If you mix a small-wheeled folding bike with an entry-level road bike, either through a miracle of genetics or a lucky mashing together with a large hammer, you end up with something like the Dahon Vector.
It’s a folding bike with a focus on speed and gear ratios. A kind of road bike with little wheels and lots of gears. It’s a… well, therein lies the problem with this bike. What's it meant to be and who's it for?
As a folder it’s compromised by having the bar sticking out when folded. As a fast road bike it’s not too stable at speed, and sprinting standing up is interesting, to say the least – although the version we tested was a pre-production sample and this may be less of an issue with the finished product.
It’s one of those ‘because we can’ bikes, but once you get used to riding it, it turns into a ‘we’re glad they did’ bike. Once you’re familiar with it, the Vector is a wonderful bike to ride, but it does take a little getting used to if you come from a road bike background.
For starters, it’s nowhere near as laterally stiff as a road bike, so standing up on the pedals rewards you with a slightly mushy and rather twangy feeling as the bike whips around a bit. The trick is to pedal at a lower cadence and be smooth.
That way you can take advantage of the acceleration offered by the small wheels, and stay on a tight line without risking wandering out into the traffic. Descending is a little different too, until you become accustomed to the ride.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.