The Friday Cyclotouriste

a geo-photoblog chronicling my "excursions velo"

Gear Gallery……Dahon vs Brompton: a Folding Bike Comparison

with 5 comments

I narrowed it down to two folding bikes. What follows is a mini-review.


What I like about the Dahon Mu Uno (left):

  1. styling/build: not flashy; matte black finish; 20-inch tires; double kick-stand; ruggedly constructed.
  2. simplicity: no derailer or brake cables to worry about and a near perfect 62″ single gear.
  3. ride: stable handling; more like a full-size bike when compared to the Brompton.
  4. racks: none supplied, but accepts klickfix accessories.

And the drawbacks:

  • more conspicuous than the Brompton when folded and not as compact;
  • not designed to fold with attached fenders and racks;
  • while ruggedly built, it’s doesn’t wreak of craftsmanship like the Brompton (i.e. it feels more mass produced).


What I like about the Brompton (right):

  1. quality engineering: extreme attention to quality and workmanship.
  2. folding design: ingeniously compact; easier to take on airlines/buses/metros; and a design that incorporates fenders and a rear rack!
  3. versatility: 3-speed internal gear hub with a perfectly spaced 48″, 64″, and 85″ set of gears; fenders and racks included on most models.

The drawbacks:

  • price (more than double that of the Mu Uno);
  • a few extra parts and a more complicated drivetrain make it feel more fragile than the Mu Uno with the potential for more maintenance and repairs;
  • rides less like a full-size bike compared to the Mu Uno (probably due to the smaller 16″ wheels); however, in normal use, you adjust quickly to the differences.


Conclusion: These are both appealing bikes.  If I just needed a simple and robust city bike for basic transportation in a relatively flat urban environment — the Mu Uno would be perfect.

I would think nothing of tossing around the Mu Uno or leaving it chained to a parking meter, but I would think twice about doing this with the Brompton (in this regard the Brompton’s elegant craftsmanship is a bit of a mixed blessing, as it is with all fine bicycles).

In the end, the Brompton’s versatile (yet still relatively simple) 3-speed gear range and ease of toting around (especially while fendered and on airlines) were the deciding factors for me.

For its first test, I brought the bike via airplane to Minneapolis in it’s own suitcase. While it rained the whole time, the Brompton truly shined.

Written by fridaycyclotouriste

October 27th, 2010 at 6:14 pm

5 Responses to 'Gear Gallery……Dahon vs Brompton: a Folding Bike Comparison'

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  1. Cool – I have a BF Tikit, and while the trade-offs of a folder are always there, the benefit on trips can’t be beat. Enjoy the Brompton.


    17 Nov 10 at 7:05 am

  2. esteban/ i’ve heard good things about the tikit….i look forward to reading more about your ebisu too.

  3. The Mu Uno will fold with fenders on – you can buy from Dahon and attach. Simples.


    19 Feb 11 at 4:20 pm

  4. excellent comparison, very helpful.
    i was in same boat, had a bike friday, then a dahon, then anguishing over decision to get a brompton, and those 16″ wheels.
    for multi-modal, the brompton is the best.


    7 Jun 13 at 11:06 pm

  5. thanks janet! so glad you stopped by and concurred with my conclusions. the brompton is, indeed, the best. now, the only thing i want to do is swap out my front wheel for one with a generator hub 🙂

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