Sunday, September 20, 2009 7.00am
By Simon Withers, Cycling Plus
David Hon’s company have been making bikes for 27 years, and there is a bewildering variety of bikes in their range, from minimalist city bikes to the sub-19lb drop-barred Allegro. The Vitesse P18 ﬁts somewhere in the middle, with a lightish weight, a wide range of gearing and a rear rack, showing its somewhat more adventurous inclinations.
- Frame & fork: Butted aluminium frame and forks with a decent ﬁnish; the track pump seatpost is a neat idea (7/10)
- Handling: Pretty solid handling, and the Vitesse’s wide range of gears make it good on the hills and fast on the ﬂat (8/10)
- Equipment: Eighteen gears, FSA chainset and Schwalbe Kojak tyres make for a decent setup (8/10)
- Fold: Initially not that obvious, but folds down to a reasonable size and the folding pedals keep it pretty narrow too (7/10)
The fold is typical Dahon, with a locking hinge in the aluminium central beam. The bars fold down, the seatpost ﬁts in the seat tube and the resulting fold is quick and neat.
The seatpost contains an integral pump, with a folding section that enables it to be used like a track pump. On our bike this didn’t seem to be fully thought through, as the tyres had Presta valves while the pump was designed for Schraders. Dahon assure us that a Presta adaptor is normally included with the bike.
Cycling Plus editor Rob wasn’t convinced by the Dahon’s ride, but other testers were much more enthusiastic about it. The 20in wheels give much more 'normal' handling than the 16in hoops found on many other folders.
They roll better over poorer road surfaces, offer more control when you’re steering and the extra gears mean you can push this bike harder and faster.
The Dahon may not score highly in any one area, but this is one of the most versatile folders we've tested; a more than decent all-rounder.
The fold is good enough for daily use, even if it doesn’t match up to the benchmark Brompton (and we couldn’t always get those little magnets to match up and keep it all snugly together).
But we’d be much more conﬁdent about sticking some panniers on the Vitesse and using it for some light touring. That four-inch increase in wheel diameter really does make a difference.
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