05 Sep Spotlight on the Curve i3 16″
What makes the Curve i3 unique?
Our spotlight series aims to share a little of the reasoning behind our folding bike lineup, which offers something for every type of rider. This time the Curve i3 16″ takes center stage.
This bestselling frame design and 16″ wheel setup has been around in a fairly unchanged format (originally the Curve D3) since 2006. Not the fastest to fold, nor the lightest bike, what makes it so popular?
As mentioned, the Curve is not the very smallest of our bikes (that honor goes to the EEZZ and the Jifo) but its 16″ wheels do make for a very neat footprint. And when it debuted, it was indeed the most compact in the lineup. Close on the heels of the Curve, but not quite as small, come the POP and Dove, most popular in Asia and rarely found on sale in the West. At 60 x 57 x 34cm (23.6” x 22.4″ x 13.4”) the Curve is DAHON’s smallest horizontal folding bike (the Jifo and EEZZ are vertical folding) with a more standard hinge and style.
How about gearing? Those used to mountain bikes might balk at being limited to 3 speeds, but the Curve is in no way designed for that kind of riding. It shines as a portable, urban get-around, with the high and low perfectly balanced to get you where you need to go. 3-speeds have been the backbone of city bikes for decades, but that hasn’t stopped plenty of people taking off touring on a Curve.
And a favorite feature? It’s a hub gear. Years of maintenance free riding could be ahead, changing up or down any time with a handy twist shifter. The internal hub is also a bit more forgiving of being schlepped around and packed away, where a derailleur might get knocked and bent out of shape. Many people prefer a hub gear for its clean look, which on different bikes is made even tidier with a coaster brake (usually USA only). This incarnation of the Curve comes to a stop on smooth, winzip V-brakes and the hub is a Shimano G3R40.
Be mindful though, as one of the smaller frame and wheel combos, if you’re over 6’1″ or over 220lbs this petite folder is not for you. But because the Curve i3 is made of DAHON’s own Dalloy aluminum, you can be assured that it is both strong and stiff, and exceeds all international strength and safety standard testing.
It’s such a popular and reliable little number that @KentsBike wrote a poem about it (thanks Kent!) and it was the frame of choice for the fabulously cheeky Kukuxumusu special edition folding bike. So here’s to the Curve, more than a decade as a bestseller makes it without a doubt a DAHON classic.