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!