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Old 07-09-11, 10:29 PM   #1
freighttraininguphill
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Putting my Dahon Speed D7 to the test in the mountains (pics & video)

I rented a car for the weekend for two trips to the mountains to do some climbing. Since it is a PITA to put a full-size bike in a typical sedan, I took my Dahon Speed D7, which only has a 7-speed drivetrain.

The first climb was the Lake Tahoe side of Kingsbury Grade, which is about 3.5 miles long with a max grade of 12%. The steeper parts were a sufferfest and I had to ride out of the saddle on the first steep part. I got passed like I was standing still by a female triathlete (judging by the type of bike she was riding) who said "Good job". I barely heard her, so unfortunately the camera didn't pick it up. Female cyclists are so encouraging!

After I reached the top at Daggett Summit I climbed to the real summit at the top of Bigler Circle. After that I checked out another nice steep climb. It showed grades up to 17%, yet somehow I was able to ride the whole thing in the saddle.

Next was Ski Run Blvd, which has a 21% section on the last block. I had to ride that section out of the saddle, barely turning the cranks. Good suffering!

Garmin Connect data: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/97993729

Here are the two videos. You can sometimes hear the handlebar creaking on steep sections, but luckily it didn't do that all the time.

For those who aren't familiar with my editing style, I despise music on ride videos, as I feel it doesn't tell the story of the ride as well as natural ride audio, so these are raw. That means there's a fair amount of heavy breathing on these, especially on the 21% section of Ski Run Blvd, so be forewarned.

Kingsbury Grade:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CN4gLzL29g

Ski Run Blvd:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TS-UJulWIec

Top of Kingsbury Grade:


Dahon Speed D7 at Daggett Summit by kittyz202, on Flickr

Top of one of the climbs above Kingsbury Grade:


Dahon Speed D7 with mountains in background 7-9-11 by kittyz202, on Flickr

Midway point of Kingsbury Grade descent. Descending is not this bike's strong point, so I didn't mind stopping in the middle of a descent to take this picture:


midway point of Kingsbury Grade descent by kittyz202, on Flickr

Top of Ski Run Blvd climb:


top of Ski Run Blvd climb by kittyz202, on Flickr
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Old 07-09-11, 11:02 PM   #2
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you've got courage to take a dahon on that climb. congrats. should i ask who did well - your dahon or yourself ? both i guess. your ride gave me an inspiration to take my dahon speed tr on a long ride. seeing your videos, i can say that no bike is small on a big ride. and who would think that a dahon speed d7 can take that summit (ha, ha, ha).
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Old 07-09-11, 11:11 PM   #3
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you've got courage to take a dahon on that climb. congrats. should i ask who did well - your dahon or yourself ? both i guess. your ride gave me an inspiration to take my dahon speed tr on a long ride. seeing your videos, i can say that no bike is small on a big ride. and who would think that a dahon speed d7 can take that summit (ha, ha, ha).
Thanks! I wish it had lower gearing, but I'm glad it made it. So far I can honestly say that I've finished every road climb I've ever started, so I want to keep that track record and avoid having to do the "walk of shame".

I wonder how much it would cost me to convert this to a triple? I should probably just get one of the Bike Friday triples I guess.
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Old 07-09-11, 11:29 PM   #4
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I wonder how much it would cost me to convert this to a triple? I should probably just get one of the Bike Friday triples I guess.
you will need to change the BB too. it's not that costly actually. you can get a triple shimano sora for less than $100 with BB. i tried that on my dahon D7 and it's quite tricky i would say. maybe i bought incorrect components. also when you upgrade to a triple some of the gears are not usable because of the cross chain. bike friday is the way to go but really costly or you could check CL once in a while and you might be able to get dahon speed tr (24 speed) or dahon speed pro (27 speed) for a lesser price.
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Old 07-09-11, 11:30 PM   #5
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Major feat! I presume it had significant affect on your signature ticker. ;-)
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Old 07-09-11, 11:49 PM   #6
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you will need to change the BB too. it's not that costly actually. you can get a triple shimano sora for less than $100 with BB. i tried that on my dahon D7 and it's quite tricky i would say. maybe i bought incorrect components. also when you upgrade to a triple some of the gears are not usable because of the cross chain. bike friday is the way to go but really costly or you could check CL once in a while and you might be able to get dahon speed tr (24 speed) or dahon speed pro (27 speed) for a lesser price.
Thanks, looks like I'll be watching CL and/or saving up for a Bike Friday. There's a dealer down the street from me who's really nice, so the BF would be tempting.

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Major feat! I presume it had significant affect on your signature ticker. ;-)
Hopefully, too soon to tell now. Tomorrow I'm taking it up another mountain in the Reno area, Geiger Grade. After I watch and record the riders suffering up it in the Sierra Hill Climb TT, I'll climb it (not racing, I'm only watching the race). It's a 7.64 mile climb, but it's not too steep, so hopefully I can just get into a rhythm and not suffer too much.
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Old 07-10-11, 04:13 AM   #7
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11-34 cassette (7 speed) could be cheap option for increasing overall gear range, about $15-20.
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Old 07-10-11, 09:23 AM   #8
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11-34 cassette (7 speed) could be cheap option for increasing overall gear range, about $15-20.
I noticed that Dahon uses a special derailleur hanger on this bike. I'm pretty sure I would have to get a long-cage mtb derailleur like I did for my road bikes when I put 11-34 cassettes on them. I wonder if that will work with Dahon's hanger?
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Old 07-10-11, 11:18 AM   #9
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I noticed that Dahon uses a special derailleur hanger on this bike. I'm pretty sure I would have to get a long-cage mtb derailleur like I did for my road bikes when I put 11-34 cassettes on them. I wonder if that will work with Dahon's hanger?
it could be really tricky. when i upgraded my Boardwalk D7 and put on shimano 105 52/39T i changed the RD and got a long cage. as what you said they have a special hanger so i have to improvised. it's not visible on my pic but what i did is to put a screw onto my RD and the frame. you might want to bring your bike to your lbs so that they can try what RD will work for your bike. by the way i didn't change my gears.
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Old 07-10-11, 10:05 PM   #10
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it could be really tricky. when i upgraded my Boardwalk D7 and put on shimano 105 52/39T i changed the RD and got a long cage. as what you said they have a special hanger so i have to improvised. it's not visible on my pic but what i did is to put a screw onto my RD and the frame. you might want to bring your bike to your lbs so that they can try what RD will work for your bike. by the way i didn't change my gears.
I will check with the LBS that sells folding bikes.

I don't see a front derailleur. Do you have to shift it by hand? That seems like it would be a pain.

Here's some more mountain climbing on my Dahon. I went to Reno today to record video of the riders at the Geiger Grade Hill Climb TT. Geiger Grade is 7.7 miles long.

After watching other cyclists suffer, I had to do some suffering of my own, on my own terms of course since I'm strictly a recreational/utility cyclist.

This time I didn't have to use my lowest gear.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKgpqyhsQeY

Made it!


Dahon Speed D7 at Geiger Summit by kittyz202, on Flickr

The descent was wonderful! No instability issues this time, probably because I kept the handlebars in the lowest position. This is one of those descents where you never even have to think about braking.
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Old 07-10-11, 10:43 PM   #11
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Dude you're nuts! Congratulations on the awesome content! Are you the same guy who fell when the handlebar stem broke for forgot to adjust it? Or was that someone else?

What type of camera and mount system do you use? You know you could get the system my folder has. I have no idea what type of chainring it is, but it has a 3-gear front derailleur. I've used it a few times on some very steep climbs. My bike is also a 7-speed but I feel like I need a taller end gear so I can go just a bit faster on the straights.







Keep up the great riding!
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Old 07-11-11, 12:20 AM   #12
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Dude you're nuts! Congratulations on the awesome content! Are you the same guy who fell when the handlebar stem broke for forgot to adjust it? Or was that someone else?

What type of camera and mount system do you use? You know you could get the system my folder has. I have no idea what type of chainring it is, but it has a 3-gear front derailleur. I've used it a few times on some very steep climbs. My bike is also a 7-speed but I feel like I need a taller end gear so I can go just a bit faster on the straights.

Keep up the great riding!
That was me, but actually I'm a female. The heavy breathing in all these videos I've posted should leave no doubt.

What happened was the old-school handlepost latch sprung open when I climbed out of the saddle.

I use a Kodak Playsport Zx3 on a Pedco UltraClamp handlebar mount.

I like your setup! Maybe that's what I should do on mine.
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Old 07-11-11, 01:32 AM   #13
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That was me, but actually I'm a female. The heavy breathing in all these videos I've posted should leave no doubt.

What happened was the old-school handlepost latch sprung open when I climbed out of the saddle.

I use a Kodak Playsport Zx3 on a Pedco UltraClamp handlebar mount.

I like your setup! Maybe that's what I should do on mine.
My mistake and apologies for assuming. I was however watching your videos with the sound off lol.

I like how there is almost no shake in your videos. I have a Kodak Zi8 but looking for a good mount like yours.

Currently my setup allows me to top out at 22MPH @ 120RPM and its what the Sheldon Brown site calculates. I am in the process of finding out information on possibly upgrading the larger chainring. Toodles!
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Old 07-11-11, 07:51 AM   #14
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I noticed that Dahon uses a special derailleur hanger on this bike. I'm pretty sure I would have to get a long-cage mtb derailleur like I did for my road bikes when I put 11-34 cassettes on them. I wonder if that will work with Dahon's hanger?
Impressive climbing, again!

It should be at least possible to try out a 11-34 cassette (or does that Dahon have a freewheel?) with existing derailer just to see if it would work - it may. If not, there is an alternative hanger for that Model which takes a conventional derailer. thorusa would have these, and would be able to give expert advice. He also sells 9sp wheels for a great price.
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Old 07-11-11, 08:19 AM   #15
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My mistake and apologies for assuming. I was however watching your videos with the sound off lol.

I like how there is almost no shake in your videos. I have a Kodak Zi8 but looking for a good mount like yours.

Currently my setup allows me to top out at 22MPH @ 120RPM and its what the Sheldon Brown site calculates. I am in the process of finding out information on possibly upgrading the larger chainring. Toodles!
No problem.

On the Geiger Grade descent I spun out my highest gear regularly, so I coasted most of the way. I think the highest gears on this bike are similar to my mtb, that is, much lower than my road bike high gears.

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Impressive climbing, again!

It should be at least possible to try out a 11-34 cassette (or does that Dahon have a freewheel?) with existing derailer just to see if it would work - it may. If not, there is an alternative hanger for that Model which takes a conventional derailer. thorusa would have these, and would be able to give expert advice. He also sells 9sp wheels for a great price.
Thank you. This bike uses a cassette. I had to remove it to take the dork disk off like I always do with new bikes. That 11-34 would also give me a higher gear for descents, which would be nice.
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Old 07-11-11, 09:47 AM   #16
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Yeah, I gotta say I don't think this is a good plan, even if you lower the gearing.

The handlepost on the D7 isn't strong (as the creaking indicated), and you have a lot less room for fit adjustment than with other bikes (including folders). It's also got a little too much proprietary crap on the drivetrain, so upgrades aren't as straight-forward as they ought to be.

The bike certainly won't snap on your next climb, but let's face it, it's the wrong tool for the job.

If you're going to continue to use folders on big climbs, I recommend you either get a Swift and tweak the gearing, or a Bike Friday with low gearing.
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Old 07-11-11, 10:10 AM   #17
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Yeah, I gotta say I don't think this is a good plan, even if you lower the gearing.

The handlepost on the D7 isn't strong (as the creaking indicated), and you have a lot less room for fit adjustment than with other bikes (including folders). It's also got a little too much proprietary crap on the drivetrain, so upgrades aren't as straight-forward as they ought to be.

The bike certainly won't snap on your next climb, but let's face it, it's the wrong tool for the job.

If you're going to continue to use folders on big climbs, I recommend you either get a Swift and tweak the gearing, or a Bike Friday with low gearing.
Yeah, you're right. I'm leaning towards a Bike Friday with a triple. The bar ends I put on the Dahon were a big help, and I've seen Bike Fridays that come with with drop bars or bar ends, so I have a feeling those were built for climbing.

I love climbing, so I really do need the right tool for the job.
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Old 07-29-11, 12:06 AM   #18
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Just an update. I rode my Dahon to the framebuilder down the street (Rex Cycles). They said converting the Speed D7 to a triple wasn't possible due to the shape of the frame, and when they mentioned brazing a derailleur hanger on the rear dropout for a long-cage mtb derailleur and a 13-34 cassette (11-34 is supposedly not available in 7-speed), I expressed concern about the bottom of the derailleur being too close to the ground. They agreed.

So, this is the bike I'm looking to get: http://www.bikefriday.com/bicycles/touring/1160. It has a triple. All I would need to add are bar ends.
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Old 07-29-11, 12:44 AM   #19
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Front mechs for the Dahon Speed frames are available from Thor USA, by the way:

http://www.thorusa.com/dahon/accessories/special.htm

s

Last edited by snafu21; 07-29-11 at 12:48 AM.
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Old 07-29-11, 12:50 AM   #20
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I saw the adapter you're talking about on thorusa.com. It's for a double crankset though. I'm looking for a triple, since I do steep climbs.

I'm selling my recumbent, so that should cover at least half the cost of the Bike Friday.
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Old 07-29-11, 11:49 PM   #21
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Bike Friday uses standard medium-cage rear derailleurs with an 11-28 cassette, 30/42/53 (or 52) triple chain ring, for a 39T derailleur range. For example, for the touring models I looked at, BF uses a SRAM X.4 medium-cage derailleur to give 24 and 27 speeds. I think an easy mod for a Dahon Speed to give lower gears would be to add an inner chain ring and use the FD adapter, including the spacer.

In any case, the Pocket Companion would be a good value. Keep us updated if you decide to get one.
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Old 07-30-11, 11:06 AM   #22
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Unless a good deal comes up on a used Bike Friday with a triple, I'm definitely getting the Pocket Companion as soon as my recumbent sells. The LBS that is selling it on consignment is also a Bike Friday dealer, so I'll be getting it from them.
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Old 07-30-11, 11:34 AM   #23
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I saw the correction, that you are female, but I still want to say that you are a far, far "better man" than I. Wow. I won't stand up on my Dahon Speed TR, and I wouldn't take that ride with my 24 gears. I'm wondering if you could add an SRAM Dual Drive hub to the Speed 7? I could swear that I recently saw an online bike shop that would build a 20" wheel with one, but I can't find it now. It was not as expensive as I would have thought. What pedals are you using? I'm expecting some good clips or clipless - if you tell me the original folding pedals, I will be further impressed.
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Old 07-30-11, 01:12 PM   #24
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I saw the correction, that you are female, but I still want to say that you are a far, far "better man" than I. Wow. I won't stand up on my Dahon Speed TR, and I wouldn't take that ride with my 24 gears. I'm wondering if you could add an SRAM Dual Drive hub to the Speed 7? I could swear that I recently saw an online bike shop that would build a 20" wheel with one, but I can't find it now. It was not as expensive as I would have thought. What pedals are you using? I'm expecting some good clips or clipless - if you tell me the original folding pedals, I will be further impressed.
Thank you. I read the specs for the Speed TR. Looks like the lowest gear is 21 gear inches. The Bike Friday Pocket Companion has a 20 inch low gear with its 30-tooth small chainring and 28-tooth largest rear cog. Of course, once I have the bike I'll probably replace the small ring in the front with a 24, which will give the bike a 16 inch low gear. This would be the lowest gearing of all my bikes. Even my mtb with its 22-tooth small chainring and Shimano MegaRange 14-34 cassette only has a 16.7 inch low gear. My road bike with a 24-tooth small ring and Shimano MegaRange 11-34 cassette has an 18.6 inch low gear. I love climbing the steepest hills I can find, so I need the low gears.

I'm using platform pedals with toe clips and straps. Here's a picture of the bike right after I got it and did my usual tweaks. You can see the pedals better in this pic than in the ones in my OP.


Dahon Speed D7 by kittyz202, on Flickr
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Old 07-31-11, 12:24 PM   #25
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Ha! Just watched the videos. Briiliant. I love the Speed D7 to bits, and am seriously thinking about going back to one. Lovely frame, that.

Hope you get the gears/bike you need.

regards

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