The one real benefit of a Brompton (to me) over a comparable Dahon is that the Brompton folds up small enough that it fits in checked airline luggage with no oversize fee (and a couple of inches to spare). Certain discount bus services have the same size baggage restriction. The smaller Dahons can come close depending on how you pack them but if anyone actually measures your bag it will be about eight inches oversize.
how the fuck does it weigh 30 lbs? that’s what my full sized bike weighs, and it’s
- 63cm, the largest size frame by that manufacturer
- 1987 tech, with all the weight incumbent with low-end '87 Shimano parts/cheap 27" wheelset.
anyway, ride what you dig, I guess. folders are notoriously picked apart by the cycling community for the disadvantages outweighing the one advantage of folding, which the author admits he seldom does, among other disadvantages he admits. hardly a ringing endorsement but he sounds happy, so it’s all good. more bikes in more places, I say.
Did you consider Montague folding bikes? They may be the only folding bikes approved for usage by paratroopers.
I’ll echo the other poster and say that more bikes (and fewer cars) improves the city.
While I have thoroughly enjoyed my D7 on average, there is no way in hell I would ever recommend Dahon to a friend. Any kind of repair or maintenance, or, god forbid, warranty coverage drops you into a special hell of absolutely zero customer service.
You’d better be best friends with your local shop that sold it to you, as they’re going to be your only way of getting anything. And if they don’t carry the spare part you need? Well, there’s always online companies in England who are willing to sell you the thing you need.
When my frame broke at the folding hinge (they have since redesigned it) I had to bring it to the store I purchased it from, they had to send it back to Dahon who then had to approve a replacement, send the replacement frame to ths store and then have the store build it again. The whole process took about a month.
Tern is owned by David Han’s son (DAvid HAN, get it?), and I trust their customer service to be similar, so if anyone has any suggestions for rides that cost less than a Bronnie, I’d love to hear about them.
I bought an excellent folding bike off Craigslist for $100. The only problem is, you have to back over it with a car to fold it.
The single beam that is the frame is the answer to the weight question. The fact that it folds means it has to be a pretty butch piece of steel from the get go. Most of the other bits are aluminum, but the frame itself is all steel and forced into being rigid due to the lack of lower tube/seat tube triangle.
I lift up my aluminum hybrid on the weekends, which is by no means the lightest of its class, and it feels like a massive difference in weight, but dealing with it on the daily commute I’m really glad I can fold it up and take it with, New York’s Citibikes weigh 45 pounds and those are like riding a structural I-beam with wheels.
It sounds like the unfolding is more the issue…
Yeah, I had one of these for commuting and regretted it due to the extra weight, and lack of gearing for SF hills. Now that BART allows bikes on the trains at all times, I’ll probably switch to a standard full sized bike. Most likely the heavier weight comes from the joints/magnets/thicker tubing for rigidity.
I was thinking of getting a folder for the times when I was carless and wanted an option for getting around a nearby city that I’d take an intercity bus to. I was looking at the Giant ExpressWay, which looks nice and sturdy and probably isn’t that difficult to get parts for.
Here’s what I’m looking for- We’re hoping to hop around Europe with kids for a couple months, and bring bikes along to various cities. So I’d like a folding bike that can fit in a bag for airline/train travel, then unfold and can haul the bag it was just in. Does something like that exist? Maybe one of the existing folding bike bags modded to allow snap-on of bike trailer wheels and a coupler?
I have a Dahon P8(next model up with better gears), well the frame, and almost everything else replaced.
It doesn’t fold small enough to check in luggage but if you take the wheels off it does.
It is amazing for throwing in the back seat of a light airplane for getting outside the airport small aircraft service FBO for lunch or poking around.
I have also done quite a bit of touring on my Dahon-mod, I used to do a 2+2hr am/pm commute in pretty mountainous terrain, now I make up my airplane carbon by taking three buses joined with about an hour of cycling.
I am 100kg and the Dahon has never complained even in mild rough terrain.
I wish I had the cash for a Bike Friday but in general the all-modified Dahon is wearing well for five years of heavy use, my previous Dahon a D7 which remained pretty much stock was worn out by the heavy use after three years though that was because the stock parts can be cheap.
The D7 is a regular bicycle, not a walmart junker but equivalent to a $200-400 bike, if you need a custom bike the frame is a good starting point for your custom job.
I should mention my D7 was finally retired when it was shot full of holes by a bomb disposal robot due to a very amateur attempt to install a lighting system and dynamo, guess someone called the cops on election day near a polling station.
If price were no object, I still think the IF Mode is one of the most impressive folding bikes ever made. And I love the fact that it can be rolled when it’s folded, which makes it perfect for going from train to bike or vice versa;
I love my Brompton, which I ordered from a California bike shop (the only US distributor at the time) back in 2000 or so. It folds up with the greasy bits on the inside, which is a huge advantage when taking it on the subway. Changing tires is something of a wrangle though, since it lacks quick-releases and the chain path is somewhat involved. I commuted with it daily for ten years or so.
Dahons had a reputation for fragility, but I’m told that the newer ones are much better.
Depending on the cities, you are probably going to be able to rent something locally.
I’ve considered attaching a trailer, but am often stymied at where to attach things that aren’t super permanent…
BIke Friday (no longer made) had a trailer option - hard case and a wheel/frame kit. You can fit a Brompton into the trailer if you try and the trailers come up on ebay now and then.
Most Brom owners use a soft case and sling it on the rack when done as hard cases weigh a fair bit and you run into luggage limits very quickly.
Plus having the trailer can make life difficult with buses and is generally much less useful than you at first think.
Plenty of Brompton owners (including me) travel with the Brom in soft bags without issue. Remove the hinge clamp bolts and the seat, pad the sharp bits, put in a soft bag (some use Dimpa from Ikea!).
Most rack owners find it wise to remove the rack and pack with the bike as it can get twisted. (You can fit a seatpost rack instead as the main weight carry on a Brom is the front luggage not the rack, the rack is for parked/roll stability and light carry if you have to)
If you are doing a lot of multi modal transport - buses, trains, planes - then the Brompton is the best option because of the small size (so easy to manage on buses), being easy to carry folded, and the ezywheels for rolling short distances instead of carrying.
I had heard they are popular in the small aircraft community. good info w/r/t upgrading the frame. as with so many things, you get what you pay for, but nice to know the frames are legit.
since you didn’t mention it, I assume the parts upgrades you made are standard parts, or are any proprietary Dahon? everything seems pretty normal-looking in the OP pics. those tires are standard-sized to BMX or kid bikes?
The weird parts come from the, well, weird parts of the bike. Folding handlestem, folding pedals, things like that. There is a weird thing with the rear derailleur, where it’s mounted lower to be able to fold correctly. You need a converter to then use anyone else’s, but it is possible.
This is a great site for Dahon conversions:
I have a folding bike, and I must admit, I look enviously at the Brompton owners. Its size seems to work, when it comes to tucking it under the seat or up on the racks in the London trains.
The Boris bikes have done away with the need for me to have a folding bike, as I don’t have a daily commute into London.
Why choose a folding bicycle over a unicycle?