Dahon Speed Pro TT Folding Bike: Taking it on the Road Part 1

Dahon Speed Pro TT Review Notes  (also see First Impressions/SpecsThe Competitive Edge, and This Changes Everything)

Good 30 minute ride today between meetings. The bike feels quite good at speeds up to 22mph. Out of the saddle, digging in a little for short hills, all solid.

The bars were very comfortable. Location is good to facilitate good weight distribution.

Key point, and this is a good thing: you need to work with the bike to get the best performance. You don't just get on and hope it's going to be pretty close to your road or triathlon bike. 

It's not those bikes, it's a collapsable bike with very significant benefits. And there's a trade-off for less frame, higher seat etc. But the net benefits, including transportability, more training time, etc are more than worth it. 

I've got a lot of experience 'working with' innovative products. I have ridden Softride bikes since 1999; too bad they went out of business. I race far better on the beam bike than a traditional bike, and comfort is a real plus for long distance rides. But if your form is bad, you'll bounce all over on the beam. The innovation is powerful if you use it right.

Same with the Vasa Ergometer indoor swimming machine. Does it let you mimic swimming in water perfectly? No. But you can get great training in a fairly similar stroke without leaving your home or spending $20,000 for an endless pool. I trained entirely on my VE before my most recent Ironman Triathlons. I gave up worrying about swimming in water (I hate water), and raced just as well. 

Separately, I've played Steinberger headless, graphite composite neck guitars for 23 years. It doesn't sound like a Les Paul immediately because it doesn't have the meaty wood to sustain the sound. But it has a different, also wonderful, sustain, and you need to find it. 

With the SPTT, early impression, I'm letting myself learn how to work with the bike. Weight distribution is important. You don't just get out of the saddle and lean into the frame when trying to get a burst of speed or it will creak a bit. You need to finesse it, remembering that the mid-frame joint is strong but not completely bulletproof. It's not supposed to be. Again, the bike is made to collapse, and to get that benefit, you need to work with the frame.

Same is true with the seat post. If you want to see if it bends under weight (I'm not as light as when I'm in peak racing form, have to admit), sure it moves a little. As does my Softride beam. Again, if you ride with correct form, the seatpost remains perfectly in position, and maximum energy is transferred to the pedals. 

I've read about the brakes, and it's true, you don't stop on a dime. Maybe I'm being a little too forgiving, but I'm wondering if you want to be able to stop on a dime with a bike this small. I can see going over the handle bars if it were to stop cold. So I'm learning to get the most out of the braking system as it is. And I'm not trying to ride fast into intersections or situations that might require an instant stop.

But the bike is doing everything I expected it to do, and more. Excellent.