Best Bike Reviews / 2013 Dahon Vitesse D3 folding bicycle with 3-speed planetary bushing Sturmey Archer review

2013 Dahon Vitesse D3 folding bicycle with 3-speed planetary bushing Sturmey Archer review

Складной велосипед Dahon Vitesse D3 2013 с 3-скоростной планетарной втулкой Sturmey Archer
The Dahon Vitesse D3 folding bike is distinguished by its good technical characteristics, price and quality ratio.

If you came to the store to buy a good practical folding bicycle with a planetary hub and trunk, the model Dahon Vitesse D3 is a worthy choice in its class. It cannot break speed records, boast a folding mechanism and general specifications, but it is a good enough bike that will serve you for years. Until now, it was impossible to buy a folding bike with similar characteristics at a price of 460 dollars. On a parity of the price and quality to it is not equal to it.

If you came to the store to buy a good practical folding bicycle with a planetary hub and trunk, the model Dahon Vitesse D3 is a worthy choice in its class. It cannot break speed records, boast a folding mechanism and general specifications, but it is a good enough bike that will serve you for years. Until now, it was impossible to buy a folding bike with similar characteristics at a price of 460 dollars. On a parity of the price and quality to it is not equal to it.

In the cycling industry, the company Dahon occupies the same place as Ford in the automotive industry – a large range of models and huge sales around the world. Folding bicycles Dahon do not concern bicycles of a super class are bicycles for usual people. They are not as compact as Brompton, riding them is not as extreme as riding them on Friday bikes, but they have an excellent value for money. The cost of Dahon Vitesse bikes continues to fall. Thanks to a new factory in China, Dahon has been able to reduce prices in recent years. They used to cost more in the European market than in the world market, but now the prices are the same all over the world.

The Dahon Vitesse folding bicycle series

The Dahon Vitesse series really resembles a Ford Focus car – quite economical, quite fast and extremely practical. In many ways, this bike is the successor of the immortal model Dawes Kingpin, the first folding bike with 20-inch wheels, from which a number of unsuccessful folding bikes were made. In the 1980s, they significantly damaged the reputation of folding bikes. This was indeed a failure, but since then there have been significant changes over the last 30 years and the Vitesse bikes have been completely devoid of the shortcomings of their predecessors. In fact, the only thing that connects the Vitesse D3 to its ancestors now is a reliable 3-speed planetary bushing Sturmey Archer, which is now manufactured in Taiwan rather than Nottingham. Sturmey Archer was able to return to the market a few years ago, when its owners almost liquidated the brand and production.

Another key component of the Vitesse D3 is the lightweight and well-processed frame. A few years ago, buyers with a small budget could not even dream of a frame of high quality. But now, thanks to the very low wages of Chinese workers and huge production volumes, such quality frames are put even on the lower price range. It is not known how long this fair of generosity will last, but even if China starts to raise wages, Dahon will most likely move production to Vietnam or Cambodia. The price of Dahon bikes will increase only if the salaries are increased in these countries, as countries with such low wages will no longer remain. Fortunately, the economic and political consequences of this situation are beyond the scope of this article.

Testing Dahon Vitesse D3 on the road

The first impression that Vitesse D3 makes on the customer is its low weight. Due to the relatively large size of the Dahon Vitesse D3 bike, it is not possible to believe that it is light at first. It weighs only 12.7 kg. On this parameter it certainly cannot compete with Brompton bikes, which weight makes 11 and 12,5 kg, but the difference is rather insignificant.

On a three-speed bike, the transmission ratio is always a compromise. With grey market in mind, Dahon has set itself the goal of equipping the Vitesse with low gears and has chosen 42″, 56″ and 74″ gear ratios. Of course, the maximum gear ratio of 74″ is too low for this nimble, lightweight bike. But when you’re shopping a lot under the hill, you can’t do without a 42″ gear ratio.

The control

The control is not too outstanding, but it is impossible to name it as well as difficult – we have not found neither obvious lacks, nor obvious pluses. A good sign is that you can ride this bike with relaxed hands. It’s very unusual for small wheeled bikes. Standard size 20 x 1.5 tyres contribute to the handling of the bike. The only small drawback is that the handlebar stem setting is not working properly. This problem can be easily solved, but before you pay for your bike, make sure that the dealer has set it right.

Thanks to a pair of suitable Kenda Kwest tyres, the rolling resistance is quite low. During the test drive, the pressure on the front wheel was 50 pounds per square inch, and on the rear wheel – the maximum recommended pressure of 65 pounds per square inch. Our impression of the Vitesse D3 is that it is inferior to the best folding bicycles with 20-inch wheels.

The adjustment of the bike landing is very limited: the steering wheel height is adjustable, the saddle height is within 101 cm and its longitudinal position. In practice, 90% of cyclists will be able to make these adjustments. A bicycle may not be suitable only for those with long legs and/or short arms.

Brakes

Thanks to our new digital gravity meter, we have been able to accurately measure the effectiveness of the brakes. Gravity is equivalent to acceleration (stopping) and is measured in a gravity constant (G). Modern vehicles can produce more than 1G of braking force thanks to the four chain tyres on a suitable dry surface. But two-wheeled bikes, such as the Dahon, cannot boast of such a performance. The bike stops long before the 1G mark is reached. Usually the average value for the rear brake is 0.36G and for the front brake is 0.72G (you can then fly over the steering wheel).

These forces must not be added up. We will not get the braking force of 1.08G at the strongest braking, as the rear wheel is not actually involved in braking due to the separation of the rear wheel from the ground. Thus, the maximum braking force of the Vitesse D3 bike is 0.72G. To find out how good this figure is, you will have to try out a few more bikes. Ultimately, the maximum braking force is measured, not the efficiency of the braking system, which may also require measuring the efficiency of the brake arms.

Despite the fact that the manufacturer is not aware of this, the indirect brakes work perfectly. Although there are problems with the rear brake due to the curved S-shaped cable, which leads to uneven braking. Both the front and rear brakes can only be adjusted directly on the wheel. This is a common problem with all Dahon bikes. Of course, a good salesman will warn you about this problem in advance, but many people don’t. Brake handles can be adjusted, especially if you have short hands, the main thing is not to lose the adjusting screw.

Specifications and equipment Dahon Vitesse D3

Dahon Vitesse D3 2013 ($460)

Weight 12.7 kg
Volume in folded condition 190 l
Dimensions in folded state Length 83.8 cm, height 67.3 cm, width 33.7 cm
Transmission 3-speed planetary bushing Sturmey Archer
Transfer numbers 42″ 56″ 74″
Manufacturer Dahon

As you can see from the table, the Dahon Vitesse D3 folding bike is quite well equipped. It comes with a specific old-fashioned boot with a chrome spring holder, wings, Plexiglas chain protection, footrest, bell and gearshift. All this works perfectly, although we have a few remarks: trouser trouser pants (mostly flared) clinging to the main joints of the bicycle frame, and the Sturmey gearshift is quite heavy and uncomfortable. Bicyclists with small or weak hands may prefer the old, unrivalled 1937 model of the switch … for older cyclists it may cause nostalgia. The planetary hub itself does not need to be adjusted, but we had to deal with the gear shift.

Dahon folding mechanism

To begin with, it is the standard Dahon bicycle mechanism when the steering wheel is folded to the left and then the frame is folded in half to the left. But on the Vitesse models there is an inconvenient moment, because in order to prevent pollution by the brake levers of the stand or floor, it is also necessary to turn the steering wheel. Due to the need to turn the handlebars, the system is not well thought out, as the brake handles are too high and the gear indicator too low. When folded down, after folding the brakes and the rudder switch, you can still turn the handlebar into a more comfortable position. This is not very annoying for occasional walks in the park at the weekend, but it is tiring for regular trips to work over time.

Lower the seatpost, fold down the right pedal (standard Dahon “Next” design) and you’ll have a convolution of 83.8 cm x 67.3 cm x 33.7 cm and 190 liters. It’s more cumbersome than a similar Helios model. When folded, the Vitesse D3 bike is approximately as large as a widow’s width as the Brompton folding bikes, which are leaders in the folding mechanism. However, the size of the bike remains acceptable.

Unfolding the bike is quite simple, unless the cables, brake handles and connecting rods are constantly tangled, which can double the unfolding time.

Conclusion

If you come to the store to buy a good folding bike with a planetary hub and trunk, then the model Vitesse D3 is a worthy representative in its class. It will not be able to break records for speed, folding mechanism or overall performance, but it is a pretty good bike. With proper care, it will serve you for years. It would be reasonable for such a model to set a price much higher than 500 dollars, but it is in fact much cheaper and so you will not have any doubts about the expediency of buying this bike.

Of course, it is better to buy a folding Strida or Pashley Micro bike, which is much better than the bike. It will easily squeeze out the Dahon model in quality, but still for bikes of this class you have to pay about a thousand dollars. The Dahon quality ratio is unbeatable.

Advertisements

Check Also

Dahon Espresso: folding bicycle with large wheels review

The Dahon Espresso folding bike is positioned by Dahon as a city bike for adventure. ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *