Dahon Uno

Dahon Uno

It has finally happened.  After years of waiting, on November 1st the first well-made (sorry Hobby Bike, you don’t count) convertible 12″ bike will finally be available for purchase.  Beating out the elusive KinderBike Morph, the Dahon kids bike will be available at local Dahon dealers across the country.  In October, we had a chance to get a sneak peek at the bike at Interbike.  Bright and bold, the little Dahon was certainly ready to be seen.  Complete with a hand brake, training wheels, air tires and easily removable pedals.

Dahon measurements3

Upon taking a closer look at the Dahon, the quality of the bike was evident, but so was its weight.  Weighing 15 lb. as a pedal bike and about 13 lbs. as a balance bike, the Dahon is certainly not a bike for the smallest toddlers.  However, with a minimum seat height of 14″ and a maximum of 19.5″, preschoolers who are tall enough to fit the bike will most likely be strong enough to handle 13 lbs.  On the other hand, while heavy as a balance bike, at 15 lbs. the Dahon is a fly weight in the world of pedal bikes.   We rarely recommend 12″ bikes due to their heavy builds and poor geometry (See Why You Should Never Buy a 12″ Bike), but the Dahon may be an exception.  At 15 lbs. as a 12″ pedal bike, the Dahon weights about 5 to 10 lbs. less than the standard cheap 12″ bikes and is about 2 lbs. lighter than the Specialized 12″ Hotrock.  While we were not able to see the bike in action, lighter-weight bikes are much easier for kids to handle and more pleasing for kids to ride.  Regarding the geometry of the bike, like the Specialized Hotrock, the bottom bracket of the Dahon is also slightly pushed forward which allow for easier pedaling (see Why You Should Never Buy a 12″ Bike for an explanation).

How the Dahon’s bike converts to a balance bike, however, is truly unique.  By simply removing the pedals and leaving the chain on the bike, Dahon was able to create a simple, yet effective method for converting the bike.  With one allen wrench, the pedals can quickly be removed by a parent in under 5 minutes.

dahon convert

Bottom Line

A great buy for parents of a preschooler who are hesitant to buy a balance bike over a pedal bike.  Well-made and uniquely designed, Dahon’s kid’s bike will be sure to please parents and kids alike.  For toddlers, however, the Dahon is simply too big and heavy and is not recommended.

Where to Purchase

The Dahon Uno is available at Dahon dealers.  The bike will retail for $225, will not be available online and must be ordered through a dealer.  Not all dealers will have a floor model on hand, so be sure to call ahead before visiting a shop.

      • SLH

        There’s no date on this post–is this November 2014 or November 2013?

        • Thanks for pointing that out, I will be sure to get on that. This review was done in November of 2013.

          • Stacey

            Thanks! I just called around, and the dealers near me say this bike still isn’t available in the US as of Oct 2014. Do you know if there are any US dealers who have it, or any other way to get it? I have a tiny just 3-year old who has been on a balance bike for a year+, went >50 feet on a crappy 12″ pedal bike that was too large (a huffy type), but is too small for anything even the ones you recommend. (Her inseam is about 13.5, maybe 14″ with shoes, I think she’s about 35″ tall.) She’s in tears often about wanting a pedal bike, but at this rate she won’t be large enough for one for 1-2 years… The Dahon seemed like the perfect solution, so I’ve been super bummed that I can’t find it.


      • J Hasan

        Hi Natalie, I just discovered this website a week back and have learned so much about kids’ bikes and why my 4 year old has been having so much trouble with her bike. I really wanted to applaud you for putting together all the information in such an accessible and organized way – great work and thanks !!

        It looks like this Dahon convertible is now available online on Dahon’s website. I’m going to call the local dealer tomorrow to see if they have a floor model. However, I would love to hear your thoughts on where this bike would rank up against other options on your comparison charts for balance bikes and pedal bikes. The alternative I am considering is to buy a Scoot or Scoot XL – for a 4.5 year old with a 17-18 inch inseam. Your review of this convertible seems very positive but what I’m not able to determine is whether this is equivalent to “exceptional” in both bike types? Or “highly recommended” in one and “recommended” in the other etc. Thanks in advance for your response

        • Thanks and glad to be of help! I would actually not recommend going with the Dahon because it pretty heavy. If she is hesitant, then a heavy bike is going to make her more nervous to ride. If she has has not had any luck trying to balance on her own with a bike (without training wheels) or is very scared to do so, then I would go with the Scoot XL. If she has attempted to balance or is eager to learn and willing to try, then I would go for the Cleary Gecko or the Specialized Hotrock 12″, both of which are 12″ pedal bikes, remove the pedals and have her use it as a balance bike until she is ready to pedal.

      • Lim

        Hi I’m looking to buy a bike for my 4 year old daughter. She is tall (about 42inch and inseam 18inch). I’m wondering if I could let her try a balance bike of which most seems abit small for her, or should I get a pedal bike n remove the pedals. We are looking for something which is not as expensive as Islabike cnoc 14 (which sounds great). I also have an 18months old whom I hope to pass down to. What is your advice?

        • Lim

          She is currently using an old hands down pedal bike with training wheels.

          • Since you have an 18-month old, I would go for a balance bike first as it will surely get a lot of use of the years. Plus, by the time she has mastered the balance bike, she may have grown enough to fit into a 16″ bike. With an 18 inch inseam, I would probably go with either the KinderbIke Laufrad or the Ridgeback Scoot. The Scoot is a better bike overall, but it is heavier and has a higher minimum seat height than the Kinderbike, which could prevent your 18-month old from riding it.

            • Lim

              Thanks Natalie. What about the tykes 12″ and dahon? Compared to laufrad and scoot? And if scoot, should I get XL or non XL?

              • Lim

                Do u also have a chance to review littlebigbike?

              • I have not had a chance to review the littlebigbike as it is not yet available in the US, but I am already on the list to receive one when and if they do come to the US. From what I’ve seen, however, they look like great bikes as they use 14″ instead of 12″, which will prevent a child from outgrowing the bike too fast.

              • Lim

                Thanks so much Natalie! U been such great help!!

              • With an 18″ inseam, I would go with the Scoot XL over the others as it will provide her plenty of room for growth without being too big. As for the Dahon, with a maximum seat height of 19.5″, I believe it is going to be too small for her my the time she is ready to use it as a pedal bike.