Monday, January 07, 2013

New Toy: Doppelganger 211 Folding Bicycle


So I just got myself a new toy : a Doppelganger 211 Folding Bicycle. I've been wanting to grab a folding bike ever since I got back from HackInTheBox Amsterdam a few years ago, but due to random stuff happening regularly, I've been delaying on the plan. This is my first personal bicycle since about 10 years ago, where previously during primary school and lower secondary school, bicycle was my primary vehicle.



Why?

Why am I buying a folding bike?. Especially when I already have a car?. No solid reason, but there are several reasons which made it a nice-to-have:
  • I don't like driving for short distance, but walking consumes too much time. A bicycle is a nice middle point.
  • I regularly switch between staying at office and home for a few days, so if I have a bicycle, I want it to not be confined in either of the 2 places, thus, the bicycle need to be able to be transportable in my car - therefore, it should be a folding bike.
  • Sometimes when I need to travel, I keep finding myself wishing there's a bicycle with me so that I can cover more ground in short amount of time. Most of the time, when I'm travelling , it is for conferences, of which I don't have much free time, so being able to cover more ground quickly would put the free time to good use.
  • When on random trip to local places, it's also nice to be able to park somewhere and explore the local vicinity on bicycle.
  • I've been without a bicycle for 10years now, and I want a new bike!. 
Why a Doppelganger?

The reason I picked the brand is quite straightforward - it is not too expensive, have a decent spec, and not to forget, the design is a beauty. I bought mine for less than MYR1.5k from the people at EsyBike. The 20" wheeled bicycle is equipped with 7-speed Shimano gears, front disc brake, and detachable LED torchlight.

Review

As I mentioned earlier, I have been without a bicycle for 10 years now, so some part of this review is mainly based on comparing with the stuff I had from back then.
  • Design - For a folding bike at this price, this machine is a real beauty. When I was considering to buy a folding bike, I researched on various brands of folding bicycle. A lot of the bike designs goes somewhere along the line that it might look as if a panda riding a tiny bicycle when being ridden. There are a number of nice designs from ORiBike, Hummer and Montague, however, their prices are way beyond my budget. 
  • Rigidity and stability - The bike feels very solid and stable, giving a good confidence when riding it.
  • Portability - The portability is decent enough, but not great. The bike barely fit into my car trunk (then again I have a very small car) and I had to remove the pedals before it can fit in, horizontally. The bike folds to a small form, good for stowing, but a bit difficult to carry due to the parts doesn't lock together. I somewhat figured out how to roll the bike while it is folded, making it easier to walk it on a short distance, with a limitation that I can only push it in only a single direction as the other direction will cause the pedal to hit the front wheel. The stock pedal is also not foldable. I'm thinking of buying a foldable pedal and a carry bag and hopefully they'll aid in the portability of this bike.
  • Performance - The 7 speed Shimano works quite well in aiding me climbing hilly roads. The disc brake is awesome, and that is quite important to me as I tend to be a fast cyclist. 12kg weight is light enough for me to pick up the bike onto pavements paths or small obstacles. However, probably due to I was primarily using 26" wheels during my childhood, getting used to 20" wheels takes a bit. 20 inchers have more sensitive steering, and more bumpy ride, so it takes a bit of effort to control and being comfortable on Malaysian roads. 
In summary,  the bike have a decent performance and great design, however, it need a bit of effort to bring around when folded. But for the price, it is still pretty impressive. I hope this machine will serve me well for the days to come.