I love fast bikes. I love strong bikes. I love affordable, classy, flashy, well-equipped, and well-designed bikes. But my favorite bikes are all these things and even more. This is why I love the Dahon Vector P8 folding bike.
Based around the lightweight hydroformed aluminum Vector frame, the P8 was first introduced to replace Dahon's Vector X10, an ultralight racer which proved to be highly popular in its day. This was an interesting switch-up, as the P8 actually weighs substantially more than the X10 did, but the Vector P8 more than makes up for this with a lot of well thought out design improvements. In particular, while the Vector X10 featured a minimal collection of spokes and a skeletal frame in an effort to keep weight as low as possible, the Vector P8 sports a beefed up frame and 30-spoke wheels. The result is a bike that can achieve the same high speeds, but won't be crippled when it meets its first pothole.
The Vector P8 features a satisfying glossy black paint job with crimson highlights on the frame and rims. It is a look that won't draw unwanted attention, though bike lovers checking out your ride are sure to appreciate the simple but strong aesthetic.
However, this bike is more than just superficially sleek. The Vector P8 features a slew of high quality racing components as well as several thoughtful utility-oriented features that make it an incredible versatile folding bike. The wide-ranging Shimano 11-32t cassette combines with Schwalbe Supreme tires for an incredibly smooth and speedy riding experience. In particular, the Supremes give the bike superior grip and nimble handling over a variety of surfaces, enabling the Vector P8 to handle the slings and arrows of racing around a city without giving up any speed. In equal measure, I found the brakes proved excellent in countering the power of this Dahon. Even when speeding in top gear down damp and bumpy roads, I was pleased to be able to stop on a dime at a tap of the responsive Avid brake levers.
Despite its lightning quick handling and speedy disposition, the Dahon Vector P8 is also designed to work well as your daily go-to bike. Eyelets for fenders and racks means the Vector is easy to turn into an ideal commuter, or those who like to keep things minimal can opt for a KLICKfix front luggage truss, which integrates nicely into the front of the frame for a useful quick-release system that can accept a variety of bags and accessories. None of these accessories come on the stock Vector P8, ensuring maximal customization and the lightest possible configuration when you first buy the bike. Dahon also included their cleverly designed pump, which stows away in the seatpost until needed.
I found the ride quality of the Vector P8 folding bike to be quite good, and was impressed to find that although the bike utilizes Dahon's signature adjustable handlebar stem design, the ride maintained a lithe stiffness that allowed me excellent energy transference while I was pedaling hard in a standing position. Not once did I worry about how the handlepost would respond to this kind of abuse, which is not always the case with such setups.
The compact geometry of the bike makes it ideal for smaller riders, but as a 5'11" man, I still felt comfortable after I dialed in the correct fit using the quick-adjust handlebars and seatpost. The folding mechanism is as trustworthy as any other Dahon, and I found the bike stayed together quite securely when folded down. This bike features Dahon's V-Clamp hinge technology, which felt extremely secure to me.
I can hardly think of someone who would not immediately be able to put the Dahon Vector P8's versatility to good use. Its gear range and stiff frame make it a nice racer, its wider tires make it ideal for city use, and its attachment points means it can perform excellently as a speedy commuter. Add in its compact folded profile, and the fact that we have significantly slashed its price, and I think it is fair to say that this is a bike that really has it all. Get your hands on a Dahon Vector P8 fast, supplies won't last!About the Author
Miles Schneider is a folding bike specialist and blogger for NYCeWheels in New York City. He plays electric violin and enjoys a good bourbon.