Founded in 1982 and headquartered in Los Angeles, Dahon is now the world’s largest manufacturer of folding bicycles. Their vision is to promote Green mobility with their folding technology, by producing compact and portable bicycles. Dahon folding bicycles are primarily aimed at urban commuters. In India, folding bicycles have become popular among urban commuters over the last couple of years. Their popularity is still in it’s growing stage. Recent availability of high quality products and increasing market knowledge are major factors contributing to this growth. Dahon’s 2018 range is just entering the Indian market. We got the opportunity to check out the Dahon Vybe D7. Read on to see the what this bicycle is all about.
The Dahon Vybe D7 has been made using a Vybe D Aluminium Alloy frame with a lattice-forged hinge in the centre that is enforced by the ViseGrip latching technology. The lattice-forged hinge is the primary component that makes this bicycle what it is - a lightweight, easy to carry foldie that delivers on performance and durability. I feel that it’s price point is totally justified solely by the quality of the componentry used in this department. Given the intricate design of folding bicycles, the folding mechanism has to be on-point to ensure optimum safety of the rider, and this is exactly what the lattice-forged hinge paired with the ViseGrip latching technology does. We felt that the bicycle was stable and secure even when tested on uneven and rugged terrain. Which speaks volumes of the quality of the frame design and components. The geometry of the bicycle enables for a comfortable, relaxed riding position and the frame design ensures easy mounting and dismounting. The bicycle comes with a provision for mudguards. This bicycle has a rigid fork with a hi-tensile steel steerer and blades.
When it comes to folding bicycles the first thought that inevitably occurs is, “What an odd looking bicycle!” It’s true, folding bicycles do have an interesting look given the intricacy in terms of their design. With folding bicycles, there is a delicate balance between looks, ability to be as compact as possible, and performance. The Dahon Vybe D7 comes in a primary colour of red with salmon and white decals. The glossy paint job of the bicycle appeared to be of high quality.
The Dahon Vybe D7 comes equipped with a 7-Speed Shimano FT35 Rear Derailleur whose shifting is controlled by Shimano Revo grip shifters. Grip shifters enable for quick and concise shifting while being easy to understand and operate. The range of speed options is well suited for a bicycle aimed at city commutes. Additionally the large crank enables a better distance covered per pedal stroke. The bicycle is surprisingly smooth and can be used for short city commutes and fairly longer distance leisure rides.
The Dahon Vybe D7 comes equipped with Alloy V-Brakes. The braking mechanism worked efficiently to bring the bicycle to a complete stop. The braking power offered is impressive. Interval and abrupt braking felt stable and controlled. The braking is ideal for city usage as well as longer distance leisure rides. The brakes levers are well placed and require two to three fingers to operate. However, the Resin material felt slightly flimsy when tested.
This bicycle comes equipped with a Dahon forged-aluminium handlebar whose height is adjustable. The width of the handlebar enables a comfortable yet marginally aggressive and sporty feel. Furthermore, a wide handlebar ensures additional control and maneuverability of the bicycle. An adjustable handlebar height allows for the rider to adjust the handlebar to a position that they are comfortable with, this is a big plus point here. This feature makes it a great bicycle for people of various heights. When on the test ride, I found that the handlebar grips felt slightly hard and could do with a little extra cushioning.
The Dahon Vybe D7 comes equipped with Schwalbe Citizen 20” x 1.6” tires. The 20” lightweight aluminium rims with 20 hole front hubs and 28 hole rear hubs are wide enough to ensure comfort and stability required for city commutes. The treading on the tires ensured great grip and stability on uneven roads. It is no doubt that the treading will allow for adequate control and grip while riding on wet surfaces. The dimensions of the tire allows for smooth rolling even over bumpy city roads laden with potholes and loose sand.
This bicycle comes equipped with a Dahon Vybe Urban saddle. The saddle was broad enough to comfortably accommodate one’s sit bones. However, I felt that the saddle was on the harder side and could use more cushioning. The Promax Alloy seat post comes with a Quick Release option, allowing for adjustment of the saddle height which is convenient while on the move. Overall, the ride quality was quite commendable.
There have been no major changes in terms of the overall specs of the Dahon Vybe D7 this year, when compared to its previous year’s counterpart. The few changes that were noticeable was the usage of 20 hole hubs on the front wheel rim when compared to the 28 hole hubs used earlier. Additionally, this year’s bicycle comes equipped with Schwalbe tires when compared to the previous models that used Hutchinson 20” tires. The color option used this year is a more vibrant red compared to the black color scheme that the previous model was available in. However, the overall performance of the bicycle hasn’t been compromised in any aspect. This bicycle is ideal for urban commuters who require a lightweight, portable bicycle to carry with them while on the move. This bicycle is also a great option for adventure enthusiasts who would like to take their bicycle with them while they travel, without an added hassle of figuring out how to transport it.