Thursday, August 23, 2007

Review of the Dahon Boardwalk S1.

Price paid: $180

9.18.07 Update: Performance has refunded me the full price of this Boardwalk after numerous complaints about the rear hub. Yipee! I've left the original review for your information.

Bottom line: Avoid the Dahon Boardwalk S1 and all Dahon products

I’ve been trying to work out problems I’ve had with this bike for a while so I have refrained from posting a review of it. However, my patience has worn out so I will go ahead and do this.
I bought this Dahon Boardwalk folding bike because I am bike nut and wanted to take a bike with me in areas that are traditionally closed to bikes. Examples of this are festivals, road trips in a small car, airplane trips etc. I had never owned or ridden a folding bike. When I first got the bike, I was very excited about it. It folded great, was very sturdy (steel frame) and really felt like a bike when you rode it.

I probably rode this bike about 10 miles when a grinding noise began to come out of the rear hub. I was always taught that when your bike makes any kind of out of the ordinary noise you have to take care of it or you may have a problem later on.

When you hear the chain rubbing against something when you turn the crank, for example, you’ve got to make adjustments so that this doesn’t reoccur. The chain is going to be worn down prematurely and you’ll end up replacing it much earlier than you should. I’ve known guys, who say, "Let it grind itself down till it doesn’t make anymore noise." That’s probably the worst thing you can do.

Anyway, I took this bike to the LBS (Performance Bike) where I bought it to have them check it out. They told me that the grinding was being caused by the rear coaster brake rubbing against something internally. I should keep engaging the brakes to work out the noise. They gave me the option of replacing the wheel, but at my expense. I rode the bike some more and the noise still lingered. I was disappointed in this because I thought that the warranty (1 year) should cover this kind of problem.

I emailed Dahon and told them my situation. Well, I didn’t hear back from them. Two weeks later I emailed them again. A day later a technical rep from Dahon, Rick Fair, responded saying that the 3 speed hub on my bike was noisy. Guess what, this Dahon doesn’t have a 3 speed hub, it’s a single speed. I replied to him about this and as of today (about 2 weeks ago), I have not heard back.

Based on the above experience I cannot recommend this Dahon bike or any Dahon product. When you buy a used bike, you expect to have mechanical issues and to deal with them. Not with a new product, though. That’s the reason you go to an LBS, pay "new" bike prices and expect any mechanical issues to be adressed. If Dahon doesn’t stand behind this product, I can’t give it my endorsement.

1 comment:

roblabrat said...

Thanks so much for the advice. A Craigslister here was trying to sell an old S1 and I was sorely tempted, but I see that I should go after the Yeah or one of the newer light-frame models.