Dahon vs Bike Friday - CycleBlaze

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Dahon vs Bike Friday

Brent Irvine

For those with thoughts, opinions or experience on these two brands. Can you please let me know which you prefer, if any, and if the preference is a small difference or a big deal. My Dahon (pictured) works more-or-less fine, but just not as fine as my full sized Cannondale or Salsa Vaya. I know comparing to my regular bikes might not be fair, but I just feel the Dahon is not quite perfect.

Or maybe I'm a snob.

My Dahon Speed TR. Not quite amazing.
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1 week ago
Mike AylingTo Brent Irvine

Looks easier to fold than a BF for jumping on and off public transport.

Could you post a pic of the back wheel?

From the cabling it looks as if there is an IGH as well as the derailleur and compared to most folders  the single chain ring seems very small.

IGH hub  wheels (apart from Rohloffs) are sometimes quite  fiddly to remove and replace.

It says tourer on the frame and looks like steel so the third world shade mechanic could weld a broken frame, mind you I cannot recall a journal where that happened! 

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1 week ago
Keith AdamsTo Brent Irvine

Having never ridden a Dahon, only a Bike Friday New World Tourist, I can't provide a head-to-head comparison.  

But it's very telling that after spending a month touring on my Bike Friday this summer, I have ordered (and recently received) a diamond-frame non-folding touring bike.  My Friday is for sale.

One of the reasons (but not the only one) was a difficulty I had in sourcing tires while on the road.  Small tires just aren't generally available.  Small tires suitable for loaded touring are even scarcer.

The performance comparison between a small-wheeled folding bike and a quality diamond-frame bike with 26" or 700c wheels is clearly heavily weighted in favor of the latter, IMO.  I'm just home from a two-day, one-night shakedown / evaluation "micro-tour" on the new bike and WOW is it superior to the Friday.

Finally, I'll point out that while there are a number of journals on this site written by riders of Bike Fridays there seem to be fewer that feature the Dahon although I know of at least one.  Maybe that is the result of selection bias on my part: perhaps I've just gravitated to and read more of the BF journals.  Or perhaps Dahon, as a more recent player in the folding touring bike arena, has yet to build a following equal to Bike Friday's.  Or perhaps it's real, and a reflection of rider preferences.

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5 days ago
Ray SwartzTo Brent Irvine

I have two touring bikes. An S&S coupled Waterford (a truly fabulous bike) and a Bike Friday NWT that lives in London with family. I use the Bike Friday (BF) when I tour in Europe. I've done maybe half a dozen tours on the BF.

From a biking perspective, the BF rides fine. It is a bit "twitchy" due to the long posts for the seat and the handlebars. But, it is something I get used to after a bit of riding on it. It is much easier to get into a case than the Waterford and the case (an actual suitcase) is *much* easier to move around an airport. It is also possible to put the BF in a nylon bag for taking on buses or trains, though this is a sub-optimal solution. Due to the design of my BF, the bike doesn't fold together as the handlebar post comes out instead of on a hinge.

But, there are two problems with the bike that has me wondering about using on future tours.

First, due to the bike's small wheels, a rear rack is what I use for my panniers. This puts too much weight in the back of the already twitchy bike. I put as much weight forward (I have a big bag with all my heavy stuff) as I can, but on steep hills the loaded bike might "buck" me off if I'm not careful. This happened twice on my trip to Ireland, a place with lots of short, steep hills.

Second, there doesn't seem to be a way to stand over the bike, to say take a photo or consult a map, without the front wheel twisting and the bike falling down. The bike only has one bar that connects the front and rear wheels. This bar sits a bit above my ankle when I have a foot on the ground. Due to the length of the seat post, I can't put my foot flat on the ground, making the whole thing unstable. When the front wheel twists, the bike goes down as I can't hold the bike between my legs. This happens so often than I am always trying to find a way to put the front wheel against something (curb, tree, etc) when I stop. Even then it sometimes finds a way to go down. This is both very annoying and dangerous as on my last trip I fell on my right hip after the bike went down and it hurt for weeks. Getting off the bike (putting both feet on the ground) is a solution but a bit more bother than just stopping for a quick photo.

I suspect that sourcing a tire for touring would be a pain. I carry a folded Marathon plus with me that I bought over the internet. The other parts seem to be regular biking parts and I've had no problem finding them or getting the bike maintained.

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4 days ago
Keith AdamsTo Ray Swartz

A front rack and panniers can go a long way toward solving the tendency of the bike to wheelie.  Here's mine, from this past summer's ride in the western U.S.

I liked having the space afforded by the handlebar bag, too, but because it was quite high and on that long stem riser it affected handling in ways that were far from desirable. I wish I had a way to mount it about four or five inches lower.

You can't see from the photos, but each front pannier contained a 3.5 pound CPAP battery along with the rest of its load: plenty of ballast to counteract the load on the rear rack.  Between them and the handlebar bag I too had to constantly fight the front wheel's "desire" to turn when I stopped.  I never found a good answer for that other than to put both feet on the ground and use my hips or forearms to stop it turning.

A short strap of hook-and-loop or elastic material wrapped around the left brake lever, to engage the front brake, would at least prevent the wheel from rolling when it turned, thereby preventing the bike from toppling beneath you, but if you're just making a momentary stop to take a photo, consult your navigation device, or read a text message on your phone it'd be a plagued inconvenience.

And yes, sourcing tires was a major issue for me.  I ended my tour early in part because I used my last spare (the one bungeed on the back, in the photo above) and was about to enter a very challenging and sparsely-populated region where a tire failure could have spelled disaster.

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4 days ago
Kelly IniguezTo Brent Irvine

I ride an eight foot long recumbent. I was considering purchasing a much shorter, folding recumbent to use for a European tour. I have a cycling friend who happens to own the same long bike as I do. She also owns a short, folding recumbent that she takes on the train in England.

I asked Julie her thoughts on my buying a similar short, folding recumbent. Julie said that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages after she gets on the road. Especially for a long tour, it's worth the trouble to get the preferred bike to the start of the tour. 

I didn't buy the short bike . . . . . perhaps this is food for thought for you also.

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3 days ago