Remember when you were a kid, you had that bike that stoppedwhen you back-pedaled? You could work up some speed in yourneighborhood and then slam on the pedal brake and skid to astop in your driveway? Man, those were the days. After I gotmy first "real" bicycle, I never thought I'd ride on a coasterbrake again. Then we got a box from Dahon labeled Speed UnoFolding Bike.
When I pulled the Speed Uno out of the box, I noticed a fewthings right off the bat. First off, there are no hand brakes.Like it's big brother, the Mu Uno folding bike, the Speed Unorelies solely on the coaster brake in the back. However, theMu Uno has an optional front hand brake included with thebike. The Speed Uno does not. It was time to put that coasterbrake to the test.
The Speed Uno is pretty lightweight - about 22 pounds overall.Because there are no cables coming from the handlebar, foldingthis bike is a piece of cake. Drop the handlebars, fold themain hinge, and drop the seat. It's probably one of theeasiest Dahon bikes to fold, one of the lightest to carry, andone of the most affordable models. So how would the Speed Unohandle my road test?
I ride pretty frequently through New York City streets, and Itend to keep my hands on the brakes through the hectic partsof the city. You know, the roads where taxis tend to cut infront of you, or places where pedestrians hail taxis, but theycan't see bicycles for some reason. There's an obstacle aroundevery turn. Going south on York Avenue toward the 59th streetbridge is one example, so without hand brakes, I was relyingsolely on my skid-stop to save my life.
Because the coaster brake takes a bit of getting used to, Ifound my first few encounters with cabs and pedestrians to betoo close for comfort. The bike definitely needs more stoppingdistance than a regular bike. Once you get used to skiddinginto turns, it's actually a pretty fun ride.
The bike is geared pretty low, so on the bridge incline, I hadno problem getting up to the top. Maybe I'd like something atad bit faster on straightaways, since the low gearing of theSpeed Uno leaves a little to be desired on the top end, but Iguess if I've only got one gear it might as well be a lowerone.
All in all, the Speed Uno is a fun single speed folding bike. I had a blastracing up and down the street and skidding sideways. Is it arealistic commuter bike? Probably not if you're going to ridewith traffic. Those brakes are just not dependable in a pinch.If you ride only in bike lanes and take it easy, the Speed Unois a great bike. Plus it's like, super cheap. You could easily spend more money on a night out in SoHo. I could have owned so many Speed Unos by now...Get a Speed Uno folding bike today!