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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 06-07-09, 03:08 PM   #1
PDR
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All sorted now, MU SL gone

As some may recall, I had a brand new 2009 Dahon MU SL that was a replacement for one that developed a problem with the frame. I took it out of the box a few days later after posting the fact that I wanted to sell it...... shock horror, it had a deep chip/scratch through the paint and into the surface of the aluminium on part of the hinge, granted you could not see it with the bike unfolded.... and yes I could have touched it up with the included paint pot, but I shouldn’t have had to.

I sent the bike back and the dealer said they would send me a replacement. After giving them a couple of weeks I phoned them to see what was happening..... long story, short they agreed to give me a refund of what I paid. I am now happy with the result and it saves me trying to sell an unwanted bike.
I seem to have somehow forgotten to have given the quick release MKS peddles back to the dealer when I took the (2nd) bike into the to store.... (a 70 mile round trip each time) but I’m sure I can fid a use for them.

So to summarise my Dahon MU SL ownership:
Bought the first bike May 2008. This developed a problem with the hinge and was replaced in October 2008. The replacement bike started showing signs of exactly the same problem so I took this back to the dealer in April of this year.

Was I just unlucky? I don’t know, but I did notice that the 2009 bike I was sent had a different (improved?) design to the hinge.

I am well within the weight limits for these bikes and I certainly did not abuse them in any way.
Given my personal experience I would never buy a Dahon again, in fact I am beginning to think that aluminium is not the best material to make folding bike frames out of.

There are several folders that I like such as the Birdy speed and Airnimal Rhino, but I don’t know if these have developed any problems with their frames? If I was to buy another folder I’d probably go for something with a steel frame, such as a Pashley Moulton or Bike Friday Llama.

I am well impressed with the steel and titanium frame of my Brompton and I have every faith that it will last many years to come, sadly I could never have the same faith in the MU SL.

Last edited by PDR; 06-07-09 at 03:17 PM.
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Old 06-07-09, 03:57 PM   #2
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Aluminum is used on heavy duty bikes, e.g., most MTBs. It is in fact more stable than ChroMo per weight, thats why.
The Dahon hinge has been absolutely trouble free for me. After 2 years and two bikes (one got stolen) not a single sign of fatigue. The new hinge design might be slightly improved, but anyway the older one is just fine too.
My Mu Sl has been on par with full size bikes, performance wise. I did take part in group rides and did lots of races with messengers on it. I did not see speed disadvantages of it beeing a folder. In the city, instead, it seems to have the edge and is increadibly fast, one of the fastest bikes in town. I doubt, a Brompton can be ridden to that level. However, I like its small fold.
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Old 06-07-09, 04:52 PM   #3
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don't you at least miss the braking on the dahon tho? that's how i feel about the tikit i had for 6 months
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Old 06-08-09, 01:11 AM   #4
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don't you at least miss the braking on the dahon tho? that's how i feel about the tikit i had for 6 months
The brakes on the Dahons are just regular V-brakes. They have very good stopping power.
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Old 06-08-09, 01:17 AM   #5
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I seem to have somehow forgotten to have given the quick release MKS peddles back to the dealer when I took the (2nd) bike into the to store.... (a 70 mile round trip each time) but Iím sure I can fid a use for them.
And you're bragging about that on an online forum?
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Old 06-08-09, 02:45 AM   #6
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And you're bragging about that on an online forum?
No more than Iíd brag that I had to make two separate trips to the dealer which cost at least £45 in petrol, plus hours of my time and the weeks of waiting while the situation was sorted out.

I didnít hand in the owners hand book or Allen key tool either, mainly because I dropped the bike off for them to look at half expecting them to adjust/fix the bike and give me the same bike back again.
Given all the hassle Iíve had I donít feel bad about holding on to a 6 month old set of used peddles.
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Old 06-08-09, 02:48 AM   #7
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don't you at least miss the braking on the dahon tho? that's how i feel about the tikit i had for 6 months
No, not at all. I have found the brakes on my 2009 Brompton to be just as good.
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Old 06-08-09, 08:11 AM   #8
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No, not at all. I have found the brakes on my 2009 Brompton to be just as good.
i changed my brake shoes on the brompton to koolstop mtn salmon pads and upgraded the brake levers, and the brakes are still far from comparable to what the tikit had. i assume the 2009 mu sl has better brakes than a 2008 tikit. what did you do to the brakes to make them better or do i just need stronger hands . mine has the same brakes as your brommie.
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Old 06-08-09, 09:59 AM   #9
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Among folders, the Brompton seems to be hard to beat on durability and steel doesn't seem to be the magic bullet either as even Bike Friday is currently blaming issues on the "conflict in regular bike design between light weight and durability". On the other hand, the Brompton has more nonstandard parts than any other folder I can think of and simply cannot compare to the Mu SL's lightweight wheelset in acceleration.

Perhaps mulleady would like to comment as I believe he's been sporting both bikes for some time now, but I guess the lesson is that you can't have your cake and eat it too.
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Old 06-08-09, 10:31 AM   #10
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..............On the other hand, the Brompton has more nonstandard parts than any other folder I can think of and simply cannot compare to the Mu SL's lightweight wheelset in acceleration.
...........
The "nonstandard" parts is IMHO a non issue. The parts which are "nonstandard" tend to be in the same vein as other manufacturer's "nonstandard" parts, ie. frame, handlebars, etc. Brompton bicycles change only slowly over time, as the firm decides it's worthwhile, & I see many Countries around the world stock such parts at a generally not unreasonable price.

My brother in law recently asked for help in finding a Dahon Cadenza in France. It appears Dahon has no distribution there. If he'd wanted a Brompton, there'd be no such problem.

I've put "standard" brake levers, ISIS bottom bracket, FunnHooka chainset, Wellgo pedals, ad nauseum, parts on my Brompton M3L. At no point did I find any "nonstandard" problems...............

My wife rides a Dahon MuSL. It required a headset change less than one month after purchase. Just how "standard" is that headset?

I've ridden over 3000 miles in 9 months on my M3L, with minimal maintenance. My wife, sensibly, unlike me, is a fair weather rider, & has done far less miles, but the play in her steering was so bad yet again, that we had to take her MuSL to London to be fixed.

I occasionally ride her bike, usually after some adjustments, & I do not find a huge acceleration difference between that bike & a Brompton M6L BWR.

John
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Old 06-08-09, 01:22 PM   #11
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lets see 3 bikes the last one had a scratch inside the latch and got returned because of that, kept the pedals and didnt return them with the bike, so now the dealer is out 60 bucks on top of the trouble he went through ....( he got a replacement for a 08 bike which came without pedals to start out with now the dealer gave him a 09 for a much higher pricepoint ..... )
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all the very best luck with your new Brommy
I meant that ... honest


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Old 06-08-09, 04:31 PM   #12
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... but the play in her steering was so bad yet again, that we had to take her MuSL to London to be fixed.
Loose headset? You can easily tighten the headset screw with an Allen key.
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Old 06-08-09, 05:08 PM   #13
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lets see 3 bikes the last one had a scratch inside the latch and got returned because of that, kept the pedals and didnt return them with the bike, so now the dealer is out 60 bucks on top of the trouble he went through ....( he got a replacement for a 08 bike which came without pedals to start out with now the dealer gave him a 09 for a much higher pricepoint ..... )
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all the very best luck with your new Brommy
I meant that ... honest


thor
Hi Thor,
I think you misunderstood.....
The recent 2009 bike was sent back exactly as delivered (complete with the pedals). Regarding the scratch, it was far more than just a scratch, in fact there was a large chip of metal missing from the frame.

I was refunded exactly what I paid originally when I bought the first bike in 2008. I did not make a profit out of the dealer.

In fact I have just remembered (prompted by Cyclistjohn) that I also had a problem with the headset on the first bike. Which I took to my LBS who charged £30 for a new head set and told me “whoever put the bike together has really over tightened the headset and has crushed it”

Certainly the first and probably the second 2008 bike frames where only fit for scrap. The peddles that I kept where 6 months old, second-hand and could not have been sold with any new Dahon bike. The pedals would only have been thrown in the skip or some junk box.

What are a set of second hand pedals worth? Somehow I don’t think they cover my costs...... £45 in petrol, £30 headset repair and the all the inconvenience of making trips out to the dealer, waiting ages on the phone trying to get through and then being without a bike for weeks on end.

If anyone is out of pocket it is me.

Last edited by PDR; 06-08-09 at 05:16 PM.
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Old 06-09-09, 01:54 AM   #14
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Loose headset? You can easily tighten the headset screw with an Allen key.
No, the dealer replaced it. Apparently there are some problems with 2008 steering on some MuSL's. The play was severe.
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Old 06-09-09, 02:34 AM   #15
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I have now taken the Brompton on several routes that I used the Dahon for and I have found the time taken to cover the distance to be near identical between the two bikes.

As regards Dahon parts, I suspect that in the USA you can get parts reasonably quickly? Here in the UK it seems to be more difficult... the screw that holds the plastic hinge lever safety locking clip fell out on the second 2008 MU SL. I found a temporary replacement and ordered a new one. I made several visits to another Dahon dealer (18 miles away but near to firearms dealer that I use, so not a wasted journey) to see if the screw had turned up....... 6 months later and still no sign of it.

By contrast, I can get anything I could possibly need for the Brompton from SJS. I have not needed any parts yet but I have ordered other items from SJS and they always arrive within a day or so.

I have only had the Brompton three months. It has had had the first service done and everything was fine. The bike is perfect, no rattles squeaks or creaking and it has not picked up any scratches and still looks perfect........

Now compare either of the Dahon MU SL’s after 3 months ownership.... the handle stem hinge needed frequent adjustment, annoying creaking noises started to come from the area of the seat post clamp (I removed turtle collar clamp and put a little grease on the frame tube and retightened the grub screw, this would cure the noise for a short while). One headset failure. Paint chips and scratches... the Dahons seemed to pick up a fair number of scratches, with at least one being down to the design of the fold... if you are not very careful when lowering the handlebars the centre VRO clamp can hit the front fork and chip the paint. I covered the second bike with Lizard Skin patches on areas I learnt where venerable. At around 4-6 months the frame hinges started to wear badly.

I know that there are many very happy Dahon owners out there. Maybe I’ve just had a run of bad luck with mine.


I know Brompton owners tend to have a reputation for being blinkered and thinking the Bromptons are the best possible folding bikes that you can buy...... the more I ride mine and the longer I own it the more that I can understand why.

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Old 06-09-09, 03:49 PM   #16
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Birdy Monoque frames have an excellent reputation, but unlike the Brommie, you only have a few years of data.

Love my newly "fixed" Birdy. It rides som much like a MB now, it's hard to see the difference
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