Dahon was founded in 1982 on a vision of “green” mobility, a form of transportation that not only serves to keep people healthier, but also preserves the environment for the next generation. As a relentless innovator, Dr. Hon toiled in his garage for seven years to create the perfect folding bicycle that would uphold these ideals. After presenting his invention to several established but uninterested companies, Dr. Hon and his brother Henry decided establish their own company from scratch. The two gathered venture funding and established their headquarters in Southern California while Dr. Hon went to Taiwan to build Dahon's first factory. Two years later, in 1984, Dahon folding bicycles were rolling off the assembly line as the most compact folding bicycle on the market at that time. Under the continued leadership of Dr. Hon, now recognized as the father of the modern folding bike, Dahon and its team of 70 engineers continue to set the pace with new technologies and innovations.
Primary production takes place in the company’s main factory in Shenzhen, China. Another facility, near Beijing, produces Dahon bikes for the Chinese market, which continues to grow strongly for the U.S.-based company. Beginning in 2012, all Dahon brand bikes destined for Europe will be made in Bulgaria. In a strategic partnership with Maxcom Ltd., the company is setting up a full-scale production base at one of the most modern facilities on the continent. All of the bikes for the European market will be made at the ISO 9001:2008-certified facility in Plovdiv, which specializes in the manufacturing of bicycles and features state-of-the-art machining technology and modern quality inspection equipment.
Most Dahon bicycles use a patented single hinge frame design, whereby the handlebar folds down and the frame hinge swings to the left, leaving the handlebar inside. Biggest sellers are the models with 16 or 20 inch wheels, but models are available with wheels from 12 inches to 700C. Models are available with derailleur or hub gear shifter, or both or none.
For 2012 Dahon offers 28 models of folding or portable bicycles in wheel sizes ranging from 16-26” with aluminum alloy or steel frames. Most of the 2012 offerings are true folding bicycles with some, like the Tarazed mountain bike, using Dahon "Flat Pak" technology. One of the company's best selling bikes is the Boardwalk D7, an entry-level, steel-frame commuter bike.
In 2008 to celebrate 25 years of production Dahon produced a special edition based on the Mµ series of bikes - the Mµ XXV. 250 of these machines were produced. In March 2009 they announced that they would produce 1,000 sets of a special edition bike based on its Curve D3 folding bike with the Spanish design firm Kukuxumusu. 2012 marks the company's 30th anniversary and Dahon have produced 300 limited edition bikes to honor the occasion, along with 3,000 more affordable replicas.
Dahon received an Innovative Products Award each for a folding bike entry and a suspension postpump, which combined an air suspension system and bicycle pump inside a single seatpost, at the 2009 Taipei International Cycle Show. In September 2009, Dahon's Ios XL, a bike designed for the urban commuter, was awarded a Eurobike Gold Design Award. Only 77 entries out of a total of 400 applicants from the bicycle industry worldwide were awarded with Eurobike Awards in 2009, and out of those only eight received a Gold Award for outstanding achievements in design and innovation. Other awards include a 2005 Eurobike award the Ciao! mini bike, a 2006 Eurobike award for the Glide P7/P8, 2006 Fiets RAI Dutch Bike of the Year award for the Ciao! a 2010 Eurobike award for the Vector X10 and a 2012 Taipei Cycle Show Design & Innovation award for the EEZZ (under the protoype name Metro).
How to Fold and Unfold Your Dahon Mariner D8 or Piazza D7