Bullhead beside the Missouri

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A Co-motion tandem passes my Dahon Bullhead on the Katy Trail between Page Bridge and Weldon Spring on Saturday.

I added a Blackburn rack to the Bullhead. Yesterday, I was carrying a small pair of Eclipse panniers around Forest Park in St. Louis. The Bullhead’s chainstays were long enough to keep the bags away from my heels. At least they were once I realized the bags were left- and right-handed.

The Bullhead is a mini velo: a small-wheeled bicycle with a more-or-less traditional double-diamond frame. Once you give a half turn to two 6mm bolts, the frame folds in half, and the forks are connected to the rear stays by magnets. Rotate and lower the handlebars using a 5mm Allen wrench, and you’re done.

With Schwalbe Big Apple tires and a Shimano Nexus hub, it’s a delight to ride. And the adjustable stem lets me get the handlebars to a comfortable height, which means I’m as comfortable on this bike as any other.

But is the Bullhead an outstanding folding bicycle? Not really. When folded, the bike takes up less space than a full-size machine, but compared to monotube folders, it still exerts a sizeable presence. You also have to dig out the Allen wrenches to fold it; most other folders ask only that you flip a couple of levers.

So it takes more time to fold; it’s a bit of an awkward package when folded; and I certainly wouldn’t want to fold it two or three times a day, but if it fits into a car that doesn’t have space for a full-size bike, and you want a nice-riding bike when you get to your destination, it’s an interesting choice.

Finally, if you enjoy the rarified winds of exclusivity, the Dahon Bullhead should definitely be on your consideration list: it’s no longer made.

But it’s still fun to ride. One of these years, I might even convert it to drop bars.

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About 16incheswestofpeoria

Former bicycle mechanic, current peruser of books, feeder of birds.
This entry was posted in Dahon, Report from the road and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Bullhead beside the Missouri

  1. lardavis says:

    Kickstand optional or also after-market?

    • I believe the kickstand came with the Bullhead. And as much as I’ve discovered newfound appreciation for the kickstand, a good wind, about 18 to 20 mph did knock over the bike upon our return.

  2. Micheal Blue says:

    …and it aslo has a short stem. That’s good. But, why not go for a BF 20″ bike?

    • I was reviewing the Bullhead for the folks at NYCeWheels when Dahon dropped the model. Rather than have me ship the bike back to New York, NYCeWheels asked me if I’d like to buy it at a reduced price. And so I did.

      It wasn’t like I had surveyed the market and said, “Oh yes, a Bullhead.” If I had purposely set out to add another folder to the stable, I probably would have ordered a Brompton, like my Bike Friday tikit, a 16-inch wheeled bike, but with a much smaller fold.

      Right now, in 20-inch folders, I’m more interested in the Bike Friday Two’sday (to get a tandem in the car) than other Bike Friday models. In 20-inch singles, I’d be shopping Bike Friday against Tern before making a decision.

      However, if I do anything in the tandem department, it’s more likely that I’d replace my current Co-motion with a Co-motion Periscope Torpedo with Co-Pilot fittings.

      • Micheal Blue says:

        Shopping BF against Tern? That’s interesting. They are not really in the same category. That’s like shopping Chevy against BMW. Though Tern fold would be smaller than BF fold. Terns start at $550. BFs start at over 1000 bucks. Tern is factory mass-made and BF is hand-made. In quality there can be no comparison.
        I’m with you on that Brompton stuff. I’m also going to get one. On one hand it may be a little bit nutty to have two 16″-wheel folders, OTOH Brompton can do some things much better, so they both serve their purpose.

      • I’m a big fan of handmade bicycles. But I’m not sure that mass-produced brands are limping along in second place. If the frames are well aligned and reasonably stiff, and the wheels are comparable, Terns and Bike Fridays can be ridden at the same speeds. If anything pushes me toward Bike Friday and Brompton, it isn’t 10/10ths performance; it’s the steel frames. Aluminum has come a long way over the past 30 years, but I still like the history and form factor of steel.

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