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  1. #1
    Senior Member MEversbergII's Avatar
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    Considering a Dahon Vitesse D7HG

    So I never did end up getting one of those Citizen folding bikes, if anyone remembers my query into them last year - life takes unexpected turns.

    Now I'm looking at something a little more upscale. The one that's attracted my eye right now is the Vitesse D7HG by Dahon.

    Reasons I want a folding bike:
    * Portable transport for mixed-mode commuting
    * More easily stored "backup" bike / "Loaner" bike
    * Standover / mounting height is basically a non-issue with small wheel folders.
    * I like folding bikes and want to have an example of one

    Having a backup is good, and I'm going to be parting with my big box Trailway as soon as I can replace it. Right now my main commuter is a Trek road bike, but it would be nice to have some variety. I'm planning a trip to Baltimore this summer for a convention and plan to take an extra day for exploring - which naturally I want to do by bike, because I walk slow and bikes are more fun. I'll be carpooling to a light rail station and then taking the train in, which requires a folding bike. Also, I'm quite short and have a hard time finding a bike that I like the looks of AND wont give me issues with either standover or mounting - especially with loads on the rear, I sometimes have issues "getting a leg over". Further, this might give me an option for winter bikes, as the lower step over height vs a diamond frame would make mounting in sketchy conditions easier.

    Reasons I'm looking at the Dahon Vitesse D7HG:
    * Dahon has a good reputation
    * Lighter, higher quality frame than cheaper bikes (weighs about 5 pounds less)
    * Hub gears. Weighs more than a derailleur, but I like that it is better protected and easier to adjust.
    * 7 speeds should more than do it for me. So long as at least the top gear handles me on a flat, the rest is just gravy for brutal uphills.
    * You can adjust the bars for a more forward or more upright posture, which might be pretty neat (Dahon bikes in general do this)
    * The SO also liked the look of it and would like one for herself.

    Concerns:
    * I'd need to get a cargo rack
    * I'd need to get fenders
    * Lighting
    * Good locks

    They don't come stock with racks, but looking through the Dahon accessories section I see a couple really good ones. The Ultimate Carrier looks awesome, as does the front luggage options, but they're bound to be rather expensive and likely overkill. The lighter rack is likely more realistic in the near term, especially since I typically don't commute with much. In the city, loading up with big bags would just make hassle since I would be having to remove them at every stop, let someone steal them. Lighting is something I could do with batteries / USB rechargeable lights. Locks, I'd want a good small U lock. Something that it takes a grinder to get though, since it would be loud enough for me to hear / restrict casual theft. As a commuter, it would be kept in the lab or house and I don't think this would serve too well as a mainline shopping bike. Yet. Fenders are liable to be a good idea, however!

    So there's all my data. Is this looking like a good "best choice" or is there another bike with better value in the same general class?

    Thanks,

    M.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    I'm still riding the 2007 version. The frame has been resilient and the bike has worn well overall. The P (performance series) have better componentry all round, rims, bottom bracket, chainset etc.. But the basic stuff generally works fine and if you're into customizing then you can slowly change bits to your specification. Having said that it might make more sense to just get a higher-spec bike if you see a good deal. From my understanding the Nexus 8 is a lot better than the 7.
    I'd opt for a head tube or seat-mounted luggage system.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MEversbergII View Post
    ...

    * I'd need to get a cargo rack
    * I'd need to get fenders
    * Lighting
    * Good locks
    I believe the current model Dahon Vitesse D7HG (like previous models) comes with fenders, rear rack (steel) and a seatpost pump. See:
    http://www.thorusa.com/dahon/current/vitessed7.htm
    For lighting, consider a dynamo hub
    http://www.thorusa.com/accessories/wheels.htm
    and/or Reelights
    http://www.thorusa.com/accessories/waterbottle.htm
    FYI, the standard steel rear Arc rack (2lbs 4oz) is more that a pound heavier than the aluminum ArcLite rack (1lb 2oz).
    There are several options for front luggage. I like the versatility of the Tern Kanga rack.
    http://www.thorusa.com/accessories/baskets.htm
    For locks, I like Abus folding (Bordo) locks and Abus frame locks.

    Hope this helps.

    -HANK RYAN-
    Norman, Oklahoma USA
    DISCLOSURE: I have an ownership interest in an independent bike shop that is an authorized dealer for Raleigh, Dahon, Tern & Brompton.

  4. #4
    Senior Member MEversbergII's Avatar
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    You know, I -swear- the image of it on the page I was referencing when I was typing this didn't have any. Weird. I Googled it again (coming through the Dahon main site instead of the link to the bike itself) and there it was, set to go. The small racks will do in the mean time. I can always upgrade later and it doesn't really cost extra!

    I'll check your links and see how it strikes me.

    Question: You're the guy behind Thor?

    M.

  5. #5
    Senior Member ThorUSA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MEversbergII View Post
    You know, I -swear- the image of it on the page I was referencing when I was typing this didn't have any. Weird. I Googled it again (coming through the Dahon main site instead of the link to the bike itself) and there it was, set to go. The small racks will do in the mean time. I can always upgrade later and it doesn't really cost extra!

    I'll check your links and see how it strikes me.

    Question: You're the guy behind Thor?

    M.
    Thats funny
    Hank is a good guy with a nice store in Oklahoma ....... well worth visiting when you are in the neighborhood. Hank has a couple different folding bike brands and is an expert...

    Thor is me :-) besides a friendship nothing to do with Hank

    If you are interested I will make sure we have all the stuff which are on the various pictures around ...
    sometimes its worth looking inside the box ..lol to make sure

    Best Thor
    Having fun selling Terns and Dahons for a living. My personal website is also my business website, same as my profile name, therefore no link given to follow forum rules.

  6. #6
    Senior Member MEversbergII's Avatar
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    Sure, if I settle on this one (or one you carry) I'll get it out of your store since you're also a member. It'll be a few months, though - still working on closing on my house. THEN I should -finally- have some more disposable income!

    I've got a few new bike orders that I need to make but their order isn't decided yet: New cargo/utility bike for SO and I, Folder for SO and I and the possibility of each getting a cheap folder off Amazon for our trip as a combo loaner/urban voyage bike.

    M.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MEversbergII View Post
    ... Question: You're the guy behind Thor? ...
    Well, yes, since Thor is way ahead of most of us, I am one of the many guys behind him.

    -HANK RYAN-
    Norman, Oklahoma USA
    DISCLOSURE: I have an ownership interest in an independent bike shop that is an authorized dealer for Raleigh, Dahon, Tern & Brompton.

  8. #8
    Senior Member ThorUSA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HGR3inOK View Post
    Well, yes, since Thor is way ahead of most of us, I am one of the many guys behind him.

    -HANK RYAN-
    Norman, Oklahoma USA
    Nope Hank .. you are one of the few I am not ahead of ...lol
    Having fun selling Terns and Dahons for a living. My personal website is also my business website, same as my profile name, therefore no link given to follow forum rules.

  9. #9
    Senior Member MEversbergII's Avatar
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    So I closed on my house today!

    While I'm still open to other (hub gear) options, it looks like the Vitesse is the current leader (know another 6+ speed hub gear folder? Suggest away!). I do have a question or two though:

    1) Is Black/White this year's color? A few retailers I've seen (such as NYCewheels) have a dark or navy blue up. I actually like the blue more than the black/white, but the latter is the only option on Dahon's main site.

    2) How difficult is it to replace front rim brakes on these kinds of bikes? All internal brakes require a reaction arm, right? This would require replacing the fork (and the subsequent paint job that would make it match)?

    3) How well do these handle loads? This will become a "general purpose" bike, hopfully which is more stable at carrying larger loads than my Trek - specifically front basket and rear rack with groceries. What sort of rear baggage is feasible for these kinds of bike? I mentioned the Ultimate Carrier, which appears to have some kind of "under bag" accessory as well as allowing panniers to be used - any experiences to share?

    Thanks!

    M.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Living in Lexington Park you have the option of buying used from the DC metro area. Craigslist is your friend. I used to commute to base from California, MD and would have loved to have my brompton then. A folder will be nice. Nice and flat, bike lanes and wide roads everywhere.

  11. #11
    Senior Member MEversbergII's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DAME View Post
    Living in Lexington Park you have the option of buying used from the DC metro area. Craigslist is your friend. I used to commute to base from California, MD and would have loved to have my brompton then. A folder will be nice. Nice and flat, bike lanes and wide roads everywhere.
    Well hell, good to see another person who's been local!

    I'll check the DC/Metro craigslist, though I don't drive so I'd have to find someone willing to ship - unlikely I think.

    M.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
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    Yeah buying online is the way to go. I did have a friend who used to take the bus up to DC for the weekends. Once you buy the bike the options for local touring are phenomenal. There is a ton of stealth camping. The back side of St Mary's lake (northern section) is surrounded by state land and inaccessible by car. Good luck!

  13. #13
    Senior Member MEversbergII's Avatar
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    In spite of having lived here 26 years, I've never gone to the lake - definitely a weekend plan I've had with the SO for a while, though!

    If I can't find anything over on Craigslist I'll go new. Hopfully someone can shine some light on the above questions.

    M.

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