Folding Bike?

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tylerrr
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Postby tylerrr » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:24 pm

I'm considering getting a folding bike.


The reason is I've always lived in big cities the last 18 years and now I'm in Boston at least a few years....I may stay in big cities.


I ride the subway here, but the subway has restricted hours for normal bikes. With a folding bike, I can take it onboard any time.


Also, I believe it's easier to take a folding bike on a plane for long trips....Correct me if I'm wrong? I'd like to take a folding bike to other countries on trips.


I also heard there is a coupling device you can buy for steel frame bikes and actually convert a steel frame into a folding bike. But I don't want a bike that is heavy.


Which brands do you recommend? I don't mind spending a lot of money if it's a great product that will obviously last a long time.


What do you think?



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My_Brain_Gets_Itchy
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Postby My_Brain_Gets_Itchy » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:34 pm

Hi tylerrr,


I came very close to buying one for the same reasons you mention above.


I was going to buy this:


Dahon Speed Uno

http://www.amazon.com/Dahon-Speed-Folding-Bike-Shadow/dp/B004YHZ9QK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364819425&sr=8-1&keywords=dahon+speed+uno


It's a single gear, which means less parts (lighter and easier to fold), but more work.


My take on the bike is that it's minimalist in feature and design, but it's quality, especially for the price.


It's one of the lower end Dahon's, they also make really high end ones.


The price on Amazon fluctuates to as low as $349.


I didn't want to spend more than $500.


There are also a bunch of cheap models out there, but you get what you pay for.



secretwealth
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Postby secretwealth » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:52 pm

I'm always nervous about putting money into a bike--they get stolen so often and easily, and almost never get recovered.



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My_Brain_Gets_Itchy
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Postby My_Brain_Gets_Itchy » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:56 pm

@secretweath:


Me too. Every bike I had that was of value got stolen.


Right now I have a cheaper beater bike, it's heavy and pretty sucky, but I know no one will want to steal it :)


With a folding bike what's cool is that you don't lock it outside, you take it in with you.



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C40
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Postby C40 » Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:24 pm

I've never had a bike stolen. It depends on where you live, where you leave the bike and for how long, and how well you lock it (a combination of a u lock and a cable/chain is much better than only one or two of a single type because it requires separate tools)


A folding or coupled bike can be much cheaper to fly with compared to normal bikes.


For someone who flies a lot and wants to ride long distances at destinations, coupled is probably better. (Because it will work better while riding)


For someone who needs to get on the subway often, (and if they don't allow a full size bike) you'd want a folding. Coupled bikes take longer to decouple, and they aren't meant to be carried by hand decoupled. (They're meant to be carried in a case).


Also if you're going to spend a lot of time riding it, a folding bike has some sacrifices that will be annoying or uncomfortable.


I dont think a coupled bike is going to be heavier than a folding bike. Might be lighter depending on which two you're comparing.



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Chris
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Postby Chris » Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:12 pm

I have a Downtube 9 with front suspension. I chose it simply because it was the cheapest ($300) aluminum frame folder at the time (2008).


I like it. My goal was to have a bike I could chuck in my car trunk easily. It doesn't have some niceties (magnetic locking for example), but it's mostly made of standard parts. There are many manufacturers of higher-end folders, so you should be able to find one with the features you want.


Re theft: I think folders are less theft-prone than standard bikes, because you can easily lock both wheels with one lock. Also, because of their compactness, it's less necessary to leave them outside; I just bring mine into the office and stow it under a table.


On planes, yes, you can find travel luggage bags that will fit a folder. Chances are the manufacturer will have one for their models.



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Dragline
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Postby Dragline » Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:35 pm

You may want to look at these: http://www.citizenbike.com/


But whatever you get, make sure you get a bag to store and carry it in.



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Ego
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Postby Ego » Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:37 pm

We have Bike Friday New World Tourists with suitcases that morph into trailers. We haven't done a tour with them yet but I use mine as my daily commuter. We got ours second-hand. A good place to find them at a reasonable price is over at the Bike Friday Forums on the Friday's For Sale Page.


They are not cheap but they hold their value well.


bike friday


If you want to go without the trailer, they can haul gear like a regular touring bike.


on tour



thenagain
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Postby thenagain » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:01 am

For a city bike, I would recommend the Brompton. These are steel framed well built bikes with a considered design. They are also made in my city (London) and are noted for their backwards compatibility and good value. I have had mine for years, and have saved a fortune, partly due to the exorbitant costs of public transport outside london, and the negated need for it within the city.


These bikes fold up to a very manageable size, ride very well, and with a little care shall last you many many years. I know that there is a store in New York that sells them, but there should be one in Boston too.


www.brompton.co.uk



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Postby jacob » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:14 am

@tylerr -


I had a stripped down single-speed Dahon Boardwalk with a coaster brake. Now that I live in the city and face a similar problem, I regret selling it. Especially since I could easily get away with parking a folded bike at my desk whereas a normal bike might be crossing a line.


As for taking it on planes, it might be slightly easier if you don't know how to strip down a regular bike, but keep in mind that folding bikes do weigh about the same as a regular (steel) bike. Even when folded, it's still a substantial hunk of metal.


Downside: Weird (read $$$) components, especially the wheels. Also, small wheels mean you feel the road bumps more acutely. Doesn't handle as well as a regular bike.


An alternative solution might be to just buy cheap used mountain bikes for $30-40. If it gets stolen, get another one. Repeat as necessary.



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Ego
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Postby Ego » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:17 am

Bromptons are really nice bikes. They fold and unfold very fast.


Here's a good video showing a race where contestants had to fold and unfold their bikes.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDKsCvDhCqI



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tylerrr
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Postby tylerrr » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:21 am

thank you....so many great choices on this thread. It's gonna be hard to make a decision between some of these brands. Holding value is key...I might need to get a Brompton or the Friday.


The Citizen bikes are cool, but very cheap which tells me they may not be as high quality.



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Ego
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Postby Ego » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:00 am

One of the reasons we bought Bike Friday's is to avoid the airline excess baggage fees. We did an Asian bike tour in 2006-7. Our full-sized bikes (in boxes) flew free as one of the two permitted piece of luggage for each of us. That was before the airlines started charging high baggage fees.


Today US Airways charges $200 per flight for a bike. As with most airline, folding bikes that fit in a case smaller than 62 linear inches are not considered bikes but are charged as regular pieces of luggage.



thenagain
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Postby thenagain » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:08 am

@Ego nice video, have you heard of the Brompton World Championship, an annual event (Europe, Japan?, and America) where contestants race on the Brompton wearing shirt and jacket (to keep the commuter ethos alive ;) )


@tylerr Bromptons are noted for holding their value, they are like the Apple Macs of the bike world, without the manufactured obsolesce or smugness ;) If I were to sell my bike right now (perish the thought) I could expect (quite reasonably) to sell it for 75% - 100+% of the original price, as the price of the bike itself (with some minor although backwards compatible upgrades) has risen by about £200 over about 3 years.


Another reassuring fact is that unlike many other seasonal attempts, by other manufacturers, the company are conservative and honest therefore their products are incrementally improved and each change is backwards compatible. If you come across a rare example of the bike being on sale, it will most certainly not be for 50% like some other brands, as the product is genuine, sustainable, and sold at a reasonable price for the quality.


Anyway must stop, I sound like I'm on commission but I am just a fan of the brand and glad that to fly the flag for one of the final few genuine British bicycle brands.



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Ego
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Postby Ego » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:43 am

I had never heard of the Brompton World Championship. Just watched the video. Hilarious!


To echo what you said about Brompton, these bikes (Brompton, Bike Friday, Birdy and Dahon) represent the type of product many of us here have been yearning for in kitchen gadgets, furniture and other miscellaneous items. Fixable. Long lasting. Holds value. Lacking in the despicable style-obsolescence and planned- obsolescence.


These companies see their customers like Henry Ford saw his when he sold the Model T. Sell them something they will have for life. They sell spare parts and are glad to make repairs and guarantee failures. It takes a small niche market to make money doing things like this.



grendel
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Postby grendel » Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:50 pm

My partner and I both have Dahon Speed D7s, and we like them a lot and have had them for years. (And they can handle the Yepp Mini front bike seat for kids!) I think they handle and ride well, despite Jacob's criticism of a different Dahon above.


They can't hold full-sized panniers, which is probably the biggest reason that we wouldn't own these bikes except for the regulations in DC against bringing a full-sized bike on the metro during "rush hour" -- which lasts 6 hours/day.


Once someone hit my back wheel and bent it, and getting a new one was about 50% more than a normal wheel (they paid for it, but just FYI). I think maintenance is more expensive with most folding bikes... not astronomically so, but more.


I don't know the max, but I can vouch these bikes work well for 10+ miles daily for years. Maybe a 1-speed would work well for a couple miles or flat, but we're glad to have something with gears and that's relatively rugged.


They're $550 on Amazon and ThorUSA right now, although we bought ours locally. Good luck!



thenagain
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Postby thenagain » Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:31 am

On the Brompton front, here is an interesting articles you might appreciate



  1. http://www.leonneal.com/blog/portfolio/item/the-brompton-bicycle-company/

  2. Path less pedaled - ERE style cycle touring blog: http://pathlesspedaled.com/2011/09/zen-and-the-art-of-brompton-touring/

  3. NYCE bike shop, has lots of reviews plus well-designed config program: http://www.nycewheels.com/brompton-folding-bike.html


Dahons are very nice bikes too, I remember using a Vitesse for about a day and it got me around the city quite comfortably, the rear rack was very useful.


Recently there has been some issues concerning Dahon and Tern: Dahon started as a family business of sorts however following from a nasty divorce, the mother and son started Tern which are pretty much identical to Dahon bikes. There was a lawsuit filled, and I am not sure of the outcome (just a google search away) but from various forums it seems that Tern are making progress now, so it might be better to switch to them. Although that will require a bit of research on your part.



prieten
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Postby prieten » Fri May 24, 2013 11:51 am

Bromptons are the very best folding bikes in terms of folded size, weight and ridability. They are soooooo expensive though. I wouldn't try taking a Brompton on an airplane without a hard case, any folding bike is too delicate to survive unprotected a "determined" baggage handler. Then the problem is what do you do with the hard case? I thought a cool hard case for the Brompton should have a buckle on the outside that attaches to the block on the Brompton stem. Maybe a carry-on rucksack with your clothes would fit into it. Another consideration is the weight limit on international flights. Some only let you bring 20 kilos. A Bromptom weighs 11 kilos, so that leaves 9 kilos for your other stuff.



learning
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Re: Folding Bike?

Postby learning » Wed Apr 02, 2014 8:36 pm

The citizen bikes look very affordable, especially the steel-framed 20"-wheeled "Miami" with the rear rack. Has anybody tried these? Are there any pitfalls, like proprietary parts that are expensive, difficult to find, or will be discontinued?

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Dragline
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Re: Folding Bike?

Postby Dragline » Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:06 pm

I have one. Its very sturdy. Also quite heavy for its size. But I've gotten a lot of good use out of it and I'm happy with it. These bikes aren't fast, but they are great in crowded areas, including sidewalks, malls (outdoors) and grassy areas. Also at outdoor events where the streets are blocked off and there are lots of pedestrians. I keep it at work mostly and throw it in the trunk when I have to go on a car trip.

Honestly, I really like the fact that its cheap (and in my case, it was a gift). I won't be heartbroken if something happens to it. But I don't think I would take it on an airplane or use it for long rides.

tommytebco
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Re: Folding Bike?

Postby tommytebco » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:18 am

Plus one on recommending an "Internal gear hub". They are almost foolproof and indestructible. And much cleaner when carrying in and out.
Plus one on gears, unless you are in the flatland, with no hills.

IwantLess
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Re: Folding Bike?

Postby IwantLess » Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:05 pm

I sold my vehicle back in august and only use a folding bike as my commuter. I ride to work and to the gym everyday and it has worked great. I have the Dahon Vitesse D7Hg.

http://dahon.com/mainnav/folding-bikes/ ... 7hg-1.html

I work in a bad part of town so i needed something i could take up to my cubicle. Then when i ride to the gym i lock it up outside, which happens to be a richy part of town so no one would really steal it.

I looked at the Brompton's but they are considerable more pricey so the Dahon worked fine. The vitesse has the internal hub for the gears which is quite nice. I also upgraded the rack in the back and got this backpack for my laptop and gym clothes. Couldn't say enough good things about it:

http://www.arkel-od.com/us/all-categori ... g-bag.html

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Hannibal
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Re: Folding Bike?

Postby Hannibal » Tue Jun 23, 2015 7:10 am

I didn't want to post a new thread just about this folding bike I'm looking at.

It's a Dahon Boardwalk folding bike. I found a used one for sale for $200.

Image

Here are some of the specs off amazon:

One-speed urban utility bike with frame that folds in less than 15 seconds
Folds to 12.1 by 30.4 by 25.4 inches; weighs 27.3 pounds
Magnetix latch system holds the bike together when folded
Adjustable stem adapts to riders of all sizes from under five feet to over six feet tall
Dahon Neos rear derailleur offers crisp, fast shifting and a low profile design


A little backstory, I haven't ridden a bike in at least ten years, nor have I ever had one as a serious mode of transportation. I don't know much, if anything, about bikes.

A physical description: I'm fairly athletic, 6 foot 1" @ 180 lbs with average strength levels (bodyweight bench and double bodyweight deadlift for reps).

Do you think a foldup bike like the Dahon Boardwalk would be too small for my frame? It will be used as a backup mode of transportation and for small errands like getting groceries or going to campus (maybe 3 miles tops). If my car dies, it will be my primary mode of transport.

What's the furthest distance you would comfortably attempt on a foldup bike with 20" wheels? I have no idea what's reasonable to expect for speed on such a tiny bicycle (12-15 mph?).

A handful of online reviews say that you shouldn't ever try to bike uphill with this model. For all the experienced bikers out there, is that truth or is that simply something to overcome by getting stronger at pedaling?

What drew me to a folder was that I can fold it up and put it in the trunk of my car (good insurance if the car breaks down), stow it under my desk or put it in the corner of my apartment. I'd rather not spend more than $350 on my first bike and the foldup factor makes it look like it's harder to steal. Most reviews say that this bike is hard to break and easy to maintain, as well.

That's a lot of questions but I'm very inexperienced when it comes to bikes. Thanks for any and all input.

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Re: Folding Bike?

Postby jacob » Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:41 am

@Hannibal -

I had one almost exactly like that (with the fenders and handbrake taken off) and I'm same size as you. Earlier version by the looks of it.

I wish I hadn't sold it too!

The boardwalk has a long wheel base so it's very directionally stable (look no hands!). You can also carry a surprising amount of luggage since it sits low. I used to carry a bag of hockey gear! It is hard to break and easy to fix. Old tech. However, the folded up package won't just fit under your desk unless it's a big desk (it takes up about as much space as a dining chair minus the back). Also it still weighs the same (about 400 pounds I think). The smaller wheels means you feel bumps on the road that you wouldn't feel with normal wheels, e.g. riding over speed trap cables.

It's geared to cruise at 12-15mph like most other single speeds regardless of wheel size. IOW, it'll go the same speed as any other single speed (or similar to Small-15 on a road bike double). As far as I can google it comes in two versions: 63 and 73 gear inches which means one revolution on the pedals moves the wheels that distance. E.g 70 rpm (typical for inexperienced rider) * 63 gear inches = 60*70*63*pi/63360 = 13.1 mph. An average rider can do overpasses and the occasional short 3-5% hill. Over time you'll get strong enough to ride San Francisco hills---people do that on fixies---but I wouldn't attempt Mt Diablo (5-7% for one hour straight) on that bike. One thing is that it's not very zippy. On a road bike you can outaccelerate cars which is nice when dealing with traffic lights. Not on this baby. This is a minor issue. Most commuter cyclists aren't that fast anyway.

henrik
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Re: Folding Bike?

Postby henrik » Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:15 am

jacob wrote:(about 400 pounds I think)

What the hell is this thing made of? At least it sounds like it's indestructible :)


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