Dawes Ace £699

Great all-round folding bike

BikeRadar score 4/5

The top machine in Dawes’ range of three folding bikes – well, the Ace naturally beats the Jack and Kingpin – comes with everything fitted as standard for day-to-day urban riding.

This includes dynamo-powered front and rear lights, kickstand and a rear rack complete with built-in bungees. It’s just as well it scores well for practicality though, as its looks aren’t going to win any awards for elegance.

  • Frame & forks: Not the most elegant looking bike ever, to say the least, but we found it to be very tough, and we liked the integrated pump in the seatpost (7/10)
  • Handling: The ugly duckling didn’t quite turn into a swan but it coped with everything we threw at it (8/10)
  • Equipment: Dynamo lights, SRAM shifters and rear rack head up a pretty comprehensive kit list (8/10)
  • Fold: Not the smallest, but still a reasonably compact and stable folded package (7/10)

It’s fair to say we were a bit surprised by the Dawes, though maybe we shouldn’t have been, given its heritage.

Yep, if you’re thinking that the Ace resembles the bikes in Dahon’s range, well, you’d be right. It displays the British marque’s name, but is actually made by Dahon.

Still, if you’re going to get somebody to make your folding bikes for you, you might as well get one of the acknowledged masters.

Dawes have managed to get some good kit on what is a fairly competitively priced bike, with a SRAM rear mech, Sugino chainring and tough Schwalbe tyres.

Because of the extra costs involved in producing folding bikes, you’re never going to get the same amount of high quality kit on a £700 folder as you would on a road bike of the same price, but you still don’t want to see too many economies.

The eight gears and 20in wheels made for very reassuring urban riding. If you’ve only tried riding folding bikes in the past with 16in wheels and haven’t entirely enjoyed the experience, you might find a move to a bike like this gives you more confidence.

The bigger wheels handle better, absorb bumps better and they also mean that the stem-to-bars arrangement is shorter.

The Dawes is certainly tough enough for urban riding. The Ace was put through its paces on the local BMX track – and it came up trumps. After that kind of action, the Ace will laugh scathingly at any kerbs and potholes that dare to stand in its way.

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