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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 06-12-08, 07:32 AM   #1
neilfein
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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?
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Old 06-14-08, 09:57 AM   #2
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one hand riding

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.

what's so difficult about riding one-handed? It's never been a problem for me on any bike so far, and there where many I have ridden...
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Old 06-14-08, 11:34 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by brommie View Post
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.

what's so difficult about riding one-handed? It's never been a problem for me on any bike so far, and there where many I have ridden...
And I've never found a Downtube unsteady, quite the opposite. In fact steadier than a D3.

I also totally agree with Brommie's comment about taking one hand off the handlebars. How's this so difficult?

Last edited by mulleady; 06-14-08 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 06-14-08, 09:16 PM   #4
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Riding one-handed may be complicated by riding posture. If you are riding a bike where you lean forward with a fair amount of weight on the hands, then taking one hand off will cause an unbalance of force on the bars, causing you to wobble. So it is more to do with how you are sitting on a bike than the bike itself. Folding bikes which have smaller steering angular inertia will feel even more wobbly.

Once you are aware of this effect you can easily compensate for it by taking more weight on the legs and ride any bike one-handed. As you get more experienced it ceases to be an issue altogether - you do it unthinkingly.
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Old 06-14-08, 09:52 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by mulleady View Post
And I've never found a Downtube unsteady, quite the opposite. In fact steadier than a D3.
FMI (for my information ) which Downtube are you referring to?
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Old 06-15-08, 02:36 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
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?
Seriously?

It takes all of 2 seconds to straighten the handlebars on a dahon. This is why the latch is QR and the handlebars are allowed to rotate a little bit. This is a practice issue not a "design flaw".
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Old 06-15-08, 02:53 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by operator View Post
Seriously?

It takes all of 2 seconds to straighten the handlebars on a dahon. This is why the latch is QR and the handlebars are allowed to rotate a little bit. This is a practice issue not a "design flaw".
Of course practice helps - practice helps a user to overcome cumbersome design.

Requiring the user to work more rather than designing something better in the first place is a design flaw. I may be new to this bike, but I think the opinion of someone who's unfamiliar with the bike is actually more telling. Once I've unfolded the bike hundreds of times, I probably won't even notice this any more.

This kinda feels like a Mac vs Windows argument.
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