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Old 04-13-11, 07:06 AM   #1
garygibsonsf
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Newbie query: Can't fold Dahon Espresso - what to do?

I've got a Dahon Espresso I bought off Ebay cheap about a year ago for my wife which is mostly fine, if a little slow for my own tastes, except that I find it impossible to fold or unfold. I took it to a bike shop recently who speculated it might have some rust issues on the inside (it had been sitting inside a cupboard for a good few months over the winter), but when I picked it up they told me even they had struggled to fold and unfold the frame. I had a go at it myself on the spot and, as usual, struggled to so much as part the frame even slightly once the locks were off. So now I've got it at home, and at some point later I'm going to have to have a go again and see if I can unfold the damn thing.

It's clearly not a rust issue, partly because I struggled to fold it when I first got it, and put it down to stiffness. But I see from this forum there are people who can fold these things in thirty seconds or less. Twenty minutes of huffing and puffing is more like it where I'm concerned, and that's assuming I manage to get the thing folded or unfolded at all. Any ideas, or have I bought a lemon?
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Old 04-13-11, 07:36 AM   #2
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Okay...I've had a small modicum of success since posting that. I oiled the frame folding joint - I thought the guys at the bike shop had done that, but I'm thinking maybe they hadn't - and did actually manage to fold and unfold it. But it took EXTREME effort to do: I had at times to stand on the bike and tug at parts of it to get it to (unwillingly) fully fold or unfold. I'm breathless now. At various points the bike made loud, creaking/banging noises, so it must have been seriously stiff. Please tell me if I keep oiling it, things are going to get better?
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Old 04-13-11, 07:38 AM   #3
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You've got me wondering! I have one that folds like it should,30 seconds is slow. I wonder if the hinge needs greased or something simple like that.

Marc
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Old 04-13-11, 08:05 AM   #4
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wonder where you got this from ......there were a few which didnt fold quite as nice as supposed to be. I know Dahon USA refused to sell those and more or less scraped them. Did yours come from a far east seller on ebay ?....
How much did you pay for the bike ? whas it basically new when you bought it ? Is is a creme colored one ?

I think a lot of creeping oil may help ... but its never gonna be as smooth and easy as a regular bike...
thats at least what I understand...

I understand they sold a few of them in the uK as non folders .... but again this didnt happen in the US
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Old 04-13-11, 09:29 AM   #5
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I got it from a UK online Ebay seller called Rutland Cycling - not from the far East - who generally have a lot of very good reviews. I'm beginning to suspect it's an oiling issue, at least partly...maybe. I did, actually, manage to fold and unfold the bike, although I took as a I say a great deal of strenuous tugging and pulling. I might try and score some other, better lubricant than what I put in it and see if it that makes a difference: in my experience, having oiled something, you need to work the hinge of anything several times to really get the oil in there. Perhaps a day or two of that will make the difference, I don't know. But it's INCREDIBLY tight.

I should add it came unbuilt, in a box, and I had it originally assembled by a friend of a friend. It's only just recently I got around to taking it to a bike shop. I got the impression they were selling a whole bunch of these off really cheap - it was only 150.
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Old 04-13-11, 10:34 AM   #6
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They should not have sold those ... I would not have .... at least not as a folding bike per se.... but thats my opinion and nothing more.
I would ask them what they think about the issue that your folding bike is not folding ....
I am the last one who likes the *****ing and moaning about something which is perceived to be a warranty item .. but in this case I would at least ask them and see what they can do for you ....

Had this email this morning about somebody who bought a 30 dlr wheel a year ago and low and behold a spoke broke, wants a substantial refund on his purchase .... yeah right .. may be not ...

but this is a little different, they sold it for cheap ( knowing that there is a problem ) if they sold it expressively as a reagulr bike without any folding involved than its ok... of course ...
but you know what I mean

thor

you might try a few oilings ... put the bike upside down as well and let teh oil sink all over the place .. it might work.... enough
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Old 04-13-11, 11:03 AM   #7
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Most likely the frame clamp needs adjusting to the correct tension. If it's over-tightened you risk damaging the clamp and the frame. Sounds like your friend didn't do this correctly.
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Old 04-13-11, 01:48 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by chagzuki View Post
Most likely the frame clamp needs adjusting to the correct tension. If it's over-tightened you risk damaging the clamp and the frame. Sounds like your friend didn't do this correctly.
Which part is the frame clamp? The problem seems to lie with the huge hinge by which the bike folds and unfolds. It's tough as hell to move backwards and forwards.
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Old 04-13-11, 04:53 PM   #9
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I think you are out of luck.

The hinge pin is stainless, and the frame aluminium. When moisture gets to raw aluminium, it forms oxide which fills more space, and it clamps down powerfully on the hinge pin.

The hinge pin is held in place by a set screw, and the hinge pin has a threaded hole (turn the bike upside down to see) in which to screw a rod to extract the pin if tight. In your case which sounds at the extreme of extreme ends, it will need a very strong rod, with a sleeve hammer around the rod. Proceed hammering away. Expect to fail. Maybe a couple hours worth of hammering precisely along the axis of the pin will get it out.

Don't bother to try and hammer at an oblique angle to the axis. I once tried extracting a pin that way but utterly failed. And mine wasn't all that tight to begin with.

In the unlikely event that you do get it out, the hinge will have to be carefully cleaned and greased to prevent similar from happening again. All hinge surfaces should be cleaned and greased.

You would probably have to drill that sucker out and replace with a new one.
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Old 04-15-11, 10:25 AM   #10
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Well, I've had some success, after repeated oilings over the past day. I've just managed to fold and unfold it *relatively* easily. Meaning, it still feels pretty damn stiff to me, but given this is the only folding bike I've come across yet, I've got nothing to compare it to. But I can unfold it or fold it in ten or fifteen seconds. Or at least...I can, meaning even though my (barely scraping five foot) wife can ride it, it's going to be doing the folding. But it works, with a little bit of grunting. Thanks for all your suggestions - I'm going to keep it folded now, when it's not getting used.
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Old 04-15-11, 11:39 AM   #11
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good news .... indeed

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Old 05-11-11, 08:35 PM   #12
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all the more reason to use (and fold) it a lot! I love my espresso, and put tons of miles on it, mainly on my daily commute. Enjoy yours!

Here is mine:

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