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Old 07-08-09, 06:38 AM   #1
giskard
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Dahon Mu frame squeaking noise

My Mu P8 makes a (sort of) metallic squeaking noise which I think is coming from the frame hinge. The noise happens even when I'm just walking the bike so it has no load on it. I've adjusted the frame latch so it's not loose but I do notice some bare metal showing where paint has worn off on the contact points of the frame-ends.

Is there anything I can adjust or is the frame latch worn or faulty? The bike is less than 2 years old and has done less than 1000 commuting miles.
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Old 07-08-09, 07:11 AM   #2
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if you already adjusted the clamp with no measurable results its time to look for a dealer who can help

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Old 07-08-09, 07:11 AM   #3
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Yeah, my Downtube Mini does that; both the frame hinge and the stem hinge develop play after a while. I have glued small pieces of leather into the hinges, which cushions the gap between the metal pieces and helps a lot. Doesn't last for ever, though; plan on replacing it a couple times a year.
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Old 07-08-09, 08:48 AM   #4
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Unfortunately there can be several spots that cause squeaking. In addition to all of the hinges, make sure the seatpost is adjusted properly and has enough grease.
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Old 07-08-09, 09:17 AM   #5
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I owned 2 Dahon MUSLís and both developed squeaking and creaking noises from the frame. The seat post clamp is one area to check. The small grub (set) screw can become loose... I took off the clamp and applied some grease on the frame tube and then replaced and tighten the small screw. This helped for a while but then the embarrassing noises would come back again.....

Another area could be the frame hinges..... both my MU SL's developed serious wear in the hinges within 6 months so where sent back to the dealer....

Iíve not experienced any squeaking, creaking or rattling since I upgraded to a titanium Brompton... no signs of any wear and a far better build quality

Iím beginning to think that aluminium simply isnít durable enough for bikes with frames that fold in half like the Dahon et al.
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Old 07-08-09, 11:04 AM   #6
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Thanks for your responses everyone.

@Bacciagalupe: by greasing the seatpost I take it you mean greasing the inside of the seatpost clamp collar before putting it back on to the frame and fixing it in place with the grubscrew? I don't think greasing the actual seatpost is a good idea.

I didn't think to check the grub screw for the seat post clamp collar so I'll do that.

My bike is out of warranty now (it's 2 years old) so I don't know what the dealer would be able to do about it if anything.

If I was to buy a folder now, I think I'd go for a Xootr Swift as it doesn't use a folding frame.
I've tried a Brompton but for my height and weight I found it much too skittish compared with the 20 inch wheels of the Dahon and the Swift. Also, my commute to work is over 10 miles each way and whilst the Dahon seems to cope fine with that, I'd say the Brommie would be hard going at that distance.

Johno
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Old 07-08-09, 11:43 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giskard View Post
Thanks for your responses everyone.

@Bacciagalupe: by greasing the seatpost I take it you mean greasing the inside of the seatpost clamp collar before putting it back on to the frame and fixing it in place with the grubscrew? I don't think greasing the actual seatpost is a good idea.

I didn't think to check the grub screw for the seat post clamp collar so I'll do that.



Johno
While you have the collar off, remove the seatpost shim (if fitted)and grease the outside of that and slip it back in, then grease the inside of the collar/clamp and put a little lube on the quick release mechanism.. don't grease the seatpost itself, just clean it.. hope it works out... after a few hundred miles, my Mu Uno is still silent after I lubed everything up initially..
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Old 07-08-09, 04:49 PM   #8
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Iím beginning to think that aluminium simply isnít durable enough for bikes with frames that fold in half like the Dahon et al.
PDR, you are mixing some facts. First, there are thousands of Dahons out and running without squeaky frames (including my Mu). So quite likely the issues have been specific to your Dahons (probably the dealer who did not know how to setup the hinge?). Second, the bikes that need toughest frames, mountainbikes, are almost all from aluminum (more and more are Carbon now). And in fact this is more stable per weight if you use larger diameter tubes accordingly. This has nothing to to with your Titanium Brompton, which is a very fine bike and I would really like to test ride it.
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Old 07-08-09, 09:55 PM   #9
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I believe the Mu has a 5-year frame warranty. I think my 2007 does.
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Old 07-09-09, 02:55 AM   #10
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PDR, you are mixing some facts. First, there are thousands of Dahons out and running without squeaky frames (including my Mu). So quite likely the issues have been specific to your Dahons (probably the dealer who did not know how to setup the hinge?). Second, the bikes that need toughest frames, mountainbikes, are almost all from aluminum (more and more are Carbon now). And in fact this is more stable per weight if you use larger diameter tubes accordingly. This has nothing to to with your Titanium Brompton, which is a very fine bike and I would really like to test ride it.
I do agree with you and I know most mountain bike frames are made from aluminium.

I was specifically thinking about hinge mating surfaces and the increased possibility of wear when using aluminium as opposed to harder steel.

I know that that Dahons and several other brands that use quick release frame clamps (lever) and that these do need regular adjustments as the tension becomes less.... in this regard I think the Bromptonís and T-model Bike Friday Tikit are a much better design due to the fact that the clamp is adjusted to the perfect tension each and every time you use it.

My opinion of Dahon bikes is tainted through a run of bad luck....... but I do know there are lots of happy owners out there.
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Old 07-09-09, 04:32 PM   #11
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PDR, I agree to your point in general. Hinges in the main frame are a critical point. And aluminum does need large contact surface to keep up with high forces. There are, for example, the (aluminum) hinges from Pacific Reach. While I think their "Swivelhead" design is too complicated, I like their wide contact surface hinge which seems to be rather strong.

Quote:
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...in this regard I think the Bromptonís and T-model Bike Friday Tikit are a much better design due to the fact that the clamp is adjusted to the perfect tension each and every time you use it.
This is highly speculative. In fact it could be the other way round and some arguments are pointing towads that:

* it is the Dahon quick release that always closes with the very same tension not the "V-Clamp with screw" of BF/Brompton
* Dahon intentionally choose to use this quick release hinges instead of the simpler, well known but not as elegant mechanisms on other folders.
* mass production potentially can achieve higher quality (per price).
* Dahon is the reference regarding hinges, right?

I have not tested Bike Friday or Brompton hinges enough to rate their quality in comparison to Dahon, only I know for sure is than my Dahons can handle stress surprisingly well. In my cases no adjustment of the hinge was needed. Never. No squeak. No play. No grease. Just works fine from day one. And opens/closes in a blink.
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Old 07-09-09, 05:37 PM   #12
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Same exact issue with a 2008 Jack. No issues with hinge tension (it was within spec and never loosened). There are many similar complaints out there. Dahon tried to quickly say that this was a rider fault for not keeping hinge adjusted.
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Old 07-17-09, 06:51 AM   #13
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Thanks for all your responses guys.

I lubed the frame hinge with some 3-in-1 oil and the squeaking seemed to disappear though I heard a little bit this morning, so perhaps regular lubing is all that's needed?

Someone mentioned a grubscrew used to fix the seatpost clamp/collar in place - my bike doesn't have one (there a hole for one in the collar though) nor is there a hole in the seat-tube to accomodate such a screw so I'm wondering if my 2007 Mu P8 actually needs one or was originally fitted with one?

Can any MuP8 owners out there tell me if their bike uses a grub-screw to hold the seatpost clamp in place?

TIA
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Old 07-20-09, 02:06 AM   #14
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It sounds as though the small screw has fallen out. The screw just tightens against the surface of frame tube. Using a stainless steel screw in an aluminium (threaded) collar is always going to be a weak spot. I noticed mine began to loosen after a while and the threads began to wear so in the end I used locktite on the screw.

I take it this is the collar you have? 2/3 the way down this page:
http://www.thorusa.com/dahon/accessories/seatpost.htm
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Old 07-20-09, 04:36 PM   #15
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Yep, that's the one.
I must admit I haven't noticed that the collar is loose is loose when the seat post is unclamped, so I'm wondering if I need to replace the grubscrew?
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Old 10-17-15, 09:07 AM   #16
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Hi, I know this is an old thread but in case someone needs a fix for a creaking Dahon frame, here is how I solved it. This solution is for a Dahon Vitesse D7 that I bought from someone, so it wasn't new.

Issue:
- the bike would creak incessantly, especially when folded. This is why I suspected the frame hinge. Indeed there is a small hole for lubricating the hinge but it didn't look like an efficient way of fixing this issue. I wanted to make sure everything is in proper working condition

Solution:
- both the frame hinge and the handlebar stem hinge are made to be taken apart. So the plan is to completely take apart both hinges and lube them properly

Frame hinge:
- the frame hinge's pins have 3 tiny safety screws, the 2 main pins have a threaded hole in the bottom in which you must screw a bolt and then pull (this was the tricky part, details bellow) to remove the pins. The other 2 pins and the latch can be easily removed, no explanation necessary here
1. Remove the latch's adjustment bolt which is held in place by a cross-head screw on one side and on the other side it's simply screwed into the latch's pin which will fall out on it's own after this
2. Remove the 3 tiny safety screws using a 2 mm allen key (they might be a bit seized due to the paint job but just persist and they'll loosen up)
3. Remove the pin, in which the adjustment bolt was held in place with the cross-head screw, by pushing down on the pin's central hole with the tip of a small allen key. If it still won't fall out, use pliers to push it out
4. Remove the pin holding the latch in place. Ordinarily this pin should have a threaded hole in the bottom, but mine didn't. I suspect this pin was changed at some point in its lifetime. So to remove this pin, if it has a threaded hole, just screw in a correct sized bolt and pull (or use a press, details bellow). If this pin doesn't have a threaded hole then here's how to remove it. The latch has a bit of play inside the hinge. Push the latch to the top as far as it will go, then twist it so it grabs hold of the pin and pull down on it. The pin should move about half a mm or less per pull. It took me about 4 hours to remove this pin (I didn't dare use a drill on this pin, to thread its bottom, while still in the frame for fear of damaging the frame). Of course I replaced it with a proper pin with a threaded hole in the bottom, so next time I won't have any problems removing it.
5. Remove the main pin. Once this is removed you'll separate the 2 halves of the frame. This pin has a threaded hole in the bottom. Ideally you just screw in the correct sized bolt and pull and the pin should come out but this pin was completely seized and it was the main source of the creaking noises. To remove this pin I used a DIY press which consists of the following: a long bolt (correct size to fit in the pin's hole), a nut and pretty large washer, a metal tube of some sort which goes over the bolt and through which the pin will come out. So basically the bolt goes into the pin and you keep twisting the nut which will force the pin out of the frame. The order of the components is: the empty bolt, screw in the nut till it reaches the bolt's head, then the washer, the piece of tube and then screw the whole device into the hinge's pin. The frame is at an angle so the press can't sit firmly in place and won't be able to pull straight on the pin (DO NOT USE IT YET OR YOU'LL DAMAGE THE FRAME!). Align the press as straight as you can with the pin and then place a bolt in the space between the frame hinge and the press's metal tube. The thread on this bolt will grab firmly on both the frame and the press while you twist the nut to pull out the pin. The hinge's pin won't stand a chance against this.
6. Notes: my Dahon's frame hinge has 2 thin washers so make a note of where they go and don't loose them. Also don't loose any of the 3 safety pins which are of 3 different lengths (I lost one of these and had to find a replacement and grind it down to the correct length).
7. Clean the frame hinge with bike degreaser/bike wash (make sure it doesn't corrode aluminium). I used the brush from an old eyelash mascara my wife was throwing away (cleaned it with makeup remover thoroughly) to clean the insides of the hinge.
8. Clean and polish the frame hinge and the pins using degreaser and extremely fine grit sandpaper to remove the aluminium oxide (or any other stuff) which caused the pin to seize. This will also smooth any rough bits from the rough removal process. I took all the hinge's parts to a metal worker a.k.a. my dad who put everything on a lathe and smoothed the pins, and re-threaded all the bolts/screws.
9. When putting everything back together make sure you use gloves (latex or nitrile) as human sweat leads to metal corrosion. I lubed everything heavily with lithium bike grease (because this is what I had ) and basically do the entire process in the reverse order I just described. IMPORTANT NOTE: when inserting the main frame hinge's pin (this will be step 1) do not do this horizontally i.e. using a bike stand. It'll never work, I tried it, the wife helped me and she almost hit me with the bike due to frustration . You should place the rear part of the frame vertically, hinge facing up, next to a wall. Then place the washers, using grease to hold them in place, on the hinge half from the front part of the frame and gently bring the frame halves together. The frame should now be in the unfolded position and sitting vertically next to the wall. Screw a bolt in the bottom of the pin, grease the pin heavily and push it in while making sure the washers don't move about.

Handlebar stem hinge:
- the handlebar stem hinge's internal mechanism is easily removable, but the main pin actually has 4 parts: 2 bolts (either side of the hinge) and 2 bushings. The bolts are easily removable, but the bushings are a bit more tricky to remove if they are seized like in my case
1. Remove the internal adjusting mechanism (easy enough)
2. Remove the main pin's 2 bolts
3. Remove the 2 bushings by tapping them gently with a similar sized piece of metal tube. It's not necessary to remove these bushings as the actual rotating pin is composed of the 2 bolts you just removed. So if the bushings won't come out, leave them be
4. Do the same cleaning/polishing process as described for the frame hinge
5. Put it all back together in the reverse order described above and remember to grease everything

Result:
- the bike now doesn't make a sound. The hinges open and close smoothly

Final notes:
- although this tutorial is for a Dahon Vitesse D7, so it's for what Dahon calls a frame model K, the principal should be the same for all folders i.e. everything is made to be taken apart. If it can't be taken apart then persist because something might be wrong (in my case pins were seized and there was no lube to be found anywhere). If I hadn't done this entire process there might have been a frame failure in the future

Last edited by bloodfont; 10-17-15 at 09:21 AM. Reason: grammar
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Old 10-17-15, 07:13 PM   #17
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Excellent write-up!

I had a Dahon Helios at one stage that almost couldn't be folded; I suspected aluminium corrosion had seized the hinge pin, but I gave up trying to remove it. I thought of some methods but none as clever as yours.
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Old 10-19-15, 01:27 AM   #18
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I have a Dahon Mu which developed squeaking three times since I bought it a year ago. All within the first 3 months.

All three times I was completely sure that it was coming from the frame hinge but...

- First time it was a loose pedal: tightened it and all was good.
- Second time it came from the seat rails. Loosened the seat, put a dab of grease and tightened again.
- Third time it came from the seat post shim. Removed the shim, put a a bit of grease between the shim and frame (making sure I didn't touch the seatpost itself!) and it went away.

Had no more issues since then, but don't be so sure the hinge is the problem. The frame seems to amplify any noise creating the illusion that it's the culprit and driving you nuts looking for the real problem.
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Old 10-26-15, 03:28 AM   #19
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Wow this is an old thread

The point is when you spend around £800 on a bike like the Dahon MU SL it ought to be right... you shouldn't have to faff about stripping and lubricating hinges and clamps. I have no doubt if I had kept mine it would have been in the council metal recycling skip by now

By contrast my 2009 Brompton Titanium S-Type which I have had for five years, seven months and used for the daily commute in all weathers all year round, snow, ice the lot is still working perfectly, no rattles, squeaks or bits breaking. Its had new brake shoes and two sets of Kojak tyres .... Its been a wonderful bike and far better than the Dahon rubbish.
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Old 10-26-15, 05:27 AM   #20
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Wow this is an old thread

The point is when you spend around £800 on a bike like the Dahon MU SL it ought to be right... you shouldn't have to faff about stripping and lubricating hinges and clamps. I have no doubt if I had kept mine it would have been in the council metal recycling skip by now

By contrast my 2009 Brompton Titanium S-Type which I have had for five years, seven months and used for the daily commute in all weathers all year round, snow, ice the lot is still working perfectly, no rattles, squeaks or bits breaking. Its had new brake shoes and two sets of Kojak tyres .... Its been a wonderful bike and far better than the Dahon rubbish.
I was simply unable to find a Brompton with useable gearing for my commute, and there's not one that doesn't flex horribly when ridden hard.

Dahon provided a bike that solved both issues at half the price of a 3sp Brompton. Way stiffer, 27 well spaced gears and rides like a real bike.

If Dahon is qualified as rubbish, then Brompton could be qualified as overpriced rubbish.
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Old 10-26-15, 05:52 AM   #21
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You can't compare a Taiwan made Dahon with a British hand-crafted bike like a Brompton. I don't know where you get the idea that Bromptons flex horribly? My Lightweight Titanium is perfect and rides great. It is only a 2-speed but that is what I custom ordered. I wanted a fast, light bike for commuting by train. I also have a 2013 standard steel S-Type, 6 speed Brompton which I bought for use while my normal railway station was being refurbished and meant I had a steep hill to climb each morning... used it for a few months then went back to the lighter titanium Brompton.

I've test ridden plenty of Dahons, Birdy's and a few other makes and I can confirm that the Brompton is by far the best
Fast, compact fold ideal for storing between the back-to-back seats of trains. I even beat "roadies" on their racing bikes sometimes just for fun

I'm a Apple Mac user and there is a saying "once you go Mac, you'll never go back".... and its similar with Bromptons.... they are like the Apple of the folding bike world.... anything other than a Brompton is just a folding bike
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Old 10-26-15, 10:00 AM   #22
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Amt -Is there a reason you didn't consider a bike friday? you can get whatever gearing you want and flex is not an issue. I like the fact that I can easily change out my gears as my needs change. Was it the fold that was the reason (price is on par with brompton or even less)?
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Old 10-27-15, 05:33 AM   #23
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You can't compare a Taiwan made Dahon with a British hand-crafted bike like a Brompton. I don't know where you get the idea that Bromptons flex horribly? My Lightweight Titanium is perfect and rides great. It is only a 2-speed but that is what I custom ordered. I wanted a fast, light bike for commuting by train. I also have a 2013 standard steel S-Type, 6 speed Brompton which I bought for use while my normal railway station was being refurbished and meant I had a steep hill to climb each morning... used it for a few months then went back to the lighter titanium Brompton.

I've test ridden plenty of Dahons, Birdy's and a few other makes and I can confirm that the Brompton is by far the best
Fast, compact fold ideal for storing between the back-to-back seats of trains. I even beat "roadies" on their racing bikes sometimes just for fun

I'm a Apple Mac user and there is a saying "once you go Mac, you'll never go back".... and its similar with Bromptons.... they are like the Apple of the folding bike world.... anything other than a Brompton is just a folding bike
I got the idea that they flex horribly after riding one in a test ride. The Mu is definitely stiffer and more ergonomic.

Bromptons definitely fold better than a Dahons, but they ride way worse.

BTW, I don't have anything against UK or Taiwan, and after a few years working on a Mac, I learned to hate them. They're just overpriced hardware with crappy software bought by people who are unable to to get near a PC without it getting full of browser toolbars and malware, which I couldn't do it even if I tried. So yes, I went back and I'm not regretting it.

Last edited by Amt0571; 10-27-15 at 05:53 AM.
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Old 10-27-15, 05:45 AM   #24
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Amt -Is there a reason you didn't consider a bike friday? you can get whatever gearing you want and flex is not an issue. I like the fact that I can easily change out my gears as my needs change. Was it the fold that was the reason (price is on par with brompton or even less)?
I mainly use the Dahon for an 8km daily commute, going around town, and sporading longer rides when travelling. It's a short commute, but I live in a hilly area and my commute includes a 1.5km steep climb when going back home, so a DualDrive was a must for me, especially considering than in summer we can reach 35ļC here and I don't like arriving home soaked in sweat.

For my intended use I simply couldn't justify the price of a BF when a Dahon met and exceeded all my needs for 630€ + a new set of brakes (stock ones were crap and I replaced with Magura's HS11 for an extra 100€).
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Old 10-27-15, 10:11 AM   #25
ThorUSA
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every bike which is ridden and gives the owner pleasure is a good bike, no matter where its made, or what brand it is.
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