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Need some guidance...

Old 08-13-17, 10:41 PM
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skitch23
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Need some guidance...

I've wanted a folding bike for a few years just for the portability, but never took the plunge. Now I'm at a new work location where it would be just as efficient (maybe even more so) to ride a bike to lunch as it would be to drive.

Previously I was looking at a few Dahons on Amazon... I think Mu P8 and D7 Speed IIRC, but part of the reason I didn't buy one was the cost since I really wouldn't have used the bike very often. Now I'm in the market for a new TV, so I want to spend even less, but I'm torn since "you get what you pay for" and I'd actually be able to use the bike fairly consistently so it would probably be wise to get a good bike and just delay my TV purchase.

That said, I'd still like to keep it under $500 and I don't mind buying used. And after flipping through this forum and reading the newbie sticky thread, I feel overwhelmed on what to get. I went to a local bike shop and they were of no help for folding bikes.

Details about me and what I'm looking for:
- I'm 5'4" & 115lbs so something lightweight would be awesome.
- My office is on the side of a mountain with ~100ft elevation change (all paved) to get down to the main road so I'm assuming I need something with a few gears so I don't die on my way back. Everywhere else is fairly flat.
- I'd be riding 5mi round trip max.
- Color makes no difference as I can paint it if need be.
- I don't need anything for offroading as I have access to a mountain bike for that.
- I currently only ride the mountain bike a few times a year and the only time I purchased a bike was ~20yrs ago at Walmart.
- Something that comes with a rack on the back would be a plus... or at least have the option to add a rack.

The Downtube bikes look cool and are priced right, but I'd never heard of them til coming to this site.

Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated. Thank you
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Old 08-13-17, 10:49 PM
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Personally, I spend more time cycling than I do watching TV, but YMMV. I bought my Brompton to ride to the office, so I wouldn't have to leave a bike outside. A few weeks after I bought the bike the office building installed bike lockers in the parking garage. I rented one and switched to commuting on a non-folder. I don't regret buying the folding bike though. I use it when I drop my car at the shop for repairs and then ride to the office. I also take it on road trips. It doesn't take up much room in the back of my Subaru wagon.
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Old 08-14-17, 12:01 AM
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I have a 20mi one way commute and I'm not that into biking to make that trek every day lol.... plus I have an electric car so I'm not polluting the air

There are only a handful of people at my work location and I have an actual office, so storage isn't a big deal. I'd still like a folding bike vs a regular bike tho because I'd like to use it for other short trips and getting the mountain bike in my car without scratching the paint is challenging.

A Brompton would be amazing, but even used ones are outside my price range.
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Old 08-14-17, 12:26 AM
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Originally Posted by skitch23 View Post
... plus I have an electric car so I'm not polluting the air
I just read a report about an in-depth investigation into the TOTAL CO2 release of petrol/diesel vs electric cars, and it turns out that petrol/diesel still outperforms electric in the CO2 release stakes. But CO2 isn't a pollutant, so if you're talking about soot and other gases, then +1
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Old 08-14-17, 07:39 AM
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The Euromini seems to be a solid offering for the (quite good) price:
https://www.euromini.bike/urbano-red
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Old 08-14-17, 11:22 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by skitch23 View Post
... plus I have an electric car so I'm not polluting the air
A couple of years ago, the Union of Concerned Scientists newsletter reported on a study comparing internal-combustion-powered vehicles to electric cars and hybrids for their environmental impact.

The combustion-powered vehicles were the worst polluters. The relative impact of electric cars depended on the electricity source. In parts of the US where electricity is produced from burning coal, hybrid cars were as environmentally friendly as electric cars. Where the all-electric cars really stood out was in areas where the electricity was provided by hydroelectric, wind or geothermal sources.

So... technically, your car may not be polluting the air directly, but there may be an environmental cost at some remote location. Still, it's theoretically easier to manage the pollution at one location where electricity is produced than at millions of individual pollution sources.
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Old 08-14-17, 11:27 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by jur View Post
But CO2 isn't a pollutant...
Well, it *is* good for plants, but it is a "greenhouse gas" and contributes to acidification of the oceans, so it *is* considered a pollutant.
See this: https://www.skepticalscience.com/co2...t-advanced.htm
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Old 08-14-17, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by sweeks View Post
... The relative impact of electric cars depended on the electricity source. In parts of the US where electricity is produced from burning coal, hybrid cars were as environmentally friendly as electric cars. Where the all-electric cars really stood out was in areas where the electricity was provided by hydroelectric, wind...
I've had this argument with one of the local bicycling advocates here in 'The Lew' for the past 10 years. He's against supporting the use of electric vehicles/buses for public transportation because in this area we burn coal to produce electricity (he thinks that getting people on bicycles is a better solution... as though that's ever going to happen). I think he's a quack and it's in our best interest to get started on changing our infrastructure right now so that we're ready once we change over to a better way of producing the electricity we need to drive our city. You have to start somewhere and it's better to do it now than later.
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Old 08-14-17, 03:53 PM
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Euromini Urbano on Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/EuroMini-Ligh...uromini+urbano
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Old 08-14-17, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by sweeks View Post
Well, it *is* good for plants, but it is a "greenhouse gas" and contributes to acidification of the oceans, so it *is* considered a pollutant.
See this: https://www.skepticalscience.com/co2...t-advanced.htm
Steve
I used to have this view, too. Then I learned more. This is the latest:

A true Galileo moment.
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Old 08-15-17, 08:02 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by jur View Post
I used to have this view, too. Then I learned more.
Interesting, though not without controversy. (U.S. gov't researchers withdraw climate paper after using pseudonyms - Retraction Watch at Retraction Watch)
I'll be interested to see how this plays out. Meanwhile, there's nothing wrong with minimizing emission of combustion products where possible, is there?
(We're probably way off-topic here! )
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Old 08-15-17, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by sweeks View Post
Meanwhile, there's nothing wrong with minimizing emission of combustion products where possible, is there?
(We're probably way off-topic here! )
Steve
Thanks for sharing the link. More broadly, my take is that until a paper gets independently replicated or verified a few times one shouldn't move very far from the accepted understanding of the issue.

But in reference to the question, there is a cost/benefit to this.
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Old 08-15-17, 01:02 PM
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New Bike Friday Pack It is a pretty light bike that folds & comes quickly apart, to pack easily.. and is made to fit your size..

but they are expensive because they are made in the USA.

And labor costs are higher than in Asia.
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Old 08-15-17, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
But in reference to the question, there is a cost/benefit to this.
Agreed. But unlike many other challenges faced by our species, this one has long-term potential costs that are very hard to predict accurately. There is asymmetry in the risks and benefits. In my view, this warrants taking somewhat more of a current economic hit for a (very likely, yet not guaranteed) future pay-off.
That's one reason I ride a bike to work.
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Old 08-16-17, 03:51 AM
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On the thread topic, to me a bike is like a pair of shoes - i have a better chance of a good fit if I try it on first.

On the environmental thing, bandaids. Recycle cans and metals, be green ride a bike, protest coal plants, hug a tree . . . bandaids. The number of human beings on this planet is the problem, period. We are straining the resource, killing the aquatic life and poisoning the planet. Yay people! Rah, rah, rah! We're the best!

The solution to a problem often begins with determing the correct question. I suggest "What number of humans is comfortably sustainable on Earth and how do we achieve that number." I think under a billion would be a good place to start. Mother Earth will probably do it for us. The next hundred years will be ugly. Four horsemen of the apocalypse kind of ugly.

Current population about 7.3 billion. Projected to hit 9.7 billion by 2050.

Back to topic, Origami Crane 8 bikes on ebay for $350, supply limited. Seems like a good price for what it is, but will it fit you? Regards
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Old 08-16-17, 05:12 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by cthorsman View Post
The number of human beings on this planet is the problem, period.
This ^^ is the 7.3x10^9 pound elephant in the room and there's very little being done about it. We'll see if Thomas Malthus was right...
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Old 08-16-17, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by sweeks View Post
In my view, this warrants taking somewhat more of a current economic hit for a (very likely, yet not guaranteed) future pay-off.
You can think of it as buying insurance. That is insurance is essentially lowering your expected return for lower variance of outcomes.
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Old 08-16-17, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by skitch23 View Post
Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated. Thank you
Come on you guys, you can't answer a simple question? You go on about C02 and carbon footprint etc. which is nothing related to the ORIGINAL QUESTION. Go start a new thread, you people are senior members, you know better.

Back to the original question. Yes, Downtube make good bikes. Just do a search on this forum you will see the reviews. The owner is also frequents this board and if you have specific question on any of his models he will answer. Origami is another brand worth looking at, the owner also comes on here frequently. There are a few models from Dahon that are worth looking at. TDS101 also posted a bike that he thought looks good. Another member THOR is a Dahon expert since he is part of the distribution network and he frequents this board but not as much lately.

My take, get something with good gear range because that last 100 feet will not be great if you are struggling. You don't need front shocks, disk brakes for the riding you are doing. You also don't seem to need racks etc. My point is don't pay for something you aren't going to use. Put all the money into the bike itself.

If you have specific question on a model, hopefully someone will answer it without proselytizing their own views on emissions etc. Have a look at the Downtube Mini. It is right at the limit of your budget but it has a lot of bike going for it.
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Old 08-16-17, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by sweeks View Post
This ^^ is the 7.3x10^9 pound elephant in the room and there's very little being done about it. We'll see if Thomas Malthus was right...
Steve
really gets the synapses firing.

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Old 08-17-17, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by skitch23 View Post
I've wanted a folding bike for a few years just for the portability, but never took the plunge. Now I'm at a new work location where it would be just as efficient (maybe even more so) to ride a bike to lunch as it would be to drive.
...

Details about me and what I'm looking for:
- I'm 5'4" & 115lbs so something lightweight would be awesome.
- My office is on the side of a mountain with ~100ft elevation change (all paved) to get down to the main road so I'm assuming I need something with a few gears so I don't die on my way back. Everywhere else is fairly flat.
- I'd be riding 5mi round trip max.
- Color makes no difference as I can paint it if need be.
- I don't need anything for offroading as I have access to a mountain bike for that.
- I currently only ride the mountain bike a few times a year and the only time I purchased a bike was ~20yrs ago at Walmart.
- Something that comes with a rack on the back would be a plus... or at least have the option to add a rack.
My read is that you're a relatively casual rider that simply wants to get around easier. There are a lot of bikes that would satisfy your requirements, IMO.

My experience with Downtubes were positive. At the selling price, I think it will be hard for you to go wrong with a Downtube Nova. Ride the old bike around a bit. Make sure it fits you fine ... you might make some adjustments. Take some measurements with the old bike. That should give you a better idea of what to ask regarding whether the bike will fit you rather than just your height and weight. I'd talk to Yan first prior to buying regarding how the bike will fit you -- he typically has a page somewhere that describes the bike's dimensions and how to compare it to what you're riding now -- and what racks fit his bikes well. Make sure that you'll be able to change the chainring on the bike since even if it has a 7-speed freewheel on the rear, the gearing might still be too low/tall for you. The ability to change the chainring to adjust it for your tastes might be important.

There are other good alternatives with Dahon and such. The subtle perk with Dahon is that they have tons of accessories for their bikes ... racks, fenders, and so on.

If you live in a large metropolitan area, you might consider looking at the used market first since a lot of bikes, IMO, will probably fit your needs.
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Old 08-17-17, 12:21 PM
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@skitch23: where do you live? Maybe someone can recommend a bike shop where you can test a few folders out,...
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Old 08-20-17, 07:34 PM
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I'm a bit late to the thread, but it looks like you only want to ride at work. Could you leave it there? Can you get away with a non-folding bike?
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