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  1. #1
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    Could a BF owner be happy with a Dahon?

    I have owned a Bike Friday New World Tourist for nearly 6 years and am VERY happy with it. I use it for loaded touring (including mountainous areas), my daily short commute to work, running errands, as well as occasional group rides. It has served me very well. I have no intention of replacing it for those purposes.

    I am wondering, however, if it would make any sense for me to buy a Dahon for a couple of other purposes, namely being able to easily take it on public transport (subway) during rushhour when regular bikes are disallowed, as well as brief non-touring trips (under 4 days) when I simply don't feel like dismantling and re-building my BF two times for such a brief trip. On the couple of occasions when I have folded my BF for rushhour trains, I found it too cumbersome and awkward. I am not big and strong. I'm about 5' 6" (166 cm) and weigh under 130 lbs (under 59 kg).

    Being used to a Bike Friday, would I find the ride of a Dahon too inferior to tolerate? Is it truly easy to fold & carry on public transport? Is my height compatible with having a decent fit on a one-size-fits-all Dahon? What do people pack a Dahon in if they want to put it on an airplane? Thanks for your thoughts & comments.

  2. #2
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    Is a Swift Folder/Xootr or Brompton out of the question?

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    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    I think you will be happy with a Dahon just as long as you stay realistic about not overcomparing the two bikes. For the money you pay for a Dahon, I find that the bike exceeded my expectations of a similar bike model in that price range. I am very happy with my bike (a 2003 Boardwalk). It folds more conveniently than a Bike friday since the parts do not separate and stays together in a neat bundle when I board a train. It takes me where I want to go with no fuss or muss. I did not sell my other bike since it performs a different function than the Dahon and I am happy with each one.

    So go ahead and purchase a Dahon if it suits your commuting needs. I am sure that you will find like I have that no one bike will upsurp the other in value. Each will offer it's own charm and features.

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    Maybe it is a bad idea, but how about adding an S & S coupler to your BF frame for a quick(er) fold option..? I don't know if the NWT frame tube is a standard dimension. also for the retrofit of a S & S coupler you can get quite a lot of Dahon bike,.. so it may not be the best option. Just one of the options. I also feel the Swift and Brompton are very viable for commuting situations. The Swift rides better from what i hear and is standardized and affordable. The Brompton folds crazy small.
    http://www.rhizomes.nl/twenty.html
    My Tweaked and modded Raleigh Twenty. Lots of pictures and lots of general info on for example a different & Cheap Bottom Bracket solution as well as fork solution.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CHenry
    Is a Swift Folder/Xootr or Brompton out of the question?
    I know only a little about Brompton, and nothing at all about Swift. What would be the advantages/disadvantages over a Dahon?

  6. #6
    New usename ThorUSA brakemeister's Avatar
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    I think you will be surprised about the Dahon .. coming from a Dahon dealer that opinion is nothing short of expected of course ..... :-)

    Seriously though get a Speed 8....... folds in a heartbeat and is as great bike all by itself.

    Thor

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    Quote Originally Posted by axolotl
    I am wondering, however, if it would make any sense for me to buy a Dahon for a couple of other purposes, namely being able to easily take it on public transport (subway) during rushhour when regular bikes are disallowed, as well as brief non-touring trips (under 4 days) when I simply don't feel like dismantling and re-building my BF two times for such a brief trip. On the couple of occasions when I have folded my BF for rushhour trains, I found it too cumbersome and awkward. I am not big and strong. I'm about 5' 6" (166 cm) and weigh under 130 lbs (under 59 kg).
    I'm about your height and trying to get to your weight with my Dahon. I've been saying the Dahon makes the perfect beater, commuter bike. It's not really a racing or touring bike although people do tour on them. I would find it expensive to beat up a Bike Friday as a commuter with snow, mud and rain.

    The best transportation bikes are the 16' inch wheel models like Brompton and Dahon Presto. A lot of people don't feel comfortable with the smaller wheel base so test out before buying.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by brakemeister
    I think you will be surprised about the Dahon ..
    Ahem, Is that surprised good, or surprised bad?

    I just looked at websites for Xootr & Brompton, and they're more than I feel like spending for a bike I don't really need and will use only occasionally for specific purposes. Dahon seems to fit these purposes better, from what I saw. I'd like to keep it under $500. (I did find out, however, that there's an Xootr dealer right by my home)

    Brakemeister, why a Speed 8 as opposed to some other models, such as Boardwalk, Mariner, or Vitesse? I'm willing to pay a bit more if a good case can be made.

    Nobody has mentioned suitcases. From what I've read, I suspect my Bike Friday suitcase (Carlton) would probably work for a 20" wheel Dahon. Does anyone know for sure?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
    The best transportation bikes are the 16' inch wheel models like Brompton and Dahon Presto. A lot of people don't feel comfortable with the smaller wheel base so test out before buying.
    Why do you think the 16" wheel models are the best transportation bikes (as opposed to 20")? I'd like to keep the same wheel size as my BF, unless there's a compelling reason not to.

  10. #10
    Neat - w/ ice on the side dalmore's Avatar
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    Perhaps I'm speaking out of turn here but I think the recommendation for the speed 8 is that it it the cheapest 20" with Dahon's strongest steel frame - same as on the speed tr and speed pro.

    And I think the idea on going to a 16-inch wheel is that it's smaller and more compact when folded.

    Just curious - why do you expect to be disappointed with the Dahon? Have you ridden one or just going on reputation that BF is the best? Don't take this wrong but people tend to get what they expect. So if you expect the Dahon to be inferior to the BF, you should seriously consider whether it's a mistake and a waste of money to get one.

    Just my opinion ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by dalmore
    Just curious - why do you expect to be disappointed with the Dahon?
    I don't expect (at this point at least) to be disappointed. Re-read my original question. Nothing in the responses thus far makes me think I would be disappointed. I don't buy anything if I expect to dislike it. Now it's true that I don't expect it to be as great as my Bike Friday (and pretty much everything I've read on this forum backs that up). I am quite willing to accept a somewhat inferior ride for the advantages that a Dahon would apparently provide in the 2 situations I originally described.

  12. #12
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Keeping in mind that I am not a BF owner, I think for shorter trips you will be fine with a low-end Dahon. I used my Mariner for a short bike tour of Belgium, rode 45-60 miles a day on it, no problems.

    Dahons will fit into a typical 32" suitcase, although you will need to remove the rear wheel. It should take 20-30 minutes, depending upon your skills and impatience

    The only thing about the lower-end Dahons is they are a bit "flexy," especially if the hinge mechanisms are loose. I'd say they are fine for commuting or when you want to throw your bike in the trunk of the car for a short trip. Any trip where you'd have to put it in a suitcase, you might as well use the BF.

  13. #13
    Member rgilmore's Avatar
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    Go to a stocking Dahon dealer and take a test ride - only way to get a feel for it.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for all of the helpful replies. I've been encouraged by most of what I've read, and will try and test ride a Dahon. I am disappointed that they apparently don't pack up in a suitcase much quicker than my Bike Friday (which takes me about 25 minutes). Better to know that now, though. That changes the equation somewhat.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by axolotl
    On the couple of occasions when I have folded my BF for rushhour trains, I found it too cumbersome and awkward. I am not big and strong. I'm about 5' 6" (166 cm) and weigh under 130 lbs (under 59 kg).

    Being used to a Bike Friday, would I find the ride of a Dahon too inferior to tolerate? Is it truly easy to fold & carry on public transport? Is my height compatible with having a decent fit on a one-size-fits-all Dahon? What do people pack a Dahon in if they want to put it on an airplane? Thanks for your thoughts & comments.
    Given that you are not "big and strong" and from what else I read above about ride quality concerns, you should consider going 'lightweight'. I'd spend a little more dough than you've budgeted and go with the Helios SL or the Jetstream XP. Both are under 20lbs, they will both be quicker rides and much faster folding than what you're used to, and in the case of the XP, much more comfortable on 20" wheels for any kind of irregular pavement or extended 4 day rides over a non-suspension bike. The lighter weight of these two bikes make a big difference if you plan on lifting a bike around frequently and you're looking for a minimum of effort to do so. Neither choice will be much of a compromise over what you're used to. I am a happy XP owner.

    Bruce

  16. #16
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    Hmm, yes it is a tradeoff, if you really want ultra quick and small pack the GoBike, Brompton, Birdy (though i really don't like the Birdy too much personally) and 1 or 2 others are pretty much the only options, but they are rather expensive as you said.
    Suitcase packing is just generally difficult to achieve without significant dissasembly. Very likely some of the smaller wheeled folders from Dahon and others would fit into a large sportsbag or smallish crate with only the folding (not dissasembly) rather than a suitcase. The sportsbag or crate would still be airplane 'legal' i think and fit in your cartrunk. If you do consider the sportsbag route i think the Downtube could be an excellent choice at it is very affordable and comes with bag.
    http://www.rhizomes.nl/twenty.html
    My Tweaked and modded Raleigh Twenty. Lots of pictures and lots of general info on for example a different & Cheap Bottom Bracket solution as well as fork solution.

  17. #17
    Neat - w/ ice on the side dalmore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by axolotl
    I don't expect (at this point at least) to be disappointed. Re-read my original question. Nothing in the responses thus far makes me think I would be disappointed. I don't buy anything if I expect to dislike it. Now it's true that I don't expect it to be as great as my Bike Friday (and pretty much everything I've read on this forum backs that up). I am quite willing to accept a somewhat inferior ride for the advantages that a Dahon would apparently provide in the 2 situations I originally described.
    Sorry, I didn't mean to offend and hope I did not. I was only trying to point out that the tone of your message makes me think you will not like a Dahon. For example: You asked "Could a BF owner be happy with a Dahon?" Not something like "Is a Dahon a good choice for this task?" You asked "Being used to a Bike Friday, would I find the ride of a Dahon too inferior to tolerate?" Not something like "What kind of ride difference can I expect?"

    I am not trying to criticize in anyway - just making an observation that to me it seems you're not going to like the Dahon.

    For whatever that's worth ....

  18. #18
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    I have to second Dalmore,.. the wording was rather insinuating you half expected it be a dissapointment..
    http://www.rhizomes.nl/twenty.html
    My Tweaked and modded Raleigh Twenty. Lots of pictures and lots of general info on for example a different & Cheap Bottom Bracket solution as well as fork solution.

  19. #19
    New usename ThorUSA brakemeister's Avatar
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    ok lets get the popocorn and watch the fight ...lol

    no I am kidding of course

    I meant that you will be positively surprised by the dahon....

    speed 8 cause its the most bang for the buck , good frame, good components , way cool price ...

    now.... BF are to be dissambled and not really folding bikes... ( thats the reason you are lookin ) Dahons fold in a mere secunds ,,, but they are bigger than a dissabled BF and might not fit into a suitcase, the BF fits into .. having said that,,, if you give the Dahon the same time of dissambly than it will fit into the suitcase as well....

    Thor

  20. #20
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    FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! *grabs a handfull of popcorn and comes out swinging*

    Nah just kidding, guess it is a case of semantics/miscommunication.
    http://www.rhizomes.nl/twenty.html
    My Tweaked and modded Raleigh Twenty. Lots of pictures and lots of general info on for example a different & Cheap Bottom Bracket solution as well as fork solution.

  21. #21
    All ur bike r belong Enki james_swift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by axolotl
    I know only a little about Brompton, and nothing at all about Swift. What would be the advantages/disadvantages over a Dahon?
    I experienced a reverse situation, if you will, being that I went from a Dahon Vitesse D5 to a Swift. Here are the advantages/disadvantages:

    Dahon:
    1.) Folds-up nice and compact
    2.) That's all I can think of

    Swift:
    1.) Doesn't fold as compactly, but folds even faster than my Dahon. In fact, if you're merely looking for something that folds faster and easier than a BF, then the Swift is for you. I watched a guy fold his BF NWT on the train once... It looked like it took him forever. Now I wouldn't really call that "folding", but more like "breaking-apart".

    I've gotten comments from other riders saying how surprised they are that my Swift folds so quickly, and yet for a folding bike, still manages to look more or less like a regular bike (no pogo-stick-looking handlebar, no weird proprietary parts, no complicated joints and latches). One comment I got was, "that's a cool-looking bike...it looks like it's really stable...not like those flimsy folding bikes".

    2.) No weird parts: I had a real nasty experience trying to get replacement parts for my Dahon...it was so bad that Dahon resorted to picking up my old bike and sending me a brand new one (very cool of them, BTW). If you check-out the Swift section of this forum, you can see that I've pretty much customized my Swift with parts easily available from Performance. In similar fashion as BF, the only proprietary parts on the Swift are the seat tube ('cuz it's longer than standard), the stem tube, and the derailleur hanger.

    3.) Fit: the Swift may be designated as one-size-fits-all, but because of the no-weird-parts feature, you can easily throw-on a custom saddle, stem, and handle bar to dial-in your Swift the way you want. With Dahon, your options are very limited, especially in the stem/handlebar area.

    One of my biggest peevs with my Dahon is that the stem post is of fixed-height...and with my stature (5'6"), it places the handlebar over 5 inches above my saddle height (yuck). With the Swift, you have 2 options for stem height: flip the stem over so you get negative rise, or cut-down the stem tube (I cut 3 inches off the stem tube on my Swift with a Dremmel fitted with a cutting wheel, which put my bars 2 inches below my saddle - just the way I like it ). On my Dahon, extension was reliant upon the saddle fore/aft, as the stem tube was essentially the stem (pogo-stick). No adjustability there at all.

    4.) Weight: in stock form, the Swift is 22lbs. A Dahon Helios is 23.5lbs. My Dahon Vitesse D5 is 24.5lbs, so I immediately felt a huge difference between the 2 bikes when carrying onto the crowded commuter train. (I actually went to the extremes of replacing the saddle, handlebar, and tires/tubes on my Swift with lighter versions, which brought the weight down to just under 20lbs.)

    As for the ride of my Dahon being "intolerable" by comparison, well that depends. I prefer a folding bike that doesn't look nor ride like a folding bike. The Swift has been just that: stiff frame, stiff stem/handlebar assembly, big-wheeled-bike geometry. I can stand and crank out of the saddle to sprint uphill to catch a signal at an intersection, and the Swift responds. On my Dahon on the same hill, the bike's joints creak, especially at the stem/handlebar where I feel as if I'm going to blow the handlebar joint/latch mechanism from yanking on the bars. Not a very confidence-inspiring feeling, especially when trying to blast through an intersection.

    If you're looking for a folding bike to cruise around town, and later fold-up and toss into a grocery cart or the back seat of a small car, then the Dahon is the ticket. If you like an upright riding position with not much extension, and/or if you don't mind the one-size-fits-all geometry, then the Dahon will work nicely for you. However, if you're a serious rider, which I assume you are given that you bought a BF, then I think you might find the Dahon not as serious a bike as the BF. It's all really a matter of what your expectations of your next folder are.
    Last edited by james_swift; 10-21-05 at 04:08 PM.

  22. #22
    Neat - w/ ice on the side dalmore's Avatar
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    Hey! Stop THAT!! I like Popcorn!!!

  23. #23
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    Thanks, James, for your very detailed and helpful comments. I found what you wrote about the Dahon stem post particularly interesting, since you and I are the same height.

  24. #24
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    axolotl, I see that you've gotten a lot of responses here on this, so I hope I'm not duplicating anybody's post, but hopefully I'm not, my sister has a Dahon and a bike friday tandem. She rides both and loves both!!. She bought the Friday befor the dahon, but they are for two different purposes. I can't remember the kind of dahon she has but it's silver and she got it this year, she's had really good expierences with it along with her BF also. So I think you'll be just fine if you get or have both!!

    Benjamin

  25. #25
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    I'm with Benjamin, you will be fine if you get or have both, and I personally suggest you having a "not-so-expensive/more-versatile-REAL-folder" as an option as your casual ride.

    My understanding is that Bike Friday is a more sophisticated, 20" bike intended to replace a "conventional" bike. Their selling point is customization and their target public is focused on those willing to pay US$1000.00+ for what they want. They do offer the convenience of being "packable" but they are not the ultimate folding bike when it comes to the folding part of it.

    Dahon, on the other hand, as well as KHS, Giant and some other makers already mentioned, offer real versatile bikes that are not that expensive but are commited to improve (Dahon at least 15% every year) on a regular basis. They come with components that may not meet your expectation if you want to race or impress your neighbor, but are more than what most people actually need. Even though there are comments about the frame not being "solid", if you read the reviews or ask their current users, that's not the reality of the current models (maybe it has to do with that 15% improvement mission).

    I don't have a bike Friday, but I am considering for a near future a secondary, cheaper bike (not sure yet if it will be a 16", a Strida or a downtube) just to have an option. I'm sure it will perform better for some specific tasks that my primary bike. Just like your Dahon will.

    It doesn't need to be your best bike overall to be the your best bike for something.

    Go for it, and don't forget to come back here with a nice comparison and your personal opinion about them!

    Rafael Guerra

    PS:If you can wait for the 2006 models, looks like Santa is loaded with new features.

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