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fatdogvinn 06-18-10 02:09 PM

Folding on a ration card budget
Ok,this is a little long, but I can sure listen to some advice from you folks.

I'm 183cm (around 6 feet?) and my weight is about 95 kg / 210 pounds. (And on my way to loose about 10 more pounds.)

My commute ride will be about 5-8 km (each way) through a very rough non-bike friendly rainy 3rd world urban chaos. That means, a lot of smoking buses, angry drivers, FAST irresponsible motorcylists, crazy pedestrians and unmaintained potholes and craters all over the road. :twitchy:

Most of my route will be flat, but there are a couple of steep hills.

I'm not even sure If I can do this route on daily basis, since it's kind of dangerous, but I'm surely going to try it. If I fail, I'll still have a bike to ride on weekends and when I get out of town.

What I need:

- Folding bike that cand handle my size and weight.
- Speeds (non single speed).
- Fenders
- Comfortable upright position

What I would like but not a must:

- Rack
- Adjustable stem and / or handle bars.

The catch:

- I cannot find any bike shop that sells folding bikes down here. And If I could, I'd probably have to pay 3 or 4 times what it would cost in the US.

- I only have $400 for this. (I won't go into details, but it's the result of living in a pseudo-communist country.)

- I have to order it blindly without test rides, online from the US, (Shipping to Florida, I will have my brother bring it to me).

- Since no one carries folding bikes around here, I'm concerned that parts are as standard or easily available as possible. For example I don't want to be stranded for months, because the rim size is a strange dahon propietary only available in the US and UK.

The contenders:

- Downtube 8H
($401 shipped, if the coupons are still available when I pull the trigger).
This one doesn't have fenders. I'm not sure if I can fit locally available ones to this bike.
This one has IGH.

- Dahon Eco
($342 at thor's).
This one has fenders and rack, and with what I have left, I could buy some lights or maybe a horn.

- Downtube Nova
No fenders, although probably enough leftover money to buy fenders that fit directly in the US.
I've read I might be too big for this bike?

- Dahon boardwalk
($150 at thor's garage sale + $60 for a Utahtrike 3sp IGH wheel kit - I can get the rear brake locally).
This one has fenders and rack.
But I'm not sure I'm up for the task of fitting the wheel on the frame.
If it was just a "screw, unscrew, job" task, I'd do it, but If I have to widen/bend or cut stuff to the rear fork, the wheel or hub, I'm not sure I'd risk it.

I've searched during weeks, but the rest of bikes I can afford are less known brands that everyone around here seems to not reccomend, (tobukaeru, Galvin, etc.) and then are the Citizens, which I kind of like, but reviews are very mixed, and negative ones scare me.

Anything else out there that I don't know about?
Should I wait for a winter closeout sale on a Dahon Speed D7 (or a Vitesse D7HG)?

yangmusa 06-18-10 03:24 PM

You didn't write which country you are in (though it may not be relevant).

I think you've picked out a good bunch of economical bikes. Random thoughts:
  • All those bikes use 20" (ISO 406) wheels and tires. This is the most common size, as used on BMXs. If you're going to find small tires overseas, I imagine this size is a good bet.
  • The Downtube full suspension bike might be nice on the rough roads
  • The full suspension might require maintenance and parts that would be difficult in a 3rd world country
  • If you bought a cheaper non-suspended bike, you could spend some money on fat tires that would cope better on rough roads and not require any maintenance like suspension

stevegor 06-18-10 04:37 PM


wahoonc 06-18-10 04:45 PM

Raleigh R20...

Aaron :)

social suicide 06-18-10 04:46 PM


Originally Posted by stevegor (Post 10984277)


fatdogvinn 06-18-10 06:00 PM


Originally Posted by stevegor (Post 10984277)

Not quite there yet, but on our way, (downhill without brakes). Guess where?

About the Raleigh, is R20 the same as Raleigh Twenty right?
I haven't considered it because the $400 "ration card" is literally the amount of money that our government allows to use on international online credit card transactions anually (non accumulable).

So, since this has to be payed by credit card, I've only searched for new bikes on well known trusted stores.

I'm kind of weary of going "used" on ebay.

I rather play it safe with Thor's or downtube. In case something goes south (pun intended) I can always have my brother help me. But if something goes wrong with shadynick69 at ebay, I don't know if I'd like my brother having to deal with that.

Datatraveler 06-18-10 09:31 PM

Hugo's Venezuela?

Dynocoaster 06-18-10 09:49 PM

If you go with the Downtube you get get the front susp. model for $389 and Downtube has a rigid front fork for $39 and get that for a back up. Thor has a new Mariner folding bike with 26" wheels for $259. on sale.

hazyphonics 06-18-10 10:01 PM

well Downtube parts aren't proprietary so the bikes are easily upgradable. The 8H sounds very suitable for the commute you described, but the Nova and Boardwalk don't.

snafu21 06-19-10 12:26 AM

Downtube with hub gear thing: +2

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