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Old 10-11-17, 08:46 AM   #1
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New to folders - Dahon Classic III

This is my first post in the Folding Bikes forum so hello to all. I normally hang in the Classic & Vintage forums but I have a feeling I'll be here more often.

I picked this one up a a couple of days ago and it's my first folding bike. It's nothing special but it's complete and seemed to be a good deal in my area. I really don't know much about these bikes but I've been wanting one for a while. I don't have a boat or anything that I would need a folder for, but I figured this would be a good opportunity to learn a thing or two about the culture and its love for portability.

So far my wife and I took turns riding it up and down the neighborhood and had a blast. I'm planning to give it a complete overhaul and swap out the tires. Any tips or tricks would be appreciated.

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Old 10-11-17, 10:42 AM   #2
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Welcome to the fold! Nice pick up. My first folder was an old blue Dahon Classic III that I picked up at a swap meet maybe 5 years ago. I had a blast on that bike. Folds up nice and small. The stock gearing may be a little limited, but I didn't change anything on mine. I just rode it for a year or so then figured out what I wanted in a folder and moved up to another one. Then another one. And another.
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Old 10-11-17, 03:51 PM   #3
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It's an old, quirky design that really doesn't benefit from major upgrades, in my opinion. Lube, cables and tires should be enough to get you on the road and spinning; beyond that I would just treat it as a vintage bicycle and enjoy as is. It's cool!
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Old 10-11-17, 06:05 PM   #4
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This is my first post in the Folding Bikes forum so hello to all. I normally hang in the Classic & Vintage forums but I have a feeling I'll be here more often.]
Welcome to the fold!
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Old 10-11-17, 06:36 PM   #5
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Thanks all! I find myself catching quick rides when we take our dog out (I work from home so that happens often).
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Old 10-12-17, 06:57 AM   #6
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With a few changes it can be turned into a very capable bike.

1. Make absolutely sure you repack the headset and front hub, if they're like mine there will be no grease at all in there and you'll notice an immediate improvement in handling and speed.

2. I would change the saddle, it's unduly heavy and creaky.

3. If you want to replace the cranks you can either find a lighter, cr-mo one piece option like I did, or get an American bottom bracket with a square taper spindle. Do not, as I did, try to make an American to Euro bb adapter work with this frame, heartache lies that way.

4. If you regularly fold this bike, take a sharp knife and cut off all the little nubs on the stock pedals or they will scrape up the top tube.

5. If the bike is not folding tightly or feeling jangly, there is a very effective adjustment screw built into the hinge clamp, you can adjust it using a screwdriver and make it as tight as possible while still being able to open and close.

6. Should you choose to replace the seatpost, do not listen to the World Wide Interwebz which will lead you to believe that it's 33.9. It's nowhere near that, maybe 32, measure it with a caliper. Or, I now have a beautiful 33.9 post in my parts bin that you can hold over your bike, if you want that experience.

7. Replacing the tires will make a big difference in ride quality and speed. Don't go cheap on this one aspect, I briefly rode mine on kids knobby tires when I had a blowout on vacation and it was horrific.

8. Be careful what you put on the handlebars, they are finicky when it comes to the fold. Nothing can be popping up to high, either. I'm going to include some bell and lighting suggestions in pictures.

Have fun with the bike, I regularly take mine on 40km+ rides and have done as much as 120km in a single day on it.

Low profile bell:


Light mount if you remove it from its silicone housing first:
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Old 10-12-17, 09:39 AM   #7
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Hey,

I am new to this Dahon Classic 3 too. Maybe a couple of months. You will find a lot of info of what how people feel and what their vision is for the bike. Something you will have to discern for your own experience. For me it is just a fun bike to ride and cruise and I really like the aesthetic of the diagonal brace (good or bad). Seems to be a big following for this classic in Malaysia.

There are videos and photos of the variety of bikes and individual customizations for reference
https://www.flickr.com/search/?text=dahon%20classic%203

Interesting story about the bikes origin and intended purpose and many more on Youtube. (I am sure you know)

Parts for these bikes seem few and far between, but you can pick up a good donor bike for reasonable. There are many out there in varying aesthetic, working condition and price points. Gonna pick up a couple today for friends who love my bike and have shown interest in owning one. God I am getting sick with this lol, but reflective of everything I get into.. (you don't want to know)

At the end of the day... Enjoy it... I am. I have had to do a few mods on my bike for necessity while I hope maintaining the integrity of the design and aesthetics... Good luck.

A few shots I took on a beautify Oct day in an enviornment where my bike was intended to be in.
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Old 10-12-17, 09:58 AM   #8
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@devinfan this is good stuff. Thanks for the suggestions. Most of this is inline with what I was already planning.

Part of me wants to keep everything as-is to preserve its vintage nature, but the other wants to shave some weight and modernize the componentry. I will probably ride it as-is for a while longer before making this decision. I already have several pieces ready in my spare parts bin should this time come.

The tires do need attention - lots of crazing. These are possibly the original tires that came on it judging from the tread pattern. I had the same low-cost idea to pick up a cheap youth bike and harvest its tires and tubes (& cables, pads, chain, etc.). Very tempting to do so considering a like-new youth bike would cost half as much as a new set of tires! Of course, I'd opt for a road tread pattern than knobbies.
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Old 10-12-17, 10:08 AM   #9
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@reycer, I came across that video yesterday and it's a interesting bit of folder history. I've also joined the Dahon Classic photo pool on Flickr the other day to get some inspiration. https://www.flickr.com/groups/[email protected]/ I'll probably contribute some photos of my own once it's all tuned up.
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Old 10-12-17, 10:33 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by zammykoo View Post
@devinfan this is good stuff. Thanks for the suggestions. Most of this is inline with what I was already planning.

Part of me wants to keep everything as-is to preserve its vintage nature, but the other wants to shave some weight and modernize the componentry. I will probably ride it as-is for a while longer before making this decision. I already have several pieces ready in my spare parts bin should this time come.

The tires do need attention - lots of crazing. These are possibly the original tires that came on it judging from the tread pattern. I had the same low-cost idea to pick up a cheap youth bike and harvest its tires and tubes (& cables, pads, chain, etc.). Very tempting to do so considering a like-new youth bike would cost half as much as a new set of tires! Of course, I'd opt for a road tread pattern than knobbies.
Riding for a while to get a feel as to whether or not you want to invest any money into it is a very good idea. I would save money on the other things and splurge on tires, when the wheels are that small they make an exponential difference. You'll notice better tires more than losing a pound or two. If I'm not mistaken the brake pads for the steel rimmed dahons are angled, so be aware when replacing them, it may mean shaving down a regular set. Kool Stop makes salmon pads designed for steel rims.
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Old 10-13-17, 07:53 PM   #11
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Some inspirational pics:

Flickriver: Photoset 'Taiwan Dahon Classic Bike Party' by No5

https://www.pinterest.com/leechinhua...sic-3/?lp=true
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Old 10-13-17, 08:10 PM   #12
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Here's mine:

Dahon Classic III.jpg

I bought this so I'd have a folding bike to use after BikeFriday's second 'Dangerous to ride' recall on my tikit - and BF took eight months to get repair parts to me. It's not a collector or play bike - I put it into revenue service, commuting and serving as a travel bike.

So, let's see. Everything got greased and oiled. Those are aluminum rims and Kool Stop 'salmon' brake pads, plus of course new housings and cables. That's a Tektro R559 front brake and Tektro levers. I had the S-A DLS30 shifter and Rockbros bell in my stash so those went on the bike, and the MKS Ezy pedals came off the unrideable tikit. Schwalbe Marathons, plus totally unnecessary Gyes saddle and Rivendell cork grips.

It's a great little folder: rides fine, folds real small, rolls well folded. Yeah, it's sort of heavy, but I bought the bike for $80 and put less than another $200 into it, and IMO it's a waaaaaaay better folder than any ~$300 new bike.

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Old 10-13-17, 08:25 PM   #13
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How small do they fold? Back in 1984 the late Sheldon Brown authored a five bike folder test for Bicycling magazine. He said the Dahon was the smallest fold of the bunch, although the test included one of the early Bromptons handbuilt by Andrew Ritchie and I think Mr. Brown was in error, because the folded Dahon Classic III is demonstrably a bit larger package than a folded Brompton. Still, it's a relatively small fold.

Here you can see it sticking out on all sides of a folded Dahon Curl - but not by much!

20170830_164741.jpg

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Old 10-13-17, 11:03 PM   #14
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[QUOTE=tcs;19928572]Some inspirational pics:

Flickriver: Photoset 'Taiwan Dahon Classic Bike Party' by No5

I was just looking at those pics earlier today. I never thought these old Dahons would reach a 'vintage collectible' status, but I have feeling we're getting there with the original model with the diagonal connecter thingy. They just look cool!
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Old 10-15-17, 07:25 PM   #15
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Good suggestions, devinfan. What is the name of that low profile bell, please?
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Old 10-15-17, 09:41 PM   #16
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Good suggestions, devinfan. What is the name of that low profile bell, please?
It looks like a Knog Oi to me.
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Old 10-15-17, 09:58 PM   #17
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Knog Oi is rubbish according to a few reviews, way too soft.
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Old 10-16-17, 04:02 PM   #18
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Yep, thanks guys. Ideal for a quiet mountain path, apparently, but maybe not for rush hour in a loud city.
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Old 11-11-17, 10:51 PM   #19
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I finally got around to installing my new tires and chain. Rides really smooth.

I'm thinking of getting a kickstand and I've got my eye on the Pletscher double kickstand. Its fold out mechanics is unique. Does anyone know if it will fit? I think there may be some fitment issues since the flip out castor takes up the space underneath the bottom bracket. I'm open to other suggestions as well.


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Old 11-15-17, 11:32 PM   #20
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Looks like you bike is coming along... Did you repack your wheel bearings? It made a big difference. Great advice from Devinfan.

I do think you will have issues with a center stand and that landing gear thing. I think any bicycle stand that connects to your read axle and sized for a 16" wheel, will work. I picked up a cheap one that worked. I did have to bend the bracket a bit to get it to fit better.

I don't think you are so much concerned about the stand that came with these bigs so for an FYI... These two stands that apparently came with these classics... A bit of elbow grease and they clean up really nice.


What's next?
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Old 11-21-17, 11:25 AM   #21
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I've got the Bickerton version, California which seems to be a later Classic 3. Very interesting bike. No rear rack or caster landing gear on mine. Did get a very nice Bickerton bag and the original manual which was a Dahon branded manual with a Bickerton inkpad stamp on it. I guess this was right at the end when the original Bickerton company was clinging to life before going under. I don't think Dahon sales at the time were huge in the UK. At the current time there are 3 Dahon classics on ebay uk and 2 Bickerton versions but both Bickertons are together on one listing. It's a much rarer bike over here I think than the USA. I went for the Bickerton version because its slightly rarer and the interesting history of the Bickerton bike company. I like the folding crankset of some Dahon's though. For actual use which is better though that type or the more conventional crankset?

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Old 11-24-17, 06:18 PM   #22
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Looks like you bike is coming along... Did you repack your wheel bearings? It made a big difference. Great advice from Devinfan.

I do think you will have issues with a center stand and that landing gear thing. I think any bicycle stand that connects to your read axle and sized for a 16" wheel, will work. I picked up a cheap one that worked. I did have to bend the bracket a bit to get it to fit better.

I don't think you are so much concerned about the stand that came with these bigs so for an FYI... These two stands that apparently came with these classics... A bit of elbow grease and they clean up really nice.

What's next?
Mine didn't come with a kickstand so I wanted to add one. I figured it might be worth looking into a double kickstand while I'm at it, but I haven't found any that looks like it would work.

If I can find an original Dahon kickstand I would have gone for it. I ended up buying a Wald one, but I got it in the mail today and it just looks so clunky and probably won't use it. Much bigger/heavier than I expected. I will keep an eye out for a Dahon one still. If you happen to know where to find it please let me know!
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Old 11-24-17, 06:22 PM   #23
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I've got the Bickerton version, California which seems to be a later Classic 3. Very interesting bike. No rear rack or caster landing gear on mine. Did get a very nice Bickerton bag and the original manual which was a Dahon branded manual with a Bickerton inkpad stamp on it. I guess this was right at the end when the original Bickerton company was clinging to life before going under. I don't think Dahon sales at the time were huge in the UK. At the current time there are 3 Dahon classics on ebay uk and 2 Bickerton versions but both Bickertons are together on one listing. It's a much rarer bike over here I think than the USA. I went for the Bickerton version because its slightly rarer and the interesting history of the Bickerton bike company. I like the folding crankset of some Dahon's though. For actual use which is better though that type or the more conventional crankset?
Interesting piece of history about the company. Was Bickerton an importer of Dahon's in the UK? I can't seem to find any information on it.

The folding crankset is nice to have if you are really strapped for space, but I find myself keeping it unfolded most of the time. I think if your pedal folds then that should be good enough.
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Old 11-25-17, 04:39 AM   #24
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Interesting piece of history about the company. Was Bickerton an importer of Dahon's in the UK? I can't seem to find any information on it.

The folding crankset is nice to have if you are really strapped for space, but I find myself keeping it unfolded most of the time. I think if your pedal folds then that should be good enough.
I'm by no means an expert on it but from what I can gather close to the end of the original Bickerton company they were desperate to improve their finances and became a importer of oem Dahon bikes. There are many UK bicycle retailers that had Dahon bikes rebranded in later years. Dahon were also selling their own bikes under their own brand at the same time but at that time Dahon's own sales were relatively small. This is a rebranded Dahon under the Revolution brand which used to be a brand of bikes sold by Edinburgh bicycles which is a small chain of shops based in Scotland and northern England. The same bike is under a few brands, Raleigh I think was one. I guess my point is you didn't have to be a large company to sell rebranded Dahon bikes in the UK.

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Old 11-25-17, 10:21 AM   #25
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6. Should you choose to replace the seatpost, do not listen to the World Wide Interwebz which will lead you to believe that it's 33.9. It's nowhere near that, maybe 32, measure it with a caliper.
My seatpost began bending after some time, so I did a rough measurement which came out to just under 34 mm. The new Dahons with one-piece aluminum seatposts are this size, so I bought one, and replaced the plastic shim with an aluminum shim. After a little filing to round out the clamp, it fits perfectly, and clamps solidly with very little clamping pressure. BTW, replacing the stock seatpost and saddle shaves quite a bit of weight off the bike.

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