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Old 04-23-10, 11:56 PM   #1
Montycat
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A beginner's review on the dahon mu p8 and the xootr swift

First I would like to say how grateful I am to this folding bike forum, I've found the most informative reviews and info on this forum along side dahon's bike forum.
So I've been toying around with the idea of biking for a couple of years now and since there has been a lot of new bike lanes introduced in the nyc, I figure out it is time to be brave and take on biking, (I haven't biked since I was 13, having grown up in Hong Kong biking isn't really a big thing with the hilly terrain)
I have a few friends that have or had folding bikes and really like them. It seems like a great idea for our small Brooklyn apt.
So I did a lot of research and decided on the Mu p8.
My boyfriend and I were both surprised how well it rode. I as a beginner really noticed the twitchiness that people talked about here, my boyfriend who used to ride in his college years really liked the bike and wasn't bothered with it. He decided he wanted a folding bike too, he bought the xootr swift base on my research on this forum.
When his bike arrived I was kinda smug because he's bike's components didn't look as high tech as the ones on the mu, i.e. the those quick release lever thingy that secure the seat post. It also has a kinda ridiculous fold, it looks as though it has been squash from the side. However once I tried riding his bike, it was clear that it is a superior ride. I felt that I had much more control on the swift, which is very important to me as a beginner. The anatomy of the bike (size small frame) is also more suit to my size (I'm a 5'1), the space between the brake lever and the handle bars are prefect for my small hands. On the mu p8 I find my hands hurting after a while from reaching out to the break levers. I suffered serious bike envy on my boyfriend swift.
In the end, I sold my new Mu p8 to a nice dahon rider on craigslist ( I felt like I was betraying the mu) and ordered the swift.
I know this is not a super informed review, as I don't really know the what kind of technical stuff to review on, however from instinct I know the swift bike is a better bike hands down. The folding is fast even tho it is not much of a fold.
I would also like to add that the people at Xootr swift have the best customer service guy. He was very personal and friendly and clearly loved the swift bike. He even shared his view on the fenders, he thought they looked a bit dorky, which is kinda funny, since I'm already far in dorkdom with my boyfriend riding matching bikes with matching helmets....

Dahon mu p8
Pro: Small compact fold, very well made with special hi tech looking parts, rides well, great gear shifting, you can fit a cute rear rack and fenders on it
cons: twitchy handling, used special parts , fold slower than swift

Xootr swift
Pro: Rides very well, very stable ( my bf can ride with no hands, he couldn't do that on the mu), looks clean less fussy than the mu, use regular bike parts, fast fold, comes in different sizes ( just found out that the frame is the same for all the sizes only seat post and stem differe, so much liek the dahon you can read more here http://www.xootr.com/swift-folding-bike-sizing.html )
con: big fold

Conclusion: They are both good bikes, it's just that the Xootr swift is better.
p.s. please excuse the bad grammar
thanks for reading

Last edited by Montycat; 04-27-10 at 09:20 PM. Reason: correction in bike frame info
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Old 04-24-10, 01:14 AM   #2
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Welcome to the fold! Looks like you did your homework very well by choosing the Swift and the Dahon Mu, both well priced, excellent bikes. Interesting that you found the Swift a superior ride, many here would agree with you, including yours truly although I haven't ridden a Mu.

The Swift, even though the fold is not compact like the Mu, does have a skinny fold when viewed from above; so you can lean it against a wall or a bulkhead and it would occupy less floor space.
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Old 04-25-10, 09:14 PM   #3
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Welcome to the fold! Looks like you did your homework very well by choosing the Swift and the Dahon Mu, both well priced, excellent bikes. Interesting that you found the Swift a superior ride, many here would agree with you, including yours truly although I haven't ridden a Mu.

The Swift, even though the fold is not compact like the Mu, does have a skinny fold when viewed from above; so you can lean it against a wall or a bulkhead and it would occupy less floor space.
I've just checked out you bike photo essays, very nice!!
It's amazing what you pros can do with the swift.
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Old 04-25-10, 11:01 PM   #4
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Thanks for the review. I've never ridden a swift, but I have ridden a Mu. Not my fave. I found it really jarring with a rough ride. I've seen many folks around hear trying to soften the ride by going with a suspension seatpost and the like.

Good to know that the swift has a stable ride. Quite frankly I've had trouble riding hands free on my full size bikes!
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Old 04-26-10, 05:29 AM   #5
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Thanks for the review. I wish you many happy miles!
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Old 04-26-10, 09:51 AM   #6
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Thanks for the review. I've never ridden a swift, but I have ridden a Mu. Not my fave. I found it really jarring with a rough ride. I've seen many folks around hear trying to soften the ride by going with a suspension seatpost and the like.

Good to know that the swift has a stable ride. Quite frankly I've had trouble riding hands free on my full size bikes!
I tested the Mu P8 and found its ride is fine, even after getting off my 26" big apple-tired jack. Could be that I'm 5-10 1/2 185 lbs, and the OP is 5-1...
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Old 04-26-10, 10:25 AM   #7
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i find the MuSL extremely responsive. same frame as the P8. but it is interesting to note that my wife is a bit intimidated by the SL. she is 5-2, and she can ride the bike but she feels she has to stay alert with the bike since it is so light and quick. she is absolutely at home though with her Ciao.
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Old 04-26-10, 11:46 AM   #8
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Thanks for the review! I own an Mu P8 and have been ecstatic about its performance, looks, and quality. Funny you mention riding with no hands as I am unable to do this with my Mu but can do so quite easily on my full sized road bike. I just chalked that up to the longer wheel base and bigger wheels of the road bike rather than anything else. Your review however, makes me want to try a Swift!
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Old 04-27-10, 03:58 PM   #9
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Having owned both a Mu P8 and a Mu SL, I can honestly say that the handling of the SL is *much* better. The front end with the solid VRO stem system makes a big difference, and the upgraded SL headset is a bit smoother feeling. I'm not sure whether the geometry on the stem system is any different, but the feel sure is.

Now, regarding your brake levers, the Mu P8 has a reach adjust on the Avid FR5 brake levers that would have brought them in close to the handlebars just like on the swift.

I do really like how the swift rides too though. I personally believe both the P8 and the Swift are great bikes in that price range. You and your boyfriend earn extra cute couple brownie points for owning matching bikes too.
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Old 04-27-10, 04:21 PM   #10
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... riding with no hands ... can do so quite easily on my full sized road bike. I just chalked that up to the longer wheel base and bigger wheels of the road bike rather than anything else. ...
bigger wheels = bigger gyroscopes ???
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Old 04-27-10, 09:17 PM   #11
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I tested the Mu P8 and found its ride is fine, even after getting off my 26" big apple-tired jack. Could be that I'm 5-10 1/2 185 lbs, and the OP is 5-1...
That's a really good point, it never crossed my mine that my weight would effect the ride, but that makes a lot of sense.
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Old 04-27-10, 09:23 PM   #12
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Having owned both a Mu P8 and a Mu SL, I can honestly say that the handling of the SL is *much* better. The front end with the solid VRO stem system makes a big difference, and the upgraded SL headset is a bit smoother feeling. I'm not sure whether the geometry on the stem system is any different, but the feel sure is.

Now, regarding your brake levers, the Mu P8 has a reach adjust on the Avid FR5 brake levers that would have brought them in close to the handlebars just like on the swift.

I do really like how the swift rides too though. I personally believe both the P8 and the Swift are great bikes in that price range. You and your boyfriend earn extra cute couple brownie points for owning matching bikes too.
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