Last year, I made a comparison between Brompton and Dahon to find out which is the best folding bike manufacturer. I favored Dahon because they make high-quality bikes for a much lower price. Since then, I’ve tested more Dahon bikes and some of them are even at the same price range as Brompton. Therefore, the price tag is no longer a clear advantage when comparing the two manufacturers. Let’s see which is the better choice now.
Some notable releases by Dahon in the last year include the Dahon Jifo Uno, EEZZ D3, and the new Dahon Curl. These are built to compete with Brompton as all of them have the same 16-inch wheels.
The Dahon Curl looks like a blatant clone of the Brompton. We are seeing exactly the same folding mechanism with a flip-fold rear wheel. However, the frame geometry of the Curl looks really weird. Personally, I prefer the classic and minimalist look of the Brompton, with the subtle curve in the main tube. As compared to a 3-speed Brompton, the Curl has almost the same price while there is no clear advantage. Therefore, Brompton is obviously a better choice in this case.
The Dahon Jifo Uno is the lightest, smallest and cheapest folding bike in the comparison but I don’t recommend the bike. It is $300 cheaper than the single-speed Brompton S1E but the design, build quality and performance are rated way lower than Brompton. Besides, the Jifo is too short and small, so it becomes impractical for tall riders.
The Dahon EEZZ D3 is probably the closest competition but it still falls behind. The bike has 3 gears but the gear inches are quite low, so it can’t compete with a Brompton in terms of speed. Again, the EEZZ is built for cyclists with average heights only; tall riders will find the cockpit cramped and uncomfortable for long rides.
Overall, Dahon has made some expensive bikes with 16-inch wheels but none of them could be on the same standard as Brompton. I prefer Brompton in the high-end category not just because of the better design and performance, but also because the resale value is still very high after years of usage. Besides, the design of Brompton almost doesn’t change over the years, so you can easily buy accessories and replacement parts.
Obviously, Dahon has done a much better job with bigger 20-inch folding bikes. I’ve used some cheaper Dahon bikes like Mariner, Vybe, or Qix D8 and I’ve never had to bring them to a repair shop. The riding quality and comfort of those bikes are also equal or even better than Brompton. Therefore, if you don’t really need a compact fold, those Dahon bikes are totally worth your consideration while not breaking the wallet.
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