Help on folding bike to get!

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Help on folding bike to get!

Postby garethjones » Sun Nov 11, 2012 20:01 pm

Eh up folks,

I'm after a spot of brain picking on the folding bike front.

I'm going to be commuting from Gillingham in Dorset to Salisbury and I've got a 2 mile ride each end of a 25 min train ride. I've gone through a couple of options but am sort of decided on getting a folding bike. I've decided against leaving a cruddy bike locked up at night and weekends at the Salisbury end as I've been assured even in Salisbury it'll get nicked. So it's time for a folding bike methinks.

It's a bit hilly on the Salisbury side for those who want to know what the ride is like and it's mainly on decent roads. I'm 6ft Tall and weight 11 stone if that has any bearing! As well as those facts my requirements are for a folding bike that will put up with a daily commute, I have a hybrid at home already so a decent ride is important to me. I would rather get something half decent that I can sell afterwards if I need to and because I like to ride something good! My budget is around the £600 mark so I've narrowed the candidates down to the following;

Second hand Brompton - M or S series
Tern Link P9
Dahon Mu P8

My thoughts are as follows;

- I'm not doing a london commute so although the train will be busy, I don't have to have the ultra small folding size of the brompton
- Larger wheels will equal a better/easier ride so I'm leaning towards the Tern and Dahon
- I've read of concerns of the cables sticking out a little bit on the Tern, does anyone have experience of this?

Currently I am leaning towards the Mu as it has a luggage rack, and mudguards built in which is handy for me and the larger wheels. Does anyone have any experience of any of these bikes or advice they could offer me?

Thanks in advance for any help!

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Re: Help on folding bike to get!

Postby samsbike » Sun Nov 11, 2012 20:27 pm


I have a tern C7,which is a cheaper version but I find it very well built. The P7 is probably better and has a better middle hinge.

However, there is a nack to wheeling rather than carrying it at stations and I dare say the brompton is easier in that respect.

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Re: Help on folding bike to get!

Postby malcsussex » Mon Nov 12, 2012 16:38 pm

I ride a Brompton one mile each way at each end of train journey. The bike is perfect for the job. They come at a price but it is excellent. Can you get one on ride to work scheme? If so may be as cheap as a second hand one...
No one told me about that hill!!!

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Re: Help on folding bike to get!

Postby t4tomo » Wed Nov 14, 2012 14:08 pm

Brompton if you can stretch to it. It will hold its money far better than either of the others.

Larger wheels will equal a better/easier ride so I'm leaning towards the Tern and Dahon
not necessarily true. better build quality = better / easier ride. Seriously the ride on my Brompton is different, but not inferior to my other bikes. Smaller wheels accelerate quicker for a start as you have less rotational weight - test ride one. The S series is better to ride than the M, the bar position is more "normal" and the M bars flex slightly.

The Tern looks quite nice, but I fail to see how you can have a commuting bike, that you may wish to ride in your work clothes, that doesn't come with mudguards.

The buid quality of the Brompton is way better than the dahon, I've had mine 7odd years now and its still in great condition. its had the odd new chain and cable here and there and a peddle, but thats it.
Bianchi Infinito CV
Bianchi Via Nirone 7 Ultegra
Brompton S Type
Carrera Vengeance Ultimate Ltd
Gary Fisher Aquila '98
Front half of a Viking Saratoga Tandem

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Re: Help on folding bike to get!

Postby whitebirdyman » Fri Nov 16, 2012 14:56 pm

I can recommend a Birdy. I got one after trying out a Brompton and some other options that we had chance to ride as part of a cycle show put on with an environmental conference. The Birdy seemed to me to ride best and folds reasonable small, though not so compact as a Brompton. The slightly larger wheels seem to give the Birdy a better ride.

Bromptons probably do sell better 2nd hand as there is a ready market for them but Birdys are popular too and seem to go for reasonable money when they come up as there are not so many of them around.

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Re: Help on folding bike to get!

Postby Danny1962 » Sun Nov 18, 2012 21:17 pm

Look on ebay for older 3-speed folders, replace a few parts and you're good to go. Look for Dawes Kingpin, Raleigh Stowaway, Puch Pic-Nic, Kalkhoff etc. They will usually have a 3 speed Sturmey Archer (learn how to adjust these, it's very simple but not instinctive first time round). You will almost certainly need to fit new tyres and tubes, and possibly new brake blocks. If you are in a hilly area you'll probably want to put a larger rear sprocket on, and you may as well put a new chain on at the same time. You may well need to shine up the chrome... it's easy, use tinfoil and some cheap cola.

There's also some real dross around. Avoid the stuff made by manufacturers you can't find any trace of, and the own-brand copycats.

You can often pick up bikes like this for £30 or so, and even with all the work you'll still have plenty of change from £100. Some Raleigh Stowaways go for way too much on ebay. Unless it's in excellent nick, pay no more than £40. Dawes Kingpins fetch a little more.

These bikes are fairly heavy, unattractive to thieves, have bulletproof reliability, awful brakes, are simple to fix, and are cheap enough for you to have two. I've got three!!! I'm amazed how these little bikes get overlooked, by people who pay way more than they need to get a modern design. Your height and weight are fine. I'm 6'1" , 13 stone 8lb and and I'm fine on these bikes.

Photos here... ... ldingBikes
and here... ... nnySBikes# from 9 onwards.

Folders aren't just for commuting. Use them to avoid paying for parking, or take them away on holiday with you if you don't want to use an external carrier.

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Re: Help on folding bike to get!

Postby nigglenoo » Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:53 pm

I know this is a bicycle commuting forum but could you not just lock an ordinary bike up at the Gillingham end and walk the Salisbury end of the journey? Two miles is half an hour to walk and involves no bike wear and tear and maintenance, folding, unfolding, punctures, mechanical breakdowns, lugging bike in and out of office or shed etc at work, plus less issues with traffic and weather has less impact at a walking pace. Walking is even cheaper and has an even lower environmental impact than cycling, especially if it avoids N+1. Just my 2p worth...

This reminds me of a question on a motorcycle forum about which scooter to buy for a three mile commute, for which I suggested a three speed bicycle, which went down like a lead balloon :lol:

EDIT: don't forget your brolly :wink:


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