Project Lemon | Restoring My Dahon Patented Foldie


Project Lemon

It all started when I got into folding bikes. The first folding bike I had was Southernport surplus bike and honestly while it was fun to ride, it was not that neat and it was pretty heavy. The second one was more decent compared to the first which I still keep as of today. It was still heavy and after using it on a cycle tour I found out that the frame was small for me. I was on the hunt for a good folding bike and I had one particular model in mind. I was eyeing a Dahon folding bike or any Dahon patented folding bike. It’s not just about the name but more of the build of the bike. I mean it has a large seat-post size and had a compact fold. It looked cool. Project Lemon started when I finally acquired my Jour after how many months of hunting. I bought it from a fellow cyclist more than a year ago. Finally I have my own Dahon patented folding bike. Just as I acquired it I was already eager to learn how to restore it. 

The original color my bike was red. See it here ( Ride To Work Project ). All stock parts, scratched and rusted finish, melted grips and a broken bash guard. The first thing I did was to have the rims realigned and the shifter and brake cables replaced. It was pretty much at a ride-able state but not yet ready for a cycle tour in my opinion. It went on for months just searching for the parts that I wanted and where to acquire them. The first component I got was the Armor bullhorns from Tryon. I figured I wanted to have roadie setup for my folding bike because we usually have cycle tours using folding bikes. Here’s my first cycle tour on a folding bike ( Banaybanay Cycle Tour ) I don’t have any experience riding a road bike and honestly it was just a feeling that it would be cool. The camera mount I acquired when I started to make a bike to work video and then the bottle cage I acquired locally.

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The second component I got was the stem. This is of the components that was especially hard to acquire for me. First, its not locally available. I had to search in the online market to find one. Second, I had to be sure that I would be purchasing the right stem that would fit my folding bike. Luckily a fellow cyclist, Francis, pinged me that it was available in Bike Republic. I had it shipped to my house. The MK stem cost less than the Peerless stem but the Peerless stem, in my opinion has better angle because it angles forward compared to the MK stem which has a setback. The stem I bought was better than the stock though because the stock was way too setback for me. Yes it brings the handlebars closer but in my experience its not very comfortable to ride with on long rides.

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The next phase of the restoration was disassembling the bike. I had Cleo help me disassemble it because I had no tools available and there are some parts of the bike that I’m not very adept of. So I took my bike to his place then we took it apart component by component. I learned how to work on the parts eventually by observing but I still have a hard time working on that bottom bracket because I still don’t have the right tools for it. After taking it apart I left the components there and brought the frame and fork back home.

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Next phase is repainting the frame and fork. I contacted friends regarding a decent factory that works well with painting frames. The Republic Powder Coat was the one that kept popping up so I went there to have my frame and fork repainted. But before I did that I went the process of manually stripping the paint from the frame. Really it was a troublesome work. The paint was not that easy to remove and I was burned a couple of times because of the paint remover.  I chose an amber yellow/mustard yellow color which was an indoor color. I had to pay double because they would have to apply a second coating to make sure the paint doesn’t wear off easily. After a few days I went back to get my order. I was contented with the work that they did. However I was not happy for the fact that they don’t usually give more detail as to painting bike frames. They sprayed into the parts where I specified that they should have not included and it also had a bleed on the chain stay part. All in all it was still good because they gave me 50% discount for the frame.

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After that I was set to go back to Cleo’s place to build the bike again. The components was still not complete yet but I was insistent because I was so excited to assemble the bike. In the end we were able to build the bike but because I didn’t have all the parts with me, we ended up setting it up as a single speed bike. Bullhorns and stem are attached but without bar tapes and only a front brake. It looked like a fixie bike when I rode it to work. It went on like that for weeks before I purchased my STI Brifters from Stanley. A quick info about Stanley. He and John Tomesa where the first ones I saw restoring their Dahon folding bikes into a roadie setup and painting their frames yellow. They also helped me through the restoring process. I got my brifters and 7 speed mega range cogs and FSA dual crank set from Stan and then got my slick tires from John. They really were a big help.

Stan's Reference

Component update. My Jour with the brifters and bar tapes installed. Rear brake already installed too though I still haven’t changed to slick tires during this time. The next components where the new rear derailleur and the chain. I bought a 9 speed Sora RD because it can still match my cogs as long as my STI’s are 7 speed. This was during a test ride in the city. I was actually riding to local bike shops just literally window shopping for parts.

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The first long I ride I took this bike to. It was more than a 100 km from Davao City to Tagum City and back. I had already switched to slick tires and black Mavic rims. It was sort of a bumpy ride. I wasn’t still used to riding with the slick tires. I’ve been riding with my mountain bike for a long time that I seemed to haven’t felt those little road bumps because it just absorbs it. But with the slick tires, given that they’re slim tire you can really feel the vibrations even from those little bumps.

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The lastest compoent update was just the saddle. I switched it to a lighter one and because I was more comfortable with it. Then getting a new LitePro seat-post. One because it was way lighter than the stock and two, because it was black. I wanted a yellow, black and silver look for the bike so I figured  I should get a black one. So far that has been the last update. I still need to get a LitePro front derailleur adapter so that I could install a front derailleur on it. I’m still looking forward to upgrading it to a 9 speed foldie but that is still an option for now. As of today, I’m happy riding my folding bike. I ride it going to work and other stuff. It also really feels kinda rewarding when you ride a bike that you personally restored.

Project Lemon

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3 thoughts on “Project Lemon | Restoring My Dahon Patented Foldie

  1. Good job on your foldie! I am also planning to convert mine (Tern D8) to a roadie setup. What brakes did you use and how much are they? Mine has v-brakes, and from what I’ve read from the other forums you need to use long reach brake calipers to reach the rims of foldies. Kindly reply to my e-mail, trrs.rnrnld@hotmail.com. Thanks!

    -Ron

  2. Good day sir, i am planning to restore my dahon patent folding bike, my bike is almost the as your bike. My question is, do i need to change the fork if i will use same folding stem with quill from mk?

    1. Hi, If the stem matches the fork I don’t think you need to change your fork. If it does not match, I believe there is an available adapter for that. Sorry, very late reply.

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