Author Topic: Foldable bike recommendations?  (Read 14525 times)

ivyhedge

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Foldable bike recommendations?
« on: July 23, 2013, 12:34:15 PM »
Hi,


Recently moved into the city and now have a 1.7 mile commute to work. Would greatly appreciate your thoughts regarding fixies vs gears, gently used Dahons vs Versos, etc... Any input would be much appreciated. I'm not interested in non-foldables and will be comfy in Boston, City of Foldables, on one.


Thanks much in advance!


On the purchase front, there are a few options:


- Dahon Mariner D7 2008 w/ bag @ $400 (says never used but I don't believe it)


- Dahon Boardwalk 7 @ $350 (looks gently used)


- Dahon III @ $175 (much older model and I'd have to go to Maine for it)


- Verso Cologne @ $219 (new, at Wally World)


- Amazon has some new Dahons, too: looking mighty fine, but MSRP.

velocistar237

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2013, 01:18:53 PM »
My sister-in-law had a Downtube. No idea how that compares to Dahon.

Random

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2013, 02:18:50 PM »
my wife and I have been very happy with our Bike Fridays, originally purchased for touring in France 7 years ago.  They are our daily go-to bikes these days.

Jimbo

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2013, 02:19:43 PM »
Dahon are higher quality. (better components, more durability, lighter frame)

Brompton even better if you want to shell out some serious coin. We are talking 2000$ MSRP here.

I have a Dahon D7HG (7 gears, hubgear). I like it, foldable bikes have many advantages. They also have many defaults : limited gears, low top speed, more parts that can break compared to regular bikes... but never getting my bike stolen is a good perk. And hiding it under my desk or in a wardrobe is pretty neat.

I'd go with a Dahon if I were you... The Mariner is a fine looking specimen. Just know you will not be beating speed records with these.

daverobev

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2013, 03:58:16 PM »
I have, after having and selling (moved country), a Dahon Speed D7. I think it was $500-ish new here in Canada. Make sure you don't over-raise the handlebars. That aside - awesome.

I also got the chance to use a Brompton when in the UK in June. I liked it, but prefer the Dahon. Brompton is undoubtedly smaller. Dahon probably faster.

The reason the Brompton is so expensive is that it is a British company, I'd guess. I don't think they are 1400 GBP!

ivyhedge

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2013, 07:13:54 AM »
My sister-in-law had a Downtube. No idea how that compares to Dahon.
Thanks! I've seen a few of the 7spds downtown ... Didn't know what they were at the time.

ivyhedge

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2013, 07:15:34 AM »
Dahon are higher quality. (better components, more durability, lighter frame)

Brompton even better if you want to shell out some serious coin. We are talking 2000$ MSRP here.

I have a Dahon D7HG (7 gears, hubgear). I like it, foldable bikes have many advantages. They also have many defaults : limited gears, low top speed, more parts that can break compared to regular bikes... but never getting my bike stolen is a good perk. And hiding it under my desk or in a wardrobe is pretty neat.

I'd go with a Dahon if I were you... The Mariner is a fine looking specimen. Just know you will not be beating speed records with these.
Jimbo - roger that. It's not imperative that I break through the trans-warp barrier. I've biked a lot over the years and I'm really just interested in solid, non-dino burning, transport at this point. Thanks!

ivyhedge

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2013, 07:18:39 AM »
I have, after having and selling (moved country), a Dahon Speed D7. I think it was $500-ish new here in Canada. Make sure you don't over-raise the handlebars. That aside - awesome.

I also got the chance to use a Brompton when in the UK in June. I liked it, but prefer the Dahon. Brompton is undoubtedly smaller. Dahon probably faster.

The reason the Brompton is so expensive is that it is a British company, I'd guess. I don't think they are 1400 GBP!
Appreciate it! After searching a bit more, I might have found a Speed D7, but I fear that it's not in very good shape. In any case, I read more about the various Dahons and really like their offerings...

Posthumane

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2013, 08:19:43 AM »
Since your commute is short and you're not interested in high speed, I might suggest a cheap folder called the NEXT Stowaway from Walmart. I know people here hate on big box store bikes, but I picked one of these up for $100 last year and it's been great for shorter trips (usually not more than 11km one way). It has decent quality Shimano components which, while not top of the line, give me much smoother shifting and braking than on my 30 year old road bike that I'm used to. Now, for $100, there are some drawbacks. One thing is that the frame is heavy, since it is steel. This may be an issue if you have to carry it up stairs at your workplace. The cargo rack that came on the bike is very flimsy and can't take much weight, though it's fine for a 10-20lb bag. It has a single deraileur with a 6-speed freewheel and I found the gear ratios okay for city riding. The stock seat was not of good quality and I swapped it out for an extra wide/soft seat for my GF to use. I find the seat post does not extend quite as high as I like to have it, so I may have to get a longer one. The big thing you have to watch with big box store bikes, and probably walmart in particular, is the assembly of the bikes is crap. If you do buy one of these, be prepared to make a lot of little adjustments to it before your first big ride.

ivyhedge

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2013, 09:38:52 AM »
Since your commute is short and you're not interested in high speed, I might suggest a cheap folder called the NEXT Stowaway from Walmart. I know people here hate on big box store bikes, but I picked one of these up for $100 last year and it's been great for shorter trips (usually not more than 11km one way). It has decent quality Shimano components which, while not top of the line, give me much smoother shifting and braking than on my 30 year old road bike that I'm used to. Now, for $100, there are some drawbacks. One thing is that the frame is heavy, since it is steel. This may be an issue if you have to carry it up stairs at your workplace. The cargo rack that came on the bike is very flimsy and can't take much weight, though it's fine for a 10-20lb bag. It has a single deraileur with a 6-speed freewheel and I found the gear ratios okay for city riding. The stock seat was not of good quality and I swapped it out for an extra wide/soft seat for my GF to use. I find the seat post does not extend quite as high as I like to have it, so I may have to get a longer one. The big thing you have to watch with big box store bikes, and probably walmart in particular, is the assembly of the bikes is crap. If you do buy one of these, be prepared to make a lot of little adjustments to it before your first big ride.
Thanks much, Post. What do you think of the Verso Cologne at Wally World? I just don't want to end up with a POS for $219 and then the "right" unit for $450. ([size=78%]http://www.walmart.com/ip/20-Verso-Cologne-Folding-Unisex-Bike-White/21908163[/size][/size][size=78%])[/size]
[/size]

girly mustache

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2013, 11:16:21 PM »
If you can find a used one, Tern bikes are nice....

ivyhedge

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2013, 09:04:48 AM »
If you can find a used one, Tern bikes are nice....
Thanks for the suggestions, everyone...I'll be hunting this weekend and hope to have a decision soon!

MSC

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2013, 09:48:51 AM »
Since we're on the subject of folding bikes... I just pulled the trigger on a Brompton M3R yesterday!

http://greenfleetbikes.com/shop/brompton-folding-bike-1

I know the Brompton's are kind of pricey, but I'm buying in lieu of a car (I sold mine before I left) when I get back from this Afghanistanication.  It has the smallest fold of any of the bikes I was looking at and I need to be able to take it on trains and buses as part of my multi-modal master plan.  Plus it's from out of state so no tax and free shipping to NY!

ivyhedge

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2013, 10:50:56 AM »
Since we're on the subject of folding bikes... I just pulled the trigger on a Brompton M3R yesterday!

http://greenfleetbikes.com/shop/brompton-folding-bike-1

I know the Brompton's are kind of pricey, but I'm buying in lieu of a car (I sold mine before I left) when I get back from this Afghanistanication.  It has the smallest fold of any of the bikes I was looking at and I need to be able to take it on trains and buses as part of my multi-modal master plan.  Plus it's from out of state so no tax and free shipping to NY!
Wowzers that's a crap-ton of cash. Nice bike, though: enjoy!

CJMcF

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2013, 04:07:45 AM »
I've got a Brompton - love it - use it for getting to and from work mainly - 6 miles each way - it's perfect for that - but yes they are expensive

Posthumane

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2013, 08:54:24 AM »
Hi Ivyhedge,

I haven't ever seen that Verso Cologne in the Walmart in my town, and in fact the one that I mentioned is the only folder I've seen there, so I can't comment on it directly. Will it be as slick folding and lightweight as the high priced models? Probably not. But will it be enough for a 1.7 mile commute? Definitely. The thing is, unless you're riding long distances, the difference between "the perfect bike" and just a decent bike is almost negligible. Make sure you sit on it to see that it fits your body dimensions. I think any bike you get at Walmart or other big box store will have to be tuned so if you are going that route you should probably learn to tune the thing yourself (not a bad idea anyways). I suggest reading over the archives of sheldonbrown.com for starters.

ivyhedge

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #16 on: July 30, 2013, 09:01:43 AM »
Hi Ivyhedge,

I haven't ever seen that Verso Cologne in the Walmart in my town, and in fact the one that I mentioned is the only folder I've seen there, so I can't comment on it directly. Will it be as slick folding and lightweight as the high priced models? Probably not. But will it be enough for a 1.7 mile commute? Definitely. The thing is, unless you're riding long distances, the difference between "the perfect bike" and just a decent bike is almost negligible. Make sure you sit on it to see that it fits your body dimensions. I think any bike you get at Walmart or other big box store will have to be tuned so if you are going that route you should probably learn to tune the thing yourself (not a bad idea anyways). I suggest reading over the archives of sheldonbrown.com for starters.
Thanks, Post! I've done a fair amount of mountain biking in the past so I'm not worried about adjustments as much as I'm concerned about price creep (constantly lifting to accommodate this-or-that feature)! Ha. In any case, following our recent move the weekend saw no bike purchase yet. But I'm enjoying the morning/evening walks!

Posthumane

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2013, 10:19:22 AM »
Price creep can definitely be an issue. I think being well informed and having a firm idea of your requirements/wants helps quite a bit, and to get a good idea about that the best thing is to just get a cheap bike and ride it on your route for a while. After you have more time on your commute, you will know what you want in a commuting bike more precisely.

My current commuter bike is an old Nishiki road bike, complete with old down tube friction shifters and cheap, flexy caliper brakes. I use it to do 15km rides around the city, the occasional 38km ride to work, and am hoping to do a couple longer overnight trips before the summer is over. Is it perfect? No, but after riding it for a while I have a better idea of what I would want to change. One requirement for me, for example, is lower gearing than I currently have. The small ring in the front is a 42 tooth and the largest cog is 30 tooth, which is a bit high for steep hills. Now I'm trying to decide if I want to buy a triple road crankset, a compact double road crankset, or just put a triple mountain bike crankset on it.

My dad keeps telling me I should quit being cheap and just buy a nice shiny new road bike because they're "better" but when I press him about what is so much better about them he has few answers. Granted, they are lighter, but for commuting one will find that once you load it up with some water, spare clothes, rain jacket, maybe a couple tools, the weight of the bike makes a small difference.

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2013, 12:01:49 PM »
Gears and brakes come in handy on a bike.  Just my opinion.

CptPoo

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2013, 01:51:13 PM »
This isn't a recommendation, but I am wondering if anyone has experience with citizen bikes: http://www.citizenbike.com/.

They seem pretty decent and their least expensive model is only $169. I have been considering buying a couple for my wife and I to take with us on a cross country train trip.

Posthumane

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #20 on: August 01, 2013, 01:04:42 PM »
Gears and brakes come in handy on a bike.  Just my opinion.
Which bikes don't have gears and brakes?

mgreczyn

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #21 on: August 03, 2013, 01:20:28 PM »
Gears and brakes come in handy on a bike.  Just my opinion.
Which bikes don't have gears and brakes?
"Fixee" bikes are fixed (i.e. single) gear.  They can have the simple reverse type brakes where you apply pedal pressure backwards to brake.  My understanding as an outsider (because I think gears and brakes come in handy... and I'm not a hipster) is that some fixee purists go entirely without brakes, instead pressing their shoe sole to the front tire to slow the bike.

Jimbo

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #22 on: August 03, 2013, 04:01:35 PM »
Why thanks, but why would you mention this during a conversation on foldable bikes?...

mgreczyn

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2013, 04:00:25 PM »
Why thanks, but why would you mention this during a conversation on foldable bikes?...
Glad you asked.  At first glance it would seem off-topic, right?  However, the OP mentioned considering fixees in the first sentence of the first post.

Rollin

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #24 on: August 05, 2013, 06:35:35 PM »
I have a Mezzo D9 and it works very well.  Relatively fast, but you need to get used to the fact that you loose momentum faster than on a larger tire bike.  Go with higher quality if you can because with all the folding the brakes and gears can get out of alignment easier.  If they are cheap components they are harder to keep trued/adjusted.

Not sure you can get Mezzos though.  They were imported by Marin (I have 5 of them - one for each family member).  Mine gets the most use by far and has probably 800-1,000 miles on it.  1.7 miles would be easy on one. I love the way they move about in the city - easy to maneuver.  I have two of them for sale - one never ridden and the other once.  The two family members always ride their full sized bikes.

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #25 on: August 07, 2013, 10:56:09 AM »
After having his bike stolen, my husband got a Citizen Bike (Miami).  It arrived by FedEx yesterday and he rode it to work today.  It seems to be a really nice bike!  He test drove a Dahon ($500-ish) at a local bike shop and this seems equal to or perhaps even a little better in quality, for $200.  We also added a rack to the back and it is small, but will get the job done.  The seat that it came with seems soft and comfy  (being a lady, comfy seats are important to me, not so much to him).  Overall, we're happy with it! 

ivyhedge

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #26 on: August 08, 2013, 11:06:05 AM »
After having his bike stolen, my husband got a Citizen Bike (Miami).  It arrived by FedEx yesterday and he rode it to work today.  It seems to be a really nice bike!  He test drove a Dahon ($500-ish) at a local bike shop and this seems equal to or perhaps even a little better in quality, for $200.  We also added a rack to the back and it is small, but will get the job done.  The seat that it came with seems soft and comfy  (being a lady, comfy seats are important to me, not so much to him).  Overall, we're happy with it!
@ Lo & Poo - useful information: I'll look into those, as well.
@ Jimbo - some of the older Dahon options, as well as others, are fixees - single geared foldables with coaster brakes. I'm not talking BMX here ... Ha!
@ MG - shoes are "buy for life", so no stopping with the soles! Ouch...

Posthumane

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #27 on: August 09, 2013, 03:12:14 PM »
Ivyhedge - a single speed with a coaster brakes is not a fixie. A fixie is a fixed gear which means the rear sprocket is attached directly to the hub with no freewheel. So, whenever the rear wheel is turning the pedals have to be as well, at a proportional speed.

ivyhedge

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #28 on: August 13, 2013, 11:20:06 AM »
Ivyhedge - a single speed with a coaster brakes is not a fixie. A fixie is a fixed gear which means the rear sprocket is attached directly to the hub with no freewheel. So, whenever the rear wheel is turning the pedals have to be as well, at a proportional speed.
@Post - Indeed: hence the need for foot brakes...

Spudd

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Re: Foldable bike recommendations?
« Reply #29 on: August 14, 2013, 02:39:19 PM »
This isn't a recommendation, but I am wondering if anyone has experience with citizen bikes: http://www.citizenbike.com/.

They seem pretty decent and their least expensive model is only $169. I have been considering buying a couple for my wife and I to take with us on a cross country train trip.
We tried the cheapest model. I thought it was a pretty nice bike, but top speed was rather slow. I would have chosen different gear ratios, if it was me.