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  1. #1
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    Dahon vs. Bike Friday

    I was highly considering a Dahon MUP24 folding bike
    http://www.dahon.com/us/mup24.htm
    I read some great reviews.
    Today in San Francisco, I met someone who owned a Bike Friday. The bike folded down
    really compact and looked really slick when folding down.
    They offer custom made bikes and standard ones.
    Just wondering if anyone has experience with both brands and general differences they found.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by techman View Post
    I was highly considering a Dahon MUP24 folding bike
    http://www.dahon.com/us/mup24.htm
    I read some great reviews.
    Today in San Francisco, I met someone who owned a Bike Friday. The bike folded down
    really compact and looked really slick when folding down.
    They offer custom made bikes and standard ones.
    Just wondering if anyone has experience with both brands and general differences they found.
    I guess it depend on what you intend to do with the bike. Are you a multimode commuter who uses the bus or tain? Are you a fast rider looking only to fold it once and that's at home?

  3. #3
    PDR
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    The main difference is Bike Fridayís are hand built in the USA in various sizes or custom built to customerís exact requirements (size, components & colour). Bike Friday do make a fast folding bike known as the tikit but most of their range are bikes designed to disassemble and fit into a suitcase for travel. Bike Friday are a company that really go out of their way to help their customers.

    Dahon are a much bigger company building bikes in Taiwan. They make a lot of different folding bikes but generally offer no more than 1 or 2 colour choices and no options on components. There have been complaints about lack of customer support and very poor parts back-up.

  4. #4
    Senior Member kamtsa's Avatar
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    I agree with PDR's comparison, especially on the support aspects.

    Also, BF ride quality is superior to that of Dahon (stiffer frame, etc).

    BTW, my son rides MuP24 and I ride BF New World Tourist.

    Kam

  5. #5
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    As a completely satisfied customer of a 2009 Curve SL, I wonder how much better the Tikit really could be. Wish I could find one to ride.

  6. #6
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kamtsa View Post
    I agree with PDR's comparison, especially on the support aspects.

    Also, BF ride quality is superior to that of Dahon (stiffer frame, etc).

    BTW, my son rides MuP24 and I ride BF New World Tourist.

    Kam
    It sounds like the OP saw the Bike Friday Tikit. If that's the case, the Tikit is not more stiff than the MuP24. It's pretty darn flexy (I have one). The Tikit is still fun to ride and the fast fold design is wonderful. The Tikit also doesn't fold down that small. Not that much different than the Dahon.

    However, the MuP24 is a very nice bike also. Stiff, comfortable. Most of all, the gearing range is much, much better. It's a more versatile bike for sure.

    There's no one here who can answer which bike is better. They're too different. You'll have to try them and see for yourself. One thing I think you can be sure of, is that they're both high quality bikes with good companies behind them.

  7. #7
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PDR View Post
    The main difference is Bike Friday’s are hand built in the USA in various sizes or custom built to customer’s exact requirements (size, components & colour). Bike Friday do make a fast folding bike known as the tikit but most of their range are bikes designed to disassemble and fit into a suitcase for travel. Bike Friday are a company that really go out of their way to help their customers.

    Dahon are a much bigger company building bikes in Taiwan. They make a lot of different folding bikes but generally offer no more than 1 or 2 colour choices and no options on components. There have been complaints about lack of customer support and very poor parts back-up.
    Quote Originally Posted by kamtsa View Post
    I agree with PDR's comparison, especially on the support aspects.

    Also, BF ride quality is superior to that of Dahon (stiffer frame, etc).

    BTW, my son rides MuP24 and I ride BF New World Tourist.

    Kam
    +1.

    And I would like to add some more insights to Dahon as I own 2 at present. Dahons are good bikes for riders who only ride from time to time. They are usually a "one size fits most" type that appeal to a general crowd that are not demanding or expect too much from bikes. If you are car light, no car, public transit dependent, ride all the time, want to keep the bike longer than a couple of years as Dahon proprietary parts become unavailable and/or obsolete after a couple of years, or similar reasons buy a better grade of bike. Do test ride all bikes before you buy and buy only quality bikes that you won't get tired of after a time. For serious riding listed above, I own a Brompton myself. The Dahons are for bad areas where I don't want to call attention to myself.
    Last edited by folder fanatic; 10-10-09 at 10:28 AM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member kamtsa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SesameCrunch View Post
    ... One thing I think you can be sure of, is that they're both high quality bikes with good companies behind them.
    I must disagree with the last part. Dahon post sale support is very poor. Try for example to find a replacement left twist shifter for the MuP24 (I tried). It is a made for Dahon DualDrive twist shifter that Dahon installs on new bikes but would not sell as spare parts. When I contacted Dahon US, they could not care less about customer satisfaction.

    With BF you just call them and somebody will pick the part from the production lines and will mail it to you.

    To the original poster, the 'you get what you pay for' rule works here as well. Since you did not mention your budget, it is possible that MuP24 is the right choice for you. It's a decent bike with a wide gear range.

    Kam

  9. #9
    Hooligan Abneycat's Avatar
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    I've own a Bike Friday Pocket Llama and a Dahon Speed D7 at the moment.

    I have also owned a Dahon Mu P8 in the past, and I have extensive experience with the Bike Friday Tikit.

    The aforementioned comparisons are pretty accurate, but there are a lot of differences still.

    Simplifying Bike Friday's line, they really make 2 styles of folder: "Suitcase folders" (their pocket bikes),
    And their commuter folder (the Tikit)

    It sounds like you experienced the Tikit. As much as I love my Pocket Llama, it is neither "slick" nor "really compact" while folded, rather, its a big jumble of metal and loose bits

    The Mu P24 and Tikit are very different bikes, however. They aren't really even designed to fill the same niche, if you are comparing stock models. I'll try and compare some of the more important things.

    The Mu P24 is best suited for someone who wants a folding bicycle, but lives in a very hilly area. It has a much larger gear range than a stock Tikit with a lonely 8sp cassette. The Mu P8 is a much more even comparison in this regard.

    The Mu is equipped with 20" wheels, whereas the Tikit uses 16" wheels. I personally still enjoy 16" wheels, and tires are readily available - but a few more choices are present in the 20" class.

    The Mu P24 requires you to lower the seatpost, move the stem riser around / twist the bars in order to fold the bike. The fold is pretty manageable though, and the bike stays together while folded. You can sometimes roll the bike on its edge, if the handlebars aren't poking into a wheel.. Its generally not a rollable bike, I find.

    The Tikit does not require seatposts moved or anything of the sort, all of the dimensions are saved. No re-adjusting after folding. The Tikit folds exceptionally quick, especially the hyperfold model, and the bike is rollable while folded with a handle on the back, making it very easy to deal with. There is even a one sided rack available that will hold a pannier and let you roll it around while folded. To me, this is a pretty great advantage.

    Warranties and customer service wise, I find Dahon to be pretty decent. There's a 5yr / lifetime warranty from Dahon. I have a Speed D7 that was affected by the recent folding stem recall, and it wasn't a hassle to get the service done.

    Bike Friday though, is like nothing else. You can call in and talk to specialists who can help you out with anything you want. They'll upgrade the bike, customize it, and provide you complete support as long as you own the bike. I've found their service to be exemplary.

    And of course, the Tikit is customizable. Dual Drive is also available, as are many upgrades.

    Edit: Oh yes, the 2010 Tikit has been redesigned to be a bit stiffer too.
    Last edited by Abneycat; 10-10-09 at 02:35 PM.

  10. #10
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    I have a BF NWT and a Dahon P8, and I think the BF is way more fun to ride.

  11. #11
    Senior Member kamtsa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by folder fanatic View Post
    ... want to keep the bike longer than a couple of years as Dahon proprietary parts become unavailable and/or obsolete after a couple of years..
    Dahon spare parts may be unavailable at the day you purchased you new bike, before they become 'obsolete'.

    I gave earlier the 2009 MuP24 left twist shifter example. Here is another one, The latest model of the Glide P8 comes with a bell integrate in the brake lever http://www.dahon.com/components/premium/biologicbl.htm . These integrated levers are available nowhere but Dahon, as a matter of policy, would not provide them as spare parts.

    Kam

  12. #12
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    Speed Uno
    Dawes Kingpin 2speed

  13. #13
    Senior Member Foldable Two's Avatar
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    I have some experience in this area.

    We started out in the folder world with two 2005 Dahon Boardwalk D7s. About a year later, I purchased my 2005 Dahon single-speed for a remarkable $129. brand new.

    In 2007 we decided we liked folders, but needed more gears, standard parts, and I wanted a bike built for my 6'3" height and long arms and legs. At that point, after a visit to Eugene, OR (about 120 miles away) earlier in the year, we ordered two custom built Bike Fridays.

    We are now dividing our time between places in Ventura, CA and Vancouver, WA. A few weeks ago wife realized that when we go back, I will have my single-speed to ride, but that she has nothing. (We are going back on AMTRAK and can only carry so much.)

    Soooo, we looked at a Dahon single-speed from Performance, the new Nova from Downtube and eventually the Pocket 8 from Bike Friday. My feeling was that she needed handbrakes, since she was used to them and doesn't like a coaster brake, I wanted a bike that was easy to "wrench" (i.e., standard parts) and we preferred to keep our $ at home. Result, we will pick up a new Pocket 8 from Coventry Cycles in Portland when we return. (Obviously, our budget was able to be adjusted to cover the additional amount. I know may not be able to make such an adjustment.)

    The Boardwalks D7s were good riding bikes, but lacked the needed gears and were not easy easily upgraded. The Fridays are incredibly good riding bikes and easy to maintain.

    My one test ride on a tikit showed its rides as good as the Boardwalk D7. The tikit folds faster, but likely not much smaller than a Dahon. Dahons do fold very easily and into a very acceptable size, IMO. The normal Fridays don't fold as easily or as small, but are acceptable for our applications.

    ADD: I noticed that Performance Bike website has two applicable specials. One is the Dahon Eco 7-speed for $299.
    http://www.performancebike.com/bikes..._1073625_-1___

    as well as the Speed 7 for $399.
    http://www.performancebike.com/bikes..._1073627_-1___

    The Vitesse 7-speed is also on sale for $499.
    http://www.performancebike.com/bikes..._1073629_-1___

    FYI: The Dahon Mu P24 is the closest thing to a Bike Friday NWT or Crusoe.

    Lou
    Last edited by Foldable Two; 10-11-09 at 08:31 PM.

  14. #14
    New usename ThorUSA brakemeister's Avatar
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    kamtsa
    I offered you a source for a 15 dlr shifter which is technically comparable. Not the custom shifter you liked to get but technically fully functional replacement. What is the beef anyhow. yours broke ? or do you want to upgrade something. If yours is broke send it to me and I will see what I can find.

    folder fanatic
    enjoy your brompton and the dahons you own for lousy neighborhoods or any travel .. but please do not let people belief that Dahons are for short distances or for Newbie riders. A statement like that is simply way out there ....... You really think that prefered bike of yours has better riding qualities, better brakes, better shifting, and I could go on and on .... personal opininion sometimes gets in the way of facts.


    This brand X versus Brand Z usually brings the worst out on this forum and again this thread is a good example of that ......


    -----------------------------------------

    Please go through the trouble and ride both bikes, fold them, carry them up the steps, put the bike in your car, unfold and ride it again ... Than check how much money you want to spend and buy the bike you like best.


    Thor

  15. #15
    New usename ThorUSA brakemeister's Avatar
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    OH you need a bell Kamtsa ?
    I have a much better one for you ..
    just make a note when you return that broken shifter I throw one in the bag for ya.

    thor

  16. #16
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kamtsa View Post
    I gave earlier the 2009 MuP24 left twist shifter example. Here is another one, The latest model of the Glide P8 comes with a bell integrate in the brake lever http://www.dahon.com/components/premium/biologicbl.htm . These integrated levers are available nowhere but Dahon, as a matter of policy, would not provide them as spare parts.
    Your attitude reminds me of classic car buffs who will only refurbish with original factory parts. So ok. You win. Dahon does not cater to this type of crowd. So if your integrated bell lever breaks you will need to replace it with another bell and if that bothers you then you can spend more money for a lesser bike from another company who passes on to their customers the overhead of stocking old parts with every last seam identical to the original.

    However, I personally would rather get the best bike for my money and in most cases that will be a Dahon. After all, that does seem to be their niche in the folding bike world: not to necessarily make the best bike for everyone, but to make the best bike for most; and if you fall in the middle of the bell curve (as most do) then you will benefit from the efficiency that comes from things like not retailing parts which have perfectly functional replacements available through other channels.

  17. #17
    Senior Member tblendell's Avatar
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    just toured italy with a BF pocketrocket (mine) and a MU P24(my girlfriend's).
    i agree with the comment earlier about a jumble of loose metal in regards to the pocket rocket, but when assembled its a higher quality machine that is comparable to a full size bike.
    BUT it was also a lot more expensive than the P24.

    the dahon is also a very quick folder while my Pocket Rocket is really a project in terms of folding up for travel.
    the pocket rocket gets the nod for touring, but the dahon was fine, too. in fact i was wishing i had a dahon p8 to tour with because its so much LESS expensive and therefore i'd be that much less worried if something happened to it.
    the MU P24 rides solid, folds up quick, and does a fine job. and/but its cheaper.
    the bike friday is a higher quality bike.

  18. #18
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tblendell View Post
    in fact i was wishing i had a dahon p8 to tour with because its so much LESS expensive and therefore i'd be that much less worried if something happened to it.
    +1 One of the nice things about folders is that I can actually use them, but it's a double edged sword because the more I use a bike the more the risk of theft, damage, wear, etc makes me think twice about spending double for marginal improvements.

    Quote Originally Posted by tblendell View Post
    the MU P24 rides solid, folds up quick, and does a fine job. and/but its cheaper.
    the bike friday is a higher quality bike.
    Although Dahon does make higher end bikes too. I think a more appropriate comparison would be the P24 vs the Tikit (which I think is the BF the OP had in mind).

  19. #19
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    I think others have covered one primary concern with the Mu: certain custom parts and Big Unfeeling Company style support. Though the custom parts aren't nearly as problematic as on certain other folding bikes; and Dahon has a good dealer network which does more local support -- at the very least, Thor has a first-rate reputation handling the Dahon complainers on this board. :-) I wouldn't be too worried about getting a Dahon on these grounds.

    I should mention that I've been to several Dahon dealers here in Rome (there are three), and have found the same thing: none of them will service the bike. They can't get parts from the company, and Dahon requires them to ship the bike to Dahon. But that's Rome. In the US the situation is much more reasonable.

    Likewise others have mentioned that the tikit's front stem is more flexible than the Mu. I don't find that an issue in practice.

    I *would* make sure that the bike fits you. Here the tikit shines. The Speed and Mu series have a sort of one-bike-fits-all structure which, if you even moderately tall, will impart an upright feel. The tikit, which comes in three sizes and is *far*more customizable, can easily be set up with a geometry you're used to. The Mu also is a bit squeaky: you'll need to pay close attention to tightening and greasing various latches regularly. (Note: the tikit also requires its own special maintenance).

    One honest concern I do have about the Mu is safety. In my experience the Mu (and the Helios before it, of which I have two) has a stem design which tends to slip and rotate on me suddenly: both the handlebar quick-release and particularly the stem telescope, which will pop and rotate about 5 degrees on the Z axis. I'm very surprised Dahon has had this design for so long, since I would think it warranted a safety recall.

    The tikit starts at $999. The Mu P24 retails for $949. The P24's big advantage is the DualDrive, which provides a great range at a great price. This is pretty significant. To throw a DualDrive on a tikit runs a good $1700. The Season Tikit (an 8-speed Nexus hub) is $1600.
    Last edited by feijai; 10-12-09 at 04:51 AM.

  20. #20
    PDR
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    Using proprietary parts is NO excuse for poor parts back-up and customer service, especially for a certain large company building folding bikes in Taiwan. The only time I had to order a part from that company was when the bolt holding the frame clamp safety catch (on my first MU SL) fell out on the way to work.
    I managed to find a similar bolt in my home workshop to use and then I ordered a replacement.... 18 months later and there is still no sign of that bolt turning up at the dealers... not to worry the bike is long gone and I upgraded to a Brompton...

    Talking of which, Brompton probably use more proprietary parts than any other folding bike company yet every single part is readily available and in stock at several dealers / online sites. So as I say, there is no excuse for such poor service.

  21. #21
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    I agree with the comments about some bikes being too good for certain situations.

    I do not usually use my best upgraded mezzo for "lock up" commutes. Not because it attracts more attention, but because it represents more effort to replace/resource/alter if I claim on insurance. I tend to use either the less upgraded Mezzo or the standard Dahon curve in these cituations. If I do not know if I can leave the bike anywhere safe I might use the Onza Mini,which only cot me £25. Sometimes its about being able to relax knowing that a prized bike if not at risk, as you do the activity that the bike facilitated!
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PDR View Post
    Using proprietary parts is NO excuse for poor parts back-up and customer service, especially for a certain large company building folding bikes in Taiwan.
    Mostly Shenzhen, China. Near Hong Kong.

  23. #23
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by feijai View Post
    I *would* make sure that the bike fits you. Here the tikit shines. The Speed and Mu series have a sort of one-bike-fits-all structure which, if you even moderately tall, will impart an upright feel. The tikit, which comes in three sizes and is *far*more customizable, can easily be set up with a geometry you're used to. The Mu also is a bit squeaky: you'll need to pay close attention to tightening and greasing various latches regularly. (Note: the tikit also requires its own special maintenance).
    +1 However, I will say that while I personally agree that bike fit is important, one thing riding folders has taught me is that the elements necessary to achieve a good fit on a nonfolder aren't necessarily required on a folder. With the large wheels out of the way I think Dahon does a good job of optimizing frame angles/proportions/etc to provide enough adjustability to fit most users whereas Bike Friday tends to limit themselves to the traditional methods which work around the constraints of traditionally designed bikes.

    Now perhaps Dahon's approach doesn't work as well for particularly tall folks, but it works marvelously for me and I would even go so far as to say it's a better solution for short folks for whom traditionally designed bikes and their fitting methods are ill suited. No doubt Bike Friday goes to great lengths to provide their customers what they're "used to", but IMO what we're used to isn't always best. YMMV.

    Quote Originally Posted by PDR View Post
    Talking of which, Brompton probably use more proprietary parts than any other folding bike company yet every single part is readily available and in stock at several dealers / online sites. So as I say, there is no excuse for such poor service.
    Yes there is: low price. For the price of a Brompton Dahon will sell you a 17 pound wonder bike. Now I know many people don't consider weight to be that important, but objectively speaking if there's one thing that commands a premium in the bike industry it's light weight and Dahon gives it to you at a much lower cost (a 17 pound Brompton is a $10,000+ custom job).

    For the record I would not buy a Dahon if I lived in Europe, but in the US we have Thor to tame the Dahon corporate beast.
    Last edited by chucky; 10-12-09 at 06:54 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chucky View Post
    For the record I would not buy a Dahon if I lived in Europe, but in the US we have Thor to tame the Dahon corporate beast.
    For the record, I have a Dahon MuSL that I was doing 20 miles a day on and I had no problems with it. I am in the UK and have received great service from Fudges cycle shop in London and when I have had a problem Mark Bickerton (details through the dahon forums at www.dahon.com) has always helped (me and any others) and even Fishers (the distributor) were helpful. I understand the distributor is changing - but as you will see from here - http://www.fisheroutdoor.co.uk/publi...s/product.html there are some 32 pages of associated products.

    Enjoy your bike!

  25. #25
    PDR
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    Quote Originally Posted by chucky;9841907

    Yes there is: low price. For the price of a Brompton Dahon will sell you a 17 pound wonder bike. Now I know many people don't consider weight to be [I
    that[/I] important, but objectively speaking if there's one thing that commands a premium in the bike industry it's light weight and Dahon gives it to you at a much lower cost (a 17 pound Brompton is a $10,000+ custom job).

    For the record I would not buy a Dahon if I lived in Europe, but in the US we have Thor to tame the Dahon corporate beast.
    I agree, weight is very important when you are lugging a folded bike around. Iím not sure where you are getting the 17lbs figure from? The Dahon MU SL is listed as being 19.4lbs and I thought that was the lighted bike they currently produce?

    I was able to weigh my second 2008 MU SL (before it was sent back to the dealer due to the frame hinge wear problem that I also had with the first 2008 MU SL) back to back with my new B-Spoke S-Type, Titanium 2-speed Brompton.... the Brompton was only 375g heavier than the Dahon. Both bikes where sans guards, racks or any other accessories.

    Price wise, the RRP for the Dahon was £1075 and the Brompton would have been £1045 but I get 10% off so paid £950. Yes, the Damon is really lightweight..... but I found it to be fragile compared to the far better build quality of the Brompton.
    Anyway each to their own... this would be a boring place if we all rode the same folders.

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