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Old 08-06-2009, 09:39 PM   #15
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I recognize that bag!

Roger
That and the frame are about all that is left from the last time you saw it...

Aaron
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Old 08-06-2009, 10:03 PM   #16
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If you want to ride around the camp ground, a low end Dahan is fine. If you want to ride around the county, a High End Dahan is fine. If you want to ride across the state, better go with Bike Friday. We've owned three of them. They are quirky but will take you anywhere. In the final analysis, we're back to full size bikes with S&S couplers for travel. Our big tandem comes apart and goes into a suitcase...but it's a serious road bike.
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Old 08-07-2009, 12:25 AM   #17
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We have Bike Fridays, singles and a tandem, that we have used for almost 15 years. They are hand-built in Eugene, OR, and if you're the original owner or buy one used from them (they take trade-ins from repeat customers and re-furbish them), you get a lifetime warranty on the frame - other folders have a limited time warranty. On the singles, we've done 4 months self-supported touring, and on the tandem, we did 4 weeks of Italy's mountains. Never did we have any problems. The singles pack into a standard suitcase; the tandem into 2 cases - you can also store them in bags to get rid of the weight of the cases. We like the custom fit of the BFs, so much so that we have since sold all our non-BF bikes.

This past winter, we took 2 BF singles and the tandem on our 4-month trip from OR to TX with our old A/S, folded and packed in the back of the old TV . It was nice to have all 3 bikes with us in order to mix up the riding.

As a disclaimer, I also worked at BF for about 2 years after we relocated from Phoenix to Eugene. Quit because bike tours and A/S'ing got in the way.

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Old 08-07-2009, 06:21 AM   #18
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Thanks for all the great info. I really wanted to hear from folding bike owners and I did! Our needs are probably more in the "toodle" category as described above. We are retired, travel for fun in our Airstream as well as getting out of nasty winter for a while. We have Specialized bikes now, which we use for exercise riding and occasional long bike rides on rails to trails. When in our Airstream we do more bike rides for fun and also use them for transportation, to stores, beach etc. depending on opportunity while traveling. So the folders would be second bikes. Staying in the less pricey category is best as there is always more opportunity for them being stolen when we travel. I've been thinking Dahon is our best bet as they have such a wide range and some that are reasonably priced. I'll also look into Downtube. Anyone try a Citizen?
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:02 AM   #19
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Seems to me that there are about four major issues (aside from price!) that ought to inform your decision:

1. Wheel size. All other things being equal, folders - or any other bike for that matter - a larger-wheeled bike will be a more comfortable long-distance ride or over rough terrain than one with smaller wheels. Smaller wheels = more compact storage. Larger wheels = more comfort and probably speed. There are tire pressure tradeoffs here also ... read the fine print and ride a few before deciding.

2. Mission profile. You indicate "toodle" which implies to me some few-mile rides. For this sort of mission, it probably won't matter ... but are you likely to want to grow into longer distances, day tours, going to the laundromat or grocery or hardware store?

3. Storage space. How much room you got to store them? Nobody that I know of beats Brompton for this, but they are quirky and expensive. Make sure it'll fit into whatever is your storage location. There are big differences ... some of which are dictated by wheel size, some by frame geometry / locking system, etc.

4. Riding style. Do you like traditional road bike position for low drag, or do you like to sit upright? Do you want speed or comfort? O.K. with derailleurs or want a shfting hub? Three speeds are fine for gentle terrain, but you'll want more speeds for longer rides or hills or a lot of wind. Differences here in maintenance, fragility, and weight. Need fenders (i.e. commute in "dress" clothes) and built-in lighting system or add-on or nothing? Need panniers for short tours or groceries?

Once you can answer most of those questions, the choice will likely become obvious ... then it's just back to the price question! Good luck!
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Old 08-07-2009, 05:40 PM   #20
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Thanks Airsdream - those are good things to contemplate...
1. I'm thinking at least the 20" wheel. I do like my traditional bike and know I wouldn't like 16"
2. You're right about mission, we do much toodling, but we also like to do things like take a ferry to an island in Maine and explore the whole island for a day. That includes lots of hills. Rides on rails to trails are usually packed gravel, so that's another concern.
3. Currently we put our bikes in the truck cap - remove front wheel and clamp them in. Cumbersome and they take up a lot of our storage, so while we have lots of space for bikes, we'd like to use that storage for other things, and be able to pull them out and put away more easily.
4. We do like to sit upright - and these days comfort is important!
I'd love to go try different bikes, but we will have to drive a distance just to find a dealer of any kind. Maybe in our travels we can plan to purchase as we go! And I'm still looking for a moderate price, as stated, this will be our 2nd bike for travel. Thanks again.
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Old 08-07-2009, 05:48 PM   #21
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The entry level Bike Friday offerings are "moderately priced" at $800; about middle of the road for folding bikes. Any folding bike much under $400 (new) is junk, won't last, will rust, and will be such a miserable riding experience that you'll find you won't ride them. You can find those all over Craigslist for $100-$250 used because people buy them, hate them, wont ride them, and are trying to unload them on some other unsuspecting soul. "Inexpensive" folding bikes that are worth owning are $400, expensive ones are $2500 new. Perhaps it would help us if you defined what "moderately priced" means to you.

I'll also tell you that riding a mid-range folding bike is an entirely different (and much more satisfying and enjoyable) experience than compared to riding a sub $400 folding bike.

Roger
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Old 08-07-2009, 06:04 PM   #22
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One that I have seen recently that I feel is an excellent value for the dollar spent is the 2008 model of the Dahon Speed TR. I don't like the changes they made to it for the 2009 model year. A '09 sells for ~$1200. The '08 can be picked up for under $900. I like the fact they come fully equipped with fenders, racks and a lighting system, no worry with battery lights.

Aaron
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Old 08-07-2009, 06:16 PM   #23
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Barb and I have been talking about getting folding bikes and I appreciate all the posts. What I don't like are the prices. Barb knows a lot more than I do about bikes. I have stayed away from them because of my back injury. Recumbent ones are very expensive and look dorky to me. She tells me the ones with the little wheels (they look dorky to me too) mean you have to peddle a lot more even with gearing. I'm going to try out an unfolding bike next week when we going away with friends who have very, very expensive bikes. That'll tell me whether my back can handle it.

I'm hoping there's some perfect cheap dependable bike out there, but thinking that's not too possible. I know the ones Camping World sells are junk.

Apologies to all the dorks.

Gene
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Old 08-07-2009, 06:22 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 85MH325 View Post
{edited} Any folding bike much under $400 (new) is junk, won't last, will rust, and will be such a miserable riding experience that you'll find you won't ride them...

...riding a mid-range folding bike is an entirely different (and much more satisfying and enjoyable) experience than compared to riding a sub $400 folding bike.
I only have one shining exemption to Roger's $400 price point, and that's the closeout '08 Dahon Espresso for $333 at thefitnessstore.com (though admittedly, this bike is usually between $450 and $500.)

21 speeds, rides as solid and stable as a non-folder, and feels just like you're riding an entry level Trek or Cannondale. I bought the matte black "Jack" model about 4 years ago, and my wife liked it so much I surprised her with an "Espresso" the following summer.

We couldn't be happier with the Fitness Store's service, and the Dahon riding experience. Good luck with your search!
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Old 08-07-2009, 06:55 PM   #25
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Barb and I have been talking about getting folding bikes and I appreciate all the posts. What I don't like are the prices. Barb knows a lot more than I do about bikes. I have stayed away from them because of my back injury. Recumbent ones are very expensive and look dorky to me. She tells me the ones with the little wheels (they look dorky to me too) mean you have to peddle a lot more even with gearing. I'm going to try out an unfolding bike next week when we going away with friends who have very, very expensive bikes. That'll tell me whether my back can handle it.

I'm hoping there's some perfect cheap dependable bike out there, but thinking that's not too possible. I know the ones Camping World sells are junk.

Apologies to all the dorks.

Gene
Not to question Barb's technical expertise but she is mis-informed about the gearing and having to pedal more. I know, I have bikes with wheels ranging from 28" (700c) down to 16" on an old Raleigh Compact RSW. I typically set all my 3 speed bikes up with similar ratios so I can switch between them with minimum fuss. All three of the bikes in the picture below have very similar ratio on them and require the same number of pedal strokes to move the same given distance. That doesn't mean it doesn't take a bit more effort on a given bike. FWIW I ride my Twenty (the one in the middle the most).

Aaron

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Old 08-07-2009, 07:38 PM   #26
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I have stayed away from them because of my back injury. Recumbent ones are very expensive and look dorky to me. She tells me the ones with the little wheels (they look dorky to me too) mean you have to peddle a lot more even with gearing.

Apologies to all the dorks.

Gene
First, apologies accepted. The "small wheel-peddle more" thing is a common misconception. Frankly, I can ride my Trek F600 at exactly the same speeds as I ride my XT-equipped diamond frame 26" wheel Trek with no more effort. I also have a Burley Hepcat SWB recumbent. My wife has a Burley Jett Creek LWB recumbent. I have been riding my diamond frame and folding bike almost exclusively this summer, and my wrists and neck are paying the price... my chiropractor is reaping the benefits. The Burley is coming back out this weekend.

Gene, recumbents are the way to go for anyone with neck/back/shoulder/knee issues. They're waaaaay comfortable, like riding in a lawn chair and there's no stress on any of your joints with a recumbent. They ARE an entirely different riding experience though, and you'll have to climb the learning curve when learning to ride one. Folks who own recumbents also appreciate a good diamond-frame bike. Mostly it's the folks who have never ridden one who think they're geeky.

Here's what the Trek F600 and Burley Hepcat look like.

Roger
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Old 08-07-2009, 08:13 PM   #27
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By the way, this isn't the first thread on folding bikes here... there are a couple of others that are pretty informative in the event you have the curiosity to read them:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f161...ike-24720.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f483...les-42041.html

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f48/...les-29783.html

and a nice Airstream/Trek F400 photo:

http://www.airforums.com/photos/misc.php?do=printimage&i=11902

Roger
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Old 08-08-2009, 01:19 AM   #28
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Small wheels are not necessarily more rough a ride - 20" wheels (406mm - or BMX) with a 1.5" or 1.75" wide tire ride very nicely, and can get you over a variety of riding surfaces. Small wheels do not mean more pedaling to go fast - its all in the gearing and crank length. Proper sizing/fitting is very important as we all get older as well as a more upright sitting position. Also, there are some 16" bikes that ride very well and can perform like a large wheeled bike. Just because a folder looks small and funny doesn't mean it won't do what you expect.

As to a 'bent, those are great bikes as well. I rode one with 27 speeds on 16" wheels - called it my street luge as I could easily cruise at 16mph on the flats and was stable at 45mph on the downhills. Unfortunately, very few fold.

As to preventing theft, a thief will steal what he wants. We fold ours before locking them up - makes them look like part of the bike is already gone. Plus they have to unfold the bike and lock down the frame before they can take off and ride - too much time wasted if they have to carry the bike off.

Get a bike with a quality frame and components. It may cost a bit more, but you'll be more satisfied with it, and it will last a long time - my oldest BFs are 15 yo. I equate it to buying my A/S. And I bought my bikes because they were made in the US.

Hugh
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