Ride-wise, the D7 is a pretty nimble machine, thanks to the sharp forward stem rake and the short wheelbase. This is a welcome trait for tight cornering in the urban environment; however riders used to slower-steering bikes will likely be caught out during the initial rides. To beginners, this bike might feel outright dangerous. The combination of the 52T chainring, 11-30T 7-speed cassette, and fast Roulez slicks gives enough oomph to go up to 30Km/h on the flats to make up time after a late roll-call.
While the D7 manages short distance trips with ease, it does not do well for rides longer than half an hour. The twitchy steering makes keeping a straight line on long stretches, such as Changi Coast Road, a daunting task, one that is made worse by a less than smooth headset. Also, the stock saddle - which is geared towards comfort - together with the upright position, does not promote pedaling efficiency. This shortcoming is of no issue, as the D7 is supposed to complement - rather than become a replacement of - the public transport system, which the next part of this review will focus on: Bringing the D7 onto the MRT.
Getting on the train is simple enough, thanks to the wider gantries and lift that have been installed in many of our stations. The lack of bulk of the folded D7 also spared me an earful from the stationmaster, compared the previous attempts with my regular bike. The folded bike can be wheeled while holding the saddle. This is extremely welcome given the weight of almost 13 kg. It is no fun to hand-carry all that mass around. Getting on a moderately crowded train is simple enough; getting off was a totally different preposition. Singaporean's lack of courtesy in refusing to allow fellow passengers to alight first has been widely documented. This time, there was no exception, never mind that this reviewer got off the half empty train at the end of the line at Pasir Ris. An unpleasant experience, though not due to any fault of the bike. One can only imagine the sheer frustration if this reviewer had worked in town and had to fight through a bigger CBD crowd.
In conclusion, the D7 fell somewhat below this reviewer’s expectations. Having a more neutral steering will make this bike more popular with a wider audience, beginners especially, and its folding ability will score points with many recreational riders: From being able to fit a few D7s into the car bonnet, to being a space saver at home. A lighter overall setup would be preferred, as one often has to resort to hand-carrying the D7 to navigate through the typical peak hour human traffic. Despite its shortcomings, once one can get used to the D7’s handling characteristics, it very much fulfils the needs of a cyclist who wishes to integrate his ride with the public transport system.
On an ending note, it would be nice if we could experience more gracious behaviour on the trains as well.