I've wanted a folding bike for a while. It's fairly common, I think, among cargo bike lovers to also want a bike that you can take anywhere (including in the cargo bike itself). So I was doing some freelance gigs and writing, saving my money, and watching for a good deal.
A Dahon, also an excellent folding bike company, was a more reasonable option, but new they cost $700 and up. I had my eyes open for a used one, but many were single or 3 speeds, 30 years old, and in iffy condition for $100 - $150... or were newer, but 100 miles away and were priced somewhat out of my budget at $350 - $500.
So I had made up my mind to order a nice, entry-level folding bike from Citizen Bikes.
THEN. One amazing day (Monday) I decided to check craigslist yet again, just to see if there was anything new.
A scant mile away from my house was a used Dahon, maybe 6 - 8 years old, for $75. The owner said a friend had given it to him about 5 years ago, and the first time he had unfolded it was to take pictures for craigslist. I couldn't see any gears in the picture, so I figured it was probably a 3 speed internal hub. The owner didn't know enough about it to tell me, but he said he thought it was a 3 speed. At that price, I was willing to drop a few speeds - I asked if I could come take a look. After all, it's not like it was far at all.
Oh. Man. It wasn't a 3 speed. It was an internal EIGHT speed with a chain guard, an aluminum frame, and a hub dynamo light on the front! The rear light still had the 5 year old batteries in it, so it was sadly corroded out, but the (flat) tires took and held air like they had been waiting for the opportunity! The brakes didn't even need to be adjusted, though the handlebars did. It had a spring-loaded, two-footed kickstand, perfect for holding the bike up either folded or unfolded. I hopped on, rode for about 15 feet, and realized that if I didn't put money in that guy's hand and get the bike in my car NOW, someone else would... or he would figure out what the bike was really worth and raise the price! I paid him the $75 and waltzed home!
I wanted to update this before, but the website wouldn't let me - now I know it was because there was more to add to the story!
So I bought the super sweet aluminum Dahon, but there was only one thing that I would have changed - it had 24" tires. Obviously on a deal like this, it wasn't going to stop me from buying and enjoying the bike, but it would have been nice to have a bike that folded up a little smaller.
2 days later, I was still flying high and feeling smug about that find, when my husband turned to me and said "There's another Dahon for sale 30 minutes from here - a 7 speed with 16" wheels for $80. ".
I stared for a second and said "My freelance account can cover that."
So now we have two folding Dahons!