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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 05-14-09, 10:21 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by pibach View Post
Optimal bar position is 0-7 cm below saddle high as a general rule.
IMHO, only if the effective top tube isn't cramped. If it's cramped, then I think you really don't have much of a choice but to effect an upright position. And ahead stems are somewhat challenging on the P8 series, which folds between the wheels.

feijai, which BF do you own? A Tikit? Could you explain why you prefer it over your Helios specifically? I would be interested.
I own a modified medium tikit hyperfold. In fact, I bought it *because* of my and my friends' experiences with our various P8s. It's the reason I'm talking about both of them here.

Like cars and laptops, everyone gets ego-attached to their bikes, and I am FAR from an exception. That being said, I am one of people on the board who own multiple folding bikes and can actually compare them directly. I think puppypilgrim ought to take that into consideration. And though I clearly have a fanboy bias, I have recommended swifts, dahons, and bromptons, and montagues on this board, and I think I am pretty good at backing up my claims with numbers and admitting when I screwed up. A BF is not the choice for all tasks, but I think our Dahon folks *really* need to realize the same. [The only major folding bike I am generally derisive of is the Strida, for which I am hard pressed to think of any real niche].

Comparing a tikit to a Helios P8 (or Mu P8, or Speed P8) is a bit weird since the tikit is $1000 and the Helios, when sold, was about $500. But here goes. The tikit can be made to fit you. The Helios is one-size-fits-all, with too short of a top tube, really, for anyone over about 5'10". I have the exact sizes if you'd care to know. The Helios tends to have a LOT of clicks and squeaks, many of which are very tough to track down. The tikit is very good in this regard. The tikit's got fewer custom parts and is more readily upgraded. The whole P8 series has an unsafe telescoping stem design which suddenly pops and rotates vertically under moderate pressure, and handlebars which also pop and rotate. There really should be a safety recall on the whole stem design. The P8 series are much more cumbersome than the Tikit when folded. Bike Friday support is legendary, and Dahon's is... not (Thor excepted of course). And of course the P8 series folds slowly: for me, and for my friends, it's about 30 seconds.

But there are plenty of nice things about the Helios too. For one, it fits better in my suitcase than my Tikit does, though it takes longer to pack. It's lighter. It folds to a smaller package. It's got 20" wheels. I can fit a wider range of tires to it, including some that I really like. The Helios's stem is stiffer. The tikit also has certain potential problems: its seatmast latch is slowly wearing, its hyperfold cable was misrouted, its rear triangle attachment cup tends to wear into the frame paint. I think the Tikit's still a bit beta. And the helios (and speed P8) is at least $500 CHEAPER. One of my Helii was stolen: I was able to replace it without being hit big-time in the wallet.

Cost, I think, is the defining difference: the P8 series is a cheaper bike. I own Helii *because* of their cost: I now use them primarily to get around certain local towns in Italy, and they are perfect for that task. In contrast, I use the tikit on long rides in the US: 15 miles or (much) more. I'm thinking of doing a 300-miler on the tikit. I like my Dahons. But I've liked my tikit more.

Last edited by feijai; 05-14-09 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 05-14-09, 03:28 PM   #52
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Actually, I am onside with your recent comments about the P8s, Helios and Fridays.

In my mind, the Fridays have the ability for a much better fit than the Dahons. I suspect its because the Dahons are mass produced and are designed to the fit the bell shaped curve not the extremities. The Fridays can come in 3 sizes (S,M,L) as well as custom made to measure.

For quality of ride, I also prefer non-folding main tubes on the frames. The Xootr Swift and Friday fit the bill nicely. So why am I on a Dahon Helios? Time, availability and budget. I was able to buy my Helios for CAD $240 which I consider a bargain. Now if I won the lottery however, I would be looking at a Moulton and Bike Fridays - with a view to the NWT for touring and an all out air version for road speed. Throw in a few low racer recumbents, Flevos and Pythons while you're at it.

Back to the Dahon. I'm 5'6" and fit well within the design parameters of the Helios. I don't see how a 6" or taller person would find it a good fit.... Having said all this, the quality and rapidity of a fold is only one in a long list of criteria of a buyer's priorities when selecting a folding bike.

Happy riding.

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Old 05-14-09, 03:59 PM   #53
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I have the exact sizes if you'd care to know.
Yes, top tube length, effective top tube (horizontal distance of steering axle to seat post at seat high) and wheelbase would be good for comparison.

My Dahon Mu has: 58cm, 63cm, 103cm
My MTB (XL frame, 53cm) for comparison: 60cm, 62cm, 107cm

top tube length is pretty similar. I like the slightly shorter wheelbase too. 63cm effective top tube is even longer then my full size bike! Perfect geometry for me.

The Helios tends to have a LOT of clicks and squeaks,
My Mu does not squeak at all even at full force. Only I would like the handlepost to be stiffer.

The whole P8 series has an unsafe telescoping stem ...
yes. I also don't like it. My workaround is: clean it carefully. Bring it to downmost position. Close all clamps very tight. Don't touch this setup again. Its not up for that. I also think this is misconstructed, but this workaround finally works. Still I would like it to be stiffer. Best might be to get the non-telescoping fold-to-right handlepost with the VRO stem.

The P8 series are much more cumbersome than the Tikit when folded.
What to dislike here? It folds nicely.

And of course the P8 series folds slowly: for me, and for my friends, it's about 30 seconds.
Hm. What can I say. For me it folds 1-2-3 sec - done. Not much of an improvement possible here.

The Helios's stem is stiffer.
Realy? This would be a no-go for me. The Dahon stem stiffness is border line acceptable already (right folded is much better though).
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