Brompton and Dahon are the biggest folding bike manufacturers on the planet. If you are considering between the 2 brands, let’s check out their differences. We’re comparing their most popular models, the single-speed Brompton S1E and Dahon Speed Uno.

If you are looking for a compact folding bike, the Brompton is obviously a better choice because it is smaller and lighter. The folded size of the Brompton is 22.2″ x 21.5″ x 9.8″ and it weighs just 22.4lbs while the Dahon’s dimensions are 30.3″ x 25.2″ x 11.8″ and the weight is 24.2lbs.

Many riders are satisfied with engineering quality as Brompton pays extreme attention to quality and workmanship. However, the Dahon’s frame is very sturdy as well. DAHON uses drawn 4130 Chromoly steel, which is 60% stronger than high-tensile steel. Besides, the Brompton’s folding mechanism with clamps and bolts are outdated, It is subpar as compared to the fast-release lattice-forged hinge with Visegrip technology on Dahon.


Most importantly, you will have to sacrifice the riding experience for the small folding size. The performance of 16-inch wheels on Brompton is nowhere near that of 20-inch wheels. You shouldn’t use the Brompton to ride to work because it is designed for short trips. It is great for multi-modal commuting as you can easily bring it onto any bus or train. I successfully brought the Brompton to an airplane but it is not guaranteed and I also hate troubles at security gates. You can check out my tips to bring a folding bike onto an airplane here.

Last but not least, the Brompton is extremely expensive. At the moment, I can buy 2 or 3 decent Dahon bikes for the same cost of 1 Brompton.

Overall, it’s better to pick a folder that best fits your personal needs. You should buy a Brompton bike if you need a small folded size while the Dahon is better for longer and leisure rides. Dahon is a bigger manufacturer, they spend more on R&D, so you can see that the frame and folding mechanism are also more advanced. I’d recommend you to test ride as many bikes as you can to find out the most suitable one. If you can’t, check out our comprehensive reviews on BikeFolded website.

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  1. I agree that we should buy a folder that suits our needs, but the part about Dahon being a larger company and that it spends more on R&D ars new information to me. What is your definition of larger and how much do both companies spend on R&D? Have you heard of recalls for Dahon bikes before in the past?

    • Hi,
      I looked at the sales number and interests on Google Trends. Brompton takes just a tiny fraction in the market.
      In 2014, Brompton sold 45,000 bikes while Dahon’s sales reached nearly 1 million bikes. Dahon is a huge manufacturer and I’m surprised they haven’t got any recall in the last 7 years.

  2. If you are thinking about buying a Dahon folding bike… I’ve had 2 catastrophic failures with my Dahon MU XL Sport. First – the handle post snapped off at the base. It took a very long time to get a replacement under warrenty and they sent the wrong part. I couldn’t get a response from Raleigh UK after that and just bought a replacement elsewhere. Second – the fork stem snapped off at the handle bar stem end. It’s now out of it’s 5 year warranty. This wasn’t a cheap bike and has not inspired much confidence in manufacturing or perhaps engineering. Glad I’m still alive really.

  3. Dahon Speed Uno is a better bike than Brompton, Brompton has flex in a frame, Dahon is strong and solid, Brompton build is better than Dahon, brassed frame is much better made, but Dahon still the better bike overall.

    • my bike is 7 years old and a bit tatty but it does 1,500 to 2,000 miles a year, has be assembled/ disassembled 3/4 times a day, every day, has travelled to many countries and cities and still works. I don’t think a Dahon would have lasted more than a couple of years of that abuse.

  4. I am shocked by the generalisations made in this piece. Either you are simply not a cyclist or you are biased in your review. I have been cycling for 40 years and for the past 6/7 years I have been commuting using a Brompton. I used to cycle 30 miles round trip but as I am older the 10+ miles I do as part of a multi-modal commute are more than enough. You say that Bromptons should;d not be used for any distance. What made me buy a Brompton was the fact that the first time I ever sat on one was when I cycled 120 miles on an overnight trip. I was amazed by how such a ‘toy’ could take me that distance with minimal compromise against my road bike. You are slower but not by much, it is a proper bike. Everything else you say about R&D and the like is nonsense. Brompton has the real deal, updated and refined but of a 45 year old design which was ‘right out of the box’. How come Dahon can not get close? well they do not have the engineering integrity which makes the Brompton so good. Simply if you have the money buy a Brompton, if not buy a cheaper and less capable brand.

  5. I have a Tern and a Dahon . Comparing the two bikes the Tern is far more solid . The quality of the build is much better. The Brompton bike will hold its value far better than a Dahon. I would be lucky to get $200 for my lightly used Dahon.

  6. I have a Dahon Speed and can say that it’s an excellent bicycle. I’ve upgraded it to drop-bars because those are the only type that I want my bicycles to have, but, I feel that I’ve made the right choice. The 50mm road tires that it comes with make a huge difference for small wheels. You can actually ride at ‘road bike’ speeds with them if your bicycle has the gearing for it. The Dahon Speed is a very upgradeable bicycle in every aspect, other than the front hub which uses the Brompton-standard 74mm. I like this bicycle so much that I’ve lost interest in the larger sizes that I used to ride (700c). I’m now looking to get a 16″ foldie, after learning that 50mm road tires come in that size as well. It will be another side-folding frame because those can be rolled while folded.

  7. I tried a Brompton and didn’t like it.
    I bought an Airnimal. It’s a real bike and works very well, it’s folded size is much larger than a Brompton or Damon but I get on the train with it go to France and cycle your using the bike and trains.
    Try one !

  8. My family has used a secondhand Dahon for over 10 years (we don’t know its actual age) with my dad clocking the most miles on it and other family members taking it out for social cycling events. It still runs smoothly with no issues but my dad also maintains it every week or so. My dad swears by Dahon for its value-for-money and has even converted some Brompton friends over, but i do agree the build for more recent Dahon models somehow doesn’t feel as solid as the one we have. Yes our Dahon is a heavy chunk to lug around even on wheels, but its pretty indestructible – we were trashing it as teens and it survived our best efforts, so i think it can really be considered for people on a budget.

  9. On my second. Dahon, but the handle bar Post cracked after a couple of years on both. The first one was repaired under warranty and lasted 10 years. The last one just snapped after 3 years and I was lucky I was not going fast when it happened. I see I am not the only one this has happened to. I would think twice about buying another one.


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