13 Apr DAHON CURL – Answers to FAQs
Thanks so much to all of our backers so far that are making the CURL a reality! And if you haven’t checked out our latest project, head to Kickstarter for all the details on this ultra-compact folding bike, available worldwide.
Read on for some of the Frequently Asked Questions, with answers, on our first Kickstarter:
“Is the CURL a clone or a copy of the Brompton or any other flip fold products on the market?”
No, not by definition, unless the CURL is an exact copy in every detail.
“But still, why does the CURL “look so much like” a Brompton?”
The right-hand pictures show Former Pres. Obama and look-alike Indonesian Fisherman Samuel Farhi. So much for “Looking alike”.
The CURL integrates, for the first time in a DAHON’s 35 years of history, a rear triangle flip fold. This is a feature and image that Brompton folding bikes have popularized and are primarily recognized for. The rear flip fold is not exclusive to Brompton and was in fact first developed by Di Blasi in the 1970s. Many other folding bikes, such as Birdy and Oyama, also make use of rear-wheel flip folds.
Numerous innovations set the CURL apart, as you would expect from DAHON, an industry leader. To be fair, the CURL looks very distinct even on Kickstarter!
“Does the CURL infringe on any of Brompton’s patents?”
DAHON, with 350+ individual invention patents of its own, is understandably very cautious about this issue. There is no infringement whatsoever, according to our meticulous/professional searches.
In fact, many of our patents are copied or licensed by most folding bikes today which comprise about 10% of the total adult market! In particular, The 45-degree handle post fold was first patented by DAHON over 35 years ago and is found on almost all modern folding bikes today, including Brompton. The following figures appeared on Brompton’s early patent, which included a pair of left-and-right folding handlebars. This design remained for some time on its product shown below (at right) until the mid to late 1980s, years after the Original DAHON patent was filed/issued. DAHON could very well have taken legal actions against Brompton, but instead only lodged a verbal protest with Brompton’s then CEO Mr. Andrew Ritchie. Any further actions against the laudable inventor, then a budding entrepreneur, would hurt DAHON’s own mission – “To help green the world.” However, that same (popular) patent was licensed to many larger manufacturers, including Panasonic, for up to $7.00 (=$58 in 2017 value) per bike, until its expiration 18 years later.
Patent laws are for the protection of both the inventors and Society at large. The patent is effective for no more than 20 years. Brompton, itself a very innovative company, has filed very few patents, and the most basic ones expired years ago. Still, we welcome anyone’s scrutiny.
The CURL has 11 distinct patents, some pending, that differentiate it from other bikes, and features a number of unique innovations, such as its user-friendly latches, rectangular aluminum tubes, quick-release pedals, rear V-coupling, Eifel handlebar, inverted stem, telescoping handlepost and more. This kind of technological evolution is good for Society unless there is a legal infringement on existing patent/s, which of course there are none on the CURL. The aim of the CURL is to offer something new, improved and legal.
“Why compare it to a Brompton in your video?”
We wanted to show a comparison bike that represents one of the most compact, equivalent folding bikes on the market, until now.
“Will the CURL enjoy the same support from distributors and bike shops as other DAHON models?”
Yes, of course! The CURL is our 35th Anniversary Special. Global exposure on Kickstarter is our first PR salvo to kick start this baby. In June, it will be available in thousands of DAHON retailers in 40+ countries worldwide, (without the special discount here, of course. Consumers will be enjoying the same global support as our other models, no matter where you have purchased them.
“I heard SRAM is no longer making internal hub gears, but the CURL uses one?”
The CURL was developed with an SRAM brand 3 Speed internal hub. SRAM has announced (after we have placed our orders) that they will discontinue producing internal hubs in 2018. We have used this hub very successfully in several models of bikes (Curve i3, Vitesse i3, and others). We (and you) will have full support from SRAM (a listed company) for spare parts and after-service as usual. We’ve been partners for over 20 years. There is no need for concern in that respect. We expect that the SRAM Sachs hubs will land in new hands just as Sachs was passed to SRAM some years ago. (Or like Sturmey-Archer, which passed from Raleigh to Sunrace in Taiwan, and is still being used by Brompton without many problems).
“Why are you using Kickstarter when you are an established company?”
Kickstarter provides an excellent platform for exposure to new products that are truly advanced such as the CURL. Meanwhile, the exposure campaign may spawn new markets not yet served by our sales network.
“Is DAHON a Chinese company?”
No. The DAHON Group started in 1981 with DAHON North America, Inc., Duarte, California, under the leadership of an accomplished Chinese-American physicist. Our stated mission was “To help green the world”, and this has remained unwavering since. Folding bikes were practically unheard of then. But today, American-owned and operated DAHON has subsidiaries or affiliates in California, Wisconsin, China, Taiwan, Bulgaria, and Germany, with sales networks in 40+ countries. Globalization, not nationalism, has allowed DAHON to synergize the best resources internationally to offer the best products for the money internationally. Over the decades, the group has produced folding bicycles for millions of consumers in hundreds of models under the DAHON brand, while licensing many of its 350+ independent patents to many manufacturers international. Its technical footprint (5 on average) can be found on almost every one of the hundred million folding bikes annually.
To check out the CURL for yourself, head to the Kickstarter page.