Downtube VIII Folding Bike

VIII 8sp front suspension all aluminum folding bicycle

  • Folding Aluminum frame w/folding pedals
  • Front suspension fork by Zoom.
  • 8sp SunRace Gripshift
  • Quality alloy stem, V-brakes, post, bar ends
  • Folded size: approx 30 x 60 x 81 cm (12" x 23.6" x 33")
  • Folding time: 10 sec
  • Rider Height: 4’9”-6’4”

User Reviews (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7  
rabraham   Commuter [Sep 08, 2008]
Strength:

Internal Hub Sturmey-Archer Gears (fantastic), wider handlebars.

Weakness:

Folding mechanisms (antiquated compared to Dahon), pedals (falling apart already), paint/decal job (paint is soft/Downtube logo is a Decal which is starting to peel off), folded size (handle bars fold to the outside of the frame rather than over it like on the Dahons), crank has already loosened up in the bottom bracket.

I purchased the Downtube 8HN folding bike earlier in the summer. I've used the bike to commute for a couple of months and on a month long camping trip. I also own a Yeah folding Bike using Dahon Licensed Technology. I really like both bikes but for differenct reasons. If I could put the gears and handlebars from the Downtube onto the Yeah I think it would be a nearly perfect folder. The Yeah folds more easily and smaller than the downtube (handlebars fold over the frame whereas the Downtube handlebars fold the other way), has full fenders, and better folding pedals. The Downtube has much better gearing (the Sturmey Archer internal 8 speed hub is fantastic) and much better (wider and more comfortable) handle bars. The quick acceleration and low center of gravity on both folders more than make up for their lack of top-end speed, so much so that I'm not really using my full size mountain bike anymore. I had problems with both cranks loosening up in the Bottom brackets. I figured out how to tighten the crank on the Yeah but am still trying to figure it out on the Downtube.

Similar Products Used: Yeah (Dahon Licensed Technology)
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
EdMo   Road Racer [Jun 19, 2007]
Strength:

Comfortable and Fun to ride.

Weakness:

Cannot attach panniers (due to heel clearance)

I have the NS (no suspension model) and I couldn't be happier -- not only is the bike comfortable to ride, it is really fun if you have spent years riding on aggressive road and MTB frames.

It's a great everyday bike -- it cruises fast on the flats, climbs SF hills easily with the low-gear and feels fairly comfortable going downhill (with the small wheels and tall stem, you have to remember to feather the front brake).

The only thing that stands out as feeling a bit "cheap" on the bike is the amount of friction in the brake system -- I'm not sure if it is the levers/cable or if maybe it is just the nature of having a fully-housed cable that allows it to fold.

I plan to upgrade components as they wear out, but the bike is completely functional with stock accessories.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Cory   Recreational Rider [Mar 23, 2007]
Strength:

Ability to fold is No. 1--that's why I bought it. I already have several good bikes and didn't need another. I'm surprised at its nimble handling and overall good performance.

Weakness:

Rider size range is exaggerated--I'm within the parameters by a couple of inches and 20+ pounds, but it's slightly too small for me, though still rideable.

I have the IX FS bike--wanted the non-susp. model with internal gearing, but it won't fit a 6'4" rider. I'm generally very pleased--the bike works well and is a good bargain for the price. Shipping was fast and the company has been responsive to my questions.
I wish I'd known Downtube sells its own bikes new on ebay, though. They're going there for $75-$100 less than I paid. It seems faintly dishonest to charge more to a customer who takes the time to seek out the source and order a bike directly.

Similar Products Used: Tested Dahon and Swift folders, but no long-term experience.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
paulbutler   Commuter [Nov 09, 2006]
Strength:

eMail help is good. The bike is fairly comfortable over distance. Value. Excellent features. Superb stability and accurate tracking on the road.

Weakness:

Lack of proper instructions for set up or adjustment, receipt or documentation. A tendency for the handlebars to jerk the hands more than a regular bike over bumps. This may be addressed by the FS version. No contact phone in the UK.

I have been riding this bike for a few weeks an I am really impressed with how much pleasure it provides. Hills are no problem with the 8 gears and the bike is easy to navigate accurately through traffic. I spent some time looking at the alternatives and nothing comes close in the UK for value. (Note: the price I paid is in £ sterling not $US).

Similar Products Used: Looked at Brompton but silly prices for entry level (£500) and a 16 week wait in the UK!
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
mcgurme   Recreational Rider [Oct 14, 2006]
Strength:

Great bike for the price. Rides well, handles well, is relatively light, comes with decent components that are standard and upgradable. It is pretty comfortable.

Weakness:

The "NS" (non-suspension) bike is a bit small/short for tall riders over 6'. The bike needed some tinkering to get it ready to go after it arrived (wheel true, derailur adjustment, so on - nothing major). The built-in rack won't accept panniers.

This is an excellent bike for the price. I have never had a better deal on a bike, and its lots of fun. I have an >$1,000 road bike, and an >$2,000 mountain bike, but I still like riding the Downtube. It attracts lots of positive comments from people, and it is just great to be able to fold it up and throw it in the car rather than dealing with bike racks. The component set that comes with it is by no means high-end, but seems reasonably functional. I have done some upgrades on my FS. The built-in seat is quite wide and cushy on the NS model, which is good if you want a soft ride. This NS model has a short top-tube/reach, so for tall riders like myself, it may require some adjustment (the FS model has a longer reach).

Similar Products Used: Downtube FS, and also have ridden various Dahons.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Jim Willit   Commuter [May 30, 2006]
Strength:

#1. Bang for the buck. High quality for the money.
#2. Customer service - Yan is on AIM a lot and responds promptly to e-mail.
#3. Easy to upgrade components such as tires, pedals, stem, seat, etc.

Weakness:

-Pedal bearing failed, probably due to salt from winter riding.
-Recommend upgrading to higher pressure tires if you do mostly road riding.

I bought this bike to use for commuting when our second car died. I needed a folding bike because part of my commute is via Metra (commuter rail) and they don't allow full size bikes on the trains during normal commuting hours. I've put about 1200 miles on the bike since last October. (Yes, I even biked in the winter.) This bike has made a bike nut out of me. The ride is no different from a larger-wheeled bike. I can average 15-16 mph on a paved trail. My commute is now exercise time as well. When the weather is good I do 30 miles/day on the Downtube VIII. I upgraded the tires to high pressure primo comets and replaced the resin pedals with folding MKS pedals that I fitted with Power Grips (highly recommended). I am now an avid bicycle commuter thanks to my Downtube VIII.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
hbob   Recreational Rider [Mar 05, 2006]
Strength:

Ability to upgrade components as everything is standard fittings. Size. Value and the responsiveness of the company owner to help you both improve and enjoy the bike. The frames are strong. The bike comes with a storage bag, rack, kickstand and even a bell! The bike components are upgraded eash year and the company responds to feedback to make their improvements. I hear the 2006 models will have lots of upgrades.

Weakness:

Some of the components are of lesser grades, but not the frame. All the little things can be upgraded very easily if you want to. I am putting on new cables for now as I will use around salt water.

I now own both the front suspension (VIII) and full suspension (VIIIFS) versions of this bike and love them both. The 20" wheels ride great. I am big and the bike is comfortable and very fun to ride. These bikes maneuver great, are easy on the hills and fold up easily. I bought two to use as folders on a boat, but they have replaced our large bikes as our everyday bikes. And best of all, they don't look little trick bikes, but look well balanced when a n adult is riding them. We researched much more expensive bikes before picking these and are very happy. The designer/owner responds to all questions by phone or email or bike forum quickly and the few little warranty items we needed were sent immediateley and without question. (We had a bad zipper on the storage bag and we had a new one in days).

Similar Products Used: I have test rode other 20" and 16" value folders and found them much less stable and of much lesser quality.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
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