I was passing a farm sale on Wednesday and something caught my eye… It was a folding bike in bright red – very unusual, and definitely rather cool!
I went and enquired about it, expecting it to be about £100 and the old chap said £20. It had been in his barn for years and was covered in chicken shit; but I saw through the coating and saw there was a really nice condition bike underneath all that grime so I bought it.
On arriving back at my unit I gave it a good wash down, and then a good lubrication. The chain and cables all moved straight away and the Sturmey Archer three speed gear hub engaged all three gears perfectly.
So it turns out it’s a DaHon III; made in 1989. The tyres and brake blocks are actually original articles and the bell is also from the 80’s.
The gears are really what drew me to it though – Sturmey Archer gears fascinate me, and unlike derailleur gears there’s no mechanism hanging down to catch on all matter of things – the gearing is all done inside the hub.
All the metal surfaces have a very slight rust pitting, but no rust is penetrating any metals and a bit of chrome polish and elbow grease will sort that.
The cutest thing is the tiny kickstand attached near the back wheel. It really is so dinky! Again, factory fitted.
The company who sold it no longer exist, and the BS it was made to has since been superceded.
Of course the ultimate thing is the USA Design logo – it looks like something from the late 80’s, because in essence it is!
It folds down to a really neat package too, and although it isn’t quite as light as newer folding bikes it’s still very portable – and having 16″ wheels it’s definitely compact enough to take on a tram.