Dahon Mu SL—Fancy, Fresh and Fast, by Turbo Bob

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Yet to be listed on the NYCeWheels website, but coming soon is the Dahon Mu SL, a great new folding bike from Dahon. I got to put a bunch of miles on this prototype Mu SL during the last holiday season. With internal cable routing, a new frame hinge design, and some cool wheels, I have to admit I felt pretty lucky to ride this fast flyer before it hit the marketplace. You should be able to have the same thrill as me as the warmer days arrive this summer.

Dahon Mu SL
Although it doesn’t have much to do with the ride, I really like the colors and trim. It seems they took to the details with gusto, as the blue splashed in even the smallest of places. The white and silver hits my fancy, yet the blue fills the package in the best of ways. With modern looks comes a modern bike. They made the Mu SL in the image of the old Mu P8 and did a great job.

This folding bike made it to many group rides and a bunch of runs on my own. Easy to un-fold, when I took this Dahon places in the car it was ready in a flash. There are so many benefits of having any folder and the Mu SL never disappointed. Once it is stretched out to riding mode it is strong as an Ox. No noticeable flex slowed me down anywhere I rode.

The sleek look is complemented with the internal cable routing. I do think we will seeing this on more Dahon folding bikes as time marches on. Of course some sections of the cables are visible, the hidden parts are just in the framework. At the fold they slide smoothly in the frame without too sharp of a bend. The controls operate with ease not hampered with this new routing.

Dahon Mu SL has a great frame!
The shifting handles well with the thumb operated levers. The single chain ring in the front slightly limits the range of gears, yet I had a good one for every riding condition I encountered. I personally like just one gear up front, for the less weight and complication factors involved. The large angle of the chain in the lowest gear can add just a little extra noise when really cranking up a hill, but on the whole it never missed a beat.

The rims and tires are pretty racy. They roll fast and easy as you ramp up the speed and do give a slightly rough ride at times, but that is an easy compromise when you start moving at a fast pace. They help keep the overall weight down too, something you appreciate during the ride and when it comes time to lift the bike. And did I mention—they look cool too.

Buttoned-up in the cockpit you start to feel the speed. There is a slight adjustment at the stem and bars, but the rock-solid mounting seems different than other folding bikes in its class. Some prefer folders with a height adjustment here, but for me I like the firm, no flex set-up you find on the Dahon Mu SL. Of course the seat post is pretty long and most anyone will find a sweet spot that suits their fancy. The narrow saddle is good for the roadie types, yet one a little wider and softer could be substituted. Still, giving up that color coordinated saddle would be tough.

Taking a ride on the Dahon Mu SL
Above you’ll see Andy Hanshaw, the Executive Director of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition on the Mu SL.

Getting to test these bikes has been a lot of fun, and it will be tough when the time comes to return them.  I seem to fall in lust for almost every bike that comes my way. The Mu SL made it even harder to let go. With a great ride and look, it really grows on your needs for just one more bike in the stable. Maybe someday for sure. I am looking forward to seeing more of these in my part of town, I know anyone who is riding a Dahon Mu SL will be all smiles.

Get on your Dahon and ride, Turbo Bob. “Fantasy is an exercise bicycle for the mind. It might not take you anywhere, but it tones up the muscles that can. Of course, I could be wrong”—Terry Pratchett.

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