Question: Which Downtube bike should I buy?
Answer: See the below table to help explain the advantages and disadvantages of each bike.
Overall if you are looking for the smoothest riding bike buy the FS ( full suspension ) bike. If you need a frame mounted rack get the 9 or 8H. If you want a super lightweight bike get the mini or Nova. Women seem to love the mini because of the low standover height and lightweight.
Want to compare specifications of the different models? Please view our specification table
|Full Suspension ( FS models )
- Amazingly comfortable ride
- Many color choices: white, yellow, black.
- Extra tall frame to fit tall riders
|Our heaviest bike at a lightweight 27 lbs
|Front Suspension models ( 9 and 8H )
- Almost as comfy as the full suspension with suspension fork and wide saddle
- Includes frame mounted rack, and rear fender make this our top commuter model
|Front fork adds about 1.5 lbs of weight to the bike
- Lightest bike we carry at 24lbs
- Super compact folded size
- 8sp Internal hub
- Super low standover height. Great for kids, women, and seniors
- Not as adjustable as our bigger bikes
- Frame is not as tall as the 9FS hence taller riders (well over 6’) may not fit as well. Best suited for riders with under 33" inseam
Q Why are your bikes so much less expensive than your competition?
A. We design, import, distribute, and retail our bikes. With all the savings we are able to sell $800-$1500 bikes for $500-$730.
Q How do your bikes compare to your competition?
A. View a detailed feature comparison of Downtube vs. Dahon
, Downtube vs. Xootr Swift
, Downtube vs. Brompton
, Downtube vs. Bike Friday
, Downtube vs. Montague
, Downtube vs. Citizen Bike
. A short comparison of our main competitors is below:
Dahon: They created the market in the late 70's. Currently the only Dahon's in our price range are the Speed 7 ( MSRP $550 ). This bike has a steel frame, no suspension, and 7sp freewheel drivetrain ( a cheaper version of our quality cassette drivetrain ). All our 20" wheel bikes have aluminium frames and high end 9sp cassette drivetrains, suspension designs, many design improvements including braze-ons for water bottle cages, disc capable brake systems and replaceable rear hanger. Dahon's in the $1400+ range are more competitive with our suspension models.
Brompton: The Brompton has a great fold, however the drivetrains and other components are nearly 10 years old. Our mini competes very well with all Bromptons. The standard Brompton starts at over $1000 has a heavy steel frame ( bike weighs 28lbs ), bad brakes, 3 speeds, and thumpy elastomer suspension. Our mini starts at around $600, has a lightweight aluminium frame ( bike weighs 24lbs ), excellent V brakes, and high quality 8 speed Sturmey Archer internal hub drivertrain ( with optional belt drive )
Xootr: The Xootr 8sp folder costs $799. However it has one of the largest folded size of any 20" wheel folding bike. Our bikes fold much smaller, come with better drivetrains, and they cost less.
Bike Friday: Friday's are expensive ( $1200+ ), made of steel with minimal suspension, and difficult to fold ( except the tikit ). All our models have similar weight and performance characteristics with the Friday lineup...and cost much less. 8H with Shimano Nexus hub and Gates belt drive costs about $700. A BikeFriday Tikit with the same drivetrain is over $2000.
Montague: Montague's are nice heavy duty full size 26" wheel bikes. Our bikes have better suspension, hence more comfort, and fold down to about half the size of a Montague.
Strida: Strida's are lightweight and compact. However they are uncomfortable, and have a bad reputation for durability. They are an option for inner city bikers that do not have far to ride. Our mini is more comfortable, very durable, 8sp drivetrain, and costs less than a Strida.
Birdy: A very slick looking full suspension aluminium folding bike for around $1500. Our FS model is equally stylish for less than half the price.
GoBike: Interesting bikes that are not available in the US or UK at this time. Our FS has a better drivetrain/fold/price than the GoBike.
Bazooka: Bazooka's are sold via non traditional bicycle retailers. They are generally considered second rate quality. Most Bazooka's have steel frames and low end 6sp freewheel drivetrains. All our bikes are aluminium with higher quality drivetrains.
Q Will your bikes fit me?
A All our folding bikes have an angled seat tube which is welded behind the bottom bracket. The angled tube correlates a riders arm and leg length. As the rider lifts up the seatpost the virtual top tube increases ( and decreases as the post goes down ). This allows our full suspension and front suspension frames to fit most riders from 4ft 10in - 6ft 6in. Nova and mini bikes will fit most riders 4ft 10in- 6ft.( 33" inseam ).
Tall riders that want to stretch out can purchase a 29.4/25.4mm shim on our site to use a standard 1" tube with 1" threadless stem. to increase reach by up to 150mm
Q Can I take it on an airplane?
A Yes. Scott Holmen was kind enough to post pictures
on how to pack a folding bike in a regulation sized Samsonite Oyster case.
Q I lost my instructions. Can I get another copy?
Q Are your bikes comfortable?
A Most of our 2015 bikes have a Zoom suspension fork. Our Full Suspension (FS) models have a rear shock, which is amazingly comfortable. We challenge anyone to find a more comfortable folding bike! Even our 9 ( front suspension ) model has a comfy saddle to absorb road shock.
Q How adjustable is it?
A The seat post is 500mm long which is long enough for most people. We use a height adjustable stem. Additionally a 29.4/25.4mm shim can be used with a 25.4mm ( 1" ) tube to install a 1" threadless stem to give almost unlimited possibilities. This is a great option for extremely tall or short riders ( shorter riders will have the stem point inwards toward their body )
Q How do I adjust the saddle or stem height?
A Loosen the quick release lever. Lift the seatpost or stem to the required height, and tighten the quick release lever.
Q How do I fold the pedals frame and stem?
A Push the pedals in and they will collapse and fold. To unfold push them inwards then pull out.
Q How do I adjust the brakes?
Q How do I remove the quickrelease wheels?
A. Step 1 Release the brake cable at the V brake ( otherwise the tire will get stuck )
Step 2 Release the quick release lever at the hub and turn the quick release counter clockwise to loosen.
Step 3 Lift the bike up and the wheel will come off.
Step 4 To replace the wheel follow the above steps in backwards order.
Q How do I remove the cranks?
A. Remove the crank bolts ( in the center of the crank ). Then thread a crank removal tool into the center of the crank and turn the handle slowly until the cranks come off the BB.
Feel free to view our pictorial instructions
Q How do I adjust the preload on 2008-2015 model forks?
A Simply turn the dial on the top of the fork.The + direction increases preload and - direction decreases.
Q How do I adjust the shifting on the dérailleur bikes?
Q How do I adjust the SA 8sp internal hub?
A Place the shifter in 4th gear. You need to turn the barrel adjuster until the two yellow marks touch on the back of the hub.
Q The frame looks nice, but is it high quality?
A All our frames are made from 6061 Aluminium the most popular alloy used for bicycles. Hence our frames are light, durable, and rust resistant
Q How many speeds is the bicycle?
A All our bikes are 7, 8 or 9 speed.
Q. Can I use the bikes on a boat?
A. Yes our internal hub bikes can handle any environment including salt water from the ocean. View our mini on a sailboat
Q Are the components high quality?
A All our components are made of aluminium. We include one of the nicest cassettes you can buy, top notch brakes, and excellent hubs. We also feature an adjustable height stem, super soft grips, and nice bar ends ( to help steering and climbing).
It is impossible to find a folding bike configuration comparable to our 9FS ( MSRP $500 ) for under $1000.
Q Can I take it on a boat?
A Sure boaters normally prefer our internal hub bikes with belt drives.
Q Can I take it on a train?
A You should check with your local transit authority. However, we have had no issues carrying the bikes on Philadelphia trains. Once on a train the bike rolls when folded in half, hence there is no need to lift it. Rudi Mayer was kind enough to send us pictures of his Downtube mini
on a New Jersey Transit train.
Q Can I tour on a Downtube?
A YES! Our 9 ( front suspension ) includes a frame mounted rack, hence you can pack and go. However many have toured on the FS as well. View Ben Waddington's FS
set up for touring. The new 9FS has braze ons at the chainstay to support a rack. View pictures of Dr. Yan's first bike tour
with Sam Ryan in 1995.
Q Is it harder to ride a 20in wheel bike?
A Actually it is much easier to ride. The center of gravity is much lower,allowing for a tighter turning radius. Additionally, the stand over height is much lower than a conventional bike, making it safer to ride. Lastly smaller wheels are more efficient under 16mph, hence the bikes are fast!
Q How is the gearing on the 9sp bikes?
A The gearing is low enough to allow most people to climb up most hills. The designer, Dr. Yan Lyansky, claims to be able to climb any hill with his FS bike. The gearing is high enough to easily cruise at over 20mph.
Q Do your bikes have anything special?
A Yes we include braze-ons on the headtube, seat tube, and downtube which can be used for water bottle cages, battery packs, bags, pumps, etc. We also have super soft grips, mini barends, replaceable rear dérailleur hanger, thinner front tire for less rolling resistance.
Q Does it need assembly?
A The bike is 100% assembled, however it needs to be checked and tuned by a professional.
Q Are they safe to ride?
A Our bikes are overbuilt and make to withstand punishment ( especially the FS ). In addition we have safety locks on frame quick release, so it can not fold while riding.
Q Why do you have different front and rear tires on some models?
A This is one of the best features of our bikes. Please note the main force on the front wheel are push based, and pull based on the rear. Pushing is "harder" than pulling, hence more energy is wasted up front. Hence we thinned the front tire. Additionally, the seat tube is angled back. Hence more weight is distributed towards the rear of the bike. Therefore we put a wide rear tire for traction. This configuration is highly efficient, and very safe.
Q Do you ship to Europe? If so which bikes.
A Yes shipping is $150 via FedEx on Tuesday's only. Please contact yanL@downtube.com for information about this special
Q When will the 2015 models be available in Europe?
A They are available now!
Q Do you have tech support?
A Yes our tech email is yanL@downtube.com and phone is 215-245-4032
Q Does it have a warranty?
A All bikes purchased on our website carry a 1 year limited warranty against defects on the frame and parts. Drivetrains are warranted for 1 year by Sun Race or Shimano. Bikes purchased elsewhere may carry a longer or shorter warranty. Please check with the seller to determine your warranty. Warranty's are for the original owner & not transferable.
Q How is the satisfaction guarantee for bikes handled?
A You can return a bicycle within 30 days for any reason. We will refund the cost of the bike minus shipping. We allow only one satisfaction guarantee return per customer per year.