Dahon_Curl_compact-folding-bike_TPE

Dahon has been talking up their new smallest ever folder – the 18″ wheeled Curl – for quite some time, but announced recently that is has gone into production and will be being test marketed this spring and summer. Dahon openly says that the new Curl starts off based on some of the best flip-folders on the market – specifically the designs of Diblasi and Brompton (all legally they say) – but evolves those designs for what they think is the best riding and most compact folding bike the industry has seen.

Also earlier this year Dahon introduced a new style of vertically folding bike that they call a Jiffold folder that aims to making packing down one of their bikes even easier and faster for regular commuters. Now they’ve taken that design from some of their tiniest-wheeled bikes and brought it up to 20″ wheels for a fast rolling city bike with the Qix D8 and its 5-second fold-down. Get a closer look at both below the fold…

Dahon Curl 18″

Dahon_Curl_compact-folding-bike_comparison

As Dahon tells it, Diblasi was the first to introduce the rear wheel “flip-fold”  bike back in the 1970s, and really forms the basis for their new Curl. By adding on a series of technical innovations, they say the new bike improves on the classic folding designs and certainly results in a smaller package. Like the Brompton the bike splits in the downtube and behind the seat cluster, but the Curl’s curved frame produces a more triangulated middle section improving stiffness and folding smaller.

Dahon_Curl_compact-folding-bike_folded Dahon_Curl_compact-folding-bike_V-coupling

Behind the seat cluster a new V-coupling provides a more reliable and secure joint that eliminates any pedal-induced bobbing effect from play in this connection. Dahon’s new square-to-round tapered ‘handlepost’ (extended steerer+stem) combined with an oversized headtube and massive fork crown greatly improve front-end stiffness. Lastly, a new folding pedal gets a new and improved design that is stronger, longer lasting and actually folds flatter.

Dahon Qix D8

Dahon wanted to build a bike that was as reliable as their other folders, but just as easy to operate whether you were wearing a business suit or jeans and a t-shirt. To do that, their new vertical folding mechanism gets rid of any need to lift the bike. To make it work, just flip a couple of latches, and the bike folds right up with the handlebar neatly tucked off to the side.

Dahon_Qix_vertical-folding-bike_unfolded Dahon_Qix_vertical-folding-bike_folded

The 11.9kg/26.2lb bike uses a flush Vertical Hinge in the alloy Qix frame, paired with an alloy fork, and adds in a neatly placed inline skate wheel on the bike’s integrated rack to make it a breeze to wheel around on the train or into your office. For $1000 the Qix D8 comes built with a 8 speed SRAM X5 rear derailleur and grip shift drivetrain, 20/28 spoke 20” aluminum wheels, and folds down to 81cm x 31cm x 82cm.

Dahon.com

21 comments

  1. Gunnstein on

    Interesting. No word on what rear hubs it supports? The worst thing about Brompton is their lack of decent gearing, and kludges like their 2-speed rear derailer with 3-speed igh. If the Dahon takes standard 135 mm hubs, and survives litigation, it may have the upper hand in tech, probably also cost, though perhaps not in style.

    My favourite folder is still the R&M Birdy.

    Reply
    • typevertigo on

      Most rim-braked Dahons (and Terns for that matter) take 130 mm rear hubs. It’s the front hub they’re proprietary with; 74 mm front hubs are the norm for their bikes.

      Aftermarket support is pretty decent for the narrow front hub width though, at least where I live. LitePro makes hubs and wheelsets, while Shutter Precision/SP make a 74mm front dynamo hub expressly for these bikes.

      Reply
    • Karl Wooldridge on

      The first thing I notice is the lack of rear suspension, which with 16″ wheels and high pressure tyres will lead to an uncomfortable ride (I assume the reference to 18″ wheels for the Brompton and Curl in the image above is a mistake). I also think its disingenuous to muddy the waters with the comparison to the Diblasi – the Curl is clearly a copy of the Brompton with a just a few tweaks to differentiate it.
      In reply to Gunnstein, I have almost 6 years of riding experience with the hybrid gearing system adopted by Brompton and I think it works very well indeed, certainly being simpler to use than a typical dual or triple chainring coupled with a cassette, and providing a decent range of gears for minimal weight (compared to 8-speed internal gear hubs).

      Reply
      • Gunnstein on

        Karl, do you have the numbers on Bromptons 2×3 vs Nexus and Alfine? Would be interesting to know both weights and gear ranges. IMHO nothing is more convenient than a good IGH. And with 135 mm spacing one could also opt for the Alfine 11 or even a Rohloff, for touring gear range. With Brompton you’re pretty much locked into what Brompton offers.

        Reply
        • OFfCourse on

          The Brompton 6 speed gives a 302% gear range resulting in a 33.1-100.0 gear inch range. And can be adjusted up or down from the factory. The Shimano Alfine 8 is 307% if I’m correct. I ride a 6 speed Brommie and it has always had enough range for me. I reside in the bay area and there hasn’t been a hill I can’t climb with it. They also offer a gear reduction or increase from the factory. I’ve had customers who also install a Schlumpf two speed crank to get absolutely insane range. Additionally, the 6 speed drivetrain on the Brompton is lighter and has less parasitic drag than an Alifine hub. Hope that helps Gunnstein.

          Reply
  2. Gear head on

    I do feel the brompton needs an alumium version and maybe even a carbon version with more efficient gearing options.

    Reply
    • OFfCourse on

      Unfortunately, aluminum has way to short of a fatigue life for Brompton’s credentials. They would have to reinforce the frame so much that they weight loss would be negligible and would probably to a degraded ride quality. Carbon would be cool, but when you look at the details in their joints and why they build the frame using the principles that they do, then steel or titanium are the only options. They are a really great company at using the right materials in the right place.

      Reply
      • August on

        I agree, aluminium is not a good choice for such kind of frame. I even think that all this delay in Curl production is due to this choice. I don’t like Brompton for its 3×2 gear system and brakes, I think it is also overpriced, but I must acknowledge the high quality of the frame.

        Reply
    • Gunnstein on

      Chris, never heard of it, cool. Though if I was buying I’d get a Birdy – full suspension and offers IGH.

      Reply
  3. Devonbikester on

    The whole point of folding bikes is that you can use them for commuting with public transport, but a top-heavy folded bike like the Qix on public transport is going to keep falling over unless it is jammed into a suitable rack. On British trains you often just have to leave your bike in the corner of the vestibule. Having to keep getting out of your seat to pick it up would be a right pain.

    Reply
  4. Armin on

    The birdy has a big weakness – its bottom bracket tube just welded at two points and not in a closed traingle. Mine broke after 20 months.
    I would prefer the 20″ wheels because of a better road performance. 18″ is too nervous.

    Reply
    • Gunnstein on

      Armin: Really? Was that a classic Birdy or the cheaper World Birdy?
      I have just tried a Birdy for 5 minutes at a test track, but FWIW it rode great. My Tern with 20″ wheels rides well too.

      Reply
    • Jess on

      i agree, i have the dahon P18 with 20″ tire, i love it, no problem in climbing & speed. 18 speed great ride because the tire is a little bit fat.

      Reply

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