Sunday, March 10, 2013

Guide to Upgrading your Dahon / Tern Folding Bike

Updated on 31 May 2015 with some 11 speed components info
Updated on 04 Jan 2022 with latest info

Do you own a Dahon or Tern folding bike? Do you want to upgrade the components on your folding bike? If the answer is yes, then you have come to the right place! On this blog, there is plenty of info for those who want to know more about folding bike upgrades. However, I also understand that most of the info is scattered all over the place, and that it can be difficult to find the answer to your upgrade question. Also, I have been receiving quite a few questions regarding upgrading a Dahon / Tern bike. Therefore, I have decided to create a simple guide for those who plan to upgrade their Dahon or Tern folding bike.
All the advice also applies to bikes with similar structure, such as Fnhon, Crius, etc.

For real examples of upgrades, please refer to Dahon Boardwalk Ultegra Di2 or Dahon Vitesse X20-TT for details.
Fnhon DB11, 1x11 speed Di2, 1x12 speed AXS

Question: Can these bikes be upgraded easily? Dahon Eco C6 and Dahon Boardwalk D7

This upgrading guide is specially written for Dahon or Tern bike users, as I am more familiar with the folding bikes from those 2 brands, and have some experience myself in upgrading Dahon bikes. However, this does not mean that it is totally irrelevant to other folding bike brands! Some of the pointers may well apply to other bike brands, as many bicycle components are actually quite similar across brands and models, such as Fnhon, Crius.

For this guide, the different components that are available for upgrade will be discussed separately, along with my recommendations and the expected cost of upgrade. At the end of the day, this guide is meant to help you determine if the bike that you have can or cannot be upgraded easily, and at what cost.


a) Wheelset
b) Cassette
c) Crankset / Bottom Bracket
d) Rear Derailleur
e) Front Derailleur
f) Handlepost / Handlebar
g) Shifters / Brake Levers
h) Brake Calipers


The wheelset is one of the key components of a bike. With a good lightweight wheelset with smooth bearings, getting the bike up to speed definitely feels easier. However, this is also one of the main limiting factors for upgrade.

In terms of upgrade possibilities, there is a huge difference between a 7 speed and a 8 speed bike. This is because of the different freehub body on the rear wheel. For a 7 speed bike such as the Dahon Vitesse D7, DrHon Vybe C7, or Tern Link C7, it cannot be upgraded to 8 speeds and above without changing out the rear wheel which usually also means the entire wheelset.

However, if you get a 8 speed bike, such as Dahon Speed P8 or Tern Link D8, you can upgrade easily to 9 or 10 speeds. This is because 8/9/10 speed freehub bodies are the same, thus you can fit on 8/9/10 speed cassettes.

In Year 2021/2022, almost all new bikes comes with freehub bodies that can accomodate 11 speed road cassettes. The freehub body is 1.85 mm longer than conventional 8/9/10 speed freehub bodies. To ease manufacturing SKUs, it is easy to just make and specify a 11 speed freehub body, which can also be used for 8/9/10 speed cassettes just by adding a 1.85 mm spacer behind the cassette.

Stock wheelset from Dahon D7 series.

 Kinetix Comp wheelset, comes stock with Dahon 8 speed bikes.

Although the wheelsets look very similar, the freehub body length is different, which means a big difference in terms of upgrade possibilities.

Tern Link C7. Cannot upgrade to 8/9/10 speeds without changing the wheelset. However, it does have a standard DATT RD hanger which allows upgrades to the RD (more details below).

 Tern Link D8. Can upgrade to 8/9/10 speeds without changing wheelset. However it does not have a standard DATT RD hanger.

Unless you are getting a basic bike with zero intention of upgrading your bike, you should get a bike model with at least 8 speeds. It is worth the initial investment as it allows you to transit from 8 to 9 or 10 speeds much more easily.

Take note that you can only fit front hubs with 74mm OLD, not the standard 100mm used by most full sized bikes. Thus your wheelset choices are pretty limited (but still much better than previously, where only Kinetix wheelsets are available.)

74 mm front OLD are used for wheels that use rim brakes, such as V-brakes or caliper brakes. The trend is now firmly towards disc brakes, for better braking performance.

Therefore, new bikes and wheels will have a 100 mm front OLD, and 135 mm rear OLD, to accomodate disc brakes. Take note of this if you are getting wheelsets or framesets.

Front Wheel
74 mm OLD: Brompton-type, or wheels using rim brakes
100 mm OLD: Disc brake wheel

Rear wheel
130 mm OLD: Wheels using rim brakes, can be 8 to 11 speeds.
135 mm OLD: Wheels using disc brakes, can be 8 to 11 speeds.  

If you are getting a wheelset, get one with a rear hub that can accommodate 11 speeds. This will allow you to use 8 speed to 11 speed cassettes without having to change the rear hub at all.

If you have a 7 speed bike, you will need a new wheelset if you intend to upgrade to 8/9/10 speeds. A basic Kinetix Comp wheelset will cost at least $200 second hand, or $300+ brand new. Mid to high range wheels such as Wheelsport or Kinetix Pro cost $400-$600++. There are also high profile carbon wheelsets by Controltech that cost over $1000.

There are cheaper options available now, with many small brands offering standard aluminum wheelsets at affordable prices of $100-$400. One thing to avoid are wheelsets with high profile aluminium rims, as they are really heavy. If you want the look of a high profile rim, you should use carbon rims, else you have to accept the weight penalty.


The cassette is the name for the collection of sprockets located on your rear hub. The number of sprockets determine the number of speeds that your bike can have. It is closely linked to the type of wheelset and freehub body that you have.

7 speed freehubs can only fit 7 speed cassettes, while 8/9/10 speed cassettes share the same freehub body dimensions. Thus if your wheelset can fit 8 speed cassettes, it means that you can also fit 9 or 10 speed cassettes on the same wheelset.

How do 8, 9 and 10 speed cassettes fit on the same freehub body length? This is possible as 9 speed sprockets and spacers are thinner than 8 speed ones, which allow 1 more sprocket to fit in the same space. Same concept for 10 speed cassettes, where the sprockets are even thinner and closer to each other.

11 speed Shimano cassettes require freehub bodies that are 1.85mm wider than 8/9/10 speed cassettes. Therefore, going to 11 speeds will require a new rear hub that is designed for 11 speeds. It is still possible to use 8/9/10 speed cassettes on 11 speed compatible hubs, as long as an appropriate spacer (usually included with wheelset) is used.

Stock 7 speed cassette from Dahon Boardwalk (2010).

9 speed SRAM road cassette

Nowadays, it is getting harder to find aftermarket 8 speed cassettes, as most of the market has moved to 9 speeds and above. Development for 8 speed drivetrain has mostly stopped. Thus, if you are thinking of upgrading from 7 to 8 speeds (with purchase of new wheelset), I would suggest going straight to 9 or more speeds. Although it is slightly more costly, you have a much wider range of shifters and derailleurs to choose from.

Choose an appropriately sized cassette for your riding style. If you do not have a powerful engine, you may want to get cassettes with a larger sprocket (Eg. 11-28T or 12-30T) to help you climb up the slopes.

Do note that when you change cassettes, the chain also has to be changed to match the speed. Do not use a 8 speed chain on a 9 speed cassette as there will be shifting problems and lots of noise.

From $25 for a new 8 speed cassette to ~$60 for a Shimano 105 10 speed cassette. Higher grades of cassettes are available, but are much more costly. The main difference for the higher cost is reduced weight.

Crankset/Bottom Bracket

This is another component that many people like to upgrade. Not only can you save a surprising amount of weight, it can improve the pedaling feeling tremendously and also create a fresh new appearance for the bike. The crankset is one of the most important component on a bike in terms of appearance, as most people will look at the crankset when they first look at a bike.

Almost all of the entry to mid range folding bikes come with standard square taper cranksets with a square taper BB. Even high end folding bikes rarely use other cranksets due to cost. The square taper crankset has been around for quite a while, and is a standard on most bikes costing below $1000. The drawback of a square taper crankset is that the stiffness is not as good, as the bearings sit more narrowly inside the frame instead of outside the frame. Another reason is because a square taper BB has a narrower spindle than a Hollowtech II crankset, which means more flex. Weight is also much heavier as compared to newer cranksets.

Stock square taper crankset + BB from Dahon D7 bike. Weight is around 1200 grams.

Shimano Hollowtech II crankset + BB. For Ultegra FC-6700, the weight including BB is around 800 grams.

Luckily almost all Dahon / Tern bike frames use standard BB shells on their frames, so it will take all BB with standard dimensions and threads. If in doubt, just consult a bike shop.

When upgrading the crankset, go for something with quality as you can feel the difference and will appreciate the improved performance. No point changing from a square taper crankset to another square taper crankset, you will not find any big difference other than appearance.

Other middle range standards such as ISIS or Octalink are not commonly found, you are likely to be better off upgrading to a Hollowtech II system.

Cranksets that use outboard bearings include Shimano Hollowtech II or SRAM BB30. These new designs use outboard BB bearings for better rigidity and durability.

Use a road crankset to get a narrower Q-factor (distance between pedals), for better pedaling comfort. Depending on your wheel size, cassette size and rider fitness, choose the appropriate chain ring size. Avoid MTB cranksets as the chainring is too small to give a good gear ratio.

Using 9 or 10 speed cranksets does not really matter, unless you are thinking of fixing a front derailleur. A 10 speed crankset will run an 8 speed chain with no major issue, although chain drop may sometimes occur.

10 speed and 11 speed cranksets are sometimes interchangeable, and will not impact the front shifting performance too much. If you are tight on budget, you can probably continue to use your 10 speed crankset with 11 speed chain and front derailleur.

$100+ for a Tiagra 10 speed crankset, to $300+ for an Ultegra crankset. Higher end cranksets are lighter in weight due to hollow crank arms and better material used. Find one that suits the style and colour of your bike. Once again, if in doubt, consult the bike shop.

Rear Derailleur

This component is another hot component for upgrades. As the RD is closely linked to shifting performance, many people want to upgrade their RD when they upgrade their bikes with more speeds. Unfortunately for many Dahon / Tern bike users, upgrading the RD can be very troublesome.

Many Dahon / Tern bikes, from entry level to mid-high range bikes, such as D7 or even P9 series, use Dahon / Tern's proprietary Neos rear derailleur. This RD is designed by Dahon and used exclusively on Dahon / Tern bicycles. According to Dahon / Tern, this RD design allows for a low profile RD. You will notice that there is no regular RD hanger on the frame, but a special mounting point located on the chainstay for the RD.

So, if your bike comes with a Neos RD, it is likely that it does not have a normal RD hanger for traditional RD mounting. Sometimes you can find Dahon Speed P8 frames with a Neos RD, but also a RD hanger. This is not so common, probably only available for certain years' model.

I'm happy to say that the Neos RD has been largely discontinued, to be replaced by standard rear derailleurs and hangers. This eases the upgrading process greatly.

In this case, how can you change your RD, since there is nowhere to mount a normal RD with DATT mounting? For Dahon steel frames (Boardwalk, Speed), you will need a third-party RD hanger to do that. For Dahon aluminium frames (Vitesse, Mu), the plate on the rear dropout can be swapped for a genuine Dahon RD hanger for aluminium frames. However, these mountings can be hard to find, thus posing a barrier to RD upgrade.

Some higher end Dahon frames (such as Vitesse P18 or Vector X10) have normal DATT RD mountings with Shimano rear derailleurs, so no problem with upgrading the RD. Ironically, the entry level Dahon Vybe C7A does not use the Neos RD, and thus it has a standard RD hanger which means an easy RD upgrade (although you need to change wheelset to upgrade to 8/9/10 speeds).

As for Tern bicycles, there is no proper RD hanger to use for now. No third party RD hanger is available currently for Tern bicycles, so you are pretty much stuck with the stock Neos RD unless your bike frame already has a normal DATT RD hanger. An example would be the Tern Link C7 or the Verge series of frames.

Stock Neos RD on Dahon Boardwalk frame. Notice the special mounting point for the RD. No standard DATT RD hanger!

The special RD hanger for Dahon Boardwalk/Speed frames. Mounts cleverly using the original Neos RD bolt hole and the frame eyelets.

Dahon Boardwalk frame with the RD hanger and the SRAM X-9 MTB RD.

 Dahon Vitesse with a proper RD hanger (bought from MBS), with a normal Ultegra RD.
Dahon Boardwalk with some gold bling! The RD hanger is essential if you want to change out your Neos RD.

That said, the stock Neos RD is actually pretty decent. It gives fast shifting, although the gears may sometimes make noise due to looseness in the RD construction. It is also a low-normal design, as opposed to the much more common top-normal design. The stock 7/8 speed Neos RD would probably work up to 9 speeds, but it will not give you optimum performance as it was not designed for 9 speeds (unless you have the premium Neos RD on a Link P9)

Take note that if you use the Neos RD with a conventional non-Dahon / Tern shifter, the gear number indication on the shifter will be reversed. Meaning that the lowest gear on the cassette will show up as gear 9 on the shifter (if a 9 speed shifter is used). Gear shifting will still work normally, only that the indication is reversed. This is due to the low normal construction of the RD (as compared to the common top normal RD construction.

Avoid mixing 9 speed, 10 speed and 11 speed rear derailleurs. The geometry and cable pull ratios are vastly different, especially for 11 speed rear derailleurs. Mixing and matching shifters and rear derailleurs with different speeds will only give you headaches when trying to tune the shifting performance.

To avoid unwanted hassle when upgrading your RD, look for a folding bike that comes stock with a normal DATT RD hanger. This will save you the trouble when looking for the RD hanger when you want to upgrade. If you can obtain a suitable RD hanger (such as the RD hanger for Vitesse frames), then you are ready to upgrade!

As far as possible, get a road RD, as it has shorter cages that are more suitable for small wheel bikes. Long cage MTB RD should be avoided. See how it looks like when I installed a long cage RD to suit a 11-34T MTB cassette.

Short cage vs long cage RD.

Around $25 for the RD hanger, that is if you can even find it in stock. Dahon RD hangers are sometimes available at folding bike shops such as MyBikeShop.

As for the RD, the cost can vary greatly. From $30+ for a 9 speed Shimano Sora RD to $100+ for an Ultegra level RD, they are all pretty decent. Just remember to get the correct RD for your speed, and also the appropriate shifter. Use road shifters for road RD, and MTB shifters for MTB RD. Also, do not mix RD and shifters from different brands as the cable pull ratio is different.

Front Derailleur

Most folding bikes do not come with front derailleurs, as they are not so crucial to the bike. Higher end models of bikes such as Dahon Vitesse P18 or Tern Verge P18 do come with front derailleurs for more speeds.

If your bike comes stock with a front derailleur, then upgrading the front derailleur is easy, just take out the current one and swap in the new one.

However, if your stock bike does not come with a front derailleur mount, adding a front derailleur is much more troublesome. You will need a FD adaptor, the most common one being the FD adaptor from Litepro.

FD Adaptor for Dahon frames. May also fit Tern bikes. The one on the left is for Speed/Vitesse frames, the one on the right for Mu frames.

 As mounted on the Dahon Boardwalk seat tube. Quite a bit of adjustment is required to get the setting right.

A front derailleur is usually not crucial. Not an important consideration here, unless you are planning to ride the bike on a variety of terrain, with lots of up and down slopes. In that case, get a bike with a front double crankset. Saves you a lot of time and money as compared to upgrading from front single to front double later on.

Note that not all bikes can be retrofitted with an FD adaptor. Although the Mu frame can technically fit an FD adaptor, it is difficult to mount a FD properly due to the tight frame clearances.

Many newer frames (such as Tern Verge P9) already come with a front derailleur hanger welded on the frame. This makes upgrading the bike with a front double crankset very easy and viable. In my opinion, the Verge P9 is a great frame to upgrade to 2 x 10 speeds, as the frame quality is good, and quite upgradable.

$30 for a Shimano Sora FD, and $50+ for an Ultegra FD. Front derailleurs are very affordable, and performance is quite similar across the price range. You will not go wrong with a Shimano 105 FD, the most value for money road FD. Stick to front double FD as Dahon / Tern folding bikes cannot accommodate front triple cranksets. Also, use road FD and not MTB FD.


At first glance, this may not seem to be important, as most people will look at the other components when checking out the bikes. However, folding bikes are not normal bikes. Due to its nature of a small frame and the folding feature, practically all folding bikes use a special folding handlepost. Dahon was the first to come out with their hugely successful Radius V handlepost, which combined stiffness and easy folding in one elegant package. Recently, Tern built on the concept and developed the Physis handlepost, which was even stiffer than the Dahon handlepost, but also came with a weight penalty.

As long as you buy a Dahon or a Tern folding bike, you can be sure that you are getting one of the better folding handleposts out there. Higher end models may have a stiffer design, but even the entry level designs are pretty good compared to other folding bike handleposts.

Now, for the tricky part. Although folding handleposts from Dahon and Tern look similar, they are not built the same! The key part to take note here is how the handlebar is fixed to the handlepost. There are many different systems in use, which will affect the type of handlebar that you can use. Some systems allow any handlebar to be used, while others only allow flat handlebars.

Standard handlepost clamp seen on most Dahon bikes. This clamp opens up fully, so you can also install a bullhorn bar or a drop bar directly in the clamp.

Dahon handlepost clamp that opens up to accept any handlebar.

Handlepost clamp found on the Verge P18. This design is a closed clamp which does not open fully. As such, it can only accept flat handlebars as it is not possible to fit the curvy bullhorn bar or drop bar into the clamp.

This is a feature that is always overlooked when getting a new Dahon / Tern folding bike. If you intend to change out to a bullhorn bar or drop bar in the future, it is best to have a handlepost clamp that can be opened fully. If not, it will be difficult to change to a curvy handlebar.

Fortunately, there are workarounds to this problem. It involves getting a stem that can also modify the reach at the same time, such as the one from Litepro. As the 2 sides of the stem can be separated, they can be threaded through the curves of the bullhorn or drop bar. The entire stem can then be fixed onto the handlepost clamp.

Litepro Stem used to modify the reach on Dahon / Tern folding bikes.

How it looks like when mounted on a Dahon handlepost clamp. 
If you intend to stick to flat handlebars, it does not matter which handlepost you have. However, if you intend to change to bullhorn bars or drop bars in the future, this may pose a problem if you have a closed clamp such as that found on some Tern handleposts.

With the Litepro stem as a workaround, you can still install a curvy handlebar. However, do note that it will also affect the reach at the same time. The stiffness of the handlebar will decrease as there is now one more part linking the handlebar to the handlepost. Usually this will not pose a major issue, unless you are unable to find the stem or if the stem slips/rotates in the handlepost clamp.

If you intend to install drop bars, it is better to use a 25.4mm to 31.8mm stem adaptor, such as this ControlTech Stem that I am using on my Dahon Boardwalk. This is because road handlebars nowadays are mostly available in 31.8mm clamp diameter, and so using this adaptor will give you a much wider variety of drop bars to choose from.

>$100 if you change out the handlepost, such as from an adjustable 2 piece handlepost to a stiffer 1 piece handlepost. $40 for the Litepro stem, and $40 and above for a bullhorn / drop bar.

Shifters/Brake Levers

This is the component that you operate with your hands whenever you ride the bike, unless you ride a single speed or an automatic 2-speed hub such as the Tern Verge Duo. Folding bikes nowadays typically come with 7 speeds for entry level models, up to 20/30 speeds for top end models. To change gears, there are a few type of gear shifters.

1) Revo / Gripshifts

 Gripshift by SRAM that comes stock with many Dahon / Tern bikes.

Gear changes are made by rotating the gear shifting grip on the handlebar. Found commonly on 7 and 8 speed folding bikes. Advantages of these are that it is lightweight and does not protrude out from the handlebar too much which makes it easier when folding. However they are tricky to operate when travelling at higher speeds, as you do need to relax your grip before shifting.

2) Trigger shifts

Shimano XT and SRAM X9 trigger shifters.

The thumb and index finger will push levers that change gears. Found on almost all mountain bikes, but are rather uncommon on Dahon / Tern folding bikes. Many people upgrade to these as they offer a good and ergonomic gear shifting experience. Comes with some mid-range folding bikes such as Dahon Vitesse P18 / Tern Verge P18.

3) Road Dual Control Levers (DCL)

Shift by pushing the main or release lever inwards with the fingers.

Road shifters used on bullhorn or drop bars. Most of the models combine shifting and braking functions together in the same part, hence dual control levers. Comes standard on folding bikes with drop bars / bullhorn bars. Cannot be used on flat handlebars. Also available in electronic version, such as Di2 from Shimano, AXS eTap from SRAM and EPS from Campagnolo.

4) Bar end shifters

Bar end shifters. Flick the lever up or down to change gears.

Quite uncommon nowadays, but still popular with some people due to its small size and retro feel. Fixed onto the end of bullhorn or handlebars. May be tricky to use as it involves taking your hands away from the brakes or grips when shifting. As far as I know, only comes with the Dahon Smoothhound. (Thanks to an alert reader who told me about this)

Brake Levers
As for brake levers, you can use practically any flat handlebar brake levers you want. No major compatibility issues here. Better brake levers are priced accordingly, because of better build quality. They offer a smoother and stiffer braking feel, as compared to spongy and flexy entry level brake levers found on many stock bikes. A good brake lever does not wobble on its axle.

There are 2 main categories of shifter upgrades, namely flat handlebar trigger shifters or drop bar road shifters.

When upgrading shifters, you will need a shifter that is compatible with your RD. Use shifters and RD from the same brand, do not mix and match as they will not work properly together. When upgrading the number of speeds, such as from 8 to 9/10 speeds, there are a few components that must match.

Shifter, chain and cassette must be of the same speed. No compromise here. If you change from 8 to 9 or 10 speeds, the shifter, cassette and chain must all be upgraded at the same time. As for the RD, you might be able to get away with using a 10 speed RD with a 9 speed drivetrain, but performance will not be optimum. Crankset should also be changed to the appropriate speed, but usually you can get away with mismatched cranksets (Eg. 8 speed crankset with 9 speed drivetrain), unless you want to install an FD.

For road shifters, they come with the brake lever, and these brake levers are designed to be compatible with caliper brakes and not V-brakes. Thus when changing from flat handlebar brake levers to road shifters/brake levers, it is best to also change the brake caliper. This will be further explained at the brake caliper section below.

It is suggested that during your upgrade, do change to 9 or 10 speeds as there are many more choices of shifters available as compared to 8 speeds.

For flat handlebar shifters, costs varies from $110 for a pair of Sora SL-3500 9 speed shifters to $140 for a pair of Tiagra SL-4600 10 speed shifters. If you only need the right side shifter for the RD (no FD), then you may be able to get only the right side for a lower price online.

As for road shifters, they cost much more as the technology is more advanced, with more parts in the shifters. Also, brake levers are integrated with the shifters. Prices start from $200 for a pair of Sora ST-3500 9 speed shifters to $400 for Ultegra ST-6700 10 speed shifters.

Note that Tiagra 4600 and Tiagra 4700 are not cross-compatible, even though both are road 10 speed systems. The lever pitch was changed between 4600 and 4700.

11 speed shifters are now available at Dura-Ace level, Ultegra level and 105 level. These new shifters not only give you an additional speed, but also has lighter shifting, more ergonomic braking, and a smaller shifter hood for more comfortable gripping. Of course, if you choose to use these 11 speed shifters, you will also need to upgrade your whole drivetrain to 11 speeds.

 Shimano Tiagra SL-4600 10 speed road flat handlebar shifters.

11 Speed Shimano Road Flat Handlebar Shifters, SL-RS700. Compatible with road 11 speed components. Does not come with gear indicator display.

Shimano Tiagra ST-4500 9 speed road shifters / brake levers.

Second hand prices can be quite a bit lower, such as $200 for a pair of Shimano 105 ST-5700 shifters ($300+ new).

With the progress to 11 speed components, many 10 speed components (such as shifters, derailleurs, cassettes, chains) can be found at greatly discounted prices online. It is possible to pick up a full 10 speed Ultegra groupset for the price of a 11 speed Shimano 105 groupset.

Brake Calipers

Most folding bikes come with V brakes, as V brakes are easily compatible with flat handlebar brake levers. Caliper brakes are pretty rare on Dahon / Tern folding bikes, as caliper brakes are designed for road shifters / brake levers, which are not common on folding bikes.

V brakes are usually sufficient for everyday use. They are lightweight and pretty powerful. Caliper brakes should be used only with road shifters, but not all frames can accommodate caliper brakes.

Disc brakes are very common nowadays, even on entry level bikes. This is due to the falling prices which make it economically feasible to spec them on the bike. There are mechanical and hydraulic disc brakes, of which I prefer hydraulic due to improve stopping performance. Mechanical disc brakes usually only add weight (500+ grams) without improved stopping power over rim brakes (in dry weather).

 V brakes on the Dahon Boardwalk.

 Caliper brakes on the same Dahon Boardwalk.

As long as you are using flat handlebars with flat handlebar brake levers, you should just stick to V brakes. There is no point changing to caliper brakes if you are doing fine with V brakes. I strongly suggest upgrading from the stock brake levers and brake calipers to better ones, as this will greatly improve the braking performance and feel. Decent aftermarket brake levers and calipers are relatively cheap, so it does not matter too much if the folding bike has poor stock brake levers and calipers.

If you have changed your folding bike to use bullhorn bars / drop bars with road shifters, then you are strongly encouraged to change to caliper brakes if possible. If you stick to V brakes, the braking performance will be poor as road shifters are not compatible with V brakes. Please refer to these posts for more details about brake compatibility and how to install caliper brakes on your Dahon / Tern folding bike.

Road shifter with V brakes and Travel Agent
Road shifter with Caliper brakes

$26 for a pair of Deore V brakes, which are honestly good enough for folding bikes. For best performance, also upgrade the brake levers at the same time ($40 for a pair of Deore brake levers).

As for caliper brakes, they cost much more, and you cannot use caliper brakes with standard reach for most Dahon / Tern folding bikes, as the rim is too far from the caliper brake mounting points. The only caliper brakes that have sufficient reach are the Tektro R559 extra long reach caliper brakes, which cost about $80.


After reading through this long article, you should now have a better idea of what can be upgraded on your folding bike. Some upgrades are cheap and good (such as better brake levers and calipers), while others are more pricey (wheelset and crankset). Upgrades to the number of speeds will involve the entire drivetrain (RD, FD, shifters, cassette, chain and possibly crankset and wheelset), and also involves compatibility issues.

A general rule of thumb for upgrading the drivetrain:
Start with the cassette size that you need, depending on your riding style and terrain. Nowadays, with wide range cassettes, front single drivetrains are enough to cover a wide gear range.

Next, choose a rear derailleur to match your cassette. For example, if you use a relatively small 11-30T road cassette, get a road short cage rear derailleur. If you use a wider 11-40T cassette for more range, you will need a MTB or gravel rear derailleur (usually GS medium cage). On 406 wheels, the 11-40T cassette is pretty much the biggest you can go, without having the rear derailleur touch the ground or the tires.

After that, choose the flat handlebar shifter or drop bar shifter to match your rear derailleur. Most folding bikes use flat handlebars for a more compact folded size. For example, if you choose a Shimano 105 R7000 rear derailleur, you can use a 11 speed SL-RS700 shifter.

After that, size your chain ring to get the desired gear range. Changing the chain ring size only shifts the gear range up (for faster rides) or down (for better climbing gears). It does not change the overall gear range.

Of course, choose the chain that is compatible to the number of speeds.

If you are buying a folding bike for the first time, this article will let you know what are the critical components to look out for, so that it is easier for you upgrade the bike in the future. Remember, if you are not sure, just ask for guidance from others with more experience, or go to the bike shop and let them know what you want. They will be more than willing to give you advice.


  1. can i know is it possible to convert disc brake system to the Dahon C7 and Tern C7. how much would it cost????

  2. No it is not possible. The frame does not have any mounting for the disc calipers.

    1. Hi Steve,
      pls kindly advice, Can a Kinetix Comp wheelset (tern P18) fix Schwalbe Durano Wire 20"x 1.1 Bike Tyre?

  3. Hi, is it possible to stick to original 7speed neos rd, upgrade front crankset to double, with fd adaptor and derailleur? Is there a gripshift type of shifter for front derailleur (to match existing sram gripshift for rd)so it does not change the look of the dahon that much?

    1. it would be quite tricky as I don't think there are any 2x7 drivetrains out there. 2x8 would be much better. As for front double grip shift, SRAM might have it. But only for high end.

      For your case, you can just change the drivetrain from 7 speed to 8 or 9 speeds. Then get a 8/9 speed Revoshift if you still want to use a revo shifter.

      If you want a front double, most probably you need a flat handlebar shifter. Try Shimano Sora 3500 2x9.

  4. Thanks for clarifying!

  5. This indeed is a very interesting articles to read. I did gained lots of knowledge from here. Thanks!
    Currently I own a Tern P18 and was thinking upgrading to X10 but due to the feedback on the spoke issue on X10 rim, I have scrap the idea....but I'm willing to listen further comments on that if the spoke issue is actually not really a high concern. To help further understanding on my requirement, I'm ard 1.74m, weight 85kg (paiseh...overweight...:)), I will normally ride along east cost park till changi V. Will the Kinetix Pro Rim really is a concern for my requirement?
    If yes, then I'm thinking upgrading my current P18 gear set.
    What I require is a smoother gear change and a "better" gear ratio which can give me more speed and of course lighter. My comfortable ratio for high speed is current ard 55:14 and I find it a little tough for me on 55:12. So it will be great help if you can provide some advice or recommendation for my upgrade.
    Sorry for the long story but really appreciated the help.
    Thanks in advance!

    1. First, congrats on having a Tern Verge P18! It is one of the best bikes for upgrading and also value for money.

      I am not sure about the weight limit for Kinetix Pro rims, but I guess that lighter riders would not stress the spokes that much. For heavier riders, do go with those with more spokes. Good alternatives to the stock Verge P18 wheelset are the Wheelsport wheels or the Controltech wheels, both available at MyBikeShop.

      If you want smoother gear changes (I assume closer gear ratios), you will need a road cassette with a tighter gear spread.

      Assuming you don't change out your current 55/44T crankset, and you intend to stick to 2x9 speeds, you can change the cassette.

      From what you stated, 55:12 is a bit tough for you. No problem there, my max gear ratio that is usually use is 53:12. Your current cassette is 11-32, and that is a MTB gear range, not so suitable for road.

      Go get a 12-27 cassette so that it gives you a closer gear ratio. Since you already find it tough on 55:12, you don't need 11T on the cassette.

      You only need to change the cassette, don't need to change the chain or anything else. Cassettes are pretty cheap so just give it a try and see how it works out for you.

  6. Many thanks for the advice.
    I just wonder whether 53:12 is easier to ride compare to 55:13, as I believe 53:12 can generate higher speed than 55:13 (pls correct me if I'm wrong). If that's the case will you advise to change the crankset? Worth doing that?
    How about the RD? Any worth in upgrading the RD (currently is having Shimano Tiagra)? If the improvement is not significant, I will just remain as it is.


    1. 53:12 gives a ratio of 4.42 (88.3 gear inch), 55:13 gives a ratio of 4.23 (84.6 gear inch). 55:13 is a slightly lower gear ratio and thus easier to ride (lighter gear).

      Just stick to your current crankset for now and try out the new cassette. If you want to upgrade to a new crankset, you will need about $200 to upgrade to Shimano 105 crankset. In any case if you want to upgrade your crankset, I would suggest changing out the whole drivetrain to 10 speed.

      Current 9 speed Tiagra RD is good enough. Try out the cassette with the closer gear ratio first, since the issue you have is with the gear ratio. As said above, no point upgrading to another 9 speed RD/crankset. If want to upgrade, change the whole drivetrain to 2x10 speeds.

      To answer your other question, yes it is worth changing the wheelset to Wheelsport. It is lighter (1150g vs 1490g) and with smoother bearings, and looks better too!

  7. Sorry, one more question. Will it worth to change my current Kinetix Comp wheelset to Wheelsport? Will it improve the speed and riding experience?


  8. Hi, I own a dahon speed p8. I am thinking of upgrading the stock components to bullhorn handlebar and using either bar end shifters/v-brake lever combo, or road shifters. However this is my first time doing such an upgrade so I am a bit confused with the drivetrain upgrade.

    I understand that the cassette/rear derailleur/cables had to be changed because of the upgrade but how about the chainring/chain/bottom bracket? Can I still retain the stock components?

    Thank you!

    1. what kind of setup are you looking at? the stock drivetrain is a 1x8 speeds drivetrain. if you want to convert to double chainrings or go to 9/10 speeds then you need to change more parts.

      Perhaps you can read through my upgrades so that you can get a better idea.

  9. Hi bro, your advice really help. At first I was thinking upgrading my whole gear set (FD, RD, Crankset, Shifter, cassette, chain...etc) to Ultegra 10 speed. It will cost me around S$1000++. Now I may go for a new 9 speed cassette and a pair of Wheelsport rim, the benefit of this upgrade will be higher than the whole gear set, am I right to say that?
    I believe the total cost will be similar, correct?
    May I know beside MBS, any other LBS selling the wheelsport rim?


  10. The weight different you stated is per wheel, correct?

    1. The weight that was stated is for 1 pair of wheels, front and rear total.

      Not sure where else has the Wheelsport wheels.

      For the cost of upgrades, it depends a lot on what components you use. Upgrading the wheels will give you a big benefit in terms of speed. As for upgrading other parts such and shifters and RD FD, the benefit is smoother and more precise shifting.

      In any case, you can upgrade to 10 speeds in the future,

  11. Thanks! Had decided to change the wheelset and cassette.

  12. Hi Steve

    Excellent write up! I'm researching for my first foldie and looking at the Speed P8, mainly due to its steel frame which gives a more comfortable ride. However, I would also want the flexibility for a dual-chainring setup to cope with steep hills for overseas ride.

    Can the Neos RD handle a dual chainring setup, 2x8, 2x9 or 2x10?

    I've searched at sites like taobao for the RD hangout but aren't sure if its compatible and it seems pretty similar to yours, do u know of any place/sites to get the RD hangout?

    I don't own any steel bikes, does the Boardwalk rust easily? Especially the erratic weather...

    1. The Neos RD cannot handle dual chainring, as the cage is not long enough and thus has insufficient chain capacity.

      Some year's model of Speed P8 already has the standard RD dropout on the frame. In that case, you don't need the RD adaptor. Best to check out the actual bike at the shop to make sure.

      If the Speed P8 does not have the dropout on the frame, you can use the RD adaptor. Regarding the Taobao links you posted, the first 2 is for aluminium frames such as Vitesse D7, where you swap out the stock plate for the plate with the RD dropout. The 3rd link is the correct one.

      The Boardwalk and the Speed P8 uses chromoly steel, which is quite resistant to rust. But of course you still need to dry it quickly after it gets wet. Need to dry all the unpainted parts and also open up the joints to air them.

      In my opinion, since you wish to have a double chainring setup, and also change the RD, go for a bike that comes stock with standard RD and FD mountings. Examples are the Vitesse D18 or the Tern Verge P18. These are aluminium frames, so you don't need to worry about rust. They also come with standard RD and FD mountings so you can avoid the hassle of getting adaptors.

      If you are worried about aluminium frames being harsher than steel frames, don't worry. Just use a slightly wider tire such as 1.35 or 1.5 (Schwalbe Kojak or Marathon Racer). Tire choice has much more effect on the ride quality than the difference between steel or alu.

      Although the initial price of the Vitesse D18 or Verge P18 is higher than Speed P8, it is worth it. I have been through all the upgrading process from my Boardwalk D7 to what I currently have. If I could choose again, I would get the Vitesse P18 (no longer available) instead.

    2. Hey bro, thanks for your advice! Really insightful for me. Overlooked the tire size, in this case, i would prefer an aluminium frame with wider tires. Currently, I'm on a road bike. I was thinking to go for a basic foldable bike first and try it out, if i'm not used to it i could resell it. Also looking at Dash P18 but it seems the 2013 version with disc brakes have some fundamental issues based on a local rider's review online. Hopefully the link helped those looking for RD hanger.

  13. These are the RD hanger i found on taobao. I'm not sure if its compatible, can i have your advice? Thanks

  14. Sorry for my 3rd post, just sharing some info if you want to post it. Managed to find the RD hanger for Dahon/Tern but the price is a'lil on the high side, shipping is free though. Here's it -

  15. Hi Steve,
    I came upon your informative and interesting blog after getting the Tern D8. The ride is good but I felt that the drivetrain is not so smooth. So I intend to change the cassette and crankset.

    Will I get faster speed with a 32-11 cassette? Is it possible to run 9spd 32-11 cassette with the stock Neos 1.0 RD?
    What is the difference b/w 170mm & 175mm Crank arm Lg as Shimano comes in several Lgs.

    Thanks for sharing

    1. When you say that the drivetrain is not smooth, what exactly do you mean? Grinding feeling when pedaling? or something else. Maybe the bike just needs a bit of tuning.

      If I'm not wrong, your current cassette is 12-32. Changing to 11-32 will give you a higher gear since you have a small 11T sprocket. However, it will only help you go faster IF you are already spinning out in your current highest gear (12T, gear 8). If not it will not help you go faster at all.

      You can run 11-32T 9 speed cassette with the stock Neos RD. However, changing to 9 speeds will include changing the cassette, chain and shifter all to 9 speeds.

      Crankarm length of 170mm or 175mm does not make a big difference. Usually the longer 175mm crankarm is for taller people (>180cm?) with longer legs. The standard 170mm crankarm is fine for most people.

    2. Yes, the pedaling doesn't feel smooth when I am maxing out at 12T, gear 8.
      Since I will need the 11T sprocket, hence the thought to upgrade to 9spd. 9spd cassette comes in 11T-32 and 11T-28, is it better to stick to 32T?
      Thanks, James

    3. Depends on the terrain you are using the bike on. Do you use the 32T sprocket often? If not you can get 28T instead for closer gear ratios on the cassette.

      Since there is no double chain ring, you may want to keep the 32T sprocket for tackling steep slopes.

    4. One last question... If I change to a 10spd Ultegra 6500 crankset, is it compatible with a 9spd chain n 9spd mtb 11-32T cassette?
      Thank you Steve.

    5. I assume you are referring to Ultegra 6700. Should work OK with the 9 speed chain and mtb cassette. You may experience rubbing at the extreme gears.

  16. HI tylsteve

    Very good article which is about whats in my mind right now.

    I have a good condition 2 y.o. Giant folding bike 7S like this one

    I want to change some of my foldie parts like -

    1 shifter: SRAM X7 Trigger, 10 spd.

    2 cassette: SRAM X7 Trigger, 10 spd. (11-28T or 12-30T)

    3 Bottom Bracket: FSA MegaExo

    4 Chain: KMC X10L

    5 Shifter Cable/Housing: liveWire 8.0, sealed alloy ferrules, DuPont L3

    6 Handle bar: Kinetix Pro, double-butted 7050-AL, for VRO

    7 Grip/Bars Tape: Ergon GS2 Leichtbau

    8 Brake Levers: Avid Speed Dial 7

    9 Brake Cable: LiveWire 7.0, anti-compression housing, slick cables, DuPont L3 lubricant, alloy ferrules

    10 Front Brake: Kinetix Pro, Ashima Aero CNC cartridge brake shoes

    11 Rear Brake: Kinetix Pro, Ashima Aero CNC cartridge brake shoes

    12 Tires: Schwalbe Durano, 28-406, foldable Kevlar bead, Dual Compound Silica casing, RaceGuard anti-puncture protection, 120 psi

    13 Crankset: FSA Gossamer ( 52T ? )

    14 Pedals: MKS EZY QR

    In short, these parts I got out of Tern Verge 10 :)



  17. You will need to bring over the RD too. You will also need to change your rear wheel, as I don't think the stock Giant wheel can take the 10 speed cassette. The Kinetix Pro rear wheel may fit, but you cannot transfer the Kinetix Pro front wheel as the hub width is different.

  18. hi. i just bought a vitesse d7 with built-in "usual" drop-out. i have an extra ultegra ten speed sprocket and plan to change my set-up to 1 x 10. would it be possible? plan to install 105 or sora or ultegra crankset, remove the small ring. retain the 52 teeth big ring, change my hubs to lite-pro hubs to accomodate 8,9, 10 speed cogs, install 10 speed shifters and short cage ultegra RD ten speed.

    1. Yes it all seems compatible. You only need to change the rear dropout at Mybikeshop.

      For more info you can refer to the Vitesse X20 bike posts at the top of the page.

    2. Hi Steve, is the RD hanger for vitesse d7 avaiable at MBS sing Ming Ave?

  19. thank you steve. ah. . .sorry what i mean of the "usual" drop-out is the "normal" drop-out. My vitesse came with the normal DATT RD hanger. I guess i am good to go with my upgrade.


  20. Hi Steve,

    Great blogsite and article you got here.

    Can you recommend me what is the best BB to replace the existing stock BB used in the Dahon Vector series like X10, X27, etc?

    Thanks! :)

    1. No point replacing the BB alone, unless the BB is spoilt. If you want better performance, change the BB and crankset at the same time. Shimano's Hollowtech II or SRAM's GXP cranksets are a step up from the stock crankset.

    2. Hi Steve,

      Thanks for the tips on Hollowtech II and GXP cranksets.

      What about the FSA Megaexo BB & cransket to fit into a Dahon Vector? Can do?

      Hear from you soon and thanks again! :)

    3. I'm not too familiar with the FSA Megaexo standard. Basically what you need is a BB with standard English thread, 1.37 x 24 Tpi. As long as it is that the BB should fit. If the BB fits the crankset should not be a problem.

  21. Just bought a Dash P18 (2013) recently and the Neos RD broke off after a few rides.

    Can you recommend a compatible 9-speed RD and RD hanger?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. I'm not sure of the RD hanger. Best to bring to the bike shop and they can get you a compatible RD hanger.

      A compatible rd would be the 9 speed Tiagra or Sora.

  22. I have a Vitesse D18. looking at changing the Microshift shifters that comes with the stock. It's stiff. Is this easy to upgrade to Shimano Sora 9 x 2 speed?

    Is the stock seatpost and crank good? am thinking of changing one to a light and better one. For the crank, can it use any one in the market for road bikes or it has to be compatible with the derailleur i.e. Shimano Sora due to the gear ratios?

  23. Congrats on having a Vitesse D18! It's a really good bike for upgrading.

    You can easily change to Sora 9 x 2. But I would recommend changing to Sora RD and FD at the same time for best performance.

    The stock seatpost should be fine. Changing it will only make it lighter, but a don't see how a seatpost can be "better"

    The crankset can be improved, by changing to a Hollowtech II crankset. It will make the cranks stiffer, and you can probably save up to 300grams. You will need to change the BB at the same time. You can use any standard road crankset.

    1. Hi Steve

      Thanks so much for this! =)

      For the seatpost, I actually refer 'better' as in a better looking one.. haha =P

      How about the wheelset? I guess most of the weight should be from these. What are the recommended wheelsets and tires for this babe? The tires (Schwalbe Citizen 20") that comes with the bike seems to be a very durable one (and of course heavy)

    2. Yes the stock wheelset is rather heavy. You can cut 400 to 600 grams by changing to wheelsport wheels.

      All Schwalbe tires are good, there are different tires for different purposes. Just search for tires on my blog and read about it.

  24. Hi Steve,
    I had changed my P18 wheelset to wheelsport smart 1.0 as well as the cassette as suggested. The result is great! I can feel the different and now I can ride with 55/12 with less resistance.
    And now I had brought another bike for my wife which is Tern P9 but my wife prefer a tapping shifter than the current turning shifter.
    With such I was thinking to change my whole gear set from my current P18 to P9 and upgrade my P18 with Ultegra 6700 groupset. I have some questions before I make the decision.
    1. Can P9 accept P18 gearset without any modification?
    2. For the cranset for my P18, I'm thinking to use FSA SLK instead of Ultegra as I find the look is nicer. Any different in the performance btw these 2? Will it be better off using all Ultegra gearset?
    3. Can you advise what are the weight of FSA SLK and Ultegra crankset and their price different?

    My main objective is to change my wife P9 to a tapping shifter, reduce my P18 overall weight and make it look sexier! :)

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Great to hear that you can feel the improvement in the performance. And I think you now realise that upgrading has no end to it haha.

      To put the P18 components on it is possible. You will need an RD adaptor for the P9. The FD cannot be mounted. Cassette, chain and shifters will go on without a problem. Crankset does not need to be changed.

      Using the whole Ultegra set will of course give you the best performance since the whole groupset is designed together. And Shimano is known for their good front shifting performance.

      Not sure about the FSA price, but Ultegra should cost you only around $280 online.

    2. Just to add on, the Ultegra crankset weighs slightly over 800 grams, including BB. You can cut around 300 grams from your current crankset.

      As for the 10 speed shifting, if you are not getting drop bars with road shifters, you can consider the flat handlebar shifters such as Tiagra SL-4600 or SL-R780.

  25. Thanks for the advise. Do you know how much weight I can save after the upgrade of the groupset on my P18?

    1. No idea, since I don't know the current weight of the components, or what you plan to change to.

  26. Hi Steve,

    Been reading your blog. Thanks for the writeup. Been looking at getting my first foldie bike.
    Thinking of the Dahon Dash P18 or Speed P8. My weight is ard 96kg. Are these 2 models recommended?

    Just a few questions
    - which bike would have a better possibility of future upgrades? More area to play with. :)

    - my tendency of riding would mostly be road usage with a small/mini inclusion of off-road paths. Would the Dash P18 be able ot handle it?

    - can wider tyres like the Big Apple be fitted on both? or do i need to get a separate set for them?

    Thank you for your time.


    1. Since you are a little heavyweight, a steel frame will suit you better. An aluminium frame will tend to creak more from my experience.

      Both the models are fine, the Dash P18 has a full frame so it should be ok even though it is aluminium.

      If you want to upgrade, eg. to 2x10 speed or dropbars, the Dash P18 is the one. It would be more tricky to add an FD or other RD to the Speed P8.

      Do note that the folding of the 2 bikes are different. If you need a compact fold, and fold often, the Speed P8 is better. If you only need to fold the bike occasionally, such as to put in a car, the Dash P18 will be alright.

      For off road, it will be difficult since small wheels will make you feel more of the bumps. Of course people have done it, but it stresses the frames, and folding frames don't like to be stressed due to the multiple joints. Dash P18 would be better than the Speed P8 for light offroad, but you must take note that neither is designed for offroad usage.

      The Speed P8 comes with Big Apple tires (not sure if it still comes with those tires). Not sure if the Dash P18 frame can fit those fat Big Apple tires. Most likely can, but you might not be able to fit mudguards at the same time. Best to check with the bike shop.

    2. Steve,

      Thank you for your reply. Regarding folding, I will mostly fold occasionally.

      Just a couple of questions
      - If steel frame which may suit me better(cos i'm overweight), in that case does Bike Friday bikes make a better choice?

      - an office colleague intro me to get the Tern Eclipse P9 or Verge P18 or X10. His reason: they are more value for money and can withstand a heavier weight.

      Would like to hear your views.

      I will make a trip down to LBS thsi weekend to check them out.

      Thank You.

      Have a gread weekend!!! :P


    3. Hi Steve,

      Thank you for your reply.

      Just one more question
      - An office colleague intro me to get the Tern Eclipse P9 or Verge X10 or Verge P18. His reason is that they are more value for money and can handle heavier weight riders.

      Would like to hear your views.

      I will head down to a LBS to check out these bikes.

      Thank You.

      Have a gd weekend!!! :)


    4. Bike Friday bikes are pricey, Dahon/Tern bikes have better components for a lower price. The advantage of Bike Friday bikes are that you can custom the geometry. Do check with MBS on their recommendations.

      The best bikes to upgrade are the Tern Verge P18 or the Dahon Vitesse D18. Don't worry about the load of the bike, it can take up to 110kg.

      When you go down to the shop, try out as many different bikes as you can. There are many choices, which will suit different people and purposes. You must be clear on your needs.

      Eg. prioritise the features you need, such as folding size, ease of folding, ease of upgrade, frame colour, etc.

  27. Hi Steve,

    I own a Tern C7. Bought it about a year ago with very little research but now love it. It is fast, convenient and fits me great. However, I had an accident today (got hit by a car, nothing major) but the front chainring got bent. I was able to fix the bent, but now the chain slips and it is clear that is better to have it replaced. Can try and align it, but it is unlikely it will work as well as before.
    Looking for advice on how to fix the issue I came across your blog and found that maybe I can get a better crankset, lower the weight and maybe make it a tad faster as I find myself often riding in high gears even on some hills. I am a noob on bike upgrading and find this a good opportunity to improve on a bike I've come to love.
    Can you help me? and, have I made sense? a few of the terms I used above I learned today doing the research.



  28. Yes of course you can get a new crankset to replace the damaged one. There are 2 ways you can go about doing this.

    The first is to get a basic replacement crankset at a low cost, and not upgrade anything. The other is to take the chance to upgrade the crankset, and subsequently upgrade the other components.

    If you find yourself spinning out on the higher gears, I think you may be too powerful for the bike. In that case may I suggest getting a new bike instead. Sell or pass this bike to a more casual rider, and go for a better bike with more upgrading potential. Some bikes that may be suitable for you may be the Tern Verge P18.

    1. Thanks a lot for your reply.

      I have thought about changing the bike, it is just not an option right now for financial reasons.

      I understand from your reply that changing the crankset for a better one will imply doing more upgrades later, correct? (If it is because the new crankset will require it to function properly I will stick to a basic one, if it is because I will keep going up the upgrade path, then I'll do a better crankset and learn in the process; and later on change the bike). Just one more question: is it important to get an original Tern crankset (I understand the dealer here doesn't have many spare parts) or any set would do? would you suggest a particular type? I am assuming getting a set with essentially the same number of teeth, diameter and weight should do the trick.

      Again thanks a lot for your reply and helping me with what I believe are very basic questions.



    2. What I mean is that if you intend to upgrade later on, you should just get a good crankset, so that it will go nicely with future upgrades. If you intend to keep the bike as a basic bike, then it may be a better idea to save up the money and just get a simple replacement crankset.

      Any road double crankset will do. An example would be the Tiagra 4600 or 105 5700 crankset. You may need a bashguard so that the chain does not fall off the outside of the crankset. The stock bashguard from the Tern crankset cannot be used on other cranksets.

      Your current bike uses a square taper BB. If you change to a better crankset, you will also need to change the BB at the same time. But BB are pretty cheap so it shouldn't be a problem.

  29. Hi Steve

    I've tested a few bikes, Tern Link P9, Verge P18, Vitesse D18, D7.

    Between the 18 speed, due to component differences, the Tern P18 wins hands down but the price difference is $700. I can't really tell the differences in the frame as the components difference is huge. With your experience, is there any noticeable or significant difference in the joints and stiffness? Vitesse D18 is using the new FBL joint (i thought this design was owned by Tern...)

    Knowing myself on upgrades since I own a road bike, I was thinking to get the D18 and use the $700 on my preferred components down the road. For sure, I will change the wheelset down the road esp for D18 (very soon, if i buy it).

    For Tern P9 (it's better priced in the north), is there an FD adaptor that fits Terns for dual chain ring?

    1. I think the joints on the Verge are much better. The handlepost is super stiff compared to the others, which is a big advantage.

      Yes for $700 you can get a lot of components. If you want to upgrade, the Vitesse D18 is a great budget bike to upgrade. But if you like a nicer looking frame with better components (which you can sell second hand) the Verge P18 is my choice.

      If you want an FD, just go straight for the D18 or P18. Don't bother with the FD adaptor on the P9, its not worth the trouble, when you can get the bike with a proper FD mount already on the frame.

  30. Hi Steve,

    I am riding the Tern Link D8. Been following your blog and decided its high time to upgrade my stock crankset to a Shimano 105 53T. The remaining drivetrain stay stock. The upgrade was performed by a peer who used to be trained as a bike mechanic. Chain drop issue begins to surface. Local LBS advised me to installed a chainguard (LitePro 53T chainring/chainguard). Did the replacement and apparently the chain still drops (approx 3 times since instalaltion). The frequency of chain drop had gone down but is there a way to eliminate this? Is there anywhere that has gone wrong?

    For your kind advice. Thanks.

    1. With the LitePro chain guard on the outside, there should not be chain drop on the outside. Is the chain drop on the inside? was the original chain catcher (black plastic attached to seat tube) removed? If the answer is yes, that means you need to put back the chain catcher. If not, then you can try putting the bike on the work stand and see if you can simulate a chain drop, then see what happened.

    2. The chain always drops on the outside. So far, it only happens during gear shift. The original chain catchers is intact. Forgot to mention that the chain was extended during the 56T chainguard installation. Managed to simulate the drop just now by constantly shifting the gears up and down.

    3. Hmm then there may be some other problem that has not been detected. I cannot troubleshoot as I cannot see how the chain drop actually happened. To solve this, you will need to see exactly how the chain drops. Eg shifting too fast, causing chain to ride on top of the gear teeth, etc.

  31. Hi Steve,

    I've a Tern D8, and am thinking of upgrading my crank to the 105 Shimano 53/39t. I do have some concerns

    1. Which BB should I get?
    2. Do i need the internal chain ring, not planning to have a FR installed.
    3. Do i need to change the stock cassette? I read that there will be chain drops from your blog.
    4. Do i need to change the stock chain?

    Will it be better to upgrade the entire bike from 8 speed to 10 speed, rather than do it part by part? Thanks!


    1. To upgrade the crankset, you need to change the BB at the same time. Just get the Shimano 105 crankset and the Hollowtech II BB at the same time.

      If not planning to use FD, then can just remove the inner chainring. But you will need shorter chainring bolts which some bike shops will have.

      Chain drops are due to various reasons. To prevent chain drops, you will need the chain catcher (black plastic fixed on seat tube) and also a bashguard on outside of crankset. The cassette will not affect or cause chain drop, although poor RD setup can also cause chain drop.

      If you only change the crankset to the 10 speed crankset, there will be a problem with the chain since your cassette is still 8 speed. Using the stock 8 speed chain will work fine on the cassette but will likely cause more chain drop at the front, due to the narrower teeth on the chain ring.

      However, if you change to 10 speed chain, there will be poor shifting at the cassette as the chain is too narrow for the 8 speed cassette.

      To avoid these problems, I strongly recommend you to upgrade the whole drivetrain at one go. Besides the 10 speed crankset, you can get a road 10 speed cassette, RD, chain and shifter. 10 speed Tiagra or 105 will be good choices for the cassette, RD and chain. As for the shifter, you can use Tiagra SL-4600 or SL-R780.

  32. Hi Steve,

    Thank you for the advise, I believe I know what to do now. save up and upgrade everything. :)

  33. Hi Steve,
    I have a Verge P18. I have looking to upgrade some parts of the P18. Currently, I am mainly using the last 4 of my lower gears. Most usage would be on the 12t. I am wondering is it possible change for a cassette of closer ratio.

    Nxt would be chains, so far I have encounter a few times of dropping of chains. Once was from back pedaling and a couple of times during gear shifting. Could it be the chains need to be replaced with a better one?

    Lastly, would be the wheelsets. My weight is 98kg. Can the wheelsport 406 take my weight? Or shld i just leave it as it is.


    1. I think what you mean is that you are using the top 4 highest gears. Low gears refer to the easy gears, or large sprockets. High gears refer to the harder gears, with smaller sprockets such as 11T, 12T etc.

      You can get a road cassette with a smaller range, such as 11-25T or 11-28T. It will give you closer gear ratios at the higher end, compared to your current 11-32T cassette.

      As for chain drop, I don't think it is because of the chain. Most chains are similar. Chain drop is at the front or the rear?

      The Wheelsport wheels should be able to support your weight, they are pretty tough with many spokes so you should be fine. But this is not a guarantee from me, just a personal opinion based on my own experience with those wheels.

    2. Hi Steve,
      Yes, you are right. The 4 highest gears. Sorry not saying it properly.

      Chains drops occurs 4 times at the rear. So far it happen only once on the front. Have rode out this afternoon and it only happen once when I back pedal at the traffic junction to place the pedal on my right foot.

      Thanks for the info on the wheelsport wheels. I will proceed with the upgarde. :)

      Lasty, my brake pads seem to wear out quite fast. Thought of getting new ones since upgrading other parts as well. Any recommendations on brake pads for better braking efficiency?


    3. Rear chain drop is caused by poor RD adjustment or poor RD design. If the top limit screw is not adjusted properly, the chain will drop off the smallest sprocket and get caught in the frame.

      Usually back pedal chain drop is caused by the chain not sitting nicely on the sprocket teeth when you back pedal. You need to make sure that you complete the shifting before you back pedal, if not the chain is stuck halfway between sprockets, and will drop off when you back pedal.

      Brake pads wear out fast when you ride in the rain or wet ground, as the water and grit will eat away the brake pad very fast. Can try Koolstop or Swissstop brake pads for better performance and durability, but they are more expensive.

    4. Hi Steve,

      Thank you for your advice on the troubleshooting. I get what you mean. :)I will try adjusting the top limit screw.

      Anw for brakepads, are you referring to this

      Is it better to change the entire cartridge?

      Lasty, are there any local bike shops that sell Koolstop or Swiss-Stop brake pads?

      Thank you,

    5. You can change the entire brake pad + brake shoe to the cartridge type. Then next time can just swap out the brake pad.

      For Koolstop I know Hup Leong has them, and swissStop can be found at Rodalink. But it is quite expensive, I find it much cheaper to buy Swissstop brake pads online.

    6. Hi Steve,

      Lots of thanks for the info. Will make a change then.

  34. Hello I am contactin you because in Portugal there is very hard to get parts for Dahon (rear wheel).
    The rear wheel hub are bearings or ball on Dahon Speed ​​D7?
    Where can I get the same wheel with a Shimano Nexus 7-speed.

  35. For speed D7 stock wheels it uses cup and cone bearings.

    You can try for spare parts

  36. Hi Steve, Congrats for this useful blog.

    I own an Dahon Speed D7, an Eco C7 and recently began to build a Vitesse P18 From Zero!

    I bought a Vitesse P18 Frame from my local dahon dealer (In Colombia) and i was doing hard researching to finish the bike.

    I found that the Hubs Are pretty hard to find because the front 74mm OLD is not common for most common bikes. Then, i contacted Novatec dealer and they were able to send me a hubset for the bike, the hubs are 28H both.

    Then i looked for a good pair of rims 20" 1 1/8 and found that the Alexrims R390 (20 X 451) were pretty cool and light for my purposes. i put Maxxis DTH tires on it with matching Maxxis tubes in presta valve version. They look light and sexy.

    I found from thorusa the Kore I-Beam seatpost and the handlepost. i also bought a Kore saddle to suit the seatpost. (in my opinion the kore saddles looks lighter and more "elegant".)

    For the rear cassette i´m using a 11-28 Teeth configuration with a Shimano XT RD Medium Cage and with XT FD too.

    For the Handlebar i bought an FSA Carbon Fiber Handlebar (25.4mm X 600mm leght) i bought an Stem (very similar to Litepro)in order not to damage the Handlebar if i need to fold the bike.

    one of my major concerns was when installing the brakes in the bike; I bought a complete set of V-Brakes Shimano DeoreXT with Levers but they works without any issues when using 406 wheels instead of my 451 wheels. (i did not see nothing about this upgrade in the blog) Fortunately, i found an adaptors from sinz, the brakes fits great right now.

    The last thing i´m in doubt are in the Crankset; i´m very decided to put the Sram Force GXP 53/39T that includes the BB GXP too. I have read some forums in the web and found that the GXP BB doesn´t have very good reputation (premature creaks, crankarms play, Etc...)

    I´m not familiar with this type of Cranksets because my other two folders comes with the Square taper BB.

    Steve, can you give me an recommendation for the Crankset? It is better with the GXP BB or the BB30. I know the difference between them (the GXP have the external cup bearings while the BB30 dont).

    I hope you can help me. Sorry for my bad english (i had never took lessons).

    Regards from colombia.


    1. Great to see you are pretty handy with the bike upgrades! Good choice of components there.

      For your info, I did not change to 451 wheels as I wanted to keep my mudguards. That is why you can't find anything about 451 wheels in this blog.

      I am personally not too familiar with the GXP or BB30 standards. If I'm not wrong, BB30 standards need a larger BB shell on the frame, which means the Dahon bikes cannot use them.

      As long as you use a standard BB threading (1.37" x 24TPI, english threaded), it will fit the Dahon. I have used Shimano Hollowtech II on all my bikes (Boardwalk, Vitesse, Polygon MTB, Flamingo), and they serve me well.

      What I can recommend for you, if you get a Shimano crankset, is a road crankset, such as 105 or Ultegra. They would fit easily with the Shimano Hollowtech II BB.

      By the way, your English is good! Don't worry about that, you write much better than many people out there.

  37. Hi Steve,

    Thank you for the information. I have decided to put the Sram Force Crankset (this crankset is for road). I think the GXP Bottom Bracket will fit easy because is designed for 68/73mm bottom brackets and in this case the Dahon is 68mm english threads.

    As soon i get the bike finished, i will upload the pics.



  38. by the way, do you think this combination will cause the rubbing of the chain when using small chainring/small cog ?

    what is the best setting for avoid this behavior?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. You can try using a spacer of maybe 1.5mm under the right side bb cup. This might help a little. Of course the best is not to cross chain.

      It also differs between crankset and frame. Some cranksets may have no interference, while others will have. Frame tolerances will affect too.

  39. Hi Steve,

    I am looking to get a foldable that allow for possible upgrade and comfortable ride.

    I hope this is a not a silly question but is there any foldable with suspension at the handle? ( my last experience with bicycle is those that that come with suspension at the front and back wheels. - yeah the one with high back seat.

    In additional, I am able to get the basic model of Dahon at about $400 plus. will you recommend Dahon or tern for comfort ride/ upgradable/ value for money?

    1. Suspension at the stem was tried last time, but it is rather dangerous as the steering does not feel steady, and the handlebar feels disjointed from the rest of the bike. You can't find those nowadays.

      For ease of upgrade, it is suggested you get a better model of at least 8 speeds. That would make the upgrade easier as it is compatible with more components. On the other hand, you can get an entry level bike, and swap out everything for better parts.

      At this point in time, the Dahon Vitesse D18 is a value for money bike, easy to upgrade, decent components, and a good price. Dahon or Tern is similar, it depends on your preference. They have different designs, graphics and the frame joints are different. You can think of Tern as a premium kind of Dahon.

  40. Hi Steve,

    Does Dahon or Tern offer such type of frame with suspension?
    What do you think of such bike?

  41. Good folding bikes don't come with suspension. This is because suspension is expensive and heavy, and not needed on folding bikes. If you want a bike with suspension, get a mountain bike.

    The bike shown in the link is cheap but heavy. Components are poor. Folding a full sized mtb is pointless as it is still too big and heavy to carry.

    What kind of bike are you looking for? What is the intended usage?

  42. Hi Steve

    Would like to check with you if Kinetix Comp can fit a Tern Link C7? I think the wheels aren't for 7 speed, can spacers do the trick?

    1. Yupz the Kinetix Comp will fit the Link C7. You can use cassette spacers to fit the 7 speed cassette on the freehub. But why not just upgrade to 8/9/10 speeds? =D

  43. I just got the Tern Verge P18 2 weeks ago and though Kinetix Comp is a good pair of wheels, the white colour just makes cleaning very tough plus the white frame, selling it to a friend and got the red wheelsport 1.0 :)

  44. Hi Steve,
    For Tern Link D8, if I replace the 8 speed to a 9 speed (11-34) cassette, can I use back the original Neos RD ? Thank you.

    1. Technically cannot use, but it will still work, although not as well. Best to change to standard RD and proper 9 speed RD.

  45. Hi Steve,

    Just got a Verge p18 for a week. After riding for a week, I realised the rear cassette ratio is quite wide.

    Would like to change to a closer ratio road cassette.

    What are my options?

    Weight wise, would it be lighter that the sunrace 11-32T?

    Is this Shimano Ultegra 6500 9 Speed 11-23T a gd choice?
    Or would the Shimano 105 be a better choice?

    Thanks in advance,

    1. If you change to a closer ratio road cassette, you will be able to pedal at a more comfortable cadence as the gear jumps are not so big. However, you will lose out in gear range.

      For 9 speed, the choices are the Shimano HG50 road cassettes or SRAM PG 970/950 road cassettes.

      Most likely the road cassette will be lighter, as it will have smaller sprockets, unlike the large 32T sprocket on the stock cassette.

      The Ultegra 6500 9 speed cassette will work, but the Tiagra HG50 will be a cheaper choice. Don't think you can find 9 speed 105 cassettes nowadays.

    2. Hi Steve,

      I will check out the Tiagra HG50.

      Thank you very much,

    3. Hi Steve,

      I have managed to replace the cassette to the Tiagra HG50. I like the closer ratio during shifting.

      Nxt upgrade i have in mind, is the crankset. :)
      I would like to retain the current chain-ring of 55/44. Is it possible?

      Any recommendations on which crank and bb i should upgrade to?

      Currently the stock crank is FSA Vero.

      Thanks in advance,

    4. Yes you can retain the chain ring. You can try Shimano Hollowtech II road cranks, probably 105. Just swap the chain rings for the ones you want to use. The bb needs to be changed at the same time.

  46. Hi Steve

    I'm looking for a lighter seat post. Saw OTA and Litepro but both have a weight limit of 80kg while my weight is 70++kg alrdy (well, trying to lose some weight). Other than KCNC which is very costly (and i don't know why that there's no weight limit despite the seat post weight is comparable to other brands), is there any seat post u can recommend? Thanks!

    1. If you are on the heavy side, then stick to the stock Dahon seatpost. It is rated to take up to 110kg, as stated by Dahon. You can use the type with seatpost pump (Speed P8) or the one without (Speed D7).

  47. Hi Steve

    your articles really helps alot on understanding the parts for a beginner like me.
    I have recently purchase a drhon vitesse D8.
    I am just wondering will it be a wiser choice to upgrade the components for a better performance or change to a higher specs bike?

    if I were to upgrade the components for better performance, what is the first thing I will need to change?

    1. The Vitesse is actually a good bike to upgrade. As you can find the info above, I have listed out the components that make the most difference. Take into account the price too.

  48. What parts can you suggest in upgrading my dahon vitesse D7

    1. Decide what you want, and your budget, and from there we can see how to improve the ride.

  49. So just to confirm, does it mean that if I upgrade an 8-speed dahon (i.e. speed p8) to 10 speeds (i.e. shimano 105), I can just replace the cassette on the stock hub/rim?

    1. Yes you can do that. Of course you will also need to change the rd, shifter and chain to10 speeds in order for the drivetrain to work properly.

    2. Thanks! Also, I've seen other ppl using 1x10 or so drivetrain. Is there any difference in not having a fd other than chain cross and speed diff? Just started on all this bicycle stuff.

    3. 1x10 is sufficient for urban or flat road riding. However it will be difficult to climb steep slopes as you don't have the smaller chainring for lower gears.

  50. Ok. Thanks alot steve! You're a great help! One last question: is it worth upgrading a stock S$1000+ bike with S$700+ worth of road bicycle components or I should just get a new bicycle altogether? Foldies preferred tho.

    1. I don't see why not. As long as the frame is good it is worth upgrading the parts. Most bikes have components that cost more than the frame anyway.

  51. Hi Steve,

    I am planning to upgrade my dahon speed bike to 10 speed drops/bullhorn using shimano 105 parts. But my bike frame only supports v-brakes so I am thinking of using v-brake drop levers and bar-end shifters to compensate.

    Will a 52t chainring have any problems with the 105 rd and which bar-end shifters would you recommend?

    Thanks in advance!

  52. I'm not sure if you can find drop bar brake levers for V brakes, as they are mostly for road caliper brakes. The chainring has nothing to do with the RD. As long as you use all 10 speed road parts it will be OK.

    As for the shifter, your only choice might be SL-BS79.

    1. Ok, thanks a lot Steve!

    2. Actually there are: Dia Compe 287V, Tektro RL520 and Cane Creek Drop V.

  53. Steve, your blog has such helpful info. I have Dahon Vector P8 and I want to upgrade it to 10 speed. I have Shimano Ultegra crankset and SRAM 9X derailleur short cage with X9 2x10 shifters. I just read about the NEOS RD hanger... I'm not sure but it looks like Vector P8 does not have the standard DATT RD hanger? Am I right? This would mean I need to do the same conversion of hanger you did right? Your advice is most helpful!

    1. The Vector P8 is a great frame and good for upgrades. However you will need the RD hanger to install standard RD. Probably can check with the bike shop to see if they have it.

    2. Thanks! If you had a chance to upgrade Vector P8 what would you do? Do you think SRAM9 shifters, SRAM9 derailleur, 10 speed cassette and maybe Shimano Ultegra crankset is a good way to upgrade it?

    3. How you upgrade is up to you, know what you want before you buy, don't just put components on without knowing what you want. Do you like the thumb shifting of SRAM shifters or do you prefer the trigger shifters of Shimano? Go try it out first.

      It may be a better idea to use road components as the RD will have a shorter cage and also lower profile.

  54. Hi Steve,
    May I know what model is shifter of Tern P18? I only can see it stated Shimano 9 speed. I wanted to know whether this is a better shifter than Shimano Alivio 9 speed cos I have a bike using Alivio 9 speed with Tiagra RD and wonder I should replace my P18 Shimano 9 speed shifter (since is left over after my upgrade).
    Thanks in advance!

    1. The 9 speed shifter on the Tern P18 is Shimano SL-R440 9 speed, as stated on the website. It is a non-series road shifter, most commonly paired with Tiagra 4500 9 speed RD.

      The Alivio SL-M430 is a 9 speed MTB shifter, best paired with a 9 speed MTB RD. If paired with a road RD as in your case it may not work so well as the cable pull ratio is slightly different between road and MTB shifters.

      One advantage of the Alivio shifter is that it has two-way release, where you can also push to release gear.

      I would recommend just sticking to the R440 shifter with the Tiagra RD on the Tern Verge P18, for more precise shifting.

  55. Thanks Steve.
    Sorry that I did not explain it clear enough, you may have understood me.

    I have a SL-R440 shifter not using which was taken out from my P18 after I upgraded my whole set to Ultegra.

    I have a bike using Alivio 9 speed with Tiagra RD. I just wondering whether is worth changing the Alivio with the SL-440 on this bike.

    1. Ah I see. I think it will be a good idea, since the R440 shifter is a perfect fit for the 9 speed Tiagra RD. The Alivio shifter is actually not meant to be used with the Tiagra RD, you may have found that it can be tricky to adjust the RD properly.

  56. Hi Steve, this is a great introduction and thank you very much for sharing the knowledge!

    I just got a Speed D7 and found the high gear is not high enough. I wonder if I could replace the stock 13-28 7 speed cassette with an 11-32 or 11-34 7 speed cassette to gain a few more gear inches to get into P8's range.

    Thanks again! Emmi from Philly

    1. Not so easy to get 7 speed cassettes nowadays. Another problem is that a 7 speed cassette of 11-32T or 11-34T would have very big jumps between gears.

      If you want a wider gear range, it is best to add more speeds, such as by upgrading to 8 or 9 speeds. You will have much more choices of components to choose from.

      To change to 8 or 9 speeds, you will need a new cassette, chain and shifter. You may not need to change the RD.

    2. Thanks! So, it is doable. I think I will get a 7-speed 11-28 from ebay and have a LBS install it. This will be done at the end of August and I will let you guys know the result. Em

    3. Oh I just realised that the stock Neos derailleur might not be compatible with larger cassettes. Going from 13-28T to 11-32T needs an increase in RD chain capacity of +6, the Neos RD might not work. The only way to know is to try and see.

    4. Just bought a Shimano HG41 7-Speed 11-28t Cassette from eaby. LBS installation is 15 bucks. I will let you know in two weeks. Could be a cheap upgrade to P8 capability or $50 experiment. Thanks!

  57. Hi. Fantastic write-up. I just purchased a (cheaper) Dahon Mu P8 (they seem to be on sale everywhere - soon to be discontinued?) and contemplate less radical changes than yours (dynamo wheel front and Alfine/Nexus 8 speed back). Do you see any limitations in changing the rear gear to an integrated one? Thanks, Adrian

  58. The front hub width is narrower than standard, so might not be easy to find a suitable dynamo hub.

    As for the rear, the internal hub is about 5mm wider than the MuP8 rear triangle width, so might be a bit of a squeeze. Also, you need to install a chain tensioner, which means you need to get a standard RD hanger.

    You can check out the Vitesse D7 with internal hub, or the Tern Verge S11i to see how the internal hub is installed.

  59. Excellent site, I've spent hours reading over and over again, I think I've just settled on a Mu P27!

    I plan on upgrading the RD and crankset first!

    Look forward to reading the guides again when I decide to upgrade!

  60. Hi everyone, this is the initial impression after replacing the 7-speed stock cassette with an 11-28T one. The stock cassette, which according to Dahon website should have been 13-28, is actually 12-28T as I just found out when replacing it at a LBS. The labor fee was $10 and the guy actually spent almost 20 minutes. It wasn't as easy as a regular bike to put things back due to unusual position of the derailleur. Although the gain from the 11T is not substantial less than 10%, the need to push harder was immediately felt and I like it a lot. Now, I think it is enough as a commuter bike.

    The guy at LBS didn't adjust the gears and the chain dropped out when I was testing the new cassette. After youtubed a few videos, I kind of fixed the issue. Regarding the derailleur, I guess it is capable of 8+ speeds. When the cable was totally loosened, the pulley stopped at lower speed end and passed the 28T cog way too much toward the wheel, making the low adjustment screw useless. I was really scared that I might have broken it, then I realized that the 7th gear was held by the cable. So, I just tightened the cable, loosened the high screw a little, and either loosened or tightened the tension twist. When I tested it again, it didn't drop anymore, shifted nicely from higher speed to lower speed, but still made loud clunk noises from lower to higher speed. So, for sure, I will bring it in for an optimal adjustment.

    I think my experiment shows that Dahon speed D7 can be upgraded to the same gear inch range as the speed P8 with a 7-speed 11T cassette. Total cost was $30.

    1. Glad to hear that the modification is successful! The Neos RD is different from standard RD, in that cable pulls the RD outwards instead of inwards. Perhaps because of this the initial setup was problematic.

  61. Is it possible to change grip shifters to trigger shifters for Tern links?

    1. Of course you can. You just need to find the correct/compatible shifter. What is the RD and shifter on your bike now?

  62. This is awesome, thanks. I have an older version Dahon Eco 3 with a welded T handle post. I cannot get a replacement as Dahon has discontinued the line so I was informed. I wanted to put either drops or a Jones Loop H bar on my Dahon, but I am unable to because of this. I suppose the LitePro would work, but I'd then need to cut the original bars and never look back I reckon.

  63. tylsteve, this is fantastic, thanks! What should I do about changing my welded post T-stem/handle bars on my Dahon Eco 3? I cannot switch out because Dahon discontinued the stem. You reckon the LitePro would work? I guess I'd then have to cut the flat handlebars at the stem if I didn't want both on their though. If I can do that, I've got some old SRAM trigger shifters that would work very well with the Jones Lop H bar I have. It will mess with the fold I recognize, but oh well.

    1. It seems that you can't do much with the Eco 3 as the parts are different. Instead of trying to fudge some modifications, I would suggest that you ride the bike as it is. Or, you can sell/give away the bike to someone, and get a brand new bike that you can modify well.

  64. Hello there,
    Kindly need your advice before i make an order of some parts for my Dahon Bullet YAA061.
    I'm considering upgrading my Dahon Bullet speed 6 to speed 9 and to do this i will need to make some changes in Wheelset, Cassette/chain, crankset/Bottom brackets and shifters.
    However, i've just found out that this is not a genuine /authenticated Dahon product but an imitation from China. I would like to know if these components will be compatible with the changes i would like to make.
    Your positive advice will be appreciated.
    Richard Kasirye.

    1. I think you are referring to the Dahon Bullet KAA061. It is not an imitation product, it is a model of Dahon bikes that is produced for domestic sales in China. It is not an international model.

      It should be possible to upgrade the components that you listed above. Don't forget about the RD!

      However, my opinion is that the frame is not worth upgrading. You will be much better off getting a model with a good frame, and upgrading that instead.

  65. Hi tylsteve,
    That is correct, the Dahon Bullet KAA061, otherwise thanks for your advise. Which cheap frame do u suggest that i can upgrade on?

    1. I suggest getting an aluminum frame to upgrade. Example would be at least a Vitesse D7

  66. Hi tyl steve,

    This is my dahon p8 drive train specs:
    1. Shifter SL R770 3x10
    2. sprocket tiagra 10sp
    3. rd tiagra medium 10sp
    4. chain ultegra
    5. crank kinetix single 53t

    I have bought fd adaptor to instal fd tiagra.

    Is it possible to instal fd tiagra triple n tiagra triple chainring crank on my dahon?

    Thank you for your advice..

    1. I have considered changing to front triple on my Boardwalk before, but I have checked some dimensions and it seems that it is not compatible.

      I checked the chainline of the triple crankset, and realised that the FD cannot move inwards enough to let the chain engage the smallest chainring. The FD will be blocked by the FD adaptor.

      It may be possible with the frames that come with a welded on FD hanger, such as the P18 or D18 series.

      So my answer is no, the Dahon P8 cannot use a front triple, as the FD will hit the FD adaptor. Front double is fine.

    2. Thank u for your advice tylsteve..

      i'm not confused anymore..
      i will install dual cahinring on my speed p8..

      Thank u one more time, tylsteve..

      *Daniel from Indonesia*

  67. Hi Steve, great post!

    Do you happen to know where I can find a mounting bolt for the neos II derailleur? Mine got cross threaded, not sure whether it was DOA or due to an accident drop. My bike is Speed D7. It still shifts well for most of the time, but occasionally it sounds clunky, maybe sign of loose derailleur. Anyway, I can't tighten the mounting bolt anymore as it will just loose grip.

    I could also get a conversion hanger and go with a regular derailleur. Do I still need that mounting bolt to fasten it to that hole? It is so frustrating that nobody has that mounting bolt. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

    1. I think the only way is to find someone who has upgraded their Neos RD, and see if they can spare the bolt. But if the thread on the frame is damaged, then it still would not work.

      Just get a RD hanger and use a normal RD. no need for the special mounting bolt.

  68. Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the really informative blog here. I have gotten myself a Vitesse D8 and looking at upgrading the whole drivetrain for a better ride.

    - Ultegra 6700 Crankset and BB
    - Ultegra 6700 10-spd cassette
    - Ultegra 6700 SS RD
    - Ultegra 6701 10 Spd Chain (116 links)

    I am also looking at mixing the Shimano 105 range (still working on my budget)

    I have some questions on my choices as I am thinking of getting them online (through wiggle or crc)
    - is the chain compatible? I saw that they also have 114 links, which one should i choose?
    - If i were to mix and match the 105 series would there be any issues?
    - I like using flat handle bars..which shifters would you recommend besides the tiagra on your blog? it seems that the online stores do not carry them
    - Finally I am also thinking of upgrading in phases. Looking at upgrading the crankset and BB first. Would there be any issues with the existing chain and neos shifter? I read earlier on that there might be some issues and you rec that it will be better to change the whole thing at one go. Can I also leave the inner chainring with the existing parts?

    Appreciate your advise~! thanks a mil!!


    1. Hi Jin,

      Sorry for the slow response. I was away for the past few days.

      The Vitesse D8 is a nice bike to upgrade, so good choice! The Ultegra parts that you proposed are all possible. You might need to find a RD hanger for the RD.

      You can mix the 105 and Ultegra parts, they should work nicely as they are both 10 speed systems from Shimano. However it will look much better if the components are all from the same series.

      As for chain, just get the long one and you will be fine. You won't need the full length unless you have large chainrings and/or large sprockets.

      Besides Tiagra SL-4600, the other 10 speed flat handlebar shifters would be SL-R780. But they are more expensive.

      It should be fine upgrading the crankset and BB first. But you might experience chain drop at the chainring as you are using a 8 speed chain on a 10 speed chainring.

      The RD, cassette, chain and shifters should all be upgraded at the same time.

      Just leave the inner chainring on even if you are not using it.

    2. Hi Steve,

      Thanks for the reply! Now i have confidence to change the parts!!

      One more thing. Would you recommend changing the cabling as well?


    3. Yup you will need to change the RD inner cable and outer casing anyway, since it will not be long enough. Brakes cables don't have to change, but you might as well change to the same color at the same time.

  69. This comment has been removed by the author.

  70. Hi Steve, any recommendation for upgrade dahon s18.

    1. I would upgrade to hydraulic disc brakes if I could! But not sure if it is feasible due to the folding involved.

  71. Hi Steve,

    Which parts should be upgraded first? BB or wheel hubs?

    Thx in advance!

    1. Upgrading the BB alone won't make much of a difference, especially if you are currently using entry level square taper BB and crankset. However, upgrading to a better BB system such as Shimano Hollowtech II will give a noticeable difference.

      Wheels are expensive to upgrade, expect at least $300+ for a new Kinetix Comp wheelset. But they can make a big difference in weight. Together with slim and lighter tires, you will definitely be able to go faster.

  72. Hi steve,

    my RD is Altera and its a 2x8 speed. I nvr used the front 48T but find it a waste to downgrade to 1x8 speed since i'd be replacing crankset and BB. What u mentioned hollowtech BB fits any shim cranks right? Can jus ebay and install right?

    Was thinking of changing My cassete to 8 speed 11-28t (stock is 12-32t) as high gear jump is irritating me and dun use 32t at all.

    Im using quandro rear hub and volad folding 22" wheeled alu bike


    1. I can't quite understand what you are writing here. What RD are you using? Shimano Altus?

      And by "shim crank" I assume you are referring to Shimano cranks. Hollowtech II BB only fits Hollowtech cranks, which means for MTB, it is Deore and above, and for road it is Sora and above.

      Changing cassette from 11-32T to 11-28T is possible.

      Perhaps it is easier if you let me know the specs of your bike, using a link to a website if available. Then let me know what you want to do with the bike.

  73. Sorry, ok.

    My foldie is a 22" wheeled alu frame and alu wheelset, so i do not need to change wheelset as mine is very light already albeit having disc brakes.

    Current RD is Shim Acera. Config is 2x8 speed. Rear 12-32T, Front 48-52T.
    Did not use the 48 front at all so was thinking of downgrading to 1x9speed (with changing of rear 9 speed cassette of cos), but was thinking why change the current 2x8 speed to 1x9 speed leh? Simply because i dont use it and may affect my sell-on price in future.

    So, am contemplating to change to either 8 speed cassette 11-28t (currently 12-32t), so that i DO NOT have to change any other things,
    OR i change to a 1x9 speed cassette which i hv to remove FD & shifter assuming i can use back my Acera rd.

    crankset: since u keep mentioning hollow II BB, so i should use hollowtech-ed cranks like Sora and abv am i right? Any idea which Bikeshop got all the abv mentioned products so that i can zhng them once and for all and not having to buy them online?

    Ur help/adv is much appreciated my friend!


  74. And, and the most imp part is, how much u forsee to be the total damage considering i change:

    8speed cassette or 9 speed cass
    Compatible shifter
    better brake lever (am using dics brakes)
    Handle bar
    seat post (pref lightskin seatpost with LED light, 30.4mm, if avail)

    And most imptly, which bike shop have all the abv or most of abv w wide array of prod which may whet my appetite!

    1. First, I'm assuming that the frame is a decent one that is worth upgrading. I ask that because the choice of stock components is really weird, such as the 48/52T crankset and front double with Acera RD. This raises questions regarding the OEM for this bike.

      Anyway, before I advise you further, I need to know your current FD and shifter models before I know what is possible.

      Also, if you want to upgrade the crankset, which one are you looking at, as the price can differ quite a bit between models.

      Looking forward to your updates.

    2. Hi, i got no idea wat crankset to use, im a noob!
      i've done some research on my bike and i found these:

      RD: Shim M360 42-52t
      FD: Shim FD 2300
      Shifter: Some taiwan microshift.
      Cassete: 12-32t (8 speed)

    3. Please don't refer to Shimano as Shim. Shim means something else entirely. Surely it is not difficult to type the word Shimano in full?

      Apparently a road FD is being paired with a MTB RD. I have no idea what crankset you are using. In this case, I would suggest changing all the components to the same series since it is now all mismatched.

      I can't suggest that you change only a few components since they won't work properly. You can try going for the 9 speed Sora 3500 series.

      Get the Sora crankset, 2x9 speed flat handlebar road shifters, and also the Sora RD & FD. Change the cassette to a road cassette and also a 9 speed chain.

    4. Great!

      but can i stay put my Acera RD and change the rest? I do not mind tho lol.

      based on wat u mentioned earlier things to change, i forsee a $400+ damage.

      And which shop do u rec to get those that u mentioned changed?
      Email me at: if its inconvenient here :)

      Thx heaps!!

    5. The Acera RD is a 8 speed MTB RD, it will not be compatible with the rest of the 9 speed road components.

      Why I suggest changing out the whole lot is because the stock components are mismatched. Changing just one or two components is pointless as it will not work properly with the other components.

      In any case, I don't think you can find Sora 3500 components at the shop, you have to get it online.

      If getting components from the shop, you have to look at Tiagra 4600 10 speed and above. Try Hup Leong as they have quite a bit of Shimano parts.

      Just a quick and rough estimate, with Tiagra 4600 10 speed components:
      Crankset + BB: $150
      RD: $50
      FD: $40
      Cassette: $40
      Chain: $40
      Shifters (2x10 flat handlebar): $150
      It will be around $500 I think, depending on where you get the components. But you get nice 10 speed components.

  75. Hi Steve,

    I'm using a ultegra 9 speed 11-23 cassette on my Verge P18. Looking to replace my stock RD which is a Tiagra to a better one.

    Can I use a 10 speed Ultegra 6700 short cage on my 9 speed cassette? Would there be any problems?

    I will like to use the existing 9 speed shifters as well.

    Thank You,

    1. It should work fine. No problem there. Allows for future upgrade to 10 speed too!

  76. Hi Steve,

    My Tern uses a Neos 3.0 RD.

    I find that I am not used to the Grip shifters. Would rather revert to the thumbshifter.

    Any Shifter brand and model to recommend? Will Be retaining the Neos 3.0 RD for quite a long while.

    Also, from what I have dig up on Rapid rise RD info. Correct me if I am wrong.
    No mattar what thumb shift I get that is compatible with The Neos RD.

    The workings will be as follows?:

    Shifter increase tension, Gear shift down to smaller teeth.

    Shifter decrease tension, Gear shift up to bigger teeth.




    1. You are correct regarding the Rapid Rise. Increasing cable tension will shift to a lower gear/larger sprocket.

      What speed does your bike currently have? If I'm not wrong the Neos RD is best paired with a Shimano MTB shifter. For 9 speed you can find Deore shifters.

    2. Thanks for the reply Steve.

      I am riding a Tern Eclipse P9.

      I guess the Neos 3.0 RD is using a 2.1 pull?

      So will Sram attack trigger 9 speed be better than a Shimano Deore?



    3. The Neos RD should be using Shimano MTB pull ratio, from what I deduced last time. This is because the Neos RD was paired with SRAM Attack in stock condition, and the SRAM Attack is supposed to be compatible with Shimano MTB RD.

      SRAM Attack is same pull ratio as Shimano MTB. So either one will work OK. Just need a 9 speed MTB shifter and it will work.

  77. Hi Steve,
    Absolutely love ur blog. It has become my fav reference point when I consider upgrading my foldies. I hope u don't mind if I seek ur advice on a couple of upgrades that I'm considering for my wife's Speed P8. She has problems with inclines and since I absolutely love the Verge X10, I'm wondering whether its possible to upgrade these components similar to the X10:
    1) Cassette: 11-36T 10spd
    2) RD: SRAM X9 short cage 10spd
    3) Chain: SRAM 10spd
    4) Shifter: SRAM X9 10spd
    5) Crankset: 53/39T FSA Gossammer with Mega Exo BB (I'll maintain the 53T Chainguard wif Spd P8 & remove the 39T chainring)
    Thanks so much.


    1. Thanks for the support! Yes all these components will go on the Speed P8 nicely.

      On the other hand, adding a front double will greatly improve slope climbing ability. A front 39T/rear 30T will have a lower ratio than your proposed front 53T/rear36T.

      My suggested components:
      Cassette - 12-30T Tiagra 10speed
      Rd - Shimano/Sram 10 speed road rd short cage
      Fd - Shimano/Sram double road Fd
      Chain - Any 10 speed road chain
      Shifter - Shimano/Sram 2x10 speed flat handlebar road shifter
      Crankset - Shimano/Sram 2x10 speed road crankset

      Of course you will also need the Fd adaptor.

    2. If possible I don't want to add a FD as the bike doesn't hv an xtra wire guide (or is it mounting) for it and I hate having to use unsightly cable ties. I hv to admit having a FD does lower the gear inches. In Penang, sourcing for flatbar shifters for road components is a nightmare!! Shops over here (at least the ones I visited) only sells complete sets at exorbitant prices (Shimano 105 set @ SGD1k) which includes STI shifters.

    3. STI shifters are expensive, probably SGD$300+ for 105 shifters.

      For flat handlebar shifters I think you need to get it online. Hard to find in the shops. Shimano has Tiagra SL-4600 and non series R780.

      BUT if you have road shifters, you will need a road RD. And a road RD cannot handle the 36T large sprocket. In this case, if you don't want to add FD, you should use a MTB setup, so that the MTB RD can reach the large 36T sprocket.

  78. What other shifters are compatible with neos 1.0 rd of tern link d8?



    1. For 8 speed shifter, you can try Shimano SL-M310 or M360 8 speed, or SRAM Attack 8 speed. Not many choices for 8 speed.

  79. hi steve,

    Is it possible to use 26" mudguards on the Vector P9? e.g. sks dashboard/dashblade or topeak defender m1/m2 set?

  80. Hi, Steve

    I am planning to get a Tern Link P9 up north. The more I read, it seems very likely that I would succumb to upgrading my wheelset, RD, crankset soon.

    I tried out the Verge X10 today and I was blown away by the weight and speed. Bearing in mind that the X10 is about double in price of the P9, should I just bite the bullet and get the X10 since it already has a very decent set of components. How much would it cost approximately to upgrade the stock P9 to a similar setup as X10, barring the frame?

    FYI, I am currently riding a stock 2009 Vitesse D7 and would be passing it to my wife once I get the new bike. Thanks in advance.

    Best Regards,

    1. From what I can see, the major differences in components that account for the price and weight difference are:

      Kinetix Comp wheelset to Kinetix Pro - Cut almost 500 grams, but at twice the price
      Marathon Supreme to Durano tires, cut perhaps 300 grams. The Durano tires are much faster than the Marathon Supremes

      If you just change the Link P9 tires and wheelset to be same as Verge X10, it will also be very fast. Probably not as lightweight as the frame and crankset are different.

      As for cost, you just need to find out how much the components on the X10 cost individually.

      The link below might be useful if you are concerned about weight.

    2. Hi, Steve

      Thanks for yr fast reply. I am now considering buying a P9 and transplanting the major components to my stock Vitesse D7. Seeing your above post, u mentioned that I will have to change wheelset if I wish to upgrade a 7 speed into either 8/9/10 speed. Please advise if it is then possible to transplant the following components from the stock P9 into my existing D7:

      - Kinetix Comp wheel set with stock Marathon Supreme tyres
      - 9 speed cassette
      - SRAM 9 speed grip shifter
      - Neo 3.0 RD
      - Kinetix Supra crankset

      Me a bicycle noob. Do I need to get any RD hangar? Are there any recommended shops to get new components (i.e Shimano 105/Ultegra groupsets and Kinetix Pro) as well as to do the transplantation? Typical charges for such transplantation??

    3. Yes you can install all of the components listed from the Link P9 onto the Vitesse D7. You don't need a RD hanger as the Neos 3.0 RD uses the same mounting as the stock Neos RD on the Vitesse D7.

      For Shimano parts, can try Rodalink or Hup Leong. Of course there are other places such as L&T or C2C. Just see which one is near your place and pop down to have a look.

      For Kinetix Pro you can get from MyBikeShop. Charges vary depending on how many parts and how complicated it is. Just drop by or call them to check it out.

  81. Hi Steve,

    can i use fenders for 26" mtb on a 20" foldie like the vector P9? e.g. sks dashboard/dashblade or topeak defender M1/M2 set?

    1. You can use it, but it will not be very effective as the gap between fenders and tire will be big.

  82. Hi Steve, nice to read from your blog.

    Finally, i finished my Vitesse P18.

    I found that the FD is not working to shifting to the Small Chainring; i installed a GXP BB with a Sram Force Crankset. i´m using a Sram Force FD with Shimano Deore Trigger shifter.

    I tried several settings but found that if i set correctly the big chainring, when i try to shift it to the small one, the FD can´t shift properly so, it´s difficult to me to go uphill.

    The GXP didn´t comes with spacers because it´s supposed that when it is used with Force/Red Cranksets the Spacers are not needed. (i tried a 2mm spacer but the crankarm becomes loose and i can feel the "play" if i tight the bolt to eliminate the "Play" the cranset feels hard and the movement is not smooth as feels when the Spacer is not installed.

    I´m looking for a 1mm spacer, maybe this will resolve my situation.

    Can you recommend something? I´m not sure if the original vitesseP18 comes with a BB with external bearings like i put on the bike or is a square taper, i´m not sure about the FD too.



  83. Hi Steve
    I have a Dahon Speed Pro 24 (2007 model and not the TT version). If i wanted to change the gearing so I have a lower range (around 21", I think the lowest gear is now 28") would changing to a smaller chainring in the front be suitable to do this nd would I need any other modifications (I think I can also get a wider range cassette as the current one I believe is 12 or 13X28). I don't need the real high gears so would be willing to sacrifice them. Not sure if you dealt with this in previous blogs). Any suggestions would be helpful. Would love to use the bike for touring in hillier terrain. glen

    1. Yes the simplest way would be to change the chainring to a smaller one. Since you don't really need the high gears I suppose there is no significant trade off there.

      The chain would need to be shortened also, but that is about it.

  84. hi steve
    Im just got dahon vybe 7speed in black. And I have to change crank set because my brother broken it.I got cheap one from ebay. when I ride it it seem heavy.

    Would you recommend good crank set?
    because original crank set come as 46t with 170mm 3/32. Can I up to 52T would it make more faster?

    last one with the tyre 20x 1.50. if I could change it to 20x1.3. Would it run batter?
    thank u

    1. Hi I assume you are the same person as Aj Rees below.

      Are you already spinning fast in your highest gear? If yes, then increasing the chainring size can increase the top speed. If not, your legs can't push the higher gear properly anyway.

      Not sure what is good crankset for 7 speed. You might want to get a better crankset such as a Shimano Hollowtech 2 crankset.

      Yes a slimmer tire will have less rolling resistance, and let you go faster with the same amount of effort.

  85. hi steve
    I got dahon vybe c7 city bike.
    Can i upgrade crank set from 46t to 52t?
    can i change tires from 20x1.50 to 20x1.3 or slimmer.?
    how can I make my bike go faster.

    thank you

  86. Hi Steve,

    I have dahon vitesse d7. I have bought new wheelset which has Speedster Capreo Lite 130mm rear hub and Speedster Lite 74 mm front hub. Pair weight is 980g. May I use SRAM PG1050 10 Speed MTB Cassette with this hub? Also I want to change rear Derailleurs (SRAM Apex White 10 Speed ), chains and SRAM X5 10sp Trigger Shifter. What do you think about this parts? and I want to use stock crankset with this parts ? They are compitable with each other? Thanks

  87. Hi Steve,

    I have dahon vitesse d7. I have bought new wheelset which has Speedster Capreo Lite 130mm rear hub and Speedster Lite 74 mm front hub. Pair weight is 980g. May I use SRAM PG1050 10 Speed MTB Cassette with this hub? Actually are the Hyper glide and the power glide compatible with each other ? Also I want to change rear Derailleurs (SRAM Apex White 10 Speed ), chains and SRAM X5 10sp Trigger Shifter. What do you think about this parts? and I want to use stock crankset with this parts ? All these parts are compatible with each other? Thanks

    1. Have you seen the freehub body on the rear hub? Is it a standard freehub body, or is it shorter to accommodate a special Shimano Capreo cassette.

      Does it already come with a Capreo cassette?

      And you cannot mix mtb parts with road parts. The road rd will not be compatible with the mtb shifter. Stock crankset probably OK but not ideal if you move from 7 to 10 speeds as the chain is quite different. May experience frequent chain drop.

    2. I have not seen the freehub. In a couple of day my wheelset will come from taiwan but I think the hub is shorter and It seems for HG shimano cassette. I wonder HG cassette is compatible with PG SRAM or any type of cassette?

      No it will not come with any cassette.

      Thank your very much for your valuable information. This blog is awesome :)

    3. If it is a special Capreo freehub, then you can only use the special Capreo cassette. Can't use standard cassettes.

      I think the only way is to wait and see what kind of freehub you have. Or do you have a link to a picture I can see?

    4. This is the picture of wheelset.


    5. It looks like a normal freehub to me, so you will be able to use a normal cassette.

      You will need to use a MTB cassette with a MTB RD and a MTB shifter. Likewise for road components. You might be able to mix cassettes of different brands and make it work, but you cannot mix RD and shifters of different brands.

      For a small wheel bike I think it is better to use road components as you don't really need the low gear ratio provided by the large MTB cassette.

  88. Hello - wondering if anybody can tell me: if I need to replace the gripshift shifter cable on my SRAM-equipped 2007 Speed P8, is it a standard mtb shifter cable length? Or do I need a cable specific to Dahon geometry? If the latter, where can I get the correct cable from?


    1. Just measure the current cable length, and get one that is longer than that. Simple as that.

  89. Thanks for your confirmation. I'll just have to figure out what size chainwheel I'll need depending on the gearing I want. Keep up this great blog.

  90. Hi Steve,
    Excellent site! I have a Batavus Nova Versa,24" wheels and Nexus 8 speed and dahon dynamo front hub. The bike was made by Dahon,now discontinued. I love the bike but it's heavy. Do you have any ideas to save weight? Chainset and new front wheel,maybe even swittching to derailleur. What do you think?Thanks in advance.