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Super Short Rider ISO First Folder

Old 04-23-20, 04:27 AM
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caro13
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Super Short Rider ISO First Folder

Hello there! I'm new to folding, 4'10", and looking for something compact to commute to work (3mi) and take longer casual rides (15-20mi). I have mostly spent time on a lightweight Cannondale road bike that was a size or two too big for me, as well as a variety of beaters and hefty hybrids while traveling. Currently living in a walkup and have limited space at work, so a folder seems like the way to go. I've taken a couple test rides on Citizens and Dahons but have had trouble distinguishing on such short rides. Would love to know if anyone my height (under 5') has enjoyed riding one of the below options (or has any suggestions), and if anyone has advice on if/how a no-frills folder could be outfitted with a detachable basket or other accessories. Trying to budget $350-$600, with some wiggle room for increase if the quality is worth it. Thanks!

What I'm most interested in from my research:
- 2018 Dahon Mu D9 (pros: trigger shifter, ok price, lightest; cons: would have to ship from out of state, no rear rack)
- Sun Shortcut 7 (pros: better price, can be ordered to shops nearby, comes with fenders and a rear rack; cons: twist shifter, slightly heavier)
- Dahon Mariner D8 (pros: comes with rear rack and fenders, available at shops nearby, trigger shifter; cons: bulkier with the add-ons, more expensive)
- Also very intrigued by mini velos and partial folders but I'm having trouble finding sellers
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Old 04-23-20, 06:55 AM
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VISC SL 9 from Thor USA

or a bike friday!

Originally Posted by caro13 View Post
Hello there! I'm new to folding, 4'10", and looking for something compact to commute to work (3mi) and take longer casual rides (15-20mi). I have mostly spent time on a lightweight Cannondale road bike that was a size or two too big for me, as well as a variety of beaters and hefty hybrids while traveling. Currently living in a walkup and have limited space at work, so a folder seems like the way to go. I've taken a couple test rides on Citizens and Dahons but have had trouble distinguishing on such short rides. Would love to know if anyone my height (under 5') has enjoyed riding one of the below options (or has any suggestions), and if anyone has advice on if/how a no-frills folder could be outfitted with a detachable basket or other accessories. Trying to budget $350-$600, with some wiggle room for increase if the quality is worth it. Thanks!

What I'm most interested in from my research:
- 2018 Dahon Mu D9 (pros: trigger shifter, ok price, lightest; cons: would have to ship from out of state, no rear rack)
- Sun Shortcut 7 (pros: better price, can be ordered to shops nearby, comes with fenders and a rear rack; cons: twist shifter, slightly heavier)
- Dahon Mariner D8 (pros: comes with rear rack and fenders, available at shops nearby, trigger shifter; cons: bulkier with the add-ons, more expensive)
- Also very intrigued by mini velos and partial folders but I'm having trouble finding sellers
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Old 04-23-20, 07:56 AM
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The Mariner is a good Dahon to use for what you want to do. Yes a little heavier then an aluminium frame but will last plus, if you decide to upgrade parts, it is easy.

The mini velo I Have is sold by BikesDirect, a great model and very affordable. You would have to see their sizing chart to see if the 48cm Mercier would work for you.


53cm Nano and upgraded

Little older model and upgraded
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Old 04-23-20, 07:59 AM
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Oh, check out the Boardwalks as well!

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Old 04-23-20, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by 3speedslow View Post
The Mariner is a good Dahon to use for what you want to do. Yes a little heavier then an aluminium frame but will last plus, if you decide to upgrade parts, it is easy.

The mini velo I Have is sold by BikesDirect, a great model and very affordable. You would have to see their sizing chart to see if the 48cm Mercier would work for you.

53cm Nano and upgraded
Little older model and upgraded
Will definitely check out the Boardwalk, and that Mericer seems amazing but minimum height for the small is half a foot taller than me so probably have to rule that out for now. Crossing my fingers for a few years from now when I can look back into them. Thank you!

Also love the specs of the VISC SL 9 but the price is too high for me. Have been considering Thor for the 2018 Mu D9, but would prefer to buy from a local store if possible. I'm worried about tune-ups out of the box and don't want to add a ton to the initial cost (though that might be an unnecessary concern, not sure).

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Old 04-23-20, 09:34 AM
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Take your time and find yourself a small used Bike Friday. That was my first intro to BF - found one for $500. Over the next couple years, I slowly upgraded components and sent it back for a repaint/overhaul as money permitted. Ended up with a beauty (which I sold to fund my Bike Friday pakiT purchase). Small BF models don't come up all that often but they do exist and you can snag one if you are patient. You might also reach out to BF via email and see if they have any used extra small on hand - I would imagine they don't sell them very quickly so you might negotiate a good price especially under the current cirucumstances.
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Old 04-23-20, 10:14 AM
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I'm 5 ft 4in so I have some idea what you're looking for. From my own personal experience the smallest decent folder out there is the Dahon Eezz d3. They're recommend for 5ft 7in and below. It maybe a little more than you want to spend but it's close to where your looking at. Also it very light weight and I can carry it up stairs very easily. It's not the greatest folding bike as far as folding but it works. When I'm using it everyday I don't fold it. It has a very short wheelbase, which is not great for riding but unfolded it doesn't take up much room. If carrying weight and size is a factor the Dahon eezz d3 is the way to go. It doesn't compare to a Bike Friday or a Brompton but for your purposes it would work. Your not going to find those bikes in your price range. One other bike is the Downtube Mini but I don't have experience with it but others seem to like it.
If you live in or near a large city Craigslist maybe the best answer. Go to bikes and search Dahon or folding bike. There's always someone selling a decent folder. The truth being that almost all folding bikes are good for short people. As someone who rides an xs frame I can say that it's a pleasure not to have the top tube right in my crotch.
One last idea is buying an adult scooter like a Micro Black. You'll have no issues with height and they fold down very small and are light weight. Also the Xootr is nice and the price is right.

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Old 04-23-20, 05:32 PM
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Dahon Curve D7 might also be a consideration,... https://global.rakuten.com/en/store/.../item/1443041/
There's also a Dahon Curve I3 as well,... Dahon Curve I 3
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Old 04-23-20, 05:44 PM
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I'm 5'4". I ride a Bike Friday pakiT (small) very comfortably. I also have a Dahon Mu. In order to ride this comfortably I had to swap out the standard bars with swept back bars (which affects the folding a little bit). The reach from saddle to bars was too long otherwise for a comfortable ride. And, of course, the solution is not to move the saddle forward as that creates issues with the hips and knees and power. Because Dahon does not have an ahead stem that can be replaced with a shorter one (like a regular bike) you cannot change the distance to the bars, you can only sweep them back (or purchase an Aber Hallo adapter). If you have long arms you will probably be okay with a stock Dahon; if not, you may need to make a bar change and give up a bit of folding magic.
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Old 04-23-20, 07:03 PM
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You should fit well on any stock Dahon folder.
I am a bit taller and never had issues with any Dahon like bike nor other foldies including Moultons, Bike Fridays, Tyrell.
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Old 04-24-20, 07:12 AM
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Itís okay to look big on a folder. You will still feel like you are reading a larger sized bike.

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Old 04-25-20, 06:31 AM
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Disclosure: I own Origami Bicycle Company

Take a look at the Wasp. There are a couple of threads on the bike forum.
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Old 04-25-20, 09:40 PM
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Thank you very much for suggesting! I hadn't seen much about Origami but have read the other threads and will do a bit more research. Is the Wasp available in stores or is it shipped directly from Origami to riders? I'm doing my best to coordinate getting a Dahon in store, but it's proving a difficult task. Would love to go through a local shop if possible.

My main concern from what I've looked at so far is the longer seat to handlebar length. I'm right at the bottom edge of the suggested minimum height of the Wasp and other models (which look great - wish I were tall enough for the Gazelle). The Dahon models I'm looking at give me a few extra inches in case. BUT not sure trigger shifting and Schwalbe tires are worth the 200% cost increase so we'll see.
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Old 04-26-20, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by caro13 View Post
Thank you very much for suggesting! I hadn't seen much about Origami but have read the other threads and will do a bit more research. Is the Wasp available in stores or is it shipped directly from Origami to riders? I'm doing my best to coordinate getting a Dahon in store, but it's proving a difficult task. Would love to go through a local shop if possible.

My main concern from what I've looked at so far is the longer seat to handlebar length. I'm right at the bottom edge of the suggested minimum height of the Wasp and other models (which look great - wish I were tall enough for the Gazelle). The Dahon models I'm looking at give me a few extra inches in case. BUT not sure trigger shifting and Schwalbe tires are worth the 200% cost increase so we'll see.
Origami ships direct to riders to avoid the 35% markup that bike stores add.

we had an 8-year-old on a Wasp yesterday, do you should have no trouble finding a comfortable riding position.
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Old 04-26-20, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by caro13 View Post
Thank you very much for suggesting! I hadn't seen much about Origami but have read the other threads and will do a bit more research. Is the Wasp available in stores or is it shipped directly from Origami to riders? I'm doing my best to coordinate getting a Dahon in store, but it's proving a difficult task. Would love to go through a local shop if possible.

My main concern from what I've looked at so far is the longer seat to handlebar length. I'm right at the bottom edge of the suggested minimum height of the Wasp and other models (which look great - wish I were tall enough for the Gazelle). The Dahon models I'm looking at give me a few extra inches in case. BUT not sure trigger shifting and Schwalbe tires are worth the 200% cost increase so we'll see.
Since you may have fitment issues, I recommend only ordering online/shipping from companies that have a generous return policy as well as pay the return shipping if it doesn't fit. Many companies will refund you, but they deduct their "cost" for shipping to you (even if they say it is "free shipping") as well as return cost. Can get expensive. Thor is a great source for info (used to be on this forum). https://www.thorusa.com Also he sells the aber hallo and Tern reach adapters, which you could use if you get a bike and the reach is too much and it doesn't have an ahead stem. https://www.thorusa.com/accessories/handlebar.htm

Last edited by linberl; 04-26-20 at 11:27 AM.
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Old 04-26-20, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
Since you may have fitment issues, I recommend only ordering online/shipping from companies that have a generous return policy as well as pay the return shipping if it doesn't fit. Many companies will refund you, but they deduct their "cost" for shipping to you (even if they say it is "free shipping") as well as return cost. Can get expensive. Thor is a great source for info (used to be on this forum). ThorUSA Folding Bikes Dahon Tern GSD BYB MKS Pletscher Sapim Verge Link Speed Curl Curve Also he sells the aber hallo and Tern reach adapters, which you could use if you get a bike and the reach is too much and it doesn't have an ahead stem. Handlebars, Extenders and Bar Ends
We offer 14 days to make sure the bike meets your needs. The only cost would be the return shipping.
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Old 04-27-20, 03:29 PM
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I am 5' 1" and have a Downtube Mini which fits me really well. I did replace the handlebars with narrower ones, but that was just a preference. It is currently selling for $600 and I think it's a good bike for the price. I have ridden it some longish distances for a folder (up to 50 miles) and it's comfortable and rides well.

I used to have a Dahon and that fit as well, although it was an older model with 16" wheels and I'm not sure how the frame size would compare to the current models. But, I have heard that Dahons in general have frames suitable for short people (as opposed to Bromptons which apparently are not great for shorties.)

I would have loved to get a Bike Friday but the prices are prohibitive. I'm on the east coast and they never show up used around here. If you're on the west coast you could probably find a used one though.

If you've only ridden bikes that are too big for you, you will probably love a folder. I think especially for a short person they are so much more maneuverable and responsive.
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Old 04-27-20, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by trace View Post
I am 5' 1" and have a Downtube Mini which fits me really well. I did replace the handlebars with narrower ones, but that was just a preference. It is currently selling for $600 and I think it's a good bike for the price. I have ridden it some longish distances for a folder (up to 50 miles) and it's comfortable and rides well.

I used to have a Dahon and that fit as well, although it was an older model with 16" wheels and I'm not sure how the frame size would compare to the current models. But, I have heard that Dahons in general have frames suitable for short people (as opposed to Bromptons which apparently are not great for shorties.)

I would have loved to get a Bike Friday but the prices are prohibitive. I'm on the east coast and they never show up used around here. If you're on the west coast you could probably find a used one though.

If you've only ridden bikes that are too big for you, you will probably love a folder. I think especially for a short person they are so much more maneuverable and responsive.
I could not get a Brompton to fit me well with any of the standard handlebar setups. Might have worked with additional aftermarket parts but not sure and that's an added expense. It really depends on your body. I have most of my length in legs and my reach with my arms and upper body is shorter. Someone with long arms and upper torso but shorter inseam might be fine with it. My 20" Dahon was just about 1" too long in reach for really comfortable riding; I could do it but it was tiresome. The swept back bars give me that distance I need so I didn't have to use an aber hallo (a device for bikes with no ahead stem to allow reach adjustment). I'm pretty sure even someone shorter than me at 5'4" would be able to make a Dahon work for them with either bar changes or an aber hallo, same for many of the other brands. Brompton not only has a bit of a long frame but also doesn't allow for easy swap of the handlebars (can affect fold and/or require new brake cables) so the adjustability isn't as good. Just don't let anyone tell you it's okay to move the seat forward to solve the problem - the way bike fit works is you set the seat position relative to your knees and your pedal stroke and only then do you fix the reach.
Downtube makes decent bikes. I think I recall the mini selling for a lot less a year or two ago - must be the tariffs. For $600 I think a Dahon gets you much better components (like Thor Usa's Dahon Mu9 (2018) which has some nice SRAM parts and double walled rims and Avid brakes.
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Old 04-28-20, 06:03 AM
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Yeah, the Mini was $400 when I bought it about a year and a half ago. I should also have mentioned that I was specifically looking for a bike with 16" wheels (for air travel as non-oversized luggage), which significantly reduces the selection. For a 20" wheel bike you will probably get a better deal from Dahon. (I considered the Origami Wasp, which has 16" wheels, but it does not have frame eyelets to mount a rear rack. I wanted to be able to carry stuff and the Downtube Mini looked more suitable for load carrying.)
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Old 04-28-20, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by trace View Post
Yeah, the Mini was $400 when I bought it about a year and a half ago. I should also have mentioned that I was specifically looking for a bike with 16" wheels (for air travel as non-oversized luggage), which significantly reduces the selection. For a 20" wheel bike you will probably get a better deal from Dahon. (I considered the Origami Wasp, which has 16" wheels, but it does not have frame eyelets to mount a rear rack. I wanted to be able to carry stuff and the Downtube Mini looked more suitable for load carrying.)
I have the Origami Wasp AND the Downtube Mini. While the Downtube mini does have dedicated eyelets for a rack, the fold of the Origami Wasp is so much better. I even modded my Wasp to have a larger chainring, and swapped out the rear freewheel to really give a decent speed increase. My gripe about the Downtube Mini still stands,...as a folder it's not great at folding. I'm currently contemplating swapping the Sturmey-Archer 8 speed rear wheel from the Downtube Mini with the rear wheel on my last 16" wheeled bike,...the Dahon Curve. The 3 speed hub is the old Sturmey-Archer hub. It works, but it's in need of a speed boost.
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Old 04-30-20, 08:01 AM
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My gripe about the Downtube Mini still stands,...as a folder it's not great at folding.
Yes, the fold on the Downtube Mini is not great. It sure ain't a cute little compact Brompton fold. That wasn't a deal breaker for me but depends how someone's planning to use it. There are a lot of tradeoffs with folding bikes.

tds101, how tall are you and what is your impression of the frame sizes of the Downtube Mini compared with the Origami Wasp?
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Old 04-30-20, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by trace View Post
Yes, the fold on the Downtube Mini is not great. It sure ain't a cute little compact Brompton fold. That wasn't a deal breaker for me but depends how someone's planning to use it. There are a lot of tradeoffs with folding bikes.

tds101, how tall are you and what is your impression of the frame sizes of the Downtube Mini compared with the Origami Wasp?
The Downtube Mini and Wasp are about the same size, not too much difference. I threw in the Dahon Curve for comparison.


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Old 05-02-20, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
My 20" Dahon was just about 1" too long in reach for really comfortable riding; I could do it but it was tiresome. The swept back bars give me that distance I need so I didn't have to use an aber hallo (a device for bikes with no ahead stem to allow reach adjustment). I'm pretty sure even someone shorter than me at 5'4" would be able to make a Dahon work for them with either bar changes or an aber hallo, same for many of the other brands.
Thank you everyone for the comparisons! I was finally able to test ride the Dahon Mu D9 2018 today! The reach was definitely long, but manageable, considering I'm used to riding improperly sized bikes. The store where I tried it was not too helpful - the manager tried to sell me the bike as if it were the current model, not knowing that I'd done extensive research, the employees didn't know how to fold or adjust the folders, and they also suggested sliding the seat up to compensate for the reach (which I didn't know wasn't a good fix until reading this post, so thank you for the heads up!) There's another store that I've visited previously that is great and is able to order it for me, so I'm going to talk to them about options for eventually modifying the handlebars.

linberl Would you mind sharing what the cost of your mod was? And is it something that a newby (new to bikes but generally not terrible with mechanical problem solving) could do from home with a few tools, or is it something I should get done at the shop?
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Old 05-02-20, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by caro13 View Post
Thank you everyone for the comparisons! I was finally able to test ride the Dahon Mu D9 2018 today! The reach was definitely long, but manageable, considering I'm used to riding improperly sized bikes. The store where I tried it was not too helpful - the manager tried to sell me the bike as if it were the current model, not knowing that I'd done extensive research, the employees didn't know how to fold or adjust the folders, and they also suggested sliding the seat up to compensate for the reach (which I didn't know wasn't a good fix until reading this post, so thank you for the heads up!) There's another store that I've visited previously that is great and is able to order it for me, so I'm going to talk to them about options for eventually modifying the handlebars.

linberl Would you mind sharing what the cost of your mod was? And is it something that a newby (new to bikes but generally not terrible with mechanical problem solving) could do from home with a few tools, or is it something I should get done at the shop?
All I did was buy a pair of Mary on One bars (you can get any swept back bars). I had a shop cut them down in width for me because I didn't have a power cutter and using a hacksaw is a giant pain. The shop changed me five bucks. I did determine the width I wanted and marked the bars with tape, measuring from the center out to each side evenly. You might want to also rough up the bars where they go inside the Dahon quick release clamp to help keep them from slipping. My original Dahon bars had grooves there and the replacement bars do not, so either roughing them up or using a little carbon paste works. Total cost: $30 bars + $5 for the shop to cut 'em. You could even buy some used bars off CL or Bay. Actually, now that I think of it, I think those bars did come from Ebay....for a bike I had previously, lol.

However, you do have other options. Read back above and find the links to Thor USA....you can use the Aber Hallo and that will not only bring the bars back to you a bit, but they will also raise them - just like a traditional stem with an angle. You can set the angle at whatever
works best for you, too, unlike a traditional stem where it is either +/- 7 or 15 degrees. This will mean you don't have to cut or change your bars, and you can easily install the aber hallo yourself. Price probably comes out pretty close either way, and you keep the Dahon stock for later resale ease. If you decide to sell it later on, many buyers may not appreciate your bar modification.

Here's a pic with an Aber Hallo - you can see how it moves the bar closer to the seat, and then you can leverage it up or down. Aber Hallo Stem I think it's brilliant and if I had known about it BEFORE I cut my bars down, that is what I would have purchased.
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Old 05-04-20, 03:54 PM
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linberl
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If you haven't already bought a bike, and you're willing to stretch your budget a bit, this is pretty sweet! It is NOT my bike, I just am sharing it from a Bike Friday group I belong to.

Bike Friday Crusoe for sale, size small. This bike is like new. One airline trip and less than 500 miles. Includes all original Bike Friday invoice items, tools, etc. Extra riser and stem are 3" shorter than those on the bike. This was due to a build error at Bike Friday. Rider is 5'2', should fit a few inches taller or a lot shorter. Seat, pedals, computer are included. Weight as photographed is 25#. $950 firm. Free shipping within the continental US.
Comes with travel case, fenders, rack, and a bunch of other goodies!!!



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