Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Toronto, Canada
Bikes: Dahon Mu P24, Trek 7300
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Dahon Mu P24 experience
I would like to share my experience with Dahon Mu P24 bike as there are very few reviews on this bike. Perhaps my comments can help someone. I bought the bike in June of this year and since have ridden over 3100 km on it. Most of it commutes to work (20 km one way) and also some weekend road trips (the longest 80 km). I have ridden it in snow, rain, strong winds, fog.
The first Mu P24 had a missing weld, so I had it exchanged. This second Mu P24 came with the rim tape not centered properly on the rear rim, resulting in a couple of flats before I realized why the punctures were happening.
The bike feels solid and is rattle free. There can be some creaking coming from the handlebars and/or the seat sometimes, but nothing serious. While I really like the look of the bike, the irregular diameter of the handlebars can make it difficult to mount stuff like lights or a bike computer. The kick stand is too short for real practical use: while it can keep the bike from tipping when the bike is not loaded and is on level ground, once you load the bike the kick stand is useless. This is a major inconvenience.
In real life the bike folds in about a minute. It has a magnetic clip that is strong enough to hold the bike in the folded position (unless you shake it violently). In many instances I couldn't align the two sides of the magnetic clip properly, so I offset one of the sides by improvising a little bit (doesn't look the best, but it works).
The bike is heavy to carry. If you need to carry it further than a fews steps, I recommend hiring a body builder to carry it for you. Fortunately it can be wheeled along while folded (however this wouldn't be of much use if you had to carry the bike in a bag).
The worst part of the folding is that when folded, the chain is exposed. When you pick up the folded bike by the seat on the right side of the bike (which is easier because the right side of the folded bike is heavier than the left side), you can easily get your pants dirty from the chain. Bike Friday and Brompton hide the chain in the middle of the folded
bike so your clothes are safe. One advantage of Dahon's folding is that you can keep the trunk bag attached to the rear rack while the bike is folded. With Bike Friday or Brompton you'd have to remove it before folding the bike.
I added a rear and a front racks. For the rear rack I have a Detours trunk bag, and for the front rack I have a Basil wire basket. The wire basket has to be removed before I fold the bike. With both racks on, the magnetic clip cannot engage when the bike is folded, so I use a bungee cord to keep the bike folded. Also, adjusting the brakes with the racks on is more difficult.
The 20" wheels whith (original) Marathon Racer tires make you experience every imperfection in the road surface. I installed 2.00" Schwalbe Big Apple tires to make the ride more comfy. It worked well for the ride quality (about 1.5km/h speed penalty), but unfortunately they wouldn't fit the fenders, so mounting of the fenders had to be modified (original tires 1.50"). The wider tires also affected wheeling of the bike when it was folded.
Later on I put on Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires (and still have them on). They are 1.75" wide and just about fit in the fenders. I also replaced the original seat post (with built-in air pump) with a suspended seat post (feels better, but no air pump).
This bike can be very fast. I had it up to 33 km/h on a level ground with no headwind, and the bike still had a gear or two in reserve, plus if my legs and heart were stronger, I could have pedaled faster still. The handling is very nimble and fun, but the downside of the nimbleness is poorer straight-line stability; a brief glance at a nice girl on the sidewalk accompanied by the slightest movement of the handlebars (which is very easy to do) can send you crashing.
Also, this bike is a good climber. It's easier to spin my way up a steep hill on this Dahon than on a full-size bike.
Another advantage of the small wheels is the acceleration. From a stop sign or a traffic light I can beat most bikers to the other side of the intersection (though they overtake me very shortly afterwards, but that's a limitation of my body, not the bike's).
I also replaced the original seat with Spongy Wonder bike seat. I find it very comfy.
The three-speed internal hub (in the rear wheel) makes it easy to switch to a lower gear when standing still, such as at traffic lights.
The brakes work good even in rain.
For commuting I prefer this bike to my big Trek 7300. It's easier to handle, sometimes it can go to places where big bikes cannot go, it's fun to ride.
The major pros are: fast bike; trunk bag can be left attached to the rear rack while folded; feels solid; looks great.
The major cons are: chain exposed when folded; almost useless kick stand; difficult to replace tires with wider ones; difficult to properly mount stuff on the handlebars; heavy to carry for more than a few steps (though Brompton and Bike Friday are about as heavy, as well).