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Help! Do I fix up a gifted foldie or buy a used road bike?

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Help! Do I fix up a gifted foldie or buy a used road bike?

Old 04-05-24, 12:15 PM
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Help! Do I fix up a gifted foldie or buy a used road bike?

Hi! I was hoping I could get some advice here on this forum. My friend left me a Citizen Miami foldie when she moved out of NY but advised I would need to get a tune up and a new chain. I'm debating if I should spend the money to fix it or buy a used road bike. I have a 40 mile bike tour in NYC coming up with coworkers who convinced me it would be very laid back.

If you can't tell, I don't really bike but it does seem like fun. I don't have a lot of space because I live in NYC and if I bike, it would be to travel on roads/bridges to commute through the city.

Would appreciate some insight! Thank you!
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Old 04-05-24, 01:31 PM
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Welcome. Since space is at a premium in NYC, I'd stick with the Miami and get it going before considering whether you need another bike.

There is a huge benefit in being able to take your bike with you almost anywhere in the city.

Plus it's easier to carry folded if you're in a walkup with no elevator.
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Old 04-05-24, 02:11 PM
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Consider the weight as well as the compact size you might can get. I've never had a folding bike, but some look heavy. And you can get some used bikes that weigh in at 18 lbs or less if you look carefully. So it might be easier hanging a regular bike on your shoulder while going up stairs.

Also make sure you know what kind of riding you do. Road bikes are intended for the open road, longer distances and infrequent stops. For city riding in a somewhat leisurely manner with a lot of stop and go I'd get a true cruiser style bike, which you can get new for $500 - $700 USD. Or a look for a mountain bike with comfortable seating and maybe even suspension. Though with those, weight will be higher and stairs and other things will need consideration.

Only if you are going to be riding around NYC like a adrenaline crazed junkie, could I ever believe a road bike is better for the city. Though some here will claim they are. And they probably ride like a adrenaline crazed junkie, just like I do.... but I don't ride that way in the city! <grin>

For a bike tour... 40 miles? for that one time you don't need a special bike. But you do need to get in shape. Though if you are young, most could tough out even longer distance. And just regret it for the next few days afterward!

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Old 04-05-24, 02:28 PM
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If you are a beginning cyclist I recommend a bike with wide tires, rider than a typical 25mm road bike at least. 32mm would be the minimum I would recommend for a new rider. Wider tires just mean more safety for unexpected events. More unexpected events happen with beginning cyclists. A beginner will also likely want something more upright than typical light weight road bike.

While 40 laid back miles may seem easy to many who cycle every day, it can be very challenging for a beginner. I would suggest spending as little as possible to get your current bike going. If a bike shop does it, get a quote before it's done. Don't spend so much that you could have just added a little more and bought a new bike. When you get something rideable you need to go on some short rides to better access and develop your ability. Good luck.
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Old 04-05-24, 02:29 PM
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Here is a link to the bike manufacturer's website and the specifications MIAMI Citizen Bike 20" 6-speed Folding Bike with Steel Frame The weight is not bad 32 pounds but I would be hesitant to do a 40 mile tour on it. It has 6 speeds but the gear range is pretty limited. You can compare gear ranges with bikes of different sized wheels using "gear inches" for the gear range. The specs say 32 to 64 gear inches. It varies with the components on a road bike but my recumbent trike uses a 700C rear wheel common on road bikes and it has a range of 20.8 to 128 gear inches. I don't expect the low end to be a problem in NYC due to the lack of hills but sure would miss the upper end. Because it folds it makes a great bike for someone wanting to ride short distances within the city.

It would not be worth spending big bucks at a bike shop because this is a $400 bike brand new. You can get a 6 speed chain for less than $10 on eBay (https://www.ebay.com/itm/156026015895) and it comes with a master link but if the existing chain has fewer than 116 links you will need a chain tool to shorten it. There are numerous YouTube videos on how to do maintenance like replacing cables and lubricating bearings. It's not rocket science.
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Old 04-05-24, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Choko_Cho
Hi! I was hoping I could get some advice here on this forum. My friend left me a Citizen Miami foldie when she moved out of NY but advised I would need to get a tune up and a new chain. I'm debating if I should spend the money to fix it or buy a used road bike. I have a 40 mile bike tour in NYC coming up with coworkers who convinced me it would be very laid back.

If you can't tell, I don't really bike but it does seem like fun. I don't have a lot of space because I live in NYC and if I bike, it would be to travel on roads/bridges to commute through the city.

Would appreciate some insight! Thank you!
I'm going to suggest you take it to a bike shop for a tune up.
That will take care of most of the problems and the shop will advise if you need a new chain or just a tune up.

If you're not a cyclist, 40 miles in a day on a folding bike might be a bit much.
On the bright, you can call an Uber, fold the bike and put it in the trunk if you get tired.

If you commute around NYC, you'll get a feel for what you want/need to either fix up that bike or purchase a more appropriate in the future.

Best of luck.
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Old 04-06-24, 09:18 AM
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It is a Citizen, they are not bikes of much quality but can be at least minimally functional for a very occasional rider. A smaller wheel will spin up quickly but not give you as much momentum. It is up to you in the end but having a more comfortable bike that is easier to ride might not be a bad thing but if you ride once in a blue moon then that Citizen is a bicycle.
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Old 04-14-24, 02:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Choko_Cho
Hi! I was hoping I could get some advice here on this forum. My friend left me a Citizen Miami foldie when she moved out of NY but advised I would need to get a tune up and a new chain. I'm debating if I should spend the money to fix it or buy a used road bike. I have a 40 mile bike tour in NYC coming up with coworkers who convinced me it would be very laid back.

If you can't tell, I don't really bike but it does seem like fun. I don't have a lot of space because I live in NYC and if I bike, it would be to travel on roads/bridges to commute through the city.

Would appreciate some insight! Thank you!
That's a similar sort of bike to the first one I had as a teen, except mine was three speed. At weekends I would do a 18 mile round trip to go shopping in a neighbouring town (there was a very good bakery), and that involved a couple of big hills. NYC is pretty flat, and in busier parts a lot of stop-and-go, so I expect your gears will handle it fine, but it is important that you have the bike set up to suit you, which may include changing the saddle - your muscles will acquire tone from the first few rides over a couple of weeks, so the initial aches go away, but if the saddle doesn't suit the width and depth of your pelvis, or isn't set at a good height and angle, you'll never be comfortable on longer rides, and saddle discomfort can really spoil a ride, worse than just tired aching muscles. Sadly there's no magic to find the right saddle, just recommendations from people who might be a different shape than you. Don't let this put you off, just be aware so you can identify a problem if it arises - people who think bikes hurt your butt are doing it wrong, and those oversize squishy saddles are not the solution (for most people who ride more than a couple of miles). [/RANT]

P.S. If you're riding in traffic a couple of seriously bright flashing lights could aid your survival.
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Old 04-14-24, 02:14 AM
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As stated, gearing is usually very limited on folding bikes, there are rare exceptions, the Citizen Miami is not one of them. I have a formerly 7 speed folder that I have fit for 50/34 double crankset, and this gives me the hill climbing gears (down to 21 gear inches) I need. It still doesn't have a racer-high gear due to the small wheels, but 85 gear inches is enough for all that I need. So 400% gearing, I think that is minimum needed for steeper hills to be able to spin up. If you need same, a double crank and front derailleur could be fit on the Miami, but you might want to save that investment for a nicer folder, but it could be done.

My folder is my full-time bike, townie, equipped with full racks and panniers, also unusual for folders except Bike Fridays which are designed for touring. All the normal advantages of a folder apply, but mine has more capability. But so equipped, mine is now an "occasional" folder, as all the accessories lengthen fold time by a lot. But I can fold it when needed. If you would be folding it often for commuting, you'd want what I call a "frequent" folder, fast and easy fold, and carries or rolls well when folded.

But start with the question of gearing, and whether the Miami will provide the gears you need for your riding.
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Old 04-14-24, 02:46 AM
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The Citizen will easily get you through a 40 mile tour. You can adjust the saddle and such to fit your height, and 3 weeks or so of riding will get you used to the saddle, and in enough shape to ride 40 miles. If you find you enjoy it enough to continue riding, you can consider an upgrade at a later time. I’m doing a lot of commuting on an early 60’s Moulton with 16” wheels and a 2 speed hub, sometimes less is more.
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Old 04-14-24, 11:53 AM
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It's a good bike to ride around on until you decide to upgrade, as long you don't put too much money into it (it's a very low cost, lower end folder). As a road bike it's a "NO", as it's completely different, BUT that doesn't mean you won't be able to log the miles riding it. IMO it's all about how comfortable you feel while riding it. I will repeat that it's good AS LONG AS you don't put money into it. It's gone up in price on their website, so please take the current price with a grain of salt ($399).


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Old 04-14-24, 06:46 PM
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I agree with all of the above. If the tour is "laid back" as you say, probably not steep climbs, but if you encounter any, I've found I can walk the bike up about as fast as grinding in a low gear, if wearing shoes that I can walk in easily. Mild hills you should be able to handle with the existing gearing while sitting, or standing on the pedals; The key is avoiding needing to push hard on the pedals while seated, I have found that puts more stress on the knees and can cause pain just above the kneecap on top. Learning to climb while standing (usually two gears higher than cranking up in a low gear while seated), has helped, in addition to the latter technique. I also run my seat as high as possible without having to reach for the pedals or rock my hips when doing so, so when pedal is at the bottom, my ankle is not extended (leg and foot at 90 degrees) but my leg is straight (knee not bent), not slightly bent as many do on their bikes. The only other thing I would say is make sure the crank arm lengths are matched to you; It's been discovered that someone can run a bit shorter crank than perfect for them, and this has been a recent trend to go with shorter cranks on road bikes, but a bit too long a crank for your leg length can cause knee problems. If you are of average height (perhaps 5'8" and over) and the crank arms are 170mm (should say on the inboard side of the arms), you should probably be fine, as well as if the arms say 165mm. 170 is the most common by far on "one size fits all" bikes, with 165 occasionally seen on folders.
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Old 04-14-24, 08:37 PM
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Oh and regarding service you mentioned... I'm always helping friends with simple bike maintenance like adjusting brake pads and cables or replacing, replacing a chain, etc. If you have local good friends who are serious bike heads, meaning they do their own maintenance instead of sending to the bike shop, you might get help. If the chain is not rusty and looks fairly new in appearance, doesn't skip on the cogs, should be fine. Chains on amazon are cheap, especially for 6 speed. Key with brake pads is that the rubber is not so old that it is hard or glazed so no grip on the rims, adjusted properly to meet the rims, and cables adjusted properly, as well as the angle of the brake handles (up/down) to your preference.
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Old 04-16-24, 07:56 PM
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Is that 40 mile bike ride in NYC the Five Boro Bike Tour om May 5? Over 32000 riders, I've read. Five hours.

If so, have fun. Wish I was there and had a registration,
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Old 04-17-24, 08:56 AM
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+1 on getting the folder fixed up. They're not as fast or efficient as a bike with larger wheels, but if you're not in a hurry, the space savings and ability to take it inside will be a godsend.

You'll also have more options for taking it on public transit for multi-modal trips. (buy a large bag for it, fold it up and it becomes "luggage" instead of "a bike")
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Old 04-17-24, 11:45 PM
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I could have stood it up if luggage space was tight. A bag is a good idea because it folds with the chain on the outside.
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Old 04-18-24, 06:39 AM
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You can always get higher gearing to cruise faster...I've done that on two folders now.
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Old 04-18-24, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Duragrouch

I could have stood it up if luggage space was tight. A bag is a good idea because it folds with the chain on the outside.
You don't like the folding pedals? There are affordable ones on Amazon now that just quick detach. (though they won't have your fancy toe clips)

A bungee is also a good accessory; our local commuter rail service requires a bungee so the bikes aren't falling all over the place, or you can use it to keep it folded for when you're lifting it.
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Old 04-18-24, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Smaug1
You don't like the folding pedals? There are affordable ones on Amazon now that just quick detach. (though they won't have your fancy toe clips)

A bungee is also a good accessory; our local commuter rail service requires a bungee so the bikes aren't falling all over the place, or you can use it to keep it folded for when you're lifting it.
The folding pedals that came with the bike, I think I wore out after a year of daily riding; I had regreased them, but they had a plastic body with a stamped steel outer race, not thick enough or strong enough steel, it failed with a radial crack right through. I don't have amazon so just grabbed the first pedals at hand off a Giant/Eddie Bauer hybrid bike that I was riding before the folder. Those have lasted almost ten years now, a lot of miles, despite also having a plastic body, but disappointingly, have zero seals on the inboard end; They work fine until one good rain and then I need to rebuild the pedals. My old Lake biking shoes and SPD pedals are too deep in storage to get out, plus those shoes are really too rigid to walk a distance in, even with SPD setup. Even after setting up my bike for lower gearing, I sometimes walk the bike up a stretch, to exercise different muscles, or to walk off a calf cramp. But yeah, if not SPDs, I desire toe clips. I have a new set of Shimano SPD/platform pedals that were a great deal at the REI returns sale, haven't tried yet. Those might be good for a tour where I would have both bike and street shoes.

I strap my bike when folded as I removed the magnets, would not work with my rear rack (spaced out for discs, which my bike doesn't have).
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Old 04-18-24, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG
You can always get higher gearing to cruise faster...I've done that on two folders now.
With even cheap 20" folders coming with 11T high cog (for about 20 years now), 52x11 was plenty high for me. Surprisingly, it needed lower than the 52x30 which gave me over 30 gear inches, no granny like on my road bike. I went with a 2X 50/34 on the same 11-30 to get me down to 21 inch low and 85 inch high, which is easily adequate for the speeds I run, can pedal down a mild grade. If I go loaded touring with it in mountains, I'll want a 34 or 36 low cog, or 42 with one of those tricky compact 1X rear derailleurs.
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Old 04-19-24, 12:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Duragrouch
The folding pedals that came with the bike, I think I wore out after a year of daily riding; I had regreased them, but they had a plastic body with a stamped steel outer race, not thick enough or strong enough steel, it failed with a radial crack right through. I don't have amazon so just grabbed the first pedals at hand off a Giant/Eddie Bauer hybrid bike that I was riding before the folder. Those have lasted almost ten years now, a lot of miles, despite also having a plastic body, but disappointingly, have zero seals on the inboard end; They work fine until one good rain and then I need to rebuild the pedals. My old Lake biking shoes and SPD pedals are too deep in storage to get out, plus those shoes are really too rigid to walk a distance in, even with SPD setup. Even after setting up my bike for lower gearing, I sometimes walk the bike up a stretch, to exercise different muscles, or to walk off a calf cramp. But yeah, if not SPDs, I desire toe clips. I have a new set of Shimano SPD/platform pedals that were a great deal at the REI returns sale, haven't tried yet. Those might be good for a tour where I would have both bike and street shoes.

I strap my bike when folded as I removed the magnets, would not work with my rear rack (spaced out for discs, which my bike doesn't have).
Originally Posted by Duragrouch
With even cheap 20" folders coming with 11T high cog (for about 20 years now), 52x11 was plenty high for me. Surprisingly, it needed lower than the 52x30 which gave me over 30 gear inches, no granny like on my road bike. I went with a 2X 50/34 on the same 11-30 to get me down to 21 inch low and 85 inch high, which is easily adequate for the speeds I run, can pedal down a mild grade. If I go loaded touring with it in mountains, I'll want a 34 or 36 low cog, or 42 with one of those tricky compact 1X rear derailleurs.
84yo neighbor gave me her OLD 20" wheel steel DAHON 6spd SIS with 52 chainring and 14/28. Replaced pedals with KABON, put Aerobars on and hit 25.2mph max last week. A friend gave me an alloy crank set with a 62 tooth chainring and hoping to up that top speed. It's become my Grocery Grabber bike with a basket mounted on the rear rack.

Last edited by OldTryGuy; 04-19-24 at 12:11 AM.
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Old 04-19-24, 01:00 AM
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Originally Posted by OldTryGuy
84yo neighbor gave me her OLD 20" wheel steel DAHON 6spd SIS with 52 chainring and 14/28. Replaced pedals with KABON, put Aerobars on and hit 25.2mph max last week. A friend gave me an alloy crank set with a 62 tooth chainring and hoping to up that top speed. It's become my Grocery Grabber bike with a basket mounted on the rear rack.
Well done, sounds good. My bike is capable of faster, but limited by the drag of 4 panniers. I don't have a computer on it, but I know I'm not doing the speeds I used to on my 700c road bike, because I'm running a much shorter gear when cruising. I have fit it with aero bars, but more to take pressure off my hands. But I need to buy the spacers to bring it up a couple inches for better comfort so I can stay on the aero. I also put an interrupter (mid-cable) brake lever on the aero for the front brake, for a faster stop if needed without warning. That lever is short-pull because designed for road bikes, but my folder is long-pull V-brakes, but as long as the wheels are very true and pads adjusted close, it works fine, in fact, I like the reduced lever force needed to stop, and holds me in place easier at an uphill or downhill stoplight.

Edit: Yeah you could make a bigger difference in high gearing by going to an 11T high cog, quite common these days on freehub cassettes, but I don't know if you can get a freewheel with that small a cog.
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Old 04-19-24, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Duragrouch
Well done, sounds good. My bike is capable of faster, but limited by the drag of 4 panniers. I don't have a computer on it, but I know I'm not doing the speeds I used to on my 700c road bike, because I'm running a much shorter gear when cruising. I have fit it with aero bars, but more to take pressure off my hands. But I need to buy the spacers to bring it up a couple inches for better comfort so I can stay on the aero. I also put an interrupter (mid-cable) brake lever on the aero for the front brake, for a faster stop if needed without warning. That lever is short-pull because designed for road bikes, but my folder is long-pull V-brakes, but as long as the wheels are very true and pads adjusted close, it works fine, in fact, I like the reduced lever force needed to stop, and holds me in place easier at an uphill or downhill stoplight.

Edit: Yeah you could make a bigger difference in high gearing by going to an 11T high cog, quite common these days on freehub cassettes, but I don't know if you can get a freewheel with that small a cog.
I've have my OLD RACING Suntour Micro Lite 13/19 that I could put on but I'm thinking the huge chainring is all I'm gonna need for these soon to be 74yo legs to up the speed.
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Old 04-19-24, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by OldTryGuy
I've have my OLD RACING Suntour Micro Lite 13/19 that I could put on but I'm thinking the huge chainring is all I'm gonna need for these soon to be 74yo legs to up the speed.
Understood. Just know in general, each tooth difference at the cogs, especially the small cogs, makes a much greater impact in gearing than the same number of teeth at the chainring. 14T to 11T, only 3 teeth, is a big jump in gearing. You should also try not to sacrifice your low-end gearing, you might need it for hills.
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Old 04-19-24, 07:29 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Duragrouch
Understood. Just know in general, each tooth difference at the cogs, especially the small cogs, makes a much greater impact in gearing than the same number of teeth at the chainring. 14T to 11T, only 3 teeth, is a big jump in gearing. You should also try not to sacrifice your low-end gearing, you might need it for hills.
r.e. bold -- Thanks for the info. SW FL here so 100 miles = 80 feet or less. Heading out right now for an evening of riding under a beautiful moon. If lucky maybe 50+ miles before I am done.
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