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.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Redline 925


Redline 925. Available at City Bikes for $529.99. This is a fixed gear with a flip-flop hub so you can switch over to freewheel.

Redline's slogan for this bike: "Simplify your life and your ride."

Specs:

Frame: Chromoly double-butted
Crankset: 42T with guard
Cassette: 16T single
Pedals: Alloy track with toe clips
Wheels: Alex ACE 19 32H, nutted
Tires: Kenda 700 x 28
Brake: Tektro dual pivot caliper
Handlebars: Alloy bullhorn
Saddle: Velo
Fenders with mudflaps

Some reviews:

Dirt Rag

Bike Hugger

Steve Block

Something to think about with the 925: what kind of handlebars do you prefer? If you don't like bullhorns, you can always swap them for something else.