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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 11-29-06, 09:20 AM   #1
pm124
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Dahon Mu SL

Itís the components!

The Muís sleek frame and dream component set first caught my attention. American Classic produces components in the lightest weight range (lighter than Dura Ace), and Dahon has put these components where they matter (e.g., the bottom bracket, which weighs in at under 150gm).

The wheels are imitation Rolf, but seem to be built just as well. The frame is reasonably stiff and well designed (except for the standard Dahon hinge, itís a great frame). Itís topped off with Syntace bars.

The bike generally rides well. My roadie friends found it to ride as well as their road bikes. I wasnít in 100% agreement. I find the ride harsher, and the Mu doesnít have the same quality feel as a good road bike.

But remember folks, this is a folder, so not too bad. After putting 400 miles on this bike, I really fell for it. But not hard enough that Iím going to keep it. New Yorkís roads are just too harsh for a 20Ē bike with no rear suspension. So, I put it on eBay. So sad.

I'm now riding a Birdy, and have put 100mi on it in the past week. The quality of the ride is higher, but of course, the Birdy is 5 pounds heavier.

The Mu folds very fast. I have it down to under 10 seconds. It also folds reasonably small for a 20" wheel. I have no problem getting in and out of cafes, the office, etc. I enjoy folding it.

Were I to change anything on the Mu, it would be to increase the suspension, perhaps via a Thudbuster. But I just couldn't bring myself to take the weight up on a bike that was already so incredibly light.
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Old 11-29-06, 11:01 AM   #2
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the other viable option is to get a pair of Schwalbe Marathon Racers in 20 x 1.5 and replace the skinny tires. This will add 200 grams but make the ride much more comfortable.


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Old 11-29-06, 12:05 PM   #3
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or get the thudbuster
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Old 11-29-06, 01:56 PM   #4
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Thanks Thor and BigMacFu!

Both options seemed over the top. I had considered getting another pair of wheels built for commuting in the city stocked with Marathon Racers (not too much more expensive than a Thudbuster!), and then the guy that was going to build the wheels had a used Birdy. C'est la vie! The bike will already be sold by the time you read this!
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Old 11-29-06, 02:13 PM   #5
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[QUOTE=pm124]Itís the components!
i'm now riding a Birdy, and have put 100mi on it in the past week. The quality of the ride is higher, but of course, the Birdy is 5 pounds heavier.

Of course you know already that the Birdy has a range of adjustable color coded suspension bloc.
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Old 11-29-06, 03:54 PM   #6
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Yes, thanks, @Wubrew. In fact, I wanted to mention in my deleted Birdy review that these can be used to dial in the ride. This is important for those folks who are leery of suspension bikes for efficiency loss reasons. (However, I would be surprised to see if it made any difference whatsoever in terms of the time it would take to complete a 10 or even a 100 mile trip.

Has anyone actually experiemented with the mean trip time using different bikes? I can't really tell if it's taking me longer to get to work on my Birdy with the big fat winter tires that I have on it. (Relative to the Stelvios I bought with it). I don't think I'll ever know because the computer has to be reset for the smaller tires, and there is a bigger margin of error in tire size calculations.

Didn't you say you had a Birdy Black? It would be great to get a review of that!
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Old 11-29-06, 08:57 PM   #7
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I would have purchased an inexpensive suspension seat post or a Brooks Champion Flyer. My Vitesse has a Champion flyer and I can ride that bike for hours.
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Old 11-30-06, 12:16 AM   #8
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IMO, bike "fit", aka "happiness", is 51% cockpit and 49% everything else, but unless the cockpit is right, you'll never be satisfied. I suspect that your issues with the Mu SL dealt more with the cockpit than the suspension. If you like the cockpit, you do what you need to do with the "everything else", and the everything else can even been suboptimal if the cockpit is right.
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Old 11-30-06, 01:41 PM   #9
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You are right about the "cockpit". A bike must feel right at the points of contact; saddle, handlebars, control levers, and pedals. Also the relative positions of these is most important. Although you can change many other features of bike, if the basics do not suit, you are on a loser.
One of the simple joys of life is to wear comfortable shoes, and so it should be with a bike.
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Old 11-30-06, 05:22 PM   #10
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Getting the cockpit right is certainly important. But isn't that just preference? I certainly tried playing with the Syntace bars. Do you have a preferred way of dialing it in besides plumming the knees, getting the seat tilt right, etc.? I want to be upright if touring and in racing position if going to work into a headwind.

Also of concern on that bike was the fact that I always felt like it was going to break in half. The hinge creaks on the frame and the stem hinge creaks as well. I don't pull, and if I do have to stand, I only use my cleats, trying not to lean on the stem.

The hinge was checked by two separate LBS mechanics. One thought it needed grease and the other thought that it would just wear in. Neither thought it would break. I definitely don't believe in lubricating two pieces of metal that aren't supposed to move against one another. But I have no idea how sturdy the hinges are.
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Old 11-30-06, 07:32 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pm124
I want to be upright if touring and in racing position if going to work into a headwind.
For that you need at least two bar positions, which drop bars, Euro bars, or even TT bars can provide (see my threads on the Mauna Kea bike (Euro bars) and the M.K'denza (TT bars)) and a flat bar cannot. Bar end "horns" on a flat bar do give a second position, but not enough to stretch out for headwinds. Since you can't pull on the horns on a Dahon (without some serious consequences), horns are only an alternate touring position.

As for the hinge, I think you got a lemon bike. The hinge should not creak.

Last edited by maunakea; 12-03-06 at 12:25 AM.
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Old 11-30-06, 09:01 PM   #12
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I havent heard about creak hinge yet .....
(Birdys however had a recall about their handlebar hinge a couple years back as far as I know ......)
I think that was the reason they widraw from the US market, albeit they stated on their website that they do not agree to the political actions of the Americans and thats why they refused to do business with the US )

I did hear about noises on the Dahon rebar frame, that is not the hinge though and poses no problem.

The reason I posted about the tires is simple. Not eveybody goes through the extreme of buying a new bike .... and these folks who have a MU SL might very well be having the same sentiments. I did know that you had bought a birdy already. So I couldnt really help you anymore ...lol

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Old 12-01-06, 01:48 PM   #13
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R&M are still going strong despite their unpopular opposition to the war. But, of course, you are an unbiased souce, right Thor? ;-)

It's one of those cult things, I guess. The Japanese and Germans worship them, everyone else hates them. (I'm neither, but think it's a fine bike.)

Seriously, I wish I had bought the bike from Thor instead. Then I probably would have put the effort in to adapt!
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Old 12-01-06, 03:14 PM   #14
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Incidentally, I warned the buyer about the hinge. Must be responsible in such things!
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Old 12-02-06, 09:00 PM   #15
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lol
lets say that I would have helped to my best ability to make the bike perfect for you.
I am not unbiased of course as I sell Dahons and other stuff for all small wheeled bikes especially folding bikes.
I am American but I was born in Germany. What I hate about this statement from R@M is that is has NOTHING to do with all the folks here in the US who ride bikes, it has NOTHING to do with birdys. I think polical statements like this have no place in our industry.
I dont know if that opposition against the war is unpopular at all. I share the same opposition against this crazyness.... same as many other Americans. Thats why I didnt like their point.
Lets leave it as that.

Thanks Thor

p.s. if your hinge was defective than its a good thing you warned the buyer. Despite being not the original owner he should have no problems to get it warrantied by any Dahon dealer.
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