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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 04-10-18, 06:06 AM   #1
marioval
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20" wheel folder with front suspension around $300

Hi all. Looking for something for my wife to ride around town. She likes the small wheel folders but also wants a front suspension for a smoother ride on bumps. She doesn't want to spend more than $300ish as she probably won't ride it that often. I know I can add a fork with suspension to any bike but i'd rather buy something already setup. Any suggestions will be appreciated.
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Old 04-10-18, 06:15 AM   #2
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Suspension adds weight, cost and maintainance complexity. I suggest that you look instead to installing fattish tires such Schwalbe Big Apple or Maxxis Grifters or DTH. Any suspension fork that comes on a $300 folder is going to be simply craptacular.


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Originally Posted by marioval View Post
Hi all. Looking for something for my wife to ride around town. She likes the small wheel folders but also wants a front suspension for a smoother ride on bumps. She doesn't want to spend more than $300ish as she probably won't ride it that often. I know I can add a fork with suspension to any bike but i'd rather buy something already setup. Any suggestions will be appreciated.
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Old 04-10-18, 07:02 AM   #3
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Take to ride various bikes if you haven't already. Once she has ridden a few she will know what she wants. I thought I wanted a Bike Friday but after riding both I went with a Brompton. Its true, though, if she gets something that doesnt seem sturdy, doesnt fit and doesnt work well she probably wont ride much. I would have to agree with Abu that fat tires take a lot of the bumpiness from a ride and i would add that Ergon grips can help as well. Getting a bike that fits properly may be even more important and a good shop can be invaluable compared to ordering sight unsen from the internet. Once you know what you want used may be a good bet too.
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Old 04-10-18, 07:38 AM   #4
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Suspension and cheap bikes often equals landfill in a few years but a more simple bike can last decades.

Decent comfortable saddle, thick tyres at the right pressure for the rider's weight, comfortable handle grips. Maybe a steel frame and forks even. You often don't need the extra complexity and weight of suspension.

My suggeston would be something like one of the refurbished Urbano's at $300 and budget for a more comfortable saddle on top if you need it. Try the supplied saddle first though.

https://zizzo.bike/products/refurbis...-red-certified
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Old 04-10-18, 09:23 AM   #5
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This would probably suit her just fine. 30 day return as well. https://www.downtube.com/8s-front-su...-folding-bike/
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Old 04-10-18, 10:14 AM   #6
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That Downtube 8S might be exactly what i'm looking for. Thanks @linberl and everyone else for the assistance.
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Old 04-10-18, 01:39 PM   #7
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The downtube bike has front shocks by HL Corp which are more normally seen as the brand Zoom but Zoom have a poor reputation. However that really is a reputation based on their use with mountain bikes where they are very poor and often fitted to very low end bikes. They may be more serviceable for a road bike. Often though its difficult to get spares for them.

It's also worth pointing out front suspension is more designed for off road use typically a hardtail mountain bike where drops at the front are easier thanks to the front suspension absorbing the impact. For a road bike rear suspension is superior. Most or more of the weight of the rider is to the rear of the bike.

Again I feel suspension is the wrong choice for most people however downtube do have a full suspension version.

https://www.downtube.com/8fs-full-su...-folding-bike/

It's a little dearer and there is more to go wrong with having suspension front and back but if comfort is your number 1 priority it will almost definitely be more effective on the rear wheel. Many folding bikes don't bother with front suspension at all despite being much easier to implement on the front (simple fork replacement) and just have rear suspension to compensate for the small wheels hitting potholes etc. 20" wheels are a size that you can get away without suspension in my opinion for most riders.
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Old 04-10-18, 04:26 PM   #8
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it's often a placeabo effect. those bottom end suspension forks often don't provide any actual cush, and after a few weeks, they get stuck in one position, leaving you with a heavy anchor up front. they also encourage poor riding habits. instead of picking your line or getting off the saddle, you ride roughshod over stuff.
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Old 04-10-18, 04:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by linberl View Post
This would probably suit her just fine. 30 day return as well. https://www.downtube.com/8s-front-su...-folding-bike/
I second the vote for a Downtube front suspension bike. Especially since the owner is a forum member, and has a reputation for excellent customer service.
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Old 04-10-18, 05:17 PM   #10
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For rear suspension, there are options like Rinsten spring and Softride seatpost (now on kickstarter). At least both of those have the option of being transferred to a new bike, so imo a better investment.
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Old 04-11-18, 05:29 PM   #11
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I respectfully disagree with some of the suspension opinions here.

I have been selling folding bikes for 15 yrs. My best selling model has been the full suspension ( people love them ). We have many reviews on the website. I have consistently rode a 9FS for most of the past 13 years ( it's my favorite & I have one in my office right now ).

I am a cyclist that raced in my youth and toured across the USA twice. Our $500+ bikes have solid mid range suspension forks. They make riding safer, and more comfortable. The cheaper models have a lower grade fork....but a suspension fork is always better than no fork on a small wheeled aluminum frame.

Thanks,
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Old 04-11-18, 06:09 PM   #12
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Downtube 8FH

I have to agree with Yan. Bought a Downtube 8FH, the older full suspension model. Even though travel is limited, it makes a hugh difference on the street. I decided that at my age (55+) it is worth the weight penalty. I also added 2.125 wide Schwalbe Big Ben tires, a Saddleco saddle (Yans favourite saddle too, apparently) with titanium rails, a titanium handlebar, and Ergon grips. I dare say the ride is plush. Id post a picture but I need10 posts first.
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Old 04-11-18, 07:11 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by downtube View Post

....but a suspension fork is always better than no fork on a small wheeled aluminum frame.

Thanks,
Yan
Always? A suspension fork is definitely not better from the perspective of cost, weight, pedaling efficiency and complexity/maintainance. Any serious, credible statement about the advantages of suspension would need to address the four disadvantages outlined above. 'Take it from me' is not a credible position.


Look, I get it; people want a plush ride, they want their bikes to look the part, but there is no reason to dismiss the objective disadvantages of a suspension fork.

I once MTBed offroad on rigid and suspended forks, and have toured on an aluminium folder with 20" wheels too. So what?

Last edited by Abu Mahendra; 04-12-18 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 04-12-18, 05:17 AM   #14
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At this point we are still deciding between the Downtube 8s with the fork and rear rack and the Nova with no fork or rack. The price is right on both so it will come down to what the wife's gut tells her :-). Thanks everyone for the input.
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Old 04-12-18, 03:33 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marioval View Post
At this point we are still deciding between the Downtube 8s with the fork and rear rack and the Nova with no fork or rack. The price is right on both so it will come down to what the wife's gut tells her :-). Thanks everyone for the input.
If you are considering not going for suspension then the Zizzi Euromini Urbano is worth considering. It has better quality components than the Nova and is lighter for a small upgrade in price. More importantly it has thicker profile tyres 2.0 vs 1.2 for better comfort and suspension effect out of the box. Saddle looks better too. It has a decent freehub based drivetrain too, not a low end freewheel.

https://www.euromini.bike/urbano-red

I have no connection with the company and can't even buy them in the country where I live but seems one of the best value bikes available for sale in the US for quality vs price ratio.
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Old 04-12-18, 04:24 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marioval View Post
At this point we are still deciding between the Downtube 8s with the fork and rear rack and the Nova with no fork or rack. The price is right on both so it will come down to what the wife's gut tells her :-). Thanks everyone for the input.
It appears, from pix, that the step over height on the Nova is quite a bit lower than on the 8S. Not sure if that matters to your wife, but lower step through can be a nice thing especially if you ride in a skirt sometimes. Female pov.
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Old 04-13-18, 01:31 PM   #17
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I bought a Downtube Nova and the full suspension 8FS a year ago. I like both bikes. They roll well and can be ridden quick for a folder. I ride the Nova. My wife would probably prefer the lower step thru on the Nova, but the 8FS is a softer ride for her. I also put on a softer saddle for her.

Structurally, I prefer the folding steerer tube hinge on the Nova. It's very solid. I suspect the 8FS has more wiggle, but a lot of the motion. maybe all of it, on the 8FS comes from the suspension. It tends to get me when I do a pre-ride checkout. The 8FS has a nicer frame hinge though. My wife doesn't shift much, so she doesn't benefit from the trigger shifter on the 8FS. I find the twist shifter on the Nova to be fine.

We only ride bike paths, so as long as the pedals can hold 100 pounds each, I stand up on the pedals when I see a bump coming. Suspension is worth a hundred bucks for a spouse.
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Old 04-14-18, 03:36 AM   #18
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https://www.amazon.co.jp/DOPPELGANGE.../dp/B00CBO4EDC

Id go one of those for that price point. They are heavy, but the front disc works very well as does the front suspension. The rear suspension though may as well be solid steel, on my bike it was rock solid. Also there was no noticeable flex in the bike at all, not like my $3000 dahon which is the kind of handle post flex.
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