Sharon’s Dahon Speed D7

13 12 2010

 

Dahon in a box...

 

I got my Dahon Speed D7 that lived at my mother’s place and brought it home for Sharon to use.  Westjet flew the boxed bike for free.  Don’t blame them for the damaged box in the photo above.  I packed the Dahon in 5 minutes into a hacked together box made from a couple smaller boxes.  I’m surprised it did this well.

I’m not a huge Dahon fan – the fold sucks, but this bike has one redeeming feature that makes it worth using – it’s paid for!

The Dahon survived!

I’d love to get Sharon a Bike Friday Tikit, but that’s not in the budget for the moment.  Hopefully this Dahon will get her excited about folders like it did for me.  It will also make her much more appreciative of the fast easy Tikit fold once she’s had to deal with the slow painful Dahon fold that requires cockpit adjustments after each unfold.  Having said that I owe this little bike some credit – it is a big part of the reason I own and ride a Bike Friday Tikit.

If you are new to folders and wondering if the stock Tikit is worth twice the price of a Dahon Speed D7 – the answer is yes!


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20 responses

13 12 2010
chris

I hope Sharon will give us a review of how she finds it. I also find with my mu that you get so used to folding it you know exactly how far to raise the seat when you unfold it. I was also able to get my folding time down to 15 seconds.

13 12 2010
Willy

Nice bike. Dahon is best value for money for a folding bike. If you set the vertical stem correctly, you won’t have to adjust each and every time you fold or unfold the stem. Mine got fixed with nut and bold, so it won’t bother me anymore. I also modify it to 18 speed, which I use compact crank, and 9speed sprocket.

13 12 2010
thelazyrando

When you say set the stem correctly you mean just ride the bike with the stem set so it folds with out adjustment? That’s not a great solution if you need the stem at a different height for comfort. The bike should fit you – not the other way around.

The D7 is a good value.

13 12 2010
Willy

Yes, I mean set the vertical stem correctly to my comfort. So I don’t need to re-adjusting everytime I fold and unfold. For some reason, that adjustable vertical stem kinda annoying for me, especially when I hit a hole, my handlebar’d drop accidently. Take a look at Dahon Speed TR’s stem system, they don’t have vertical adjuster. Yes, I agree that the bike should fit us. Isn’t it the same with the setting of 26″ or 700c bike, they are all just fit (to your comfort level, for sure) for the first time your ride. You are not setting itu up everytime you want to ride it, are you?

13 12 2010
thelazyrando

On my D7 every time you unfold the bike you must set the following cockpit adjustments:

– seat height
– seat rotation
– steering column height
– steering column rotation
– handle bar rotation [front to back]

None of this is super hard, but it does get tiring after a couple folds in a day. OTOH I fold my Tikit 10 times a day without thinking about it.

13 12 2010
Steve Jones

I have the Specialized GLOBE Mity which is a souped up version of Dahon’s Roo model with suspension seatpost and body geometry grips. It’s been a great bike and i’ve ridden it at speed down a paved road from the top of one of the volcanoes in Japan and taken it heavily loaded on a touring trip in rainy conditions to Hokkaido. Never had a problem with the folding. In fact my friend who has a Birdy BD-1 has been envious of how quickly and easily it folds up.I upgraded the tires to Schwalbe marathon’s and fitted a new saddle and that’s about it. Good ride. The mid range and top end Dahon’s are now getting very good.
My only criticism is a bit too much flex in the stem and I wish it was 2 pounds lighter when I have to carry it. But I’m nitpicking! It’s now in regular weekend service as a shopping bike. When i think about it, this bike has travelled more than any of the others in my stable. I’m convinced EVERYONE should have a folding bike. I am thinking about getting a Tikit though.!

I’d like a lighter weight folder which would mean a one way but the other part of me wants capability for longer trips which means an IGH. Decisions! Decisions!
I’m wondering what advantages a NWT would have over the Tikit considering I’m a lightweight and I usually travel with no more than two ortleibs on the back. Also I worry about going to smaller wheels. Rougher ride???? I wouldn’t go offroad with a folder, probably use my Thorn Sterling for that, so with the right tires it might not be an issue.

13 12 2010
thelazyrando

@ Steve – the beauty of a One Way Tikit is it becomes a IGH Tikit by swapping in a different rear wheel and adding a shifter – so you can have fast city mode and touring mode.

The NWT is a better touring bike than the Tikit, but doesn’t fold as fast. If you want/need a blistering fast, hassle free several times a day fold go for the Tikit. If you want a touring bike that folds easily for storage or transport get the NWT.

They are both great – just depends what matters most to you.

13 12 2010
Steve Jones

By the way, it’s true about having to re-adjust after folding up the Dahon’s. It can be a nuisance. The real Joy of a folding bicycle is being able to pop it into
riding mode from folded in a few seconds, especially if you’re on a long trip.
Bike Friday takes the top prize in this respect.

13 12 2010
Steve Jones

Thanks for the advice Vic. I love the idea of versatility with the One Way city / touring set up so I’ll give that serious thought!

13 12 2010
Willy

Yes, Tikit is the fastest for fold and unfold. Yet it has handle that you can just roll it the way as you walk.

14 12 2010
alan

MEC is now selling a Dahon built for $800.
pretty hard to beat that price!

14 12 2010
thelazyrando

Trouble with the MEC branded Dahon is the same with all Dahons:

– one size does not fit all
– the fold sucks

If you happen to fit okay on this bike and you don’t need to fold it often I would consider it, but don’t think you are getting the equivalent of a Bike Friday at a bargain price – you aren’t.

15 12 2010
Rob

I’m thinking of getting a Dahon Speed D7 for riding to work (probably a 30-40 minute ride), is the fold problem going to be a big nuisance for me, and are there any more problems with it? Am I best getting a normal bike?

We have a cycle2work scheme here in the UK where they take a tax-free sum out your salary each month to pay for a voucher you get at the beginning of the year, the Dahon speed D7 is probably the only folding bike in my budget that’s available (we have to go to a specific store.) I’ve pretty much already set my eyes on it, but I’m wondering whether or not to have doubts!

15 12 2010
thelazyrando

Do you need a folding bike?

The D7 rides fine, but for the $$ I could put you on a better bike if folding wasn’t needed.

Basically the fold works, but there are a lot of steps that must be done correctly to get it to fold and when unfolding you must readjust:

– seat height
– seat rotation
– steering column height
– steering column rotation
– handle bar rotation [front to back]

The occasional fold is fine, but after a while it does get to be a drag.

My GF will ride the D7 without folding it unless she needs to put it in her mini. For that sort of occasional fold it’s not bad.

16 12 2010
Sean

@Steve: if you think your Dahon was flexible in the stem, you’re gonna find the Tikit to be even more so, particularly if it’s a hyperfold but also if it’s a twiddly knob version. You’ll find the NWT to be much stiffer than the Tikit. But it’s not a fast folder (though BF’s new “fast folding stem” option for the NWT will improve things).

19 12 2010
Steve Jones

Interesting Sean, I hadn’t heard about the Tikit’s stem having too much flex. Something to think about for sure. It’s never caused me any trouble on my Specialized / Dahon ( which rides great ) but it does feel disconcerting especially when you pull on the bars when climbing a hill. I’m a 5′ 4″ little guy too so it’s not rider weight! My criteria is not so much speed of folding but ease of folding ( no complex origami please! ) and a small reduction in weight for when I have to carry the bike. Here in Japan we have to bag the bike and carry it through long underground passages when using the rail system. It sucks when you’ve got a backpack plus the bike, and a ten to fifteen minute walk under Tokyo station to get from one platform / exit to another. Especially when you could easily ride it IF it were allowed. Vic speaks highly of the NWT so I’m now checking into that as an option.
Whatever I decide on I want to have an increase in ride quality over the model I have now…especially since a BF isn’t cheap. I’d like to know SPECIFICALLY exactly what the advantages of the NWT are over the TIKIT from someone who has both. Especially concerning the ride as opposed to just reading a spec. sheet which doesn’t tell the whole story.
So what makes the NWT worth having over the Tikit, Construction quality? Strength? Design? Loading possibility? Stability? Wider tire choice?

19 12 2010
Vik

@Steve – the older version of the Tikit stem [using two cables] was fley. My 3yr old Tikit with a single cable is a lot stiffer and my 2010 Tikit with single cable is stiffer again….it’s a fixed gear so I am often out of the saddle hammering to stay on top of my gear and I have no issues.

The Tikit rolls – even while covered with the shower cap bag so that may be an advantage to you.

https://thelazyrando.wordpress.com/2010/06/03/is-the-tikit-easy-to-roll/

The main advantage of the Tikit over the NWT can be succinctly summed up by this video:

Going the other way the NWT offers bigger wheels and stronger construction for carrying heavy loads. My NWT feels more like a full size bike than my Tikit does and if I was to go touring I’d ride the NWT.

You can tour on a Tikit, but you will have to select gearing accordingly and load with some care.

If you are looking for a total contrast between the two bikes there isn’t really one as they bleed into one another. For me if you need to fold the bike everyday and especially if you need to fold it multiple times a day I’d go for a Tikit. The hyperfold version is a pleasure to use and so easy to fold you won’t hesitate to do so [unlike the NWT and even worse the Dahon].

If you are only folding the bike occasionally the NWT makes more sense….the new quick fold steerer and the quick fold seatmast make for an easy fold.

https://thelazyrando.wordpress.com/2010/08/09/bike-friday-folding-stem-videos/

20 12 2010
Steve Jones

That’s great info. Thanks for that. The fact that the Tikit will roll is huge for me because it gives me a significant advantage over my current set up and I find I have to fold quite a bit when touring too. I’m also guessing it’ll be a smaller folded package if only because of the wheels. As long as I could get my ortlieb plus panniers on the back and a little bit up front ( bar bag?) to balance the weight I’d be happy. I think I’m leaning heavily in favor of the Tikit because as I mentioned before, for a serious tour where I know I’m going to need to carry more gear and where load is a priority, I’d take my 26″ wheeled Thorn and Rohloff . I’m getting the feeling that as long as I keep it light the Tikit will be capable of going the distance, ‘ travel ‘ easier and be really useful at home too. That would be a lot of value from one bike! And hey, if someone can do the Pacific Coast on a Brompton…! the Tikit should be a step up. Only one thing might be a downside for me..nnot being able to run Big Apples! But you can’t have everything!!!

20 12 2010
thelazyrando

@Steve – the 349 Greenspeed Scorchers are faster and just as comfy as Big Apples…it’s not a step down at all. The folding touring rack will carry two full size Ortliebs no problem. Just make sure you have the gearing you need and a Tikit will serve you well…=-)

20 12 2010
Steve Jones

Great! That’ll be an IGH then. a bit of extra weight won’t matter if I can roll the bike and there won’t be any problem with ground clearance as there might be with a derailleur plus weatherproofed and shift at a stop capability. Ticks off all the right boxes. I trust you on the Greenspeeds so I’ll spec those and the rack with the build. Now I can enjoy playing with colors.Must try to visit the Japan
dealer over the holiday period.
Oooops!! Think I’ve just spent my Christmas bonus and then some. Why do I feel so happy about it? =~)

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