The Folding Society

The Dahon Boardwalk 6

A report by Geoff Dabbs

My wife and I each have a Dahon Boardwalk6. I have followed Colin Knox's reports with interest. We have had the bikes since August 2001 and they have been used as local transport, half day and full day rides on road and on our local Railway Paths. (We live in County Durham) They have been used in Lille on a city break and for several runs in Normandy last year.

No problems have been apparent apart from one bike occasionally chucking the chain at the front cog. Twice up to last September.

On returning from Normandy we decided to change cassettes to get a lower bottom gear! Our local shop provided and fitted a 14-34 6 speed Mega Range for my wife's bike giving a low of about 30" and the other 5 identical to the standard 6 cassette top 5, and a 13-34 6 speed Mega Range for mine. (I like to think I'm the cyclist.) This entailed a new mech and chain on each bike.

Initial tests were conducted, while awaiting delivery of my cassette, on my wife's bike (the one that had chucked the chain). After mine was done we had a couple of runs out and had repeated examples of loss of chain at the front of my wife's bike. I eventually worked out it was always as it changed to top on a bumpy road.

My local shop tried all sorts of solutions including comparing chain lines, chain tension, chain length and painstaking measurement but the only solution was to select 6 with the pedals stopped then take the 1st half turn of the crank slowly. This I could have lived with but June wanted a more reliable change.

After some looking around I hit on the DMR Chain cage 24.99ukp from wiggle (no connection except a satisfied customer). Problem was the largest diameter clamp is 34.9mm and the outside diameter of the Dahon seat tube is about 40mm (rough ruler job here). I decided I could bodge it and bought one.

After ideas for a hacksaw and file job, on the cage! I realised I could offer the clamp up and use wire to tie across the gap, leaving lots of space in the curves of the clamp. I filled them with a number of wooden cocktail sticks, supported with a jubilee clip and when I couldn't force any more in I used cable ties to hold them firm. A suitable glue painted in to form a waterproof seal completes the job. I can pick the bike up by the cage now. It looks horrible but handsome is as handsome does in my book.

The resulting crawler gear gets me up anything a sensible older cyclist on a base model would expect to climb. IE any hill in Durham city.

We own full size Hybrids and I can honestly say I love to use the Boardwalk. It carries full size panniers at the back a rack pack and a front bag plus lights tools in a seat wedge pack and me! It will and often does tow a Bike Hod, but not with the other luggage. Its lack of a high gear limits the utility on a long ride, we have however covered 20-25 miles at one go. If I'm on the rough I prefer the Hybrid cos I don't feel so guilty about the abuse I dish out. The Dahons really don't like the local Sustrans surfacing!

Perhaps the Dahon Speed Pro on order will fill the higher speed gap. I bought it on the strength of the Boardwalks!

Our thanks to Geoff for providing this report.

Chain throwing can be a real problem - I still haven't resolved a much worse version of the same problem on my Bike Friday New World Tourist, which has occurred since I fitted an 11-34 Megarange, and which afflicts it when changing up almost anywhere in the range, not just into top gear.

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Last updated: 28 February 2003