Showing posts with label Dahon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dahon. Show all posts

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Bikeshare

A New York City citibike. Credit: citibikenyc.com
For me, the biggest surprise of the last 6 years was the way that bikeshare took off in the Washington, D.C. region and how it has spread to New York City and other cities in North America. Bikeshare is the ultimate in Bikes For The Rest Of Us.

Here's a must-read: David's post about his father, who had not owned a bike in 37 years, trying bikeshare. With bikeshare, you don't have to own a bike to reap the benefits of bicycling as basic transportation.

Honorable Mention: Folding bikes can be very useful in this age of multimodal transportation. Read Tom's review of his Dahon Eco-3.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dahon Eco 3 / Traveler Front Rack



This is a review of both the Dahon Eco 3 and the Dahon Traveler Front Rack. 

The Eco 3 was on my bike wish list because I wanted something that was easier to tote around in the car but substantial enough to carry my near 200+ lb commuting load to work (15 miles round trip). My other bike is a Torker Cargo T which doesn't ride in the car anywhere. Sometimes the social rides or bike events I want to attend are closer to the city, so the Dahon extends my range by allowing me more multi-modal trips in from the suburbs. In practice, I've used the Dahon for a charity ride, bike light giveaways, commutes to work, and making Redbox runs at the beach.
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The Eco 3 is the budget model for Dahon and was priced at about $380 in 2010. It has a 7-speed and a chunky-looking aluminum frame that doesn't have chainstays. It comes equipped with plastic fenders, v-brakes, a straight handlebar (proprietary) with comfortable grips. The bike folds in half, which isn't a tiny package; however, the 20-inch wheels with 1.75 width tires smooth out the ride. I can't imagine have skinner tires or smaller wheels without some sort of suspension. Then again, my other ride has fat tires and a sprung saddle.

The biggest challenge was finding a way to carry stuff on the Dahon. I know, being a pack mule is not the prime purpose of the bike, but I really don't care for backpacks. I also found the backpack put too much weight to the rear of the bike. I wanted a way to carry a load on the front of the bike. 

There are Other Dahon models have a block on the front of the frame to accept a luggage truss. I really wish my Dahon had this feature, as seems less of a compromise for carrying a load. I looked into the Rixen & Kaul quick-release luggage (suggested by Richard at Cyclelicious), but I couldn't find what I wanted at a decent price. I settled on the Traveler Rack, since it's made for the bike and can carry small panniers.

The Traveler Rack is made from tubular aluminum. The bolts that shipped with the rack did not fit in the recessed holes (head was too wide), and were too short to thread into the frame mounts (shared with the fenders). The mechanics at Bikes@Vienna found some bolts that worked and installed it for me. Note that the front brakes need to be completely disconnected as they thread through the rack. I wouldn't say the rack interferes with the brakes, but it makes the cable routing a little awkward. It's suboptimal. As you can see the rack fits a set of compact panniers, holding them low and forward of the center of the wheel.

In summary, the Dahon is a great entry-level folding bike. The 20" wheels give it a ride more like a hybrid bike, but the fold isn't as fast and compact as a 16"-wheeled bike. Adding a rack makes it a great commuter, if you don't mind the somewhat low gearing of the 7-speed. I'll also note that keeping a folding bike in your cube is a great way to get people talking about bike commuting.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A couple from Dahon: Curve D3 & Glide P8

Stop, Drop, and Fold
Folding bikes have a bit of a stigma for some hardcore cyclists, but darn if they aren't good for lots of things. Shall we list some? Lets. You can:

There are several companies that make good folding bikes, but if you use US Dollars, and are on any kind of budget, you're as likely as not to end up with a Dahon. I've pictured the Curve D3 and the Glide P8 here, and Dahon's website has all the specs'n'stuff on them and on the company's other models as well. Dahon's goal from the start was to enable people to use bicycles for everyday transportation - to integrate bicycling into their lives - and since the company is celebrating its 25th Annivarsary this year, I thought it would be appropriate to profile the company.
David Hon started the company in 1983, after trying and failing to get established bicycle makers interested in his ideas and designs. Since then, Dahon has produced over three million folding bikes. For 2008, the website lists 24 models available in the US, with varying in features and affordability. From a practical perspective, the affordability element may be Dahon's best feature: the Curve D3 retails for about $400, and it's not at all the least expensive.

In addition to Dahon-branded products, the company designs/builds bikes under contract to other companies, such as Breezer, and licenses its technology to many more. The company claims that over 95% of folding bicycles on the market use at least some Dahon technology. In 2002, Dahon won a lawsuit in Taiwanese criminal court against former employees and their company, Neobike, who were producing inexpensive imitations and infringing on Dahon patents (other leading folding bike companies have had similar problems with intellectual property rights). It doesn't stop there however - the company continues to develop innovative techonology and designs, including the Mu XXV, a 16.5 pound anniversary model.

The models pictured here have been selected based on purely subjective criteria: (a) I saw a Curve D3 the other day, (b) it's red, and that's my favorite color, and (c) I like the curvy frame and practical accessories on the Glide P8. The Curve D3 and Caio P8 (on your left, and the Glide's twin sister) are available at:

Note: the basket pictured on the Glide is not included. Dahon has two bad habits: picturing bikes with non-included accessories and an archaic inventory system and delivery schedule. I have bad habits too, but I'm not going to list them here.