Join Date: May 2007
Location: Highland Park, NJ, USA
Bikes: "Hildy", a Novara Randonee touring bike; a 16-speed Bike Friday Tikit; and a Specialized Stumpjumper frame-based built-up MTB, now serving as the kid-carrier, grocery-getter.
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Dahon Curve D3 - first impressions
I picked the new bike up on Tuesday. I've ridden about 4 miles on it, including a bike-train commute this morning. Overall, I'm quite happy with the bike so far.
The ride: The first thing I noticed when I was test-riding folding bikes is that I found it hard to ride one-handed. (That includes Bromptons, Dahons, and Downtubes.) Now that I've ridden the Curve a few miles, I'm more comfortable taking a hand off the bars to signal, scratch my nose, etc.
The Curve rides very well, and it rides as well as it did when I tried it out in a Philadelphia store. The Curve feels lighter than the MU and steadier than the Downtubes I tried.
(I feel that the Dahon MU is much a better bike in terms of handling and gearing, but full mountain bike gearing on a folder is overkill for my purposes - a mostly flat multi-mode commute.)
The handlebars have a little too much flex in them, particularly when hill climbing. Might this be something that can be adjusted after the break-in period? Lowering the bars a touch makes them feel more solid.
Comfort: The stock saddle isn't very good, particularly since I'll be riding the folder in street clothes.
Gearing: The three speeds seem a little bit too close together. 5 or 7 might be better, but I didn't want to wait around for the 2008 Curve SLs to show up, if they ever do. (Dahon is waiting on the Shimano hubs.)
That said, the internally geared SRAM hub shifts very smoothly. I like the simplicity of the bike. It's a nice contrast with my 27-speed touring road bike.
The front chainring lip seems to do a decent enough job at not chewing up my pants. Time will tell, of course; I'm wearing black pants for a while until I have more confidence in this.
The fold: Unfolding it takes a bit of time, most of which I spend getting the handlebars straight. That's a flaw in design. How else would you want the bars to be but straight? Is there some way to fix this so they stay straight?
Getting the seatpost height correct for me is relatively painless. I like that my wife can quickly adjust the bike for herself as well. Maybe this'll get her to ride more?
The bar tilt seemed at first to me to be kind of a pain, yet one more thing to have to do when folding the bike. However, it's pretty easy to adjust this later on, at a red light or what have you.
The rear rack is pretty good, but it's a little harder to fold the bike when I have a trunk rack on it. Maybe with more practice?