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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 03-13-17, 09:50 AM   #1
kayakindude
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1st Commute: Dahon Vybe

I had my 1st commute to Boston last Thursday, using my new Dahon Vybe. It is 4 miles to the train station and 2 miles to the office. Found storing the bike on the train to be easy and got advice from another commuter to bring a bungee cord to hold the folded bike to a pole.

When I got off the train I noticed the rear wheel was rubbing against the brake pad and had a slight wobble. It was not rubbing badly so I continued to the office. I enjoyed the commute and did not find the downtown streets too intimidating with the traffic. I admit I got a little lost because i did not realize how many one way streets there are in Boston, so it took a bit to get headed in the right direction. About a block from the office the seat gave out and pitched forward. I was close enough that I just stood for a bit.


When I got to the office, I noticed a spoke hanging off of the rim The wobble was very bad and I had to add some slack to the rear brake to make the tire spin. The nipple on the spoke was broken, leaving a piece of it in the rim. I called Scott at my local LL Bean (where I purchased the bike from) and he told me that it should be fine to get home with.

Scott went through the bike this morning with me and showed me what went wrong with the rim. He replaced the nipple and trued the rim. I also told him how the seat kept pitching forward no matter how much I tightened the saddle bolt. He went into the LL Bean attic and came down with some huge wide body saddle with springs and took the seatpost assembly from that- way more beefy than the stock Dahon setup. He through that on, adjusted my derailer, and directed me on how to attend a Park Tool bicycle repair class.

In this day and age customer service sometimes takes a back seat, but I feel really great about the bike now and canít wait for the warmer weather to arrive
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Old 03-13-17, 10:35 AM   #2
NormanF
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LL Bean is not exactly a LBS but it seems to have good mechanics working for them.

The service spoke for itself.
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Old 03-14-17, 01:05 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by kayakindude View Post
I had my 1st commute to Boston last Thursday, using my new Dahon Vybe. It is 4 miles to the train station and 2 miles to the office. Found storing the bike on the train to be easy and got advice from another commuter to bring a bungee cord to hold the folded bike to a pole.

When I got off the train I noticed the rear wheel was rubbing against the brake pad and had a slight wobble. It was not rubbing badly so I continued to the office. I enjoyed the commute and did not find the downtown streets too intimidating with the traffic. I admit I got a little lost because i did not realize how many one way streets there are in Boston, so it took a bit to get headed in the right direction. About a block from the office the seat gave out and pitched forward. I was close enough that I just stood for a bit.


When I got to the office, I noticed a spoke hanging off of the rim The wobble was very bad and I had to add some slack to the rear brake to make the tire spin. The nipple on the spoke was broken, leaving a piece of it in the rim. I called Scott at my local LL Bean (where I purchased the bike from) and he told me that it should be fine to get home with.

Scott went through the bike this morning with me and showed me what went wrong with the rim. He replaced the nipple and trued the rim. I also told him how the seat kept pitching forward no matter how much I tightened the saddle bolt. He went into the LL Bean attic and came down with some huge wide body saddle with springs and took the seatpost assembly from that- way more beefy than the stock Dahon setup. He through that on, adjusted my derailer, and directed me on how to attend a Park Tool bicycle repair class.

In this day and age customer service sometimes takes a back seat, but I feel really great about the bike now and canít wait for the warmer weather to arrive
I'm from NY and I use a Vybe as my primary commuter (rain or shine). Even though it's at the bottom of the Dahon line, I think it is still one of the toughest workhorses.
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Old 03-15-17, 08:35 AM   #4
bmthom.gis
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I like my Dahon Speed P8, though the OEM shifter that came with it was absolute garbage (the lowest three gears wouldn't index, and the stopper on the shifting cable was digging into the handlebars due to the design). It did need adjusting out of the box - the front wheel had a very noticeable hop, but a few minutes with a spoke wrench and I was able to sort it out. Shifter replaced with a SRAM shifter, and it is much better.

I love how easy the Dahons fold up. I can never get the plastic things on the wheels to line up correctly to "clip" it in it's folded position. It seems whenever I adjust them to line up, the next time they are off again. I also use a bungee in the car - it keeps it folded and from sliding around.

Enjoy the bike! Hope it gives you many enjoyable miles
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Old 03-15-17, 12:14 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by NormanF View Post
LL Bean is not exactly a LBS but it seems to have good mechanics working for them.

The service spoke for itself.
There are some general sports companies that do a good job in many sports. I'm not surprised to hear about LL Bean. In New Jersey, there is Campmor with a fantastic bike section. Around the US, there are REI in many states, and Eastern Mountain Sports is in Maryland and all states north and northeast of Maryland.
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Old 03-19-17, 11:08 AM   #6
kayakindude
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The second commute went way smoother. Having the bike dialed in made a huge difference in performance and getting more confidence in the bike.

I had two issues while commuting. The first took place while in traffic on Beacon Hill. When traffic proceeded on a green light my handlebars/front end lifted over a foot and I felt like the bike would fall backwards. I was wearing an Osprey 34 Momentum backpack and I think the combination of the hill grade and weight of the backpack caused an imbalance. I am thinking of adding a rear rack and bag instead of keeping the backpack. I would want something with a quick release.

The second issue was on the commute home. Snowmelt was causing puddling on the side of the roads and I found that the stock pedals became slippery even with my hiking shoes on. This limited my cadence. I ordered a set of MKS FD-7 foldable pedals and installed them today. They really go well with the 56t crank upgrade (see photo) and overall look of the bike.

Looking forward to trying them out this week. Confidence remains high.
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Last edited by kayakindude; 03-19-17 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 03-21-17, 08:18 AM   #7
kayakindude
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I highly recommend those pedals. Was in Providence yesterday and had to get over College hill (way steeper than Beacon hill IMHO) and no slipping what so ever. Stood almost the entire time up the hill and though there was some creaking from the stress I put the bike under but it performed awesome. This morning I finally averaged a 4 minute mile to the train so once I got rid of the rust in my cadence the 56t is giving me just what I was looking for, again kudos to those pedals (I was even wearing boat shoes) because there was no slippage.

For people considering an entry level like my Dahon, adding about $110 in upgrades for the crank and pedals made a huge difference in the performance. You really have to dig around out there to figure out some upgrade options but again IMHO these are my top two recommendations. Still considering the rear carrier/bag, but I need to see how the backpack performs in the warmer weather.
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