The Folding Society

The Dahon Cadenza

By David Farr

Test report originally issued 7 May 2006

I had been thinking of updating/changing my 26” Rudge folding bike for some time, (this bike was a standard mountain bike that folded around the seat post). I was now looking for a more responsive bike that I could use on my daily trip to work that is a round trip of some 15 miles. I also wanted another folding bike as it could be put into the car boot for those occasions when it rained in the morning but I could still pop out at lunchtime if fine and get some exercise (another fair-weather cyclist!). I had a good look round all the folding bike options, I liked the look of an Airnimal but could not justify the cost, I then focused on the Dahon range and with a budget of £400 the Cadenza looked as though it would make an ideal choice. First I tried to get a 2005 model Cadenza on the web for £350 but after placing my order they could not supply the size I wanted.  It was at this point I almost gave up the hunt and started to look at non-folding “Urban” bikes which seemed better value. I was in my local bike shop (Lee on Solent) looking at a Scott “Urban” bike when I said “this is very good but what I really would like is a Dahon Cadenza”. This is the point when everything changed as the proprietor said he was a Dahon dealer and could get me a 2006 model Cadenza for £430, I would also get £75 worth of vouchers and two free services. So I ordered my Cadenza and used my vouchers to get the new style “bag” to put the folded bike into and a set of quick release pedals, I was also going to order a set of mudguards but was told the bike comes with these fitted. The delivery quoted was 4-6 weeks as this was the first shipment of the new 2006 Cadenza into the UK.

Well after waiting 5 weeks I finally took delivery of my new Dahon Cadenza, the quick release pedals and mudguards were not available when I collected the bike, I was told that these would follow on later. I fitted the rear carrier and saddle from the Rudge I was glad to see that all required fixing points were supplied including bosses for a bottle cage that I use to mount the battery for my Lumicycle lights. My first riding impressions were very favourable as the bike was very light compared to my old Rudge folding bike, it was fitted with 1.3” Continental contact puncture protected tyres (slicks) that looked more like racing bike tyres than the mountain bike tyres I was more used to. I was surprised just how responsive the bike was and it made no sound at all (no creeks or groans normally associated with folding bikes), I call it my stealth bike as it is matt black makes no sound and goes like the clappers.

I have now covered some 500 miles on the bike and am still very happy with it, the only changes have been the chain rings as the gearing was too high at 50/40 for the hill I go up on the way to work. I have now had fitted Stronglight 44/34 chain rings and am now very happy with the gearing, when I get to the top of Titchfield hill I am comfortably doing 5mph and can go downhill at great lick without running out of gearing. I have grounded the pedals a couple of times but looking at the angle the bike has to be at to do this I am still not sure if a modification is really necessary (only time will tell). I have had a puncture in the rear tyre and took it back to the shop as some of the rear spokes were loose. When I collected the bike I found that the puncture was caused by one of the spokes not adjusted correctly, as this was a manufacturing fault I was not charged for the repair so I had the rear wheel rebuilt a new rim tape and inner tube fitted all at no cost. Now this is what I call service if I had purchased my bike on the Web there would have been no back up or support, I have found my local bike shop to be both excellent in service and support and would not hesitate to recommend Wheel 2 Wheel to anyone else.

I have now folded my bike and put it folded into the bag which seems very well designed and includes a red dust cover in its own pocket, the bag folds down into a duffel style bag that can be carried rucksack style on your back. I removed the pedals, (still waiting for my quick release pedals which have been promised in a couple of weeks time) folded the bike and put the red dust cover over it which included the fitted rear carried and mudguards it then went very easily into the bag and this in turn fitted well into my car boot.

Following my problems with the rear wheel Dahon have agreed to supply a new set of spokes and pay for my rear wheel to be re-built by Wheel 2 Wheel, again I have been amazed at the level of support and service I have been given and have enjoyed the whole Dahon Cadenza ownership experience thus far.

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Copyright ©2006 David Farr
Last updated 7 May 2006