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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Brompton Takes on Acadia

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Brompton folding bikeIf you are a cyclist who also happens to love National Parks and thought you couldn’t combine the two, look no further than a Brompton.

My most recent adventure with my Brompton was to Bar Harbor, Maine and Acadia National Park. There is no better way to enjoy the scenery of a quaint New England town and National Park.

When asked if I would be willing to help drive three exchange students to their destinations, I had one stipulation. I would help but only if I could bring my Brompton folding bike and explore the area. My request was granted and the bike was packed. After folding the brompton bike I stashed it in the back of Toyota Rav4, surrounded by luggage and ready at a moments notice.

I normally take my Brompton touring bag, but opted to leave it behind for this trip. I must say, I missed that handy bag.

I arrived at the starting location with my bike neatly tucked inside the bag I use for transporting it and had it slung over my shoulder. The first question was, “I thought you were bringing your bike?” My answer, “I did, it is right here.”

Brompton BikePeople who have never seen a Brompton are always amazed at how compact it is and that you don’t need to disassemble anything when you take it somewhere. Curiosity always leads to unpacking, unfolding, and folding along with a brief history of Brompton folding bikes, where they are made, and the quality and craftsmanship in each bike. Inevitably I tell the story of what played into my decision to search for a folding bike and ultimately decide on a Brompton from the great staff at NYCeWheels.

Riding in the Bar Harbor area was amazing and soon I was off to explore Acadia with some friends. I have to say, I did look out of place next to the mountain bikes and road bikes. Cyclist are a great group of people, so out of place or not, everyone smiled and commented on my cool ride. You may think that a Brompton can’t handle the hills, I have the 6 speed and it does surprisingly well. I didn’t have to work too hard to climb and the downhills are a blast.

After having so much fun riding in Acadia, I have decided I need to add some of the other National Parks to my “must see with the Brompton” list. At this point, I have visited gardens, trails, farms, small towns, big cities, and even taken the Brompton on planes (see this great blog by the Path Less Pedaled). I have ridden my Brompton for long stretches and short trips. It is by far my favorite bike and I have owned many.

If you are considering a bike to take when you travel, there is no better choice. Brompton folding bikes are compact, easy to fold and unfold, and fun to ride.

Dahon Formula S18—Big on Looks, Ride and Savings, by Turbo Bob

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Dahon Formula S18 - the best bike for the price

Dahon Formula S18 - the best bike for the price

So many tell me the day will come for them to finally get the folding bike of their dreams. The reasons for holding back are many, but high on the list is getting a good deal. Now the modern Dahon Formula s18 has ended production and the last remaining stock of one of Dahon’s best high performance folding bikes is selling out quick. What this means is that your day has come. NYCeWheels has stocked up and dropped the price considerably on the Formula S18 and now is the perfect time to get the deal of a lifetime.

 

The Dahon Formula has the whole package

More than the price point, the main reason to get a Formula S18 is quality and performance. Figure in those good looks and you have a winner. Hanging from a solid aluminum frame is everything you need for years of biking fun and convenience. A quick and small fold, a wide range of gears and strong disc brakes are the features that will draw you in, and with each ride the whole package just feels better.

dahon-formula-s18 high performance for an affordable price

One of our fastest folding bikes

The Dahon Formula is one of the fastest folding bikes out there, and it feels great to ride. From atop the narrow saddle of you will find the thumb shifters and ergo grips pleasing. The handlebar height is adjustable for riders of all sizes (as is the seat height). The steering is quick yet just right for any type of riding you have in mind. With each pedal stroke you will be proud and happy with this Dahon Formula S18. And at the end of the ride, you can store it away securely knowing it will be ready for another day’s fun and travel.

A folding bike makes commuting easier

The thrill of a folding bike comes from many sources. If you live or work in a high-rise you can envision immediately the ease it will be to bring it inside and up the stairs or elevator. RVers and boaters have been taking advantage of their small folded size and light-weight for years. As a last mile device, those who take public transportation or park a long way from their destination will wonder why they didn’t get one sooner. Everyday riders will love the maneuverability and fun.

Gearing on the Dahon Formula folding bike

18 speeds on the Dahon Formula folding bike

This Formula S18 offers a wide range of gearing that can tackle just about any terrain you encounter. With 2 up front and 9 at the back wheel, the climbing comes easy when you need and the speed comes even easier when you want. Low friction bearings all around add to the smoothness and pedaling comfort. As you work through the gears you find the precise shifters and their response a worthy reason to extend your rides.
The tires are narrow, don’t slow you down and give a nice grip through the corners. Mounted to beefy alloy rims, they not only look racy, but rise to almost any terrain you roll over. The precise steering will allow the fast sections of your ride to bring a smile and work the tight ones with ease. Dahon got all the angles right for your riding pleasure and everyone who rode this test bike agreed.

High quality for a great price

Dahon Formula S18 with TurboBob

Dahon Formula S18 with TurboBob

To that point, it was amazing how many I ran across that really wanted to try this Formula S18. The interest in folding bikes rises, yet lots have never saddled-up on one. I know way back I was never too impressed with their ride qualities (or the fold ease either), yet all that has changed in a big way. Here at my house folding bikes get all the respect they deserve (and tons of riding time too).
You can check the NYCeWheels site for all the specs, yet the story isn’t told in numbers.

It is all about getting on, pushing off and experiencing it yourself. After that first block you will never look back, being almost assured to be a new owner right away. After the ride when you fold it up in seconds and tuck it away, the deal will be done. Folding bikes are awesome and the Dahon Formula S18 is about as awesome as they come. Add to that the low cost of admission and you will be hooked. So don’t wait, try one out, grab that super low price point and get on the Dahon wagon. No regrets, I promise.
I fold, therefore I am, Turbo Bob.
“Riding a race bike is an art—a thing that you do because you feel something inside.”—Valentino Rossi.

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The Ideal (IF) Mode of Transportation

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Can a work of art also be a practical mode of transportation? Can a vehicle that prompts an onslaught of questions from admiring children and astounded adults alike be a utilitarian, even integral aspect of a city-dweller’s daily life? After spending a weekend getting to know Pacific Cycles’ gorgeous IF Mode folding bike, my answer is a definitive yes.

Now, I have a unique perspective on this already highly unique bicycle. A newcomer to New York City, I have been learning my way around the subway system for the past month. Simultaneously, I have been hopping on bikes of all kinds for short jaunts between apartments in Queens, cafes in Brooklyn, and storefronts in Manhattan. While the IF Mode’s smooth, futuristic lines turned heads everywhere I took it, the bike’s true beauty can be found in how seamlessly it bridges underground and overland transportation.

Because of its ingenious design, the IF Mode not only folds to perhaps half its fully unfurled size, it can also be wheeled about while collapsed, not unlike a unicycle or wheelbarrow. This is immensely helpful while traversing the unending labyrinth of hallways connecting trains at Penn Station or Union Square. Weighing no more than your average hybrid commuter, the IF Mode is also easy to haul up and down stairs, which is truly essential if you are taking your bike on the subway.

I enjoyed combining the subway and IF Mode to get a lot errands done efficiently, and had a lot of fun doing it. A typical Sunday with this bike started with pedaling to brunch with friends, then walking the collapsed IF Mode down the block to their apartment. Next, I hopped the F train into the city, where I trotted up the subway stairs, flipped open the bike on the sidewalk, and was cruising down 5th Avenue in no time flat. A quick stop at the bank was followed with folding IF Mode to navigate my way through the densely packed throngs of shoppers at the Sunday street-market on Broadway, where I picked up some delicious halal food from a cart. A little grocery shopping closed out the afternoon, after which I rode to the nearest A train stop to take me express back to Brooklyn. By using both modes of transportation, I saved time and actually enjoyed getting around.

Some worry that the IF Mode might be too heavy on concept and too light on helpful features, but I found the bike to strike an ideal balance between the two. Some features, like the rock-solid disc brakes and large 26-inch wheels, are tried and true hold-overs from more traditional bikes. Others, like the magnetized wheels that snap together to ensure proper alignment while collapsed, are elegant and useful touches.

My very favorite aspect of the bicycle, while perhaps conceived of as a solution to some of the engineering constraints of the IF Mode’s unique take on folding technology, ultimately seemed unrelated to the fact that it’s collapsible. A two-speed setup, the shifters are brilliantly built directly into the crank arms, so that shifting involves simply clicking your heel against side of the bike–left heel to shift up, right heel to shift down. The feeling was exactly that of spurring on a wild stallion, and I delighted in feeling my steed eagerly rush forward at the tap of my heel. The gears ratios are also well thought out, such that I used the low gear to get going from a standstill and to climb hills, and the high gear to cruise at warp speed. Much as I appreciate the simplicity of the single-speeds and fixies that have become so popular lately, every time I have ridden one, I have found myself wishing there was just one lower gear to ascend up the first half of that bridge, or one higher gear to help bomb down the other side. The IF Mode fulfilled that desire completely, and I rarely found myself wishing for any more gear options than what was presented.

I enjoyed my time with the IF Mode immensely, and so did everyone else who saw it. Never have I experienced so much enthusiastic, spontaneous energy from the usually rushed, aloof New Yorkers around me. This is one bike that draws admiring stares from all in its vicinity–and whats more, the IF Mode truly deserves the attention.

To learn more about the IF Mode, visit www.nycewheels.com/if-mode-folding-bike.html

About the Author
Miles Schneider is a folding and electric bike specialist at NYCeWheels in New York City, an electric violinist, and a dog lover.

Dahon Formula for speed

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Dahon formula folding bikeSettling into the saddle of the Dahon Formula S18 is like getting to know your superhero sidekick. The ultra-stiff and lightweight folding bike is so responsive to your movements, it feels like an extension of your body, and the thin road tires keep you racing straight. I found that all I had to do was point this elegant white bike where I wanted it to go, and think that I wanted it to go there, and we would be off at light-speed.

High performance parts

Dahon formula folding bikeIn one sense, this folding bike’s high performance level can be attributed to its quality parts. Slick Microshift Thumb Tap shifters control Shimano derailleurs, and the SRAM disc brakes were responsible for this bike’s crazy stopping power. I mean, I could go from 25 mph to full stop in what felt like about three inches. Between the excellent components, the frame’s speed-oriented design, and the 20-inch wheels, I found myself darting around with an agility I have not experienced with many other bicycles.

Dahon’s quality hinges and frame

Dahon was one of the first companies to develop folding bikes to a fine art, and the Formula S18 features the same reliable hinges and folding method as the rest of Dahon’s folding bikes. In its fully compact mode, the bike is a dense little bundle which could Dahon formula folding bikeeasily fit beneath a desk or in a closet when not in use. The Dahon’s ability to compact to such an unobtrusive size, along with its exceptionally solid-feeling frame, made me think that this bike could be comfortable in a variety of roles, from weekend joy rides, to aggressive distance biking.

I was not ready to give up the Formula by the end of my test ride. At the end of the day, it is an enviably well-made racer, but its frame is solid enough that the Dahon Formula S18 is capable of any length commutes.

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