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On the Horns of a Dilemma

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On the Horns of a Dilemma

Old 04-15-19, 11:58 AM
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Leisesturm
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On the Horns of a Dilemma

In 2005 I bought a Giant Halfway and commuted with it daily from north Brooklyn to Lower Manhattan (6 mi.) daily. It was a frequent companion on errands and the very occasional longer trip. The frame failed at the bottom bracket area in 2008 and my LBS got a replacement under warranty when I told them I had been without the folder for a year because of the frame failure. Halfway's were no longer being made and the shop got me the higher end Expressway as a replacement. The frame on this bike has now failed in an unexpected location. Trust me, I do not ride in a manner that should damage a well constructed bike. I've had the Expressway long enough that I want to explore a different folding bike design. One that doesn't have so many angles and weld points to concentrate stress. Pretty much your basic Dahon design.

It was actually a Dahon I was shopping for back in 2005 when the 1/2way stole my heart. If 1/2way's were still made I would get another, nothing else going has ever achieved that kind of folded size using 20" wheels! Over the weekend I've been looking at folding bikes for the first time in almost 10 years. Dahon has really been busy. I've narrowed it down to a Qix8 or Mu 10 Tour. The Mu 10Tour comes with fenders and rack and slightly wider gear ratio like the Expressway 1 vs Expressway 2. If there was a Qix D10 I would probably buy it. So I was all but set ... out of nowhere a Tern Verge comes on the screen ... not on your life, but I was already on their site so I looked around ... Tern Node D16. I really can't find any fault. I always wanted to put a front derailleur on my Expressway, it even has the cable guides for one brazed on! I've never ridden anything with 24" wheels but having left NYC the folding is mainly so I can grab a ride home with someone when I've ridden the bike there. 24" wheels should fit. There is a Tern Link 16 with 20" wheels if I really want to stay 20". What's up with Tern? Are they now a part of Dahon? Should I care? I don't see any thread titles with Dahon or Tern on page 1. Should I care about that either? Should I just try to enforce the warranty (again) on another Expressway? What say anyone?
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Old 04-15-19, 01:49 PM
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Lot of issues to sort out!

Go ride a bunch of different folders if you can. Seriously. That will make it easier to determine what works best for you.

As to wheel size, much depends on how you're using the bike. If you're going for the smallest folded package, go for a bike with 16" wheels. If you don't need the smallest folded package, 20" wheels are the sweet spot. You can go larger, but that increases the folded size. If the larger folded size isn't a problem, fine, otherwise stick to 16 or 20.
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Old 04-15-19, 02:47 PM
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If you are interested in Tern or Dahon, you can probably get some good advice from Thor USA, he's been a dealer for both bikes and is very honest. See his website.
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Old 04-16-19, 08:20 AM
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I'm a relative newbie when it comes to the folders, so I can't really give much advice, but here's my 2 cents:

Tern and Dahon are not the same company (or at least they weren't a few years ago when I checked), but they are related. Dahon was started first (in 1982) by Dr. David Hon, and Tern was started in 2011 by his wife and one of his sons. I don't know the exact details, but based on a post on a popular social media site it sounds like Tern took some of the design properties of the Dahon bikes and attempted to improve on them in other ways. I have no idea whether Tern is (or ever was) a better version of Dahon, or whether Dahon has caught up or surpassed them (assuming there was/is a difference), or whether they focus on different aspects of folding bikes (i.e., lightweight urban commuter cycles vs performance-oriented folders vs durable but heavier bikes for travelling), but I (personally) consider them roughly equivalent as far as price/options/quality goes.

Having said that: I have a Dahon Speed P8, and have had a few full-size bikes over the years, and I much prefer riding the Dahon in the city due to its size. It has 20" wheels with a very low overhang at the front and rear, so it's very easy to zip around buildings or vehicles or pedestrians, and due to the length it takes up so little room that most people don't complain if I bring it into a building or elevator or anything. Having said that, the 20" wheels do seem to make the ride a bit harsher, and I find it more difficult to maintain high speeds (increased rolling resistance, increased friction, reduced rotational inertia, etc.), but YMMV. I also don't know how common 24" tires or wheels are, but 20" wheels are commonly used on BMXs and most folders (and I believe some recumbent bikes), so you should have a decent variety of quality wheels/tires/fenders/etc to choose from if the need arises.

One other thing: I'm not that experienced with gearing, but I'd take a look at Sheldon Brown's comments on the subject and determine whether the increased range offered using two front chainrings and an 8-speed cassette (which is how I assume the Tern 16-speed is set up) is worth the increased complexity over just having an 8-, 9-, or 10-speed rear cassette and single derailleur. Personally, I like his opinions of the alpine gearing (high/low-range front chainrings, with the small chainring only working with the two largest sprockets, and the large chainring working with the entire range of the cassette), and there are enough hills where I'm at to warrant having an alpine/granny gear available on my folder, although I may attempt to find or assemble a cassette that does that without the need for a front derailleur. Personally, the added weight and complexity is not worth having the high/low range of a front derailleur. Keep in mind that 8-, 9- and 10-speed rear cassettes should all fit on the same freehub, so you could potentially upgrade an 8-speed folder to a 9- or 10-speed to get a bit more range and/or closer spacing, providing you also replace the chain and shifter (and rear derailleur, if necessary). These parts should be relatively cheap and easily available at just about any bike shop.

With all that, I am a tinkerer, so I'm not afraid to get in there and make modifications until something suits me. If you're not willing to do the work yourself and/or can't (or don't want to) pay someone to do it for you, then I'd recommend just buying the bike you want right off the bat. It is very easy to spend more on modifications and upgrades than you would getting the bike you want in the first place, especially if you have to pay someone to do the work, and even more so if you're buying a new bike. My bike was used and dirt cheap compared to other comparable folders, so it's perfect for me, but given that you're buying a new bike it may not be an option. However, do keep in mind that there are ways of making adjustments (such as converting a Node D8 or C8 to a 10-speed) if you find something that's 90% of the way there. However, as said before, try riding a bunch of bikes and see what you do/don't like about them, and then figure out what gets you closest to your goals.
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Old 04-17-19, 04:01 PM
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Hey thanks for all this. I didn't get any e-mail notices like I usually do that there had been any responses to this thread. The most recent thread is making me think outside the box. When I lived in NYC folders were all I rode but in the last 12 years on the west coast its a 50/50 split between full size and folding bike use. I am surprised at how often I am still folding my folder out here, and yes, the folded size still matters I guess. But I have seen reviews saying "it's only a couple of inches, it doesn't matter that much". I've only ever ridden 20" folders. I am well acquainted with that handling. The Expressway had the biggest front ring (53T) of all and an 8sp back end. I always wanted to put a FD on it so when I saw the Terns with FD's as stock I didn't even think about how that shakes out compared to a 1x10. I'm not hard to please. I have many bikes and tandems. All were researched beforehand and bought on features/price/reputation without test riding. I am not sure test riding is going to tell me what I really need to know, and I doubt they are going to let me take one home for the weekend to see if it will fit in my friends trunk or not. I know it will fit on the light rail and bus carriers. I do my own work and could upgrade a D8 to a D10 but I probably wouldn't bother given the existence of a D9 in most models. It's only been a couple of occasions but I have given up my place on the bus rack, which only holds two bikes, because I could fold my 20" down and take it on the bus so someone else could have the rack. Could I do that with the 24"? Maybe. That's why I call it a dilemma. My heart wants the 24" but my head thinks the 20" is the better choice for many reasons. My question was mainly to see if anyone would try to enforce the implied warranty on the Giant Expressway, get another, and call it good, or use this as an opportunity to take a different path. I'm fairly sure the fenders and rack from the Expressway would fit on anything bought without them. Wheels too if it came to that.
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Old 04-17-19, 06:21 PM
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You are aware of the Tern problems? Make sure you get the newer bikes with gusset plates and new hinge bolt design.
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Old 04-19-19, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
...I always wanted to put a FD on it so when I saw the Terns with FD's as stock I didn't even think about how that shakes out compared to a 1x10. I'm not hard to please.

...My question was mainly to see if anyone would try to enforce the implied warranty on the Giant Expressway, get another, and call it good, or use this as an opportunity to take a different path....
If it were me, I'd ask a Giant dealer to honor the warranty. You say you are happy with the ride and the way you use the Expressway. Why spend money you don't have to?

As far as adding an FD, it was relatively easy on my Dahon Speed which came equipped with a 1x7, 52x14-28 freewheel. I found the gearing too wide for the riding I was doing, but I didn't want to give up a low gear when I needed it.

Originally I replaced the original crank with a mid-90s Shimano 105 double (53-42) and the freewheel with an 8 speed Sachs Aris 12-24. Since I wanted drop bars I used Shimano 105 bar end shifters. I found that shifting was better in friction mode.

This winter, I found an ebay deal on a 20" freehub rear wheel and now I'm running a 12-26 9 speed cassette (same shifters and crankset). I experimented with going to a SRAM Rival RD and a modified Tern RD adapter for the Neos RD set-up. However the Shimano 105 bar ends could not pull the Rival across the entire 9 speed cassette range. I ended up using a mid-90s 105 RD instead. I'm on the lookout for a bargain on SRAM 10 speed bar end shifters.

Best of luck on your decisions!

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Old 04-19-19, 06:35 AM
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BTW, I ended up with two 20" rear freehub wheels (130mm O.L.D). If anyone is interested in it PM me and we can work out arrangements. It will need a QR skewer and cassette.
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Old 04-19-19, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Hey thanks for all this.
Hey, my bad for all the excessive (and unnecessary) information; sounds like you're better equipped than I am for all this.

Having said that, it sounds like you're pretty set on getting a 24" folder; I know you've ridden a lot of bikes, but maybe try going into a store and just folding down a 20" vs 24" folder to see them side by side? You already have an idea of how well a 20" folder did or did not fit, so you might be able to gauge the 24" based on that.

As for your Giant, are you able to get a different brand/model as a replacement for your Giant through your LBS, or is it a matter of repairing/replacing your Giant and then buying another bike outright? If the latter, then you'll definitely want to get a repair/replacement on your Giant, even if to have it as a spare bike (assuming you can put that much out for a new folder), or to sell it to fund your new folder.

Finally, you do mention having a number of bikes, so it's a matter of whether you're going to ride the folder consistently to places where folding is not required (i.e., out for a cruise in the park or on a trail), or is this only something you'll take when the folding capability is important (i.e., using transit, visiting friends late at night, etc)? If you have other bikes that you use for cruising or general commuting, and want the folder specifically for its folding ability, then I would get a 20". If this will be your main mode of transport, and you're really set on the 24", then get the 24".

Having said all that, what it really sounds like is that you want confirmation that a 24" bike is suitable; if that's the case (and be honest with yourself), then get the 24". Who cares whether Joe Schmo (like myself) prefers a 20" over a 24"? I assume 24" folders exist because they still make sense (as far as overall size) even when folded, otherwise companies wouldn't produce them. If your heart is genuinely set on a 24" folder, then get your Giant warrantied (either replacement or repair) and then trade/sell it for the Tern.

Who knows, maybe this is crap advice, but you keep commenting on the 24", which makes me think that you've already made that decision. Plus, if you absolutely hate it then you can blame all of us and tell us how terrible it is.
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Old 04-19-19, 04:50 PM
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Foldies are always a compromise
My experience with the bigger ones in 26 inch, is such that I would have to have a clear sense of where I wanted to store them before their compromises become attractive
Foldies' work the best when you have a clear application . They sacrifice a great deal for their flexibility
no big deal if that's what you need
Check out the size your friends trunks first
Then get something you like to ride
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Old 04-22-19, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
If you are interested in Tern or Dahon, you can probably get some good advice from Thor USA, he's been a dealer for both bikes and is very honest. See his website.
I have done as you suggested. I have found your information to be factual and on point. I will be placing an order. Thank you very much!
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Old 04-22-19, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
I have done as you suggested. I have found your information to be factual and on point. I will be placing an order. Thank you very much!
Glad to hear it all worked out! Please share a post when you get your bike and show us the end result. Happy riding =)
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Old 04-24-19, 07:17 AM
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I tried a bunch of Terns at NYCEwheels before they closed, I really liked the 24 wheels offerings. Made a big difference going over all of the potholes here. If your out of the city and will be riding on well paved trails I say get a 20 model. Although the fold may not be that much smaller they are much easier to carry for whatever reason, If your gonna be going over bumps and driving home, the 24 may make more sense.
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Old 05-23-19, 11:49 PM
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Not sure if you have placed the order. I just want to add my 2 cents here. Since you are considering the 24", why not check the 20" with 451 wheels first? The frame is almost the same as other 20" folding bike with 406 wheels but can go much faster.
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