I like Dahon bikes. I have had an Avenir (a 2004 Dahon licensed by Raleigh), rode light offroad and toured on it. Recently I replaced 5 non folding bikes with a Dahon Vitesse for myself and a Dahon Ciao for my wife (I was thinking of going pure folding for a long time).
My riding includes utility, some long distance, and I plan to do some "folding bike cyclocross" .
A good friend recently sent me an excerpt from a touring list and it goes like this:
"I loved riding my bike friday NWT from 1996 to 2006- before that I'd
toured with a Dahon 20" folder ... I bought the Bike Friday when the Dahon frame broke in half just
behind the headset. There was a little decal on the Dahon that said "Not for
heavy duty use". Luckily I wasn't going fast when it broke."
Now I thought, ahh his Dahon was old technology. After all there is a vast improvement in the front end between my 2004 and the new Vitesse. Also judging from the Dahon Web site they always innovate and try to improve. Then I found John Forester's: http://www.johnforester.com/Articles...eEng/dahon.htm with notable quotes such as:
a typical cheap utility bicycle ... No person who had no need of the folding characteristic would consider them to be a good buy. ... Dahon is a typically-crummy utility bicycle ...
Of course I thought.... hmm... I noted the date, 1999, OK so my theory that Dahon's have possibly been improved over these earlier designs may still be true. Then I read his stability analysis where he bashes the Dahon for being extremelly unstable. His stability test includes:
It is easy to ride a properly-designed bicycle without hands on the handlebars because the bicycle itself tries to correct for the inadvertent leanings that are impossible to prevent.
So this morning--somewhat concerned--I donned the helmet and on the way to work started riding without my hands on the handle bars. This was my Vitesse, the new one. Yet to try this with the 2004. Guess what, it was quite excellent. So I challenged my self with some turns and with some gravel and bumps. Quite good.
So have Dahons improved over the years? Like the Web site claims? I'm asking in the hopes some of you have riden Dahons then and ride them now.