Dahon’s range of folding bikes is huge and includes several new models every year. This makes keeping track of them all a bewildering task – although generally a very pleasurable one as they always seem to have something new up their sleeve.
The result is a pretty compact, very light and easy to handle package
In this case it’s a sub-10kg, 16in-wheeled, five hub-geared commuter. It has a very stylish curved 7005 aluminium mainframe, hence its name, and maintains the traditional Dahon mid-frame hinge and folding mechanism. This is pretty good with the only slight weakness being the fiddle of accommodating the folded down stem between the wheels, which are’stuck’ together with handy magnets. The result is a pretty compact, very light and easy to handle package that’s great for train hopping. Combine it with the El Bolso carry bag (fits all 20inwheel Dahons) and you have a very handy urban commuter.
The hub gears were a little fiddly to get just right; very small adjustments were required on the gripshift-mounted cable tension adjuster to keep them indexed, but once done they seemed to settle down perfectly. The wheels are the tiny but classy Kinetix ETRO 305x17s, and it rides fantastically well.
This is probably down to the huge, Kevlar-belted Schwalbe Big Apple 16x2in tyres help to iron out some of the small-wheeler’s inherent sensitivity to surface humps and holes. Your first thought is that they’ll be just too slow to run quickly on tarmac, but pump them up to their max of 70psi and the bike’s a joy for zipping through the worst car-congested, pot-holed city centres out there.
As with other Dahons I’ve recently tried, the spec is excellent; from the comfy Biologic saddle that uses the novel and megaconvenient SDG ‘monorail’ adjustment system, through to the Avid V-brakes and removable MKS alloy pedals (a handy theft deterrent too). The production version also comes with mudguards and a kickstand – my sample model wasn’t yet fitted with guards, but they will be another welcome addition.