Despite being disappointed with the folding bike I had purchased, I was still determined to try another one. Bicycle Bug generously offered to lend his Dahon Curve D3 for me to test for a few days. We met up early on Friday, before Coffee Club, and I rode on the Dahon while he rode on a Capital Bikeshare bike.
It could be that I was already pumped up getting to Bug’s place, but I found that I could keep up easily with him on the ride. That was a good sign. And I got a lot of compliments on how I looked on the bike. That was nice, too. But the real tests were yet to come.
The first test was how the Curve does on the hills. With only 3 gears, it is undoubtedly limited. I found I can climb the hills without needing to stand, but slowly. Not bad.
However, I didn’t realize how slowly I was riding until I rode into work the other day. Granted, I didn’t use a timer, and I did have a delay in which I stopped to adjust the seat height and struggled mightily with the clamp. My one-way commute on my usual bike takes about 50 minutes. I was shocked to see that I got into work 15 minutes later than my normal arrival time. Did the bike slow me down that much?
The second test was how it folds up and can be transported onto the Metro. When folded, it became quite compact– more compact than the other folding bike (see photo). I was able to wheel it around the station and onto the train car quite smoothly. I discovered, to my delight, that the folded bike was even more compact than the suitcase of a nearby passenger. Nice.
Several factors go into making a decision about what bike to use. Should I get the most compactly folded bike at the expense of speed? Should I get a speedier bike at the expense of a compact fold? And at a price I can afford? Or should I just be happy with the commuting bike I have?
My verdict on the Dahon Curve is that it looks cute, folds compactly, and is fun to ride on flats. It’s more of a workout going up hills, and I’m not sure that it performs at a level that I am comfortable with for my commute.
All the same, I’m glad I got a chance to try the Curve, and I am very grateful to Bicycle Bug for his generosity.