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Old 11-21-07, 09:09 AM   #1
sprockets
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Which Dahon?

After doing a bit of reading I have decided to get a folding bike for my vacations and since there are quite a few LBSs in the Toronto area that carry Dahon I have decided on one of these. I enjoy travelling through Central and South America so the bike should be able to handle the rough or cobblestone roads sometimes found in these areas. It also has to be light because I normally don't stay in one place very long and do not want to lug around an extra heavy suitcase. My girlfriend likes travelling through Europe so I would want something that could handle the steep hills sometimes found in France or Italy so I would also need something capable of dealing with that. I was looking at the Speed Pro but am unsure how the wheels would hold up to the rough or cobblestone roads. I'd also need something with a rack.

Any suggestions?
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Old 11-21-07, 09:26 AM   #2
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Dahon Speed TR - not light at 13kgs though.
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Old 11-21-07, 09:33 AM   #3
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Dahon Speed TR - not light at 13kgs though.
That was my first thought but I've read about problems with the front hub/generator. I think I'd lean toward the Speed Pro or the Speed P8 or MU P8. Light weight is a pretty big factor as I'd be suitcasing it around quite a bit.
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Old 11-21-07, 09:47 AM   #4
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Light weight is a pretty big factor as I'd be suitcasing it around quite a bit.
Have you checked it will actually fit into your suitcase? If it does, I wouldn't worry too much about a kilogram or two if you will be mostly wheeling the case...
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Old 11-21-07, 09:55 AM   #5
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I think I'd lean toward the Speed Pro or the Speed P8 or MU P8. Light weight is a pretty big factor as I'd be suitcasing it around quite a bit.
I would recomend the Speed P8 over the Mu P8. I've owned both. The Mu is lighter, but is also more flexible & climbs poorly. In fact, I've replaced both bikes with a Swift. My kids ride the Dahons.

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Old 11-21-07, 10:56 AM   #6
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That was my first thought but I've read about problems with the front hub/generator. I think I'd lean toward the Speed Pro or the Speed P8 or MU P8. Light weight is a pretty big factor as I'd be suitcasing it around quite a bit.
Cobbles & rough roads: Begs for some kind of suspension -- either mechanical or through the tires. The Speed Pro comes with the suspension front hub, the same as I have on my Mu SL. It helps, especially with the Stelvio tires which offer next to nothing in terms of suspension. I haven't had my bike long enough to experience any problems with it, but I've heard of some. Whether suspension or dynamo (Speed TR), these hubs are not as simple, and probably not as reliable as regular hubs long-term. For tire suspension, the Big Apples (Speed TR and P8) will be best. I don't think the BA's fit on the Speed Pro, but I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong. The Mu P8 uses Marathon Racers, which are between the Stelvios and the BA's for suspension. I'm pretty sure these will fit on the Speed Pro.

There's also the Jetstream P8 (front & rear suspension), but finding one in Toronto to try out is tough. You can talk to Nancy at Urbane Cyclist, but she may want a "down-payment" to bring one in.

Durability (tied to above): I wouldn't know how the Speed Pro's front wheel with suspension hub would compare to the wheels on Speed P8. The Pro's front wheel (as with my Mu SL) doesn't look very robust, but perhaps some "wheel-master" could say. I haven't had any problems with my Mu SL but, again, it's early days/kilometers yet. Tire choice and your weight will also have an influence. Of course, tire choice will also affect how frequently you might get a flat.

Steep hills: The Speed Pro and Speed TR have lower gears (26 and 21 gear inches) compared to the P8 series (32/33 inches). If you are just day touring as opposed to "loaded", then 32" might be low enough. But you should compare with your regular bike.
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Old 11-21-07, 11:35 AM   #7
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I've always subscribed to the KISS rule so the speed P8 is starting to look better and better all the time. Add to that the lower price point than that of the Speed Pro or TL and it's strating to look like a winner. Flex will be an issue for me as I am a bigger guy (6'3" and 210 lbs). The Swift would definitely have the advantage over the Dahon as they have an XL option. However the Swift does not fold down as small as the Speed P8 if i'm not mistaken.

I guess I could always get the P8 and swap out the drive train.
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Old 11-21-07, 05:04 PM   #8
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For suspension, look no further than Big Apples.

re the Dahon handlepost, I cannot recommend it but if you are technically minded and check regularly and meticulously, and use Loctite, then it might be OK. Over in the Dahon forums there is a guy whose handlepost snapped right off due to the latch and related parts loosening from riding cobbles, and not very much of that.
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Old 11-23-07, 10:03 AM   #9
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For suspension, look no further than Big Apples.

re the Dahon handlepost, I cannot recommend it but if you are technically minded and check regularly and meticulously, and use Loctite, then it might be OK. Over in the Dahon forums there is a guy whose handlepost snapped right off due to the latch and related parts loosening from riding cobbles, and not very much of that.

Yikes, snapped right off? do you have a link?
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Old 11-26-07, 02:36 PM   #10
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I've always subscribed to the KISS rule so the speed P8 is starting to look better and better all the time. Add to that the lower price point than that of the Speed Pro or TL and it's strating to look like a winner. Flex will be an issue for me as I am a bigger guy (6'3" and 210 lbs). The Swift would definitely have the advantage over the Dahon as they have an XL option. However the Swift does not fold down as small as the Speed P8 if i'm not mistaken.

I guess I could always get the P8 and swap out the drive train.
Why change it? Seems like an odd thing to do.
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Old 11-26-07, 04:22 PM   #11
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Yikes, snapped right off? do you have a link?
http://www.dahon.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=4450
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Old 11-27-07, 04:12 AM   #12
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I vote for the Dahon Speed TR. Having 24 speeds with a 21 low gear will be handy when you are fully loaded and humping up a climb in the Alps and Schwalbe Big Apple tires are ultra plush and comfortable. Also they have a lower rolling resistance and with a layer of KevlarGuard for what they say is "significantly improved puncture protection".
Ciao,
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Old 11-27-07, 08:17 AM   #13
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After a bit more reading I think I am going to go with Bike Friday. The price point isn't that far off from the dahons that I'm looking at and I like the idea of a custom fit as I am a bigger guy.
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Old 11-27-07, 11:34 AM   #14
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You may want to also run your question by Brakemeister at
http://www.thorusa.com/

He seems to be an upstanding member in a lot of the bike forums, lots of members swear by him (I do, he gave me great advice on upgrades etc. for my Dahon Speed) and lots of people have had great dealings with him on purchases....
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Old 11-27-07, 09:09 PM   #15
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After a bit more reading I think I am going to go with Bike Friday. The price point isn't that far off from the dahons that I'm looking at and I like the idea of a custom fit as I am a bigger guy.
You are right, Dahons aren't made for large people. Both my wife and I are 5'7" and the Speed TRs fit us perfect. Good luck with your Bike Friday. Post some pics when you get a chance of your new bike.
Ciao,
Timothy
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Old 11-28-07, 12:05 PM   #16
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I disagree, the 20 inch Dahons are fine for tall people, I am 6'3" and have no problem on the Speed P8. Still a couple of inches of height adjustment left.
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Old 11-28-07, 06:44 PM   #17
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I disagree, the 20 inch Dahons are fine for tall people, I am 6'3" and have no problem on the Speed P8. Still a couple of inches of height adjustment left.
Depends on your inseam and favored seat to pedal distance. I am 6'3" in stocking feet with a 36" inseam. My old D7 (and the 2005 S1 that I still own) had/have a seat to pedal measurement of 38" with the standard seat post, 38 1/2" with a Thudbuster and the max seat post marks just visible. My NWT is currently set at 39" and I could raise it another 2 3/8" before I hit the max extension line. All three bikes have the same style seat.

Then there is the handle bar adjustability - from what I can see there is limited adjustability on the Speed TR. You are also limited on handlebar styles on the all Dahons. Bike Friday has four basic styles and they can be varied from there to suit personal preference. If there one thing I see on bike forums, it's lots of personal preference!
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Old 11-28-07, 07:47 PM   #18
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I enjoy travelling through Central and South America so... Any suggestions?
Can you get 20" tires / tubes / spokes in Central & South America?

I know a lot of serious tourists who travel to those areas stick with 26" wheels, because 700c is basically not available. I assume it's the same for 20".

I'd also put together a list of spare parts to bring along, 'cause there is no way you will be able to fix a lot of those parts if they break while you're there....
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Old 11-28-07, 08:42 PM   #19
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Can you get 20" tires / tubes / spokes in Central & South America?

Yes, of course you can. But only in certain large cities. In most places where you would need them, you wouldn't be able to get 650cc tires either. Your tire will fail in the Andes, not in the middle of Santiago. For this reason, you have to tour with a spare tire and a few spare tubes. Folding tires are now available in most sizes: 349, 355, 406... You can also easily fold wire beaded tires. Folding my Birdy Stelvios into an 8 and then folding the two halves together renders it small enough to fit in a pannier or to attach to the back of the seat. Finally, you are much less likely to have a wheel failure with small wheels since they are twice as strong, so the smaller the better.

I really only see an upside to touring with a Bike Friday for this person. That's why there is such a big demand for them.

My partner and I tour on 2 Birdies. Mine has 349s and hers has 355s. When we tour, I put my old 355s back on my Birdy so that we only have to bring one spare set of tires. As I've said before, I find these bikes to be far superior to a 700cc bike for touring. Not only does the suspension render them more comfy, but they can be packed in a suitcase without the $200 fee, can be brought into the hostel, and can be taken into stores. They also attract more attention, so you make more friends along the way.

Virtually all parts on their Bike Fridays will be the same as on a full size bike. Only the usual parts are needed. (Again, even if you are touring in the US, you are likely to break down far from a bike store.) I bring a multi-tool with a chain tool on it (critical!) and a spoke wrench. Our Birdies also use only stock bike parts with the exception of the stem and seat post.
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Old 11-29-07, 07:18 AM   #20
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Well, I put in the order for a Pocket Llama, I can't wait! Pics to follow. Thanks to all for the input and responses.
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