A few days ago, we had a taste of a prime New York City summer. It was 60 degrees and sunny, the snow was melting, and the bike lanes were full of people riding squeaky bikes that have been sitting in basements for months. On top of the beautiful weather, Dahon sent us a demo of their brand new Vector X27h racing bike, months before it will be available to the public. I figured this was the best time to take it out for a test ride, especially since I didn't need three pairs of gloves and thermal underwear.
So let's talk a bit about the Vector X27h folding bike, formerly known as the Speed Pro TT. This banana-colored bike is Dahon's road bike. It has aggressive handlebars, rapid-fire shifters, and slick tires (which are adorned with a yellow stripe down the middle to match the frame). The Kinetix rims use the super lightweight 16-spoke design, making the Vector lighter and faster than most other Dahon bikes. It also has the DualDrive 27-gear shifting system. One shifter controls a 7-speed derailleur, and the other controls a 3-speed internal hub.
Okay, okay, so why the change in the name? If you're familiar with the Speed Pro TT, you'd know that all of these features are the same, right down to the mango colored frame. When Dahon released the Vector series, they upgraded the frame. This means a stronger, more rigid ride. The area around the hinges and under the seatpost is larger, giving more stability to aggressive riders. Will you notice a difference in the performance? Probably not. Although personally, I'm always game for an upgrade in quality.
The first thing I noticed when I got on the Vector X27h is its acceleration. From a dead stop, I was going full speed in about two pedal strokes. The bike flies. During most of my ride, I used the middle gear on the hub and cycled through the gears on the derailleur. The gears shifted by clicking the brake lever to the left, like a racing bike or a touring bike. I found I could use this rapid-fire shifting to go from an extremely low gear to an extremely high gear in seconds.
The bike maneuvered like a dream. I was able to weave through Manhattan traffic and climb bridges like a mountain goat. Going downhill on the Williamsburg bridge, I was convinced it was the fastest I've ever gone on a bicycle. I know it's a bold statement, but the Vector X27h is probably the best ride I've ever experienced on a folding bicycle.
If there's one thing that irked me about the Vector X27h, it was the folding process. Since you get those sweet Pro TT handlebars, the first step is to loosen them with an Allen key and drop them out of the way. No big deal, I have Allen keys. I just didn't have them at hand immediately. Once you do that, you drop the handlebars, fold the frame, and drop the seat, just like a regular Dahon folding bike. All said and done, the package weighs about 22 pounds and fit easily in my closet.
After two days riding it, I was sad to see the Vector X27 go. I had much more fun riding this bike than the Vector X20 folding bike, which many people prefer. Maybe it's the handlebars. Maybe it's the 3-speed internal hub. Whatever the reason, this bike is amazing.
Check out the Dahon Vector X27h folding bike!