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Old 05-04-09, 07:18 PM   #1
rossmcloch
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Dahon Helios worth buying?

Hi,

I'm trying to find a 2nd bike to ride while I'm working on my R20, someone locally is selling a 'like new' dahon helios p8 for $350. I think I could maybe get it for $325. Is it worth it?

What is the general opinion of this bike?

Thanks,

Anthony
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Old 05-05-09, 08:04 AM   #2
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$350 isn't bad I guess: the last helios I bought was last summer and it was $375.

The best thing about the Helios is its weight: it's barely 21 pounds. The worst thing about the Helios is that its latches tend to squeak and click unless you care for them a lot; and the handlebars are poorly designed and will slip and turn on you unless their latches are exceptionally tight. I took mine to Italy and left them there with friends, and ride the bike when I occasionally return. It's been nearly perfect for that situation.
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Old 05-05-09, 10:18 AM   #3
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I have one ... and I like it ...
keep inmind thatthe helios is a little more flexible than the newer offerings .... I dont mind that as I feel it makes a more comfortable ride .... squeaking ccan be overcome easy with a simple piece of shipping envelope inbetween the cross member ( Tyvek )

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Old 05-05-09, 10:19 AM   #4
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325 bucks for a used bike however is a formidable sum of money
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Old 05-05-09, 10:21 AM   #5
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Find out what model year it is... 2006 was the last year this model was offered for sale outside of like Japan iirc. The newer the model, the more value/appeal it has. Offhand seems like a pretty good deal for a "like new" Dahon "P8" in general?

Here's the Dahon archive links:
http://www.dahon.com/archive/2004/heliosp8.htm
http://www.dahon.com/archive/2005/heliosp8.htm
http://www.dahon.com/archive/2006/intl/heliosp8.htm

Some of the most obvious differences seem to be between the handleposts (compare 2004 to 2005/2006) and the forks (compare 2006 to 2005/2004)... the actual componentry seemed to vary a little even on a given years model so that may not be quite as conclusive.

cheers
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Old 05-05-09, 10:41 AM   #6
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Perhaps you can define your cycling needs a bit more.
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Old 05-05-09, 11:24 AM   #7
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It's a 2006 I think. At least a 2005.

I will be riding it as a commuter ~3-5 miles daily. Terrain is fairly hilly but smooth roads. I have a train in the middle of my commute.

This is actually a bit nicer than I was looking for. I've been trying to find a used d7 for about a month now and I've yet to see any worth buying. Is this worth the extra cost over a d7 (assuming I could find one)?

I'm really just trying to figure out if 325 is a good price before I make the offer. I'm pretty sure that's as low as the seller will go.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 05-05-09, 11:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rossmcloch View Post
I will be riding it as a commuter ~3-5 miles daily. Terrain is fairly hilly but smooth roads. I have a train in the middle of my commute.
Reasonable. The Helios is light, which will be nice. The big issue will be: will it fit you? Like many folding bikes, Dahons have a cramped effective top tube, forcing a fairly upright posture if you're an average height male. Try before you buy (or try any Speed P8, Mu P8, or D7, they're all sized about the same I think) to make sure you fit it acceptably.

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I've been trying to find a used d7 for about a month now and I've yet to see any worth buying. Is this worth the extra cost over a d7 (assuming I could find one)?
I think so.
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Old 05-05-09, 11:58 AM   #9
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why don't you check the DT for $299 (new). it is a good folder but for that price for me the price is on a high side.
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Old 05-05-09, 12:39 PM   #10
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I don't think a person much more than 5'11" would feel comfortable on the Dahon Helios. I have a Helios myself and I love but I'm 5'6". The Downtube is equally good and better priced. Do you have some place to stow it at work? If you're not mechanically inclined, I suggest getting a 3 speed internal hub gear which should do you fine for the length of your average ride.

If your height and weight does not exceed the design limitation of Dahons, you should do well with any of the Dahons.
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Old 05-05-09, 12:59 PM   #11
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The other bike is like 30 % heavier ..... I wouldnt call that equally good and better priced ... but than I am biased of course.....
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Old 05-05-09, 01:19 PM   #12
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I also forgot to mention that the bike includes a bag which I definately want to have. The downtube with bag and shipping will cost me 376. Buying a 'like new' bike vs a new bike doesn't bother me all that much assuming the bike actually is like new. I like the weight of the Helios. Which of the two bikes rides nicer for a 5 11' person? I'm also concerned about resale value. Somewhere down the line I will probably sell the bike. Dahons seem to hold their value pretty well. How does downtube do in this regard
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Old 05-05-09, 01:32 PM   #13
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If you're 5'11", you're going to find that most folding 16-20" bikes are fairly cramped. The Stridas are the worst by far, then the Bromptons, followed the Dahons and Downtubes. If you want non-cramped and still need decent foldability, you're looking at a lot more money (i.e., Tikit).

Of the cramped collection, the Dahons aren't too bad. I believe most Downtubes and Dahons have pretty similar effective top tubes, but I'm not sure.

Anyway: I'm 5'11" and I ride the Helios on medium trips no problem: it's adequate. It's not a Tikit. But it will work just fine for a 3.5 mile commute with a train.

Suggestion: getting Primo Comets on the Helios is quite nice. Don't know if it can be outfitted with Big Apples (Thor can say).
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Old 05-05-09, 04:02 PM   #14
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Well I'm exactly 5'11 and my Helios felt just fine when I had it in the stock configuration. The only upgrade I would not do without was moving to Ergon locking grips. (I felt the original grips twisted too easily...)

Since then of course I have upgraded it significantly and added a 70mm stem for use with my road/drop bars - the stem wasn't so much because I felt cramped, but because I needed it to fit 31.8 diameter handlebars.

Basically you have options and it will probably feel just fine even as it is...
I think the telescoping handlepost on the Helios lends itself to making conversions/upgrades moreso than other Dahon products with a fixed height handlepost or even the ones with Syntace peanuts.
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Old 05-06-09, 11:09 AM   #15
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I'm going to go have a look tonight. Any last minute advice? Would you buy this or wait for something else?
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Old 05-06-09, 11:41 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rossmcloch View Post
I'm going to go have a look tonight. Any last minute advice? Would you buy this or wait for something else?
if it's me, i will wait for something else. not for the bike itself but for the price.
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Old 05-06-09, 03:16 PM   #17
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I'm 6'3 and my 20" Downtubes aren't cramped. The Mini is a little, and I have to take Special Measures to make the seatpost fit me, but if I were 4 inches shorter, I'd be golden.
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Old 05-06-09, 03:37 PM   #18
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Quote:
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The only upgrade I would not do without was moving to Ergon locking grips. (I felt the original grips twisted too easily...)
You can fix this with hairspray.
Coca Cola might work as well.
Let it dry over night.
The original grips are fine then.
Ergons are too heavy, imho.
If you consider upgrade, I would recommend some lightweight cork grips.

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Old 05-06-09, 08:40 PM   #19
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So I took a look at the bike tonight. I ended up buying it for $320. It is the 2006 model and came with an El Bolso bag and manuals. It really is in good condition and I was more impressed with the bike than I expected to be. It seems to have a lot of little extras that make it much nicer than a mariner d7 I almost bought for $200.

As far as being a good deal, I think it was decent. If I was willing to wait I probably could have done a little better but after looking for a month and not finding anything (and wasting gas) I just wanted to get riding.

I'm not sure how I feel about the el bolso bag. I think i'd rather have a full zip style. Is there a recommended alternative? I also want to get some fenders. Does anyone have a favorite make/model?

I appreciate all the help offered in this thread.
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Old 05-07-09, 06:46 AM   #20
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I'm 6'3 and my 20" Downtubes aren't cramped.
Could you get out your tape measure and tell us: how far is it from the tip of your seat post to your handlebars? Not to the stem, to the bars themselves. Measure to the outer edge of the bars, that is, the edge furthest from you.
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Old 05-07-09, 06:48 AM   #21
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Also: I misspoke. My Helios isn't 21 pounds. It's 23.5 pounds (with saddle and pedals).
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Old 05-07-09, 06:15 PM   #22
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congratulations on the new bike !!!
May it give you many miles of happy commuting and pleasure riding!
Post some pics to show it off, I'm sure we would all love to see it and any mods you make!
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