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  1. #1
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    i'm not enjoying my dahon experience

    i got the Vitesse D5 earlier in the year.

    in just a few months of riding, i already have a broken magnet (that helps keep the bike together when folded), and a broken crankarm and pedal.

    and this is just from commuting 5-6 miles each direction 2-3 times a week. no crashes or abuse either.

    so, i had to take it in to the shop to get the crankarm\pedal replaced. it's now been there 3 weeks because dahon still hasn't shipped the part.

    i was willing to live with the sketchy handling, the heaviness, and the annoyingly upright position but not broken components and poor customer service.

    urg!

    if it's this bad after only about 200 miles, then i'm afraid what the future will hold. no more dahons for me ever.

  2. #2
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    I've done OK with their service, although the repair guy I talked to was rather surly.

    You might want to check with Gaerlan & see if he can get a part quickly.

    Oh and yeah the other stuff kinda sucks too. I use my Dahon as a beater bike now, and will sell it if / when I get a better road bike.

  3. #3
    All ur bike r belong Enki james_swift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timmhaan View Post
    i got the Vitesse D5 earlier in the year.

    in just a few months of riding, i already have a broken magnet (that helps keep the bike together when folded), and a broken crankarm and pedal.

    and this is just from commuting 5-6 miles each direction 2-3 times a week. no crashes or abuse either.

    so, i had to take it in to the shop to get the crankarm\pedal replaced. it's now been there 3 weeks because dahon still hasn't shipped the part.

    i was willing to live with the sketchy handling, the heaviness, and the annoyingly upright position but not broken components and poor customer service.

    urg!

    if it's this bad after only about 200 miles, then i'm afraid what the future will hold. no more dahons for me ever.
    I've felt your pain. Just a few weeks after taking delivery of my Dahon VD5 from a local bikeshop, the bike gave me nothing but headaches. If you login to the Dahon forums and peruse my contributions (user "james"), you'll see that my bike had been plagued with the all-too-common axle-creep syndrome, where the back axle would creep forward in the rear dropout under pedal pressure. After much complaining on the forums, several return visits to the very unhelpful local bike shop that sold me the bike, and a few emails to Dahon (which garnered an email response from Mr. Hon himself), the problem was finally acknowledged and a fix was issued in the form of a serrated washer. This was all fine and dandy, but because I had to readjust my chain tension repeatedly, the threads on the axle locknut stripped. I went to several bike shops and hardware stores to try and find a replacement nut. Nobody had anything compatible. After sending yet again more emails to Dahon for assistance (and more waiting), the final resolution was to send me a new bike all together (they even paid to have my old one picked-up), but by then, it was too late. Like you, I also decided, "no more Dahons for me...ever" and had already placed an order for a Swift.

    Now while I have to agree with you on your observations regarding the undesirable riding characteristics of the VD5, the inconvenience of proprietary parts, and the lackluster customer service response times, I have to say that you'll do yourself and a lot of other people a service by going on to the Dahon forums and explaining your story, as well as following-up with emails to Dahon's customer service voicing your dissatisfaction. A cracked crank arm is nothing to take lightly, considering the injuries you could have sustained had it happened to you while at speed. I'm surprised Dahon hasn't simply chalked this bike up as defective and unsafe, and replaced it with a new one.

    In comparison, when the lower seat tube on my Swift cracked, I received an email confirmation 30 minutes after I had reported the problem to Xootr's customer service, saying that they would ship me a new bike, and/or offer to give me loaner to use in the interim. In the standard week it took to get the bike delivered, I was back on the road.

    As for my VD5, I stopped riding it, left it in the car port of my apartment forgot about it, then noticed that it had been stolen. Oh well...I doubt the thief will get much mileage out of it anyway.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by timmhaan View Post
    i got the Vitesse D5 earlier in the year.

    in just a few months of riding, i already have a broken magnet (that helps keep the bike together when folded), and a broken crankarm and pedal.

    and this is just from commuting 5-6 miles each direction 2-3 times a week. no crashes or abuse either.

    so, i had to take it in to the shop to get the crankarm\pedal replaced. it's now been there 3 weeks because dahon still hasn't shipped the part.

    i was willing to live with the sketchy handling, the heaviness, and the annoyingly upright position but not broken components and poor customer service.

    urg!

    if it's this bad after only about 200 miles, then i'm afraid what the future will hold. no more dahons for me ever.
    WOW.... I have the same bike an no problems. Then again, I don't ride it as frequently as you do but I've had no problems. I changed the upright position and high gearing with a telescopic handlebar and larger rear cog. My pedals are now clipless so no issue there.

    What would it have cost to replace the crankarm?

  5. #5
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear of your troubles. I hope the company steps up and resolves your issues soon.

    I've never owned a Dahon because when I was first researching folders, I read too many complaints about the durability of some of their parts. Your post certainly perpetuates my perception that some of their parts are flimsy.

  6. #6
    Member, Schmember DaFriMon's Avatar
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    I don't know if the proportion of customer horror stories is worse for Dahon than for other brands. I mean it exactly that way; I just don't know. They sell a lot more folders than anybody else, so we're certainly more likely to read of customer problems. If your individual experience with a brand is completely negative, then you're not going to be impressed by others who have had better luck.

    Still, FWIW, my two main Dahons, a Speed P8, and Curve D3, have been good value for the money. My first Dahon, a Boardwalk, just wasn't quite what I was looking for, and I gave it to a friend. It didn't have any serious problems, though.
    You're right, I do have more bikes than I need.

  7. #7
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    i guess the main issue is that all the parts have to come from dahon. even the bike shop i'm dealing with says they have no other source for parts...so it's just a waiting game until it arrives. i checked again today and still no replacement crank arm, so we're moving into week 4 without the bike.

    i'll check out the dahon forum, that's a good tip.

  8. #8
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post

    What would it have cost to replace the crankarm?
    it's not much apparently. the shop quoted me a ball park figure of around $30...i'm not sure if that'll include labor or not.

  9. #9
    Senior Member wrafl's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=timmhaan;4895846]in just a few months of riding, i already have a broken magnet (that helps keep the bike together when folded), and a broken crankarm and pedal. QUOTE]


    I've got 1200+ miles on my '06 D7 and have not had much any problem. Today however while riding, I noticed the rear magnet attached to the fork magnet, apparently it came off the rear for some reason when I unfolded it and I didn't notice it till later in the ride. I didn't even bother to remove it when I got done riding, I just folded the bike and stuffed it in the trunk.

  10. #10
    Explorer CaptainSpalding's Avatar
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    My suggestion is to do an end run around the LBS and get the part yourself from Dahon. With few exceptions, folder owners get no respect from the average LBS. I find when I call Dahon directly and raise some hell, things start to happen.
    I came to say I must be folding . . .
    Dahon Jetstream XP
    Dahon Helios SL
    Strida 5.0
    Twenty project


    or not . . .
    Fisher Mt. Tam (c.1988)
    Merlin Road flat bar project
    Schwinn Twinn Deluxe

  11. #11
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    Tim, you shold've gotten one of these.

  12. #12
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slvoid View Post
    Tim, you shold've gotten one of these.
    Pretty d@mned sexy! I wish it was actually a production model. I'd be in line for one...

  13. #13
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slvoid View Post
    Tim, you shold've gotten one of these.
    that's pretty sweet. check out the saddle.

  14. #14
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timmhaan View Post
    i got the Vitesse D5 earlier in the year.

    if it's this bad after only about 200 miles, then i'm afraid what the future will hold. no more dahons for me ever.
    I have 2 Dahons myself, a Boardwalk and a Piccolo. I noticed that at purchase they usually have something major wrong with them. When the problem is addressed, then it is a matter of dealing with nagging little things that sometimes seem to be inherent of a bike that is made up of fussy little parts like the adjustment nuts to keep the folder from unfolding when you don't want it to. I learn to deal with these issues and have both for a several years.

  15. #15
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timmhaan View Post
    that's pretty sweet. check out the saddle.
    It's a back scratcher.

  16. #16
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by folder fanatic View Post
    I have 2 Dahons myself, a Boardwalk and a Piccolo. I noticed that at purchase they usually have something major wrong with them.... I learn to deal with these issues and have both for a several years.
    FWIW, I didn't have any major issues at purchase time. It took a few miles for problems to crop up. Seriously, I think Dahon's quality is below most major bike manufacturers. But most Dahons are fine, especially if the LBS does their job well with final assembly.

    I see no reason whatsoever to put up with inferior quality, even in a low-end bike. My $400 Jamis hybrid is a rock-solid bike which has never had a major repair issue. And regardless of quality issues: If tim does not like the ride, the weight or the position, there's no reason for him to use a Dahon.

    So while it may not be appropriate to extrapolate from an individual experience to conclusions about an entire company's output, I do think tim is justified in his opinions.

    But the real question is, of course.... Which folder are you getting next, tim?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    I see no reason whatsoever to put up with inferior quality, even in a low-end bike. My $400 Jamis hybrid is a rock-solid bike which has never had a major repair issue.
    Folding bikes by nature take a tremendous beating and cannot withstand them due to all the moving joints. Look at all the problems on Brompton Talk from hub, hinge, derailuer and all assorted problems. It's a small community yet it seems everyone on that forum has issues. Some of them quite serious. The Birdy talk community on Yahoo are in the same boat. Bottom line, if you're a hard rider, prepare to replace alot of parts.

    If you're going to buy a folder through mail order, prepare youself fix it because problems will arise sooner or later. At least if you purchased it from an LBS, you might have someone who can fix it. Then again, maybe not.

  18. #18
    New usename ThorUSA brakemeister's Avatar
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    Of Course there are more problems with Dahons than with all the other brands of folding bikes ...
    Its rather simple a matter of numbers .... I would bet that Dahon sells at least 3 times as much bikes as ALL others combined ... might be wrong, but will find out down the road ...

    As for the Dahon with the broken crank at the dealer ... Thats very disturbing that a dealer does not have one generic crankset in stock to replace the broken one...

    Its a 10 min job to change the crank... than send the broken one to Dahon and receive a new one free of charge from Dahom.... in the meantime the customer can use his bike and enjoy his New generic crankset. This would be an advantage a brick and mortar store has over the Internet guys ( like me )
    If the store doesnt take the given advantage he has, he is pushing more sales to the Internet guys ( like me )

    Dahon will replace the broken crank, they do want to see that crank though ( not so much because they misstrust their custiomers as for the much more important reason that they surely want to test the crank and have a discussion with their supplier, that this doesnt happen again ...)

    If the store gives to much grief email me and i will get some stuff done...

    Thor

  19. #19
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brakemeister View Post
    If the store gives to much grief email me and i will get some stuff done...

    Thor
    This is why everyone seems to recommend Thor and/or Gaerlan for Dahons ...

  20. #20
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
    Folding bikes by nature take a tremendous beating and cannot withstand them due to all the moving joints....
    I'm afraid I have to disagree with this assessment.

    First, I put my 700c road bike through much more punishment than any of my folding bikes these days. Part of it is that I regularly use it for 70+ mile rides, part is that I don't have to dodge quite as many holes or cracks as I do on a 20" wheeled bike.

    Second, many folders are in fact designed well enough to take serious punishment. Bike Fridays see a lot of use with long and hard rides, such as centuries, extensive tours, Pactour, even RAAM iirc. The Swift is rock solid and I fully expect mine to last as long as any other aluminum-framed 700c bike. (By the way, although I do not normally recommend the more expensive Dahons, I do believe that they should hold up OK for centuries as long as they are properly maintained.)

    Third, I for one tend to take decent care of my folding bikes. In fact I treat my Dahon with kid gloves, since I am wary of pulling back on the bars (which could eventually crack the handlepost).

    But the real question is one that afaik does not have a publically available answer, namely: what is the rate of Dahon repairs, especially warranty repairs, compared to other brands?

    Any decently designed, manufactured and assembled bike should not have high rates of mechanical issues right off the bat. Unfortunately I am not aware of any published data for this issue.

  21. #21
    Explorer CaptainSpalding's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    But the real question is one that afaik does not have a publically available answer, namely: what is the rate of Dahon repairs, especially warranty repairs, compared to other brands?
    That is a good question. Here are two more: what percent of Dahons are sold mail order vs. through a bicycle shop? Of those sold via mail order, what percentage get the initial service as prescribed in the Dahon Manual?
    I came to say I must be folding . . .
    Dahon Jetstream XP
    Dahon Helios SL
    Strida 5.0
    Twenty project


    or not . . .
    Fisher Mt. Tam (c.1988)
    Merlin Road flat bar project
    Schwinn Twinn Deluxe

  22. #22
    Senior Member kgibbs51's Avatar
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    What goes into the "initial service" in the 1st place? Can someone describe that?

    A little truing, a little lubrication, a little once over to make sure parts aren't broken? Who knows? No one on this board has been able to define that service. I'd like to think its minor tweaking not repacking bearing and such.

  23. #23
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    Of the three Dahons I've owned, the two that I purchased new had to have the wheel hub bearings adjusted, the handlepost re-aligned with the frame, the derailers adjusted, the headset adjusted, and the chain length adjusted.

    As to nitpicking, I also trued the wheels and adjusted the brakes. The spoke tension was well below spec on all wheels.

    Adjusting the chains totally eliminated chain drops. They were both rather long. Getting the derailers properly adjusted probably helped as well. The one major FUBAR is that the adjustment screws on the Boardwalk derailer are blocked by the chainstay, unless it was installed improperly.

    Of course the Helios I got from Thor was pretty much good to go. However...the headset and handlepost need constant attention.

    My only real gripe is the parts situation. To not be able to replace proprietary parts on a four year old bike, especially their flagship model, is absurd.

    All this is compounded by the LBS situation. Even the majority of the 'authorized' dealers I've dealt with seemed to want me to just go away. If they do work on folders, they just pass them off to the least productive guy in the shop. They've got bigger fish to fry.

  24. #24
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    And one other thing - pulling the tires off to put cloth rim tape in to stop the flats.

  25. #25
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by kgibbs51 View Post
    What goes into the "initial service" in the 1st place? Can someone describe that?

    A little truing, a little lubrication, a little once over to make sure parts aren't broken? Who knows? No one on this board has been able to define that service. I'd like to think its minor tweaking not repacking bearing and such.
    I worked for 2 bicycle shops and 3 owners, long ago in the 1970s for about 6 years. I can't speak for what is done now, but in those days the amount of build and prep work depended on the brand and our experience with it.

    Most bikes you just take out of the box, put on the front wheel, and check it over for wheel trueness, brake and derailleur adjustment, then put air in the tires and take in on a 1-to-5 minute test ride. For lots of brands, that was all that was needed, especially the Japanese bikes. Average build and test time was 10 to 20 minutes. We would toe-in the brakes if needed, normally any wheel trueing would be done on the bike with the tires on.

    We always had a free 30-day or 90-day free tuneup to check things over after the bike had been ridden awhile. There are always things that loosen up and need adjusting after you ride the bike for 10+ hours including cable adjustments and crank bolt tightening. This was often more important than the original setup since we could deal with a particular owner's problems with their bike. Sometimes the problem was the bike, sometimes we just needed to educate the owner about the how to deal with issues they had with their bike, from understanding how a quick release wheel worked or why some gear combinations will make more noise or never work as well as other ones.

    If we knew of common problems, we would adjust the cones on the hubs, repack bottom brackets (especially French bikes), and do a more through setup. Normally we didn't want to sell bikes that had problems, but sometimes we were desperate for bicycles and would carry brands we didn't like just so we had bikes to put out on the floor.

    For any shop, customer satisfaction is very important! For brick-and-morter stores you can't hope to beat the lowest price anywhere in the world. What you can sell is service based on knowledge and experience. We would get pissed off by people who would talk to us for hours about bikes and parts and then buy at another shop or from mail-order (this was before the internet) just to save a couple of bucks. I still buy a lot of bike stuff on-line, but I also buy from the local shops so they can get some of my business even if they aren't the absolute cheapest.

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