Author Topic: In Praise Of Dahon  (Read 8378 times)

clarion

  • Tyke
In Praise Of Dahon
« on: August 25, 2015, 02:36:00 pm »
This board is in danger of turning into Bromptonland.

So, to introduce somce balance, I thought I would offer an opinion on our Dahon Vitesse HG7.  It's been languishing outside partly under a tarp, unused and ignored for far too long.

Then on Sunday, I dug it out, stuck some pedals on (once I'd got them both to turn on the spindle), soaked the horrible chain in WD40-a-like and treated it to a bit of Epic Ride oil.

It sprang joyfully into life!  :thumbsup:

Yesterday, I had the joy of riding out to get some lunch, and getting to a neighbouring hospital in between rain showers.  It's still undergeared, but I wasn't saying that as I struggled up the steep hill I climbed.  And today, I rode out again, this time in the rain, but it didn't matter at all.

I had a slight setback when the qr bolt on the seatpost binder pinged apart (when the bike was folded in the boot of a colleague's car, oddly), but I've swapped in another from one of the other Dahons in our fleet.  And now it performs excellently.

It's been commented that Brompton favour smallness of package over ride, and Dahon the other way round, and I'd agree with that.  I can't deny that my bike takes up more space than the Origami bikes.  But Oh what joy!  When we all alight from the train, and the men in suits are still fiddling with their twiddly bits as I am already wheeling my bike away fully proud and erect! ;)

Fast fold & unfold, fast and comfortable ride, and fun.  Sure, I need to get round to changing that cog, and maybe the hub, and I could do with a block on the front cause I have bag envy of the Helios.  And the saddle could be replaced by something a bit less sofa.  And I need to find a way to fit bullhorns because of my wrist/shoulder issues.

But it's a damn good bike.

Did I mention I had fun?  ;D
Getting there...

robgul

  • Cycle:End-to-End webmaster
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Re: In Praise Of Dahon
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2015, 02:58:14 pm »
Hear, hear! 

I have a couple of Dahon built, Dawes badged, folders (one lives in my car and my wife's languishes in the garage with limited use) - excellent to ride with their 20" wheels, although the fold speed doesn't compare with a Brompton. 

I'm pretty big (that's tall you understand, not fat!) and have to say I struggle to ride a Brompton with any sort of comfort or pleasure - in contrast the Dahon is very similar to a normal machine.

Rob

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: In Praise Of Dahon
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2015, 04:01:04 pm »
I have a 20" wheeled folding BSO in the Dahon style (now languishing in the cupboard due to cheese failure), and BSO component issues aside, it was a much more comfortable ride than the average Brompton - especially on poor surfaces.  It's what got me back into cycling for fun.

Agreed about the tradeoff of fold vs ride.  The Sinclair A-bike is probably one end of the spectrum, and Dahon occupies a band of practicality somewhere in the middle.  The far end is poorly defined - naturally I'd be inclined to nominate the HPVelotechnik Grasshopper FX, but I reckon anything that leaves you with bits of bike hanging around loose[1] is dismantleable rather than a true folder (thereby neatly excluding all the proper bikes fitted with S&S couplings).  Montague maybe?


[1] Technically my Brommie falls foul of this due to QRD pedals.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: In Praise Of Dahon
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2015, 04:47:09 pm »
I had a predecessor of the Montague - a Rudge Bi-Frame folding MTB (Montague held the patent on that fold, I believe).  Well, more of a hybrid, really, but it was good for towpaths & bridleways.  But that had to lose a wheel for a full fold, so fails the foldability test.

Moultons and Airnimals similarly, sadly.

But the Dahon Jack, Espresso, Cadenza & Dash all offer larger bikes with a proper fold.  The Dash has small wheels, too.  Looks most odd.
Getting there...

Re: In Praise Of Dahon
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2015, 05:43:43 pm »
here's mine.



donated to me by one of my fellow train commuters after the centre hinge catch and stem catch failed.

I prefer its ride (on Schwable Big apples) compared to my early (and very worn out) Brompton (that I was also given!  ;D) and it's nice to have a wider range of gears. For my current commute (1 mile to the stn and 6 miles and the other end)  the larger fold is fine and it's ideal...

I'd really like a Moulton F-frame stowaway as my train commuter, but having a separable bike rather than a folder wouldn't be the most sensible choice ....

not so much a gravel grinder.... more of a gravel groveller


Re: In Praise Of Dahon
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2015, 06:56:26 pm »
:)  by lucky happenstance I took this orange beauty to london today:



It's great and I find it quicker and comfier than a brompton, but it doesnt fold nearly as well.  (I've also managed to x thread one of the pedals and it's not on straight.  Hopefully I can re-tap the crank... )

Adam

  • It'll soon be summer
    • Charity ride Durness to Dover 18-25th June 2011
Re: In Praise Of Dahon and other folders
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2015, 07:14:48 pm »
I haven't got a Dahon but I've inherited a Bickerton!  Almost mint, still with its original bag and instruction manual.

The ride is "interesting" but it's amazing how light it is compared to the Brompton.  And I managed to fold it first time, unlike the Brompton.
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” -Albert Einstein

Re: In Praise Of Dahon
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2015, 07:40:26 pm »
A Bickerton was my first experience of folding bikes. Sadly the handlebar ends used to twist backward if undue pressure was placed on them and the frame used to fold itself whilst being ridden!!  :facepalm:

it currently lives in my FiL's barn. Much as I like quirky bikes, not being ridden is the best place for it...  :)
not so much a gravel grinder.... more of a gravel groveller


fruitcake

  • some kind of fruitcake
    • Bailey
Re: In Praise Of Dahon
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2015, 08:07:45 pm »
I've had three, and each rides better than the last.  First was a Kalkhoff branded 8 speed which looked good and accelerated like crazy, but rode somewhat harshly.

The Kalkhoff was stolen and I got an MU P8 as a replacement. Another alu frame but so much more compliant and with the curved frame design that gives a better handhold.

On a whim I then bought a 2007 Impulse featuring 24 speed transmission. It has an exceptionally comfortable cro mo frame with a mini top tube that serves as a carry handle, which can be seen in the images at the link. I don't think they make that model any more but I'd recommend looking out for used ones, if just for the frame.

http://cyclingfortransport.com/reviews/bikes/dahon-impulse-folding-bike/

Pancho

  • لَا أَعْبُدُ مَا تَعْبُدُونَ
Re: In Praise Of Dahon
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2015, 08:23:20 pm »
I have a Dahon Speed TR circa 2005. I quite like it but I don't really trust the lanky handlebar. Or, indeed, any of the hinges. The main hinge has raised lines in the paint around the hinge. I'm sure it's fine but once those particular brain weasels get going they're hard to dislodge.

So, if anyone wants a lovely but unloved Dahon, drop me a line. It has a hub gear derailleur combo which is ace - if hideously undergeared.

fruitcake

  • some kind of fruitcake
    • Bailey
Re: In Praise Of Dahon
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2015, 11:20:00 pm »
The main hinge has raised lines in the paint around the hinge.

Is it a steel frame?

Morrisette

  • Still Suffolkating
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Re: In Praise Of Dahon
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2015, 12:55:54 pm »
I have a Dahon Curve, which I think has been discontinued though they are still available on various websites. It's a 16-inch wheeled model which Dahon don't make too many of but which IMO makes a lot more user-friendly for daily train commuting. It fits in the space by the door for a start, folded size is larger than a Brompton but not by a lot. I prefer the fold as there is no twiddling to get the bike unfolded. The ride is a little bit harsh but this is mainly due to the shocking state of the roads in Cambridge - on a nice smooth cycle path it's fine. It isn't a fast bike, but I am not a fast rider so this doesn't bother me too much. It has a luggage rack that a small pannier will fit on (and in fact today I have a large one on there). Heel clearance could be an issue for the larger-footed rider. I'd say a taller rider might struggle as well but for me at 5 foot 2 it's a much better fit than that previous Dahon I owned, which was a 20-inch Vitesse (which I sold on). It could be lighter for carrying but it's not too bad. I like it, I'd buy one again.

What I would REALLY like would be a bike that folds small enough for trains but that I could also ride home on (which is 16 miles including one long hill). I wouldn't want to do 16 miles on the Curve. Four is about enough, which is lucky as that's how far away the office is from the station! I did look at the large-wheeled Dahons but the fold is LARGE. I'd be very interested in a larger-wheeled bike (or one that rode like a larger-wheeled bike, including the ability to go up hills) that folded Brompton-style.....
Not overly audacious
@suffolkncynical

Zipperhead

  • The cyclist formerly known as Big Helga
Re: In Praise Of Dahon
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2015, 02:15:19 pm »
I have a Dahon Curve, which I think has been discontinued though they are still available on various websites. It's a 16-inch wheeled model which Dahon don't make too many of but which IMO makes a lot more user-friendly for daily train commuting. It fits in the space by the door for a start, folded size is larger than a Brompton but not by a lot. I prefer the fold as there is no twiddling to get the bike unfolded.

Assuming that you mean the Brompton clamp bolts....

In a fit of mad spending I bought some Bromptification hinge clamps for mine (hey, they save 20g by having titanium bolts!)

They very simple (so simple that I was disappointed in them at first and didn't fit them for a couple of weeks) but make a big difference. Just undo the hinges until the bolt stops turning, the clamp is then open just enough to allow it to fold but held in position so that when you unfold it you only have to turn the bolt.

Twiddling minimised and I'm very glad that I bought them after all.
Our son does know who Boz Scaggs is, we've done ok as parents.

Wascally Weasel

  • Slayer of Dragons and killer of threads.
Re: In Praise Of Dahon
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2015, 02:24:18 pm »
I had a Dahon Cadenza for a bit.  Bits fell off (including the magnet that helped keep it folded when folded) minutes after purchase.  Then after a few weeks of constant use, the fold started to go, in that under any sort of real power it started to fold while riding.

After a bit of back and forth, the retailer (Evans) offered me a replacement, following several attempts to get the fold to work properly and safely.  The same bits that fell off the first bike fell off the second bike shortly after leaving the shop.  Then after another few weeks of constant use, the same problems with the fold occurred and Eavans couldn't get it to work reliably so I got a refund.

It was shame because when it wasn't actually folding up on you while riding it was a great bike to ride and I enjoyed doing so very much until the fold went.  Evans were pretty reasonable in the way they handled the situation as I remember.

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: In Praise Of Dahon
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2015, 02:33:02 pm »
A Bickerton was my first experience of folding bikes. Sadly the handlebar ends used to twist backward if undue pressure was placed on them and the frame used to fold itself whilst being ridden!!  :facepalm:

it currently lives in my FiL's barn. Much as I like quirky bikes, not being ridden is the best place for it...  :)

Mr Bickerton's son works as the DAHON importer technical bod now. 

I know because I had a faulty handlbar clamp on my DAHON which we discussed (and he helpfully replaced) as well as chatting about his father. (Well, if someone at Dahon says their name is "Bickerton" you are inclined to ask the obvious question).
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

Re: In Praise Of Dahon
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2015, 09:53:48 pm »
And mine:



Bought second-hand a year ago, at my friendly LBS. It's about a 2006 model, and apparently it had spent most of its life on a boat, not actually being used much. Now it goes daily into the Big Smoke with me. The colour is unusual for Dahon - it's been suggested that it may have been part of a special batch for some national chain store to sell.

I seem to keep changing bits :D I added MTB-style full bar ends quite quickly, and then I put FD-7 pedals on because my feet slipped on the rubber in the wet. I damaged the front brake owing to a short cable which led to the noodle pulling on the bridge that the cable feeds into, so I've got good Shimano ones on now. And I've just replaced the standard rack in the photo with the Ultimate one, to carry panniers properly, and the accompanying Stash Box.

Oh, and the cassette and chain wore out and the tyres needed replacing (with Marathons).

As I've said elsewhere, the ride must be OK. One pleasant summer evening, in a fit of enthusiasm, I set out from Islington to find the way to Potters Bar, being the edge of the roads I know. In the end I kept going and did 37 miles all the way home, in work clothes. It was fine. Later, I did the trip on a "proper" bike. It wasn't any faster...

StuAff

  • Folding not boring
Re: In Praise Of Dahon
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2015, 10:39:02 pm »
A Bickerton was my first experience of folding bikes. Sadly the handlebar ends used to twist backward if undue pressure was placed on them and the frame used to fold itself whilst being ridden!!  :facepalm:

it currently lives in my FiL's barn. Much as I like quirky bikes, not being ridden is the best place for it...  :)

Mr Bickerton's son works as the DAHON importer technical bod now. 

I know because I had a faulty handlbar clamp on my DAHON which we discussed (and he helpfully replaced) as well as chatting about his father. (Well, if someone at Dahon says their name is "Bickerton" you are inclined to ask the obvious question).
Mark Bickerton did work for Dahon- when the Tern split happened he became the Tern importer instead.

StuAff

  • Folding not boring
Re: In Praise Of Dahon
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2015, 10:54:23 pm »
Back on topic- Chutney my Speed Pro TT, formerly owned by Woolypigs of this parish. Rather less ridden than the rest of the stable, but certainly not the least loved, or the least useful. 10kg (well, it was before the rack went on), notably stiffer and quicker than my old Jetstream XP, and every gear I'll ever need thanks to the DualDrive hub. Made an effective touring bike in May with the addition of a Tern Cargo Rack. Fold's a bit clumsy (on account of those bullhorns) but it'll still go on any train.  Still puts a smile on my face every ride. Also had a Cadenza (2007 vintage, same as WW's), which was great- apart from needing the hinges replaced, think that's a theme!- until some scrote nicked it.

Pancho

  • لَا أَعْبُدُ مَا تَعْبُدُونَ
Re: In Praise Of Dahon
« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2015, 07:41:55 am »
The main hinge has raised lines in the paint around the hinge.

Is it a steel frame?

Yes.

Is that good or bad for the prognosis?

fruitcake

  • some kind of fruitcake
    • Bailey
Re: In Praise Of Dahon
« Reply #19 on: September 11, 2015, 09:20:23 am »
I'd be happier riding a steel frame than an alu one with a potential issue of this kind.

If it's such a worry that it stops you riding the bike, you could take a slip of sandpaper to the paint to check the metal at this point. That would allow you see if the metal is split, or if they're lines of surface rust, or indeed if they're just cracks in the paint. Rust lines can be spot-treated.

Re: In Praise Of Dahon
« Reply #20 on: September 11, 2015, 09:38:56 am »
My Mu Uno, which I LuvLots, in its pre-pre-loved state.



Perfect in its simplicity.

Re: In Praise Of Dahon
« Reply #21 on: September 11, 2015, 10:08:31 am »
I much prefer the ride of my Dahon Speed TR (2006 - I think) to my Brompton. I t goes on the train well enough for train out & ride home rides, and that's as much fold as I need.

Also have a Cadenza but I prefer the 20" wheels of the speed TR. Chris Bell, formerly of Highpath Engineering, has done many thousands of miles charity riding for cancer on his Cadenza using the fold to bag the bike for air travel and then using the bag as a camping mat. However, like Trigger's broom, he is on his third frame.



Never knowingly under caffeinated

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: In Praise Of Dahon
« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2015, 10:55:22 am »
But it's a damn good bike.

Did I mention I had fun?  ;D

Glad you're enjoying it.

Under-gearing seems fairly common, I know it is with my 3-speed Brommie.

Basically I think they are mostly geared for non-cyclists, with puny thighs.

This is probably the bike Clarion is referring to.  I'd still own it if it had folded down about another 2" lower so it could fit inside my trailer tent.

This is my marketing photo that enticed Clarion to part with his cash  :demon:


A bike like this, to me, makes perfect sense for families.  They pretty much allow anyone, of most sizes, to ride in comfort, obviate the need for bike racks on cars and, being hub-geared, are extremely resilient and low maintenance.  A squirt of oil on the chain every so often and they are ready for action at any time (as Clarion has proved).

The work of genius that is the Brompton Luggage mounting block should be adopted as an ISO standard and fitted to every folder imo. 
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

Re: In Praise Of Dahon
« Reply #23 on: September 24, 2015, 09:03:20 am »
The work of genius that is the Brompton Luggage mounting block should be adopted as an ISO standard and fitted to every folder imo.

I've fitted one to my Speed TR. :)
Never knowingly under caffeinated

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: In Praise Of Dahon
« Reply #24 on: September 24, 2015, 01:16:57 pm »
Under-gearing seems fairly common, I know it is with my 3-speed Brommie.

 :o


Quote
Basically I think they are mostly geared for non-cyclists, with puny thighs who pedal at lower cadences.

Is why I reckon they're mostly over-geared...


Quote
The work of genius that is the Brompton Luggage mounting block should be adopted as an ISO standard and fitted to every folder imo.

Agreed.  Any bike that will reasonably take one, really.  Kudos to Circe for making them a stock option.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...