As the name suggests, the Dahon Vector P9 is a 9-speed folding bike (single chain ring in the front and 9-speed cassette in the rear), with gear shifting duties provided by the Neos 9-speed indexed shifter (below right) which is reminiscent of SRAM’s popular grip-shift amongst their mountain bike specific range. The Neos 9-speed indexed shifter is matched with the Neos 9-speed rear derailleur (below left) which was designed specifically for small-wheeled folding bikes – it is mounted onto a special dropout in front of the rear wheel. This compact design means that the derailleur protrudes slightly from the frame. This is crucial for folding bikes to minimize damage when the bike is folded.


Above: The Neos 9-speed rear derailleur(left) and Neos 9-speed indexed shifter(right)

 

Ride Feel, Weight & Aesthetics

Ride Feel

A common recurring issue of many folding bikes, especially the cheap low-end ones, is the lack of efficiency and unnecessary flex associated with the hinges and folding parts of the bike when the rider stomps on the pedals. Fortunately, this was not a problem with the Vector P9 as power was transferred immediately to the pedals which was a pleasant surprise as I expected some ‘flex’ from the frame or components. The stiffness of the bike is likely attributed to the massively hydroformed Dalloy* main tubes which flow from the back of the top tube to the seat stays of the bike.

The forged alloy handlepost also contributed to the front-end stiffness of the bike. Another thing which really left a deep impression on me was how the ride comfort and stability. The wide 20”x1.75” tires are likely the reason why the bike rode so comfortably and had virtually no problems with sudden or tight cornering. Gearing-wise, the 11-32T 9-speed cassette provided a wide range of speed options and it felt comfortable cruising in gears 5 and 6 (as indicated on the speed index) during commutes.

The Radius Telescope handlepost allows the rider to adjust their desired height for the front end of the bike. This was useful as my personal preference was for the handlebars of the bike to be lower (and more ‘aggressive’) so that it would be more stable and easier to manoeuvre when turning or cornering.

Weight:

The bike comes in at about 12.2kg according the manufacturer’s specifications and is only available in one size.

Aesthetics

The glossy two tone red-black colour scheme seems to suggest that the bike likes to go fast. The hydroformed Dalloy tubes do not just add to the overall stiffness of the bike, it also lends a nice curvy touch to the bike as the main tube transits into the seat stays to the wheel dropouts. Given that 2013 is Dahon’s 30th anniversary year, the Vector P9 also came with a very classy looking 30th anniversary head badge located just above the folding mechanism of the handle post.

*According to Dahon’s official website, Dalloy Aluminium is an aerospace grade alloy offering 20% more strength than those made of 6061 aluminium. The patented “work hardening” procedure was developed by Dahon founder and metallurgic physicist Dr David Hon himself. 

 

Folding, Price & Conclusion

Folding

The folding process of the Vector P9 is straightforward and easy-one main hinge (above right) located on the centre of the main tube of the frame and another hinge (above left) located at the base of the handlepost. The main hinge folds the bike into half and the other hinge splits the handlepost towards the ground to minimize space. The seatpost has to be lowered all the way and the result is a very compact fold.

Price:

The Dahon Vector P9 retails at $1350 (promo price is $1299 for a limited time only) and is available at My Bike Shop.

Conclusion

If you want a fast, efficient and easy to use folding bike for commuting or exercise with a budget of slightly more than a grand, the Dahon Vector P9 will be a worthy choice. It may also appeal to folding bike fans/collectors since it is a 30th anniversary model from Dahon. For ‘weight-weenie’ folding bike fans who wish to bling up the Vector P9, there are lots of options to upgrade components on the bike-such as lighter cranksets, front and rear derailleurs or perhaps even folding bike specific wheelsets from WheelSport.