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  1. #1
    jur
    jur is offline
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    Got a Helios for a song

    I picked up a Dahon Helios this weekend for AU$150. It is almost brand new. It is the same as the 2006 Helios P8 but mudguards and carrier rack is part of the package.

    The owner had a crash with it and the front wheel was slightly out of true; he also thought the forks were bent. We discussed it and I told him the bike looked just fine to me in photos he sent; however he'd already started selling some of the parts, the derailer hanger and the chainring specifically. I told him I'd take the whole lot and we agreed to the $150. He was able to get the hanger and chainwheel back from the other party who'd not used them, so the bike ended up complete, albeit with slightly wobbly wheel and potentially bent forks.

    So I got it, trued the wheel (5 minutes), adjusted the cone nuts which were knocking, did the front brakes and started on the fork. But I could not detect any misalignment in the fork at all, even though the handlepost did angle off to one side. It turned out the handlepost was rotated slightly, giving the impression of going off to one side. Quick fix there, and now it is 100%!

    It had not done even 500km, the back cogs are still almost free of chain grease, clean as new. The brakes and rims are just about spotless.

    Took it for an hour ride yesterday. I won't be keeping it. The handlepost is unbelievably flexy. If this is Dahon's much-touted immensely stiff handlepost then I don't know what their definition of stiff is. I can twist the whole bike through a torsion movement such that I get more than an inch of side-to-side movement at the bars! In contrast, my R20 is much stiffer, I get a few mm, while the Swift gives a new definition to stiffness. My wife's Dahon Yeah with almost identical frame is also better, it has the cheaper steel post which is ironically superior in several aspects.

    The SDG saddle was OK, but at the end of an hour my butt was getting warm - signs of lack of blood flow. More standing up is required, but with that flexy post, not such a great idea. Still, one of the better saddles I have tried.
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  2. #2
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Feels good to win one once in a while, doesn't it?

    Sorry to hear that the handlebar post is no good. Could it be substituted with another part to allow you to keep the bike?
    Last edited by SesameCrunch; 07-29-07 at 09:12 PM.

  3. #3
    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    Nice job! I can't say I've ever landed a deal like that. You have great bikes, so it's probably not worth keeping, but of course you can easily replace the stem with a stiffer one.

    When I was first looking at folders, I took one out from the LBS for a spin, and would have to say I concur 100%. I felt like I could snap it off. I found all of the Dahon stems to be flexy save the steel one piece and the aluminum stem joined with the Syntace system on the high end bikes. (Though even the latter are a bit flexy.)

  4. #4
    jur
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    The handlepost doesn't have anything wrong with it, I think that's just the design, so putting on a different part I don't think will fix it. But I want a DT Mini anyway - here's my passport.
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  5. #5
    jur
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    I checked the flexing again, and it is not the handlepost - at least not only. If I sit on the saddle and move the bars from side to side, the entire bike flexes, starting with the seat post, going through the frame and ending up with an inch or so at the top of the handlepost. Each bit is doing its own bit of flexing.

    This just brought home to me again just how superb the Swift frame really is. I don't see any flexing at all. I wonder how they did it.

    And the R20 - well that solid chunk of steel is not going anywhere. If the frame hinge nut is loose, then it becomes a bit snaky. Alarming when fully loaded as I found in Tasmania, I rode like that for a day before discovering the cause.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member stevegor's Avatar
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    Jurie & the rest of you guys,

    So, are the stiffer steel ones readily available in Australia? And are they easily interchangeable with the pathetic flexible ones? Do they cost the GDP of a small African nation to buy? And finally, if they're as bad as what you're saying has anyone here come up with a better way?

  7. #7
    jur
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    I assume you are referring to the handlepost? The steel ones are not available - CrimsonEclipse has tried to get hold of one, and the only possibility was swapping with someone, steel for aluminium. But remember, the frame is doing quite a bit of twisting, so I am not so sure how much difference there would be overall. I think the steel post is better (stiffer) but also more reliable (being steel) and also the hinge lock is reliable, while the fancy new Dahon "InsideLock" is IMHO a terrible design, destined to fail as many Dahon owners have testified.

    But I think the Helios is a great bike if you keep this in mind and don't hammer on the pedals. Ride it sensibly for what it was designed, and it performs flawlessly. If I wasn't lusting after a DT Mini and didn't already own an almost identical bike, I would keep it.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  8. #8
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    Hey Jur,

    So can you sprint on the Swift and get up and put force on the handlebars if you want without much creak/flex/groaning? (from the bike, not the rider! )

    I'm half-tempted to get my Helios lower handlepost welded together or something
    Or have a custom replacement made that bolts together, instead of InsideLock/QR.
    I figure the bolt-on arrangement might be best so one could still access the fork attachment inside if necessary. The other option would be a fork setup kind of like the Swift, but fork options are... slim.

    Don't suppose Xootr (or other Swift provider) does pretty much just a frameset?
    Would also be nice if Dahon did a frameset in their mini-bikes...

    I think I may be pushing the envelope of your earlier statement,
    "Ride it sensibly for what it was designed,..."

    cheers
    Callum

  9. #9
    jur
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4cmd3 View Post
    Hey Jur,

    So can you sprint on the Swift and get up and put force on the handlebars if you want without much creak/flex/groaning? (from the bike, not the rider! )

    I'm half-tempted to get my Helios lower handlepost welded together or something
    Or have a custom replacement made that bolts together, instead of InsideLock/QR.
    I figure the bolt-on arrangement might be best so one could still access the fork attachment inside if necessary. The other option would be a fork setup kind of like the Swift, but fork options are... slim.

    Don't suppose Xootr (or other Swift provider) does pretty much just a frameset?
    Would also be nice if Dahon did a frameset in their mini-bikes...

    I think I may be pushing the envelope of your earlier statement,
    "Ride it sensibly for what it was designed,..."

    cheers
    Callum
    Hi Callum,

    For a broad opinion base on the Swift performance, see the monster Swift thread on this sub-forum. I bought my Swift on that basis, and I was not disappointed. On the contrary, I am now spoiled.

    The Swift flexes almost nothing. The difference between it and the Helios is really astounding. The designer, Peter Reich really nailed it. I can get up suddenly and hugely hammer those cranks while sprinting. Even so, somehow it still gives a very comfortable ride, amazingly so.

    You can defintely get it in aframeset alone. Contact Xootr. They will put you on to Peter Reich himself.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  10. #10
    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    Yes, the Swift is a great and stiff bike. But it is not interchangeable with a Dahon. Both bikes were built for very different purposes. The Swift is almost not a folder at all. The wheels come together and the bike gets taller. I looked at that bike when shopping for my first folder as well, and I needed something that actually got smaller when folded. I did like the ride, though.

    I've never ridden anything as flexy as the Helios. But much of the flexyness is definitely in the stem. Judging from the stiffness of the Breezer (with a somewhat similar frame and steel stem), I think the problem can be largely eliminated by swapping it out.

    This all said, if you need a small folding bike, Bromptons or Birdies are better choices. My Birdy is very stiff, but certainly not road-bike stiff. One can percieve a slight flexing in the bars when pulling on them. But as I've said many times, the only 20" wheelers with bars that can be safely pulled on are the ones with the ginormous head tubes, and the Swift isn't one of them.

  11. #11
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    I'm curious what the length of a Swift seat-tube is, if measured from the center of the crank bolt, up the seat-tube to the top of the Swift frame (without special Jur-shim*). Don't know if anyone has that bit of trivia handy or has a tape measure lying around...

    * ~ although that shim is awesome, I'd want one too!


    PS. anyone ever seen a Swift that _didn't_ fold? No cuts in the seat-tube or frame, and the stays just welded on? Basically a Swift "mini-bike" to use the Dahon term for it.

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