If you want a good folding bike without breaking the bank, reviews point to the Dahon Speed D7. It costs much less than other foldable bikes, and reviewers say it offers a surprisingly smooth and stable ride for the price. As its name suggests, the Dahon Speed D7 has seven speeds and 20-inch wheels on a steel frame. Reviewers are impressed with the quick fold, which takes a manufacturer-reported 15 seconds, and they like that the bike comes with commuting accessories like a kickstand, chain protector, fenders and a rear rack. Solid handling is another plus. However, at 28 pounds, the Dahon Speed D7 is heavier than some competing folding bikes. The fold is relatively compact at 11.7 inches by 30 inches by 25 inches, but it's not the smallest. In addition, even with seven speeds, one reviewer says the gear range isn't the best for hilly commutes. The Brompton M3L (MSRP: $1,280) gets the best reviews overall and is lighter and more compact, but it's significantly more expensive.
The best review of the Dahon Speed D7 comes from Britain's Daily Mail, which tests six folding bikes and rates each one. Analysis is not very detailed, but it is balanced and touches on both pros and cons. Outside magazine also rates the Dahon Speed D7, while a few user reviews are available at Amazon.com. BusinessWeek.com has a much older review, but it's still worth reading.
1. Daily Mail (United Kingdom)
Britain's Daily Mail tests six foldable bikes in this group test. Even though the gearing range lags behind the top-rated Brompton folding bike, testers like the folding mechanism and stable ride.
Review: Carry on Commuting: Our man gets carried away testing six of the best fold-up bikes, Simon Munk, Aug. 28, 2010
2. Outside Magazine
Outside magazine recommends the Dahon Speed D7 in its annual cycling issue. Testers say the folding bike has a smooth ride with stable handling, and they appreciate included accessories like the fenders and rear rack.
Review: Dahon Speed D7, Jeremy Spencer, April 12, 2011
The Dahon Speed D7 enjoys a 4-star rating (out of 5) after 10 reviews at Amazon.com. Most owners are pleased with the bike's quality and say it folds easily, but a few say the components need to be adjusted frequently.
Review: Dahon Speed D7 Folding Bike, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of Aug. 2011
BusinessWeek.com has an older but informative review of the Dahon Speed D7. Editors call it the Best Value among the folding bikes tested, saying it "does all things fairly well, from urban errands to an occasional longer ride."
Review: A Commuter's Secret Weapon, Editors of BusinessWeek.com, June 12, 2006