In First Review: The Dahon Folding Bicycle

ImageThe Dahon folding bicycle fits well into place along San Diego beaches.

 

Have you ever been in the position where you’d like to take your bicycle somewhere but transporting it to that place hold you back?  Take, for example, fitting a full-sized road bicycle onto a crowded train that has no designated area for bicycles during rush hour in a city.  Or bringing your bicycle overseas to bicycle tour in a foreign country.  Or commuting by bicycle to work but having no convenient area in your small office to store it safely while working. Dahon offers a possible solution to these problems for cyclists. 

Personally, I’ve toured the United States and Europe a few times and folding bicycles and it truly is nice to have over twenty gears to choose from, especially on long stretches of rolling hills or mountain passes– this, of course, is a no-brainer.  However, I’d reached a point in my bicycle touring adventures where I had to come to a compromise.  

Developing my style of travel, I’ve decided that it’s nice to have the option to hop off the bike and take a train or hitchhike whenever one feels like up.  It can help to change the pace and also break up what can become monotony while cycling– which is, ironically, usually the very reason one jumps on a bicycle and starts riding cross-country in the first place.

So enter the Dahon folding bicycle, pictured above.  It folds at four key points in less than a minute, making it for easy transportation.  It can fit easily into any car (which is often a problem unless one has a proper bicycle rack), it can fit easily into trains (without taking up too much space), and it can easily be transported from one country to the next on planes (hopefully without excess fees, more to come on that!).

So I took the Dahon folding bicycle on a mini-adventure to San Diego from Denver, Colorado to really test this bicycle out.  I could ride it around locally all day long, but the real test for me is how it holds up on long-distance trips– the ultimate test is coming up soon when I fly into Bangkok, Thailand with it at the end of this month and start cycle touring Southeast Asia.  

So, after a mix of hitchhiking and cycling from Denver to San Diego and back, I’ve got the results in my experience to all interested!

Portability- This bike has proven to be extremely portable!  I fit it into a tiny little Mazda hatchback with four passengers total and extra luggage without a problem.  The Dahon bicycle folds once in the center, and at the front fork so the handlebars come down.  The pedals also fold inwards.  In total, the bicycle weighs close to twenty pounds–extremely light!  The model I have also has a rear rack for touring or town commuting.

ImageDahon bike folded nicely along the road while hitchhiking in northern-inland California.  

Rideability-  I was questioning this one when I bought the bike.  I thought it might feel like a cheesy kids’ bike and not something truly roadworthy.  To my pleasant surprise, I was wrong.  It handles and feels like a real bicycle, and I’m confident to take it touring with me.  It handles bumps smoothly, doesn’t make any strange squeaky noises, and moves at a surprisingly quick speed.  Hills, however, can be more challenging, but nothing that will make someone determined enough quit.  The steering can take some getting used to– a bit different than a regular road bike for sure.

Affordability-  There are a variety of models available online starting around $500.  One site worth checking out is nycewheels.com.  

Touring Worthiness? –  In my experience so far, yes.  I only had one flat so far, and since the wheels on mine are only a size 20, they were thoroughly easy to change tubes on (sure beats fighting with a mountain bike tire!) and maintenance on this bike is very simple.  Only having seven gears to choose from keeps things simple, although slightly a bit more challenging.  

Overall, I would give these bicycles a 9 out of 10– 9 being because there doesn’t seem to be a place on my bike to install a simple water bottle holder.  Perhaps I’ll have to drill installments myself!  More reviews to come on this bike, and follow the blog to track my bicycle trip through southeast Asia on a Dahon folding bicycle!  

In the meantime, check out the bicycles available on Nyce Wheels here:

http://www.nycewheels.com/dahon-folding-bike.html

 

 

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2 comments

  1. Now the big question is… can you take onto (and I do mean ‘on’ to) freight trains ~wink. Have you emailed this to the company? Maybe you could get sponsored? Not that a ‘man of trails’ like you would ever sell-out!

    Best of luck in Southeast Asia! Hope you have great roads, great weather, great conversations, and most importantly… great eating 🙂

    1. Thanks Cymbria! I’m not sure that I would feel comfortable properly “riding” a train in a foreign country for certain reasons! I will, however, being doing LOTS of cycling in countries I know close to nothing about, so it will get interesting! I’ve sent out e-mails, and I’m always open to sponsorship; would that be nice!

      By the way, you’re in Canada, right? Which part and how much snow is that way?

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