The Chainlink

Looking for Folding Bike Recommendations--Got a job in the suburbs.

I got a job in the 'burbs. I want to go bike to metra train to bike.  I've heard metra horror stories about bringing full sized bikes on the train and I think a folding bike is right up my alley.  What can you guys recommend?  What have your experiences with foldies been?

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First,  if you're traveling from Chicago to the suburbs on Metra in the mornings, you can take a full-size bike onboard - most of the time.

However, if you're set on a folding bike, consider a Brompton.  I take mine on the Metra all the time.  It's the most compact folding bike, and there are a few nooks and crannies on the train where you can easily stow it.

Riding a Brompton does take a little getting used to.  The wheels are only 16", so it's a little "twitchy".  But it has great acceleration from a standing stop, and lots of nice accessories for commuters.  And the fold is sooooo elegant. It's the only folding bike that owners regularly fold and unfold just for the fun of it.

Brompton. I love mine. I use it on the CTA and busses with no problems. The best
Thing about the fold is the greasy bits are on the inside. I prefer the ride to my big wheeled bike.
Dahon Speed D7 is what I use for occasional work trips on Amtrak and Metra but Ive read about cracked frame issues for people that ride it frequently. I bought it used for $300.

If you just got a sweet, high paying job then I suggest the IF Mode. If you do buy this, can I test ride it? :)

http://www.pacific-cycles.com/product3.asp?cat1=1&cat2=4&pid=1

I was not sure whether a folding bike was for me so I bought a cheap Citizen Miami.

I've been riding it to work for about two years now, and have really never had an issue with it.  I did switch out the tires, but the only work it has needed was a new chain, and a new brake cable.  I beat the crap out of it on a daily basis.  It does what it is supposed to do, and has never let me down.  It folds easy, and comes with two velcro ties to secure the fold, front and rear fenders, a bell, and a rear rack.  

That said.....the damn thing is HEAVY, and the fold is not as neat as the Dahon D7 that I was allowed to borrow for a week.  Lifting it on and off of the train, fine.  Lifting it on and off the train, getting up a few flights of stairs, and going through revolving doors during rush hour....not so much.  

I don't know much about bike brands or components so I'm sure that there are many people on here who can educate me on why the Citizen bikes are horrible.  If you have the money, get something better.  If you don't, in my experience Citizen makes a perfectly serviceable bike (if you don't mind an upper body workout).  Good luck!

 

I've got a Dahon Speed 8-speed (20" wheels) that's served me well for years. Many of the currently available folders weigh around 25 lbs and fold to the size of a large suitcase.  You may want to test ride a few different folders with different wheel sizes.  Common sizes are 12", 16" and 20".  The smaller the wheel, the more sensitive it is to pavement imperfections (potholes, steel grate bridge decks, railroad tracks, etc.) and the more squirrelly the handling.  Also, smaller wheel = smaller fold.  That's the trade-off.  I hope you find something that works well for you.

I've got a Dahon D7 (I think; I got it off Craigslist) and while I like it, it would be annoying for anything more than a shortish commute as even the highest gear doesn't seem so high, requiring a lot of pedaling. But it's a nice ride and I like it other than that. I just use it to tool around on my breaks at work.

Another vote for a Brompton. The fold is quick and easy. They are reasonably light and compact enough you carry it like you would carry any other package. There are almost no occasions when anyone objects to the presence of a Brompton. They see a package, they don't see a bike.

The range of accessories is exceptional and they are all integrated brilliantly.

Bromptons are expensive. Real expensive. They are still made in London, very few subcontractors. This also means absolute quality control. Very unlikely you'll find a used one, those who own them keep them. The cost is partly balanced by the fact (and it is a fact) that you will use the bike. A lot.

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