I sometimes like to imagine the journey from prized new bike to unwanted sell off, and with this Dahon folder there are signs of rough use, perhaps from being folded and thrown into a car boot many times, clashing with the other luggage on long trips. The main folder hinges were very loose and the front wheel bearing cages had collapsed, but the cones and hub races are still in good condition.
The front wheel wobbling seems to be the final cause of abandonment following sometime after the fitting of a new front knobbly tyre. Surface rust has dulled the appeal of once shiny metallic paintwork and chrome. The front wheel is also rusted more on one half due to being left standing a long time in the same spot, allowing rust to coat the upward facing side, another common effect of the local salty air.
I have dated the bike from the Sturmey-Archer “AW” model 3-speed hub, conveniently marked 91-6 manufacture ( i.e. June 1991 ), easily found once the oil coating had been removed from the shiny hub. The serial no. is B0011430– or “Boo” for short !
Bicycles, like most mechanical things, rely on regular usage, cleaning and occasional maintenance to age well, and though this seems obvious they are often expected to last forever with little or no care. The high cost of labour means that to have a bike in this condition repaired at a bike shop would be very expensive for the owner and not cost effective for most time-poor businesses either, and that’s where I come in !
Here is the main folder hinge, of which there are two, one passive and this one with the locking and safety mechanism, here showing the adjustment point for a loose hinge.
Now closed, with the plastic safety catch engaged – luckily this one and the steering safety catch are still in good condition, as they could be hard to locate new for a 20 year old bike.
The gearing would be massive on a normal sized wheel, with a count of 52 teeth on the chain wheel and only 13 on the rear cog, however on a 16″ this is fairly normal.
Dahons (and other folders) seem to have a cult following in some places, going by some of the flickr series I have seen while researching this one – some owners accessorising them in different and fun ways such as fitting them with Brooks leather saddles and accessories, or dozens of tiny glowing coloured LED lights for example. I am happy simply to begin making this one useful again – for now !