Dahon Meets Hairy Bovine (and other stories)

Here are some recent shots of the Dahon doing what it does best – mooching around. The Carradice Camper Longflap works so well on the folder, keeping the laptop and other stuff high and dry – out of the way of road spray. Clips on and off in seconds thanks to the superbly designed Carradice SQR. The other day, attached to the country bike, it carried a bundle of birch logs foraged from the local woods – great firewood this morning when typing this…
Above: On the Ashton Canal in central Manchester on a sunny evening in March. 
Above: D7 – Highland Cattle interface – make no mistake, these are scary animals
Above and Below: D7 in one of my favourite local riding spots – the River Alt footbridge in Croxteth Park. 

Dahon D7 – Stem Mod





I’ve modified my Dahon D7 handlepost to accept a standard ahead stem, as detailed in a previous post. ‘Modified’ is probably a bit of a stretch – ‘sawn the top off’ is probably a little more accurate.

Last night I picked up a 100mm 10 degree rise four bolt MTB stem from Bikehut (rebadged Tioga) and scurried home, where, while dinner was cooking (primal diet compatible of course – mackerel with broccoli and peas…) I added the stem to the existing post and with some trepidation, trialled the new cockpit arrangement in the street.

It was a total revelation… The D7 now steers like a normal bike, it’s no longer nervous and demanding of constant attention to keep things in a straight line. Also, for the first time, the bike now fits me properly. Indeed, I’ve got enough reach to move the seat to the middle of the rails. The fit is very like the fit on by road bike and MTB.

I also trialled the other important thing – how the bike would fold. It’s inevitable that the new bar arrangement was going to mean a change in the folded size and the folding process, which now goes as follows: 

  1. Drop the saddle
  2. Fold the bike in half
  3. Undo the bottom handle-post latch and lower the post onto the saddle
  4. Undo the top quick-release on the handlepost and remove the handlebar/stem/telescopic bit
  5. Place the handlebar assembly between the two folded halves of the frame (I’ve found that I can pop the luggage elastic from the rack over it to keep it in place)

The fold isn’t as neat and tidy but it actually takes less time to fold and unfold, because there’s less time faffing getting the bars flipped upwards and the stem in the right place for folding. Of course it’s a little bigger folded than before, but it still fits in the end of carriage luggage racks, which is all that matters to me.

This morning I decided to seal the deal and hacksaw the hinge unit from the top of the post. It was a scary moment taking the hacksaw to the top of the handlepost to remove the hinged stem and leave basically a 1 1/8” aluminium tube, to which I reattached the stem.

Riding it to work and back today was, again, a breath of fresh air. Now the bike fits properly, I can climb out of the saddle and use a lot more upper body when I’m riding. The front end is stable, with much better weight distribution and if I closed my eyes (which I never recommend when riding!) it would feel like riding a full sized bike.

All I need to do to complete the job is get a star nut and top cap – not that it actually needs one from a functional point of view, but it will tidy up the exposed end of the handlepost. ***I’ve since used a tongue-in-cheek solution to the problem – a wine cork 😉***

Anyone else out there done this mod on a Dahon or other folder (I know the SP Brompton uses a similar setup and Bike Friday Tikits are set up like this)

Dahon D7 Hinge – The State of Play

On a slightly worrying note, I’m detecting a little play in the main hinge of my Dahon Speed D7. It’s only noticeable when you rock the bike back and forth with the front brake applied, as if you were checking for headset play. Indeed, I mistook it for headset play initially, before tracing the play on the vertical plane of the hinge. It doesn’t affect the ride at all and is totally stiff laterally and is probably down to a little wear in the bushing, pin or other part of the hinge assembly. The hinge is adjusted correctly so some wear in the hinge-pin itself is all I can attribute it to. I imagine it’s pretty inevitable to get slight play in a highly stressed joint like this. I’ve ridden a few Bromptons that have had just as much play in their rear triangle bushings, straight out of the box, so it’s probably just something that one has to live with on a folder. Weird thing is the play seems to come and go. We’ll see how things develop… 

Has anyone else out there experienced play in the main hinge of their Dahon Speed D7?

Dahon Speed D7 has its first bus journey

The Dahon has had a couple of new firsts today. Here was my predicament: I had to get me and my son into town to meet my wife, who would take Harry and from then on I’d jump a train to Manchester and then bike the last 3 miles to the Velodrome for the Revolution Track Meeting.  

With a normal bike I’d be absolutely snookered, but with the Dahon I could just walk with Harry to the bus stop, fold the bike, jump on, stow the bike in the luggage rack. I got off in town and met Su and my eldest son Tom. Because the seamlessness of the journey, we had time to get coffee (another first for the Dahon) before we all went our separate ways. Su to the hairdressers with Harry, Tom back home and me to Lime Street station. Of course, the Dahon sat happily by our table in Café Nero as we had coffee and hot chocolate, attracting its usual share of bemused, amused and admiring glances.  

The Dahon is now sporting a honey coloured Brooks today, swapped out from the big green country bike, which is getting more envious by the day. 

More Dahon D7 Mods Coming Soon

I’ve decided to increase the reach on the Dahon by modifying the handle post and adding a standard MTB stem. 

I’ve been looking at the arrangement on the Bike Friday Tikit and it allows you to pretty much set up a folder to mirror the fit of your standard bike.  

I’ve always measured reach using the old fashioned biometric measurement:

  • Put the tip of your elbow at the tip of the saddle
  • Reach your outstretched hand and fingers towards the handlebar. 
  • Place your other hand perpendicular to that hand with the fingers flat. 
  • Your primary hand-hold on the bars should be in line with the outer edge of your little finger.

Using this method on the Dahon, I calculate that I’ll need a 90mm MTB stem to attain the reach that I’ve got on my MTB and Tourer. I’ll probably need a 15 degree rise to get the right handlebar height, because this mod will mean taking the hacksaw to the top of the handle post and sawing off the QR handlebar clamp. The measurement of the upper part of the Radius Telescope post is 28.6mm, which happens to be 1 1/8 inch, which means a standard ahead stem will clamp on just fine. 

The fold will be affected, but all it will mean is that I’ll need to pull the bar and stem right out and place the whole unit between the folded frame when folded. This won’t make the folding process any slower or the folded package much bigger.  

What it will mean is that I can get a proper Tikit sized riding position without forking out £800 for a new bike.  

I’m going to trial the setup tonight and ride it for a few days before taking the plunge of:

A: buying a stem

B: (scarier) sawing the top off my existing handle post! 

Today’s Commute Home


Another moral victory for the Dahon. Really questioning whether I’ll ever use the full size commuter bike again 

Had one of those magical evening rides that you get every now and again. A crisp evening – clear skies and a glowing sunset. Took the canal route into town – the water in parts still frozen, but in other parts, clear, still and glistening like it never could in the day. 

The Dahon continues to amaze me in what it can handle. There are a few sections on the canal route (the Ashton Canal) between Manchester velodrome and Manchester City Centre, where you’ve got steep, rough cobbled ramps, next to the locks. One in particular has got a constant stream running down it and a couple of front wheel grabbing channels. However, the nimble front wheel of the Dahon can be steered around obstacles quickly and accurately, whereas a slower-steering bike would plough through clumsily. I’m glad to say that I’m totally dialled in to the telepathic steering on the bike and now using it to my advantage. I think with Schalbe Big Apples on a 2 inch width, things would be even more interesting.  

Got to the station just as the train was pulling in – one of those times when you really put the manufacturer’s claimed 15 second folding time to the test. Suffice to say that I’m on the train now as I’m typing this, and the Dahon is sitting pretty in the baggage rack.

‘Outward Folding’ Handlepost for Dahon?

One thing that’s missing from Dahon’s impressive range is a ‘custom shop’ where you can buy mods and upgrades to tailor your bike to your needs.

One thing that would really open up possibilities for me is if an outward folding handlepost was available as an aftermarket item. There are a few Dahon Models which use this – the Speed TR (pictured) and Speed Pro TT in the current range – the Hon Solo (why did it disappear from the range!) all used this post, which allowed more interesting handlebar setups to be accommodated. The Dahon Speed D7 uses a handlepost that folds inside the folded bike package, which is great for compact folding, but means you have to fiddle with the post and handlebar adjustment each time you do the full fold. I’d prefer a handlepost that allowed me to leave my bars in a set position, or would let me alter stem lengths, a la Bike Friday, or even put drops or moustache bars on the bike.

Does anyone know if/where this post is available separately?