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Struggling to choose an affordable folding bike

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Struggling to choose an affordable folding bike

Old 06-08-20, 04:28 PM
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newbiker808
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Struggling to choose an affordable folding bike

Aloha! I am new to biking.
I am trying to find a folding bike so I can store my bike in an office at work and not worry about having it locked outside (there have been prior cases of stolen bikes).
I have seen many brands suggested such as
Citizen
Zizzo
Dahon
Downtube

I am very new to bicycle terminology and therefore find it difficult to dissect the models to see which one is the best one for my needs. I am a 5í4Ē woman 135lbs, average muscle build.
I will be biking at least 1.8 (x2) Miles per day. There is a long (and very steep) hill in between, but I donít mind walking my bike up if it is too straining.

Iím leaning towards Citizen. Their Miami model is sold out, so I was going to go with the Tokyo or Seoul model. Iím having a real hard time finding reviews on individual models. Most of the reviews I see is from 4-7 years ago.

I havenít checked to see what the shipping is like to bring the bike to Hawaii. This may be a deal breaker because some companies donít offer shipping here for some products .

I am very open to suggestions. My budget is $400, but if there is something worth the price and I am able to see evidence of that, I may move the budget

Mahalo for your help!

Last edited by newbiker808; 06-08-20 at 04:33 PM.
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Old 06-08-20, 06:20 PM
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Hard to say with your Big Island connection but my Dahons have come to me cheap through CL, a D6 Mariner and a D7 Boardwalk, both excellent.

Your height, wt will suit folders to a tee!
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Old 06-08-20, 08:03 PM
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I've owned a Citizen Tokyo in the past. Just like you; didn't want to spend a lot on a folding bike.

Bought a hardly used model from Craigslist. Sold it after a few weeks. It was heavy(steel frame);
small wheels(16 inches) but not that small folded, ergonomics was weird, geared very low:
Citizen Tokyo folding bike by 1nterceptor, on Flickr
I'd suggest stopping by your local foldie shop. Try some bikes; lift, fold/unfold and test ride.
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Old 06-08-20, 10:54 PM
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3km is around 10 to 15 minutes each way which is fairly short. I think anything would work, except if you wanted to go up hills then you may want to use smaller chainring to get lower gearing which is easy to change. but some people on this forum will convert with adapters to double chainrings to get wider gear range, but takes quite some work to do.
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Old 06-09-20, 12:09 AM
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You should also define your needs in term of folded size and acceptable weight.

The major difference between top folders and simple ones is the folding and folded size.

What make the Brompton worth its price is its folded size and ease to carry folded.

One more point: do you need to carry something during you ride ?

Carrying things in a rucksack isn't pleasant at all especially in a warm region.

If it is the case, a bike with a front bag like the Brompton is a big advantage (rear racks are not very usable on small wheels bikes, heels easily hit what is placed on the rear rack).

Last point about the price: a folder costs more to build than an equivalent classic bike because build quantities are usually smaller and folders require specific, therefore more expensive, components.
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Old 06-09-20, 02:33 AM
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Originally Posted by 3speedslow View Post
Hard to say with your Big Island connection but my Dahons have come to me cheap through CL, a D6 Mariner and a D7 Boardwalk, both excellent.

Your height, wt will suit folders to a tee!
I'm on Oahu, so I'm not sure of any connections. So far, I've only seen one foldable bike in the online inventory of a bike shop. Is CL craigs?
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Old 06-09-20, 02:46 AM
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1nterceptor There's no foldie shops on my island I'm afraid. I've looked online on many bike shops' inventories and they've been unfruitful in the folding category. So far I've only seen one. Maybe I should call them directly to see if they have any leads for a local link?
The Tokyo model does seem very small and not hill friendly. I was eyeing out the Miami, Milan, and Seoul models since the wheels seem to be bigger. Wonder if anyone has feedback on those...
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Old 06-09-20, 02:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Jipe View Post
You should also define your needs in term of folded size and acceptable weight.

The major difference between top folders and simple ones is the folding and folded size.

What make the Brompton worth its price is its folded size and ease to carry folded.

One more point: do you need to carry something during you ride ?

Carrying things in a rucksack isn't pleasant at all especially in a warm region.

If it is the case, a bike with a front bag like the Brompton is a big advantage (rear racks are not very usable on small wheels bikes, heels easily hit what is placed on the rear rack).

Last point about the price: a folder costs more to build than an equivalent classic bike because build quantities are usually smaller and folders require specific, therefore more expensive, components.
You make some grat points when talking about quality/backpacks. I also see that Brompton has a financing option, which can help me pay things off gradually. I've noticed that the wheel is quite small, do you think this would be okay in long steep hills on my way to work?
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Old 06-09-20, 03:10 AM
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I'm looking on craigs on Oahu (my island) to see if there's any options. There's an 26-in Ancheer folding e-bike for $280, Ford Taurus Dahon for $250, an unspecified model Dahon for $500 (with *maybe* a free camera if you're a nice buyer, according to the post??) and a Citizen Barcelona for $350. There's no specified damages on any of the posts, other than getting maintenance at a biked shop.
All other options are e-bikes over $1000.
Any insights?
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Old 06-09-20, 04:32 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by newbiker808 View Post
I'm looking on craigs on Oahu (my island) to see if there's any options. There's an 26-in Ancheer folding e-bike for $280, Ford Taurus Dahon for $250, an unspecified model Dahon for $500 (with *maybe* a free camera if you're a nice buyer, according to the post??) and a Citizen Barcelona for $350. There's no specified damages on any of the posts, other than getting maintenance at a biked shop.
All other options are e-bikes over $1000.
Any insights?
I am a big fan of buying used, I probably have bought and re-sold 10 folders over the years. The pickings look slim in your CL market at the moment and higher priced than mine. . Look on facebook market place there is a nice tern for 300.
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Old 06-09-20, 05:34 AM
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Originally Posted by newbiker808 View Post
You make some great points when talking about quality/backpacks. I also see that Brompton has a financing option, which can help me pay things off gradually. I've noticed that the wheel is quite small, do you think this would be okay in long steep hills on my way to work?
Yes, the small wheel aren't a problem at all as long as you ride on road or good hardened trails. The small wheels are a problem on soft ground (sand, mud...).

The front bag of the Brompton is a big advantage, it accepts a lot of things up to 10kg and is very easy to use, install and remove.

The other advantages of the Brompton are:
- the smallest fold of all folding bikes but still rides very well. Several people use the Brompton as long distance travel bike.
- easy to carry folded due to its folded shape, the chain is inside the bike when folded, so no risk of dirt on clothes due to the chain when carrying the bike folded.
- very easy and quick fold.
- there are a lot of accessories available from Brompton and from third parties.
- very durable, can be folded/unfolded several times per day, daily during many years without wear.
- a high resell price used.
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Old 06-09-20, 06:55 AM
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Thinking outside of the folder box, for 1.8 miles can you do an e-scooter? Or a full size beater bike that may not be as attractive to thieves? And if it gets stolen, well, it's a beater bike and you replace it with another?
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Old 06-09-20, 02:08 PM
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newbiker808, I am on Oahu and may be able to provide some guidance. If you look back at my post, I was in a similar situation, but I bit the bullet on a Brompton and never regretted it. Your commute is short, but one concern is the hill you mention... what street is this? You don't have to be address specific, but I may be able to provide an opinion on how a Brompton would fare if I'm familiar with your commute/route.

btw, good suggestion by tdonline above
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Old 06-10-20, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by bee-man View Post
newbiker808, I am on Oahu and may be able to provide some guidance. If you look back at my post, I was in a similar situation, but I bit the bullet on a Brompton and never regretted it. Your commute is short, but one concern is the hill you mention... what street is this? You don't have to be address specific, but I may be able to provide an opinion on how a Brompton would fare if I'm familiar with your commute/route.

btw, good suggestion by tdonline above
Aloha,

I work at Kahala Mall and live in Palolo. Thereís a hill that I will have to ride down/up every day if that is the case (Waialae). Itís not too bad, but I worry if the bike isnít stable/built well. Also, I am a new biker.

Last edited by newbiker808; 06-11-20 at 12:06 AM.
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Old 06-10-20, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by zebede View Post
I am a big fan of buying used, I probably have bought and re-sold 10 folders over the years. The pickings look slim in your CL market at the moment and higher priced than mine. . Look on facebook market place there is a nice tern for 300.
Hmmm...Iíve never used FB marketplace, will go try to look there.
Out of all of the ones that I posted from CL, is there any that sound like a good deal? Iíll update the thread to what I see on FB later on.
UPDATE: Thanks for the suggestion

Here are some interesting offers from
FB:

EuroMini Zizzo $350
-used a couple of times
- 20Ētires, 27 lbs

Dahon $300
-no details, just barely used

Unspecified brand $400
-21.5 lbs

Not seeing any more foldable bike offers in my area (Oahu)
if anyone spots anything, please let me know

Last edited by newbiker808; 06-10-20 at 10:29 PM.
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Old 06-11-20, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by newbiker808 View Post
Hmmm...Iíve never used FB marketplace, will go try to look there.
Out of all of the ones that I posted from CL, is there any that sound like a good deal? Iíll update the thread to what I see on FB later on.
UPDATE: Thanks for the suggestion

Here are some interesting offers from
FB:

EuroMini Zizzo $350
-used a couple of times
- 20Ētires, 27 lbs

Dahon $300
-no details, just barely used

Unspecified brand $400
-21.5 lbs

Not seeing any more foldable bike offers in my area (Oahu)
if anyone spots anything, please let me know
The bikes on CL are not a particularly "good deal" IF they were being sold in my area, because of where your at the markets maybe substantially different. You will just have to watch your market for an extended period to determine whats a good deal or not. In my area Craigs List is getting less attractive in general especially with competition from Facebook market place.

You might also have heard that responded to the pandemic by buying bicycles and inventories have NOT been quickly replenished. I notice our local bike stores and department stores were very low on inventory. I had a number of bicycles that I decided to sell and was VERY SURPRISED at how quickly they sold and for top asking prices..

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local...6e5_story.html

So this may be affecting used bike prices and availability also.
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Old 06-11-20, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by tdonline View Post
Thinking outside of the folder box, for 1.8 miles can you do an e-scooter? Or a full size beater bike that may not be as attractive to thieves? And if it gets stolen, well, it's a beater bike and you replace it with another?
I don't think you understand how often people get their bikes stolen here. My friend had her bike stolen twice within the month. I work at a mall but many known thieves frequent the area and I'd hate for my bike (my ride home) to be stolen often. It's probably a great idea in other regions, but not here in my opinion. The whole reason why I want a folder is
-I do not have a huge home space (apartment)
-I do not have a closed private garage.
-I do not have a huge office space to work with
-I want reliable transportation and also use my commute as a way to exercise
I've never thought of an e-scooter, but I've seen people using them around the island. Any brands to recommend? I wonder if it can last my hill..

Last edited by newbiker808; 06-11-20 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 06-11-20, 02:34 PM
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zebede Oh wow, maybe that's why some models of the citizen were sold out on the website! I never would've thought there was a correlation... but it makes sense now for the lack of my options.
Maybe I should just wait then? It's kind of a bummer because I wanted to get used to biking when there weren't as many cars on the road.
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Old 06-11-20, 05:21 PM
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Dahon of china, even has some cost cutting by components off least cost copies.. ..

England has a market in Stolen Bromptons.. so even those folders have to be watched like a hawk, I have a lock I bring with mine..
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Old 06-11-20, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by newbiker808 View Post
I've never thought of an e-scooter, but I've seen people using them around the island. Any brands to recommend? I wonder if it can last my hill..
Sorry to hear your area has such a bad bike theft issue. That would drive me nuts. Can't recommend escooters, no knowledge of them. Just thought the short distance would work with scooters and of course, they are easy to store.
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Old 06-11-20, 06:44 PM
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Today I rode my Brompton just under 20 miles averaging 10.5 mph and climbing 974 feet, most of which was in 4 miles or less. I second the appreciation for the front of frame loading which actually improves the ride. Folds up to about 2 feet square and about a foot thick, so as to fit under a desk, in a closet or other small space. Not cheap and definitely quirky. However, if my bike sheds were on fire and I could only save one, it would be the Brompton. Pretty useless in snow but that can't be an issue on the island. Check out the "path less pedaled" website for a lot of Brompton info, especially regarding touring. Having said all this, if there's a way to test drive some folders its he way to go.
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Old 06-11-20, 06:55 PM
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[QUOTE=newbiker808;21528558I've never thought of an e-scooter, but I've seen people using them around the island. Any brands to recommend? I wonder if it can last my hill..[/QUOTE]

Considering you weigh 135lbs there's plenty of inexpensive, decent quality options. Here's an excellent website, where you can see scooters at varying price points.

Electric Scooter Guide

Chuck is fantastic with the knowledge he has of electric scooters. There's something for everyone.
__________________
If it wasn't for you meddling kids,...
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Old 06-13-20, 03:43 AM
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I wish I could help you out more - I've been around bicycles almost my entire life and wish more people would convert. It sounds like you are very new to biking since you mentioned your desire to practice while there are less cars on the road. I am not sure how comfortable you are on a bicycle, but my input is assuming that you have very limited experience (less than 1 year?) riding on roads and sidewalks.

I would avoid online purchases or buying used unless you know exactly what you want - you may end up spending more money in the long run or having a terrible experience that will turn you off from bicycling. Go to the local bike shop, explain your situation and get opinions. Try ebikeshawaii (Kapahulu), and Mccully Bike Shop. Bike factory carries Dahons, but I do not know what is available. I think Moped Garage and Aloha ebikes sells escooters, but I can't provide any more useful information since I don't have one.

That being said, here are my suggestions: Electric scooter, Qualisports Nemo, Brompton, lower price folder (Dahon, Tern?)

Don't know much about electric scooters, but priced lower than my next two suggestions. Hawaii doesn't have the best sidewalks or roads so the small wheel size is a concern. Can you get to and from work safely? Will it have enough power to make the hill? Forget exercise... maybe an arm workout when you carry it to the office.

Qualisports Nemo is a folding ebike that sells for $1200. I just test rode one last Friday and it rides very nice. It's pricey, but should be able to handle whatever you throw at it on your commute. In addition, you can vary the assist to vary your exercise. Compared to a Brompton, it's heavier and bigger when folded, but Waialae should be no problem with the assist going up, and the disc brakes going down.


I am Brompton biased; however, IMO, this is not exactly a bicycle for beginners - not saying it can't be done, it's just not as forgiving as the Nemo or a standard bike because the ride is more harsh (if your surface is not smooth), and your road condition/traffic awareness must increase due to the smaller (narrow) tires and brakes. It will stop when descending, it just won't stop as good as a standard bike. It is the most expensive solution, but it may offer the best versatility due to the size when folded. I ride mine 1.5 miles to the bus stop, take it on the bus, stash it under or on the seat next to me, then carry it in to work where it temporarily lives under my desk. No need to worry about theft or the elements. It is heavy to carry, but you can also roll it like a cart. The efficient way the bike folds/unfolds cannot be beat - this is important for you because you will be folding/unfolding at home and at work.


Mccully bike appears to have Tern A7's available for $430. This should meet almost all your requirements. Tern had a bad reputation for frame failures, but I would think they addressed it by now. Please confirm. I was seriously considering this before my Brompton, but knew I would be wasting time and money if it were too cumbersome on the bus or at work. Also, I am not sure if you can roll this bike when folded or you will have to carry it. How far is your walk to the office? But test ride it anyway. IMO, it will ride better than the Brompton, but you sacrifice the folding/unfolding speed and small footprint. The Brompton is just designed to fold/unfold quickly in a compact package, and for my needs, it was more important than the ride.

If you can afford it, go to ebikeshawaii and test ride a Brompton and Nemo. You are located very close to the Kapahulu location and the Kaimuki neighborhood has some hills you could test. Call to check availability first. And don't purchase anything until you visit all the shops. Test ride as many vehicles as possible.

BTW, if your commute involves Wilhelmina rise, all recommendations are off. That's a killer incline.

Sorry for the long winded response that exceeds your budget, lol.

Last edited by bee-man; 06-13-20 at 11:00 AM.
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