Hello again fellow folding bike affectionados!
Well, it's been a little over two years since I started this thread... time to update a little!
Since last we had this discussion, I thought I'd give you some of my observations about the bikes I had and what I've done since.
First, the power-purple Bike Friday now lives in the Bay Area with a new owner, and the Giant Halfway is now with a new owner in the Los Angeles area.
I couldn't get used to the flex of the Bike Friday. Both the frame and stem had enough that it was a little uncomfortable some times. Couple a vague feel with a short wheelbase and there were occasions when I felt like the bike was going where it wanted, not where I wanted it to go.
The Halfway was just too small for me, and the components on the bike are all both proprietary and (lets be kind) not of the highest quality. It was a great idea, it just wasn't well executed even at the price point they were selling at.
Early this summer I found two Sun EZ-Tad SX tadpole recumbent trikes, and we had a ball with them. They went to the Moraine View Midwest Rally with us this year. They're tough to take along travelling because of their bulk, but they convinced me that I like recumbents!
So, the Sun trikes have both found new homes, both in the Des Moines area!
I have looked with some indifference at Trek F600 folders
on-line since they came out, but had never seen one in person. I found a NOS one a few months ago at a LBS in Minneapolis for $849, but was hesitant because I really didn't know how much better (or different) I could expect it to be than the Giant Halfway
I already had and wasn't happy with. The frameset of the Trek F600 is aluminum and made by Dahon, and the '04 model had Shimano Deore rapid fire shifting and a Deore rear derailleur, Schwalbe Marathons and, except for the stem and frame, generally available off-the-shelf equipment. The '05 and '06 F600s came equipped with SRAM X.7 trigger shifters, and SRAM dual-drive rear derailleur. '06 was the last year for this bike.
Interesting that CY posted above, as I found his ad independently on Craigslist a few weeks ago, and ended up buying his bike from photos after some negotiating. I had still never ridden or seen one in person. I hadn't seen his post here until today.
So, now, there's a story here... this past Spring, I built up a '98 Trek Millenia HT
frame that we bought as a complete bike for my wife in 2000. It had grip shift and a twenty-one speed drive train along with a bunch of custom-red-anodized parts that were the rage then. I found a NOS '03 vintage XT rapid-fire group on eBay for about $250 complete, and new Mavic 717 wheels laced to the same vintage XT hubs for $169. I put a Nashbar trekking butterfly bar, Nashbar suspension seatpost, and Nashbar long threaded headset stem, 1.5x26 Bontrager road slicks and Planet Bike Fenders on it. The long and short of it is that I built the frame into a really nice commuter using those parts, and ride it a whole mile and a half round-trip a day to work daily. It's gotten a whopping 130 miles on it so far this summer, just riding to and from work since mid-April.
My wife had a total hip replacement four years ago, and three years ago we bought her a Giant Revive semi-recumbent with a Nexus hub. Other than being heavier than a farm tractor, it was a pretty cool bike. It developed a problem with the wheels and our LBS (local bike sho) couldn't repair it, and Giant no longer had parts, so our LBS said they'd take it on trade on anything we wanted.
I began to look at full recumbents thinking that may be just the ticket for her, but our LBS doesn't carry any right now. One day on a short day trip we stopped into an LBS in Davenport, IA and found two of the last '06 Burley recumbents left in captivity. Bor those of you who don't follow the 'bent world, Burley stopped producing bikes in September of '06. I had no plans of buying one for me, but they had this Lapis Hepcat with XTR and Avid BB7 discs...
well, the Hepcat is mine and Laurie has a Jett Creek with SRAM X.9.
We got them for used prices!
The Burleys went with us to the East Coast this summer and we had a ball.. the last few days of the trip found us in Washington DC taking the Metro to the Washington Convention Center where Laurie had a conference, and I was free to wander about DC. The Burleys won't do the Metro.
One 95 degree summer afternoon, after trekking miles on foot sightseeing, I began to yearn for one of my folders that I could have taken on the Metro and seen twice the sights in half the time on. Did I mention it was 95*?
I found and bid on an '04 Trek F600 on eBay while in DC, but it was bid up way past what I was comfortable with. Upon our return to Iowa, I found Charles' ad for his, and it now lives with me.
So... after all that... the '04 Trek F600 is what I had hoped both the Giant and Bike Friday would have been. It's a solid framed folder with minimal flex that actually fits me pretty darn well. The seat post could have had one more inch to fit perfectly, but it's close enough that I don't mind it. What's amazing is how high the stem goes!
It now has Planet Bike fenders, a Dahon Arclite rack with a small rack bag with zip out panniers, a Cateye wireless computer, and a couple of Cateye lights gracing it. I also put Ergon GR2 grips and magnesium stubby bar ends on it, which improved the rideability comfort tremendously. The stock seat with built-in handle is actually almost as good as my favorite saddle, the Trek CRZ+ which I have on my Millennia HT, and on the GT RTS-2 dual-suspension mountain bike which I have since given to my 19 year old college-student son. The stock folding pedals are a little hoaky and have been replaced with MKS MT-E EZ pedals
The gearing is high enough that the bike is capable of going faster than I'm comfortable with. The short wheelbase remains a little twitchy, and both hands are required to keep it steady, but that's not any different from the other two folders I had.
So, in the Trek F600 I think I have found the Holy Grail of commercial, reasonably priced folders for a guy who's 6'5" tall. Other than the few minor accessories I've added, and the pedal and grip swap-offs, I don't think I could have designed it any more closely for what I wanted in a folder! As I get time in the next few days, I'll post a photo or two of the Trek F600 as I have it set up.
The rest of the story... our LBS, World of Bikes in Iowa City IA took back the Giant Revive
and gave us 80% of it's original purchase price toward another bike. Laurie got a Trek 7500 hybrid
which she can ride quite nicely, even with her hip replacement, now that it's set up properly. I can't say enough nice things about World of Bikes!