Thursday, December 22, 2011

So, what lies ahead?

What's in store for the folding bike in 2012?
2011 has been an interesting year.
Dahon was all out with their entire range of bikes from the basic and upgraded Dahon Eco 7 series to the high-end Vector X20 and the last production of the 2011 Jetstream EX.
We in Malaysia are very lucky to have these bikes and right now, the distributor is clearing whatever stock they have by offering as much as 25% discount on the higher-end bikes.
On the other hand, there's the launch of Tern bicycles that witnessed the introduction of some really cool bikes.

The best of 2011
I would safely put it that the Vector-series are the best from Dahon and for you full-suspension folding bike lovers out there, the Jetstream EX and P8 are out for grabs.
One of the highly-overlooked bikes is the Dahon Flo X-20 which has been dropped from Dahon's 2012 line-up.
Everything on this bike spelled class and at a pricetag of RM9.2K, its one of the most expensive Dahons.
Right now, its being dumped at RM7.3K, which is a steal! 
I also would not dispute the Dahon Mu XL, which has all the good ingredients of a town bike that you can also rig up as a touring bike.
The best from Tern bicycles would be the Verge S11i and Eclipse S11i. My money is on the Eclipse-series bikes from Tern.
Other noteworthy mention are the HASA M2, which is a bang for the buck buy for 2011. 
With all the good components thrown-in, I see a good future for this player in the folding bike market.
What I can see is that HASA, being a new player in the folding bike circuit, is all out to please their customer with good QA and QC.
As far as this company is concerned, their bikes are really SOLID!
Another underdog is the Birdy bikes from Pacific Cycles. This full-suspension bike is gaining popularity and has been quoted as 'an all-round' performer by bikepacking guru TT Siang.
I must say that a review for the Birdy is in order.

The coming year.. 
I doubt we will see much from Dahon bicycles as some of their high-end bikes have been wiped out clean from their line-up.
As far as QC is concerned, they have some issues. So, make sure you get your bike tuned and checked every now and then. 
This doesn't mean that Dahon would really suck, but seeing as it is, one must be extra careful when it comes to making the right choice.
From the trend, I think Tern Bikes would do extremely well in 2012.
If you want something reliable, they've got you covered. 
I see a lot of potential from the higher-end bikes like the Tern Link P9 and P24h.
Also seeing a big potential are the Verge X10, P18 and S11i.
It would also be cool to see some internal hub gear bikes from the Link series.
The clear winner for 2012 would be the Eclipse series from Tern. These bikes are the ones to lookout for.
My choices are the Eclipse S11i and P8.
But having said all these, I doubt that the K2 Asia guys knew what they have and actually understood their products.
Instead of relying on users to sell their bikes, they should come out for a ride and do some real marketing rather than sit on their ass...
As far as other brands are concerned, the Bromptons are slowly making in-roads here in the Klang Valley..
One such retailer in town in cashing-in on the Cult-status of the bike..
I doubt that Bike Friday or Moulton bikes would see the light here anytime soon, but hey, life can be full of surprises...

A silent departure..
Well, after a few minor and major fuck-ups, I've decided to slip away from the guys who are distributing Dahons and Terns.
Like Frodo Baggins, I now shoulder the burden as the guy who gave Ah Wai Kor the scar on his lips and palms.
Although K2 Asia had admitted that it was their fault for not tightening the handblebar latch, the damage was done.
What that still pisses me off, is the Dahon Folding Bike Club, which is non-existant and the failure for this group to take off.
I think its very unfair for Le Run to depend fully on their customers to do their job. 
So, thank you very much Le Run for the great privileges and K2 Asia, for busting up my bosses' lips! 
Helping the brands to grow - I must say, is a thankless job. 
I hope that Dahon and Tern will continue to make an impact on the local folding bike community.
All they need to do, is to focus more on the user's needs.
As for 2012, I will continue to ride and write about my experiences and efforts are underway to collaborate with the HASA and Birdy people.. So, stay tuned!
To all you Samo-holics out there, here's wishing all of you a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR and may 2012 be a super duper productive year for you....
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