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★★★★☆

“I'm now on my 2nd Dahon Espresso. The first was...”

Written on: 01/04/2009

Good Points
Very nice to ride. Gear changes are slick and accurate. Excellent value for money. Great for taller people (I'm 6'4) who want a folding bike.

Bad Points
Weak folding pedals.
Poor method of folding handlebars.
Twist-grip gear change on 2009 model.
Ineffective magnetic latch on 2009 model.

General Comments
I'm now on my 2nd Dahon Espresso. The first was wrecked when someone pulled out on me at a junction. I actually liked the old bike so much that I bought another.

The 2009 Espresso is lightweight, comfortable and easy to ride, I find myself sailing past people on heavy full suspension mountain bikes as they stand up out of the saddle and struggle up quite mild hills. Probably quite embarrassing to be passed by a folding bike.

The build quality is generally excellent, though there are a couple of point that let it down. The folding pedals are somewhat weak, the bearings failed on one after only a couple of months. The brake 'noodles' are poor quality and rust quickly.

For 2009 Dahon have swapped the 'quick-fire' gear shifters of the 2008 model for twist-grip shifters, which I hate, but that's a personal thing. I swapped them for a set of decent shifters from the local bike shop.

The 2009 model also comes with a magnetic 'latch' to hold the bike together when folded ( the 2008 model had a velcro strap). I have found this to be almost useless. Any knocks against the front wheel instantly cause the latch to spring apart. I removed the latch and use the strap from the old bike.

The bike folds quickly enough, but the handlebars are a big issue. You have to loosen two 'allen' bolts and swivel the handlebars 90 degrees. Unfolding is even more of a problem as you have to manually judge when the handlebars are correctly aligned before tightening the bolts.

Another thing to be aware of is that, although the bike uses standard mountain bike parts, the geometry of the folding frame from means that you need to be careful when buying accessories as some won't fit (mudguards in particular)

Overall a very nice bike for the money only let down by a few niggles that can be easily fixed with after-market parts.