Thursday, July 3, 2008

A couple from Dahon: Curve D3 & Glide P8

Stop, Drop, and Fold
Folding bikes have a bit of a stigma for some hardcore cyclists, but darn if they aren't good for lots of things. Shall we list some? Lets. You can:

There are several companies that make good folding bikes, but if you use US Dollars, and are on any kind of budget, you're as likely as not to end up with a Dahon. I've pictured the Curve D3 and the Glide P8 here, and Dahon's website has all the specs'n'stuff on them and on the company's other models as well. Dahon's goal from the start was to enable people to use bicycles for everyday transportation - to integrate bicycling into their lives - and since the company is celebrating its 25th Annivarsary this year, I thought it would be appropriate to profile the company.

David Hon started the company in 1983, after trying and failing to get established bicycle makers interested in his ideas and designs. Since then, Dahon has produced over three million folding bikes. For 2008, the website lists 24 models available in the US, with varying in features and affordability. From a practical perspective, the affordability element may be Dahon's best feature: the Curve D3 retails for about $400, and it's not at all the least expensive.

In addition to Dahon-branded products, the company designs/builds bikes under contract to other companies, such as Breezer, and licenses its technology to many more. The company claims that over 95% of folding bicycles on the market use at least some Dahon technology. In 2002, Dahon won a lawsuit in Taiwanese criminal court against former employees and their company, Neobike, who were producing inexpensive imitations and infringing on Dahon patents (other leading folding bike companies have had similar problems with intellectual property rights). It doesn't stop there however - the company continues to develop innovative techonology and designs, including the Mu XXV, a 16.5 pound anniversary model.

The models pictured here have been selected based on purely subjective criteria: (a) I saw a Curve D3 the other day, (b) it's red, and that's my favorite color, and (c) I like the curvy frame and practical accessories on the Glide P8. The Curve D3 and Caio P8 (on your left, and the Glide's twin sister) are available at:

Note: the basket pictured on the Glide is not included. Dahon has two bad habits: picturing bikes with non-included accessories and an archaic inventory system and delivery schedule. I have bad habits too, but I'm not going to list them here.

5 comments:

Freewheel said...

I'm sold!

aidan said...

http://www.dahon.com/us/tournado.htm

A steel framed folding touring bike with Brooks saddle and tape. $2000, but worth the coin!

SiouxGeonz said...

I have one :) It's nifty!

Carolina said...

I've had my Dahon curve since January, and I love it! I use it on my commute - 3 miles to the train, then I fold it up. I actually took it on a 30-mile trip around the Hamptons this weekend. Granted, it's not fast, but speed wasn't a priority anyway.

Ryan said...

If you're looking for a portable folding bike but still want the performance of a full size bike you should check out Montague Bikes. They make bikes with 26" or 700c wheels that still fold for easy transport or storage. They also don't put any cuts or hinges in their frames so they're rock solid. Pretty unique design! Check them out at http://www.montaguebikes.com/