The Dahon Curl was brought to life from a Kickstarter project last year. The crowdfunding campaign was not really successful but it has caught some attention because of a unique design that is totally different from the previous Dahon bikes. The Dahon Curl i8 was born to compete directly with Brompton bikes, let’s find out if this is really the Brompton killer that we all are waiting for.
Specification & Features
- Wheel Size: 16 inches
- Speeds: 8
- Weight : 13.6kg (29.92lbs)
- Folded Dimensions : 24.8″ x 22.4″ x 12.2″
- Frame: DAHON Patented Flip Frame with Autolatch, Suspension Rear Built-In Carrier/Roller
- Fork: Dalloy aluminum, integrated patented Fusion technology
- Handlepost: Radius Telescope, adjustable, patented Fusion and V-Clamp technologies, forged aluminum
- Wheels: 349mm Lightweight Aluminum Double Wall w/CNC and Schwalbe 35-349
- Drivetrain: Shimano 8-speed Nexus Internal Gear Hub, Revo Twist Shifter
- Brakes: TEKTRO R369 Dual Pivot Alloy Caliper Brakes, DAHON Custom Brake Levers
- Suggested Rider’s Height: 4’7″ – 6’3″ (140-190cm)
- Max Rider Weight : 286lbs (130kg)
Design & Performance
The Dahon Curl i8 has exactly the same folding mechanism as the Brompton‘s. It features the rear triangle flip fold that has been made popular by Brompton bikes. It took them so long to make the bike because they have to wait until the patent expires. And finally, the Curl was launched for the 35th anniversary.
In fact, the Dahon Curl i8 is not a Brompton clone and we all can distinguish the 2 bikes. Dahon aimed to build a better version with some improvements. Are they successful? I expected a lot from the Dahon Curl after seeing the bike at Taipei Cycle, so I was quite excited when I could finally test the folding bike.
My first impression with the bike was not so good. As soon as I took it out of the box, I could see the chain tensioner is broken. I was quite disappointed because that was the first time I received a Dahon with a broken part. Then I had to wait a couple of weeks for the replacement part. When I installed the new chain tensioner, I immediately figured out why it was broken in the first place. If you watch the folding demonstration, you can see that the front wheel is folded back and leans on a plastic holder on the chain tensioner. Therefore, the part can easily be broken during transportation.
This is not the only fault in the folding mechanism. After you lift the bike to fold the rear wheel, you shouldn’t turn the pedals backward because the chain will fall off then.
The cables are not run neatly in unfolded position. The brake and gear cables hang around in front of the Dahon, so they don’t look as tidy as the Brompton.
Last but not least, one of the four wheels on the rear rack is not aligned properly. Therefore, the bicycle can’t stand on its own after I fold the rear wheel. Besides, I also have some trouble when rolling the Dahon in the folded position. I guess the rear rack was bent during shipment and caused the issue.
The bike is not lighter than Brompton. Specifically, it weighs over 29 lbs although the frame is made of aluminum. This is probably because the rear rack is quite heavy and the tubes are made bigger.
Those are all problems with the Curl i8. Apart from them, this is still another decent folder by Dahon. If you get used to the Curl and don’t mess up the folding process, it is not a bad choice.
I prefer using the latches to lock the handlepost and frame since they are much faster. Many people love the red color and the frame geometry, it looks really unique and attractive. Besides, the folded size of the Curl i8 is very small, thanks to the removable saddle and quick-release pedals. I also love the internal rear hub as it looks very clean and requires less maintenance. Shifting the gears is smooth and easy, and you can see the current speed on the gear indicator next to the twist shifter.
The riding comfort is fairly good although the wheels are small and there is no rear suspension block. You will still feel the impact of potholes but there is no difference when riding on paved roads. The bike is stiff and I don’t see any frame flex at all.
Another advantage of the Curl i8 is that Dahon manages to raise the rider’s weight limit to 286 lbs, which is about 18% higher than most folding bikes on the market.
- Fast folding & unfolding process
- Small folded size
- Internal rear hub
- Comfortable ride
- Higher maximum load
- Some drawbacks in the folding mechanism
It’s very difficult to justify the premium price tag of the Dahon Curl i8. It is even more expensive than many Brompton models even though its folding mechanism is inferior to that of the competitor. The bicycle is built for die-hard Dahon fans who want to own the 35th-anniversary version, we at BikeFolded.com don’t recommend it at the moment.