Dahon Debriefing

I kind of slacked off with the Dahon D7HG Vitesse reporting thing toward the end of last week. It’s been an interesting ride. For what it’s worth, here’s my overall assessment. But first, little bit of context here that probably won’t surprise most people: I don’t know a ton about bicycle mechanics. It is entirely possible that I am not giving enough weight to the marvel of engineering that is a folding bike, or the quality of the gear hub, or some other mechanical component…

There were a lot of pros for this one: Folding and unfolding the bike was easy, especially after a few days of practicing. The Dahon is attractive, and is definitely made with the commuter in mind. There is a pump inside the seatpost, and the fenders, chain guard and rear rack with integrated bungee cord are found on too few bikes sold in the US. If it had integrated head and tail lights, it would be perfect. And I loved the single-bar frame, which made mounting and dismounting easy for a shortie like me. At about $600, it is a good value. If I could have half a dozen bikes, one of them would probably be a Dahon…which leads me to the con. Singular.

Dahon had to make a few tradeoffs to make the bike foldable—and the things that were lost, while pretty minor, were more important to someone in my situation than the things that were gained. When the bike was folded, it was fairly heavy and awkward to carry (a bag or a strap would probably be an easy fix). The smaller tires, the slightly rougher ride, not to mention unfolding and adjusting the stem and seat height every time I wanted to ride (yes, it was easy, but I told you I’m lazy!) just weren’t worth it to me since I don’t need a bike that folds. But if you do? Try one out. I’m actually quite curious about the full-size folding models they have. Anyone out there taken a spin on one?

And thanks to P for the fun week!

more Dahon reviews:
Urban Velo
Dave on Dahon

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9 thoughts on “Dahon Debriefing

  1. msdottie says:

    That is the take-away point – don’t buy a folding bike if you don’t need a bike that folds :) But it looked like a really fun experiment. Did you get more funny looks from people as you went down the street?

  2. Trisha says:

    Yeah, once again you put it more concisely than I did! Probably completely obvious to everyone else out there, but I didn’t know that they rode any differently before I got on one.

    Strangely enough, I got no weirder looks than I did any other time I ride my bike. But I never did see another Dahon in Nashville.

  3. Charmaine says:

    I have two folding bikes – both made by Bike Friday. They are more expensive than the Dahons, but are very well made. The reason I have two, is because one “slightly” (the back half) and then the rest of it disassembles (quick releases). It has 24 gears (including very low gears like a mountain bike) and I use it for touring mostly. The other (called a Bike Friday Tikit) folds VERY fast (5-8 seconds), and when folded, it has two options of getting it around — it has a handle that juts out the back that you can hold onto and roll the bike in front of you. And it has a rolled up cover that can cover the bike, and has a strap handle to pick the bike up and carry it. Granted, the bike isn’t the lightest (20+ or so lbs.) – so it’s easier to roll it than carry it far. I went car-free a year ago, and this Tikit has come in handy when taking public transportation (like buses or Amtrak). Charmaine

  4. Charmaine says:

    P.S. I meant to say that my first Bike Friday I mention “slightly” folds (I forgot to put “folds” in the sentence!). :)

  5. Trisha says:

    Hi Charmaine! Yes, I can definitely see a folding bike being useful for the multi-modal commuter (is that a word?). And I’ve heard really good things about Bike Friday folding bikes. I love the idea of being able to roll the bike. That would make things so much easier. I always had to fold up the Dahon and then carry it into my office building, and it weighs about 26 pounds.

  6. Allison says:

    I was thinking about the folding bike today Trisha when I was following the bus. There are always bikes strapped on the front and I always thought to myself, what a pain in the a$$. So, I agree-I bet the folding bikes would be good for this type of travel (so, I guess I could bike to the bus stop, then from the bus stop to work, but, I too am lazy). Other than that, I’m pretty sure if I did ride a bike, it’s be fully assembled. That’s like having to make your bed everyday. WHEW, exhausts me just thinking about it. ;)

  7. Trisha says:

    That is EXACTLY what it’s like, Ali! Maybe people who make their beds every day would be perfectly happy with the Dahon. I wish I could be one of them…

  8. Stephanie Rivera says:

    I have a Dahon Eco 7 and I love it. I do agree that if you don’t need a folding bike there is no reason to buy one but in my situation it’s perfect. I take the bus (which has a bike rack but if it’s full you can’t take a non foldable bike inside) and the train (which only let’s nonfoldable bikes inside on the weekends) all the time and with a foldable bike, I can take it inside the bus and train anytime. Also I get compliments for my bike :) and people have asked where can they buy one.

  9. Stephanie Rivera says:

    I have a Dahon Eco 7 and I love it. I do agree that if you don’t need a folding bike there is no reason to buy one but in my situation it’s perfect. I take the bus (which has a bike rack but if it’s full you can’t take a non foldable bike inside) and the train (which only let’s nonfoldable bikes inside on the weekends) all the time and with a foldable bike, I can take it inside the bus and train anytime. Also I get compliments for my bike :) and people have asked where can they buy one.

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