Which Folder?

JWSurrey Posts: 1,173
edited February 2008 in Road general
Anyone got any tips or opinions on a folding bike for use round London?
I'm after something that'll take a pannier rack and have a 30 inch gear.
Dahon do a few different models that may fit the requirement.

The bike has to fold in order for me to be allowed to take it on the rush-hour train (SWTrains - great people that they are).

How reliable are these skinny tyred/rimmed models that are kicking around now?


  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    Depends how much you want to spend. Mezzo are very nice, designed by ex f1 designer Jon Whyte. The frames are really something better than most as they dont have some massive clip in the middle to weaken it, but instead its at the top of the seatstay. It also clips in automatically, saving a bit of time faffing at the station. Plus theyve actually got half decent parts on them. Tiagra rear mech compared to the usual sis/tourney on folders.

    or theres the hub geared version

    If you're after something cheap, Ridgebacks are still pretty good. Sturdy enough frames and basic components. Not too difficult to fold, but not as straightforward as the mezzos.


    Plus the derailleur type all have 30t gears. But note that the gearing is relative to the size of the wheel.
  • rdaviesb
    rdaviesb Posts: 566
    I ride a Dahon Mu XL around town. I bought it because of the Nexus 8 speed hub, with a gear range between 30 and 89 inches. Its not the lightest thing in the world (28lbs), but I'm always carrying luggage so it doesn't matter to me! Overall, highly recommended.
  • JWSurrey
    JWSurrey Posts: 1,173
    Thanks for the replies.
    RDavies - What's the Nexus like changing gear? How many miles/times have you ridden on it?
    Trying to get a feel for the Nexus reliability and how quick/practical it is to shift gears as much as one may do so on a trad. derailleur geared bike.
    My only memory of hub gears is the old Sturmey Archer 3 speeds that used to bend my thumb - changing gear was only done when it was absolutely necessary and I could afford the 10 seconds of freewheeling!

    I'm not sure about the Mezzo - It's actually heavier than most of the Dahons, which have larger wheels and a greater gear range.
    Looks more compact and ergonomic to fold though.

    Any recommended folder shops in central London/Surrey?

    Anyone compared skinny and fat tyred folders in terms of effort required to move it/robustness?

    I'm quite interested in the Dahon Speed TR (24 speeds and dynamo) or the Mu P24 with a rack.

    Anyone got any click-fix luggage? Ideally I'd like something around 15 litres that would double as a rucksack, and sit on the front where I can keep an eye on it.
  • rdaviesb
    rdaviesb Posts: 566
    The Nexus gear change uses a grip shift. I've ridden about 1500 miles on the bike since I got it last July, (and all winter) and I've not had to adjust the hub at all. The grip shift is great - changes are really quick and a lot more convenient than a derailleur. Changing gear when stationary is a real boon in London traffic. The gear spread is good; I find that I could do with something between 5 & 6, but I've sorted that by getting a bit stronger!

    The bike runs on Schwalbe Marathon Racers - 1.5 inches wider. I've had no flats, and the tyres roll well. Again, good for coping with potholes. Folding the Dahon takes me about 30 seconds. I use a Carradice SQR block on the seatpost to mount a Nelson Longflap saddlebag, into which goes a laptop, change of clothes and various other bits of detritious. The bag has a 24 litre capacity, and smaller ones aroudn 15 litres are also available.

    I've also added Ergon R2 grips, which really help with alternative hand positions. The MU XL also comes with a hub dynamo, rear rack and pump inside the seat tube (not a suspension seatpost as often pictured). I thought the pump was going to be a waste of time, but it's almost as effective as my track pump.

    I also looked at the Speed TR, but UK availability was a nightmare. Good things are said about the gears. I'm glad I went for the Mu XL in the end though. All the mucky bits are enclosed, with for me makes this a great commuting town bike.