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The Cadenza Solo is a fun, low maintenance singlespeed that's designed to be at home in the city. It's not the lightest or most responsive bike but it's very sturdy, and the folding frame makes it a great option if you have a mixed commute. To somewhere fairly flat.
The bike is based on the folding Cadenza frame that features two LockJaw hinges, one in the seat tube and one in the down tube. They're cam-operated with an Allen key and have a grooved profile to keep everything nice and stiff once they're locked down. The process is simple and the fold reduces the footprint considerably; the Cadenza also features Dahon's F.I.T. stem which allows you to take the bars off without unloading the headset - a nice touch.
Neat though the fold is the bus driver or tube attendant might still have a few issues with the folded bike and when we ended up sticking it in the guards van on a inter city train because it didn't fit into the luggage rack. It will though fit easily into your boot without removing the wheels. The neat magnetic clasp that holds the two halves together is a welcome addition. A bag is available as an optional extra. Given this is an urban bike the Cadenza Solo's fold is more about saving space when stored in office hallways or city apartments than about lugging it on and off public transport - within a city this performs like any other full size bike - it's for riding not folding.
The drivetrain is a 44x16 single speed, which equates to 68" on the 26x1.5 Conti Sport Contact tyres. That's fine for flattish town riding but a bit steep for hilly bath; there's an eccentric BB shell though if you want to swap cogs. Out and about the bike feels very solid and puts the power down well. The frame pivots likely don't help the frame's responsiveness but there's plenty of give in the tyres and the excellent bullhorn bars, and the Cadenza never feels harsh. The long seatpost helps with comfort too.
Even though the actual stem is short the hand position gives an effective stem length that's pretty long, making the steering a bit slower than I would have liked, but it's never vague. The 11.3kg all-in weight means that the Cadenza is a little pedestrian on the climbs and out of the blocks, but once up to speed the bike cruises very well.
The bike is let down a bit by the Kinetik V-brakes, which are a bit grabby and can make the front end judder when you're hauling on the Tektro levers. They do stop you though. The Kinteik branded wheels roll smoothly and are tightly built – there's been no issues with them on test – and the Conti rubber is just right for a fast feel with a bit of bump cushioning. Dahon's seatpost pump is included, which does away with the need to remember one; you will need to remember your 15mm spanner though.
There's lots of potential for customising the Cadenza: rack and mudguard mounts are present and correct, and there's disc mounts front and rear too. If you get bored with a single gear then there's a hanger for a mech too, though you're probably better off spending the extra on the Alfine-specced Cadenza 8 if it's gears you want. However, if you think the Cadenza might be the bike for you, it would be best to be quick, Dahon are changing UK distributors, as of January 1st Zyro will be their UK distriibutor and the Cadenza is not in their 2010 range.
Overall the Cadenza solo is a very likeable urban mount: it's a low-maintenance, versatile urban tool and the fact that it folds – without looking like a folder – adds to its appeal for me. It's not light but it is well built, and should last for many years of kerb-hopping. And "Burrito breaks in the Mission District", whatever they are...
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Make and model: Dahon Cadenza Solo
Size tested: L
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
FRAME OA Series, 7005 aluminum, patented LockJaw Hinge™, replaceable derailleur hanger, integrated head tube
FORK Dahon SlipStream™, Puro™ U7 aluminum, double butted tubing, disc/V/canti brake compatible
HANDLEBAR Kinetix Pro TT, 7050-AL double butted
STEM Dahon F.I.T., patented ATS technology, 6061-T6 aluminum
HEADSET Dahon Fusion, Zero stack, cartridge, conical spacer
GRIPS/BAR TAPE BioLogic™ handlebar tape, black, w/ locking end plugs
SADDLE BioLogic™ Aria
SEATPOST BioLogic™ Zorin PostPump™, 27.2 mm
SEAT CLAMP Aluminum with high leverage lever
BRAKES Kinetix SpeedStop V-brakes, stainless link, anchor and pivot bolt
BRAKE LEVERS Forged aluminum, designed for V brakes
FRONT HUB Kinetix high flange track hub, sealed cartridge bearings, 32H
REAR HUB Kinetix high flange single speed hub, flip/flop free and fixed, sealed cartridge bearings, 32H
RIMS Kinetix, CNC sidewall, black anodized, 32H
TYRES Continental Sport Contact 26” x 1.3”, 85 psi, 240 tpi, Kevlar anti-puncture protection
CRANKSET Sugino XD, 44T, 2014 AL
CASSETTE/FREEWHEEL 16T freewheel
BOTTOM BRACKET Cartridge, sealed bearings
CHAIN KMC 610
PEDALS Urban platform, aluminum
Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?
Dahon say it's perfect for Running errands in the lower Mission District before a burrito break, midday coffee runs and improving your high cadence spin. Assuming you're in the US, that is. Urban riding, then.
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
Well built Alu frame and fork, finish has been pretty hardy and the LockJaw hinge is simple, sturdy and effective
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
Aluminium 7005 frame, double butted Alu fork
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
DISTANCE: SEATPOST TO HANDLEBAR Min: 670 mm (26.1") Max: 680 mm (26.5")
DISTANCE: SADDLE TO PEDAL Min: 550 mm (21.5") Max: 790 mm (31")
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
It gave a good town position, with the bullhorn bars stretching you out a bit and giving you something to work against on the climbs
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
The Cadenza is plenty comfy about town, the tyres, bars and saddle doing most of the cushioning
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too felxible?
Stiffness is not an issue, the pivots don't flex at all
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
Again, no problems. The odd creak, but nothing serious
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? slightly slow
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
the stem is short but the hand position on the bullhorns lengthens it considerably, making the steering a touch slow
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes, great for office-hopping
Would you consider buying the bike? Yes but it doesn't suit my commute...
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes
Age: 36 Height: 190cm Weight: 98kg
I usually ride: whatever I\'m testing... My best bike is: Trek 1.5 with Ultegra 6700
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.