Archive for July, 2008

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Lights and Fittings

Thursday July 31, 2008

Due to the hot weather and other commitments, I’ve been going out quite late in the evening for some ‘quiet time’ by the river and in the parks.  As a result, it begins to get dark on the cycle home so I’ve been thinking about getting some lights for the Dahon.

I managed to find my Cateye TL-LD600 rear light which I bought about three years ago and barely used.  This light is in ‘as new’ condition so there was no need to buy a new rear light but I had to order a front light so I opted for the Cateye TL-LD150 front light (not delivered at time of writing, order from Tredz).

The next thought was how to mount these lights.  Fortunately these two lights use Cateye’s quick release system so all I needed were the correct mounting fixtures.  The two lights do come with their own mounting fixtures but I didn’t think they’d be suitable for the Dahon (and I’d lost the mount for the TL-LD600).  So, onto the Wiggle website for some Cateye Spare Parts.

Fortunately, the reflectors already fitted on the Dahon D7HG are Cateye so all I needed to do at the front was remove the reflector from the reflector bracket (one screw) and attach the Cateye LD120/500…1000 Tail Light Bracket.  The front reflector bracket on the Dahon is in two parts: the part attached to the Dahon frame and the part attached to the reflector itself.  This means that you can remove the reflector and easily replace it with the Light Bracket.

To fit the rear light, I removed the rear reflector and used a Cateye Rear Carrier Mount in its place.  This was, due to the nature of the Dahon rear reflector mount, secured with two black cable ties.  Although not as great as screws, the ties seem to be good enough – after all they were included with the Cateye mount.  The slight flexibility in the cable ties enables the mount to move forward slightly to facilitate insertion and removal of the light, it’s tight but it does work.  If the mount was fastened with screws then it would be impossible to remove the light in the way intended.

So, the D7HG is now ready for some night riding – the nights are already drawing in.

Front Reflector

Front Reflector

New Front Bracket

New Front Bracket

Bracket Fitted On Original Mount

Bracket Fitted On Original Mount

Rear Light Fitted

Rear Light Fitted

Rear Light

Rear Light

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Puncture Repair

Wednesday July 30, 2008

No, I haven’t had my first puncture on the Dahon but I just read a great post on the Dahon website forum.  The topic was in relation to wheeling a Dahon Curve to a bus stop after the guy had a puncture.  One of the helpful posts which subsequently appeared on the forum gave this great advice:

You’re out in the middle of nowhere and a looong, long way from any bus stops. And it’s miles and miles from ‘civilisation’, ie., no help, in any direction. Repair patches all used up, no good anyway, because the pump’s just gone kaput!

So, what to do?

Take the tyre off the rim – no need to remove the wheel if it’s one of those complicated rear wheel combinations – AND pack as much roadside grass as you possibly can into the tyre. It’ll protect the rim and surprisingly, (depending on how much grass you were able to squeeze in and then replace the tyre back on the rim), effective. You will find that you can cycle quite efficiently until you reach help.
[From a post by ‘Danny K’ on the Dahon forum]

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Urban Velo’s D7HG Review

Tuesday July 29, 2008

Urban Velo

I’ve just found a good review of the Vitesse D7HG over at Urban Velo

Their review was posted in July and as I wasn’t intending on buying a D7HG I hadn’t seen it prior to my trip to the bike shop.  UV’s initial impressions seem very good and one thing that caught my eye was the fact which they point out about the gear systems in that “…you can shift gears while coasting or when stopped“.  Interesting.

I’ll keep an eye on their blog for their update on the review and longer-term use.

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Dahon D7HG – First Ride

Monday July 28, 2008
So, it was around 1930 on Sunday night when the heat of the day started to subside. The Dahon, folded into its compact form, was carried outside and once again became a bike.

To start with, the D7HG felt a little strange. Having a shorter wheelbase than a mountain bike (my previous bike) it took a few moments to get used to the handling and stability. Having wobbled around for a while, I soon got the hang of things and settled back for a ride into town.

WD40 sprayed in here to stop the squeak

WD40 sprayed in here to stop the squeak

After about 200 yards a persistent squeak began to cry out from the back of the bike. After another 100 yards or so, the squeak became a wail – a loud and continuous noise which forced me to stop. Further investigation on the walk back and at the house led me to get out the can of Magic Liquid (aka WD40) and spray it around the left-hand side of the rear hub (the side away from the chain). That fixed it. There’s what appears to be a black plastic cone on that side which appeared to be creating the noise.

Jumping back on the now silent bike, I headed off again for the one mile journey into town – the destination: a park.

It was great to have the freedom on the bike and to quickly and easily get into these quiet parts of town with no hassle is a great experience.

Despite my initial fears, nobody laughed at my new little bike: not the kids, not the adults and not the people sitting outside the pub.  The bike looked good and the ride was great.

 

First Outing

First Outing

 

The Destination

The Destination

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The Purchase – Dahon D7HG

Sunday July 27, 2008

Bought on Saturday 26th of July 2008, this ‘machine’ represents my first folding bike and my first new bike in… probably around 18 years.
[Edit, 17th August 2008 :: My full review of the bike is here]

I bought the D7HG from Fudges Cycle Store in Paddington, west London. The journey across London on the Saturday afternoon took about an hour and a half and the traffic wasn’t too bad (by London standards).

Across London from North Kent (GPS track)

Across London from North Kent (GPS track)

Around some of Londons busiest roads

Around some of London's busiest roads

I had travelled there with the aim of buying a folding bike as part of a cost-saving/eco-friendly/fitness-maintaining philosophy. My target for the afternoon’s spending was a Dahon Curve D3, a small, relatively cute looking bike which I thought would suit me well. It wasn’t going to be the pink one which is shown on the Dahon website, rather the more popular, and available, red. Fudges were the only place I could find who had them in stock – even the bigger places like Evans Cycles and Wiggle were out of stock, whereas Fudges had 15!

I’d spent some time browsing the web for information about these Dahon bikes and found only a few decent reviews which I thought were helpful.  I found Kent’s Bike Blog to be useful and it was great to read about his experiences with the Curve D3.

Getting to the shop in about an hour and a half (about 40 miles) I was relieved to find a parking space within 100 yards of the shop, just down the side street to its right.  It was a really hot day and my old car without air-conditioning was not the nicest place to be so it felt good to get out and stretch my legs.

Rounding the corner to the front of the shop I was met by a large display of new bikes and there, right at the front, was the little Curve D3.  “Cool”, I thought, “looks nice”.  Fudges had quite a few Dahons in stock, it was a great selection and a great shop.  Soon after entering the shop a shop keeper appeared (just like in Mr Ben) and we soon began to discuss the pros and cons of the Curve D3.  Being 6′ tall, he advised me that I would be better off with one of Dahon’s larger models.  Another comment he made was that the 16″ wheels of the Curve D3 made its ride less than perfect and he advised me to go for the larger 20″ wheeled models. 

So before long the Vitesse D7HG was pulled from the rack for a demonstration.  20″ wheels, 7 gear (the Curve D3 has only 3) Shimano Nexus 7 and a few other additional features.  The bike was cobalt colour and there’s a lot of black anodizing which makes the bike a darker machine than the brightly coloured red Curve D3.  I prefer darker colours so this suited my tastes better than the Curve D3.

It wasn’t long before my wallet was out, the card was in the reader, PIN entered, authorised and the bike was in the workshop having a quick check.  Then it was in the boot of my car and we were off – me and my Dahon, together, on the road, going home, our first trip!

The Dahon D7HG (Dahon image)

The Dahon D7HG (Dahon image)

 

YouTube video showing the folding and unfolding of the D7HG:

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Birth

Saturday July 26, 2008

Welcome to the new blog.  Having just bought my first Dahon bike I thought I’d keep a blog of my progress with it and hopefully what I post will be of some help to others out there who are thinking of entering the world of the folding bike.

It’s Saturday night and my sparkling new Dahon Vitesse D7HG is standing in my hallway.  Having traveled through London this afternoon to buy it, I am now tired and have yet to try the bike out on my home turf.  It’s been a very hot day in London and as I sat in traffic with the D7 in the boot, I thought about the how much quicker I’d get home if I just dumped the car at the side of the road and sped off on the bike.  (I could never live in London)

So, that’s the first post.  My camera battery is charging and tomorrow I’ll take some photos and post my initial experiences in my life with the bike.

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