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$300 bike vs $3000 bike (Dahon Mu LT11 review)

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$300 bike vs $3000 bike (Dahon Mu LT11 review)

Old 01-24-17, 08:56 AM
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$300 bike vs $3000 bike (Dahon Mu LT11 review)

In the past year I have bought two folding bikes. The first was a cheap bike to get me through till I could buy something I really wanted. This bike is the Doppelganger 219 Aurora:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B6...jN4dTNSMUtHLTA
DOPPELGANGERĀ®[**********????]**********?? Product page 219 - aurora

The bike is easy to ride (my first folding bike, I used to ride mountain bikes), looks great (gets a lot of comments) but has issues. The first is weight, it feels quite heavy (and is). Also it doesn't quite feel free, it gives the feeling of a constant slight drag draining away your power and speed (and the if I spin the wheels freely they stop quite quickly, lots of rolling resistance). Also the rear suspension is a solid as a rock, may as well not be there while the front suspension is not smooth at all. Works while riding though, sucks up the bumps and give a feeling of confidence on any surface, even down stairs The brakes on this bike are epic. Cheap junk I know but I don't care, they are awesome. When I first rode the bike I was a little afraid of the front brake, it has tremendous stopping power, I am pretty sure I could lock the front tyres at almost any speed, or go over the bars. The rear brakes also work very well. Shifting is clunky but it works. Though I do have to keep readjusting the gears to keep them changing smoothly. Good for the money however it could be truly excellent if Doppleganger fixed the rear suspension and simply cut off bits of the bike that aren't used (like the heavy v brake mounts on the front).

Recently however I bought this:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B6...0gwU29seGtqdVE
Mu LT11???? LT11?| DAHON International - ******************************??

The Dahon Mu LT11. It's fast. My ride to work is 10mins shorter. Feels nice to ride, it just powers forward. Dislike the riding position though, even if it is comfortable. The front bars are an issue. Why so big Dahon? They are so wide I feel like I have the folding bike equivalent of a bus steering wheel. Have to spread my arms apart like I am hugging the air, it's weird but I am slowly getting used to it I guess. But it's not just the width, the bars are also quite high. To ride with the seat level with the bars I'd need to be 6'5, but the max rider height for the bike is 6'4 according to Dahon... Also the carbon seatpost slips, they included a bonus near 1kg controltech alloy seatpost but I didn't buy this bike because I like to carry dead weight. In fact the first thing I did was to take off the magnets and all folding bits of junk to save the weight. This bike will never be folded. I'll try a few fixes for the seatpost, I have a few in mind. Ill also be switching to something like a litepro 29cm handlepost which will bring the bars down and also cut more weight. Not sure I can do anything about the huge width of the bike though, so unnecessary but 550mm is standard?..

Also it's quite dangerous the way I ride it. Twice in two days I have almost inserted myself into the footpath. It's the narrow tyres, they simply can not handle the pavements of Tokyo. There are these yellow plastic looking groove strips (that are super dangerous in the wet, but it's been dry the past few days). I make a slight turn left and all of a sudden I am sideways going forward, somehow I stayed on. The wheels just get caught in groves and aren't big enough to get over them. When you turn the wheels say in the grove. This morning my front slipped along the groove then popped out only for the rear to get caught, I was sideways for about 1 meter leaving a black streak on the pavement. My other bike with wider tyres had no issues at all (except in the wet, omg those strips are like ice, why does the tokyo government try to kill people?). And with the way this bike slams into the bumps (high pressure tyres) I wouldn't take this down stairs or even off road like I would with my old bike. Kind of have to baby it like a big road bike which takes some fun out of it.

I thought it would shift better. My old $300 bike has Shimano SIS Index or something I have never heard of vs the Ultegra gear on the $3000 bike. Really there isn't that much difference in terms of shifting speed nor feel. Sure the new bike does shift better, but not as much as I was expecting. The difference in weight would be considerable though. Also the TRP CX9 brakes don't stop as well as the disc on the cheap bike, but they feel much tighter and do stop well, just not terrifyingly well. Oh and so far they don't squeal like the old bike did, big plus but it's early days.

So was the Mu LT11 a good buy (initially I wanted a Mu SLX but I now suspect that they are just a myth Dahon likes to propagate for the lols)? Sure, I am happy with it. I love the speed and that is what I was going for. I also realise much of that speed I love comes from the narrow tyres which also cause many of the issues I have with the bike... Tradeoffs. I think the perfect folder for me might be a Birdy. I am sure I could treat that like my old bike while still having some speed, but I am put off by the weight of Birdys. When I am richer I'll go for a custom birdy or something else that comes along with full suspension, light weight and maybe slightly wider tyres. Till then I don't think I'll regret buying the Mu TL11. With a few mods I'll get a lot of enjoyment out of it.
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Old 01-24-17, 03:42 PM
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I'm not understanding the logic of this purchase. It sounds like the bike doesn't fit you well, or at least doesn't fit the riding position you're looking for. And you said you're never going to fold it... Why not spend less for a properly dialed in non-folding bike?
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Old 01-24-17, 04:32 PM
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Because the fold is important, mass transit Multi mode, in many places Its an Advantage.

Problem with all folding bikes but bikeFriday is there is 1 product, no frame size range is offered*

DaHon is one of those .

*Brompton makes 1 frame, then offers 4 steering mast assemblies and 3 different seat mast designs,

You adapt to them. not the other way around..
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Old 01-24-17, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Nightdiver
I'm not understanding the logic of this purchase. It sounds like the bike doesn't fit you well, or at least doesn't fit the riding position you're looking for. And you said you're never going to fold it... Why not spend less for a properly dialed in non-folding bike?
There is no small fast non folding bike that looks good and is light. I don't want a folding bike but nobody makes a small non folding bike that is decent, simple as that. If I want a bike that a, looks good, b, is fast, c, is light, d, is small I have a few Dahons and a few more Terns. Other than that?... Nothing. The humming bird is interesting (wondering what if anything prodrive will bring to the table), but it doesn't look that great and isn't for sale anyway. The Dahon with some mods will be very close to what I want.

Originally Posted by fietsbob
Because the fold is important, mass transit Multi mode, in many places Its an Advantage.

Problem with all folding bikes but bikeFriday is there is 1 product, no frame size range is offered*

DaHon is one of those .

*Brompton makes 1 frame, then offers 4 steering mast assemblies and 3 different seat mast designs,

You adapt to them. not the other way around..
Whenever I see a Brompton I imagine my grandmother saying "this is the bike I rode when I was a young girl". It has zero style, it's heavy and was designed to be a shopping trolley rather than a bike. That is how I view the Brompton. The bike friday doesn't look much better.
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Old 01-24-17, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by kidshibuya
There is no small fast non folding bike that looks good and is light. I don't want a folding bike but nobody makes a small non folding bike that is decent, simple as that. If I want a bike that a, looks good, b, is fast, c, is light, d, is small I have a few Dahons and a few more Terns. Other than that?... Nothing. The humming bird is interesting (wondering what if anything prodrive will bring to the table), but it doesn't look that great and isn't for sale anyway. The Dahon with some mods will be very close to what I want.
Fair enough, although with Japan being the epicenter of mini-velos, I would have thought you'd have a great variety of options. Guess not though, eh?
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Old 01-24-17, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
Because the fold is important, mass transit Multi mode, in many places Its an Advantage.

Problem with all folding bikes but bikeFriday is there is 1 product, no frame size range is offered*

DaHon is one of those .

*Brompton makes 1 frame, then offers 4 steering mast assemblies and 3 different seat mast designs,

You adapt to them. not the other way around..
I can never tell with the way you write, but was that first sentence in response to me asking the OP why they're looking at folders? If so, did you not read the part where they said they'll never fold it?

And BTW, Dahon has made several models that were offered in multiple sizes. Nearly all their Lockjaw models and then the 26" bikes too.
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Old 01-25-17, 01:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Nightdiver
Fair enough, although with Japan being the epicenter of mini-velos, I would have thought you'd have a great variety of options. Guess not though, eh?
Honestly you struggle to see anything interesting in the bike shops here in Tokyo. They are either Japan style selling only steel framed.. i don't know what you call them but huge silver bikes. Or they sell the usual road bikes with maybe one or two Dahons and a few Terns. You have to really hunt down info on the internet to find anything different. And of course being Japan prices are almost always recommend retail with no chance of a discount. And if you do buy a bike they punish you for it. They won't even hand over the bike without a 30 minute lecture on what the brake lever does, how to go forward etc. I bought my bike on a saturday and at first they said I couldn't have it for a week (even though it was just sitting there, I could have just picked it up and walked out) because they had no lecture times available. I said ok then, I won't buy it and suddenly they had time to lecture me the following day. But I should stop ranting, I actually love Japan but some things are super annoying.
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Old 01-25-17, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by kidshibuya
Honestly you struggle to see anything interesting in the bike shops here in Tokyo. They are either Japan style selling only steel framed.. i don't know what you call them but huge silver bikes. Or they sell the usual road bikes with maybe one or two Dahons and a few Terns. You have to really hunt down info on the internet to find anything different. And of course being Japan prices are almost always recommend retail with no chance of a discount. And if you do buy a bike they punish you for it. They won't even hand over the bike without a 30 minute lecture on what the brake lever does, how to go forward etc. I bought my bike on a saturday and at first they said I couldn't have it for a week (even though it was just sitting there, I could have just picked it up and walked out) because they had no lecture times available. I said ok then, I won't buy it and suddenly they had time to lecture me the following day. But I should stop ranting, I actually love Japan but some things are super annoying.
Sounds like a very different buying experience for sure. Too bad about the difficulties finding cool stuff there. It always seems like when an interesting mini-velo is posted, it's from Japan, so I just assumed they were a dime-a-dozen. Enjoy your bikes and good luck getting that Mu to fit better.
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Old 01-28-17, 09:36 AM
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Glad to say hair spray as a sliding carbon seatpost fix is true, works great. Happy I didn't let the shop install the alloy seatpost as they were insisting.

Now I want a shorter handlepost, the issue now is I don't know what angle my current one is...?

Mu LT11???? LT11?| DAHON International - ******************************?? Those are the specs for my bike, but it just doesnt say the angle, or even the hight. Is it 6 degree? 12 degree?... How do I tell? I want to buy a litepro one but that doesn't tell an angle.. is it straight up?

Also where is the length measured from for a handlepost? Measuring mine it's either about 37cm from top to bottom or 29cm measuring the actual post part. Neither measure up to other bikes in Dahons range and mine isn't listed ;(
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Old 04-06-24, 01:10 AM
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Originally Posted by kidshibuya
In the past year I have bought two folding bikes. The first was a cheap bike to get me through till I could buy something I really wanted. This bike is the Doppelganger 219 Aurora:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B6...jN4dTNSMUtHLTA
DOPPELGANGERĀ®[**********????]**********?? Product page 219 - aurora

The bike is easy to ride (my first folding bike, I used to ride mountain bikes), looks great (gets a lot of comments) but has issues. The first is weight, it feels quite heavy (and is). Also it doesn't quite feel free, it gives the feeling of a constant slight drag draining away your power and speed (and the if I spin the wheels freely they stop quite quickly, lots of rolling resistance). Also the rear suspension is a solid as a rock, may as well not be there while the front suspension is not smooth at all. Works while riding though, sucks up the bumps and give a feeling of confidence on any surface, even down stairs The brakes on this bike are epic. Cheap junk I know but I don't care, they are awesome. When I first rode the bike I was a little afraid of the front brake, it has tremendous stopping power, I am pretty sure I could lock the front tyres at almost any speed, or go over the bars. The rear brakes also work very well. Shifting is clunky but it works. Though I do have to keep readjusting the gears to keep them changing smoothly. Good for the money however it could be truly excellent if Doppleganger fixed the rear suspension and simply cut off bits of the bike that aren't used (like the heavy v brake mounts on the front).

Recently however I bought this:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B6...0gwU29seGtqdVE
Mu LT11???? LT11?| DAHON International - ******************************??

The Dahon Mu LT11. It's fast. My ride to work is 10mins shorter. Feels nice to ride, it just powers forward. Dislike the riding position though, even if it is comfortable. The front bars are an issue. Why so big Dahon? They are so wide I feel like I have the folding bike equivalent of a bus steering wheel. Have to spread my arms apart like I am hugging the air, it's weird but I am slowly getting used to it I guess. But it's not just the width, the bars are also quite high. To ride with the seat level with the bars I'd need to be 6'5, but the max rider height for the bike is 6'4 according to Dahon... Also the carbon seatpost slips, they included a bonus near 1kg controltech alloy seatpost but I didn't buy this bike because I like to carry dead weight. In fact the first thing I did was to take off the magnets and all folding bits of junk to save the weight. This bike will never be folded. I'll try a few fixes for the seatpost, I have a few in mind. Ill also be switching to something like a litepro 29cm handlepost which will bring the bars down and also cut more weight. Not sure I can do anything about the huge width of the bike though, so unnecessary but 550mm is standard?..

Also it's quite dangerous the way I ride it. Twice in two days I have almost inserted myself into the footpath. It's the narrow tyres, they simply can not handle the pavements of Tokyo. There are these yellow plastic looking groove strips (that are super dangerous in the wet, but it's been dry the past few days). I make a slight turn left and all of a sudden I am sideways going forward, somehow I stayed on. The wheels just get caught in groves and aren't big enough to get over them. When you turn the wheels say in the grove. This morning my front slipped along the groove then popped out only for the rear to get caught, I was sideways for about 1 meter leaving a black streak on the pavement. My other bike with wider tyres had no issues at all (except in the wet, omg those strips are like ice, why does the tokyo government try to kill people?). And with the way this bike slams into the bumps (high pressure tyres) I wouldn't take this down stairs or even off road like I would with my old bike. Kind of have to baby it like a big road bike which takes some fun out of it.

I thought it would shift better. My old $300 bike has Shimano SIS Index or something I have never heard of vs the Ultegra gear on the $3000 bike. Really there isn't that much difference in terms of shifting speed nor feel. Sure the new bike does shift better, but not as much as I was expecting. The difference in weight would be considerable though. Also the TRP CX9 brakes don't stop as well as the disc on the cheap bike, but they feel much tighter and do stop well, just not terrifyingly well. Oh and so far they don't squeal like the old bike did, big plus but it's early days.

So was the Mu LT11 a good buy (initially I wanted a Mu SLX but I now suspect that they are just a myth Dahon likes to propagate for the lols)? Sure, I am happy with it. I love the speed and that is what I was going for. I also realise much of that speed I love comes from the narrow tyres which also cause many of the issues I have with the bike... Tradeoffs. I think the perfect folder for me might be a Birdy. I am sure I could treat that like my old bike while still having some speed, but I am put off by the weight of Birdys. When I am richer I'll go for a custom birdy or something else that comes along with full suspension, light weight and maybe slightly wider tyres. Till then I don't think I'll regret buying the Mu TL11. With a few mods I'll get a lot of enjoyment out of it.
You can take an inch off each side with a hacksaw. Or a good bike mechanic will do it for you. My riding width is 570mm. Most of the bikes I get have 580 to 620mm wide handle bars. 580mm I can live with. If they are wider I take them in.
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Old 04-06-24, 03:12 AM
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Sounds like a Mercier Nano fixed frame minivelo on 20"/406, $$399 at bikesdirect, would work for you, if one of the two sizes offered fits you well, and if it is possible to get one shipped there. Nice that it comes with 2X gearing standard.
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Old 04-06-24, 10:47 AM
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Might it be possible that in the 7 years that have elapsed since the OP last posted, that they have moved on?
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Old 04-06-24, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by GeezyRider
Might it be possible that in the 7 years that have elapsed since the OP last posted, that they have moved on?
DOH! I just looked at the post above me, was recent. Dead zombie thread walking.
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Old 04-07-24, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Duragrouch
DOH! I just looked at the post above me, was recent. Dead zombie thread walking.
I actually still have the dahon. But also a canyon grail and a Tyrell CSI. The Tyrell is what I should have just bought from the start, but it's a lot more expensive in the spec I have it in. The dahon rides well, but it's heavy and with the upright position I near never use it.
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Old 05-05-24, 04:01 PM
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I ride a $100 bike, it rides fine, I think the most important part are the wheels.
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Old 05-05-24, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Heey
I ride a $100 bike, it rides fine, I think the most important part are the wheels.
I think for a bike above the lowest-end, in large-wheel road or fixed-frame mountain or hybrid, with wide range gearing and reasonable frame quality, I'd say perhaps yes. But for a folder, those other things really come into play at the low end; Almost always, insufficient gearing range, and also a very heavy frame, and perhaps also not the best folding joint for tightness. Mine was a decent frame but 7 gears was not enough range and the wheels were heavy, although durable. But mine is also circa 20 years ago, the competition and relative pricing are better now.
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Old 05-08-24, 02:50 AM
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Originally Posted by kidshibuya
I actually still have the dahon. But also a canyon grail and a Tyrell CSI. The Tyrell is what I should have just bought from the start, but it's a lot more expensive in the spec I have it in. The dahon rides well, but it's heavy and with the upright position I near never use it.
When reading your old post saying that there were no small wheel high performances non folding bikes and because you are in Japan, I was immediately thinking at the beautiful Tyrell non folding bikes and I see that 7 years later, you now have a Tyrell CSI !
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Old 05-08-24, 07:40 AM
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I have been commuting on folding bikes regularly since 2013 in NYC.
I carry my folding bike onto subway trains, buses on my commute.
I mostly fold up my folding bike to fit it into my wife's car when I get a car ride from her.
I started commuting with a $750 Bike Friday Tikit I bought used, until it got t-boned by a SUV that ran a stop sign in the rain in 2015.
The frame was bent and it would cost about $1300 to ship it back to Bike Friday for replacement.


For fear of theft & another car wreck, I chose to replace the Tikit with a $350, 16" folding bike from Citizen Tokyo.
I figured it makes a smaller target for cars to hit, less attractive to thieves.
But it was still stolen from my locked basement when I was on vacation for a week.
Compact as it was, the handling does get a bit tricky when the roads are bumpy and speed gets higher than 17-18 mph.
It was great for how small it is, but not so great for riding.



My current folding commuter since 2019 is a $150 Sundeal I bought from Nashbar on closeout.
It has disc brakes, it has 8 spd, it has been through rain, snow, mud and abused with heavy loads, but it still serves me well to this day.
With its age, the folding joint is starting to get little creaky, components are wearing out.
I bought a no name folder from FB marketplace for $120 just in case the Sundeal dies on me one day.




I feel that folding bikes are meant to be "use it & forget it" kind of tool, require little (to no) maintenance, cheap to operate and minimal attraction to thieves.
With me carrying the folding bike on & off public transportation, there are lots of chances that the bike gets bumped or knocked over.
I don't worry about the damage (or theft) on my folding bike so much since they are cheap and still gets me from point A to point B with ease.

Last edited by cat0020; 05-08-24 at 07:57 AM.
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Old 05-09-24, 11:19 PM
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(above) My 20" wheel folder has become my daily exercise and townie for 10 years now. Full racks and panniers. As such, it requires as much regular maintenance as any bike, but no more so either. The folding joint has needed zero adjustment since a) I added a locknut to the clamp adjustment, and b) I fabricated my own equivalent of the recent Deltec, to greatly reduce longitudinal/vertical bending loads on the hinge.
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