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Anybody ridden a fairly low-end folding bike, like one of those <$500 Dahons? A friend bought a $20 no-name folder in a thrift shop a few days ago, and I don't want one of those, but the idea is sort of intriguing. I've been looking at the Dahon website and they have two or three bikes around $300-$500 that look like they'd work for casual use. I've already got all the bikes I need, but hey, if you can put one in the overhead bin . . . .
 

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Picked up a Montague hybrid for about 500 bucks a few years ago. In general its been pretty solid although definitely on the heavy side. I haven't had a problem with the frame locking mechanisms even with some moderate off road use. My major problem has been the rear wheel which is not quick release, and seems to come loose for no apparent reason.
 

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n00bsauce
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No experience with this type of folder but I've had S&S couplers put on one of my bikes and couldn't be happier. I take it on the plane as a piece of luggage at no extra charge and when I reach my destination I've got a regular bike I feel very comfortable on. If you've got a bike suitable for conversion (generally, conventional tubed steel) I'd highly recommend this route.

Now, if your intent is a quick folding bike to take with you on a weekend, on the bus, etc. S&S would not be as convenient or quick.

Also, around $300 for the conversion, plus a paint job so you could be looking at $350 to $500 total.
 

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Ritchey Break-away

I've been leaning toward a Ritchey Break-away. A downside to a cheapie folder is that they are best suited to short distance urban "trips," not the rides of 20-30 miles, or more, that we "normal cyclists" like to do. One benefit of the folders, over the S&S couplers, is the relative ease of a "partial breakdown," so as to toss your travel bike in the back seat of a rental car to drive 15-20 miles out of a BUC (Big Ugly City) to a good cycling location. The S&S couplers can breakdown too, leaving the cables connected, but I think the pivot-around-the-seatpost aspect of the Ritchey would make it a bit easier to toss a folded diamond frame into a back seat.

Mel's post makes me think that I should more seriously consider putting S&S couplers on my Vanilla. It would be cheaper than a whole new Ritchey, but I dislike the idea of chopping my Vanilla...
 

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Cory said:
Anybody ridden a fairly low-end folding bike, like one of those <$500 Dahons? A friend bought a $20 no-name folder in a thrift shop a few days ago, and I don't want one of those, but the idea is sort of intriguing. I've been looking at the Dahon website and they have two or three bikes around $300-$500 that look like they'd work for casual use. I've already got all the bikes I need, but hey, if you can put one in the overhead bin . . . .
I have quit a bit of experience. In addition to my two Bike Fridays, I also have a Dahon Speed 8. For the price, Dahons are great values. Their downside is they are not airline legal. Dahons are more for commuting bikes vs the high end bikes like Friday's are travel bikes.

What would be your intended use?
 

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n00bsauce
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It's always tough to do major surgery on a bike you love but when it's done you'll wonder what all the fuss was about. However, I did it on an '89 Schwinn Circuit I bought for $200 in pristine condition. This was their model just below the Paramount. What really drew me to the bike was the Sante components in pearl white. The bike is now just about my favorite, even with 7spd downtube shifting. It rides and handles EXACTLY like it did before the couplers, I don't know they're there.

Think of it this way. After the surgery you can take your best friend to see places it never dreamed of and you can have your best friend with you wherever you go.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks--I'm working on the details now

Dave Hickey said:
IWhat would be your intended use?
Haven't really given it much thought--I came into a few hundred unexpected dollars this month, and I'm following a whim. I've thought about couplers for my Atlantis, too, but I hate to cut the bike and it would still be a big package--it's a 64cm frame. My wife's going to be traveling quite a bit over the next year or so, doing research and signing books, and I often go with her. She's busy during the day, which gives me some free time, and it's hard to rent decent bikes, especially in my size. I'd probably use it most knocking around the outskirts of strange cities, riding bike paths from the hotel room etc. Airline-ability would be a plus.
I found a Dahon dealer in the SF Bay Area with several in stock, and I have to go down there next week anyway, so I'll ride a few and see if I really want one or should just spend the money on pizza.
Thanks, everybody
 

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Cory said:
Haven't really given it much thought--I came into a few hundred unexpected dollars this month, and I'm following a whim. I've thought about couplers for my Atlantis, too, but I hate to cut the bike and it would still be a big package--it's a 64cm frame. My wife's going to be traveling quite a bit over the next year or so, doing research and signing books, and I often go with her. She's busy during the day, which gives me some free time, and it's hard to rent decent bikes, especially in my size. I'd probably use it most knocking around the outskirts of strange cities, riding bike paths from the hotel room etc. Airline-ability would be a plus.
I found a Dahon dealer in the SF Bay Area with several in stock, and I have to go down there next week anyway, so I'll ride a few and see if I really want one or should just spend the money on pizza.
Thanks, everybody
They are fun bikes. My only real complaint is the top tubes are long for shorter people. Naturally, I couldn't leave the bike stock. I put drop bars, different cranks, etc.....

For less than $500, the Speed 8 is hard to beat.
 
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