from San Diego, Califonia, America
Date Reviewed: January 29, 2007
Strengths: The folding definatly comes in super handy all of the time, i like the really tough axel super 80 front suspension, very solid feeling for a folding mtn bike the components are pretty high quality ive taken it off pretty small jumps and dropoffs and seems to be ready for big air.
Weaknesses: i think it is pretty heavy at 27 pounds but its not too heavy considering I olny weigh 120 lbs after a while of hard riding the hinge startes to sweak a bit. Its not made for complaining old people becuase its not too comfortable
It comes in great handy if you go places a lot and want to ride as much as possible. everything else like the handling and dynamics and overall qualities are pretty good for the expensive price.
Similar Products Used: specailized fsr 99'. old giant hardtail.
Bike Setup: mine is completly stock still, accept some thicker tubes.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: January 19, 2007
Strengths: Foldable. Can be taken on trains and London Tube. That's really important if you don't own a car. Feels OK. Frame seems sturdy enough to do the job. Looks pretty good for a folding bike. Reasonable price. Good for travelling.
Weaknesses: 1. When folded, the rear hub's QR lever rubs against the front fork and the little self-adhesive protective pad stuck on the fork won't last more than a day or two. I cut off a 10cm piece of busted inner tube and slid it over the QR lever to form a protective jacket; it seems to do the job just fine. 2. The SDG Bel Air FX saddle is brutal. It's lightweight but rock hard and unforgiving, and after a couple of laps of Richmond Park I knew it had to go, and quickly. The seatpost had to go too, as it's an SDG I-Beam seatpost. SDG I-Beam seatposts only work with SDG saddles and vice versa, so if you want to replace the saddle, you'll need a new seatpost, too. The SDG saddle and post are designed for light weight, but I replaced it with a Thomson Elite seatpost and a Specialized BG2 Sport saddle (you only have to feel how it flexes to know it's a far superior saddle) and the result was slightly reduced weight and significantly increased comfort. 3. The handlebar grips a bit squirmy. Not good. I replaced them with ODI Ruffian MX lock-ons. Job done! 4. Avid FR-5 brake levers are too brittle and break far too easily. I had to retire from a 100km MTB enduro after a small and normally harmless slip caused the bike to fall lightly against a rock: the lever snapped. Game over. MTB components need to be robust enough to withstand a few knocks and it's obvious that these levers aren't. 5. The Suntour front derailleur shifters are OK for fairweather road riding but as soon as they get a bit mucky, they don't like to shift down onto the small ring. This is not fun when you hit the bottom of a very steep climb and you find all that is achieved by clicking down is a loud and relentless grinding noise. It's a design fault. There is too much scope for mud to get trapped in the mechanism, blocking downshift. I adjusted them frequently but never found a good setting that would avoid this. I replaced them with the SRAM X-gen shifter and it works just fine. 6. It's not that small. To get it in the back of a Renault Clio I had to put the back seats down.
You have to judge this bike for what it is: a folding mountain bike. If you're into mountain biking but don't need a folding bike, you don't need this. If you need a folding bike but don't need to go off-road, you don't need this. But if you want a bike you can put a hire car or on a train and go off-road, this could be the answer. It's not the world's best mountain bike and it's not the world's best folding bike but it might well be the world's best folding mountain bike.
I live in London so there's no point in owning a car. We hire a car every now and then and it's great to be able to take a bike. You can't put racks on a hire car, so a folding bike is an asset. No other mountain bike would be allowed on the underground sections of the Tube but I can take this bike on the Tube to Epping Forest. That's a big advantage.
It's a better mountain bike than a folding bike. It isn't all that small. Imagine a full-sized MTB with 26" wheels chopped in half and folded along that point so the wheels are folded against each other. That's how small it is. Not very. But at least it folds, and it's not too heavy, at 13.6kg.
The frame is shaped distinctively and looks pretty unusual. It's pretty sturdy and the hinge lock is substantial. The safety catch looks flimsy but seems to do its job. As a cross-country bike it's not bad. It has full, 26" wheels, with fat, knobbly tyres which are grippy but fast, front and rear Avid Ball Bearing 5 mechanical disc brakes, and Manitou Axel Super 80 front forks (80mm travel). It does the job with cheap but adequate components. The cable disc brakes seem OK: powerful enough but not too grabby, easy to maintain, and the big advantage is that you can fix them where a bleed kit for hydraulic brakes just won't be available. However, I've had a few long rides when they've needed adjustment halfway through.
It doesn't come with pedals, but that's no problem as you'd want to choose your own anyway.
I needed mudguards and tried a few alternatives but found that the Crud Catcher rear mudguard (from the Crud race pac) works very well on the rear, while the SKS Crossblade (now largely replaced by the Shockblade) works better on the front. The Crud Catcher front mudguard doesn't fit properly on the Dahon frame as the frame hinge gets in the way, but the Crud rear mudguard is solid, reliable, doesn't flap around or move when you don't want it to, and has good coverage, stopping the vast majority of the spashes and splatters that would normally soak your back and shorts. The SKS Crossboard has an expanding bolt that fits up into the front forks from below, onto which is secured the main body of the mudguard, and can be removed in seconds when folding the bike. It's worth bearing in mind, though, that the SKS will clash with a bottle cage if you use one.
I used the bike in a 4-hour enduro race in Thetford forest and it didn't let me down. I've done a 100km ride around Sustrans routes in South Wales, the Gap Road in the Brecon Beacons, a varied route around bridleways of Tring and Berkhamsted, Swinley forest and the full 100-mile South Downs Way, and it seems to do the job, mostly. I didn't feel at a disadvantage next to friends on Stumpjumpers and Ventanas. The bike feels sturdy but light, just as it should, and I feel quite confident riding it. Of course, I'm not going to do any big drop-offs or jumps on a folding frame, but for general, gnarly, cross-country stuff, I don't have any worries with this.
Bike Setup: Standard spec except Shimano LX levers, SRAM X0 front shifter, Thomson Elite seatpost, Specialized BG Sport saddle, ODI Ruffian MX grips, Crud race rear mudguard, SKS Crossboard front mudguard.