Dahon Formula S18—Still on the Hot List.
As the Dahon Formula S18 production run comes to a close, they still have the modern feel you look for in a folding bike. Light, racy and smooth, it oozes technology not always seen at this price point. That, and as the final warehouse stocks sell out, they have dropped the entry fee considerably. I know this has me jazzed up, so I would be hard pressed to think you wouldn’t feel the same. Let’s hop on this Dahon and see what makes it tick and why riding it is so fun.
As you approach the bike the overall looks are pleasing. Catching sight of the performance oriented Kojak slicks, your eyes move next to the matching pair of disc brakes inside. Stout spokes and rims connect the two with the help of some black anodized hubs to match. With such small wheels (20”) the brake rotors appear massive, yet are what might be more or less the standard size for spirited riding. Yes, they work better than you really need.
Also mired in the wheel set area you spy a whole bunch of gears, 18 by my count. Do you really need so many? I didn’t use every one, but you might. What I did use is just enough to get me up every hill I attempted and power back down them (yet don’t get the impression I am some pro racer type). The easy cruising I did kept me mostly in the middle gears, yet when I wanted more, the easy to use thumb shifters responded without any hiccups. To clarify, there are 2 rings in the front and 9 in the back, that equals 18. Easy math and easy shifting, good deal.
I found the cockpit and its adjustments to fit every rider I offered it to. This bike has a variable height handlebar stem that really can make or break your fit. On the whole I don’t like these as they add just a tad of flex (almost not noticeable) in the bike, yet having the ability to make a bike with one size fit almost all is a good thing. The quick-release on the handlebars lets you rotate them easily, either for finding the sweet spot on the grips (ergo) and brake handles when you ride, or to help make the fold more compact.
Like most 20” folding bikes nowadays, it breaks down to a reasonably small size quickly and easily. A strong magnet holds it all together when folded. Both the handlebar and frame latches have safety catches to give you peace of mind during your time in the saddle. The pedals fold too, giving this package a smaller ease of transport and security.
Most of you reading this know of the how’s and whys of folding bikes. My wife and I just love what they do for us around town, and on longer trips out of town they are especially handy. There have been so many times they have made our riding lives better it is impossible to list them all. People who live and work in high-rises can really attest to their greatness. RVer’s and boaters can do the same. Then again, everyday riders can use all their conveniences to their advantage too.
Another cool thing about this test is that the Dahon rep brought us a pair of bikes to ride. Most who follow my writings know that my wife and I both ride a lot and do tons of group rides with friends. On our own bikes, I have worked to basically have matching pairs of bikes of the different types we like. Many of these bike tests come in twos, and to our happiness, this one has been no different. Cheers to Kim for setting us up through the holidays with an awesome pair of Dahons, this Formula S18 and a yet to be released Mu SL (you can read that post here on my site too).
So here we are riding these two bikes to events, on group rides, and with friends. We switched off many times so we could both get the feel of each bike. To tell you the truth, neither of us could pick a favorite between the two. Many got a chance to try both bikes and some did seem to have a preference for this Formula S18. I think it was either the disc brakes or the adjustable handlebar height that did the trick there.
We took them to the local bike coalition’s Holiday Joy Ride / annual meeting. We took them to a friend’s party aboard his boat at the marina. We even rode them to a couple bike shop grand openings after I mounted red, white and blue LightMeUp Safety Lights on them (that was extra cool, check out the videos I did on that). Every time we rode these two white Dahons people thought they were great and many got a chance to crank the pedals to see for themselves.
In fact I was just down at the corner mini-mart during a break from writing this post. A nice little old lady just couldn’t stop saying how great it was. I folded it down to size to show her the way that worked and she really lit up. She was amazed by the bike, its look and the way it folds. I didn’t think I was going to get a chance to leave as she went on about the bike’s features. Maybe she will get one soon, who knows?
That’s just the way it is on a quality, good looking folding bike like this. Everywhere we take them people see the light on the convenience, security and ease of transport they offer. I did years ago and it just keeps getting better with each ride and travel trip we go on. Dahon has been in business of folding bikes for longer than I know, so you have got to figure they know what their doing and get it right.
Even though this Formula S18 is falling off their roster soon, it’s not to late to jump aboard, and at a perfect price too.
Go Dahon, Turbo Bob.
“Life is like a ten speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use.”—Charles M. Schulz.
Dahon on the web and Facebook
LightMeUp Safety Lights on the web and Facebook
Videos I’ve posted with and about the Dahon Formula S18—there are more, look for them if you like.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgc8wBshYmM There are 5 in this group