Finished work early today and popped over to see one of the top Dahon stockists in the UK called Fudges Cycles in Harrow Road, London. They carry a very extensive range of the Dahon folding bikes. The owner has bought the rare Dahon Mu XXV special edition, one of only 5 available in the UK. Hope to see that wonder sometime! Would just like to point out the service there was amongst the most professional, friendly and least pushy I've ever encountered if anyone is ever looking for a Dahon folder.
Test rode the following:
Dahon Cadenza 08
The Schwalbe Big Apple tyres really do act as suspension in their own right soaking up bumps and uneveness on the road. The real highlight of this bike is the 8 speed Shimano Alfine hub. It is the most silent shift I've ever witnessed and incredibly smooth. The Nexus was quite good but this is a distinct improvement. Not only that but the Alfine eliminates the problem on so many other hubs; it shifts effortlessly even when pedalling fast and heavy on it, no need to take the pressure off. The Candenza is a very good looking bike with robust build quality. Some may not like the fact it needs an allen key to untighten the hinges for folding but this makes the design look very subtle and possibly even more secure in certain situations. It does not look like a folding bike, very deceptive indeed. A significant upgrade on the 07 version which was quite a good bike but did used a derailleur and normal V brakes whereas this uses excellent disc brakes.
Dahon Speed Pro TT
Now this is a very striking folder designed as a road bike with a yellow colour scheme on the frame, saddle and tyre rims. It actually looks very cool but perhaps a bit 'in your face' or too flash for some peoples tastes. Before I'd even alighted on the saddle, 2 guys in a white van passed and remarked what a flash bike and would I like to throw it in the back of their van? On the test ride it really did attract attention and even had a few wolf whistles (at the bike of course!). This is a speed demon, it must. be as fast as some larger road racers allied to better acceleration from a standstill. I could easily cycle the 19 miles of roads into central London and back on such a bike and it would really shift. It simply wants to be ridden long distances. The SRAM dual drive combined with the derailluer makes for nice shifting using the trigger shift and break levers for moving up and down, very innovative. They've added top end adjustable racing handlebars this year which can be ridden upright or in a more streamlined position like larger road racers. These handlebars are excellent and enhance the ride but need to be tilted to create a more compact fold for commuting. Possibly not needed for my purposes but very impressive all the same. I think I'd prefer it in more subtle colour scheme! I think you could get mugged in person for this bike!
Dahon Mu SL
I didn't take this on the road but got to sit on it and take a closer look. I think this bike is possibly more versatile than the Speed Pro and if Schwalbe Marathon or plus were added it could be taken on the occasional trail rides. It is so light! The Brompton might have a smaller footprint but running on platforms for trains or heaving this up stairs is a doddle! It's a beautiful looking bike and more subtle that the Speed Pro which is more bling in my opinion. The 2008 version is a slight improvement on the 2007. Currently the owner of the shop uses this as his bike of choice and that is a recommendation in itself given the extensive stock he can pick from. This is a bike I have on my shortlist.
If I could afford it I'd have both the Cadenza 08 and the Mu SL. If one, the latter with Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres. For me the weight gain on the SL would be so minimal as not to be noticeable. Pumped up to a high pressure they would still offer reasonably low rolling resistance and would increase the versatility of the SL for some mild off-road rides. I have them on my Downtube FS, great tyres and they handle very nicely too.
Very impressed with the latest Dahon range. Their high-end bikes are something to behold!