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$150-200 Folder for AMTRAK-to-Rail Trails Overnighters?

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$150-200 Folder for AMTRAK-to-Rail Trails Overnighters?

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Old 03-18-18, 10:21 AM
  #1  
Papa Tom
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$150-200 Folder for AMTRAK-to-Rail Trails Overnighters?

Newbie to folding bikes here.

I do at least two overnight bike trips per year using ferries to get off Long Island, but I would like to see a few new places within a day's trip on AMTRAK. Frustratingly, AMTRAK makes traveling with a standard bicycle out of New York too difficult for my taste, so I have been thinking about grabbing a folder exclusively for these types of trips.
The catch is, I don't want to spend more than $150-200.

Unlike my usual 1 to 2-day tours, I would be traveling on AMTRAK to reach mostly rail trails and other fairly flat bikeways that I've heard good things about, so I only need enough gears to get me from the AMTRAK station to the trailheads. I realized there are lots of variables in routes between stations and trails, but I would probably choose trails based on the ease of getting to them from wherever the train stops.

Anyway, is $150-200 a realistic number for a decent used folder for this purpose?

(Note: Please do not reply with opinions about how it's really not that difficult to ship a bike on AMTRAK, no matter how good your intentions are. I want to travel WITH my bike, not schlep an hour into Manhattan the day before to ship it, then another hour the day after to retrieve it. No "buts" on that one!)
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Old 03-18-18, 01:24 PM
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Too low, for new, decent, Da Hon.. put more $ on the table.. or 'rinko' what you have..
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Old 03-18-18, 03:02 PM
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$200 is a little low for a new folder. If you could go up to $300, you could get a nice Origami or Downtube. Lots of satisfied customers on this sub-forum. If you can't go any higher, keep your eyes on Craigslist for a used folder. Are you planning to carry gear on the bike for overnights?
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Old 03-18-18, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Too low, for new, decent, Da Hon.. put more $ on the table.. or 'rinko' what you have..
What does "rinko" mean?

By the way, I don't need new. I passed up a nice-looking folder at a garage sale last summer and now I'm sorry. It had a $375 price tag still attached and they wanted $150 firm. I don't remember the brand name, but it wasn't one of the names I recognized. I'm a "bike guy," so from what I could see, it was definitely built well. It only had three gears, though, and I don't know how the weight would have compared to a slightly more expensive model.

I have a beat-up tomos folder from the 1970's that I bought at a garage sale for $5 and totally revamped. It's only a single speed and just not sturdy enough for my bags. This one at the garage sale would have been. So what else is out there that's a good second-hand buy (for $150-200, of course).
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Old 03-18-18, 03:06 PM
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Just want to point out that, in my original post, I mentioned that I'm shopping for used. I definitely don't expect to get anything new for $200!

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Old 03-18-18, 03:20 PM
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Rinko?, read vintage bike quarterly .. its altering a few fittings on a regular bike to make it easy to fit into a shoulder bag to get on a train.
https://www.bikequarterly.com/

another thing spread to that clique of subscribers , by the publisher who writes about his trips to Japan..








....

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Old 03-18-18, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
Just want to point out that, in my original post, I mention that I'm shopping for used. i definitely don't expect to get anything new for $200!
Oops. My bad. That makes more sense. I think you can find one that will work. Maybe look for a mid-range Dahon - Vybe, Mariner, Speed. You can find them new for around $400, so you may find a used one in decent condition for half that. I would stay away from the older models - Classic III, Stowaway. Make sure the hinge is sturdy and clamps good. I did quite a bit of riding on a Dahon Vybe for a few years, but the stem didn't adjust, and I sold it last year for $200.
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Old 03-18-18, 05:22 PM
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From what I've read on this forum decent used folders go sub $200 on craiglist it's really just setting yourself a minimum or ideal spec you want to go for. For me the minimum spec would be either hub geared or freehub gearing and an aluminium frame for lightness. I would avoid freewheels and heavy steel frames. I would want V brakes not caliper ideally. Would a single speed be worth considering. Keeps the bike reliable and lighter but makes hills more of a pain.

I you are going to consider a folding bike with a freewheel, 6 or 7 speed derailleur geared bikes it might be worth considering buying new. There are many on Amazon sub $200. No point buying a used bike with low end worn components close to $200 if you can get a new model with new low end components.
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Old 03-18-18, 06:21 PM
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Conductor

I have/had the same problem with Amtrak in California. You must have reservations even on an empty train. I went to a Downtube Mini folder and every once in a while I still get the ďyou must have reservationsĒ, so be prepared.

Iím a strong proponent on Downtube - great bang for your buck. Here in SoCal, I always see one on Craigslist. That being said, if you up your ante, you can a new one.
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Old 03-18-18, 07:25 PM
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What about Zizzo bikes? They seem to be sub-$200 new and get very good reviews.
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Old 03-18-18, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
I realized there are lots of variables in routes between stations and trails, but I would probably choose trails based on the ease of getting to them from wherever the train stops.
Approaching this from a different direction: the trail surface on Rail Trails in the USA varies from beautiful smooth concrete and asphalt to packed granite chips or crushed limestone and on down to mud, deep soft sand or even merely the old ballasting that used to be between the railroad ties.

You've suggested you'll not choose trails based on trail surface. Okay, you want what you want.

Look on Craigslist/your local used bike source for a folding bike fitted with a front suspension fork that uses wide ISO559 (a.k.a. 26") mountain bike tires, like an older Montague Paratrooper or Hummer or a Dahon Espresso. These bikes will still fold within Amtrak's 34" x 15" x 48" carry-on baggage envelope. You could get lucky with a quick search, or it may be some time before you find a suitable machine in your price range.
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Old 03-18-18, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
You've suggested you'll not choose trails based on trail surface. Okay, you want what you want.
I didn't hear me suggest that. Did anybody hear me suggest that?

I definitely would only be doing paved rail trails and bikeways with this folder. I already have a mountain bike that I modify for either road touring or gravel/dirt trails.
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Old 03-19-18, 12:34 AM
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always have amtrak's rules for folding bikes printed out and with you at all times. You can oftentimes get a conductor who doesn't know the folding bike rules. Wave it in their faces and climb aboard. If I were looking for a sub-$300 bike, I'd look at Origami.
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Old 03-19-18, 04:45 AM
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Originally Posted by wernst View Post
...If I were looking for a sub-$300 bike, I'd look at Origami.
Hmmm, I'm not sure a bike made of paper would be rugged enough. (But thanks, I will look at those.)
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Old 03-19-18, 06:10 AM
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If you are 'a bike guy', you will be underwhelmed by most all $150-200 bicycles.
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Old 03-19-18, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
What about Zizzo bikes? They seem to be sub-$200 new and get very good reviews.
Very decent brand but for me the Urbano is the bike to buy in that range. I'd pay the extra to get that or contact them to see if they have any Urbano returns at a discount or maybe ask them if you could be put on the waiting list for one if they do get them. They offer a guarantee which is if you don't like the bike it can be returned without issue so they may have returns.
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Old 03-19-18, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Abu Mahendra View Post
If you are 'a bike guy', you will be underwhelmed by most all $150-200 bicycles.
Well, by "bike guy," I didn't mean bike SNOB. My main ride is a 1996 GT Outpost (original purchase price $300) that I have nurtured and babied for more than twenty years. When you've done that much work on a bike (and also ran a bicycle recycling program for many years) you get to know good quality vs. mediocre vs. crap. I've done a 47-mile ride on a $69 Walmart mountain bike and had no problems, but I could feel the difference in the quality of the bike.

Anyway, I feel like I could do almost any paved rail trail on any folder, so I guess my main concern is getting one that will get me from the train station to the trailhead, considering that there may be some hills and some general distance.
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Old 03-19-18, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
What about Zizzo bikes? They seem to be sub-$200 new and get very good reviews.
We own 2 EuroMini Zizzo Urbanos. I've said it before, I'll say it again...we've had NO regrets and ride them quite often. We enjoy them immensely. They don't get babied or mollycoddled....we ride them pretty much wherever our hearts take us...here's an example:
This ride was over 20 miles. I weigh 215-ish BTW.

That said, they have 2 models "below" the Urbano...same frame (lifetime guarantee) and if not mistaken the entry level Campo can be had NEW for right around $200. all-in. The VIA or Urbano models, for not so very much additional money might be worth considering though to save a pound or two and enjoy some slightly upgraded componentry.


Good luck...have fun!

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Old 03-20-18, 12:31 PM
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I assume you are talking about taking the folder on the train as carry on luggage within their folding bike criteria. You did not mention that, but since a number of Amtrak stations do not handle checked luggage (a full size bike is checked luggage), a folder can offer more flexibility on where to get on and off.

Originally Posted by wernst View Post
always have amtrak's rules for folding bikes printed out and with you at all times. You can oftentimes get a conductor who doesn't know the folding bike rules. Wave it in their faces and climb aboard. ....
Fully agree, I have had an Amtrak station manger tell me I was out of compliance with their rules, I told him their rules on the website are quite different and that I was in compliance with their published rules. He paused, then said that he keeps telling them to change the website.
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Old 03-20-18, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I assume you are talking about taking the folder on the train as carry on luggage within their folding bike criteria.
Yes. I want to be able to walk on and off with the bike. This would be my ONLY reason for getting a folder.
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Old 03-27-18, 05:34 PM
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Most probably wonít like my suggestion, but I love my Dahon Classic and take it on gravel trails all the time. Iím sure you can find one for $200. I bought mine for less than that and itís one of the stainless ones. If you do decide to go for one I can give you a few simple tips that will turn it into an amazing bike. I am a ď bike guyĒ and have been building and collecting bikes forever. Itís an underrated bike in my opinion because of a few out of the box mistakes, like the saddle and general lack of grease. Also it has a very compact fold. Good luck with your search, anyway!
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Old 03-27-18, 07:15 PM
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As I know virtually nothing about folders, I am open to ANY suggestion. And to hear that I might be able to get a name brand like Dahon within my budget is very encouraging.

Thank you. I will look into it.
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Old 03-27-18, 07:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
As I know virtually nothing about folders, I am open to ANY suggestion. And to hear that I might be able to get a name brand like Dahon within my budget is very encouraging.

Thank you. I will look into it.
Well folders are lots of fun! One great thing about carrying one on public transit or train is itís sure to start all kinds of fun conversations. People stop me to ask about mine all the time. Hereís the thread I started on mine in case you want to find out more about them:

https://www.bikeforums.net/folding-bikes/1122306-dahon-stainless.html
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Old 03-28-18, 06:06 PM
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as I've said before, folders are more social, more approachable, less intimidating machines. in addition, they better integrate with urban, human spaces. I've had to put my bike on elevators/lifts recently where a 559 or 622 wheel bike simply would not fit. one lift was so small that i had to stand up my folder. I've rolled my minivelo into the post office, and pedalled through areas where a big big would be cumbersome or inappropriate. These 'sociability' human factors, intangible advantages of folders are often ignored by those who've never ridden or owned one.

Originally Posted by devinfan View Post
Well folders are lots of fun! One great thing about carrying one on public transit or train is itís sure to start all kinds of fun conversations. People stop me to ask about mine all the time. Hereís the thread I started on mine in case you want to find out more about them:

https://www.bikeforums.net/folding-bikes/1122306-dahon-stainless.html

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Old 03-28-18, 06:14 PM
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OK, I am sold on the concept of a folder, but for different reasons than what you've described in this thread. Although I'm sure all the social and practical benefits are legit, the only real reason I am considering a folder is that I want to be able to travel by train to various destinations around the Northeast US (I am in New York) and do some simple scenic rail trails and MUPs that I've always heard about.

So the main question is, will a $150-200 used folder get me and my 55-year-old body up the hills and through the broken up concrete I am likely to encounter between AMTRAK stations and trailheads?
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