Posted on August 13, 2013

IMG-20130813-WA0009After winning a competition as a team in the workplace, we received our prize, a folding bike. The bike that we won was a Dahon Vybe City Bike/Urban Concept Bike. Since we are a ‘green’ company, we were pleased that we had won a pool bike for the office.

No one in the office has ridden or used a folding bike before so we decided to put it to the test and see what was different about a folding bike. Well to start, this bike can fold up and be stored away in a smaller space than an ordinary bike can.

This compact design can be folded down so you can store it in a cupboard, under the stairs or in the back of your car. The design allows the user to IMG-20130813-WA0005take it on a tram or bus folded up so they don’t take up a lot of space.

If you have never used a folding bike before, you may think that it isn’t easy to fold or unfold.

Folding bikes were made for those people who wanted to cycle to work as well as catch the bus or tram, so the bike had to be lightweight to allow the user to carry it easily and it has to be easy and quick to fold/unfold. With a few simple clips, you can unfold the bike in 15 seconds according to the Dahon website. You only need to lock two parts to the bike into place, the frame and the handle bars.

Features of the bike

The handles are made from rubber and have carved grooves for our fingers to sit. The cushioned rubber makes it comfortable to grip and hold on to IMG-20130813-WA0006whilst steering. The handle bars can be adjusted to how you want using the clip in the middle of the bar, to prevent any wrist ache on long journeys.

The gear display on the right handle bar could be clearer and bigger. Unless you have the bars at the right angle, it is hard to see which gear you are on. Making the green dial smaller may have helped this problem and the transparent cover being less shiny would have improved this display.

The seat can be adjusted just like any other bike, but if you need it to be quite low, remember to bring it back up before you put the stand back into the slot. The seat was quite uncomfortable at first, but the more it is used, the seat may soften up a bit.

IMG-20130813-WA0015The aesthetics of the bike are incredibly attractive. The colour scheme may be simple but the splashes of light blue add that smart look that many people look for. When we first looked at the bike when it has been unfolded, we thought that the bike looked ‘funny’ at first. The wheels are quite small (20 inches in diameter) in proportion to the height of the seat and the handle bars. In a way, even though it looks weird, it is an attractive weird and if the bike was any bigger, it would be too heavy to carry.

The Test

After analysing the bike, we then tested it on four types of terrain. Obviously the bike is made to ride smoothly on paths and roads so we tested in on grass, stone, mud and a combined field.

Riding on grass with this bike was a difficult task as the wheels are smooth and haven’t got many deep grooves in the tyres to help it along. We found it was hard work, even if we did change gears. This may have been the result due to the grass being long and damp or that the bike simply wasn’t up to the task.

The second terrain was a stone and mud combined footpath. This was easier than expected apart from the big stones and the dips in the ground. It was a bit of a bumpy ride but the bike could handle the shock bumps. If we needed to use the breaks, we would of flown over the front of the bike. The brakes are very sharp and bring the bike the a sudden stop.

The final terrain was a combined field. Of course we had permission to take the bike onto the field and we gave it a quick go. The ruts in the ground where the combine had been made it difficult to keep a steady balance and plus the ground was quite damp so the bike kept sinking in. After a while, it was a pleasant ride up and down the field, then we headed back to the office.

In conclusion, the bike can get you from A to B, if you put the effort in. The bike could be improved with a set of wheels that can handle rough terrain but overall, if you need a lightweight, compact bike that gets you to work and back, this is the bike for you.

To visit the Dahon website click here