Kalkhoff Pro Connect 8 review
Despite the unfamiliar name (Kalkhoff are a German manufacturer, though owned by the Derby Cycle Group, apparently the biggest cycle manufacturers in Europe) this racy, well-priced offering is a Dahon in all but name.
Just consider the spec for £399: Kinetix Comp CNC machined rims, Schwalbe Marathon Racer tyres with Race Guard and eight derailleur gears with very smooth Revoshift/Tiagra shifting, covering an impressive 294 per cent (31-91in) spread.
The 7005 aluminium frame is pretty much in the standard Dahon mould, with a mid-frame, Dahon-patented Vise Grip latch, and is nicely finished in light gold. Some people get on with the Dahon style fold, others don’t, the main fiddle being accommodating the folded-down stem in between the two halves of the folded bike. The Kalkhoff could have done with the Dahon patented magnetic system of clipping the two halves together; as it is there’s the potential for them to swing open.
Kalkhoff have taken advantage of Dahon’s huge purchasing power to spec quality components at a reasonable price; witness the Avid/Kinetix V-brakes, quality rack, SKS guards and extremely novel Biologic postpump – simply take out the seatpost, undo the hook at the bottom, pull out the valve lead, and voila! – the seatpost is transformed into a very effective track pump!
It’ll suit all but the gangliest of riders as the max pedal to saddle height is 94cm and the max seat to bar reach an impressive 69cm. Weight is a reasonable 12kg (especially as you get a rack and guards) while the overall folded size (33x63x81cm) is about average for this kind of folder. (Few bikes compare to the Brompton for foldability and folded size, and this isn’t one of them.)
Other competitors in this price bracket? Dahon’s rather more sedate, best-selling D7 is similar in appearance but with a much lower spec, while the D5 has the same price tag with slightly lower spec componentry overall, though it does boast a Sturmey Archer 5-speed hub gear. If you’d consider smaller-wheeled folders, with the twitchier handling that inevitably characterises them, you can still pick up Brompton C3s for around £395 if you hurry (discontinued for 2007 but still in some shops), and the even smaller-wheeled Dahon Curve SL at £550 got a rave review in the April issue of Cycling Plus – though neither come with a rack and the C3 lacks guards too.
Whichever way you look at it, the Kalkhoff stands up very well against similarly-priced competition.