Dahon Vector P8: The Sporty Commuter Bike

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Vector P8 folding bikeWhen looking for a bike, it is very important to find one that fits to your lifestyle and needs. The Dahon Vector P8 folding bike is not only a fantastic commuter bike, but also great for those weekend leisure rides. Let’s first look at the physical features of this folding bike.

The Dahon Vector P8 is stunning at a first glance by its gorgeous shape and glossy paint job that will draw attention to its beauty. The curved frame gives the bike an overall sporty and sleek look where the black is accented with the bright chili pepper red paint along the lower half of the frame as well as the rims of the wheels. In comparison to other dahon folding bikes, the Dahon Vector P8 has a boxier structure which is very noticeable from the back view.

On the Vector P8, there are a few safety features to ensure a safe ride. The main frame of the bike is held together by Dahon’s v-clamp hinge. The v-clamp hinge is a stainless steel plate that fastens both sides of the main frame securely with a lever and additional safety latch. The handlebars also have a similar safety latch to the lever that secures it to the main frame. The folding bike has reflectors attached to the main frame and on the pedals. The particular model I am testing had no back reflector, but that can easily be installed or be fixed with a safety rear light. There are also reflective surfaces on the Schwalbe Supreme tires and the sides of the handlebars to ensure that oncoming vehicles can spot you.

Vector P8 folding bike Vector P8 folding bike

The frame of the Vector P8 is made of hydro formed aluminum. This gives the bike a lightweight frame that has sturdy feel and easy to carry. Bringing the Vector P8 on the train, subway or the bus is easy when the bike is folded. It takes up minimal space and feels very secure when carried by the seat post. The bike can even fit inside of a car when traveling without the burden of purchasing a bike rack. The folded bike is held together by Dahon’s simple magnetix technology using a set of magnets to keep the bike locked during transportation. Both pedals on the bike are also foldable. The compact form of the bike makes it great for storing inside apartments or offices.

The Vector P8 is great for both petite and tall bike riders. The adjustable seat and handlebars makes it easy to set both parts to the comfort level of the rider. The handlebar has ergonomic grips that give a nice grasp when steering the bike. The ergonomic grips also help relieve pressure on the hands and wrists during long periods of bike riding. The rigidness of the handlebar gives the rider stiff handling, stability and more control of the ride.

Compared to other folding bikes, I found the Dahon Vector P8 to be very sturdy, and a smooth ride closer to feel and performance of a full-sized mountain bike. During my use of the Vector P8 I tested the folding bike not only the easy flat trails, but also moderate to difficult hills to get a good evaluation of its performance. I found that the Shimano cassette’s wide range of the eight gears helped greatly against steep hills, such as the ramp after the George Washington Bridge heading north. I used the lowest gear for this part of the Hudson River greenway. For regular flat surfaced riding I stayed in the fifth gear. For moderate hills I would transition between third and fourth gears. I would suggest saving the sixth through eight gears if you want more resistance when you are pedaling. The Sram twist gear shifter transitioned easily and smoothly when needed. The bike was also able to accelerate fast with ease.

When I took the Vector P8 out over the Tracy on the Vector P8weekend, I encountered light rain on a bike trail in Massapequa that was not forecasted in the weather reports. Despite the wet conditions, the Vector P8 performed very well. The Schwalbe Supreme tires were able to give enough traction to prevent slipping on the wet path that had a mixture of debris such as dirt, leaves, gravel and twigs despite its minimal tread. The Avid brake levers have a well-made feel to its construction, and they reacted very efficiently by giving a fast response to the clutch of the hand if I needed to stop on a short notice.

A pretty neat feature in the bike is the hidden bike pump in the seat post. Once the seat post is removed from the frame, the bottom cap unscrews to reveal the pump. Therefore, the bike rider will have an emergency pump on hand if the tires need more air. The Vector P8 also has a mount that can attach a luggage truss to hold bags to the frame of the bike. Since the mount is attached to the main frame of the bike and keeps the bag immobilized, it does not interfere with the steering of the bike.

Vector P8 folding bike

The folding bike has many great features that make the Vector P8 feel more expensive than it is priced. So if you are looking for a portable bike with a sporty look, easy to transport and has the feel of a regular full-sized bike, the Dahon Vector P8 may be the right choice for you.

See more pictures of my test ride on Flickr.


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