Friday, June 26, 2009

The Dahon Mu 8 Folding Bike

I was a little itchified and almost bought a used Long Haul Touring Bike that was advertised on the internet. The bike has a 1992 frame but most of the components are about 5 years old. This is when I did an evaluation of my Dahon Mu 8 Folding bike whch cost about the same as this used touring bike. In the end I realised that for my type of touring needs the convience of a folding bike outweights the supposingly ruggedness and"correct geometry" of a touring bike. I will buy a Long Haul Trucker touring bike when the time comes for me to do an extended tour.

In a folding bike, the geometry can be adjusted easily. Raise or lower the seat or the handle bar as required. The Mu 8 has a set of 20 inch wheels but due to a good gear set, the bike is nice to ride and achieving a 22 km/hr average speed is easy. I have done several riding trips from Kemaman to Kuantan and upon arrival at Kuantan I just fold the bike to store in my car which my wife and kids had driven down. Movies and a good Chinese dinner later, I drive home in air con comfort. This will not be possible with a full fledged touring bike. Might have to drive my pick up if I wanted this one way cycling option.

My bike is equipped with a GPS and a logger so that I can trace my tracks on Google Earth...High tech for a low tech machine.It has a set of very nice Shumano 8 speed gears. No complains on this but certainly it is not a racer or an off road machine! just good enough for a very comfortable 80 leg RPM ride.The advertised rate of folding is 10 seconds but I normally take about 30 seconds.Good enough for me. I have taken this bike from Kemaman to JB by bus and then entered Singapore with the bike folded. I got up the MRT and all the Singapore buses without any extra charges. I have the convience of a bike in Singapore to get my work done. Later when I wanted to ride from the causeway to Lakim bus terminal in the evening I found the traffic very heavy. I chickened out a bit but not a problem with this bike. I just folded it and got into a cab to go to the bus station for my return leg. No extra charges. Imagine the convenience of being able to fold the bike and take it up the hotel room when on bicycle tours. If it breaks down,no problem too. just fold it and look for a bus/train to the nearest civilisation.I always keep the bike at the back of my 850 cc Viva when I go to work so that if there is a chance that I finish off early I take a bike trip home.....that will be another story!

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