Product Type: Dahon Bikes
Newest Review: ... folding bike might be just the thing (can be taken on a bus as well as train) and chose the Dahon D7. After sorting out the paperwork I t... more
Great little folder
Dahon Vitesse D7
Member Name: monkeyhumanoid
Dahon Vitesse D7
Advantages: Tough, compact, easy to fold.
Disadvantages: Awkward to carry long distances.
The company I work for introduced the government "Cycle to Work" scheme just over 3 years ago. This scheme allows you to buy a bicycle ( up to the value of £1000 ) and pay for it monthly buy salary sacrifice, which means that the tax and national insurance you would have paid goes towards the bike cost! At the time I took it out the VAT could also be claimed back which meant I paid about half the list price. The idea behind it is that you use the bike at least half the time to travel to work which reduces traffic and improves the health of employees. With the current government cut backs the scheme is always changing, e.g. cannot be VAT free from 2012, but still great value.
The distance from my home to work is 21 miles and, at the time, I didn't feel that I could cycle that distance so I decided to look at combining public transport with cycling. The total distance I needed to cycle with option was a more reasonable 3 miles each way.
We were limited to buying our bikes from Halfords (which despite it's bad reviews the experience was fine) and so I went down to the Pontefract store to have a look. After talking with the sales assistant I decided that a folding bike might be just the thing (can be taken on a bus as well as train) and chose the Dahon D7.
After sorting out the paperwork I took delivery about 4 weeks later.
The bike was already set up and I was shown how to fold and unfold the bike which takes about 15 seconds with practice; it is difficult to explain but the handlebars release and twist, the steering column release and folds down next to the front wheel, the pedals push in and fold flat, the seat column unclips and pushes down and the frame unclips and folds in half. A magnetic clip near the front and rear wheels holds the bike together well when folded. Unfolding is the reverse of this. Youtube have a few videos which will make it all clear!
When unfolded the seat can be easily adjusted to the correct height and then you're off. The bike has 20" wheels which feel , and look, small compared to the standard wheel size of 26" on a typical mountain bike. The size of the wheels can feel pretty scary if you are going down hill at speed but once you get used to them the ride is almost, but not exaclty, like a "real" bike. The small wheels also make you feel the bumps in the road more so not ideal for country tracks or potholed streets. The bike has 7 derailleur gears which are easily changed by twisting the grip and you can get to a steady speed of about 13 mph, on a bike with standard size wheels you would probably be going about 15mph for the same effort. I would recommend that this bike is very good for short journeys, say up to 5 miles max. Make sure the gears are properly set up because once when changing into seventh gear my chain fell off into the rear wheel and jammed it up and was a real *** to unjam.
The bike comes with mudguards, rack and elastic attachments as standards so very commuter friendly.
For storage and transport the bike is fairly small and can easily fit in a small car boot which is useful for the weekend or holidays. When folded it is easy to lift into the boot or onto a train / bus but I had to carry it over several platforms at Leeds station once and it was quite awkward and hardgoing so be warned.
One of the best things about this bike is that it is suitable for most heights of people, my friend who is 6'4" and my daughter who is 4'10" find it comfortable to ride.
The bike feels very solid and is very well made, they provide a small bottle of touch up paint with the bike which is a great idea as you will scratch it when folding.
I am sure that in London this bike would not stand out and may be seen as rather cool but in the less cosmopolitan areas of Yorkshire you do get rather funny looks and a few times arriving at work I have been greated by wolf whistles and general abuse, on the other hand my daughter took it to school and the other children thought it was the best bike they had ever seen!
A very flexible bike which I would readily recommend to anyone.
Summary: A handy bike which will last for ever and is great for commuting or short leisure rides.