If you’re considering purchasing a folding bike for commuting or leisurely rides and have narrowed your selection down to Zizzo and Dahon, let me share what I’ve learned from ten years of experience testing and riding both brands to help you decide!
My bottom line: Dahon provides a broader range of models with higher specifications, while Zizzo offers similar quality at a more affordable price.
The following table summarizes what I consider to be the key differences between Zizzo and Dahon.
|Primarily uses lightweight, sturdy aluminum.
|Offers a range of materials including steel, aluminum, and even titanium.
|Simple and straightforward, great for beginners.
|Features a patented Dahon LockJaw hinge system on some models for secure and smooth folding.
|Bikes fold easily for convenient carrying and storage.
|Known for their foldability and space-saving design.
|Lightweight, popular model Zizzo Via weighs around 26 lbs.
|Also lightweight, with the popular Dahon Mariner D8 model weighing about 26 lbs.
|Brakes and Gears
|Often comes with disc brakes and up to 9 speeds.
|Typically have 7 or 8 speeds, with reliable braking systems.
|Tires and Wheels
|Generally smaller 16″ wheels for more compact fold.
|Larger 20″ wheels for a more comfortable and stable ride.
|Price and Value for Money
|Generally more affordable, a great budget-friendly option.
|Priced higher with more advanced features and materials.
The Origin and Evolution of Dahon Bikes
David Hon was inspired to create a folding bike after his realization that this planet was heavily reliant on oil. In looking for a greener solution to transportation issues, he reverted to using his bicycle.
In 1980, David had already filed seven patents for his idea of a folding bicycle. Yet, he needed money to bring the vision to reality. That’s where Henry Hon, David’s brother, comes into the picture.
Henry raised $2 million in seed money, which helped set up Dahon. In 1982, the first Dahon bicycles were produced from a factory in Taiwan.
Since that time, Dahon’s folding bicycles have taken the world by storm. In 2006, the company had a 66% market share.
How did Zizzo Bikes start?
Henry Hon was forced out of Dahon by his brother. Zizzo was Henry’s re-entry into the world of folding bikes. Owned by Venquest Trading, Zizzo eventually made its debut in 2016
With Henry’s background in creating the Hon folding bikes (through Dahon), he brought his knowledge back to the market, albeit with bikes that are cheaper than Dahon models.
Because of the shared knowledge between David and Henry, it won’t be surprising that Zizzo folding bikes are sometimes considered Dahon replicas. But that’s not bad; think of it as getting a Dahon-style bike at a great price.
Which Dahon Bicycles Are the Most Popular?
Choosing a bicycle is a matter of finding one that matches your needs. Dahon has an excellent selection of folding bikes to select from. Yet, if you are basing your decision more on the popularity of a specific model, then Dahon has a couple of stand-out bicycles.
Dahon K3 Plus
This model is an updated version of the lightweight Dahon K3 folding bike. It features an improved geometric frame and increases the wheel size from 14” to 16”.
Weighing only 22 lbs (9.8 kg) makes it one of the lighter bikes on the market. It can comfortably handle the city terrain as you commute to work. The 9-gears allow you to tackle a variety of landscapes easily. Dahon lists it under three different categories on its site:
That reflects how versatile this bike is.
Some may consider the upgrade of the tires from 14” to 16” as either a blessing or a curse. The bigger tires provide a smoother ride, yet they add more weight to this bike.
Dahon Mariner D8
The Dahon Mariner D8 is an all-weather model because the fenders protect you from the mud and other debris that spray from the wheels as you cycle.
The rear rack provides a convenient place for you to store your gear. Bungee cords ensure that your stuff stays secure. Mounting a front rack to double the bike’s carrying capacity is also possible.
With its 8-gear Shimano drive train, climbing hilly terrain is relatively effortless.
Though not considered a performance bike, the Mariner D8 suits urban commutes.
The downside to this model is that it does require some initial assembly. However, once assembled, you will have a bike that folds and unfolds in around 30 seconds.
Which Zizzo Bikes Are Popular?
Zizzo only has a handful of models to choose from. But, the company’s offerings, two models are desired by many folding bike fans.
Having completed a thorough review of the latest folding bikes, the Zizzo Urbano is my pick as the best folding bike available on the market today.
The aluminum alloy frame is not only sturdy but also light. Add to this the 20” tires, and you have a decent folding bike that weighs in at 24 lbs (10.9 kg). Like Dahon’s Mariner D8, the Urbano has an 8-gear Shimano drive.
It’s a great overall bike that takes about 30 seconds to fold or unfold, just like Dahon’s bikes.
The drawback of the Urbano is that the pedals aren’t quick-release. Another negative is that the seat can become uncomfortable when riding. Zizzo does offer alternative pedals and seats as additional accessories.
Zizzo has upgraded this model so that it now includes the following:
- Stronger pedals
- A wider saddle
- An improved crankset
- A redesigned stem
Like the Zizzo Urbano, you get 20” tires. However, the Zizzo Campo is heavier at 28 lbs (12.7 kg). Some may find that the Shimano 7-gear drive train of the Campo is inadequate for their personal cycling needs. Yet, this bike is a good option if you want a folding bike for around $400.
The Urban is only $100 more expensive than the Campo. It’s worth considering paying a little more as you get a lighter bike and 8-gears instead of 7. You may assume that one gear doesn’t make a difference, but you will be surprised.
READ NEXT: Zizzo Urbano vs Zizzo Campo
Which Is the Better Bike: Zizzo or Dahon?
Dahon has a long history behind them of making sought-after folding bikes. That’s because the company makes excellent bicycles. However, Dahon’s bicycles do come with a hefty price tag.
David Hon’s brother, Henry, founded Zizzo, a viable alternative to Dahon. After all, there is the shared knowledge that Henry brought with him to Zizzo. The models will have many similarities when comparing a Zizzo bike with a Dahon equivalent.
The main difference is the price point between a Zizzo bike and a Dahon one.
Which company is better comes down to personal choice. Dahon does offer more models than Zizzo does. That’s not surprising, as Zizzo is still a new company in the world of folding bikes.
Some folding bike fans own both a Dahon and a Zizzo.
The best thing to do is to consider what you want in a folding bike, then compare models between Zizzo and Dahon. After that, make your own informed decision.
Here is what one person had to say about Zizzo and Dahon:
“Dahons are great bikes, but so are Zizzos…I own one Dahon and 2 Zizzo bikes. I would say that the quality and workmanship of both are great and similar. The difference, though, is Zizzo are sold about half the price of Dahon bikes.”Dan, Folding Bike Enthusiast
Frequently Asked Questions
How do Zizzo and Dahon folding bikes compare in weight and portability?
Which has better overall build quality: Zizzo or Dahon folding bikes?
Dahon has a more established reputation and is known for using high-quality bike components. While Zizzo offers decent build quality for budget bikes, Dahon generally has better overall build quality.
How do the gear systems in Zizzo and Dahon folding bikes compare?
Zizzo and Dahon offer a range of gear systems depending on the specific model. However, Dahon bikes tend to use higher-quality components, which could result in smoother shifting and better overall performance. When comparing gear systems, it’s crucial to test-ride both brands and choose a model that suits your needs.
Are there significant differences in ride comfort between Zizzo and Dahon bikes?
Ride comfort can vary between models and is subjective to the rider. While Dahon generally boasts a more extensive lineup of bikes with advanced features, Zizzo has also received positive feedback from users regarding ride comfort.
How do Zizzo and Dahon folding bikes compare in terms of ease of folding and unfolding?
Both Zizzo and Dahon folding bikes are designed with the ease of folding and unfolding in mind. Specific folding mechanisms can vary between models, so it’s crucial to try out different bikes to see which system you find the most straightforward and convenient.
From a price standpoint, which offers better value for money: Zizzo or Dahon folding bikes?
Zizzo folding bikes are typically more budget-friendly compared to Dahon bikes. However, Dahon’s higher price point often results from using better quality components and materials. When assessing value for money, consider factors such as build quality, performance, and longevity, alongside your budget constraints.