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  1. #1
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    Downtube Mini vs. Dahon Curve SL

    A year ago, I bought a Dahon Curve SL for myself. Mrs. Autoworker was livid. "You don't need another bike, you've already got a Jetstream P8, a Strida 5.0, and 2 recumbents!" Then she rode the SL. Well, there goes my new bike! She loved it and claimed it for herself.

    Of course, the fact that I added a Thudbuster seatpost from Thor, Speedplay Drilluim Pedals, and a special anatomically correct girlie seat for her didn't help any.

    Anyway, I always thought that I could always buy another Curve SL for myself, but now Dahon has gone and changed the 2009 model from an 8sp Nexus internal hub to a derailleur. Curses! I really liked that internal hub!

    So now I'm thinking of buying a Downtube Mini. I really like 16" wheels and the maneuverability and compact fold they provide. But I'm just wondering about the quality of the Downtube; after all, it's about half the price of the Dahon.

    Has anyone here actually ridden both bikes? Or inspected both at a show or bike shop? If so, I'd like to hear your opinions.

    Thanks, Dave.

  2. #2
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    I think Thor has a new 2008 Curve SL with the internal hub available.

  3. #3
    Recently Re-tired.
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    "I think Thor has a new 2008 Curve SL with the internal hub available. "

    Unfortunately, I think that the exchange rate and duties to bring it across the border into Canada would make it prohibitively expensive. I realize I'll have to pay these on the Downtube if I decide to buy one, but it's about half the price, so the hit won't be so bad.

    So much for "free trade".

  4. #4
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Autoworker View Post
    A year ago, I bought a Dahon Curve SL for myself. Mrs. Autoworker was livid. "You don't need another bike, you've already got a Jetstream P8, a Strida 5.0, and 2 recumbents!" Then she rode the SL. Well, there goes my new bike! She loved it and claimed it for herself.

    Of course, the fact that I added a Thudbuster seatpost from Thor, Speedplay Drilluim Pedals, and a special anatomically correct girlie seat for her didn't help any.

    Anyway, I always thought that I could always buy another Curve SL for myself, but now Dahon has gone and changed the 2009 model from an 8sp Nexus internal hub to a derailleur. Curses! I really liked that internal hub!

    So now I'm thinking of buying a Downtube Mini. I really like 16" wheels and the maneuverability and compact fold they provide. But I'm just wondering about the quality of the Downtube; after all, it's about half the price of the Dahon.

    Has anyone here actually ridden both bikes? Or inspected both at a show or bike shop? If so, I'd like to hear your opinions.

    Thanks, Dave.
    Search the old threads. Two forum members (RHM?) -- one with a modified Curve and the other with a Mini -- met in NYC and tried out the other's bike.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Autoworker View Post
    ... but now Dahon has gone and changed the 2009 model from an 8sp Nexus internal hub to a derailleur. Curses! I really liked that internal hub!
    They just added a new model and changed the configuration slightly.
    The Curve SL features a Capreo drivetrain.
    The Curve XL has got a Nexus Inter-8 premium hub gearing.

  6. #6
    rhm
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    multimodal commuter rhm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
    Search the old threads. Two forum members (RHM?) -- one with a modified Curve and the other with a Mini -- met in NYC and tried out the other's bike.
    Yeah, that was me and Caaah. We got together for a little ride around Central Park, and posted our remarks in the thread started by GringoGus. You could start with Caaah's post on this, and keep reading for a bit....

    The long and short of it is that they are very similar bikes. Each has some advantages. In retrospect, the main disadvantage of the Curve is the frame design, which allows only a very limited range of chain lines; but I'd guess Dahon has fixed that, if they're offering it with a derailleur gear now. Still... were my Mini stolen today, I would be more likely to get another Mini than a Curve.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhm View Post
    Each has some advantages. In retrospect, the main disadvantage of the Curve is the frame design, which allows only a very limited range of chain lines; but I'd guess Dahon has fixed that, if they're offering it with a derailleur gear now.
    OP is comparing the Curve SL model vs the Mini. The SL dropout is wider so the chain line is not limited.

    I owned these two bikes and did not have a positive impression from the Mini since the frame had a protrusion were the seat tube slides and it scratched all the seat tube. Yang recommended me to file the protrusion, which was "standard" for ~5% of his bikes to get them and that he was going to send a new seat tube, but it never happened. Also the sturmey archer hub was not as nice as the nexus hub, due to the constant adjustments and drag. There was also a dust cap below the suspension that kept falling until I lost it on a ride. Apart from all these I also noticed that the hinges are the same ones that cheap folding bikes uses (eg like the kent folding bike I owned). Don't get me wrong, but these hinges seemed to do their job well. However, I am not sure how long they will last. The kenda tires were not that good since it slipped on curbs with steel on the sides. Least, but not last you will need something to keep the bike together while folded since it does not have a magnet and the seatpost is not as long as the dahons. What I liked about the bike was the suspensions, price, and that it accepted 100mm front hubs and standard sized seatpost. I ended up selling the bike. I don't doubt if you end using 200+ to upgrade the mini you will get a comparable or better bike than the Curve SL.

    Regarding the SL, the gearing was a bit low and replacing the chainring to a bigger one was not an option since this will make the chain rub with the frame. Also it is 2x the price of a mini. The rest you should know since you own one, I mean your wife . Hope this helps.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joako View Post
    Apart from all these I also noticed that the hinges are the same ones that cheap folding bikes uses (eg like the kent folding bike I owned). Don't get me wrong, but these hinges seemed to do their job well. However, I am not sure how long they will last.
    I think they will last longer than the Dahon hinges. IMO, the downtube is a slightly lower class and more rugged version of the curve...let's say a curve with a 5 o'clock shadow .

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