The Dahon Formula is a high performance folding bike. From first glance you will notice that the Dahon Formula S18 has front and rear Sram Avid BB5 mechanical disc brakes. This feature alone will certainly turn hears on the road and bike paths.
The Avid disc brakes deliver a powerful and controlled response to the clutch of the brake lever. Instead of the brake pads grasping the sides of the wheel to bring the bike to a full stop, the caliper of the disc brake squeezes the brake pads against the silver rotor that is attached to the wheel. In comparison to rim brakes seen on most bikes, I noticed that the disc brakes were more sensitive and delivered a greater braking force that will help you stop on a dime.
This is great when maneuvering on the streets of the city around the unexpected obstacles you may come across. Since there is a higher sensitivity to the brakes, it is best to use a little caution before pressing on the brakes at full force; otherwise you may flip yourself off the bike.
Another neat feature of the Dahon Formula S18 is the wide range of speeds. This folding bike has eighteen speeds that allow you to adjust according to the terrain. The resistance level can easily be changed using the MicroShift Thumbtap trigger shifters. You can add resistance by pressing on the silver trigger to shift to a higher gear or decreasing resistance with the rear black trigger to shift to a lower gear.
During my test ride from the Massapequa Preserve to Woodbury on Long Island there are different levels of difficulty among the route with flat straightaways as well as moderate to steep hills. I felt most comfortable riding in the middle gears throughout the bike path and only shifted down one gear on the steeper hills. Having trigger shifters on both sides may be confusing at first for a beginner rider, but not too hard to learn. The trigger shifter made changing resistance levels feel effortless and smooth in transition.
Eighteen speeds are more than enough needed for regular city riding, but nice to have if you are planning to go on more challenging courses that have very steep hills, such as the northern part of the Hudson Greenway in Inwood just past the Little Red Lighthouse.
The Dahon Formula S18 has a white paint job accented by hints of silver with a black seat post and handlebars to give the slender frame a sleek appearance. The white reflective stripe on the twenty inch tires also gives the bike a unique classic racer bike style. The racer saddle and sport-styled handlebars position your body in an aerodynamic stance when riding the bike. Since the height of the handlebars and the seat post can be adjusted, the Dahon Formula is accommodating to the comfort of both tall and short riders.
I was surprised that the Formula was such a lightweight folding bike, considering that it has disc brakes installed. It weighed just twenty five pounds, and was portable enough to be carried easily into buildings, via public transit or fit inside the trunk of your car. The main frame of the bike is held together by Dahon?s vice grip hinge. The hinge is stainless steel with brass brushings, fastening both sides of the main frame securely with a lever and additional safety latch. The handlebars also have a similar safety latch to the lever that secures it to the main frame. With these upgraded parts, the Dahon Formula is easier and faster to fold.
These Schwalbe Kojak tires were built for speed. The tread-less body of the wheel gives less resistance, therefore allowing the bike to take off with speed. Taking the first ride around the Central Park loop I can feel with the first push of the pedal that the bike propelled faster as it took off with ease. The only drawback I found with the wheels is that you can feel every rough surface of the road, but that is a minor negative compared to the speed you do gain from the tread-less model.
The Dahon Formula S18 is a great lightweight high performance folding bike that has plenty of neat features. The Avid BB5 disc brakes and the wide range of speeds alone make this bike a bargain at its newly lowered price. The Dahon Formula S18 is a bike great, both for fast efficient commuting and also for fun recreational rides on your day off!