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At the moment, I'm in the market for a foldable 20" bike, for commuting purposes. I've done my research, and have found two appealing models:

Which of them would you recommend? How are they different? Any differences in terms of weight, ease-of-use, ease-of-tuning, stability, accessories, size, portability, durability, joy-of-use/misery-of-use (it's for my dad)?

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It's hard to answer this without knowing the intended use of the bike. Commuting? Loaded touring? Cruising on the boardwalk? (The number-one concern with folding bikes is how well the frame and folding hardware lasts, and my gut feeling here is "neither". However, Citizen bikes do have a significant following.) –  Neil Fein Jun 1 '11 at 2:38
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@NeilFein: Edited the question. –  Maxim Zaslavsky Jun 1 '11 at 2:44
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I don't have experience with either bike (which is why this is a comment and not an answer), but I'd go with the Citizen. Part of that is my preference for steel bikes -- they last longer, and ride better than Aluminum folding bikes. (That frame hinge on the Schwinn is going to need a lot of looking after, but so will the Citizen's. (If your budget allows, consider a low-end Dahon instead. They frame hinges come loose over time, but they ride very well despote being aluminum.) –  Neil Fein Jun 1 '11 at 2:54
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If you decide to get the Citizen, consider getting the rear rack. If the Citizen folds like the Dahon Curve (of which the Miami looks to be a partial clone), your dad will be able to leave a trunk rack on the rack while the bike is folded. (Check this, but it looks likely to me.) This is amazingly convenient, and means that one can quit toting a backpack around. (I miss this on my Bike Friday, where the rear rack folds under the bike.) –  Neil Fein Jun 1 '11 at 2:59
    
@NeilFein: Thanks for your advice! –  Maxim Zaslavsky Jun 2 '11 at 3:22

5 Answers 5

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I think the real difference is the weight: Schwinn 47 lbs, Citizen 32 lbs. That's substantial. If your dad is going to be carrying it much that 10 pound difference will really count.

My impression is that the Schwinn is compromised to get the low stand-over height, and everything follows from there. That can be important if your dad has limited mobility, but if it's not essential don't buy a bike that adds 10 punds to get it.

Realistically the rest doesn't add up to much - they're both bottom-of-the-range folding bikes that use cheap components and will probably not last very long (a thousand miles or so). I think you need to be clear what you want the bike for and what you expect from it. If your dad is too heavy or rides too much the bike will fall apart quite quickly. Both bikes will be heavy, unweildy luggage when folded.

I would be concerned about the wheels on the Schwinn, the "6 spoke" pattern wheels look like a gimmick to me. they might go out of true easily and look hard to fix. But they look pretty. The Schwinn is 7 speed, the Citizen 6 speed, but that's pretty irrelevant as neither bike will cope well with hills or high speeds.

The Schwinn comes with a bag, for the Citizen it's a $29 extra. If that's important to you, it adds 15% to the price of the Citizen. But I think the Citizen is a (slightly) better bike - they've focussed on a basic bike with basic components rather than paying extra for marketting bullet points ("sprung saddle", "pretty wheels"), so they can spend a tiny bit more on slightly better parts.

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The citizen looks like it can be rolled while folded, an extremely important consideration for commuters, particularly ones who use trains. –  Neil Fein Jun 1 '11 at 2:55
    
Thanks so much! –  Maxim Zaslavsky Jun 2 '11 at 3:22

I recently bought VELA Pearl White folding bike from a Canadian Company called Vela bike. I personally think Citizen, Schwin, and Vela bike all have the similar specs, but for sure VELA folding bikes are better looking than Citizen or Schwinn bikes. For $300 ranged aluminum folding bike, there are limits in the good designed folding bikes in the market in the U.S. I am very happy with my purchase.

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I have the Miami CitizenBike. This may sound like heresy, but I prefer it to my Dahon Eco: better riding position, ease of configuration. If I had known I was going to like the Citizenbike so much I would not have bought the Dahon. I just bought another (the Tokio, 16", 6 speeds), waiting for it to arrive End of my two cents. No: I don't work for Citizen bike, neither I am a disgruntled Dahon user.

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Welcome to Bicycles SE. We expect answers on this site to be supported by objective facts. See our help section for information about what constitutes a good answer. bicycles.stackexchange.com/help/answering –  jimirings Jun 18 '13 at 0:42

I can't stress this enough: I have a Tern (offshoot of dahon) and my gf has owned an older citizen and a newer citizen cuz one got stolen. I take the train to work and carry my bike on with me and ride the rest of the way. Although citizen has excellent customer service, you definitely get what you pay for. The derailleur is total crap, the gearing is terrible except for the slightest hills and the fold is so sloppy, you'd be better off with a non foldie. Dahons/terns come with quality components, fold smoothly, quickly, an stay folded and my god are they lighter which is a huge deal. Plus, Terns hinges are super beefy and easy to use. Check out the Link D8 and I swear it'll fit ur every basic need from hauling gear, weekend cruises, and long 30 mile treks. Tires, brakes, gears, the Tern has it all. BUT if u absolutely have to only spend 200, the citizen is by far the better choice. Get the luggage rack and fenders.

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I'm late to this thread, sorry, but ...I've tested out all the folding bikes at my local bike shop, Dahon and schwinns mostly and ended up buying the Citizen Gotham Large frame. It's a 7 speed 22lb street cruiser, aluminum frame, with all the bells and whistles. I got the seat upgrade for $29 and makes a huge difference for long distance riding. All in I paid about $350. I've been riding it almost 2 years and I'm just bringing it in for a little tweaking now, no parts failures at all. Ill tell ya this, even with the bigger frame at 6' tall I find the bike to be barely just big enough. If your dad is taller than me I'd go with a Dahon, they're more money by 2-3x but their frames are bigger. My wife has the Miami model you mentioned, also a great bike!

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