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Brompton vs. Curve SL/XL

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Brompton vs. Curve SL/XL

Old 07-13-11, 07:15 PM
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Brompton vs. Curve SL/XL

Hi Guys,

So I recently ordered a clearance Dahon Curve SL w/ the internal hub to gain some sveltness as a commuter over my 2008 Dahon Mu P8 in the Seattle-Tacoma area. I'm going to relegate the Mu P8 to a trunk-only and fair-weather weekend/casual ride bike (no fenders still).

Seems like there's some drama or something going on at Dahon w/ the whole Tern Bicycle thing (management shake up?). And Tern isn't doing wheels smaller than 20 inches. I've read that there's quality control issues and loss of control of trademarks regarding Dahon bikes? Not sure if this is going to be an issue going forward or not regarding support for past Dahons, but I'm not too worried about it.

Anyway, my question is to folding bike enthusiasts is: Is a equivalent Brompton really worth twice as much (or more) as Dahon Curve SL? I know it's somewhat a matter of opinion, but it seems hard to justify the price tag of a Brompton to get a better fold and undeniably cooler and more functional design. Anyone out there that have experience w/ both types of bikes--esp. to those that may have switched brands from Dahon to Brompton.


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Old 07-13-11, 07:46 PM
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I've been doing the same. I just feel that if I buy a Dahon when I really want the Brompton, in the long run I'll regret it. For me, the smallest and most intelligent fold of the Brompton is worth something as is a steel frame and being a member of the cult. $600-700 more for the Brompton will probably make sense to me in the long run.
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Old 07-13-11, 08:34 PM
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While I can't comment on Brompton as I don't own one, I think Brompton will last longer and will have better resale value. So I think if you are going to use it regularly over a long period, it would be good to save up for a Brommie.
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Old 07-13-11, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by jur
I think Brompton will last longer and will have better resale value. So I think if you are going to use it regularly over a long period, it would be good to save up for a Brommie.
Yeah, I think you guys are right. For me, it's close to a wash; leaning in favor of Brompton in the long run and Dahon in the shorter run. I'll probably end up getting a Brompton eventually and keep one, or both, Dahons on the side as a backup/secondary bike.

Other than the size of the 20-inch Dahon, the lack of any rolling system other than the front-wheel-roll-with-seatpost-up trick is kinda annoying... Like other folders, Dahons don't have much functionality in a folded or partially-folded state unlike Bromptons.
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Old 07-14-11, 12:56 AM
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If you will start with the Dahon, you will appreciate more the Brompton.
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Old 07-14-11, 01:17 AM
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I can't speak to the Dahon, but my Brompton is going to be 20 this year and still rides like a new(ish) bike.
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Old 07-14-11, 03:22 AM
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I own both and it's not the case that the brompton wins out in every department. With the Curve you have better stock gearing and the option of running Big Apple tyres. The Dahon fold is quicker. The Curve's steering, whilst not as stable as the 20" bikes is more stable than an M-type. The wheelbase is very short though and the front wheel comes off the ground very easily. Both bikes are flexy. The Curve offers adjustable handlebar height. The Brompton's drivetrain feels less efficient due to the chain tensioner.
Having said all that I think I'll sell my Curve eventually and keep the Brompton; I'd rather have a 20" Dahon and keep the Brompton as a compact folder.
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Old 07-14-11, 03:30 AM
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Also the Curve SL/XL has much better componentry. The rims are excellent. The brakes, of course, are far better. And the bike is much lighter.
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Old 07-14-11, 04:53 AM
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When I was looking for a folder to use primarily as my short range commute to work, I also looked at both Curve SL and Brompton. I checked them out at the bike shop and ultimately settled on a Brompton M6R. For me it was the ability to wheel the Brompton while folded via the 4 Easy Wheels on the rack that sealed the deal. After folding the bike, I had to walk a few hundred meters from the main entrance to the elevators in the office. Being able to wheel the bike to the elevators instead of having to carry it is a big plus. The smaller folded size of the Brompton was also a plus and so too was the fact that when folded, the messy/greasy parts are in the middle which means almost zero chance of getting grease on my office clothes.

I have been using the Brompton to commute to work almost everyday since I got it late Winter.
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Old 07-14-11, 05:12 AM
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I find Dahons roll very nicely, in some ways better than a Brompton. But the Brompton can roll with luggage or with a basket, i.e. as a trolley which creates more options. With a Dahon you'd need a different system for getting around with bags/luggage. There are some solutions which might work very well, i.e. the klickfix stuff that can function as front bag and rucksack. But yeah, overall the utility of the Brompton is significantly greater in this area. I like the rear suspension a lot too; some people find it too bouncy but I find it excellent for absorbing bumps.
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Old 07-14-11, 08:20 AM
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https://www.thorusa.com/dahon/technical/brommy.htm
I usually dont get involved in versus threads..... but I feel frisky today.
Dahon SL is selling for 699 shipped ..... what you should add is a 20 dlr Seatpost adapter for the I beam seatpost ( in order to be able to use your own choice regular saddle)
The Dahon is light, has excellent brakes, folds fast, the Nexus rear hub is the coveted red stripe version, it has great grips, great mks pedals, schwalbe tires.
Check out youtube for films how it rides, and how it easily being pushed around.
come visit us in southern Illinois and take a testride on my personal SL .... ( I added a short travel thudbuster to mine ...took the chainringcover off, replaced it with a freedrive ( plastic snake which goes over the chain ) added a couple Klickfix accessories ...
Obviuosly I get good deals on that stuff...lol
but I get good deals on everything, meaning in the end it its also money I have to spend for my own stuff....
and I choose a Curve SL

If you want to have cult status .... than maybe not ...

thor
but ... and here comes the disclaimer.... you better get off that fence. I think I am more or less the only source for them at this time and my stock is down to 2 bikes !!! ( no I wont sell my personal one )
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Old 07-14-11, 08:41 AM
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I think my story can help you make up your mind...

In 2010 I was in the market for a folder commuter. Went to NYCEWheels on my vacation and rode a Brompton M6L and a Mu XL Sport, money at that time wasn't a issue. I loved the Brompton, the easy folding, the style, CrMo frame...but I couldn't get past the strange feel of the gear shifter and overall gearing quality. The ride was fun, but boy when I rode the Mu XL Sport...it was night and day tbh.

The Dahon was FAST, Schwalbe Kojaks are great, the nexus red band was amazing, great quality crankset (Sugino), had the grips that I loved and was used to (Ergon Grips, they really are amazing), MKS pedals! I couldn't justify spending twice on a bike that had subpar components just because of hype and a great frame/folding tech since the contender also had a great frame and folding tech (not as great, but great nonetheless)

I ride my Dahon daily about 20 miles, I even went into a alleycat race with it just for giggles and it was amazing. This is a great bike that you won't regret for sure.
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Old 07-14-11, 08:51 AM
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In order to be at home with the gearing on my Brompton I've installed my own choice of hub, a 5 speed Sturmey Archer not unlike the ones Brompton used to have as stock. I'm still limited to a thumb shifter; I've always prefered grip shifters but can't really fit one on the M bars. After about 2 months of riding with the thumb shifter it's finally becoming second-nature, so I guess the Brompton 6 speed system would also eventually. But even so you can't beat a good IGH set up as you'll find on cheaper bikes than the Brompton.
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Old 07-14-11, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by chagzuki
Also the Curve SL/XL has much better componentry. The rims are excellent. The brakes, of course, are far better. And the bike is much lighter.
and much cheaper.....
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Old 07-14-11, 12:58 PM
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Dahon Curve SL $699 shipped. Brompton $1,250 give or take. almost a difference of $600. they're both good bikes and you can't go wrong either way. personally if it's me, i will take the Curve SL.

PS: i have a dahon curve sl also (8 speed IGH) and love it.
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Old 07-14-11, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by 8bits
In 2010 I was in the market for a folder commuter. Went to NYCEWheels on my vacation and rode a Brompton M6L and a Mu XL Sport, money at that time wasn't a issue. I loved the Brompton, the easy folding, the style, CrMo frame...but I couldn't get past the strange feel of the gear shifter and overall gearing quality. The ride was fun, but boy when I rode the Mu XL Sport...it was night and day tbh.

The Dahon was FAST, Schwalbe Kojaks are great, the nexus red band was amazing, great quality crankset (Sugino), had the grips that I loved and was used to (Ergon Grips, they really are amazing), MKS pedals! I couldn't justify spending twice on a bike that had subpar components just because of hype and a great frame/folding tech since the contender also had a great frame and folding tech (not as great, but great nonetheless)

I ride my Dahon daily about 20 miles, I even went into a alleycat race with it just for giggles and it was amazing. This is a great bike that you won't regret for sure.
Was wheelbase size (16 inches vs 20) a huge difference to you? Did you get to test ride the more component-equivalent Curve XL? Seems almost unfair to compare a 20" Dahon Mu to a 16" Brompton since the frame size of the larger bike would translate into a better ride. I would imagine it blows the socks off any Brompton as far a ride quality goes. (I need to go test ride a Brompton; there's a dealer in the Ballard neighborhood in Seattle. I hate going into shops w/o intention of buying any time in the near future, feels like I'm wasting their time.)

I have a Mu P8 and love it. I got it in March 2009 for $559 and put maybe $200 into changing the seatpost+pump to the Kore ibeam setup and MKS pop-off pedals, to cut a little weight. I went this route instead of going for the higher end bike to upgrade components later in case I wanted to back out of the cycling thing. The Mu appealed to me because I'm an ex-BMX rider and haven't owned a mountain or road cycle...so the 20" wheel base makes the bike look like a BMX w/ gears that you shouldn't bunny hop or jump curbs. Feels like there should be a gear on my Mu P8 between gears 7 and 8...I have to really be trucking to get out of 7th to 8th.

Last edited by LilGadgetGuy; 07-14-11 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 07-14-11, 05:19 PM
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Yeah I rode the Curve, it was smooth! But tbh the difference between a 16" and 20" Dahon is negligible when it comes to folded size, so I went with the Mu XL Sport.

If you look just by folded size, Brompton is the way to go no arguing there, even comparing with a 16" Curve.
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Old 07-14-11, 06:21 PM
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Dahon [and Bike Friday Tikit] have a Rear Fold of the rear alongside the front section.

Brompton has a fold Under the main tube , so first fold increases the width, on 1 and not the other .

then Brompton folds the front .. 20% back and rotates the wheel , the hook on its fork left side,
hangs over the seat stay tube ofd the right side , pushing the seat post in ,
locks the rest of it together, steering mast folds down . catch on the fork snaps them together
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Old 07-14-11, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by 8bits
the difference between a 16" and 20" Dahon is negligible when it comes to folded size, so I went with the Mu XL Sport.

If you look just by folded size, Brompton is the way to go no arguing there, even comparing with a 16" Curve.
Yeah, you're right, the folded size is relatively negligible comparing the Mu vs. a Curve. I don't know why I didn't think of it before, but aside from this very useful folding-size image on the NYCeWheels blog, crunching the Volume numbers might be a good idea...

Maybe others will find this useful in case they do the Google thing...that's how I found this forum...

Volume = length x width x height

V(Brompton) = 22.2" x 21.5" x 10.6" = 5059.38 in^3 = 2.93 ft^3
V(Mu) = 11.7" x 30.8" x 25.7" = 9261.252 in^3 = 5.36 ft^3
V(Curve) = 12.5" x 26.5" x 25.4" = 8413.75 in^3 = 4.87 ft^3


% Volume Difference = abs(V(1)-V(2)) / [(V(1) + V(2)) / 2] x 100

V(Brompton) vs V(Mu) = 58.87%
V(Brompton) vs V(Curve) = 49.74%
V(Curve) vs V(Mu) = 9.58%


Hopefully I did that right...

Last edited by LilGadgetGuy; 07-14-11 at 10:03 PM.
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Old 07-15-11, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by LilGadgetGuy
...very useful folding-size image on the NYCeWheels blog...
And the very useful folded size comparison pictures on Thor USA.
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Old 07-15-11, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by LilGadgetGuy
I've read that there's quality control issues...
Dahon's competitor Tern has said that in several interviews and press releases, but I haven't seen any independent report of such.

It might take a couple of years for this to shake out and for us know what it's all going to mean to us as users and enthusiasts, but currently Tern, which has yet to put a single bike in customer's hands, has spent quite a bit of time bad-mouthing Dahon; Dahon has (so far) taken the high road and quietly continued on as by far the world's largest folding bike manufacturer.
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Old 07-15-11, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by tcs
Dahon's competitor Tern has said that in several interviews and press releases, but I haven't seen any independent report of such.

It might take a couple of years for this to shake out and for us know what it's all going to mean to us as users and enthusiasts, but currently Tern, which has yet to put a single bike in customer's hands, has spent quite a bit of time bad-mouthing Dahon; Dahon has (so far) taken the high road and quietly continued on as by far the world's largest folding bike manufacturer.
I would not take the Dahon vs Tern thing too seriously it's Mr Hon on one side and Mrs/Junior Hon on the other side. It looks more like a maneuver by the Hon family to disengage from their Chineese partners. Some of the 'bad mouthing' by Tern was actually done using Dahon resources (.e.g forums).
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Old 07-15-11, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by kamtsa
I would not take the Dahon vs Tern thing too seriously it's Mr Hon on one side and Mrs/Junior Hon on the other side. It looks more like a maneuver by the Hon family to disengage from their Chineese partners. Some of the 'bad mouthing' by Tern was actually done using Dahon resources (.e.g forums).
It sounds like a rebranding and slight repositioning of design philosophy. From the pics of the prototypes, it looks like a more premium brand (at least in terms of fit and finish). It seems different than what car companies do (e.g., Honda vs Acura, etc.) since I'm guessing the current market for folding bikes is way under 10%--or even 5%--of total bike production...it doesn't make too much sense to manage another brand. (Total speculation tho.)

The Tern name and logo are pretty cool, and it seems like they (at least the folks in marketing), spent some time thinking about it.

The only real concern is support for Dahon-specific/non-general parts, esp. for bikes outside entry-level, but that's not too much of a concern as of yet.
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Old 07-15-11, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by chagzuki
I'll sell my Curve eventually and keep the Brompton; I'd rather have a 20" Dahon and keep the Brompton as a compact folder.
It makes sense to keep the 20" Dahon over the Curve; you also have the ability to lend it to someone that might not otherwise fit as comfortably on the Curve.
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Old 07-15-11, 12:02 PM
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i tried the curve at a bike shop also had on clearance. ride on those small wheels was not good compared to brompton.

i too went with a dahon piccolo that had small wheels like the curve.



love my brompton

although the downtube nova is awesome value. lighter faster but doesnt fold as compact.
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