When you use our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
If you are looking for a good-quality lightweight bike to ride around town, it makes sense to get a folding bike. These are more compact, easier to transport, and generally less unwieldy than their non-folding counterparts.
The Dahon Mariner D8 is a folding bike that provides a smooth riding experience at a reasonable price.
In this article, I review the Dahon Mariner and see if it is actually worth your business.
Dahon Mariner D8
- The eight-gear drivetrain is a considerable help going up and down hills and other landscape features.
- An adjustable steering handlebar can easily accommodate riders between 4’9” to 6’3”.
- The rear rack has a well-designed bungee cord that is good for carrying bags.
- Some users may find the seat somewhat uncomfortable, especially after a prolonged amount of use. A solution to this could be to have a seat replaced with an aftermarket alternative, although this will be at an extra cost
- The bike does not come fully assembled.
“Overall, the Dahon Mariner D8 is an excellent lightweight and compact bike. It performs excellently within city environments and is comfortable to ride. For cyclists who enjoy taking weekend trips, this bike might pleasantly surprise you with its off-road performance.”
While it wasn’t designed for rough terrain, the ride is smoother than any competitor.
The D8 is an excellent choice of folding bike that is thoughtfully designed and can deliver performance without too many added complications.
Dahon Mariner Folding Bike D8 Review
Gone are the days when the folding bike was a new and intriguing prospect.
A saturated market flooded with designs, each day brings a new model claiming to be the next big thing in multi-modal urban transport.
Dahon Mariner enjoys its established position in this competitive field as a reliable source of high-quality, durable Dahon bikes that routinely outperform other folding bikes.
It all comes down to a few key features that set this folding bike apart from the rest of the competition.
The Dahon bike is durable and lightweight with a rust-resistant aluminum frame.
The brushed aluminum finish gives the Dahon a modern steel finish.
With the improved grip and turning ease, you’ll find that the Dahon bike handles better than other models and is more stable.
Thanks to telescoping technology, you have ample freedom of movement when riding the Dahon Mariner D8, more so than many other folding bikes on the market.
Another one of the most crucial components of any bike, folding or not, is the drivetrain.
The drivetrain is one of the components that have the most significant impact in ensuring a comfortable ride for bicycle riders.
In this regard, the Dahon folding bike utilizes an 8-Speed Shimano SL-M315 Trigger Shifter.
Thanks to the eight different gears, you can enjoy a stable ride at many different speed levels without having to put too much force into the pedals.
Moreover, having the additional gears also helps with riding up or down hills as it offers more control over your two wheels.
If you have not used an 8-speed shifter before, there may be a few instances at the start that you do not feel accustomed to them.
However, after some time with the Dahon bike, you should feel right at home using the additional gears.
Undoubtedly, one of the biggest design focuses of the bike is its weight.
The folding bike is popular among people whose primary need is ease of transportation.
A bike isn’t just for people who want to travel around their neighborhood.
You can fit it into anything from a car trunk to the back of a boat and have a convenient mode of transportation at your disposal. Due to this fact, weight is a huge concern.
Fortunately, intelligent design decisions such as aluminum in the construction and weight-efficient wheels significantly help reduce the overall weight of this folding bike. All in all, the entire bicycle adds up to only 12.56 kilograms.
Dahon Mariner D8 Specs
- Wheels: 20″ Lightweight Aluminium single-wall rim w/ Schwalbe Citizen 20″ x 1.6″
- Brakes: Alloy 110 mm V-Brakes
- Rider height: 145-190cm
- Adjustable Drivetrain: 8-Speed Shimano RD-M310 Rear Derailleur
- Max Rider Weight: 105 kg (230 lb)
- Wheel Size: 20″
- Dahon Mariner D8 Weight: 12.59 kg (28lbs)
- Frame: Lightweight Dalloy Sonus Tubeset, Lattice Forged Hinge，w/ Vise-Grip Technology
Dahon Mariner Daily Use Experience
I use my Dahon Mariner folding bike nearly every day. There are two sets of tasks where having a bike at my disposal comes in handy.
The first is when I need to complete some quick tasks near my home, such as grocery shopping or a trip to the dry cleaners, or taking them out on the weekend for a long joy ride.
Riding this bicycle has been a tremendous experience.
The Mariner is an effortless bike to fold and lock into place. This is likely due to this bike’s small size and low weight.
The smaller folded size is incredibly easy to carry around which became even more apparent as I attempted to fit the bike in my car’s back seat or take it with me on a bus. Fortunately, in both these cases, I was able to do it.
2. Adjustable saddle
Setting up the bike to ride was also a positive experience. I am relatively short thus, the adjustable saddle was a godsend as it helped me maintain a comfortable riding position.
The experience was a bit more of a mixed bag when it came to off-roading.
Going up and down hills was not an issue thanks to the wide range of gears at my disposal.
Moreover, the v brakes performed well at slowing me down which was very important when coming downhill.
Fortunately, at no point did I feel like the bike was completely out of control and that my safety was at risk.
The Dahon Mariner is by no means the most comfortable off-roading bike ever.
However, it does hold its own, and I can recommend it for someone who goes off-roading occasionally. If you intend to use your folding bike primarily for off-road riding then check out my guide to the Best Folding Mountain Bikes on the market today.
4. City transport
Where this bike shines, however, at least for me, is in urban environments where the folding bike is really in its element and can be helpful.
Transporting it on a train, bus or tube is effortless. Moreover, owing to the reduced folded size, it is also less of a hassle to park.
If you find yourself in a particularly rough neighborhood, you can just fold it up and bring it along!
5. Carrying luggage
The Dahon Mariner also had the smaller quality of life features that significantly improved my overall experience.
One of these was the inclusion of a rear rack; a feature that often gets glossed over in many compact folding bikes. Fortunately, Dahon decided to include it.
The rear rack helped when carrying extra things, especially since I would use my folding bike for going around and getting small chores, like grabbing groceries, done.
A minor gripe some users may have is the need to do somewhat regular maintenance which comes down to the fact that the bike is only partially rust-resistant
Thus, ignoring maintenance might lead to further corrosion problems.
Overall my experience of using this bike daily was surprisingly refreshing.
I enjoyed the freedom I felt, knowing that I could easily take this bike with me wherever I went.
Handling it was much more comfortable than more cumbersome larger bikes that are a nightmare to lug around.
Despite its small size, I did not find the ride itself uncomfortable either.
In fact, the 20-inch wheels on the Mariner probably help make it a lot more comfortable than it would be if it had smaller wheels like some other foldable bike manufacturers.
Receive newsletters on folding bike guides, reviews and more.
People Also Ask
Depending on the features you are looking for, Brompton offers even more compactness making it more portable and easy to carry around with you. However, this comes at the cost of performance as Brompton bikes tend to have smaller wheels when compared to Dahon. This makes Dahon a much better and more comfortable ride, especially for longer periods.
When it comes to choosing the perfect bike, it all comes down to your needs and requirements. Do you need to cycle for longer stretches? Are you cycling in the city or off-roading? Ask yourself these questions and find the folding bike that works for you.
How do you fold a Dahon Mariner D8?
Folding the Mariner is a quick and painless operation that you can do in two to three minutes. The process of packing it up becomes even faster once you have done it a few times. In this, like in all things, practice is vital. There are five steps in total to fold your Dahon Mariner.
First, start by pushing the seat post as low as it will go. Simply put weight on it to push it down. Once you’ve accomplished this step, the second stage is to reposition the handlebar. You should do this so that the brake levers face downwards towards the floor or the bike’s tires.
For the third step, you can go ahead and position the radius of the telescoping handlebar. Forth, you can release the stem of the handlebar which will cause the handlebar to collapse and rotate downwards. You can bring it to rest when it is next to the front wheel.
The final step is the most fun. On the center of the bike’s frame, there will be a lattice hinge holding the frame together. Simply release this hinge which will cause the entire frame to break in two, allowing you to go ahead and easily collapse the whole bike into compact mode.
With this, your Dahon Mariner has now been folded up and is ready to be transported wherever you need it. To unfold the bike, all you have to do is repeat the same steps in reverse order. Once you get used to it, this process should take no time at all.
The Dahon Mariner D8 is one of the best-selling bikes around. Over time its high performance, a durable frame, riding comfort, and carrying ease have garnered a reputation among the bicycling community.
I can now see why.
This bike is very light and compact like a folding bike should be. However, it can still deliver some of the performance you expect from a regular, larger bike.
It is important to stay realistic in your expectations and understand that this is a folding bike, so it isn’t as comfortable as a regular bike.
When compared with other bikes in its category, the Dahon Mariner outperforms.
Similarly, although it cannot do off-roading and some proper off-road bikes, it can still deliver satisfactory performance if you decide to take it off the pavement.
Overall, the Dahon Mariner D8 is a versatile bike that can fulfill many different roles making it a good choice for someone who plans on getting only one bike and lives in a city or some other environment where having a folding bike is essential.
This bike is about as good as you could ask for such a use case.
All in all, I would highly recommend this model to cyclists looking for a solid everyday folding bike.
Mark PlummerMark Plummer is an experienced bike mechanic who has built, repaired, and customized thousands of bikes over the years. A former mountain biking athlete, his cycling adventures have taken him all over the globe from the mountains of Scotland to the South Island of New Zealand. These days he enjoys the benefits of commuting to work and touring on his Dahon and Brompton folding bikes.
Receive newsletters on folding bike guides, reviews and more.
Read These Next
Dahon Formula S18 Folding Bike Review
The Dahon Formula S18 is a gorgeous folding bike made from premium anodized components. Weighing only 25lbs it's super fast, fun to ride & easy to carry around!
Dahon MU Uno Folding Bike Review 2022 (Why I Love The Dahon Uno)
The Dahon MU Uno offers a relatively affordable but high-end folding bike that is truly capable of competing with bikes costing multiple thousands of dollars.