Posted by: brendaintheboro | August 25, 2012

Looking at folding bikes

I have a desire to have a folding bike and today decided to go looking , just looking. My DS1 was convinced I would come back with one. I didn’t. Why?

I didn’t find anything I liked at a price I could afford.

I started at the bike shop near the station and looked at Dahon and Brompton mainly. The Brompton folded well but I didn’t like the small wheels and no Bromie has more than 6 gears. The salesman said its not a good bike for distances in excess of 20 miles.

The Dahons they had folded well but I hated the finish on the handle bars of the Mu models. It’s a silver coloured textured anodised and to me looked vet cheap. The Vitesse model looked better as it was all black and to my mind looked better. Unfortunately , this model only had 8 gears and I really would prefer more.

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I decided to head to another chain cycle shop on the ring road. I know they have Tern on their website but not a one is stocked. They can order one I
For a £100 deposit but was to none of the branches stock them.
I needed to go to Cyclesense at Tadcaster where I got my Koga to return a stem. I talked with Dave and looked at the Bike Friday Tikit which folds well.

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Aesthetically, this is very pleasing but very pricey and needing extras and again not a large number of gears. I know if the range is wide it doesn’t matter but I would like more.
There’s a firm , I found on the web in
the south of the country. I had a chat with them on the phone. They customise Dahons so I could have an Mu with different handle bars or I could have a steel framed Speed TR. Old stock I believe but that doesn’t matter to me. It needs more thinking about. Any thoughts fellow bloggers ?

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Responses

  1. Brenda, I’ve had a Dahon Boardwalk D7 for a while now. You’re right it looks about as impressive as patio furniture, but, I have been surprised by the reliability of this little bike and I prefer the ride quality to the Brompton.

    I only purchased it to carry on the bus when the trains weren’t running which is why I went for a basic model. I have been so surprised by how often I pootle out on it locally and it can’t be beaten for inner city cycling. The 20″ wheels are nimble and the upright cycling position means I get to stickybeak at everything. Because I use it so often, I’m wanting to upgrade, so, I’m looking at folders again as well.

    I don’t want a 6 spd Brompton (not convinced by the gearing system). In fact, having ridden a friends several times now, I love it because it’s a Brompton and who wouldn’t, but, I think you’re right it’s not for regular longer commutes (although I know people tour on them). I feel a little nervous saying anything against the wonder that is Brompton 🙂

    I’m looking at the Tern VergeS11i as a possible at the moment. It has the 20″ wheels and Dahon heritage, but, much better looks and the wonderful Shimano Alfine 11 gear drivetrain. It also folds a little more compact than the Dahon’s (although still not as small or clever as the Brompton). My only problem with Tern is their piffley, useless little locks on their fold elements. But they seem as sturdy and stiff as the Dahon with better looks and in the case of the Verge S11i, better components. (Oh, a biggie for me is also to move away from a twist grip shifter – I hate the things).

    Whatever you get, despite it always being quoted that folders are at best a compromise, I think you might be surprised just how often you choose a fun, little-wheeler over your big bike, I certainly have been. Looking forward to hearing your solution. 🙂

  2. I have in mind to use a folder for travelling locally but with an eye to the future when I still want to tour but cannot Put in the miles I would like. I have not seen the models you mention. I think it’s a bit like sewing machines – different models are marketed in different countries.
    So far , I can go for either a Dahon Speed TR or a Mu24 which are about as much as I want to pay. Getting to see a Tern without a special order is a none starter as I have to travel 50 miles in either direction to one of the cycle shops that stocks Tern. My only beef is that I would like to look at and try different models but that would mean multiple deposits. Then if I don’t like them it’s a bit of a waste of time .
    Still I am looking forward to getting out for a ride tomorrow as its supposed to be dry in the morning. I’ll think some more when out. Thanks for your input. It’s much appreciated.

  3. Brenda, is this Evans who ask you to leave a deposit but you are not obliged to have the bike? I did that with my Brompton.

    As you know I have a Brompton T6 and have cycled in Northumberland on it mainly on parts of Hadrians Cycleway. I think we did about 36 miles that day. You are better having the reduced gear option if touring.

    I have a friend who has between her and her husband, 4 Bike Fridays. They swear by them for touring but they are not a fast fold. As I said, the Birdy is absolutely great for touring, with racks and I have tackled the Isle of Wight on mine, blazing up the hills like an ordinary bike. They are good to ride.

    One of the Bike Friday’s newish babies is the Tickit, another friend of mine has one and absolutely loves it. However, that does have the 16″ small wheels, without any of the ‘folder’ feeling of the Brompton. The Tickit (spelling) is very lightweight and unlike its larger cousins, is fast to fold, although not so compact as a Brompton.

    Why don’t you look around for a second hand folder. If you go on Velovision Forum, put in a Wanted ad in the forum. You have to register. That way you could go and look and it would cost you less.

    I know it’s such a saga trying to find the right bike. I got a little bored with my Birdy that’s all. If I’d had room I would have just kept both bikes. Just be patient and the right solution will come.

    • Hi AM
      Yes it was Evans. The more I look , the more I think I want the Dahon Speed TR but I am making myself wait a few weeks. I may well look at a second hand bike but I would prefer new.
      The Bike Friday wasn’t really a folder, more of a bike you could dismantle. The Tickit was really easy to fold and I liked it.
      CH White and sons seem to be able to do what you want and custom build Dahons so I may well go with them.
      I suppose the decision is do I want steel or alloy. Having had 2 alloy frames break, I went back to chromoly steel on the Koga and am very pleased with that. Koga did make a folder but have stopped now. The Speed TR is steel or the Mu is alloy. Decisions, decisions. Thanks for your advice. It is much appreciated.


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