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  1. #1
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    Dahon Vitesse D7HG

    Hey folks, new guy here. I've been lurking the forums for the past week and am looking for help on my first folder purchase. Hope you guys could provide some feedback.

    Anyone here ever test ride or own a Dahon Vitesse D7HG 2008. I'm sold on the looks/ color ,but am concerned about maintenance and performance. After searching the forums, I've read that past Vitesse models have had issues w/ axle-creep syndrome ( rear wheel sliding forward), and problems with gear shifting. Should I be concerned about this, or has Dahon addressed these issues for this 2008 model?

    I'm not as bike tech savy as most of the people on this board, and I really don't want to be buying new replacement parts for a brand new bike. I'm hoping that the bike will be fine right out of the box.

    I was only able to test ride the Dahon Boardwalk SP1, and am really looking for a folder w/ more gears to take on hills and long rides. I live on the east coast NJ, and plan to use the folder for casual rides / commuting to Ny (bus subway etc.).

    Thanks in advance, any feedback will be appreciated!

  2. #2
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    Hey fold it:

    I think the Vitesse D7HG is new for 2008, so there is likely little real-world feedback on this model. The previous problems involving axel-creep & related shifting difficulty were associated with the "D5" hub-geared Vitesse. That model used the same frame, but was equipped with a Sturmey-Archer 5-speed hub, which seemed to have compatibility issues when attached to the Vitesse frame. I believe Dahon eventually worked out the axel-creep problem by utilizing some non-slip washers.

    However, the 2008 model Vitesse now uses a Shimano 7-speed Nexus Hub. Hopefully, Dahon has worked out compatibility of this hub for use in the Vitesse. But there are probably few that have been sold as yet.

    You might try posting on the Dahon Company web site Bulletin Board and ask this question.

    Sorry I couldn't be of more help. Though I do not own a Vitesse, I did test-ride a D5 once and found it a nice, fully equipped commuter right out of the box. I do recall wishing it had a wider gear range and it would seem Dahon has addressed this by going to a 7-speed hub in 2008. A nice (and somewhat lower cost) alternative would have been the REI Buzz Fly-By with its Shimano 8-speed hub, but I believe REI has sold out of them. Don't know when or if they will be available again. Another possible alternative might be the Downtube 8H with the 8-speed Sturmey-Archer Hub.

    Hope you find the ride you like.

    Best regards. Seamus

  3. #3
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    Hey fold it,

    I just came back from my lbs (well not local there are plenty closer, but this one rocks) and test rode the 200 mariner and vitesse. The both ride pretty much the same, the vitesse looks sleeker and has a couple of extras like the chain gaurd. I noticed that there were some heavy duty washers on the back axel so the slip problem may have been addressed. I'm still deciding whether or not I want to use my stimulus check to jump into folding bikes with the vitesse.
    2006 Bianchi San Jose w/ Nexus Inter7
    20" Torker Unicycle


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  4. #4
    Senior Member Silverexpress's Avatar
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    Hello there fold it,
    I purchased a Vitesse D7HG about 2 wks ago, and last night I took it on it's inaugural 13 mile ride home from work. It performed well for it's design, but in all honesty I think it would be more at home in a city type environment at slower speeds wherein you can take advantage of the short wheelbase and upright seating position dodging cars and people. My commute home is thru suburban neighborhoods down long stretches of low traffic streets - on my full size bikes I'll average 16-18 mph with top speeds of near 24 mph. These are speeds I would not expect to get out of the Dahon for any length of time.

    I had an initial issue with the the 7 spd hub skipping in third gear. It was a super easy fix....err adjustment after I learned the how-to from Sheldon Brown's website. Basically all I did was put the shifter in 4th gear and align the white hash marks on the hub by turning the cable adjustment screw at the shifter. EASY! I did this before my ride, and the hub worked flawlessly from then on.

    Before this commute I brought the Dahon along with me on a 2 night business trip, and I got a 1 hour casual ride in after work on my last night. I was able to explore the city of Kitchener Ontario, and a few of the kool (but expensive) bike stores. This was the primary reason I bought it. The convenience is awesome. Especially when I don't have a clue as to which company car I'm going to get for a trip. We have all sorts and sizes. The Dahon will fit in the trunk of all these. The internal hub keeps the maintenance down, and grease skids to a bare minimum - another reason why I bought it.

    The bike comes with Dahon tires that are rated for a max of 65 psi. I will probably change these out for 100 psi hi-po tires like the Schwable Marathons. This will help with acceleration, coasting, and in making the bike a tad bit lighter.
    The fenders and the rack are of nice quality. However, I've found the handlebar grips to be too flat and hard. I'll be swapping them out for cushy thick foam type grips.

    My last issue has nothing to do with the build quality of the bike, but with the bus racks we have here. This morning I rode the bike from home to the bus stop, and was able to catch the first bus traveling East. I placed the bike on the rack that's mounted on the front bumper, and grabbed a seat along the first row inside the bus. About 9 miles into the commute the bus made a left turn, and while watching the bike I noticed that it started to lean a bit more forward when the driver would brake. I stood up and casually asked the driver if the spring loaded hooked retainer for the front wheel was still on. He leaned forward and said, "Nope, it's fallen off".

    "HOLY COW! WHAT???" I said to the driver - who was nice enough to pull over so I could fix it; however, I decided to just grab the bike and pedal the rest of the way into work. Whew! That was a close call.
    The problem is that the 20" wheels barely provide enough surface area for the hook to sit on. The fender also added to this problem since I had to place the hook in front of it inorder to not crush it.
    I will probably take a full size bike with 26" tires the next time I take the bus. I'm also going to call the bus company and ask them if it is ok to bring a folder inside the bus with me. I've seen baby strollers bigger when folded carried inside the bus.

    Overall, I'm very happy with this purchase. out of 5 (it would be a 5 if it had the 8 speed Redline or the Alfine hub). Here is more information on internal hubs from Sheldon:

    http://sheldonbrown.com/internal-gears.html

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/nexus-mech.html

    I'm sold on these internal hubs. It's a perfect match for folding bikes, and full size commuters (where the roadways are mostly flat.)

    Note: Visit http://www.smartbus.org/Smart/Ride+S...to+ride+SMART/ for a How-to movie of the bike rack system. I'm showing this just in case you have something similar in your neck of the woods.

    Lastly, this is my two week assessment. We'll see how it really does after this summer.
    Last edited by Silverexpress; 05-31-08 at 06:36 PM. Reason: I corrected the max tire psi above
    Regards,
    Jose

  5. #5
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    Silverexpress, I remember the tire pressure reading 40psi min, 60psi max. Can you verfiy?
    2006 Bianchi San Jose w/ Nexus Inter7
    20" Torker Unicycle


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  6. #6
    Senior Member Silverexpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ObjectAgnosia View Post
    Silverexpress, I remember the tire pressure reading 40psi min, 60psi max. Can you verfiy?
    My bad. Yes you are right. It says min 40 psi - 65 psi max. I'll edit my post above.
    Regards,
    Jose

  7. #7
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    Silver,

    I recently purchased a Dahon Vitesse D7HG and find the seat the comes with it to be extremely uncomfortable. I would like a wider seat that has more cushion. Does anyone recommend a seat that would be appropriate for this type of bike? Much appreciated.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Silverexpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oakknicks View Post
    Silver,

    I recently purchased a Dahon Vitesse D7HG and find the seat the comes with it to be extremely uncomfortable. I would like a wider seat that has more cushion. Does anyone recommend a seat that would be appropriate for this type of bike? Much appreciated.
    Sorry, I won't be much help in this department. I use Brook seats on my other rides. They are leather rawhides stretched over an adjustable frame. They have no cushioning whatsoever. What happens over time is the leather molds itself to your butt bones, and eventually the Brooks will fit you like a glove. There is nothing quite like a Brooks, and I've ridden on pretty much all types of seats. The downside is when they are new. They are about as soft as concrete. It's similar to the feel of a new baseball glove before it is broken in. Likewise both require dressing to be rubbed on to help the softening and molding process.

    As for the D7HG original seat, it feels like a pillow to me, and eventually it will wear out - the cushioning will flatten and your butt bones will be hitting the hard plastic. I'll replace it with Brooks next spring.
    Last edited by Silverexpress; 06-02-08 at 12:10 PM.
    Regards,
    Jose

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    Thanks. I will look into those seats.

  10. #10
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    I rode my new Dahon Vitesse D7 HG home for the first time last Friday (11 miles against a strong headwind, no less). It was also my first ride on a folder and my first internal hub gear, so it was a test for me just as much as the bike. I initially had the handlebar too high leaving me sitting too upright for my taste, but a lower position felt cramped due to the short wheelbase. I suspect this is typical of many folders? I agree with Silverexpress' assessment that this model is best suited to city riding (it's why I bought it); Dahon's website says as much in the product description. It seemed I was traveling slower than I really was and I think speeds of 15+ mph will be difficult, at least until I get all the adjustments tweaked.

    I like the Kenda tires made specifically for Dahon (yes, the psi range is 40-65). They seem to be tough enough to handle city streets sprinkled with city garbage. Hopefully I'll be able to bump up over curbs to get around the garbage trucks.

    I don't mind the grips, but I had trouble with the left grip which started slipping around the handlebar almost immediately. I may try a little adhesive.

    Thanks to the headwind I didn't get to try 7th, nor did I need 1st, but 2-6 shifted well. 5th seemed a bit noisy; I haven't had a chance to put it up on my stand to check it out.

    Like oakknicks, I found the saddle uncomfortable. I plan to replace it with a Selle or similar, something with a center channel. I have Selles on my other rides and have enjoyed them for many years. I'd love to have a broken-in Brooks, but I'm afraid I don't have the patience to break one in myself. The Brooks is a saddle one earns.

    It's a solidly built bike and overall I'm pleased with it so far. Still have a lot of riding and learning to do...
    Even a bad bike ride is still better than a good subway ride any day.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by brooklyncyclist View Post
    I don't mind the grips, but I had trouble with the left grip which started slipping around the handlebar almost immediately. I may try a little adhesive.
    Ergon grips will solve your problem, and I would highly recommend them.
    http://www.ergon-bike.com/

    We had the same issues on our Helios & Speed P8 models originally and it was such a pleasure to switch Ergon.

  12. #12
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    recommend a seat
    If you are sitting slightly more upright (but not straight 90" from the road) then a brooks champion flyer is great (however a little weighty)

    if assuming a more traditional tucked posture, then a brooks b17 equivalent.

    the champion flyer changed my riding experience completely.

  13. #13
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    Brooklyn,

    I found that adjusting the seat to the highest possible position for your height (ie. so that your toes are barely hitting the ground when stationary) will give you the best leverage on the D7HG folder. Yes, you will be upright, however, it is much less strain on your legs and provides for a much more efficient ride. I am about 6' 1'' and I keep the seat at a 7. I initially had it at a 12/13 and noticed a huge difference in making the seat higher. Lastly, I tend to prefer setting the handle bars very high, as you may be placing strain on your back if you have the seat high and the handle bars too low.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Silverexpress's Avatar
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    For height, you'll want just a slight bend in the knee - to much bend means it is to low, and your hips should stay horizontal while pedaling. It should not rock side to side - if so it means that the seat is set to high.

    The seat should also prevent you from sliding forward or back - if so adjust the angle. If after pedaling a few miles, you find yourself either trying to push back or pulling forward then you'll have to adjust the seat in the fore or aft direction.

    By the way, Brooks makes a line of seats that are sprung. Ultimate comfyness. Check out the Brooks B73, it is suspended by 3 springs.
    Regards,
    Jose

  15. #15
    Senior Member mrbrown's Avatar
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    Rido saddles are great and affordable.
    Mercy overtakes
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  16. #16
    Small wheels ARE better! OldiesONfoldies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbrown View Post
    Rido saddles are great and affordable.
    Except they can get a bit "sticky" with age in hot humid weather...

  17. #17
    Member Karlgw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fold It View Post
    Hey folks, new guy here. I've been lurking the forums for the past week and am looking for help on my first folder purchase. Hope you guys could provide some feedback.

    Anyone here ever test ride or own a Dahon Vitesse D7HG 2008. I'm sold on the looks/ color ,but am concerned about maintenance and performance. After searching the forums, I've read that past Vitesse models have had issues w/ axle-creep syndrome ( rear wheel sliding forward), and problems with gear shifting. Should I be concerned about this, or has Dahon addressed these issues for this 2008 model?

    I'm not as bike tech savy as most of the people on this board, and I really don't want to be buying new replacement parts for a brand new bike. I'm hoping that the bike will be fine right out of the box.

    I was only able to test ride the Dahon Boardwalk SP1, and am really looking for a folder w/ more gears to take on hills and long rides. I live on the east coast NJ, and plan to use the folder for casual rides / commuting to Ny (bus subway etc.).

    Thanks in advance, any feedback will be appreciated!
    Not sure if this is still any use to you but I bought the 2007 (Sturmey-Archer 5-speed version) in July last year. On the whole I have been very pleased with it although I have had some problems.

    Firstly, I have gone through 2 gear indicator cables (the small chain that attaches to the hub and changes the gear) and had to have the hub stripped and rebuilt (but that was the Sturmey Archer XRF-5 fitted to the 2007 model - replaced by the well-received Shimano Nexus-7 on the 2008 D7HG).

    Secondly, the bottom bracket fitted was a very cheap component that was loose when I bought it; I had it tightened by a bike mechanic at my local cycle shop and he warned me that it would come loose again as it was a piece of junk - he was right and I replaced it with a sealed cartridge unit. Been fine since then.

    Finally, the integrated post pump, which is a great idea and works like a treat, had some rather delicate plastic tabs to stop it slipping down during riding - these broke off soon after receiving the bike and now the post slips out by a couple of millimeters when I ride. This does not seem to be a problem, however, and it never moves more than that.

    Other than that I can recommend the bike and I have used mine virtually every day since I bought it for train-assisted commuting, as well as quick trips to the shops and leisure rides as well. Regarding the gearing, I find that the bottom gear is low enough for all but the steepest hills, and the top gear is good up to around 20-25 miles/hour, above which (on the occasional hill) I tend to coast. The D7HG has more gears of course, but I think the overall range is similar (the D5 has a range of 38 to 86 inches; the D7HG is 34-84 inches).

  18. #18
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    This morning's commute was much better now that I've made some adjustments and replaced the saddle. My LBS had a Specialized Avatar on sale so I picked one up; a big improvement over the original saddle. The first, as Silverexpress noted, is "a pillow", much too soft to offer support. (Do manufacturers equip their bikes with soft saddles to seduce the uninitiated into thinking that super-soft will be super-comfortable and "this is the bike for you"? Then again, what is too soft for some will be just right for others...). While the Avatar made for a much better ride I suspect it isn't the last saddle I'll have on the D7HG. Silver's got me thinking about Brooks again...

    I dropped the handlebar almost as low as the saddle today which suits me more than an upright position since that's what I'm accustomed to. I'm still not quite at ease with quick adjustments in steering while navigating between cars; the folder is certainly more squirrelly than I'm used to. Much better ride this morning, though, and a faster pace.
    Even a bad bike ride is still better than a good subway ride any day.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Fibber's Avatar
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    I have last year's Vitesse D7, which looks to be pretty much identical to this years Mariner D7. These use the NEOS compact 7 speed derailleur system rather than the internal hubs. Overall, I'm pleased with the bike, although it took a while to dial the fit in. Initially I used pencil to mark the tubes, then graduated to a Sharpie marker once I found the right spot for everything.

    Agree about the seat - it is the only real issue I still have on the subject of comfort. Sometimes I notice a little numbness in unspeakable places, so that tells me that it eventually has to go!

  20. #20
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    I don't know if this is new, but the 2008 Vitesse has numbered graduations on the back of the seat post to help find your position quickly.
    Even a bad bike ride is still better than a good subway ride any day.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Fibber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brooklyncyclist View Post
    I don't know if this is new, but the 2008 Vitesse has numbered graduations on the back of the seat post to help find your position quickly.
    My 2007 has marking on the post as well, but I still found it easier to mark for quick setup. I also marked the raised and storage positions for the handlebar post, the bars themselves, my folding mirror, the slightly rotated seat position to fit between the water bottle cage and the headtube, etc.

  22. #22
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    Last night's rain had stopped by this morning, but the air was a thick, misty fog and the puddles were large. By the time I got to Manhattan my brakes were squealing. No, not squealing--howling. I've never heard such noisy brakes. Pedestrians were stopping in their tracks, heads swiveling to see what the h---!

    The Vitesse's ProMax brakes work very well, but when wet they are incredibly loud. I may be swapping the pads out. I had to laugh when I saw that Dahon touts specifically the ProMax's ability to stop even in the rain. Yes, they do, but...

    http://www.dahon.com/components/deluxe/promax.htm
    Even a bad bike ride is still better than a good subway ride any day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4cmd3 View Post
    Ergon grips will solve your problem, and I would highly recommend them.
    http://www.ergon-bike.com/

    We had the same issues on our Helios & Speed P8 models originally and it was such a pleasure to switch Ergon.
    Thanks for the tip, 4cmd3. I'll be looking for a pair soon.
    Even a bad bike ride is still better than a good subway ride any day.

  24. #24
    Senior Member mrbrown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldiesONfoldies View Post
    Except they can get a bit "sticky" with age in hot humid weather...
    Hmm, that's true. But mine haven't gotten sticky yet. When they do, maybe I will have an excuse to try Brooks haha!
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  25. #25
    Senior Member Silverexpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brooklyncyclist View Post
    Last night's rain had stopped by this morning, but the air was a thick, misty fog and the puddles were large. By the time I got to Manhattan my brakes were squealing. No, not squealing--howling. I've never heard such noisy brakes. Pedestrians were stopping in their tracks, heads swiveling to see what the h---!

    The Vitesse's ProMax brakes work very well, but when wet they are incredibly loud. I may be swapping the pads out. I had to laugh when I saw that Dahon touts specifically the ProMax's ability to stop even in the rain. Yes, they do, but...

    http://www.dahon.com/components/deluxe/promax.htm

    It's been awhile since I've replaced pads, but if I remember correctly - the front of the pads ( this would be the end that points towards the front of the bike) should contact the rim first, and then the rest as you squeeze further.

    If the rear touches first, or the entire surface comes in contact at the same time, the brakes will chatter and vibrate.
    Regards,
    Jose

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