Now includes additional information based on one year of use.
In December, 2000, I moved home from a Villa to a Flat. No room to store my Dawes 24 speed cycle, so sold it. After much searching, including the Foldsoc web-site, I decided on a Raleigh Phillips folder that could be stored in the boot of my car. The Raleigh Phillips is in reality a Dahon Boardwalk. A very good and cheap bike for short runs and town use, but for my purposes – touring - neither high enough nor low enough gearing. Fitted a new freewheel, but still not what I wanted.
During 2001 I found out about the Dahon Speed Pro and ordered one. It was finally delivered on 1st May, 2002, thanks to Mark Bickerton of Cyclemotion, Tunbridge Wells. I am led to believe that the one I received was the very first one off the UK assembly line.
If you care to look at the Dahon.com web-site, International Folders, Speed Pro, you will see a credit there from myself stating that the Speed Pro is a “Dream Machine”. I stand by that recommendation.
I am 70 years of age and no technical expert on cycles, but for me this cycle is a true dream to ride. Main reason, the excellent SRAM gear system – 8 derailleur plus 3-speed hub – giving 24 – with a gearing range of 22 inches to 112 inches.
When cycling you choose one of the 3 hub gears, uphill, level or downhill and then adjust the derailleur to suit the actual road conditions. What a joy to cycle along a level road in the middle hub gear, come to a slight rise and just slip down a derailleur. You reverse the process when a slight downhill appears - the same for uphill or downhill hub gearing. For major hills, no fiddling with the derailleur, just slip the hub gear into uphill or downhill as required. The sealed hubs are very smooth and free running. With tyres at 100 psi there is no drag that I can detect.
The difficulty and judgment of changing derailleur gears before a hill or after stopping is well known. Well, not with the Speed Pro. If you were to ride up to a complete halt in top hub and top derailleur gears, all you do is come to a halt. While halted you change down the hub to the lowest (uphill) and then you can set off quite easily without changing the derailleur. The Hub gear changes effortlessly whether under pressure or not.
In addition, the Speed Pro has adjustable handlebars with a quick release lever for raising and lowering. Be aware that, if only using the quick release, you do need to ensure that the quick release lever in firmly set before setting off. The handlebars can also be set and firmly locked by use of the fitted internal normal style expander bolt. The angle of the handlebars can also be set lower or higher as required. The Cane Creek bar ends are very comfortable in use.
The fitted saddle is very comfortable. For my bike I additionally purchased the Cane Creek “Thudbuster” saddle suspension unit accessory and find it really comfortable on a long tour. My last one was just the other day, 54 miles between 9.30 am and 3.30 pm. No “Numb Bum” !
Almost all of the bolts on the Speed pro are for Hexagonal Allen keys, so no need to carry lots of differing sized spanners, just a set of Allen Keys.
The Speed Pro really has to be ridden a few miles in order to appreciate the smoothness of changing and the range of the gearing.
As I tour quite a bit my bike came complete with Mudguards and Rear Carrier.
The only fault – if it is that – is that for touring I require a Water Bottle and there are no fittings for this on the Speed Pro. However, I overcame that by fitting a Bottle Cage, using plastic ties, on the Head Post at an angle of 45 degrees to the right. This position allows folding with no interference with other parts when folded and so far it has worked well.
No disrespect to other makes of folding bikes, but this Speed Pro is a winner as far as I am concerned and I hope that I live for many years yet to enjoy it !
As I said last year and again repeat, my Speed Pro is a "Dream Machine". However, I have carried out a little "customisation".
I like to tour and, at my age (70), doing 50/60 miles a day is really most enjoyable with my Speed Pro.
I enjoyed the article by Geoff Dabbs and entirely agree with his favourable comments in regard to Mark Bickerton.
You can find out more about Dahon at http://www.dahon.com and http://www.dahon.co.uk.
Additional comments and pictures can be found on Tim Pestridge's web site at http://www.pestridge.com/transport/speedpro.html.
It's always great to hear from a really enthusiastic owner, whatever the make of folder. The 3x8 (or the earlier 3x7) SRAM/Sachs gearing system is of course not unique to this Dahon - it is used on a number of other folders and separables.
After this enthusiastic review, I contacted Mark Bickerton at Cyclemotion. It seems that the Speed Pro is a special edition, and if you want one, you are unlikely to get it now, as demand has exceeded supply! An equivalent from the 2003 range is likely to be available in 2003. Dahon has certainly improved from its earliest days, not only its market image, but more importantly in the actual products it offers. We hope to have some more test reports on Dahons in the very near future. Editor.
Folding Society home page | Test reports
Copyright (C)2003 William Reid
Last updated: 16 May 2003