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Dahon Folding Bike customization

Dahon has made an excellent range of folding bikes for many years.  Out of the box they tend to function comfortably and well.  Variances between bikes are not always obvious, but they are there.  Though not commonly discussed, Dahon Bikes can often be upgraded  very significantly with relatively modest investments and work.  

Most recently I have completed the following upgrades:

1:  Upgrade the Visc SL to a 349 rear wheel (from 305): This makes the bike ride much better because it effectively reduces the slope of the seat post,  keeping the bike from wanting to do wheelies on a blink, and moreover, speeds up the bike by taking the gearing and adding additional distance covered every revolution (Gear Inches measure).

2:  Swap the Visc D18 Appletini handlebar post to an inner fold, adjustable height handlebar post, and couple the handlebar post with touring handlebar which gives a much more dynamic set of hand and body positions.

Nomadic upgrade, Visc SL 9 w/ 349 rear wheel  


Both of these bikes are "my" bikes so I am doing things to make the bikes work best for me.  I have often found that the things I like generally other people also appreciate for their usage.  In these two situations I am sure that is the case. 

Visc SL 9 with 349 iso rear wheel and Comet tires

Visc SL 9 - even after wheel upgrade will fit with wheels on in many 61" Airline accepted suitcases 

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Dahon Visc D18 - Suitcase travel

 Visc D18 Appletini - Suitcase Packable

For a few years now, the Visc D18 has been my primary folding bike.  I use it in many ways. 

  • I take it with me in the car so that I can get access and fun at the other end of my travel.
  • I have flown with it on several trips and been able to explore and be active in wonderful places.
  • I use it as a utility vehicle at work, running to lunch, going to the hardware store and sometimes just getting a bit of fresh air and new perspective.

The fact that I can easily pack it and fly different places, while simply checking in a normal suitcase is a real game changer for me.  I love to travel but I hate spending too much money on certain things.  Oversize baggage is one.  In fact my United Credit Card gives me one free checked bag so, by my view, my bike travels free.

Depending upon where I am going I will pack differently.

For a short business trip the bike and anything I don't want to carry in my carry on end up in the suitcase.  At my destination I will usually pickup a rental car or perhaps a ride to my hotel. 

If I am going on a travel fun trip, which I did recently, I have the ability to convert my suitcase to a bike trailer, and and carry both the bike and the trailer chassis in my suitcase.  The result of this is that I don't really need a car at the other end of my flight and I can travel from place to place with my bike, suitcase/trailer and gear.  This is incredibly freeing from so many points of view.  For one, expenses go down.  Places are seen in new ways.  One actually feels a lighter burden by not being tied to a car, the gas, worrying about it getting damaged, so many things.

Suitcases and bikes that work with them is a bit like pairing food with wine.  They need to work together and they do not always do so automatically.  Basically the regulation for how "large" a suitcase can be challenges on a few fronts.  Length, width and depth must add up to no more than 62 inches.  Wheel size. Frame, Handlebar  Transmissions.  Ease and difficulty of removing wheels. Keeping things so they can be quickly be put back together. Ability to protect parts from each other, ability to protect the whole package.  Ideally the ability to carry more of your gear and having space for it.  If you want to "trailerize" your suitcase, then all of the chassis and wheels must fit into the suitcase or be fixed safely to the suitcase.  Once the trailer chassis enters in, add to that requisite tools and hardware, then it is important to be aware of the 50 lb weight limit.

And so, what is life without a challenge?  Function first, but fashion is also important.

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Gates Belt Drive with Nuvinici N360 in Nomadic Dahon Mu N360 Folding Bike

At Nomadic, we have brought forward two very exciting updates to the Dahon Mu N360 model bike.   Joining with Dahon's very well regarded Mu Frame platform,  these modifications are focused on the integration of the Gates CTX Belt Drive being paired with the remarkable NuVinci N360 CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission).Mu N360 Gates 2017 12 22 15.46.41 trimmed

The Nomadic-Dahon Mu N360 Gates Bike (above) is clean and effective.  This brings the Gates CTX Belt System, along with new fitted bottom bracket, crank set, belt tensioner together with a high level of integral precision.  The fundamental aspect of the Gates Belt Drive is that it is not "lubricated" the way chain's need to be lubricated.  Further, it is very quiet.  In a folding bike, not being lubricated means that you can carry it on your hip, throw it in the back seat of your car, lean into it with your leg and you won't get grease stains.  When you ride it, it really imparts a different experience.  You get almost a feeling of "flying" it is so quiet.  Part of this is its mating with the remarkable NuVinci transmission which does not shift in a "clicking" manner, but reather in a smooth transitional manner.  It also has a relatively quiet coasting mode, which you may note in that its efficiency gets you to speed and coasting frequently.  New Bottom Bracket and Crank sets are required as part of this upgrade and choices can be communicated.

Dahon Mu N360 with Gates Drive and Patterson 2 Speed Crank System  -

The full step further.2018 04 27 16.05.59 N360 Gates Patterson 1

 The addition of the Patterson 2 Speed Planetary Gear crank gives the bike both a Overdrive and Low range which expands the Nuvinci N360's of 360% to a remarkable  576% from its lowest to highest gearing.  Making this jump we have purposely expanded the range both Low and High.  This makes the bike capable of climbing even the steepest grades, yet rolls down the road at speed and under power at a remarkable clip.  The bike is capable for both touring and cargo/trailer uses.  Shifting is nearly instantaneous throughout the range.

We have a limited supply of these bikes available.  We can also retrofit existing N360's both in our shop and in a provided kit form.  We will update this article with direct order information as we move forward.  Exciting bikes!

2018 04 27 16.06.07 N360 Gates Patterson 2

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Business Directions

Business at Nomadic has been moving in some new directions.  In cycling our focus has been on higher end folding bikes that are capable of travel, and nice to ride around town and beyond.  You can find considerable information on those fronts here.  Bicycle Trailers are an area of real interest right now and we have some excellent options for different usage scenarios.  We will document that more.

In other fronts though, Landis has become quite active on a consulting level in Project Managment for outside companies.  I should use the word "I" rather than "we" as I am quite singular in most of this.  The projects are diverse and engaging and I am very happy to add my service, expertise and disposition for "deep learning" which tends to be required in finding solutions.  I look forward to doing more of this with a few other clients, and I see this as an important way to look upon our own operations in finding ways to optimize our impact.  Note that the "I" becomes "we" there in the use of "our".  Needless to say, there has been no stimulous anything in our realm.  We are Bootstrap all the way baby.

Anyway,  the ticker list is long so I will leave this here for today.

I will return more frequently with posts and information.

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Nomadic Life in the time of Covid-19

Well,  it is pretty obvious that being Nomadic has gotten more complicated in the era of Covid-19.  Counties, States and Countries all have clamped down on travel.  Campgrounds have been closed.  Local activities, as in trail access, has remained open, at least around here.  Social distancing in demanded.

I could comment further about the philisophical aspects to this but I will not.  We need to do our best to get through this.

We must also realize that there are those who remain "on the road" and who need to find ways.

If you have a bike, a camper or a pickup truck you can, it appears, get on the Interstate.  Truck stops seem to still be open.  You can buy food, cook for yourself.  Perhaps truck stops have take out options, we wouild have to assume.  In many places, people are being allowed to park and camp on city streets.  There are issues of full encampments in city parks and I think this is the tip of an iceberg that has been tumbling for a while now.  Campgrounds, not just oriented at RV's should be a part of most communities.  2 Week stay limitations should be enforced, but there should be enough campgrounds that people who do not have other options can move between them.

Walmart stores (by having a Grocery and Hardware compnent) are still open.  Other Grocery and Hardware as well.  Automotive and, in some places, Bicycle Repair, has remained theoretically open.  But functionally, people need to stay away from each other as much as possible.

It is not easy to see an end to all of this.   It is hard to know if quarantine enforcement will loosen or tigthen.  Again though,  keeping distance is critical for all of us.  We need to do so without becoming Anti-Social at the same time.

Be well, Be Safe.
Keep in touch with each other.

Landis Arnold

4-29-2020,  Niwot, Colorado

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