a little gangly to fold and nowhere near as compact in the folded state.

You might want to look into an Airnimal Chameleon. The fold is not the quickest, and they're not cheap, but it might come fairly close to your road bikes in terms of ride quality:

Chameleon Performance Sport | Airnimal
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Old 02-01-18, 10:03 PM   #4
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The Tern bikes look more appealing to me. In particular the Link C8 looks sweet. I notice that in the Netherlands it's 680 Euros (about $850 currently) while it's only $650 at REI. Maybe I should get one at REI and pack it in a suitcase?
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Old 02-01-18, 10:08 PM   #5
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For the most compact fold, the Brompton wins, but it might not meet your criterion of having a ride that's not insanely far from your road bikes.

The Bike Friday Tikit was once considered a Brompton competitor, but it's out of production. You might be able to find one on the used market. I have one, and it's my bike of choice when I need wider range gearing than my Brompton M3L, along with a much better riding position. A different Bike Friday model - say the Pocket Rocket or New World Tourist - might work for you as well, although they're a little gangly to fold and nowhere near as compact in the folded state.

You might want to look into an Airnimal Chameleon. The fold is not the quickest, and they're not cheap, but it might come fairly close to your road bikes in terms of ride quality:

Chameleon Performance Sport | Airnimal
I think I want something a little more compact and easier folding. Plus that price tag is pretty steep. I'll potentially end up getting two, one for my wife and one for me, if we're going to do some traveling by train, and a total of 4k Euros just to get started is a little much to digest.

I've glanced at Dutch used bike sales where I can find them - doesn't seem like folding bikes show up too often. Anyone have suggestions for where to look, besides marketplaats.nl?
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Old 02-01-18, 10:19 PM   #6
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I was in Amsterdam and the Netherlands awhile back, and the folders I saw were few and far between. Almost everyone was riding utilitarian black Dutch single speeds. I think electric bikes have made an inroad there, but no idea if folders have taken hold. The land there is mostly flat so not that much need for multispeed gearing, but you will need multispeed gearing in other parts of Europe.

There are plenty of folders which will work if you need a compact fold (Brompton, Dahon etc.) and some that mimic a road bike in terms of ride quality (Bike Friday, Airnimal). But getting both, along with a reasonable price tag, is a difficult if not impossible task.
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Old 02-01-18, 11:37 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Kevindale View Post
I think I want something a little more compact and easier folding. Plus that price tag is pretty steep. I'll potentially end up getting two, one for my wife and one for me, if we're going to do some traveling by train, and a total of 4k Euros just to get started is a little much to digest.

I've glanced at Dutch used bike sales where I can find them - doesn't seem like folding bikes show up too often. Anyone have suggestions for where to look, besides marketplaats.nl?
How about Beixo folding bikes? It's a Dutch brand, and they have some pretty interesting stuff.

Like the Beixo Compact High shaft-drive folding bike:


Or the Beixo Crosstown belt-drive folding bike:
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Old 02-01-18, 11:49 PM   #8
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Spend as much on the lock as you do the bike.

I used a both a vtt and a road bike for my daily commute when I was there.
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Old 02-01-18, 11:53 PM   #9
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I had good experience shopping at Tromm Tweewielers. De Vakantiefietser looks good too, but I can't recall whether I've been there. Note that bike theft is a serious problem in Amsterdam.
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Old 02-02-18, 03:16 AM   #10
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I've been doing a bit of research on Terns, and the Verge D9 seems a reasonable buy for a tall person. I've only looked at their spec sheet, haven't touched one. It's got the 451 wheel set and made to be a sporty bike, but you'd need to add a rack.
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Old 02-02-18, 06:11 AM   #11
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Folding bikes are somewhat rare in Holland but not impossible to find. My honest oppinion (take it from a Dutch guy :-)) is to get there, find the local shop close to your house/work and see what they have in stock. They can tell you how easy is to service that bike as folders have special parts some not easy to find.
You need to keep in mind one thing: dutch bikes are very sturdy and adapted to the local weather which means basically one thing: rain. Even the best of the folder breed do not take that kind of punishment. I leave now in Luxembourg where the weather is somehow better, but still my folder rusts.

About commuting with your bike in the dutch trains: folding bikes can be taken at no charge, but really try to get with your bike in a train going to Amsterdam Centraal at rush hour. Not very easy. I commuted from Almere (just nord of Amsterdam) to Schiphol and this was not an easy task. So, I had to cheap bikes at either end of my journey.
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Old 02-02-18, 07:19 AM   #12
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Our Dahon distributor Buzaglo is in Amsterdam. They have a huge warehouse and stock many Dahon models.
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Old 02-02-18, 08:39 AM   #13
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Here’s some advice about bike theft in Holland, which is around 300 bikes per day but could be much higher: https://www.iamexpat.nl/expat-info/d...en-netherlands

Really, buy a cheapie, folding or otherwise. Avoid, at all costs, a Brompton. They are highly sought after by thieves because the market is huge and willing to paygood money.
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Old 02-02-18, 11:01 AM   #14
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Nature of a used bike bought after theirs was stolen , results in people all riding each other's bikes,

except for losses, those recovered when they drain the canals for cleaning up stuff thrown in..
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Old 02-02-18, 12:11 PM   #15
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I have the popular Dahon Speed P8 - it's been a decent bike, and relatively inexpensive so I don't mind locking it up outside... but I'm not in love with it and only gets used out of a car trunk for impromptu rides now. Finally (and reluctantly) coughed up for a Brompton in '16 and drank the cool aid - this bike got me back into bicycle touring, and I use it for a variety of purposes (some you mention) that I wouldn't consider on another bike.

Properly tune suspension block, bar-ends, and a DIY aero drop handlebar position made my B just as comfortable as my 700x32 CX/gravel bike (although ~ 0.5mph/3% slower). I can tune comfort between the two just by air pressure, and am now indifferent to riding either on just pure exercise loops (no folding). Long list of Brompton advantages, but it's ability to baby-stroll my touring gear while folded is enough of a tipping point for me. Don't understand the Brompton theft comment above - this is the only bike that virtually eliminates my theft worries since I can take inside almost anywhere with minimal hassle (i.e., slow, sloppy, bulky folds and difficult to carry/roll).

Dang hard to swallow that price pill, and I was worried about buyer's remorse... but after a season, I'm ready to sell my other bikes and buy another for the Mrs, but she not a rider. Dealers around here (NYC) allow lonnggg test rides and even rent by day (fee credited toward purchase) if unsure.
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Old 02-02-18, 01:03 PM   #16
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Simple. If you ever, ever leave it outside in Holland, even well locked, it may disappear, and, believe me, there are many times when you do not want to take it with you.

If you tour with it, as I have, using the front and rear bags, folding isn’t an option if you want to nip into a shop to buy some water, locking outside makes sense. Similarly, there are many historical sites which will not allow you to bring bikes in, which, given the size of ones like Anglor Wat, you would not want to lug a bike up and down myriads of stairs, rubble, not to mention over several kilometres. So, locking outside may be your best’ if not only, option. Angkor is only an example, by the way. There are sites in Europe where bi,es are simply not allowed in, folded or otherwise.

Last edited by avole; 02-02-18 at 01:13 PM.
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Old 02-02-18, 05:38 PM   #17
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I'm an ultra-lighter and so only use the front T-bag for self-supported touring, and can flip the bike into shopping cart mode to wheel inside faster and easier than I can lock it up.

However, your points on inaccessible sights are fair enough. As mentioned above, I have both lock-outside and and take-inside scenarios between the Dahon and Brompton, and overall, I guess I just lean toward 'taking' the Brompton, and 'leaving' the inaccessible sights. I suspect as the bike ages, and the honeymoon is over, it will look less desirable to thieves, and I will have less concern about locking outside - it is covered under my home owners insurance after all.
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Old 02-02-18, 05:51 PM   #18
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If your Brommie were stolen and you made a claim under your homeowner's insurance, you now have a different set of problems. You could be putting your home and your ability to get homeowner's insurance at risk by filing a small claim.

Filing a claim on a relatively small value item (in comparison to what your home is worth) is generally not advised. Your insurance company may pay the claim, then either jack your rates or drop you, and if they drop you, your ability to get insurance from another company is compromised, assuming you could get insurance at all. Your homeowner's insurance should be saved for catastrophic events, not small claims.
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Old 02-02-18, 06:57 PM   #19
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Thanks for that... I have had a bike stolen in NYC (but decades ago) and did file a claim and it seemed to be a piece of cake, with no rate increase/policy drop issues that I can remember. However, a quick Google does seem to bring enough controversy now that your point is well taken - Thank you.
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Old 02-03-18, 01:52 PM   #20
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Thanks everyone for the input. At this point I'm going to head over and see what I find. I'll probably get an cheap (but hopefully interesting) beater bike for commuting, since I don't anticipate needing to use public transportation for my daily commute. Later we'll decide if we (my wife and I) want to do some bike/train touring. I know we'll do some train touring, and we both like to ride, so I can see us doing that.
@reppans, I appreciate the comments about the Brompton. It's sounds great, though the $3300 price of admission for 2 bikes, before any touring gear, is a bit of a pill to swallow. On the other hand, we tend to travel well on a budget, and we won't be spending any money on a car/insurance/gas, so amortized over the time we're there might make it a bargain. Plus they'd be easy to bring back to the states.
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Old 02-03-18, 02:02 PM   #21
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Netherlands are fairly close to the UK - maybe take a side trip there and pick up a couple used Brommies? You could probably save quite a bit, especially if you're thinking of buying two. It's my understanding used Brommies are cheaper in the UK than the rest of the world, but if I'm wrong, someone please correct me.
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Old 02-03-18, 02:16 PM   #22
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I appreciate the comments about the Brompton. It's sounds great, though the $3300 price of admission for 2 bikes, before any touring gear, is a bit of a pill to swallow.
If size isn't a problem and you only do moderate touring (50km/day), any folder will do.

https://www.faltradxxs.de/dahon-vybe...zelstueck.html
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Old 02-03-18, 02:38 PM   #23
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Netherlands are fairly close to the UK - maybe take a side trip there and pick up a couple used Brommies? You could probably save quite a bit, especially if you're thinking of buying two. It's my understanding used Brommies are cheaper in the UK than the rest of the world, but if I'm wrong, someone please correct me.
You have to be there over time to fish, go to places to inspect, filter out the stolen ones. Unless you live there it does not really make sense - I tried at some level.
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Old 02-03-18, 02:44 PM   #24
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You have to be there over time to fish, go to places to inspect, filter out the stolen ones. Unless you live there it does not really make sense - I tried at some level.
What about ebay UK? Maybe get a Brommie that way and have it delivered?

https://www.ebay.co.uk/b/Brompton-Bi...31/bn_52464935
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Old 02-03-18, 03:26 PM   #25
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What about ebay UK? Maybe get a Brommie that way and have it delivered?
With shipping by a private person and risk of not being able to inspect, they tend not to be such a great opportunity anymore. An average person does not want to bother with the shipping and prefers transferring it to someone who just shows at the door. When they are willing to ship it is usually to command a higher price and you have to wonder whether this is not in order to unload a hot item. When I looked at that possibility in the past, I gave up. The gain compared to a dealer is small and when you spend so much you want to sleep fine.
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