Dahon Speed Pro 2008
I've just picked up a Dahon Speed Pro TT 2008 model. After much deliberation over the cost and looking at an 2007 Speed Pro on eBay I went and did it. First impressions were it looked really good in the flesh, better than the photos actually. It didn't take long to get a comment on it either as I was only 10 feet out the door of the shop when a construction worker "commented" on the small wheels and asked me if it was a "boys bike"? I politely told him that it was a folding bike and he seemed satisfied with my answer as I ran away.
I wheeled it through the pedestrians until I could get it on the road and that's when the things that I had read on Bike Forums came flooding back to me el pronto...the poor brakes. I gave it a foot-full down the hill to my waiting car and it took off like a scalded cat, the only problem was when attempting to put a halt to this process that I realised that the combination of the TT handlebars and the style of brake levers on the bars were designed by someone who had never test ridden the bike, the levers bottomed out against the bars. I went past my car towards the next intersection and eventually came to a stop thanks to the "Jimano" high tech brakes embedded in the soles of my shoes...20 more feet and I would've had the bike folded while I was still on it.
I got back to work and phoned the bike shop and they basically told me what I had just found out(the hard way). They said they had adjusted the brakes up as close as they would go and suggested that maybe I should fit a pair of drop handlebars to it to increase the pull of the brake levers, an idea I'm still contemplating.
Back at home I thought, I've paid all this money and I really don't want to modify a brand new bike or spend any more money, so I readjusted the brakes which still had a bit of adjustment left in them to a "micron" of clearance between the blocks and the rim and took it for a spin, it is better but nowhere near as good as my daughters Vitesse D7.
Has anyone out there got a solution to the brake problem? The bike rides great, the range of gears is great, and the new Kore seat and post are very comfortable as are the handlebars. My bike doesn't have the suspension front hub which I don't mind. I only have basic pedals on it which the shop gave me for free, any suggestions on a suitable set of pedals(prefer normal pedals that don't require cycling shoes)? I'll get a few more miles on it and come back with a bit more of a road test.
I don't have any specific suggestions regarding that model of Dahon, but I did want to point out that in my experience road brakes are simply not going to provide the stopping power of a set of v-brakes like on the Vitesse. Having said that they should stop the bike in a manner that is safe to ride on the road. It sounds like your brakes are falling well below this mark.
The cheapest way to upgrade brakes is to replace the stock pads with something better. Generally stock pads are mediocre so some aftermarket pads [Koolstop Salmon pads] will make a difference.
Adjusting your brakes with a micron of clearance isn't a reasonable solution for long term happiness so you need to really decide are you willing to put time and $$$ into making this bike work for you or do you want a bike that is what you need right from the get go?
If you decide to upgrade the Speed Pro maybe ask your LBS to swap in drop bars and new pads at cost.
Same bars/levers were on my Hammerhead7. Never felt the brakes did much braking. Much as I loved the wacky looks of the critter, the TT bars were too uncomfortable for me, and the weak brakes did nothing to help. The lot came off for an MTB set-up, with Deore LX V-brake levers on the dual-pivot calipers. Much improved things. Natch, you may not want to do this on your lovely new bike..
Try Vik's suggestion: pad-ectomy.
Pedals are another kettle of fish. I have MKS folding alloys - £26.00. They're not as wide, or as light as the £7.00 pair of Union 'plastic' folding pedals on my other bike.
You should try putting better quality cables on your brakes. It may help with the braking, plus it's cheaper to try than replacing the bars.
dual caliper , road brakes will never feel as strong as V brakes or "ueber" brakes as they were called when they were first introduced... yes at the beginning Shimano was forced to put plastic inserts into the front v brakes to prevent people going over the handlebar....
fast forward 15 years.... everybody has accepted v brakes and now the road brakes being it dual pivot or anything else are consodered inferior
get new pads , keep the rims clean and you will get used to the road brakes....
( after all nobody I know is usung v brakes in the tour de france , and those folks go down prety steep hills)
the new pads sound like a cheaper alternative to new bars.The stock pads are probably no the greatest.
Thanks to all who replied,I'm in Australia, I'll try and find a shop that sells Kool Stop brake pads, I've seen these mentioned on this site quiet a lot.
Thanks for your help, do you sell the Kool Stop brake pads to fit the 2008 speed pro TT? I have looked at the Kool Stop website but I don't know which ones I need.They are rare in Australia. I believe the stock pads on my bike are Tektro P453. If you sell Kool Stop Pads, do you ship to Australia? (I need to get pedals too).
sorry dont have Kool Stop pads
( I might check into that )
otherwise I indeed send stuff to you guys ( who ever came up with that downunder anyway ..lol )
I'm not sure who came up with "Downunder" I think it has become one word over the years too.
I test rode this bike, very nice folder indeed for its purpose and very fast. Not sharp stopping brakes, maybe for a reason? Having said that, Thor's recommendation for new pads should do the trick. Koolstops have an excellent reputation, people have even used them on older Bromptons where they were disappointed with the stock brakes.
Maybe it has something to do with the extra long reach of the caliper brakes? I considered calipers for my Mu, but couldn't find calipers with enough reach. Settled on V-brakes + V drop levers instead.
You could consider the Mini-V brakes, they should work with your STI levers.
I'm not entirely up to speed on all this talk of Koolpads... if the brakes need to be set up such that the pads are a micrometer off the rims, and the lever still almost bottoms out, then no pad is going to save the day. Seems to me there is a mismatch between the lever pull and the brake caliper pull, which would be weird anyway since they are supposed to be designed to go together.
I haven't seen a road brake that once clean and properly set up, didn't brake very well. Pal of mine used to go on about his Cannondale road brakes, how they weren't meant for braking sharp. He changed his tune once I swapped out the rusted inner and adjusted it properly. Almost went over the bars the 1st time he tried it.