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Dahon Folding Bikes Comparison

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Dahon is the largest manufacturer of folding bikes in the world and has existed for over 40 years.

Unlike some folding-bike manufacturers, Dahon makes (and has made) a wide variety of folding bikes using different wheel diameters.

In this article, we review many of Dahon’s most distinctive bikes from the current range. One flagship Dahon model is the Dahon K3 Plus 16” Folding Bike. This combines extremely low weight with a useful gear range and powerful disc brakes.

Which Dahon folding bike is right for you? There’s probably a bike that suits your needs perfectly among the diverse Dahon range.

Top 11 Best Dahon Folding Bikes Reviewed

All of our reviewed bikes are categorized to give you a quick overview of their appeal. They are also placed roughly in order of cost, subject to variation.

Dahon K3 Plus 16” Folding Bike (best lightweight)

Dahon K3 Plus 16” Folding BikePin

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  • Frame Material: Dalloy Aluminum
  • No of Gears: 9 (11-28t)
  • Weight: 21.6 lbs (9.8 kg)
  • Weight Capacity 187.3 lbs (85 kg)

A particularly lightweight folder is the Dahon K3 Plus 16” Folding Bike, but low weight is far from being its only strength. Unlike most Dahon models, the name of this one doesn’t give a clue about the 9-speed gears the bike offers.

Thanks to an 11-28t cassette at the rear and a big 55t chainring at the front, this is a versatile bike in terms of its gearing. The lowest gear is akin to a 34t-28t selection on a full-sized 700c bike (slightly easier), so this is a good climbing bike.

At 21.6 lbs, the K3 Plus is firmly in the ultra-lightweight category of folding bikes. Few multi-geared alternatives will beat it for weight, and that makes it a good choice for train commutes. It does lack fenders, however.

The low weight of the bike is partly achieved through the use of Dahon’s Dalloy aluminum, which Dahon claims is 20% stronger than the usual 6061 aluminum. Stronger materials often mean less weight.

Because the K3 Plus has small 16” (305) wheels, it folds smaller than some 20” models, but the bike is unexceptional in this regard.

A strong plus point for the K3 Plus is the inclusion of disc brakes. These are a luxury on many folding bikes and add weight, but they’re a useful addition on a bike suited to hills. The stopping power is superior to that of rim brakes.

What We Like

  • Lightweight – extremely light for a multi-geared folder.
  • Gearing – versatile gear range & good for hills.
  • Brakes – powerful disc brakes.

What We Don’t Like

  • Folded size – not especially compact for a bike with 16” wheels.
  • No fenders – better for fair-weather riding as it stands.

Dahon Briza D8 Step-Through 24” Folding Bike (easiest to ride)

Dahon Briza D8 Step-Through 24” Folding BikePin

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  • Frame Material: Dalloy Aluminum
  • No of Gears: 8 (11-32t)
  • Weight: 32 lbs (14.51 kg)
  • Weight Capacity 230 lbs (105 kg)

A bike that illustrates the diversity of Dahon’s range is the Briza D8 Step-Through 24” Folding Bike. This is an unusual Dutch-style foldable cruiser with big 24” wheels to ensure a smooth ride on most road surfaces.

Although it has a small 38t chainring at the front, the 11-32t cassette on this bike gives it a useful range that errs on the easy side. It’s meant for relaxed city riding, though you’ll be able to get up steep hills and ride fairly briskly on flat roads if you want to.

The swept-back handlebars on this folding bike promote an upright posture and help achieve a relaxed wrist and arm position.

This is not an ideal multi-modal commuter bike because of its size and weight, but the Briza would make a good choice for vacations, shopping trips, and maybe straight bike commutes if you can store the bike in your workplace (not under a desk).

Like all Dahon bikes, the Briza D8 benefits from the company’s evolved technology. It has Fusion and ViseGrip tech to ensure the bike is rigid at all its hinges and joints. The Dahon Neos derailleur is also specially designed for folding bikes.

What We Like

  • Easy – easy to mount and pedal and a relaxed ride.
  • Gearing – a versatile, wide gear range for this type of bike.
  • Smooth – big 24” wheels create a smooth ride and easy handling.

What We Don’t Like

  • Weight – you pay a weight penalty for all that smooth riding and relaxation.

Dahon Launch D8 20” Folding Bike (best for sturdiness)

Dahon Launch D8 20” Folding BikePin

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  • Frame Material: Dalloy Aluminum
  • No of Gears: 8 (11-32t)
  • Weight: 27.2 lbs (12.37 kg)
  • Weight Capacity 230 lbs (105 kg)

Dahon bikes are generally sturdy machines, laden as they are with patented technology to ensure this is the case. The Dahon Launch D8 20” Folding Bike took that a step further in 2019 with its newly introduced Jaws hinge.

The Jaws hinge is evolved from Dahon’s LockJaw technology. It consists of a set of robust interlocking teeth with notched inner edges. These join together seamlessly, and the hinge is barely noticeable once it’s closed.

The frame of the Dahon Launch is hydroformed. The hydroforming process helps to create complex non-round shapes or uneven contours in a bike frame. It also creates a strong, reliable frame by enabling good control over tube wall thickness.

There’s a useful gear range on the Dahon Launch, too. A big 53t chainring at the front drives an 11-32t Sunrace cassette. The lowest gear offers roughly the same pedaling ease as it would with a compact front 34t chainring on a full-sized 700c bike.

You get Tektro mechanical disc brakes on this bike, which are useful on folding bikes with a wide gear range. It means you can stop promptly when descending a hill in wet weather.

Downsides? The fold isn’t very compact. It’s about 33% larger in volume (cubic inches) than the popular Dahon Mariner D8, for comparison.

What We Like

  • Sturdy – the frame hinge benefits from modern Dahon technology.
  • Gearing – a useful gear range, especially for hilly areas.
  • Brakes – mechanical disc brakes provide powerful stopping.

What We Don’t Like

  • Size – folded dimensions are on the large side.

Dahon Mariner D8 20” Folding Bike (best mid-priced / most popular)

Dahon Mariner D8 20” Folding BikePin

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As a mid-priced, well-equipped bike with an appealing array of features, the Mariner D8 20” Folding Bike is Dahon’s most popular current model. It’s not super-lightweight at 28 lbs, but that’s partly because it comes with fenders and a rear rack as standard.

Like all Dahon bikes, you can presume a high level of evolved technology in this model. It has a robust Sonus tubeset, lattice forged hinge with ViseGrip technology and an adjustable Radius handlebar post with Fusion technology.

This is the model many people would choose for an inter-modal commute, as it’s full of practical features while also folding to a compact size (25″ x 12″ x 31″).

Again, this bike has a useful gear range with a 52t chainring up front and an 11-32t cassette offering 8 speeds at the rear.

The Mariner D8 is an eye-catching bike with its “brushed alloy” silver finish. Like other models, it has steel fork blades that help deliver a smooth ride.

It’s hard to find fault in this bike without resorting to nitpicking. There are many lighter folding bikes and quite a few with a more compact fold (e.g., all Bromptons), but the Mariner D8 stands out for the value it offers.

The Mariner features in our best folding tourer roundup.

What We Like

  • Equipment – fully equipped bike ideal for commutes.
  • Gears – a wide gear range, including easy gears for hills.
  • Compact – more compact when folded than most 20” bikes.

What We Don’t Like

  • Weight – on the heavy side, albeit partly because of fenders & rack.

Dahon Piazza D7 20” Folding Bike (best for urban commutes)

Dahon Piazza D7 20” Folding BikePin

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  • Frame Material: Dalloy Aluminum
  • No of Gears: 7 (14-28t)
  • Weight: 26 lbs (11.64 kg)
  • Weight Capacity 230 lbs (105 kg)

A bike that’s ideally suited to fair-weather urban commutes is the Dahon Piazza D7 20” Folding Bike. It sits at the more affordable end of the Dahon scale, partly because it lacks extra features like fenders or a rack.

Despite the modest price, this bike still comes with a lot of Dahon innovation. That includes the Sonus Dalloy aluminum frameset, lattice forged hinge with V-Clamp technology and an adjustable Radius handlebar post with Fusion technology.

The gearing is one area where this bike saves money. It has a 14-28t freewheel, which gives the rider a narrower range than pricier Dahon models. In real-world terms, it’s a little less practical for steep hills and has a “slower” top gear.

Regardless of the minimalism that helps create its lightness, the Dahon Piazza is in Brompton territory with its 26 lbs weight.

A definite downside is the lack of compactness in the Piazza fold. This bike measures 33.7” x 16.5” x 31.9” when folded. This is almost double the volumetric size of the Mariner D8 and larger than various budget 20” folders (e.g., Schwinn Loop).

Despite the bulky fold, the Piazza D7 is a handsome, well-made bike that will get you about town with ease.

What We Like

  • Looks – a good-looking bike for the money.
  • Tech – lots of proven Dahon tech in the design.
  • Lightweight – a manageable 26 lbs weight, albeit with an absence of extras.

What We Don’t Like

  • Fold – not for you if you need maximum compactness.

Dahon MU D9 20” Folding Bike (most versatile)

Pin

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  • Frame Material: Dalloy Aluminum
  • No of Gears: 9 (11-32t)
  • Weight: 26 lbs (11.64 kg)
  • Weight Capacity 230 lbs (105 kg)

With its beautiful contoured Dalloy aluminum frame and pleasing “Splash” hue, the Dahon MU D9 20” Folding Bike catches the eye straight away. This bike has 9 derailleur gears, no less, and is suitable for most types of bike rides.

One of several MU models, the Dahon MU D9 comes with a Sunrace 11-32t cassette at the rear and a 53t forged aluminum chainring. Theoretically, the more gears you cram into the same gear range, the smoother gear changes become.

This is a bike that folds to 26″ x 13″ x 31″ dimensions, which means it’s very close to the Mariner D8 in its compact folded size. That makes it equally as suitable for an intermodal commute as it is for a leisure ride.

The fork on this bike is also made of Dalloy aluminum, which helps keep the weight lower than a steel fork but is potentially less compliant.

You’ll find lots of refined Dahon tech on this bike, including an adjustable Radius handlepost (handlebar post), Sonus tubeset, and lattice forged hinge with V-Clamp technology.

Dahon clamping technology varies between bikes, and the V-Clamp is found on performance models. This clamp uses high-quality stainless steel and brass bushings. It creates a solid join in the bike with a large surface contact area.

As one of the higher-end Dahon bikes, a potential downside to the MU D9 is its price.

What We Like

  • Style – one of the best-looking bikes in the range.
  • Gears – versatile 11-32t derailleur gears good for hills and flat roads.
  • Tech – lots of Dahon innovation, including the solid V-Clamp hinge.

What We Don’t Like

Dahon UN10 E20 200W Mid-Drive 20” Folding Electric Bike (best e-bike)

Dahon UN10 E20 200W Mid-Drive 20” Folding Electric BikePin

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  • Frame Material: Dalloy Aluminum
  • No of Gears: 9 (11-32t)
  • Weight: 35.49 lbs (16.10 kg)
  • Weight Capacity 230 lbs (105 kg)

If you want a folding e-bike that feels natural to ride, look no further than the Dahon UN10 E20 200W Folding Electric Bike. This bike is very lightweight for an e-bike at 35 lbs, and its efficient mid-drive 200W motor is triggered by a torque sensor.

Torque sensors are good for a natural e-bike pedaling experience because they match your effort rather than zip you up to a predetermined speed.

As well, the derailleur gears on this bike are not overridden, as they are with a hub-mounted motor, so you benefit fully from the wide 11-32t range in any mode.

The 36V 8.7 Ah battery (313 Wh) of the UN10 E20 is neatly stowed in the seatpost for a clean look. The battery delivers a range of around 15-20 miles.

This bike offers 5 power assist levels, which are controllable and visible via the monochromatic display. You’ll also see vital stats like speed, distance, and battery level on the LCD.

Despite the electronics and motor, the UN10 E20 folds to a respectable 32.5” x 14.5” x 27” size. This is more compact than some regular 20” folding bikes, so it’s impressive enough.

An obvious downside here is the price. However, you’re getting a unique bike for that money rather than a more usual hefty hub-motor folder.

What We Like

  • Mid-drive – natural ride quality and efficiency.
  • Gears – wide gear range that is always in play.
  • Lightweight – extremely lightweight for an electric bike.
  • Compact – impressively compact when folded.

What We Don’t Like

  • Price – fairly priced but still a lot of money.

Dahon Boardwalk D7 20” Folding Bike (best for durability)

Dahon Boardwalk D7 20” Folding BikePin

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  • Frame Material: SuperLite 4130 Chromoly Steel
  • No of Gears: 7 (12-28t)
  • Weight: 27.3 lbs (12.4 kg)
  • Weight Capacity 230 lbs (105 kg)

It’s hard to beat a steel frame if you want a durable bike. Steel does not “wear out” as aluminum does. Unusually for Dahon (or anyone), the Boardwalk D7 20” Folding Bike is made from lightweight chromoly steel.

You may struggle to buy a Dahon Boardwalk in the US or Europe without going secondhand. Even so, this is a bike you could confidently buy secondhand because of its durable frame. It’s still sold new on Asian markets.

Chromoly steel is well known for being stronger than regular steel, weight for weight. It often enables lighter and more compliant bikes with thinner tubes. That’s why the Boardwalk offers a comfortable ride.

The Boardwalk under discussion here is the 7-speed version, though it also exists as a single-speed and 8-speed bike. The 7-speed gear range varies between 11t-30t and 12-28t, depending on where you buy the bike and its vintage.

Other features include an adjustable Radius handlepost with Fusion technology, a lattice forged frame hinge with ViseGrip technology, and powerful V-brakes. You may or may not get fenders and a rack.

If you want a folding bike that lasts for years and retains its value better than an aluminum bike, the Dahon Boardwalk D7 could be it.

Any downsides? It’s not as lightweight as you might expect for a SuperLite chromoly bike. But it is lighter than regular high-tensile steel, and that’s the point.

What We Like

  • Steel – chromoly frame offers strength, compliance & durability.
  • Secondhand – longevity makes used steel bikes a safer buy.
  • Tech – patented Dahon technology, even on older models.
  • Comfort – a comfortable ride with chromoly flex.

What We Don’t Like

  • Weight – not amazingly light overall.

Dahon Dream D6 20” Folding Bike (best for shopping trips)

Dahon Dream D6 20” Folding BikePin

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  • Frame Material: High-Tensile Steel
  • No of Gears: 6 (14-28t)
  • Weight: 31.96 lbs (14.5 kg)
  • Weight Capacity 230 lbs (105 kg)

A robust folding bike that’s ideal for everyday tasks like shopping or school trips is the Dahon Dream D6 20” Folding Bike. This bike is sturdily made of hi-ten steel. This makes it heavy but also strong, durable, and easier to repair than aluminum.

If you need an affordable bike that doesn’t take up much space at home, this could be it. It’s arguably a bit cumbersome to be constantly lifted on and off public transport, but it’s great for everyday riding in your locale. You could take it on vacations, too.

The gearing on this bike is best suited to riding on flattish roads at a leisurely pace. A 52t chainring at the front drives a 14t-28t rear freewheel. While this gives you some versatility, it’s not ideal for either steep hills or speedy riding on flat roads.

This bike lacks a lot of the patented Dahon tech that appears on more expensive bikes. Its SD latch works smoothly enough but has a bare metal finish that could rust if you’re not careful.

Ending on a plus point, you do get fenders and a rear cargo rack with the Dream D6. This further enhances its school, shopping, or even commuting potential if you don’t mind the weight. And steel bikes, despite their weight, tend to offer a comfortable ride.

What We Like

  • Durable – could last for decades with its strong steel frame.
  • Affordable – at the budget end of Dahon’s range.
  • Gears – not a wide range, but still offer a degree of versatility.
  • Practical – includes fenders and a rear cargo rack.

What We Don’t Like

  • Weight – manageable, but still heavy for a 20” folding bike.

Dahon Vybe D7 20” Folding Bike (best value)

Dahon Vybe D7 20” Folding BikePin

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You get some good features at an attractive price with the Dahon Vybe D7 20” Folding Bike, especially if you can catch it on offer. Aside from its stylish retro design, it offers a handy 7 gears for rolling terrain and some of Dahon’s renowned technology.

The Dalloy aluminum frame of the Vybe D7 is joined by a lattice-forged hinge using Dahon’s ViseGrip technology. You get the adjustable Radius handlepost, too. Hi-ten steel forks add extra ride comfort and performance. Oh, and it’s light too, and made it onto our list of lightweight foldable bikes.

This is not a folding bike for speedsters with its top 52t-14t gear. You’d have to spin the pedals quite frantically to ride fast, so it’s better suited to casual riding. The lowest gear is okay for getting over a few modest hills.

You could use this as a commuter bike with its manageable weight and practical features. There are fenders, a rack, reflectors, and a kickstand.

The 26.4” x 13.4” x 28.4” folded size of this bike is decently compact, too, and is among the smaller folds on this list.

By the way, the Curl i4 is Dahon’s smallest ever folder if you can track one down. We write about Curl and others in our smallest folding bikes article.

There’s not much to dislike about this bike, though it does forfeit the wider gear range of costlier Dahon models.

What We Like

  • Style – good-looking bike.
  • Equipment – includes fenders, reflectors, a rack, and a kickstand.
  • Size – a compact folded size.
  • Tech – still includes refined features like ViseGrip technology.

What We Don’t Like

  • Gears – versatile enough for casual riding, but a fairly narrow range.

Dahon SUV D6 20” Folding Bike (best budget)

Dahon SUV D6 20” Folding BikePin

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  • Frame Material: Dalloy Aluminum
  • No of Gears: 6 (14-28t)
  • Weight: 28.88 lbs (13.1 kg)
  • Weight Capacity 230 lbs (105 kg)

Originally made of hi-ten steel, Dahon now makes the SUV D6 20” Folding Bike with its high-strength Dalloy aluminum. That helps it shed over 4 lbs to become a more portable bike. And less weight broadens the bike’s appeal.

This is one of Dahon’s more budget-oriented bikes, for which you forfeit one or two luxuries. As with other low-cost models, the gear range is limited by a 14t-28t freewheel. Pricier bikes have a faster top gear and easier bottom gear.

In real-world terms, a slower top gear means you have to pedal faster to ride quickly. This may be impractical or unsustainable. Luckily, the 52t chainring on the SUV keeps the gears well balanced, and a 28t rear sprocket is still useful for hills.

The SUV’s compliant hi-ten steel fork helps create a comfortable ride. Dahon’s Binodal handlepost technology lets you easily adjust handlebar height using a cam-type lever. Fusion technology locks the handlepost, frame, and fork into a rigid unit.

The Dahon SUV D6 would be excellent for vacations or everyday chores. It’d also be pretty good for commutes, especially with the fenders and rack included. Only the weight spoils that slightly, though the aluminum upgrade makes it more viable.

What We Like

  • Looks – an elegantly formed bike.
  • Equipment – practical features included such as fenders & a rack.
  • Tech – benefits from Dahon’s design expertise, especially at joints.

What We Don’t Like

  • Gears – the gear range adds versatility, but less than some Dahon models.

Dahon Folding Bikes FAQs

Is Dahon As Good As Tern Or Brompton Bikes?

That depends on your criteria. A Brompton has masses of traditional appeal and folds smaller than almost any other bike. Dahon and Tern are similarly innovative and are familiarly linked, though Tern bikes are more consistently high-end.

Read more: Brompton vs Dahon

Video: Dahon K3 Plus Vs Brompton P Line

Which Dahon Folding Bike Is Best For Me?

That depends on your intended use. Aim for low weight and compactness if you want a bike for intermodal commutes. A wide gear range is useful for longer leisure rides over mixed terrain. Cheaper Dahons will suit many everyday needs.

Are Dahon Bikes Expensive?

Dahons vary a lot in their prices and specs. Overall, it’s probably fair to call Dahon a mid-priced brand. The bikes do not often dip below $500, unlike a Zizzo for instance.

Where Are Dahon Bikes Made?

Dahon bikes are made in Shenzhen, China.

Do Dahons Keep Their Monetary Value Well?

Dahon’s typical use of aluminum means most of their bikes continually wear down with use, which doesn’t help their chances of retaining value. They quickly lose their value, unlike everlasting Bromptons, which are unusual in this regard.

Conclusion: Are Dahon Folding Bikes Any Good?

Dahon folding bikes are made with 40 years of experience behind them, not to mention loads of R&D. They are good bikes, and crucial parts like hinges, joints, and levers receive special attention with various patented technologies.

Among our reviews, the high-end Dahon K3 Plus 16” Folding Bike stands out for its exceptionally low weight, which opens up many possibilities for its use. It achieves this while still offering a useful gear range and dependable disc brakes.

An example of Dahon’s diverse range is the Briza D8 Step-Through 24” Folding Bike. This is a folding Dutch-style bike with a comfortable upright riding position, big wheels, and a swooping step-through frame.

Anyone looking for a tough bike that can endure strong riding might enjoy the Dahon Launch D8 20” Folding Bike. This hydroformed Dalloy aluminum bike has a wide 11-32t gear range and Dahon’s robust LockJaw technology to secure the hinge.

We hope this article may guide you toward your own ideal Dahon bike, or even pique your interest in other brands. Dahon offers a particularly varied selection of bikes in terms of both price and design.

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Glenn Harper
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When Glenn isn't writing for BikePush, he can often be found cycling on his local rural roads. If he can help you benefit from bicycling in some small way, He’ll consider it a win.

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