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Old 06-08-10, 07:24 PM   #1
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what bike is right for me? speed d7?

hi everyone i'm new to cycling and i need a bike to start, but after days of searching and reading i'm going nowhere, so im asking for your help!

why Im going for a folding bike instead of a road/hybrid bike:

1. i live in seoul, korea where there are very little bike lanes outside of parks, and i'll be sticking mostly to sidewalks where i'll be needing to weave through a lot of people. i know REAL cyclists ride on roads, but roads here are 6,7 lanes wide, many drivers dont follow traffic signals, etc., and ....

number 2. most of my riding will be just around the area or short trips, not for commuting.

3. as bike-UNfriendly seoul is, its transportation system is awesome and having a folding bik e will let me take it on to the subway free of charge for trips anywhere.

as much as I want a road bike, I just see very little practical use for it, and riding my friend's folding bike has shown me a folding bike is more than enough for me.

now that i've settled on a folding bike, i'm having difficulty choosing hte right model for me. i've been looking into dahons, as other brands seem to have less presence in korea (and hence less parts and etc.).

here's what i need:
1. i'm 5'11 and 180 pounds so i'm a pretty big guy, i'll need a sturdy frame and 20 inch wheels.

2. 95% of my riding will be around the city, or short trips outside(i'm looking at around 1-4 hours of riding) . seoul is relatively flat.

4% of my riding will be, as i mentioend above, in places far away after travelling by car or train.

the remaining 1% is what i hope to be long trips, ranging around several days to weeks. this includes attaching paniers to the back and/or front. outside the city the terrain becomes much more hilly , nothing undoable, but I'll be needing a bike that can go fast and help me ride up hills.

to summarize, at the very least i need a strong and sturdy bike that can travel long distances. i know there are some "speed" models but these seem beyond my budget, and i've looked at the speed d7. what do you guys think? i could possibly go a few hundred dollars over the speed d7, but only if you guys tell me its worth spending.
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Old 06-08-10, 08:21 PM   #2
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In my opinion, D7 isn't very suitable for touring a few days, because of it's limited gears.
It certainly has the gearing range to get you up hills, and go fast, but the jumps between the gears can be quite annoying when you start to get tired.

If it's not out of your budget, I would go for a P24 model.
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Old 06-09-10, 12:45 AM   #3
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I think AEO has the same bike as I - Vitesse D7 which has the same gear range as the Speed D7. The Speed is a steel frame, the Vitesse alloy. 7 gears are ok for me for 95% of the time, but if the bike is loaded for hilly terrain, then more gears ( or a lower 'granny' gear) are useful. As AEO points out -Mu P24 has the lower granny, and a more 'speedy' top so if funds permit, you'll have more flexibility in the bike. Either bike will probably fit you at 5' 11".

The other thing to consider is that 20" wheel bikes can put your heels very close to rear luggage side panniers. Heel strike can be an issue with some panniers on some 20" bikes. The Dahon rack is limited to a weight of 10 Kg, about average. The Dahon Tour Rack is taller, for side panniers.

On folders, handlebar luggage mounts can interfere with the fold, again not always an issue when touring if the bike isn't folded, but something to consider.

We have Jur on here who, amongst others is a distance tourer, he has some excellent photo tour reports on his web-site and is a good source of touring info.

Otherwise, the Speed D7 is an excellent city bike, and the Mu frame, which I haven't ridden, is said by owners to be very good. The Dahon Jack, a 26" wheel model, has also been upgraded to 24 gears for 2010, and would make a good tourer, based on my ownership of its brother the Matrix, although the folded bike is larger than the 20" wheel models.

The other Grand Tourer in the Dahon range is the Speed TR.

A possible cheap DIY tourer would be a D7, with the rear 11-32 cassette from the Speed Tr, and a Shimano or SRAM derailleur to replace the Neos.

Speed Tr's cross Asia:

Last edited by snafu21; 06-09-10 at 03:04 AM.
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Old 06-09-10, 09:10 AM   #4
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I'm the same size and 10lbs lighter than you...I own a Speed D7. The fit isn't bad for tooling around the city short distances and the components are functional for that purpose. However, at your size you are likely to find the cockpit a bit cramped due to a short top tube. This isn't a big deal if you aren't riding for a long time.

Although you can tour on a D7 I think the quality of components, limited gearing and small fit will make that less than ideal.

Since 99% of the riding you do will not be touring the D7 could work just fine as long as your expectations are in line with what I mentioned above. OTOH...if you got a folder that fit you better and was suitable for touring you'd enjoy the 99% of non-touring riding better and then be able to tour whenever you wanted. The trouble is any folder I could recommend for touring would cost more than the D7.

I will say that when I've helped a friend buy a bike that fit well they seem to end up riding it a lot more than a bike that does fit, but not exceptionally well. You may find that the extra cost for a better fitting folder would pay off by encouraging more casual city cycling.

If you want to stick with Dahon I test rode a Speed TR and it fits a taller guy better than the D7, comes with racks and has a decent gear range.
safe riding - Vik
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Old 06-09-10, 03:31 PM   #5
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As a one-time owners of D7's I can say that if you are going to do any long distance riding (or hilly riding) the D7 does NOT have enough gear range. I'd recommend the Speed TR. At 6'3" I found the D7 a bit awkward - mainly because the seat did not go high enough. I weigh 205-207 in clothes and that did not appear to be a problem.

As the wife likes to point out, the Dahon's fold nicely and pretty fast - better than our Fridays, but the ride isn't as good as the Fridays.

A BF tikit with a dual drive hub might be a good choice, depending on your budget.

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