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  1. #1
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    Dangerous failure on Dahon Speed P8

    Yesterday I was riding rather slow when my Dahon Speed P8 handlepost port/hinge broke off! I ended up holding the detached handle bars in my hands like in a Buster Keaton movie.

    I was extremely lucky that although there was car traffic on the street I managed to hop off the seat and stop safely.

    The troubling thing is that The bike is 7 months old, has fewer than 30 riding days on it. I use it every now and then to commute to work, I avoid potholes, don't jump off curbs and weigh 170 pounds.

    Has anyone experienced anything similar or it's just me who ended up with a defective part? I am really concerned and determined to find out if this could be a design flaw. I hope it was just a manufacturing defect.
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  2. #2
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    That's scary - glad you're OK.

  3. #3
    SWS: Small Wheel Syndrome kb5ql's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlandpark
    Yesterday I was riding rather slow when my Dahon Speed P8 handlepost port/hinge broke off! I ended up holding the detached handle bars in my hands like in a Buster Keaton movie.

    I was extremely lucky that although there was car traffic on the street I managed to hop off the seat and stop safely.

    The troubling thing is that The bike is 7 months old, has fewer than 30 riding days on it. I use it every now and then to commute to work, I avoid potholes, don't jump off curbs and weigh 170 pounds.

    Has anyone experienced anything similar or it's just me who ended up with a defective part? I am really concerned and determined to find out if this could be a design flaw. I hope it was just a manufacturing defect.
    Looks like a defective stem. I had mine for two years with the older stem design (same alu principle), and never had a problem. Make sure you post in this thread as well

    Do Folding Bike Break in Half?

    Glad you weren't hurt.

  4. #4
    Seņor Mambo
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    Ouch! Good to hear you're ok. Don't know about a design flaw, but I've never been a fan of the alu handlebar post. Definitely post this in Dahon's forum as well.

    Do you tend to pull back on the handlebars, by any chance?

  5. #5
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    I've put over 2,000 miles on my Mariner D7 and no hints of handlepost issues so far. But....

    Dahon stems are very flexy. If you're pulling back on the bars all the time (e.g. when climbing, or standing in the saddle) you are likely to have a failure like that. But....

    If you've only put a few hundred miles on it, though, I'd assume that's a factory defect.

  6. #6
    jur
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    Whoa. Dahon will want to see this, I hope.

    +1 on the alu post not being a good design.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by spambait11
    Ouch! Good to hear you're ok. Don't know about a design flaw, but I've never been a fan of the alu handlebar post. Definitely post this in Dahon's forum as well.

    Do you tend to pull back on the handlebars, by any chance?

    I ride mostly on flat ground so there is not a whole lot of pulling on the handle bars going on. I didn't know the stem was made of aluminum until it broke. I thought it was steel. I contacted Dahon and they are interested in seeing the broken pieces but I didn't get a response like: "We'll give you a loaner until we repair and look into what happened." They told me to take it to a shop for a warranty repair.

    I suppose when it gets repaired I will keep the handlepost as low as I'm comfortable in order to minimize lever effect on the joint. A good design feature would be to ensure that in case of separation there is some kind of semi-rigid connector inside the tube. Such device would minimize loss of balance so the rider would have a chance to apply breaks.

    When my stem broke it felt that just a little connection between handle post and the frame would have improved my balance. I think the main thing is that when you find yourself holding detached handle bars your body has a tendency to straighten up and lose balance. You lose balance and that front wheel will turn to the side and you're toast.

  8. #8
    jur
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlandpark
    When my stem broke it felt that just a little connection between handle post and the frame would have improved my balance. I think the main thing is that when you find yourself holding detached handle bars your body has a tendency to straighten up and lose balance. You lose balance and that front wheel will turn to the side and you're toast.
    +1

    When George Hincapie had that bad fall during the 2006 Paris-Roubaix, that's exactly what happened to him. (Oh and he wasn't riding a Dahon folder. )
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  9. #9
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlandpark
    I ride mostly on flat ground so there is not a whole lot of pulling on the handle bars going on. I didn't know the stem was made of aluminum until it broke. I thought it was steel....
    Material shouldn't make a big difference, it's just a question of weight & thickness. Even a steel handlepost, if made wrong or hit in the wrong spot, can fail.


    I suppose when it gets repaired I will keep the handlepost as low as I'm comfortable in order to minimize lever effect on the joint. A good design feature would be to ensure that in case of separation there is some kind of semi-rigid connector inside the tube.
    Again considering how little you've ridden it, it's a manufacturing issue, not a design issue. Plenty of people have put lots of miles on their Dahons without having this specific issue. Any bike can fail in numerous ways, and no frame-maker could afford to protect their bikes against every possible frame failure.

    Handlepost height won't make a difference as long as the part is made right. It should be pretty easy for you to inspect the new one, just keep an eye on the inside and out before you ride. After awhile, you'll probably trust it again; if you don't, then get a Swift. The steerers on those suckers are Rock Solid.

    Sucky Q&A on Dahon's part though, I'd say.


    I contacted Dahon and they are interested in seeing the broken pieces but I didn't get a response like: "We'll give you a loaner until we repair and look into what happened." They told me to take it to a shop for a warranty repair.
    Sounds about right to me... It would take as long for them to send you a loaner as for you to get a replacement part. If your LBS doesn't have the part, I'd get back on the phone to Dahon and get 'em to overnight the part to you.

    Besides, nothing personal but this is a $550 consumer bike, not a $5,500 Orbea Orca used by a pro cyclist.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlandpark
    Yesterday I was riding rather slow when my Dahon Speed P8 handlepost port/hinge broke off! I ended up holding the detached handle bars in my hands like in a Buster Keaton movie.

    I was extremely lucky that although there was car traffic on the street I managed to hop off the seat and stop safely.....
    Two words come to mind ...
    Lawsuit (Guess if you were injured) and Recall ! The latter especially i.e. if it is a defect for a particular model/year ! Dahon should be made aware of this as its also a Quality Control issue !

  11. #11
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    I live in Los Angeles. Dahon is local (although bikes are assembled overseas). They have the parts in stock. I dropped off the bike at the shop and they'll have it back on Monday "as good as new" as they said. Does that mean it will break after another 30 days of riding? I hope not.

  12. #12
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    I was seriously considering a Dahon for a while, in spite of the 'made in china', my MacBook was shipped directly from China and has served me well in spite of the dark spots on the LCD screen, but talking with a sales dude at Bicycle Habitat in NYC made me change my mind, they used to be official Dahon dealers until recently and he said the reason was that one in four Dahons had warranty issues due to factory problems, it was at that point I decided to go with a Bike Friday instead.

    in my business as a computer programmer there is a lot of concern over the issue of out-sourcing over-seas but more and more I hear from businesses that have been burned by unreliable asian programmers and have decided to shift their outsourcing needs back to domestic professionals who are motivated by the rewards of an above average living wage as opposed to subsistence/prison/slave wages. I think the same issues are involved in bicycle manufacturing and that sooner than later people around the globe are realizing that you get what you pay for. That doesn't mean that North Americans are better than Asians, it just means that people produce better products when they are paid fairly in a comfortable working environment....

  13. #13
    SWS: Small Wheel Syndrome kb5ql's Avatar
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    You can review the labor policies of dahon by perusing this thread.

    http://www.dahon.com/forum/index.php...336&hl=factory

    http://www.dahon.com/forum/index.php...ype=post&id=68
    Last edited by kb5ql; 04-27-07 at 02:27 AM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ekitel
    I was seriously considering a Dahon for a while, in spite of the 'made in china', my MacBook was shipped directly from China and has served me well in spite of the dark spots on the LCD screen, but talking with a sales dude at Bicycle Habitat in NYC made me change my mind, they used to be official Dahon dealers until recently and he said the reason was that one in four Dahons had warranty issues due to factory problems, it was at that point I decided to go with a Bike Friday instead.

    in my business as a computer programmer there is a lot of concern over the issue of out-sourcing over-seas but more and more I hear from businesses that have been burned by unreliable asian programmers and have decided to shift their outsourcing needs back to domestic professionals who are motivated by the rewards of an above average living wage as opposed to subsistence/prison/slave wages. I think the same issues are involved in bicycle manufacturing and that sooner than later people around the globe are realizing that you get what you pay for. That doesn't mean that North Americans are better than Asians, it just means that people produce better products when they are paid fairly in a comfortable working environment....
    i think you're drawing the wrong conclusions here. a fair wage afterall is relative to the local market and standard of living. product quality has a lot of other more important contributing factors: design, materials, quality control.

  15. #15
    Member, Schmember DaFriMon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlandpark
    I live in Los Angeles. Dahon is local (although bikes are assembled overseas). They have the parts in stock. I dropped off the bike at the shop and they'll have it back on Monday "as good as new" as they said. Does that mean it will break after another 30 days of riding? I hope not.
    I'm glad that you're getting such a quick resolution. If your experience had happened to me, I'd be pretty nervous about getting back on the bike. Still, I suspect that you were just tremendously unlucky about getting a defective part, while at the same time being rather lucky not to have a serious crash when it failed. With any brand, there has to be *some* chance of a catastrophic failure. If anyone has actual statistics on failure rates of different brands, it would be useful. Short of that, we're relying on individual anecdotes in forums like this.

    All that said, that's a pretty horrendous defect, even if it was only one bike. Hopefully, Dahon will get to the bottom of what happened. It's in their interest to do so.
    You're right, I do have more bikes than I need.

  16. #16
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    I wouldn't go as far to identify overseas manufacture as the sole reason for the problem. After all no one else has reported a similar issue in this and the official Dahon forum.

    I purchase U.S. manufactured goods whenever I can. Sometimes they are better than their foreign counterparts and sometimes they are not. I'm no structural engineer but I you can tell that Dahons look and feel much better manufactured than off-the-mill Chinese bikes you can see at big box retailers.

  17. #17
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlandpark
    I wouldn't go as far to identify overseas manufacture as the sole reason for the problem. After all no one else has reported a similar issue in this and the official Dahon forum.

    I purchase U.S. manufactured goods whenever I can. Sometimes they are better than their foreign counterparts and sometimes they are not. I'm no structural engineer but I you can tell that Dahons look and feel much better manufactured than off-the-mill Chinese bikes you can see at big box retailers.
    I personally go by the 50% rule-of-thumb. I found that at least 50% of any manufactuered product from Asia (generally China) has some failure after a short period of time of using/owning. I am not saying that the product in question is bad. Far from it. It is just that. I bought 2 fans at the same time last summer. One quit after a couple of weeks use-simple domestic way of cooling a small room. The other is still operating fine. Same with both my Dahons. They both had defects. The Boardwalk with the front wheel assembly and the Piccolo with it's handle bar pin. While the bike shops that I bought them from both addressed them in their own ways, I still am amazed that these glaring examples of defective parts managed to slip through the bike shops to me. So I am grateful and relieved that you are not hurt.

  18. #18
    SWS: Small Wheel Syndrome kb5ql's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse
    I mean no disrespect guys, but let's keep this subject focused on the bike and the immediate
    problem. The structural problem is immediate, we can save the world later.

    sincerely

    CE
    Now that we know there is successful resolution to the OP's problem, let discuss the mythical man-month and how adding more people to a project does not make it finish any faster...


  19. #19
    Senior Member Polaris43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by folder fanatic
    I personally go by the 50% rule-of-thumb. I found that at least 50% of any manufactuered product from Asia (generally China) has some failure after a short period of time of using/owning. I am not saying that the product in question is bad. Far from it. It is just that. I bought 2 fans at the same time last summer. One quit after a couple of weeks use-simple domestic way of cooling a small room. The other is still operating fine. Same with both my Dahons. They both had defects. The Boardwalk with the front wheel assembly and the Piccolo with it's handle bar pin. While the bike shops that I bought them from both addressed them in their own ways, I still am amazed that these glaring examples of defective parts managed to slip through the bike shops to me. So I am grateful and relieved that you are not hurt.

    I think your statistics are pretty far off. Otherwise, half the planes flying would fall out of the sky every day due to all of those defective Chineese parts. That's to say nothing of 50% of cars that should be broken down on the side of the road or all of the electronics (ipods, tvs, dvds, etc...) that should be crapping out according to your rule-of-thumb.

    Perhaps it has more to do with what you paid for than where it was made... as in, you get what you pay for.

  20. #20
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by folder fanatic
    I personally go by the 50% rule-of-thumb. I found that at least 50% of any manufactuered product from Asia (generally China) has some failure after a short period of time of using/owning. I am not saying that the product in question is bad. Far from it. It is just that. I bought 2 fans at the same time last summer. One quit after a couple of weeks use-simple domestic way of cooling a small room. The other is still operating fine. Same with both my Dahons. They both had defects. The Boardwalk with the front wheel assembly and the Piccolo with it's handle bar pin. While the bike shops that I bought them from both addressed them in their own ways, I still am amazed that these glaring examples of defective parts managed to slip through the bike shops to me. So I am grateful and relieved that you are not hurt.
    C'mon ... the production process of just about every product crosses so many international borders that it makes this type of analysis quite difficult. The guys down the hall that do transfer pricing rip their hair out everyday trying to figure out the connections.

    If you have a Mac (or any other computer) guess where it was probably made ... or at least a good fraction of the components. Ours is in Hong Kong at the moment being delivered here.

    Anyway, I think that Polaris is on the money here. Anecdotally, stories from some friends at U. Maryland's Business School, there are factories in mainland China that specialize in low price and low quality production. But it is a pretty big country so I would be hesitent to overgeneralize. Remember that it wasn't that long ago when Japan was the center of "poor quality, cheaply made products" ... say 40 years ago.

    Ok, enough of my rant. If this is over the top, my apologies folder fanatic.

    EDIT: in bold.

  21. #21
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    None needed, invisiblehand. I was simply trying to make sense of the cheap junk that is being shipped over here. It is mostly lots of little things, like the dress's cheap fabric that tore when my mother wore it-the first time. And not at the seams-but in the center of the fabric! Or the sorry lot of bikes being pushed at the local big box store. And the gizmo (adjusting nut) that won't stay tight in my newly replaced handlebars. It is not Chinese or Asian bashing. Just irritating little things done by some of the makers over there, over here-in the end it really does not matter. Yes, we are getting what we pay for no matter where the item in question is made. We seem to be declining in areas where it really counts.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by folder fanatic
    It is not Chinese or Asian bashing.
    Who said it was?

    Just irritating little things done by some of the makers over there, over here-in the end it really does not matter. Yes, we are getting what we pay for no matter where the item in question is made.
    Agree.

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    zowie

    Quote Originally Posted by highlandpark
    Yesterday I was riding rather slow when my Dahon Speed P8 handlepost port/hinge broke off! I ended up holding the detached handle bars in my hands like in a Buster Keaton movie.

    I was extremely lucky that although there was car traffic on the street I managed to hop off the seat and stop safely.

    The troubling thing is that The bike is 7 months old, has fewer than 30 riding days on it. I use it every now and then to commute to work, I avoid potholes, don't jump off curbs and weigh 170 pounds.

    Has anyone experienced anything similar or it's just me who ended up with a defective part? I am really concerned and determined to find out if this could be a design flaw. I hope it was just a manufacturing defect.
    I have one word.........Aluminum!

    Sorry but......This is why I will only buy a Bike Friday with a steel stem and a normal length steel seat tube with no super long flexy aluminum seatposts or stems.

  24. #24
    Senior Member keithnyc's Avatar
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    Highland, can you please post this on Dahon's site as well?

    Quote Originally Posted by highlandpark
    Yesterday I was riding rather slow when my Dahon Speed P8 handlepost port/hinge broke off! I ended up holding the detached handle bars in my hands like in a Buster Keaton movie.

    I was extremely lucky that although there was car traffic on the street I managed to hop off the seat and stop safely.

    The troubling thing is that The bike is 7 months old, has fewer than 30 riding days on it. I use it every now and then to commute to work, I avoid potholes, don't jump off curbs and weigh 170 pounds.

    Has anyone experienced anything similar or it's just me who ended up with a defective part? I am really concerned and determined to find out if this could be a design flaw. I hope it was just a manufacturing defect.

    Can you do me a favor and post this on dahon's message board? Here's the link:
    http://www.dahon.com/forum/index.php?showforum=5

    I'd be interested to see thier responses.....The members (as well as the Dahon tech support folks) are a great group and they may benefit from this.
    Last edited by keithnyc; 05-01-07 at 12:30 PM.
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  25. #25
    Senior Member Polaris43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charles vail
    I have one word.........Aluminum!

    Sorry but......This is why I will only buy a Bike Friday with a steel stem and a normal length steel seat tube with no super long flexy aluminum seatposts or stems.

    Does this mean that you don't fly on those super flexy aluminum airplanes?

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