Dahon, Day One

Today was my first day of riding the Dahon Vitesse D7HG, reputed to be one of the best folding bikes out there. I picked it up from my friend P on Friday and had all weekend to practice folding it. Luckily, it wasn’t that difficult! I was impressed by how well the parts fit together and most of all, that it fit in the trunk of my Mustang convertible.

Please ignore my grocery bags.

Junk in the trunk: Please ignore my grocery bags.

They claim it folds/unfolds in 15 seconds; on a cold day, with two pairs of gloves on, I can tell you it takes more like 30. But once it’s open, it looks like this:

Ta Da-hon!

Ta Da-hon!

OK, you’re thinking, but how was the ride when compared to the splendor of this, your usual commuting vehicle?

My 1990 Schwinn

My 1990 Schwinn

First adjective: vigorous. With the tires being only 20 inches instead of 24, I had to pedal furiously and stayed in the 5-7 gear range. I am woefully ignorant when it comes to bicycle mechanics, but having one more gear on this one (or adjusting the gears up? is that the right terminology?) would make it work better for me in Nashville.

That said, the bike was much lighter than my Schwinn — 26 lbs to an estimated 36. So despite the furious pedaling, I didn’t exert myself any more than usual.

The other thing that stood out was the handling. Perhaps it’s because the handlebar stem is so long, but this is not a hands-free bike. Signaling turns made me wobble, and the slightest weight fluctuation from hand to hand did the same. Still, that’s something you would probably adjust to in time — I’ll update this at the end of the week.

On the shallower end of the spectrum, the fashion value of this bike is high (it’s a bike AND a gadget!), which is something not to be discounted. The design is basic without being boring. The brakes worked well and the gears (on an internal hub, very nice) shifted smoothly. With the weather what it was this morning and tonight, I didn’t meet many people on the road, but I hope to get some good reactions to the bike over the course of the week. So far I’ve not seen one like it in Nashville…

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10 thoughts on “Dahon, Day One

  1. msdottie says:

    I still need to see a picture of you on this creature! Honestly, I cannot imagine how it works. I know you’re on the shorter side, but this looks a bit ridiculous :)

  2. msdottie says:

    Also, rock the puns!

  3. editrish says:

    Yes, someone extremely tall/large would definitely look ridiculous. I’ll try to snag an innocent bystander to take a photo tomorrow. As for the horrible puns, isn’t that how we roll here? ;)

  4. dsquareduk says:

    Great choice of bike! I’m a Dahon fan and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed with the D7HG. :-)

    msdottie, take a look at my review for more on this great bike!

    http://davesdahon.wordpress.com/2008/08/12/dahon-vitesse-d7hg-review/

  5. Allison says:

    Awesome Trisha!! :) Oh yes, picture please, even though I already saw you sitting on it. We need an ACTION shot!

  6. editrish says:

    Hi Dave! great post. I’m just riding the Dahon for the week, but it was loaned to me by a friend who has really enjoyed it. It’s a neat little bike for sure.

  7. Tinker says:

    Dahon’s are generally geared a little low, so see about changing the front chainring up a tooth or two. The small tires are the equivalent of lower gears anyway.

    Have you looked at the Dahon Espresso? 24″ tires on it. Makes it look more like a ‘real’ bike, steadier pedaling, better handling.

  8. editrish says:

    Thanks for the pointers, Tinker! I’ll mention that to my friend if she has issues with the gearing.

    I would love to try a larger Dahon. This one seems extremely well made but since I don’t really need a folding bike for practical reasons (don’t practice multi-modal commuting, etc) the trade-offs in the quality of the ride don’t make sense for me.

  9. [...] Nashville, to see what it’s like to have a folder (and measure how it compares to the Dahon I’ve ridden in the past), before sending it back to Jango. Like some other people we know, LGRAB was offered the test bike [...]

  10. [...] Nashville, to see what it’s like to have a folder (and measure how it compares to the Dahon I’ve ridden in the past), before sending it back to Jango. Like some other people we know, LGRAB was offered the test bike [...]

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