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I'm looking for a bike for about half an hour of use a day in town. Don't have room in my flat so it will be a folding bike, and it has to cost less than £200.

I consider buying this one

Is it a good choice, or are there better options in the same price range ?

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Although it's not what you've asked for, I'd consider a unicycle if it's only short distances. –  Phil Johnstone May 27 '12 at 9:50

6 Answers 6

up vote 6 down vote accepted

There no bike on the market that is very good at folding and also very good at “biking”! So you have to decide if you care most about the folding or how well it works as a bike. For a bike to fold into a small space it must have small wheels. Small wheels are never as good a ride as full sized wheels.

The Brompton is consider to be one of the best folders about if you care mostly about the “folding” side of the equation, however it costs a lot more than £200 unless you get a very good deal on a 2nd hand one.

For £200 I think you will have to look on the 2nd hard market for anything good. However even a “bike shape object” is better than walking or sitting in a road jam! The bike you have linked to I would put in this category, check you are happy with its weight if you have stairs to need to take it up. You will also not be able to take it on most public transport as it does not fold small enough.

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It looks to fold as small as a 20" wheel Dahon. It's not ideal for public transport, but it's good enough for, for example, "only folding bikes allowed on these trains" to Cambridge. I took my old Dawes Kingpin on a Cambridge bus once without problems too (inner tube failed at the valve where I couldn't patch it, and my spare tube turned out to be faulty, and nearby bike shops were closed). If you can find a second hand Brompton for less than £200, it's a friend giving you a very generous deal, it's in very poor condition, it's stolen, or you are incredibly lucky. –  armb Nov 29 '12 at 10:42
    
Incidentally, my 1970s Dawes cost me £3 from the local recycling centre, though I spent rather more than that on parts - still a lot less than a new folder though. Similar old folding bikes are regularly on ebay for less than £100. (And have a perhaps surprising following, e.g. sheldonbrown.com/raleigh-twenty.html) Eventually the main hinge was so worn I bought a second hand Dahon, which was much a better bike in some ways, but not all, and even second hand was over the £200 budget. Then its seattube cracked. I now have a Birdy, but that's way outside the budget. –  armb Nov 29 '12 at 10:45

No first-hand knowledge, but I've read that the Brompton and Bike Friday are decent folders. Many others (eg, Citizen) are not.

If at all possible, ride before you buy. Many folders force you into an awkward posture.

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I would go with a Dahon myself such as this one: Dahon Eco

Dahon has been around for a long time and is well known for manufacturing folding bikes. I have a friend who uses a similar bike to commute more than an hour each day. It is fairly reliable. He travels mostly on side streets.

I myself uses a Brompton M6R but only for short range commutes or for multi-modal commutes where I would only ride a maybe maximum of 5 km one way and only when I can use side streets. Beyond 5 km and/or when I have to travel via arterial roads, I use a cyclocross bike with bigger 700c wheels. The Brompton is just too slow to travel safely in my opinion on arterial roads where I live where the speed limit is 60 kph... most cars do more than that though.

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I strongly recommend taking your folding bike for a test ride before buying. While test-riding the Dahon Eco, I found the Eco's geometry on the front handlepost and headset combined with the wheel size resulted in a "loose" steering that felt uncomfortable. Switching to the Speed D7 gave us more comfortable steering in a folded size we were comfortable with. TL;DR: Test drive your bike before buying. –  jchung May 28 '12 at 14:51
    
The Dahon Speed is more expensive than the Eco which I recommended based on the OPs budget. But I agree that if given the opportunity, it is best to test ride any bike before buying it. Also note that in general the smaller the wheel size, the more "lively" it will feel. The Brompton which has 16" wheels takes getting used to especially if you don't carry luggage in the front... it is "livelier" than bigger wheeled folders. –  cyclo May 29 '12 at 0:27

You're going to struggle to find a decent folding bike in that price bracket. I ride a Birdy and a Bike Friday both of which are great riders but cost me over £500 second hand. I've got a Moulton F-frame Stowaway too but these are rare and also probably too expensive. How about looking at an old Raleigh 20 (or similar) from the 1970s? I've ridden a few of these and passed them on to friends later. (I've got a tandem version now). I've found the ride position to be good. The 3 speed hub gears are indestructible and you can pimp them endlessly if you want to later. Look at Sheldon Brown's website for ideas.

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I work in a well known high street cycle shop, and from my experiance customers who've bought Dahon have had nothing but problems. The bike has some serious problems. We make more money from repairing Dahon than selling them. My advice is that you buy the best you can afford, and the best folding bike by far is the Brompton, it wil last you decades. I hope it helps

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Mezzo D9 here. Lots of problems, and it's not even a cheap bike. Like the other posters say, Brompton may be the only way. I've owned 4 folders thus far.

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