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folding bike recommendations?

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  • vurt456
    I m thinking about getting a folding bike. Does anyone have any specific recommendations? Michelle
    Message 1 of 11 , Jul 3, 2008
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      I'm thinking about getting a folding bike. Does anyone have any
      specific recommendations?

      Michelle
    • Vic Gedris
      ... Hi Michelle, It depends on what you want to use your folding bike for. There s actually a pretty huge variety of folding bike styles to suit many needs.
      Message 2 of 11 , Jul 3, 2008
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        On Thu, Jul 3, 2008 at 9:15 AM, vurt456 <mcgiansante@...> wrote:
        > I'm thinking about getting a folding bike. Does anyone have any
        > specific recommendations?

        Hi Michelle,

        It depends on what you want to use your folding bike for. There's
        actually a pretty huge variety of folding bike styles to suit many
        needs.

        If you plan to use it for multi-modal commuting, you'll probably want
        something that folds very quickly and compactly. Check out the Bike
        Friday "Tikit" or the Brompton. Those are probably the ultimate bikes
        for this purpose.

        For travel, touring, and packing a bike up (rather than just quick
        folding) you might want to look more towards a Bike Friday "New World
        Tourist" or one of their other similar bikes.

        Dahon is probably the biggest seller of folding bikes. They have a
        huge variety available.

        Lots of other options too...especially if you just want a cheaper
        "beater" bike for getting around the neighbourhood and folding up for
        easier storage at home. If there's a local bike shop that specializes
        in folders, drop by and have a look.

        My own folding bike experience is with my Bike Friday "New World
        Tourist". It's not cheap...but make a great bike for commuting,
        travel (I've taken it on work trips and tours, where I packed it up in
        its suitcase), towing a trailer-load of groceries, etc..etc.. It's
        not the most elegant bike for folding up to take on thus bus though.

        Cheers,
        Vic

        --
        Vic Gedris
        Toronto, Ontario, Canada
        http://vic.gedris.org/
      • Robert J. Matter
        ... For general purpose multi-modal commuting you get the most bang for your buck with a Dahon Speed D7. They re about $300. Bag extra. Bromptons are very
        Message 3 of 11 , Jul 3, 2008
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          vurt456 wrote:

          > I'm thinking about getting a folding bike. Does anyone have any
          > specific recommendations?
          >
          > Michelle

          For general purpose multi-modal commuting you get the most bang for your
          buck with a Dahon Speed D7. They're about $300. Bag extra.

          Bromptons are very nice, compact, high quality folders, but they are way
          overpriced (over $1,200) and use non-standard parts. Try finding an 18"
          tire. Even most bike shops won't have them in stock.

          Bike Fridays are nice too, but also way over-priced (over $1,00). Their
          commuter model, the Tikit, folds fast, but that is about its only
          benefit. It has pothole-swallowing 16" wheels and it's not that compact
          when folded. The other BF models are more-or-less "portable" bikes meant
          for transporting in airplanes in suitcases and long disassembly and
          assembly sessions at airports.

          Now that we are confronted with petrocollapse I have serious doubts
          about Bike Friday's future viability. Their core business, the
          bike-airplane tourism, has essentially died overnight.

          I would stay away from the off-brand folders on ebay. KHS is OK and
          probably about on par price and qulaity-wise with Dahon.

          I'm sure you will not want to carry a folder with you everywhere all the
          time and will sometimes want to leave it locked outside your location,
          like at a restaurant or theatre. Well in New York or Chicago as soon as
          a professional bike thief spots a Brompton or a Bike Friday it will be
          gone. There's something to be said for having a cheaper bike. A.) It's
          less likely to be a target of professional thieves and B.) If it is
          stolen, you're not out that much money.


          -Bob Matter
          Founder, Chicagoland Folding Bike Society
          "Dedicated to the promotion of folding bicycles
          and enhancement of the folding bike experience"
        • Jym Dyer
          =v= The Bike Friday is my top favorite for many reasons. The inventors are also responsible for some top trailer designs (i.e. the Burley) and the bike is
          Message 4 of 11 , Jul 3, 2008
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            =v= The Bike Friday is my top favorite for many reasons.
            The inventors are also responsible for some top trailer designs
            (i.e. the Burley) and the bike is integrated with a trailer,
            which is important for carfreedom. The bikes are made of
            steel, so they last and can haul things. They are made in
            the U.S. with least-toxic manufacturing methods.

            =v= The main drawback of quality American-built bikes is the
            price, but they actually aren't substantially more expensive
            than nonfolding bikes of the same quality. Some economic
            considerations, though: (1) Bike Fridays ride so well that
            you generally don't need a second bike, (2) because they hold
            up so well (see "made of steel" above) you can get a used one
            and still reap the benefits of Bike Friday's service, and (3)
            they are, of course, a much better deal than a car!

            =v= I am also fond of the Swift Folder for many of the same
            reasons, but most of their business has shifted to an low-cost
            aluminum model built by Xootr. (It is still possible to get
            a steel one, but they're hard to come by.)

            =v= Dahons are the best sellers because they're the cheapest.
            They have improved greatly over the years, but quality varies;
            I have had friends who've lucked out with a good bike, but my
            own experience hasn't been good. Still, this is the folding
            bike brand that most people go with.

            =v= An impressive relative newcomer is the fully-suspended
            DownTube. These are low-cost, and the suspension makes up
            for any deficit in the frame (including an aluminum frame).
            Definitely worth checking out!
            <_Jym_>
          • Jym Dyer
            ... =v= Bike Fridays are designed for carfree everyday use: http://www.bikefriday.com/carfree Most models feature a quick fold to aid with intermodal
            Message 5 of 11 , Jul 3, 2008
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              > The other BF models are more-or-less "portable" bikes
              > meant for transporting in airplanes in suitcases and long
              > disassembly and assembly sessions at airports.

              =v= Bike Fridays are designed for carfree everyday use:

              http://www.bikefriday.com/carfree

              Most models feature a "quick fold" to aid with intermodal
              journeys (bikes+transit). Unlike other folding bikes, it is
              integrated with a trailer system, which enhances carfreedom.
              Even the suitcase you mention converts into a trailer! They
              are built by a company that was named Green Gear Cycling a
              decade before it was trendy to hop onto the "green" bandwagon;
              and unlike most of that bandwagon, they actually mean it:

              http://www.bikefriday.com/guidingprinciples

              =v= I have an Air Glide, their model which actually has the
              least-convenient quick fold, but it works just fine for my
              everyday use, including intermodal journeys. I don't know
              what you mean by "long disassembly and assembly sessions;"
              I can ride right up to an Amtrak station and have the bike
              inside the suitcase in 5 minutes. Reassembly is even faster.

              =v= It's true that a lot of Green Gear's customers are into bike
              touring, but a touring bike is also a good commuter and everyday
              bike. Green Gear has made a few bikes aimed at the lower-cost
              commuter market (the Metro in paricular), but the market wasn't
              there for them. It may be there for them now, though.

              =v= I do want to give Dahon their due. Mr. Hon gave up his job
              in high tech and created this bike in response to the oil crisis
              of the 1970s. It's made offshore but I'm told they keep to some
              ecological standards, but even so those standards are lower (and
              they're shipped overseas). I continue to wish the best for them
              and they're doing well.
              <_Jym_>
            • Vic Gedris
              ... Here s my Bike Friday and the Rubbermaid cargo trailer I built using the suitcase trailer frame: http://vic.gedris.org/pics/2007-03-23/ (I ll probably
              Message 6 of 11 , Jul 3, 2008
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                On Thu, Jul 3, 2008 at 2:04 PM, Jym Dyer <jym@...> wrote:
                >> The other BF models are more-or-less "portable" bikes
                >> meant for transporting in airplanes in suitcases and long
                >> disassembly and assembly sessions at airports.
                >
                > =v= Bike Fridays are designed for carfree everyday use:
                >
                > http://www.bikefriday.com/carfree

                Here's my Bike Friday and the Rubbermaid cargo trailer I "built" using
                the suitcase trailer frame:
                http://vic.gedris.org/pics/2007-03-23/
                (I'll probably add a wooden platform between the frame and box
                sometime, so it handles heavier loads better)

                With an additional hitch purchased from BF, I can use this trailer
                with our other bikes too:
                http://vic.gedris.org/pics/2007-05-17/

                A load of bricks....more than I really should have put in there, but
                it was a very short ride (I was picking up dumped bricks for re-use at
                home):
                http://vic.gedris.org/pics/2007-08-06/MD-2007-08-06-009.html

                Definitely a very versatile bike. If I was forced to choose only one
                bike from my collection, this would be it. Though for day-to-day
                riding, I still prefer my HP Velotechnik Streetmachine recumbent.

                -Vic

                --
                Vic Gedris
                Toronto, Ontario, Canada
                http://vic.gedris.org/
              • vurt456
                It depends on what you want to use your folding bike for. Thanks everyone for all the great replies! I would most likely just use it around town (I live in
                Message 7 of 11 , Jul 3, 2008
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                  "> It depends on what you want to use your folding bike for."

                  Thanks everyone for all the great replies!

                  I would most likely just use it around town (I live in a very small
                  city/or a big town), to commute to work, and for just tooling around
                  town, maybe some light shopping. I don't have far to travel at all. I
                  am only about a half mile from work and town & usually walk it.

                  I thought a folding bike would be a good idea so I can bring it in to
                  work with me and set it under/beside my desk, so it doesn't get
                  stolen. This is a college town and I'm pretty sure a chained bike
                  outside would get stolen.

                  I am entirely new to biking, so I want something relatively affordable
                  in case I end up not liking it! :-)

                  Michelle
                • Jym Dyer
                  =v= Well, I saw something amazing yesterday. Warm Planet Bikes is a relatively new shop in San Francisco, right next to the Caltrain commuter rail station.
                  Message 8 of 11 , Jul 4, 2008
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                    =v= Well, I saw something amazing yesterday. Warm Planet Bikes
                    is a relatively new shop in San Francisco, right next to the
                    Caltrain commuter rail station. They do free valet bike parking
                    for Caltrain commuters as well as running a bike shop, and they
                    specialize in folding bikes.

                    =v= With high gas prices and 14 Caltrain cars out of service,
                    commuters have gotten squeezed. Folding bike sales are up!
                    I walked into the shop for a minor repair and there was a pile
                    of Dahon and Bike Friday boxes in the corner. They're selling
                    them about as fast as they can be assembled.

                    =v= They'd sold two of these small-wheeled Dahons earlier that
                    day (even without the nifty "sage" color of last year's model),
                    and were in the process of selling the larger Dahon "espresso"
                    model. Then the sold a full-suspension Downtube while I was
                    waiting:

                    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jym/2636985024/

                    > Here's my Bike Friday and the Rubbermaid cargo trailer I
                    > "built" using the suitcase trailer frame:
                    http://vic.gedris.org/pics/2007-03-23/
                    > (I'll probably add a wooden platform between the frame and
                    > box sometime, so it handles heavier loads better)

                    =v= The BicycleR Evolution "Shopper" and "Heavy Duty" models
                    were designed around smaller Rubbermaid cargo boxes than that,
                    and have sturdier undercarriages than the suitcase trailer
                    frame. You might want to consider that if you expand. :^)
                    <_Jym_>
                  • Tom Frost Jr.
                    ... TF: I m very disappointed in you, Mr. Matter, after taking a closer look at your above paragraph. I was sure, the first time I read it, that you were
                    Message 9 of 11 , Jul 7, 2008
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                      > Now that we are confronted with petrocollapse I have serious doubts
                      > about Bike Friday's future viability. Their core business, the
                      > bike-airplane tourism, has essentially died overnight.

                      TF: I'm very disappointed in you, Mr. Matter, after taking a closer
                      look at your above paragraph. I was sure, the first time I read it,
                      that you were gloating about how we're being "comforted" with
                      petrocollapse. But no; your word was "confronted". Not the kind of
                      phrasing that one would expect coming from a true believer, that.

                      But then, I suppose, petrocollapse _does_ "confront", more than
                      comfort, your C******* M*** organization, due to the presence among
                      its yuppie-enough-to-afford-Bike-Fridays leaders of "bicoastal" jet-
                      fuel gulpers such as your compatriate "_Jym_".

                      - TF
                    • Justice McPherson
                      ... *blinks* Whaat? Whatever your issue is, some of us neither know nor care to know. Could you please keep it civil? Even those of us who do not use cars are
                      Message 10 of 11 , Jul 8, 2008
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                        --- In CarFree@yahoogroups.com, "Tom Frost Jr." <tomfrostjr@...> wrote:

                        *blinks* Whaat?
                        Whatever your issue is, some of us neither know nor care to know.
                        Could you please keep it civil?
                        Even those of us who do not use cars are being "confronted" with the
                        price increases, as it is causing quite a bit of economic strain.
                        Expanding food costs, for instance, affect us all.
                      • Tom Frost Jr.
                        ... TF: A certain faction of the list didn t think that it would. Just look through the archives from somewhere several years ago, for example, in which it was
                        Message 11 of 11 , Jul 8, 2008
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                          --- In CarFree@yahoogroups.com, "Justice McPherson" <JusticeZero@...>
                          wrote:
                          > *blinks* Whaat?
                          > Whatever your issue is, some of us neither know nor care to know.
                          > Could you please keep it civil?
                          > Even those of us who do not use cars are being "confronted" with the
                          > price increases, as it is causing quite a bit of economic strain.
                          > Expanding food costs, for instance, affect us all.

                          TF: A certain faction of the list didn't think that it would. Just
                          look through the archives from somewhere several years ago, for
                          example, in which it was boasted that the price of beer in Mr.
                          Matter's favorite bar, The Handlebar, would vary in inverse proportion
                          to the price of gas at the corner gas station, up to and including
                          having the beer be free for all of the bar's patrons starting around
                          now or thereabouts.

                          That sure sounded to me like they thought that they were going to be
                          more like "comforted", than "confronted", by rising energy costs.

                          Question for Mr. Matter or Mr. Korn: What's the update on that? Is The
                          Handlebar's beer free yet? (I've forgotten what the boasted-about-by-
                          y'all gas-price threshold for that was going to be.)

                          Let me guess: The beer went back to full price, and it did so because,
                          as Mr. Matter's language in his post that I was responding to shows,
                          the "comforted" changed to "confronted" as he and his urban/suburban
                          compatriots were confronted, in the form of rising food and beer
                          prices, with a fact that they hadn't known previously, namely the fact
                          that their easy-to-be-carfree-in locales would not exist without vast
                          imports from the gun-toting, manure-shoveling, vehicularly-cycling
                          when we're not driving our CO1800s, "bumpkin" counties that he
                          detests.

                          - TF
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