Dahon Boardwalk 6, 20" folder works in Canberra

Discussion in 'Australia and New Zealand' started by Tom Worthington, May 3, 2003.

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  1. My doctor prescribed a bicycle, for mild exercise. What I had in mind was to ride it a couple of
    kilometres on the weekend to the coffee shop. I ended up with a Dahon "Boardwalk 6", 6 speed 20"
    folding bicycle, which has proved far more useful than expected.

    In looking for a bicycle my first thought was to buy a cheap (AU$150)
    pseudo mountain bike from a chain store. But an article in Choice
    <http://www.choice.com.au/articles/a102220p1.htm> suggested you had to pay at least AU$550 for
    something usable.

    Then I found an article in Australian Cyclist <http://www.bfa.asn.au/cyclist/> January/February 2003
    about foldable bicycles. One of these would be handy as I could carry it in my subcompact car on
    trips (a external carrier would be difficult).

    The 24 speed Dahon the AC author raved about is more than AU$1,000
    <http://www.advancetraders.com.au/dahon_speedpro.htm>. But Dahon also make the "Boardwalk 6", a 6
    speed model for AU$499 <http://www.advancetraders.com.au/dahon_boardwalk.htm>. This seems to be
    their cheapest model with gears (smaller ones with fewer gears cost 50% more). As I was only going
    to ride it short distances this seemed usable. But I was still skeptical as to how practical the 20"
    wheels and the folding would be.

    No where in Canberra seemed to stock Dahons, so I went to the Cheeky Monkey Cycle Company under
    Sydney's central station <http://www.cheekymonkey.com.au/>. Their cycle expertise was a bit
    intimidating for someone who hasn't been on one in 15 years. However, the staff were friendly enough
    and loaned me a helmet so I take the demo bicycle for a test spin. It went okay and I came back the
    next day to collect one.

    I had intended to take it folded on the bus, but worked up my courage and rode it a few km from the
    city through the inner western suburbs. Once out of the city centre it was remarkably pleasant along
    bicycle paths I had not known existed.

    Apart from the low price I liked that the bike came with almost everything needed (including a
    luggage rack and mudguards). The only essential I had to add was a bell. Dahon should consider
    offering a small bell as an option, as it was difficult to position an ordinary one in a way which
    did not get snagged in the folding process.

    Apart from fitting the bell I haven't had any problems with the Dahon. The folding mechanism has
    small springs and plastic clamps, but these have not broken so far.

    The bike has no complicated suspension, relying on the 1.5" tyres. This is more than adequate for a
    comfortable ride on Canberra's bike paths. The road tyres look bald compared to chunky mountain bike
    ones, but roll very smoothly and work very well on anything but soft wet steep grass slopes. The six
    gears are adequate, but will not climb mountains or win races.

    The bicycle folds small enough to fit in a subcompact Daihatsu Sirion car boot, so I can take it on
    trips. Having intended to only ride it on the weekend, I found it convenient to ride the km or so
    from home to university, several days a week. Rather than leave it downstairs in the bike shed I
    found it easy enough to fold carry up and leave in the hallway at home behind a screen or under the
    office desk.

    When folded the bicycle seems heavier than when open and is a struggle to carry more than a few
    paces. Getting up stairs is difficult, but manageable and I guess good exercise. It might be
    feasible to transport on and off a train, but a bus could be difficult. Pedals and other parts tend
    to catch on furniture and passers by. There is an option carry bag, but it isn't cheap and would
    still be a large lump to carry. However, the bicycle is small enough to fold and carry into the
    doctor's waiting room so they could see I had followed instructions. ;-)

    Perhaps the novelty of riding will wear off as Canberra's cold winter approaches. But I have found
    it convenient for up to a 30 minute ride on mostly level ground. An attempt to ride 45 minutes up a
    modest hill proved too much. This may be more a problem with me than the bicycle.

    There isn't really anything I could want added or changed on the bike (apart perhaps from removing
    the "Designed in the USA" sticker). There are models with smaller wheels which fold smaller, ones
    with aluminium frames which weigh a bit less and ones with more gears which might go further, but
    these all cost substantially more.

    It occurred to me that if I got a smaller 16" folder and a bigger travel bag I could take it by air
    on my high technology tourist trips, being perfect for getting around Stockholm, Paris, Cambridge or
    even a high speed US Army transport ship <http://www.tomw.net.au/travel/tourist.htm>. But the
    smaller bike wouldn't add much benefit for my normal use.

    I would recommend the Dahon Boardwalk 6 to the non-enthusiast city cyclist.

    pps Thank you to all those who have posted reviews of bicycles and bicycle accessories to the
    Internet. I found these very useful.

    Tom Worthington FACS [email protected] Director, Tomw Communications Pty Ltd ABN: 17 088 714 309
    http://www.tomw.net.au PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617
     
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  2. Mike

    Mike Guest

    Tom Worthington wrote:
    > I ended up with a Dahon "Boardwalk 6", 6 speed 20" folding bicycle, which has proved far more
    > useful than expected.

    Thats a very glowing review, Tom, almost like a press release. I see you are a professional writer.
    Not, I hope, a paid reviewer. But I'm such a skeptic. Thanks for a good review.

    > In looking for a bicycle my first thought was to buy a cheap (AU$150)
    > pseudo mountain bike from a chain store. But an article in Choice
    > <http://www.choice.com.au/articles/a102220p1.htm> suggested you had to pay at least AU$550 for
    > something usable.

    Not really fair. That $550 mountain bike will be far higher quality than the folding bike. Yes thats
    a minimum cost for a "real" MTB, but the Dahon wouldn't last long off-road either. A "pseudo
    mountain bike" with similar-grade components will cost rather less. And will have a much better gear
    range. The truth is that folding bikes cost much more than similar quality regular bikes. (and
    understandably so.)

    > Perhaps the novelty of riding will wear off as Canberra's cold winter approaches.

    Don't give up - its just a matter of dresssing for the weather.

    > I would recommend the Dahon Boardwalk 6 to the non-enthusiast city cyclist.

    I tried these cheaper folding bikes a while back, but found the gear range wasnt enough. If only
    they could do a similar model with an 11-32T cassette instead of the 14-28 cluster, I would
    recommend it to even the more enthusiastic city cyclists.

    Living in Canberra, you are probably more in need of low gears than most of us. Consider that $250
    21-speed from the local bike shop to complement the folding bike.

    --
    make nospam into oz to reply.
     
  3. Mike <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > Tom Worthington wrote:
    > > ... Dahon "Boardwalk 6"... more useful than expected.
    >
    > Thats a very glowing review, Tom, almost like a press release. I see you are a professional
    > writer. Not, I hope, a paid reviewer. ...

    Flattering someone thinks my writing good enough to be paid for, but not the case. I wasn't paid for
    writing about the bicycle. I paid full price for the bike (in fact $1 more than the recommended
    retail price) and didn't receive any inducement, financial or otherwise, to write a review.

    My writing is mostly an unpaid byproduct of being an IT consultant. For the full story read my book
    (free on-line): <http://www.tomw.net.au/nt/>. In a few cases paid material I produce is made public,
    but most of it is confidential reports for companies and government agencies.

    > Dahon wouldn't last long off-road either.

    Yes. I took it down the NSW south coast for a farm stay holiday
    <http://www.australianhomestay.com/pages/New%20South%20Wales/HO_10.html>. It went okay on the dirt
    roads, but was shaking to pieces on the bush tracks (there goes my warranty) and slipped on the
    grass up the hill from the trout lake. But it was fun cycling along with a fishing rod strapped to
    the carrier on the back.

    One problem I have now found is that the gear cable is fraying at the handlebar hinge. Dahon need to
    add some sort of flexible cable guide so the cables don't catch in the hinge. Something like on Neil
    Timms' Bike Friday: <http://neilt.org/cycling/images/cabletidy640x480.jpg> in
    <http://neilt.org/cycling/thissatrday.html>.

    >If only they could do a similar model with an 11-32T cassette instead
    of the 14-28 cluster, I would recommend
    > it to even the more enthusiastic city cyclists.

    Err... getting a bit technical for me. I assume these are gear ratios and provide a lower low gear
    and a higher high gear? If so I agree. The Boardwalk 6 gears seem to be too much the same and I tend
    to skip a few in normal use.

    >Consider that $250 21-speed from the local bike shop to complement the folding bike.

    No, that is my full complement of bicycles for the next decade or so. ;-)

    Tom Worthington FACS tom[email protected] Ph: 0419 496150 Director, Tomw Communications Pty
    Ltd ABN: 17 088 714 309 http://www.tomw.net.au PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617
     
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