I pedaled home yesterday in excited anticipation of the arrival of my new Dahon Eco 3. As assured by TTR Bikes proprietor Scott McCrary, it was sitting on my front porch in the original Dahon packaging. Yippy! I pulled it to the living room, and deciding that I could not wait for the Planner Guy to return from work, ripped open the box and pulled out the folding bike - it arrived fully assembled, except for the pedals. I found the owners manual and a the step-by-step instructions for unfolding the bike, and although the seat and handleposts were easy to adjust into the proper position I couldn't figure out the "ViseGrip" Hinge on the frame. I sat stumped for about 20 minutes, looking at it from all angles. Even the instruction video on the Dahon website didn't help. Damn! This meant I would have to ask for Bob's help. Oh, the feminist humiliation of having to ask for a man's help . . . . Oh, well, he does seem to derive pleasure for being able to do "man tasks" for me.
How do I unfold this crazy thing?
Finally Bob arrived home and quickly (another feminist humiliation!) figured out how to unlock the ViseGrip Hinge. In the middle of the family room, I practiced folding and unfolding the Eco 3 several times. The frame hinge was somewhat tight but should loosen up with use but I can already tell that I need a little bit of strength training, along with practice in order to be able to manager the famed 15-second unfold time. The Dahon website also suggests that the double pronged kickstand aides stability during folding and unfolding so I'll definitely upgrade to one.
Pride in ownership!
Naturally, this morning I rode in to work on the Dahon. The Eco 3 is the entry level model and is nicely priced at $379. I didn't want to invest in a high-end model since I purchased this bike so that I'd have a bike that I could easily load in the car or carry on an airplane or public transportation. If we lived in a large urban area I could easily see investing in a more pricey model but that's just not where we are at the moment. In any case, the Eco 3 is an attractive and comfortable ride. It is fast, shifts easily, and I had no problem on the hill up to the airport. I'll definitely purchase the rear Traveller Rack, in addition to adding a head light, rear light, a small rear view mirror and a bell (I wonder how much all that will weigh?). Some things, I just can't compromise on.
I was able to make the trip up to work this morning in about 6 minutes. I folded up the bike just outside the airport but felt dissatisfied with the results. I'll definitely have to watch the instructional video again to make sure I folded in the proper order. Nonetheless, I was able to roll the bike folded into the terminal and on to the elevator up to my office without any difficulty. Folded, the Eco 3 fit nicely against a narrow wall and was completely out of the way, if not unnoticed by other staff, but they are used to eccentricities.