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I am currently thinking about buying a Dahon folding bike to replace my existing Dahon folding bike. Brompton and other marques are not really a consideration because I like Dahon for many reasons - sensible gear range, better hinges (they owned the patents) and they are also possible to fold without a degree in engineering (unlike Mezzo).

However, in researching if I will be able to get an Alfine 11 on a Dahon any time soon I discover that Mr Hon's estranged wife and his son have taken the intellectual property of Dahon plus a few of the factories and setup this new company called 'Tern'. Meanwhile, Mr Hon has gone to court and tried to get a restraining order on the new upstart.

'Tern' could be the new Dahon and take over the UK distribution, in which case I would be stuck for spares down the road if I was to get that new Dahon Mu now. So, what do I do, get a Dahon or wait for a 'Tern'?

http://www.bikebiz.com/news/read/us-federal-judge-denies-dr-david-hon-s-request-for-tern-to-quit/011621

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might be a while to actually get one.... wle –  user2028 Aug 5 '11 at 13:55
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@Neil Fein: Not complaining, not arguing. This is intended as a learning moment for me. Why did you see a need to protect this question? (Since there are no answers at all, and only one comment.) –  zenbike Aug 5 '11 at 16:10
    
It's all good. We already got a non-answer here (the comment by wle), and I've seen another question on the site with similar "answers". The site has been getting more new users in the last week or so, so this shouldn't be surprising. –  Neil Fein Aug 5 '11 at 16:14
    
I don't get it. Are you asking us to try and predict the future? –  Stephen Touset Aug 15 '11 at 2:06
    
Here's a first glimpse of US Dahon and Tern pricing‌​. –  Neil Fein Sep 22 '11 at 0:50
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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I think that the only possible answer for this is to wait and see. If I needed to buy a folder now, I'd stay away from Tern until they became a more established company. While it's possible they may take over the market and distribution channels, it's also possible that this new company may fold (no pun intended).

Dahon seems a good bet for the near-term. Just supposing that Dahon stops distributing all spares tomorrow. If nothing else, there are many Dahon spares already in the wild, and will be available for puchase on eBay if nowhere else. Tern is a new company and doesn't even have that. (This is, of course, discounting the possibility of Tern and Dahon using any of the same parts.)

If you want a Dahon, I'd go ahead and buy one. The company's not going anywhere just now. If the Tern bikes look sweet, when they become available you can pick one up. Just remind yourself that they're a new company and spares may or may not be available. And lastly, if you want to stay away from the whole mess, you have other options for folding bike brands, as has been pointed out. However, you're pointed out that your preference is to stay "in the family". In that case, is upgrading your current folder an option?

(This question can't really be answered satisfactorily either way, and I hope that in time someone else will write better answer as more information becomes available on the Tern/Dahon rivalry.)

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If you are looking for a customized foldie, I would suggest Bike Friday, in Eugene, OR. They will make your bike with the options you prefer - whether a fixie, a 24 speed, or a hub. I see people doing west coast tours on Bike Fridays not uncommonly. (And I've also seen the tandem model and have heard about a recumbent model, too.) I also like the trailer attachment system they include which works with pneumatic couplings.

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These are excellent bikes; I love my Tikit. However, ʍǝɥʇɐɯ is in the UK, and shipping might be prohibitive. Also, the difference in price between Bike Friday and Dahon/Tern is large. (I assume Tern will have similar pricing to Dahon.) –  Neil Fein Aug 26 '11 at 16:56
    
all very important points, I agree. –  memnoch_proxy Aug 27 '11 at 5:36
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protected by Neil Fein Aug 5 '11 at 15:31

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