Folding bikes: Great leap forward

U.S. folding bike maker Dahon reports record bike sales in 2007, with 348,000 folding bicycles sold in 2007 compared with 290,000 in 2006, representing a 20% increase in unit sales and 36% increase in revenue.

Dahon’s increased sales in the U.S. and worldwide are part of a larger trend of increased sales of commuter bikes. In spite of recession (or perhaps because of it?), “one sector of the economy that did surprisingly well in 2007 was bicycle sales.” Something that may take some wind out of that trend, though, is the news that prices are expected to increase this year on everything throughout the bike industry — from semi-finished product suppliers; component makers up to bike manufacturers. U.S. prices are expected to be raised by at least 10 to 15% because of the rapidly falling dollar, inflation in Asia, and higher raw material and shipping costs.

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0 thoughts on “Folding bikes: Great leap forward”

  1. Peter Wang says:

    I recently tried out my new Dahon Vitesse on my 25 miles round-trip commute. It was slow, and the ergonomics weren’t right… but it did work. I’m glad I have it. It’s easy to take onto a crowded transit vehicle.

  2. Heather says:

    I love my Dahon Curve SL! I use it to ride from the ship I am to all over Norfolk, Va. Another bonus is if the ship is docked in a secure area, I can just fold up my bike to get through the turnstyle. I bring it into resturants, the mall, and grocery stores. I rode it 13 miles yesterday from Norfolk to Chesapeake to Portsmouth and then the ferry back to Norfolk. The saddle is pretty comfortable ( I didn’t have to switch it out like the one that came with my cannondale). The only problem is if the wind gets blowing, it is hard to get into a crouched position.

  3. SF Bike Commuter says:

    I ride several different bikes for my commute. One of my favorite is my Bike Friday NWT which is set up as a fixed gear. I recently added a Surly Dingle Cog to the rear wheel and a second chain ring up front which gives me a hill climbing gear and a cruising gear. The Bike Friday bikes are fun to ride and can be custom built to fit like your favorite “regular” bike. The upside is that when I travel I can bring it along.

  4. Josh says:

    I have the Dahon Jack, and it is great – and it was a steal at $460, I think. It’s absolutely necessary for my 60-mile, bike-train-bike commute, and pretty damn good for around-town errands and jaunts that don’t necessarily require a folder. Every time I take it on the train I get friendly inquiries, and when I explain my commute, people say, “Man, I should start doing that!”

  5. Anonymous says:

    @Peter: I hope you are not under 5’2″ or taller than 6’4″!
    The 20″ wheel Dahon Vitesse is one-size-fits-all and you should be able to get a comfy setup. I had to move the seat forward a lot further forward than ‘mid-rails’, and seat height is quite critical (tip-toes only) if I am not to get a bad lower back.
    I manage 25 miles a day on a Vitesse, and now all the other bikes stay in the garage, never to emerge. My commute does involve a train (hence the uptake of the folder) and I am truly amazed at how much I prefer the small wheel to the big wheel. I would never have thought it, but that is the situation. I quite enjoy being laughed at by ‘big-bike’ cyclists, what with their ‘that’s not a bike!’ attitudes.

  6. Quinn says:

    a few things bug me about folding bikes
    weight- my 29er is lighter than a lot of them- what’s the use of it folding if its heavy to carry around.
    wheels- I commute on my road bike or my 29er, not my 26er for a reason, I can only image 20″ wheels .o0(IM Not Lance)
    the geo/ergo- those have to be the weirdesy riding bikes!

  7. Fritz says:

    The ride on small wheels is squirrelly, even on those bikes that claim to ‘ride like a normal bike.’ Some folders are downright uncomfortable to ride because of the “one size fits all” geometry.

    But keep in mind that most of these folders (there are exceptions) are meant for short distance rides only to get you literally that last mile to and from the bus stop or train station. Many folding bikes roll around so carrying is minimal, and like I mentioned elsewhere carrying a 30 lb folding bike is easier than carrying a 22 lb full size bike because they’re actually designed to be carried.

  8. ha1ku says:

    They’re squirrelly for maybe the first two rides around the parking lot. Then you get used to the handling and they really do steel well as their larger-wheeled brethren.

    I’m riding my second Dahon — a 2008 Speed TR. My commute to the office is only 3.5 miles each way. The gear range on this model really helps with the hills.

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