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Angry at my Dahon

Old 01-16-13, 05:48 PM
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Angry at my Dahon

Hello everyone!

I am a graduate student at a university and my home is 6 miles away. I bought a Dahon Mu8 so that I can take the bike to my office and not worry about it, or its any parts, being stolen. But, after about 4-5 months of riding, I feel like this folding bike is not up for the task of riding 12 miles a day. It has 8 gears, 20'' tires, and feels fragile, to be honest. I wish I knew this beforehand, I would bought something different then. It doesn't feel as fast, and uphills are a torture. Plus, the bike is giving me troubles--especially with the breaks. Breaks feel loose and after riding in the rain for 2 days, I feel like I wouldn't be able to stop in an emergency. I bought it off amazon, so there is no dealer I can go back to. I am thinking of switching to a touring or a cyclocross/road bike. What do you guys think?
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Old 01-16-13, 06:09 PM
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What is your maintenance ritual? How often do you maintain the hinges? How often do you clean and adjust your brakes? How often do you lube your drivetrain? Are your hubs adjusted properly and adequately lubed? Although I don't own one it seems that quite a few people like their Dahons of that price range.
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Old 01-16-13, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by BassNotBass View Post
What is your maintenance ritual? How often do you maintain the hinges? How often do you clean and adjust your brakes? How often do you lube your drivetrain? Are your hubs adjusted properly and adequately lubed? Although I don't own one it seems that quite a few people like their Dahons of that price range.
I got it maintained just 2 weeks ago at a local shop that specializes in folding bikes. I pointed out the breaks--especially the rear break--and they gave it an overall check up. But the breaks went back to being loose 2 days after maintenance.
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Old 01-16-13, 06:19 PM
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What do you mean 'loose'? Do the brake levers have too much travel before actually beginning to slow the bike or do the brake levers and/or brake arms rattle?
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Old 01-16-13, 06:44 PM
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We are in trouble when a graduate student spells brakes as breaks. There is a difference you should know by now. Roger
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Old 01-16-13, 07:08 PM
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have you tried to ride another bike uphill? how did you compare fast or not fast, fragile or not fragile?
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Old 01-16-13, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by rhenning View Post
We are in trouble when a graduate student spells brakes as breaks. There is a difference you should know by now. Roger
Those are the breaks.
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Old 01-16-13, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by rhenning View Post
We are in trouble when a graduate student spells brakes as breaks. There is a difference you should know by now. Roger
-1
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Old 01-16-13, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by rhenning View Post
We are in trouble when a graduate student spells brakes as breaks. There is a difference you should know by now. Roger
Well, sorry for being an immigrant and slipping up every once in a while.

Originally Posted by BassNotBass View Post
What do you mean 'loose'? Do the brake levers have too much travel before actually beginning to slow the bike or do the brake levers and/or brake arms rattle?
That is exactly the problem. I need to pull the rear brake all the way back before it even starts to slow down the bike even slightly

Originally Posted by hamh View Post
have you tried to ride another bike uphill? how did you compare fast or not fast, fragile or not fragile?
Yes, I did test ride some other bikes and there is a considerable difference.
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Old 01-16-13, 08:32 PM
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The problem seems to be you find the performance of the brakes somewhat lacking. I just checked the Dahon site (after looking on Amazon) and I didn't see what type of brakes are being used. That might be the problem right there- not all rim brakes are as effective as others.

I've had to use my son's BMX bike when my bike was in the shop before. First time I went down a pretty steep hill and hit the brakes to slow down... I survived, but it wasn't pretty.
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Old 01-16-13, 08:42 PM
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Any bike with rim brakes after riding two days in the rain will probably need new pads if you've been using them like normal. In the rain I try to not expect the brakes to do much and not wear the pads.
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Old 01-16-13, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by ae8763a View Post
... I am a graduate student at a university and my home is 6 miles away. ...
Where are you located?

-HANK RYAN-
Norman, Oklahoma USA
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Old 01-16-13, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ae8763a View Post
That is exactly the problem. I need to pull the rear brake all the way back before it even starts to slow down the bike even slightly
Hopefully the shop tightened the brake cable pinch bolt enough so that the cable didn't slip. It basically sounds like your cable needs to be adjusted and two day's time is too little for the cable to stretch, for the cable housing to become faulty somewhere and compress or for the pads to wear enough to create that much play. I think you should have taken it back to the shop immediately... there's something not right here.


Originally Posted by ae8763a View Post
Yes, I did test ride some other bikes and there is a considerable difference.
A properly tuned/maintained folding bike should have a good solid feel and be a pleasure to ride. I would hazard a guess that the majority of people on this forum ride a folding bike most of the time and do so without any more incidences than people riding large wheeled non-folding bikes. You've just mentioned too many issues that arose in such a short period of time after the shop worked on it for the cause to be a Dahon issue, I'd be more apt to question the mechanic who worked on it.

But if you're thinking of switching to a touring or a cyclocross/road bike, then by all means do. What matters most is that you ride a bike that you like best.
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Old 01-17-13, 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by HGR3inOK View Post
Where are you located?

-HANK RYAN-
Norman, Oklahoma USA
this was interesting.


Originally Posted by 009jim View Post
Any bike with rim brakes after riding two days in the rain will probably need new pads if you've been using them like normal. In the rain I try to not expect the brakes to do much and not wear the pads.
I shall search more into this and see if the pads need replacement. Thank you.

Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
The problem seems to be you find the performance of the brakes somewhat lacking. I just checked the Dahon site (after looking on Amazon) and I didn't see what type of brakes are being used. That might be the problem right there- not all rim brakes are as effective as others.

I've had to use my son's BMX bike when my bike was in the shop before. First time I went down a pretty steep hill and hit the brakes to slow down... I survived, but it wasn't pretty.
Thank you for the suggestion. I'll look into what kind of breaks they are using and upgrade if necessary.

Originally Posted by BassNotBass View Post
Hopefully the shop tightened the brake cable pinch bolt enough so that the cable didn't slip. It basically sounds like your cable needs to be adjusted and two day's time is too little for the cable to stretch, for the cable housing to become faulty somewhere and compress or for the pads to wear enough to create that much play. I think you should have taken it back to the shop immediately... there's something not right here.

A properly tuned/maintained folding bike should have a good solid feel and be a pleasure to ride. I would hazard a guess that the majority of people on this forum ride a folding bike most of the time and do so without any more incidences than people riding large wheeled non-folding bikes. You've just mentioned too many issues that arose in such a short period of time after the shop worked on it for the cause to be a Dahon issue, I'd be more apt to question the mechanic who worked on it.

But if you're thinking of switching to a touring or a cyclocross/road bike, then by all means do. What matters most is that you ride a bike that you like best.
I had a similar suspicion. The folding bike shop is a tad far away, however, and the car isn't with me during the week. So, the earliest I can do is this weekend. I'll go and make sure they take a second look. I mean the city scape isn't the perfect pavement--and mu8's tires aren't exactly thin. So, I go into a pothole every now and then. I hope that is not it.
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Old 01-17-13, 03:28 AM
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If the bike feels sluggish, pump up the tyres rock-hard (and check the pressure every couple of weeks) and try raising your saddle a bit. Goes for any bike. On a folder, tightening up all the folding hinges (frame, bars) made a huge difference too. A half-hour trip will hardly be too challenging for your Dahon.

V-brakes should be one of the easiest fixes, any shop that can't do it is just taking the p***
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Old 01-17-13, 04:18 AM
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Please explain what you mean by "the bike feels fragile". Because of the small wheels and the geometry, folding bikes often feel very nervous compared to a full size bicycle. This agility is often perceived as a plus for city driving though, it makes people feel adventurous. If the bike feels fragile to you because there is play in the hinges or the head set, this needs to be adjusted ASAP before you wear something out. You can adjust the hinges yourself, it's not hard to figure out. I tighten the steerer hinge until it needs some effort to close, so I know it has no play whatsoever. My frame hinge never needed adjustment so far.

As for the brakes, anyone can adjust V-brakes, either with the adjusters at the levers or with the clamp bolt. A "problem" with folding bikes is that if you unfold it and the brake cable remains twisted and excessively bendy in some place, the cable is tighter than when you flatten the brake cable housing against the frame with your hand. If the shop adjusted the brakes with a bendy brake line, there will be excessive clearance when the housing is properly routed. Fix this yourself. Now. All you need is an allen key and 20 minutes if it's your first time. If the brake closes asymmetrically, turn the screws near the base of the calipers to adjust spring tension.

Riding uphill is hard. Nothing to do with the bike, unless the gearing doesn't reach to a comfortable ratio for the inclines you need to conquer. My 9-speed is fine up to maybe 6% inclines though, and you can ride up much steeper ones if they're only a few hundred metres long so you can afford to put some lactic acid towards it.
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Old 01-17-13, 06:42 AM
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I'm in the UK and use my DAHON MU for a 14 mile commute. It feels a lot more solid than a MTB ever did. Infact, you can feel that its more efficient as you push on. I have a lot of confidence in it. I can't say much about brakes other than stretched cables really weaken the braking power. I'm sorry the OP isn't enjoying it. Maybe better to just trade for something else? At least it should have kept its value?
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Old 01-17-13, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Elvis Shumaker View Post
If the bike feels sluggish, pump up the tyres rock-hard (and check the pressure every couple of weeks) and try raising your saddle a bit. Goes for any bike. On a folder, tightening up all the folding hinges (frame, bars) made a huge difference too. A half-hour trip will hardly be too challenging for your Dahon.

V-brakes should be one of the easiest fixes, any shop that can't do it is just taking the p***
hmm.. thank you. I'll look for a guide on adjusting the brakes.

Originally Posted by xlDooM View Post
Please explain what you mean by "the bike feels fragile". Because of the small wheels and the geometry, folding bikes often feel very nervous compared to a full size bicycle. This agility is often perceived as a plus for city driving though, it makes people feel adventurous. If the bike feels fragile to you because there is play in the hinges or the head set, this needs to be adjusted ASAP before you wear something out. You can adjust the hinges yourself, it's not hard to figure out. I tighten the steerer hinge until it needs some effort to close, so I know it has no play whatsoever. My frame hinge never needed adjustment so far.

As for the brakes, anyone can adjust V-brakes, either with the adjusters at the levers or with the clamp bolt. A "problem" with folding bikes is that if you unfold it and the brake cable remains twisted and excessively bendy in some place, the cable is tighter than when you flatten the brake cable housing against the frame with your hand. If the shop adjusted the brakes with a bendy brake line, there will be excessive clearance when the housing is properly routed. Fix this yourself. Now. All you need is an allen key and 20 minutes if it's your first time. If the brake closes asymmetrically, turn the screws near the base of the calipers to adjust spring tension.

Riding uphill is hard. Nothing to do with the bike, unless the gearing doesn't reach to a comfortable ratio for the inclines you need to conquer. My 9-speed is fine up to maybe 6% inclines though, and you can ride up much steeper ones if they're only a few hundred metres long so you can afford to put some lactic acid towards it.
I think feeling nervous is a good way to put it. I tried riding another Dahon with larger tires and not only felt more in control, but also climbing and accelerating was easier. I don't know if it is how Mu8 disagrees with me, or something about our relationship more so than the bike itself--that makes it feel harder for me when I compare it to other bikes. One thing that keeps me enjoying the bike the fullest, I believe, I cannot decide if this is a sport or a cruiser, you know? I cannot lean in as I want to, mainly because of the flat handlebars, and I cannot just sit on my ass and raise the bars. I am already 5'11. Plus, whenever I tried to ride it more like a cruiser, the climbs feel harder.

Originally Posted by Call Me Al View Post
I'm in the UK and use my DAHON MU for a 14 mile commute. It feels a lot more solid than a MTB ever did. Infact, you can feel that its more efficient as you push on. I have a lot of confidence in it. I can't say much about brakes other than stretched cables really weaken the braking power. I'm sorry the OP isn't enjoying it. Maybe better to just trade for something else? At least it should have kept its value?
I am trying to identify the problem. Since there are some technical issues, I find it easy to blame the bike. But, I am also thinking of changing the saddle and adjusting the brakes and turning it into a cruiser--rather than a fast commuter as I am trying to use it. My wife is looking for a cruiser to ride with me and she might agree with the bike more than I do, who knows. But riding non-folding, 700c bikes felt better, to be honest, I was able to accelerate faster and climb easier.
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Old 01-17-13, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by ae8763a View Post
Hello everyone!

I am a graduate student at a university and my home is 6 miles away. I bought a Dahon Mu8 so that I can take the bike to my office and not worry about it, or its any parts, being stolen. But, after about 4-5 months of riding, I feel like this folding bike is not up for the task of riding 12 miles a day. It has 8 gears, 20'' tires, and feels fragile, to be honest. I wish I knew this beforehand, I would bought something different then. It doesn't feel as fast, and uphills are a torture. Plus, the bike is giving me troubles--especially with the breaks. Breaks feel loose and after riding in the rain for 2 days, I feel like I wouldn't be able to stop in an emergency. I bought it off amazon, so there is no dealer I can go back to. I am thinking of switching to a touring or a cyclocross/road bike. What do you guys think?
Reading through the thread, I'd bone up on the standard maintenance for the bike. Do this first. Make sure that you pay attention to the headset which takes big loads since the stem post acts as a lever. Check the hinges too. Rear brakes typically suck relative to front brakes. You don't report any squeal or such. After you do your maintenance, can you lock the rear brakes during a stop? If not, make sure that the cables were not getting caught on something during the fold/unfold. If you're sure you adjusted the rear brakes well, perhaps there is an issue with technique.

https://www.bikexprt.com/streetsmarts/usa/chapter6a.htm
https://sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html

Regarding a different bike, if it gets the job done and the risk of theft is minimal, then I'd stick with the standard bike. Especially if the fit of the folding bike is sub optimal relative to a standard bike. Otherwise, you might want to try a more performance oriented tire.
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Old 01-17-13, 09:00 AM
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If we know where you are located we might be able to recommend a local bike shop. Viable solutions to some issues will vary with location.

-HANK RYAN-
Norman, Oklahoma USA
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Old 01-17-13, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
Reading through the thread, I'd bone up on the standard maintenance for the bike. Do this first. Make sure that you pay attention to the headset which takes big loads since the stem post acts as a lever. Check the hinges too. Rear brakes typically suck relative to front brakes. You don't report any squeal or such. After you do your maintenance, can you lock the rear brakes during a stop? If not, make sure that the cables were not getting caught on something during the fold/unfold. If you're sure you adjusted the rear brakes well, perhaps there is an issue with technique.

https://www.bikexprt.com/streetsmarts/usa/chapter6a.htm
https://sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html

Regarding a different bike, if it gets the job done and the risk of theft is minimal, then I'd stick with the standard bike. Especially if the fit of the folding bike is sub optimal relative to a standard bike. Otherwise, you might want to try a more performance oriented tire.
Hmm. Well, I just rode to school. There seems to be couple of things I missed mentioning (and there was major squeaking yesterday, when it was rainy--I just thought that was normal). As I was coming to work, there is a part bit of a downhill. Today, I ended up pulling on both brakes as hard as I could to stop short of the traffic. I wasn't going fast and it took very long time to stop--almost didn't!! Also, when I am slowing down, it feels as if I am going over a slight bump every two seconds or so. I cannot feel it at higher speeds, but just as I am slowing, there is a sense of pull or resistance coming from the tires/wheels/brakes. I took a picture of the rear brake:

I don't think that cable is supposed to be sticking out like that. Some of the parts there feel loose and I can easily unscrew them with my hand. That cable wasn't there before.. Hmm.. I am going to take this back to the shop.

Originally Posted by HGR3inOK View Post
If we know where you are located we might be able to recommend a local bike shop. Viable solutions to some issues will vary with location.

-HANK RYAN-
Norman, Oklahoma USA
I live in northern VA, the shop I took it was Bikes@Vienna. Thanks.
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Old 01-17-13, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by ae8763a View Post


I don't think that cable is supposed to be sticking out like that. Some of the parts there feel loose and I can easily unscrew them with my hand. That cable wasn't there before.. Hmm.. I am going to take this back to the shop.



I live in northern VA, the shop I took it was Bikes@Vienna. Thanks.
Thats the brake arm return spring and no, it shouldn't be like that. Take it to the shop.
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Old 01-17-13, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by BassNotBass View Post
Thats the brake arm return spring and no, it shouldn't be like that. Take it to the shop.
noted!
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Old 01-17-13, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by ae8763a View Post
noted!
I suggested taking it to the shop to have the bike completely looked over. The spring itself can easily be popped into place in under a second.

**Update**
Look at this video... I modified the URL to start at 159 seconds into the video where the 'instructor' shows how the spring can be popped out of place... do the same in reverse to pop it back in. When you have spare time I suggest watching instructional videos and learn how to perform even the most basic maintenance procedures.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8dkU5NhCVY&t=159

Last edited by BassNotBass; 01-17-13 at 09:52 AM.
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Old 01-17-13, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by BassNotBass View Post
I suggested taking it to the shop to have the bike completely looked over. The spring itself can easily be popped into place in under a second.

**Update**
Look at this video... I modified the URL to start at 159 seconds into the video where the 'instructor' shows how the spring can be popped out of place... do the same in reverse to pop it back in. When you have spare time I suggest watching instructional videos and learn how to perform even the most basic maintenance procedures.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8dkU5NhCVY&t=159

This was very helpful. Thank you.
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