Dahon Vector X27: super-fast folding bike
The past few days of snow, freezing rain, ice and every kind of winter precipitation imaginable have made New York a tricky place for cyclists, even those with nice big studded tires. Why then would I chose to take out a folding bike that is clearly designed for racing around with club riders on a beautiful summer morning?
… I still don’t know the answer to that …
What I do know is that this winter is not the intended time to ride the Dahon X27 folding bike. One look at it can probably tell you that. No knock to the bike, it’s an excellent machine in its element, but slush and ice aren’t really so great for it.
So despite my foolish choice to ride this high performance folding bike during some of the coldest, snowiest, and iciest days New York City has seen in the last 5 years, let me tell you what I did like about it!
First off, this bike is quite light. Though I am sort of posing with it in one hand in that picture (and I wouldn’t want to hold it there for too long) I found it to be quick and responsive. Carrying it up to my 5th floor apartment was nothing and I wouldn’t think twice about doing that every day.
Second, even serious gearing addicts lovers will find satisfaction in the 27 speed SRAM DualDrive II. This combination of a 9 speed rear cluster and 3 speed internal hub make for a very wide gear range with all sorts of back and forth wiggle room in between. If Central Park hadn’t been coated with a thin film of ice I would have definitely taken the Vector X27 folding bike out for a few loops to really get a feel for it.
Third, the Vector X27 has a very sporty and fun stance. I have bull horn handlebars on my road bike, so I felt right at home on the Kinetix Pro TT aero-style handlebars. These bars give the Vector X27 a low and aggressive stance that is perfect for slicing through headwinds and powering your way to the front of the pack.
So, how does it compare to the Vector X10 and Vector X20?
I think the Dahon Vector X27 is meant to satisfy the inherent need in many cyclists for more gears. It’s great if you want to get maximum efficiency when you’re pedaling. This does come at the price of a bit more weight than the simpler X10 and X20. The other big differences between these bikes are the handlebars (Vector X10 and X20 folding bikes have lighter straight bars) and shifters (Dahon X27 uses road bike style aero lever combination shifters whereas Vector X10/X20 use rapid fire shifters). Sorry for that technical giberish, I’m sure someone was interested. Of course there’s also a big difference in price, but luckily I didn’t get to compare the feeling of spending that much money at a time (work in a bike shop!).
Check out my Vector X20 video review for more on that folding bike.
My only problem with the Vector X27 was that I couldn’t quite get full extension with the standard seat post. I have pretty long legs, but if you’re around 6′ 2″ you might want to investigate taller seat post options.
Despite the icy weather I’ll still give the Dahon Vector X27 a big thumbs up.