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Know little about folders, could use some guidance...

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Know little about folders, could use some guidance...

Old 10-01-19, 07:34 AM
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KonAaron Snake 
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Know little about folders, could use some guidance...

Hello gang...new poster to your fine forum, and am hoping to get some opinions. The only folder I've owned/ridden was a 1969 Raleigh 20, so I have very little practical knowledge. Of course I want the unicorn...the perfect blend of low weight, great rider, durable, easy fold, easy to maintain, and inexpensive. Historically, I don't like IGH, but I could see how it would be a more practical option for this application. The pedal rhythm bugs me. Rides for this commute would mostly be two rides of about 2.5 miles, so 10 round trip. Not that far, but I'd rather have something I can use longer/further if need be. Strong preference for drop bars on any reasonably long ride.

Truthfully, for the purpose I'm envisioning, probably anything would be fine, but I always favor overkill.

Anyway, I found this Brompton M6R on my CL for $800...I know brand spanking new, I can get one for around 1500. How is 800 for this, assuming good condition? Looks like it has some patina, but not too bad..

Must buy? Fair? High? Seems like it's in the fair category, but I don't know the market.













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Old 10-01-19, 07:49 AM
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You can get new for under a thousand bucks now, so I'd say no....https://us.brompton.com/bikes/b75-bike
Unless you really need 6 gears. Go test ride the B75 and see what you think of it. Based on 10 miles, it
should be more than fine.
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Old 10-01-19, 10:09 AM
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Go and test ride a folding bike before considering any purchase. Folders are so idiosyncratic that it's almost imperative to find out what works for you and what doesn't - because what could be a fine feature to one person might be a dealbreaker to another.

The Brommie is a good case in point. I have an M3L, but in the pantheon of folders I own, it gets very little use. My Bike Friday Tikit gets infinitely more love, as does my BF Pocket Rocket Pro.

I'm short, and I find the riding position on the M3L wonky at best, plus the stock gearing is way too high for me. Not something I'd want to ride for more than a few miles at a crack.

I have my Tikit set up with drop bars, brifters and an 8-sp cluster. The penalty I pay for this is not quite as svelte a fold, but in the comfort and gearing categories, it's miles ahead of the Brommie. The only time the Brommie wins is when I need the absolute smallest package for travel.


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Old 10-01-19, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by bargainguy View Post
Go and test ride a folding bike before considering any purchase. Folders are so idiosyncratic that it's almost imperative to find out what works for you and what doesn't - because what could be a fine feature to one person might be a dealbreaker to another.

The Brommie is a good case in point. I have an M3L, but in the pantheon of folders I own, it gets very little use. My Bike Friday Tikit gets infinitely more love, as does my BF Pocket Rocket Pro.

I'm short, and I find the riding position on the M3L wonky at best, plus the stock gearing is way too high for me. Not something I'd want to ride for more than a few miles at a crack.

I have my Tikit set up with drop bars, brifters and an 8-sp cluster. The penalty I pay for this is not quite as svelte a fold, but in the comfort and gearing categories, it's miles ahead of the Brommie. The only time the Brommie wins is when I need the absolute smallest package for travel.


Thanks for the advice...I'll follow it.

Just so I have some concept of used market pricing, is that a decent price on the Brompton?
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Old 10-01-19, 10:20 AM
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It's a decent price. Even with the introduction of the B75, it's not that easy to find used Brommies under a grand in the US market. The fact that it's the 6-speed variant is a plus for resale value. Go to Europe where used (and stolen!) Brommies are more plentiful, you can get better prices.

You're in Philly? Is Trophy Bikes still around? Used to be a Brompton dealer under Mike McGettigan. Don't know if he's still involved or even if the business is still there. If they're still a Brompton dealer, go ride one.

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Old 10-01-19, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by bargainguy View Post
It's a decent price. Even with the introduction of the B75, it's not that easy to find used Brommies under a grand in the US market. The fact that it's the 6-speed variant is a plus for resale value. Go to Europe where used (and stolen!) Brommies are more plentiful, you can get better prices.
Makes sense, but guessing shipping likely kills any savings.
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Old 10-01-19, 11:07 AM
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That’s a good price for that model. Brompton have name recognition but parts call for buying from them which is more expensive.

The other big name in folders is Dahon. Many of their models can be gotten brand new for less then the 800 considered.

As with everything, it’s your call. Any decision is better with good research.
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Old 10-01-19, 02:49 PM
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Don't forget to factor in the warranty or lack thereof on the used bike and the potential maintenance/repair costs that may be needed at first. If your not stuck on getting a Brompton, there are some nice inexpensive Dahons that will easily meet your needs. And, typically, one's first folder is not the last, lol.
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Old 10-01-19, 05:06 PM
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Considering the "patina" involved, and the cost of restoration, I'd go check it out, but probably pass and go new. I saw too much to warrant purchasing it. YMMV,...
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Old 10-02-19, 02:01 AM
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For $800 get the six speed Brompton you won’t be sorry. You can travel with it fold it up and take it with you into the grocery store or restaurant.

Have Brompton will travel,
Timothy
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Old 10-02-19, 06:57 AM
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I'm going to check it out...hard to tell in the photos what's just grunge/dirt and what's more significant.
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Old 10-03-19, 06:51 AM
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Just as a market survey, for a rider with 'very little practical knowledge', here's a Dahon VISC D18 Disc, USA price from the national distributor brand new with warranty $799, free shipping.

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Old 10-03-19, 06:36 PM
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I agree with what others have said here already....used bikes always seem to require repairs shortly after purchasing so Id add another $100 or so for that contingency.

If it was me, Id rather get a new bike that has a warranty. $800 can get you a pretty decent one.
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Old 10-03-19, 07:26 PM
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I would agree to try before you buy.

Granted, I just sunk $515 in dubious bike shop repairs on my brompton. Just spent another 250 for parts to fix it myself.

Also granted, I have the awkward proportions of a penguin, and fit the brompton quite well.
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Old 10-08-19, 10:05 PM
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For what it is worth,

I hear a lot of people agreeing with the sentiment of "try before you buy" in this thread. I did my research on folding bikes. In fact, I was looking at folding bikes several years ago also but never bought one. When I resumed the search I read reviews etc. In the end I got a Dahon Mariner D8. I want to say it was $650. Note that this was a sight-unseen purchase. The only information I had to go off of was what I had researched, no test rides.

I would say I am an average cyclist in size - 5'10" and 140lbs. From that standpoint, this class of bike isn't a tough fit, all things considered. That may not apply to everyone, though, so I can see where there may be some apprehension.

If I were to start my search over and had the ability to test ride bikes - I would have bought the same bike. From the get-go it was a very ridable bike. However, I can't ride platform pedals for very long so the first thing I did was put a set of reversible SPD/platforms on. Since the bike came with a rack it was ready to rock with my kind of day rides. My front Ortleib panniers work great as rears on the folder. With a handlebar bag up front the bike is almost as ridable as my touring bike when I go out for a day. I did one of my day tours in the hills of central Pennsylvania farm country in the Spring. That was my longest trip on the folder so far. The bike held up great, though I did adjust the derailleur a couple times to dial it in.

The one main change that I have left to do with the bike is change out the straight bar for drop bars. I have trouble with my hands, nerves, and circulation at times and it doesn't take me long at all (maybe 5-10 miles) on the Mariner and my hands are going numb. Once I get the ability to change my hand positions more then I'll be in great shape.

As for the overall fit, pedaling, etc - it is every bit as rideable as my touring bike, in a compact package. I will say it isn't as stout, sturdy, and strong, and the small wheels are very reactive (twitchy, if you want to call it that, when maneuvering) but you have to consider the type of bike it is and expect that. I went in to my research understanding that from the get-go and had no trouble "getting used to" the bike when I got it. I set it up (aligned fenders, brakes, checked the runout in the wheels, set tire pressure, put my computer and lights on), did a couple adjustments of the seat height and bars, and went for a ride.

The Mariner is, admittedly, a bigger bike when folded than Bromptons are. For how I use my Mariner it works for me. The bike closes with a pretty strong magnet and I can move it like a suitcase with one hand picking it up from the rack or frame. You should be careful with the magnet closure, it can pop open, but I got used to it and hardly ever have the halves swing open now. A lot of it, also, is ensuring the bars are in the right place and crank is in the right spot so the inside pedal clears the cables and frame. Again - just another thing to get used to about this type of bike, but nothing that takes away from the utility of the bike, or even the novelty of it.

Back a couple years ago I was traveling for work quite a bit - both by plane and car. In that environment, compact'ness would have been paramount. When I looked at folding bikes before I looked at Bromptons and the Dahon line - namely the Curve with 16" wheels. Looking back on it, I am glad I didn't go with either one. The gear range on the Mariner lines almost perfectly up with my riding (I wish it was shifted to another gear or two taller so I had more to climb with, but it's still not bad) and I am not sure I would want smaller than a 20" wheel from a handling perspective. I feel like I can, and I do, ride miles on the Mariner - its a regular bike to me already. Adding drop bars will make it really shine. Maybe having a size or two smaller chain ring is about the only other mod I may consider. The saddle is quite comfortable for me, though I prefer a Brooks, the Dahon saddle is still quite comfortable to me so its a keeper.
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Old 10-08-19, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Just as a market survey, for a rider with 'very little practical knowledge', here's a Dahon VISC D18 Disc, USA price from the national distributor brand new with warranty $799, free shipping.

If that price is correct for that bike - 18spd with disk brakes - that is a deal. On the Dahon USA site it is $999.

That would be a good option, however it doesn't come with a rack if that is of any importance to the OP. Dahon does sell their racks as accessories, though, so it could be added easy enough I would think (double check though, there may be a snag to doing it - like interference with disk brake caliper or dropouts not accepting them?)
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Old 10-08-19, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
The one main change that I have left to do with the bike is change out the straight bar for drop bars. I have trouble with my hands, nerves, and circulation at times and it doesn't take me long at all (maybe 5-10 miles) on the Mariner and my hands are going numb. Once I get the ability to change my hand positions more then I'll be in great shape.
You could try a MTB comfort handlebar. I use a heavily cut down Origin8 Strongbow on my Birdy and I'm very happy with the bar. I want to move the brakes to bar end reverse lever and switch the shifter to thumb shifters (bar end shifter mounted on Paul Components thumbies) to free up bar space on the ends but the comfort of having hand positions (the one I'm showing in the second photo is particularly excellent) on a bar that doesn't interfere with the fold has been excellent.


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Old 10-09-19, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
If that price is correct for that bike...
That is in fact the price for that bike at the website of he-who-cannot-be-named, the national (USA) Dahon distributor, thank you very much.

I won't post a link as it might lead to being banned for life from this forum.

...however it doesn't come with a rack...


There's another model, same price, with rack, fenders and V-brakes.

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Old 10-09-19, 09:07 AM
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One other thought that hit me regarding folding bikes -

If you are critical about design and mechanics you may come to the conclusion that the hinge points may have too much play, wobble, or otherwise be a weak spot/unstable spot for the bike. I can assure you - they are rigid. They use cam locks that pressurize the closing.

Yeah, if you side load the hinges/frames you may find the hinge a weak spot. However, in normal use of the bikes they are perfectly stable. I cruise on mine with panniers at times and have hit over 20mph down hill (I know that isn't real fast compared to some, but even on my 700c touring bike I don't like to go much faster, either) and the bike was solid. The quickness or twitchy'ness on the small wheels is the only reason I won't go much faster, but then again I don't like to go much faster on any bike - maybe that's just me, though.

Originally Posted by grayrest View Post
You could try a MTB comfort handlebar. I use a heavily cut down Origin8 Strongbow on my Birdy and I'm very happy with the bar.
I have seen that style bar before. The only part I don't like is there isn't a drop. For hand position changes it may suffice but it won't let me bounce between a couple posture changes on-the-go. I suppose it wouldn't be too hard to do a quick height adjustment of the steer tube, though, to compensate. So there are options.

When I get around to it and experiment with the bars I may give the drops a try first and see just how the folding works, or doesn't work. Sometimes I have to reset an adjustment to get the fold right as it is. I am not sure what clearance, or lack-there-of, there may be without trying it. With some fancy threading/rotating of the bar as the frame halves fold/rotate you may be able to get it to work. Maybe not. If not - how far off is it? If it mostly folds it might still work out. My bike sits up right on it's wheels and seat post when its folded so if it doesn't collapse all the way it may not be that big of a deal. We'll see.
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Old 10-09-19, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by KC8QVO View Post
I have seen that style bar before. The only part I don't like is there isn't a drop. For hand position changes it may suffice but it won't let me bounce between a couple posture changes on-the-go. I suppose it wouldn't be too hard to do a quick height adjustment of the steer tube, though, to compensate. So there are options
I use the front of the loop like a set of aero bars with my forearms resting on the back. Feels about like being on the hoods of a road bike (non-endurance). I'm fairly tall (6'2" / 190cm) and feel like I'm riding a size down when I'm tucked but the upright position is nice so it's an acceptable compromise for me.
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Old 10-09-19, 11:21 AM
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The OP's Brommie is older, looked pretty rough and not well loved, with a lot of use.
They are fairly bulletproof and it may clean up, but as a noobs starter bike , no.
Foldies are less accommodating , so they need to be fitted to the task if they are to shine.
A 16" brommie on hills and rough roads is not optimal outside of London
20" folders are bulkier , but more forgiving/comfy. Dahons are good for reference, cheaper ones may be flexy with poorer components.
The CL one at 500$ for someone who wouldn't mind changing their own cables and chain would be a deal.
Less so for someone who just needs to ride
I would also check the rims for wear, there is a wear groove that makes that easy, as the wheels are the only expensive part that would need to be checked for wear
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Old 10-10-19, 05:28 PM
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When I was riding today I was thinking about this... I took the folder out for my day ride for a change.

I ran in to a guy a couple years ago while I did some research on recumbents that toured on a 20" wheel model with rim brakes. They were problematic for a couple reasons:

1. They did not stop well at all when wet
2. The smaller wheels meant the torque that the momentum of the bike had to transfer through to the brakes at the rim was magnified over that of a larger wheel size (think gearing here - same thing in reverse). It was so bad after thousands of loaded miles that the brakes wore the rims down to where the wheels collapsed.

I realize the above example is a bit "extreme", but it highlights the deficiencies in rim brakes to a T. Though they may work for conventional riding (and I guarantee there are millions of riders out there who will never ride anything but rim brakes, and the same may also state they've never had problems), if a lot of miles are on your horizon, or you otherwise will be in a position to highly depend on your bike over long distances, then it might be advantageous to consider disk brakes. Disk brakes, although they are more complicated mechanisms and have specialty parts that differ from cantilever rim brakes of any style, are easier to maintain on a long tour as they wear. Pads are one thing to replace on a canti/rim set up, but when you cross in to the territory of neccesary wheel rebuilts with new rims (and unless you can get the exact same rims you are likely needing to re-spoke also - I've been down that road before with a 700c wheel on my touring bike) the disadvantages of disk brakes look like blessings as that is less work than rebuilding wheel sets.

I don't have any knowledge on disk brake disks wearing out, on the other side of the coin. I would think if that were an issue in any case that I have come across it would have stood out. Though, a disk is pretty darn easy to replace - way easier and quicker than the pads in the calipers!

As always, your mileage may vary. Just a thought I wanted to pass along.
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Old 10-11-19, 05:36 AM
  #23  
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Disc brakes have superior modulation, no doubt about that.

Discs work best when they're clean. It helps to keep dirt and grit from accumulating on the pads and calipers, and that means a lot more cleaning than most people would allow. So if you don't mind keeping them clean, they're awesome. But if you don't, they will not perform well, and you'll go through pads and calipers like crazy. I'm not running discs now, but if I were, I'd keep some cleaning solution on hand for a quick spray down and wipe after every ride.
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Old 10-28-19, 02:03 PM
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Like a lot of new tech, discs are great in their optimal settings, less so when they ain't.
They require more precision in installation and maintenance, in return they give better braking.
They require more adjustment, have more expensive maintenance parts, are more fragile and are heavier
Bikes esp foldies are about balancing features : cost, weight , stiffness, size, robustness, fit and ease of maintenance
You have to be more active in deciding what you want/need as they have narrower"sweet spots"
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Old 10-28-19, 10:31 PM
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"I want the unicorn...the perfect blend of low weight, great rider, durable, easy fold, easy to maintain, and inexpensive."

After rereading your post, I would recommend used xootr swift, anything bike Friday, or a Dahon 20" or 26" folder.

The Xootr swift in particular would suit you well: extremely versatile, well made, big fold, arguably one of the best rides of all folders (with exception of maybe a Moulton, Airnamal, or Bike Friday). Usually, quite inexpensive compared to other folders in their class. Rides will with drops or flatbars.

bike Friday pocket rocket would be ideal. But bike Friday anything should ride quite well. Since many bike Friday are bespoke, it might not fit you too well. Bike Friday has one of the best builds in the business.

dahon- begrudgingly, I have to admit that these ride pretty great. The smoothhound is one model that I think you would love. Thorusa would be my first choice for a new Dahon. Please don't get a Tern

Also, you might want to get a copy of Zinn and the art of road bike maintenance.

hope this helps
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