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  1. #1
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    Are the Dahons slow?

    I have a Dahon Jack D7 that I ride to work 7 miles each way. It takes me 40 minutes to get to work. I've been considering to get something faster but I don't know if it's my bike, or the way I ride or it's because of traffic.

    Question:
    • Are the Dahons slow?
    • How long does it take you to get to work?

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    By themselves they just sit there..

    The tire choice effects rolling resistance.. the stock tires are probably chosen for cost, not performance.

    Don't over think it.. you use the Bus for a portion of the trip?

    biggest benefit of a folding bike is in multimodal travel, is the folding ease..


    Bike to the bus/train, jump on the bus for the fast coverage of larger distances.

    its amazing how much faster any bike is when fear of being late and fired as a result, motivates.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 01-08-13 at 08:26 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    sometimes i will take the bus when its too damn cold or wet or when i didnt get enough sleep. however, ive noticed that, on the portion of my route in which bus commute is possible, with the frequent stops, red lights, wait time, i actually beat the bus on my brompton s6l.

    brompton1.jpg

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    [QUOTE=MrVo;15133500I've been considering to get something faster but I don't know if it's my bike, or the way I ride or it's because of traffic.
    [/QUOTE]

    Well if you don't know, no one else is going to !

    The jack is an off road bike and i dont think that there is anything about it that would make it inherently slow; its probably fitted with knobbly tyres, so as a first off i would change the tyres to something better more slick and suited to urban roads, and make sure that they are pumped up to the right pressure. That should give you an immediate improvement in the bikes performance. Do you prefer to pootle along in a slow gear, if so try changing up and making yourself work a bit harder, that should raise your average speed in time. Is your route crowded, do you often come to a standstill in traffic ? If so look for another route, sometimes going a different way and adding a mile or two to your distance can be offset by a faster overall time, and a more pleasurably ride.
    Jetstream P11 ; iXi

  5. #5
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    The speed 8 is a rather swift bike (for a dahon )

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrVo View Post
    I have a Dahon Jack D7 that I ride to work 7 miles each way. It takes me 40 minutes to get to work. I've been considering to get something faster but I don't know if it's my bike, or the way I ride or it's because of traffic.

    Question:
    • Are the Dahons slow?
    • How long does it take you to get to work?
    If you are comparing against a conventional 700c bike however, a folder would always be a bit slower. Mainly, the number #1 cause is aerodynamics. When you are sitting upright or super upright, all that work you put into the bike going forward is partially used to fight aero drag. Most Dahons are setup to be ridden super upright and that's the nature of the beast. There's always a trade-off between riding super comfortable with less speed. Secondly, the tire selection helps reduce rolling resistance but by just to a point. You need to remember that a smaller tire sees the imperfect road like an obstacle course of bolder sized pebbles whereas a bigger tire like a 700c or 29er mountain tire roll easier because it looks at the same obstacle course like small teeny stones. Watch the movie "Honey I shrunk the kids" to get the analogy. Roads are seldom flat and smooth as glass. Maintain proper air pressure on your tires and make sure you don't over-inflate.
    Trek 5000 carbon road bike
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  7. #7
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    Good thing you reminded me. I should take the bus and then ride the bike on short distant to work.


    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    The tire choice effects rolling resistance.. the stock tires are probably chosen for cost, not performance.

    Don't over think it.. you use the Bus for a portion of the trip?

    biggest benefit of a folding bike is in multimodal travel, is the folding ease..


    Bike to the bus/train, jump on the bus for the fast coverage of larger distances.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for all the replies.

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    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    There is more

    Good advice on tyres, but do not forget the bearrings! Is the hubs greased and adjusted? Sometimes I stumble upon bikes where a wheel has overtightened hubs so rotating the wheels to watch it spin is almost impossible.

    BB. Is the Bottombracket ok, spinning freely? It helps to let the chain hang loose (not on the front chainwheel) when you try but best is actually to remowe the crank arms and feel the axel, if it rotates freely.

    You can place a screwdriver on the axel of all three mentioned and rest your ear on the other end. That way you can "listen" to the hub, listen for grinding sounds.


    Pedals. Are they spinning free or do they need to be serviced or replaced? A lot of energy can be lost "fighting" bad pedals.


    Wheels.Are the wheels straight and true? Rear wheel aligned (if horizontal dropouts) like it should? Brakepads rubbing on wheels that need straightening or rubbing becouse arms should be remowed and greased or binding cables that should be repoaced?

    Luggage, chlotes. Is your luggage, chlotes or body catching the wind like a sail? Need to button up your jacket (or take it off) use narrower luggage or loose weight?

    To ask if a Dahon is slow is like asking if french peopel are slow.. It depends.

    Report back .
    °Empty drums make a lot of noice... (Old Hungarian proverb).

  10. #10
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Narrow Tire width, slick thread pattern and 100 PSI make alot of difference over a low pressure stock tyre .
    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.

  11. #11
    The Metropolis, UK
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    Dahons are slow if Snafu21 is riding one of them!


    Dahon have a huge range of bikes being the largest folding bike manufacturer. They have everything from extremely fast (e.g. Speed Pro TT/Mu EX to Boardwalk). I would not call them 'slow' compared to equivalent models from other brands.

    If we are talking about ride quality, reliability and aesthetics that would depend on your needs and the specific model of bike. No bike is slow if the person riding it is fit.

  12. #12
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    I used to ride a Dahon Mu SL (one of the fastest 20" dahons) on schwalbe big apples to the train station which is about 8.8 miles. I covered the distance in 40-50 minutes depending on wind condition, so my speed was a little higher than yours but not a lot. I usually had at least one red light on the way though, which really drags down your average speed. Basically when you're doing 13mph or more on the sections between the junctions, you are a reasonably fit rider and the bike is probably the thing holding you back. I used my smart phone to keep track of average speed while in motion rather than average speed from door to platform.

    I have since upgraded to a 29er (which I insured so I don't feel bad about leaving it at the train station) rolling on big apples (my commute is pavement only) and find my speed has increased by 2-3 mph. You have a 26" dahon so I'm not sure the difference would be as great, but I'd say you can still expect 1-2mph faster with the same effort on a bike with a sportier posture and better components (say a 1000 euro MTB or road bike). And if you can shower at work and don't mind turning the commute into a workout, the difference will be greater still.

    Everything said and done though, I find I can make up more time by shortening coffee breaks in a day than by pedalling harder on the way home...

  13. #13
    tcs
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    It might help to look at this a different way: while automobiles and motorbikes can be relatively fast or slow, bicycles cannot be. Bicycles can only be relatively efficient or inefficient. It is the rider that is fast or slow.

    Dahons can be very efficient and made to go relatively fast.
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

  14. #14
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    (Edited)

    The 26" wheel Jack as others point out, is no lardy slouch. The OP is averaging 10.3 mph (from his figures) which indicates traffic, hills, stop lights, pedestrians, wooden leg or other impedimentera. My Matrix (same frame) was good for an easy 18 mph average on the flat, and I'm slow. Off-road on dirt was usually 14-15 mph over ten miles, so the OP is suffering from blockages somewhere.

    They were originally positioned as 7 speed urban road-slayers, using the Joe Murray downhill frame of the MKI Matrix, but fitted with straight forks and 'urban' tyres like Conti Sport Contacts. Later bikes got cultish fat-but-slow Big Apple tyres, removing some of the Jack's sprinty stance in exchange for comfort.
    Last edited by snafu21; 01-10-13 at 04:09 AM.
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  15. #15
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snafu21 View Post
    Many of the 20" Dahons have a powerful magnet attached to the chainstay. This magnet, when moved by the forward motion of the bicycle interacts with the Earth's magnetic field. This induces an electric force, and as you cannot get something for nothing, slows the bike down.

    .
    Try riding your Dahon in absolute zero where electric resistance is zero due to superconductor phenomenal !!!
    Last edited by bhkyte; 01-10-13 at 09:53 AM.
    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.

  16. #16
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    Try riding our Dahon in absolute zero

    Feels like absolute zero here at +2C today. :-)
    Last edited by snafu21; 05-27-14 at 03:43 AM.
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  17. #17
    The Metropolis, UK
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    Quote Originally Posted by snafu21 View Post
    Try riding our Dahon in absolute zero

    Feels like absolute zero here at +2C today. :-)

    As we have a Jack thread going: I've just got a 'new' Jack frame ordered to rebuild my MTB as a street bike; straight forks, 21 speed left-over Deore bits, MTB shifters and 1.5" Conti-Sport Contact tyres. With magnetic frame clip.

    Alas, work starts again on the 17th Jan. = Bummer.
    Will Snafu disappear into the Bermuda Triangle again or will she stay with us and share her knowledge & wit?

  18. #18
    Senior Member kamtsa's Avatar
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    There is nobody behind him.
    Happier than a camel on wednesday.

  19. #19
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    ^^^ The 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012 winners of the Smithfield Nocturne (London) folding bike race rode Dahon folding bikes. The 2012 winner Jeroen Janssen was 9.4 seconds ahead of the field, hence the empty backdrop. :-)
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by snafu21 View Post
    ^^^ The 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012 winners of the Smithfield Nocturne (London) folding bike race rode Dahon folding bikes. The 2012 winner Jeroen Janssen was 9.4 seconds ahead of the field, hence the empty backdrop. :-)
    A standard looking Mu SL won at least once I think, lovely bike that, very european colour scheme.
    Jetstream P11 ; iXi

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diode100 View Post
    A standard looking Mu SL won at least once I think, lovely bike that, very european colour scheme.
    Oh yeah, My Mu SL can definitely keep up with the carbon roadies no problem, but I do have to work a little extra harder though. Love that bike still!
    Trek 5000 carbon road bike
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  22. #22
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    To all.

    A big 29er or a 700c wheel takes 1 revolution to get from point A to B, whereas a 451 or a 406 wheel may take a few more to complete the same distance as the 29er or 700c. Coupled with roads that are not smooth as glass, the added resistance and more effort mean you need to put just a little bit more energy on the bike to keep up the speed. If you are fit and strong, 406 vs 700c on a 40km Olympic tri course wouldn't matter much as I have seen people competing with folding bikes. But as the course becomes longer, then bigger wheels roll smoother and allow the rider to conserve energy to ride longer and stronger compared to a rider who rides a small wheel bike to compensate for those deficiencies. And everyone has a finite gas tank, so if you are less tired riding a 700c compared to a 406 bike then your overall speed will obviously be faster.

    Is Dahon slow? It depends upon what you want to do with it. If you commute with trains and buses, then Dahons or any folding bike are faster because you can take the train or bus whereby a normal bike can not get in during rush hour especially over very long distances.
    Trek 5000 carbon road bike
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    Dahon Speed Duo (slow poker shopper or coffee getter bike)

  23. #23
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Fwiw I have a 20" wheel and 26" wheel same IG hub, same hub cog, on both bikes .. A 16t.
    the chainring is a 53t on the 20" wheel, a 38t on the 26" wheel, have same ratio range as a result.

  24. #24
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    cprager did a pretty neat job of explaining the physics of small vs big wheels and gearing in another thread. it was requested that he create a sticky re this very topic. unfortunately, he didnt get around to it ...

  25. #25
    Senior Member snafu21's Avatar
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    The OP has a 26" Jack:
    Last edited by snafu21; 05-27-14 at 03:43 AM.
    - every mile of road has two miles of ditch -

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