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  1. #1
    babylon by bike Standalone's Avatar
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    Conversion: Dahon Espresso to Drops & STI's

    I have long thought about doing this, and now that my wife crashed the Dahon and busted up the left shifter, I think I might as well have the thing apart and see what comes of it.

    I have all the parts I need except the front canti hanger, and possibly a new lighter crankset. The handlebars I have ar 46cm, which is wider than I like, but I might make do.

    Older Sora 8 speed STI's.

    Old Shimano Cantis from my wife's bike (will give her bike the V-Brakes and re-set the pull on her adjustable brake levers.) New pads.

    New 8 speed cassette to replace the 7-speed cassette I now have on the freehub.

    Old rear brake cable hanger.

    Old 8 speed "STX RC" RD.

    Deore Top swing/Top pull RD (48T max)

    much higher angle (but shorter) stem.











    A 700c skinny conversion is also possible, especially with a new fork, but I think I still want fenders and my studded tires for winter.

    Someone else's example:


    Dahon Espresso Road Project - ready to go by schoccaland, on Flickr

    Maybe I should go with bullhorns+ STI rather than drops... but the more I look at that skinny tire version... I have a 5500 105 9 speed set just waiting to be put on something.

    Which way should I go? Part of the issue I face is being six foot four and needing to get the bike as "big" as possible.

    Commute is 1 mile to train, 1.5 train to work. 16 work to home if I want to get the ride in. When I ride the whole way home on the bike as built, I'm beat by the end from the weight and lack of hand positions.
    Last edited by Standalone; 10-14-13 at 10:41 AM.
    The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets. Christopher Morley

  2. #2
    Hello zebede's Avatar
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    I must say that I am impressed by that Espresso conversion. I want one.

    Concerning your question: Fit and comfort are primary for a long ride. Do you think that this bike could be adapted to fit a 6' 4" tall person for a 16 mile ride? I question that. What is the frame measurements. What size would you normally ride in a road bike, 64"?

  3. #3
    babylon by bike Standalone's Avatar
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    61cm-67cm. Most comfortable on my Panasonic 66x59, a nice ride on centuries.

    Part of the idea is to give more hand positions for the long ride.

    And I have ridden that 16 mile ride home on the bike as pictured. Sometimes with studded tires. Sometimes with a topeak kiddie seat. Sometimes I rode both ways on an extracycle, with a kid on the back for the last seven miles.

    Kids are out of daycare now so I don't have to include that in my commute. But I miss it-- it got me in fantastic shape.

    I do need a longer seatpost, though-- maybe a 400mm w/ setback.

    But really, where else am I to go for a large-enough ride that folds fast for the train? Part of the reason it's wearing Conti T&C 2.1"s is to make the bike ride a little bigger and bulkier than it would on the 1.5" tires that came stock.

    I started out bike commuting riding a little 16" Dahon Curve D3 10 miles/day!
    Last edited by Standalone; 10-15-13 at 11:37 AM.
    The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets. Christopher Morley

  4. #4
    babylon by bike Standalone's Avatar
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    Done. Old Ritchey OCR rear wheel with an 8 speed cassette + some old Sora 3x8 shifters + a crankset from a throwaway cannondale from the neighbor kid (for which I found a new fork -- it's getting the old drivetrain from the Espresso.)

    New FD, rear cantis, cables, tape, and housing from the LBS.

    Terry aero saddle from a box o parts in some CL deal or other...

    I'm psyched.










    The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets. Christopher Morley

  5. #5
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Nicely done, sir! I very much like the triple (but I'm a triple kinda guy, so that's not surprising).
    http://Charles.Plager.net
    http://RecumbentQuant.blogspot.com

  6. #6
    babylon by bike Standalone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    Nicely done, sir! I very much like the triple (but I'm a triple kinda guy, so that's not surprising).
    A triple is nice on a folder b/c you don't want to mash really hard on the flexible and admittedly creaky aluminum folding frame. I rarely use it, and hate adjusting the FD, but at the end of a long day, I want those low gears to spin up the hills on the way home -- just in case.

    Also, I was thinking that doubles don't play well with the frame, which is rather wide at the chainstays.

    It's great with that new MTA commuter rail station that just opened up near my home in West Haven!
    The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets. Christopher Morley

  7. #7
    babylon by bike Standalone's Avatar
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    Snowy commute.



    The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets. Christopher Morley

  8. #8
    Senior Member darukhan's Avatar
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    Well done Standalone... that's a really nice conversion!

  9. #9
    Hello zebede's Avatar
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    I admire what you have done, it is an attractive bike. A full size road (wide tire commuter) bike that folds! How do you like it? Does the Espresso frame allow the concept to work. I have a chance to buy used espresso and was considering doing what you have done. I just wondering how you felt about the quality of the ride/frame and whether the results met your expectations. How does it ride?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebede View Post
    I admire what you have done, it is an attractive bike. A full size road (wide tire commuter) bike that folds! How do you like it? Does the Espresso frame allow the concept to work. I have a chance to buy used espresso and was considering doing what you have done. I just wondering how you felt about the quality of the ride/frame and whether the results met your expectations. How does it ride?
    Pretty close to a regular bike.

    I own the 700c hoofed Silver Espresso in the picture (Dahon Espresso Road Project). Thanks for the comments about my bike and hello to all on this thread! :-)
    - Mine now has a RS80 C24 wheelset + Duranos for the English roads + Road racer MkII mudguards
    - Weight is 10Kg. This is significantly lighter than the standard Dahon Espresso build which makes it very nice to ride.

    - I use it a lot for commuting across East London and on the train. Clocked up over 3K Miles so far with it.

    I helped advise on a Dahon Jack road conversion here - http://www.cyclechat.net/threads/is-...3#post-2753335
    - He used a recent Sora groupset for the build. He also uses a regular road bike and says the ride is pretty close to his regular roadie.

    If anybody wants the parts recipe for the Sora version, I'm happy to post an Excel spreadsheet with the parts I recommended.

    Best regards,

    Schocca.

  11. #11
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zebede View Post
    ...full size...
    are you havin' a giggle?


  12. #12
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by schocca View Post
    I'm happy to post an Excel spreadsheet with the parts I recommended.
    please do!

  13. #13
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    Parts list for the Sora Dahon Jack road conversion spreadsheet (Dropbox public link) - https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...20black%29.xls

    Come back to me if this link does not work. Obviously the weblinks/prices are based re UK sources/, but it will give you an idea.
    Additionally re the crankset - I would pay extra and go to a full Sora crankset (inc BB) if you can - Just one thing less to worry about.

    Disclaimer -> I hold no responsibility if your adventures go bad! But I would like to see pictures if it all works out ok!
    Last edited by schocca; 01-15-14 at 12:23 PM.

  14. #14
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    Loving this conversion. I'm slowly doing somethign very similar. I own a pininfarina folding bike, which is pretty much a re-badged Dahon Espression.
    The only modifications i've done so far are Saddle / Pedals (Shimano Combination spd) / Ergon 2 Grips on handle bar (temp solution until I change to drop handbars).

    My intentions are to convert to drop handles, but potentially retain the 26" wheels using slicks, along with the stock brakes.

    My question: If I kept my entire groupset as is and simply added drop handbars and Shimano Tourney A073 7 Speed Triple STI Lever Shimano Tourney A073 7 Speed Triple STI Lever Set | Evans Cycles

    Would these be compatible with the current 7 speed cassette / RD / FD of the stock Dahon espresso?... would it be a simple transfer across?..

    Thanks
    Dan

  15. #15
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    It all depends on what the current groupset is. The Dahon version comes with SRAM kit. Road STIs with MTB RDs normally have compatability issues. You need to search the forums. The problem I have is that the kit you are talking about is pretty low level, so I doubt that you will find much regarding suitability.

    It's normally always worth upgrading to a full road STI set... the experience is significantly better (and lighter). My Espresso bike has Tiagra 2012. The black Jack was done with the latest Sora, which has a very good rep nowadays. I had the same conversation with the guy who did the Jack conversion. In the end, once your start to go road, it's worth the effort to go all the way.

    On another point is weight. A road bike is light, the Espresso/Jacks weigh about 14-16Kg. You might have a bike with drops, but the weight is still chunky (and the wheels will be heavy and slow). If you put thought in the road kit, buy kit with weight listed, then you can get it down to 10.5Kg easy.

    I hope that helps. Schocca.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by schocca View Post
    It all depends on what the current groupset is. The Dahon version comes with SRAM kit. Road STIs with MTB RDs normally have compatability issues. You need to search the forums. The problem I have is that the kit you are talking about is pretty low level, so I doubt that you will find much regarding suitability.

    It's normally always worth upgrading to a full road STI set... the experience is significantly better (and lighter). My Espresso bike has Tiagra 2012. The black Jack was done with the latest Sora, which has a very good rep nowadays. I had the same conversation with the guy who did the Jack conversion. In the end, once your start to go road, it's worth the effort to go all the way.

    On another point is weight. A road bike is light, the Espresso/Jacks weigh about 14-16Kg. You might have a bike with drops, but the weight is still chunky (and the wheels will be heavy and slow). If you put thought in the road kit, buy kit with weight listed, then you can get it down to 10.5Kg easy.

    I hope that helps. Schocca.
    Thank you for the tips.
    I'll definitely be taking your advice on board and eventually get a decent groupset and do the job properly.

    In the interim, I've added drops/new stem (These two I snagged in CRC clearance) and Tektro RL520s levers (bought cheap from ebay) .. these are drop levers designed to work with v-brakes.
    I've even retained my microshift twisters, mounted on a thorn accessory bar... which surprisingly works really well, despite the abomination.

    Anyhow, happy with the setup for now, but 105/tiagra groupset is definitely on the cards!
    I think i'll try source the parts cheaply over-time and then make the transition.

    I do potentially have access to 105 brakes, FSA SLK carbon crankset, 105 RD, sora FD, Sora STIs
    But the kit looks well used.

    With regards to mounting the brakes, did you have to file-out more space to fit the connecting bolt in the front fork?

    Couple of pictures

    20140325_105044.jpg20140325_105115.jpg
    Last edited by DR03K; 04-01-14 at 02:23 AM.

  17. #17
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    I like the colour scheme... looking good! :-).

    For me, as I was going 700cc, I replaced the front fork completely with a carbon/alloy version designed for road bikes. That saved a lot of weight and improved the ride (carbon reduces the vibrations from the front wheel). The fork version I used was this:
    Wiggle | Columbus Tusk Carbon Fork | Forks

    Columbus also do trekking versions of the fork (with V brake fit points) if you want to keep the 26" wheels...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by schocca View Post
    I like the colour scheme... looking good! :-).

    For me, as I was going 700cc, I replaced the front fork completely with a carbon/alloy version designed for road bikes. That saved a lot of weight and improved the ride (carbon reduces the vibrations from the front wheel). The fork version I used was this:
    Wiggle | Columbus Tusk Carbon Fork | Forks

    Columbus also do trekking versions of the fork (with V brake fit points) if you want to keep the 26" wheels...
    I was thinking about changing the front fork, but was hesitant due to loosing the folding fastening mechanism on the front. (Stock magnets are weak so its not a deal breaker, but I've since added rare earth magnets that are about 5x stronger).

    I understand you have part train commute? How do you handle securing the bike during transit?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by DR03K View Post
    I was thinking about changing the front fork, but was hesitant due to loosing the folding fastening mechanism on the front. (Stock magnets are weak so its not a deal breaker, but I've since added rare earth magnets that are about 5x stronger).

    I understand you have part train commute? How do you handle securing the bike during transit?
    The larger wheels keep the folder together. To be honest, I'm not really bothered by the magnet, I use my helmet via my drops to tie to the train internal fixtures. The rear wheel stays pretty still for most of the journey.

    The biggest issue with the front forks is the headset bearings. When you change out the fork, keep the existing headset bearings/seat in good condition, you may need them for the new fork.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by schocca View Post
    The larger wheels keep the folder together. To be honest, I'm not really bothered by the magnet, I use my helmet via my drops to tie to the train internal fixtures. The rear wheel stays pretty still for most of the journey.

    The biggest issue with the front forks is the headset bearings. When you change out the fork, keep the existing headset bearings/seat in good condition, you may need them for the new fork.
    Thanks. Just poured some money into this project.
    Shimano R501 wheelset
    Carbon road fork
    Tektro caliper brake set with long reach adjustable.
    Tektro RL340 levers
    Plus components for single speed conversion.

    My commute is about 3 miles to station, 4 miles in london and then back.

    Should get a better workout with the clutter free single speed setup ;-)

    Shall post pictures once complete.

  21. #21
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  22. #22
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    That looks cool - can you post this on lfgss.com (in the projects area) as well?

  23. #23
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    And can I ask how much it weighs?

  24. #24
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    Bottom Bracket Problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by schocca View Post
    And can I ask how much it weighs?
    Sorry, only just noticed this reply! - my apologies.

    I've actually taken the next step now and gone ahead with the full geared conversion, similar to your own schocca.
    I've used mainly 9 speed sora RD/shifters/gears - fsa crankset and the cyclocross FD (10 speed top pull).

    Only issue I'm having is with the bottom bracket. Did you change the stock bottom bracket on the dahon?

    It would appear the spindle length on mine is too long for the FSA crankset, the FD cage doesn't swing out enough, even with limit screw fully out.

    Any suggestions on the correct BB to use?

  25. #25
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    I love the idea and was considering one of these but I didn't like the flat bar. I'd reconsider that stem, however. Do you just like the positioning? The first conversion above, I think had it right. Nonetheless, it's a huge improvement over stock. Well done!

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