Dahon Helios 2003 Folding Bike

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-7 of 7  
[Jul 18, 2019]
paco55


OVERALL
RATING
5
Strength:

Have had this bike for 15 years. My son used it for 5 years in Sasabo Japan. High quality lightweight design. Perfect for taking on the bus or train. Very fast. Finally got the bike back from my son.( he's an officer in the navy). He used the bike for his daily commute while in Japan. I recently upgraded the shifter/ brakelever to an xt 8 speed that I had lying around. Also changed the handlebar post to a one piece solid affair. The locking mechanism had worn out over the years and the one piece with the new locking mechanism is much more solid.

Weakness:

The only weaknesses I can see is the handlebar quick release which would be more solid if it were a fixed bolt design or an option to attach a standard 11/8 stem. Also the seatpost has an I beam seat attachment which makes it difficult to find a replacement seat. Although the seatpost can be replaced with a conventional 2 rail system which eventually I will do. A longer headtube with a shorter handlebar post would be much more solid along with a longer seat tube with a shorter seatpost for the same reason.

Price Paid:
400
Purchased:
New  
Model Year:
2004
[Sep 07, 2011]
Jeff
Recreational Rider

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Reasonably durable. Parts are easier to find than exotic bikes. Good weight.

Weakness:

Frame gets soft as a noodle with hard wear over time.

Purchased the bike in Thailand on a whim and found the bike to be just what I was looking for. I used it when on layovers all over the world. Suited me just fine. Bent the frame hinge pin on a rougher than normal trail in Canada and eventually got it fixed in England. The bike has been loved but used hard. After a well-laden 3 day unsupported trip in northern Thailand it became apparent the frame was getting very "slack" and it was easily twisted when torque applied. If this bike can be found in good shape it is a great deal.

Similar Products Used:

BF Tikit, Dahon Vector X-10

[Mar 06, 2011]
Elvis
Recreational Rider

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Strength:

1 - Handlebar height is asjustable! This is the big thing, Often you are rarely able to adjust handlebar height on folding bikes, meaning except for tall riders your bars are much too high. Helios has a telescoping bar stem that allows you to move it up or down. All the way down it still was a touch too high, about an inch or so, bottoming out on the inside, so I cut off the bottom. Now it does all the way down about level with the seat. I would not have gotten this bike without this option since without it there's no way to make the bike fit me.
2- Real cranks. My first Dahon had a chainring permanently attached to the crank. This one has a decent quality road crank with a bolt on ring.
3 - Fender and rack mounts.
4 - Sturdy hinge mechanisms. The handlebar and Frame both fold, and both are solid.
5 - Decent tires.
6 - grips. Never tries ergonomic grips before, like em. An' i ride w/ gloves.
7- The rear cog gearing. The rear gears allow you to climb and go tolerably fast in traffic or open roads. Especially the big inside gear. Nice!
8 - Overall ride. The bike feels right, handles right, and rides right.

Weakness:

Not many things to nitpick. Okay, maybe a few:
1- The Saddle. While not bad, it was not great, to thick and not shaped right. While not extreme as some "comfort" saddles it's clearly int hat catagory, and therefore out of place on a bike spec'ed with road tires that go up to nearly 100psi. Seriously. I put a mountainbike seat on it and was much happier. i get with much use being transport not racing, they aren't gonna spec it with a Flite, but come on, don't spec a big old couch. I don't know ANYONE who rides for transport in the US of A and spins along at 20 rpm. And guess what, at anything like a normal cadance, "Comfort" seats are uncomfortable. Since Dahon specificially recommends spinning rather than standing up and cranking big gears, to avoid stressing the folding joints needlessly, I find this choice of saddle counter-productive and frankly pointless.
2 - Shifter: The shifter works fine, but grip shift stinks, they are a pain to work on, can shift accidentally while holding the grips, and just feel cheap. Wish they'd spec'd somthing else.
3- Kick stand. This kept "clicking on the nondrive side crank. I liked it, but had to remove it.

A good quality folding bike. Unlike earlier modesl this one has a telescoping handlebar stem allowing height adjustment; the bike looks nice, is well made, and has a real pair of cransk with removable chainring (130 bolt pattern) - important for tuning gearing. Came with good tires capable fo holding decent presure -- 95psi. Can mount rack or fenders. Lightweight, not much heavier than a roadbike, much lighter than a mountain bike. Oh yeh, the silver aluminum looks sharp...

Similar Products Used:

Dahon Boardwalk geared bike converted to single speed/fixed gear.

[Jul 27, 2010]
Les
Recreational Rider

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Light , very manoeuvrable

Weakness:

None

I looked for a lightweight folder that could be multipurpose and replace a multipurpose full size bike. The bike needed to be able to handle anything from 50km rides on dirt paths to the 2km shopping trip into town. After a few basic modifications, the Helios has turned out to be the perfect bike. It folds easily, is comfortable to ride (see setup) and has a very tight turning circle. So easy to fold and lift into the back of the car.

Similar Products Used:

Dahon Speed TR

[Jul 28, 2008]
Anonymous
Commuter

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Lightweight, a pleasure to ride, good gear range. Feels solid - I'm 6ft 4, and 180 lbs. Great handling. Folds in 30 seconds.

Weakness:

The chain often derails, despite the chainwheel guard, when shifting to a higher gear. I've learned to pause pedaling while shifting up - no problem now.

The Dahon Helios has opened up new commuting options for me. It folds so compactly that I can ride to work 1-way, or part-way, then plop it into a coworker's trunk and get a ride the rest of the way.

Similar Products Used:

Fuji Marlboro 26 inch folder (my first folder). It was heavier, and awkward to take on the train

[Feb 04, 2008]
Anonymous
Commuter

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

nimble, gear range, easy to fold & unfold, low step thru, same wheelbase as full size bike, great when you need to stow it away!!

Weakness:

would prefer a fuller chainguard (for commuting)

LOVE this bike, my first folder, but definitely not my last (Caio is next!). Enough range in gears to replace my full size 21 speed, INCLUDING 28 in climbing gear, takes all my regular killer hills in stride

[May 16, 2004]
Anonymous
Commuter

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Strength:

Comfortable to ride, easily folded, nice to look at, easy to maintain, durable, fenders protect rider well, relatively easy to carry in bag (nice bag: "DoublePlay"!). Total maintenance required so far: one spoke, new brake pads, new pedals. Rode through a Chicago winter (think "salt") with no significant corrosion.

Weakness:

One rear spoke broke (easily fixed). Slightly heavy (26 pounds) to carry in bag. The bike DOES look a tiny bit silly (but form follows function!). The chain is a potential stain hazard, but this is easily avoided. The original pedals (SunTour) wore out after 500 miles. Replaced with MKS removables with Nashbar strapless toe clips.

Please note: this bike is a Helios XL, which has fenders, a 7-speed Shimano "can" hub (internal gears), a Cane Creek "Thudbuster" seatpost and afolding aluminum frame. Price listed includes bag (2003 model).It's been ridden daily (M-F) about 6 miles regardless of weather. I leave home and arrive at work on the bike; there's a one-hour troan ride in the middle. The local rail service requires that folding bikes be bagged; other bikes are not permitted. I've actually ridden the bike for 9 months (1,000 miles; 150+ days); by thetime it's been in use for one year it will have paid for itself in savings on bus tickets!

Similar Products Used:

Strida 2 (Strida International). A nice design, but not up to my weight (195) and distance/speed travelled (also ridden 1,000 miles)

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