By Trina Haynes
NuVinci was gracious enough to allow me to cruise around Las Vegas on one of the growing list of bikes that specs their N360 hub, the Dahon Mu XL folding bike.
The NuVinci N360 is an internal hub system with a handlebar twist shifter—as seen in Maurice’s review of the Breezer Uptown Infinity in Issue #12. [Read more about the Uptown Infinity here. -Ed.] The shifter has a graphic of a mini cyclist on the road—as you shift, the flat road arches up, kind of like an inchworm, to show you whether you’re in an easy or hard gear. I was compelled to shift it several times while riding in circles at the Interbike Outdoor Demo, watching the little worm go up and down. Once I had my fill of NuVinci inchworm entertainment, I could focus on how smooth the gear transition was, going from lowest to highest with ease. After riding around for a few days I started testing my NuVinci skills, with one hand shifting and enjoying a tasty, cold beverage in the other. Overall I found the shifting capabilities to be fun and easy to use.
This was also my first experience with a folding bike. With minimal room to maneuver in some of the Las Vegas streets, a compact bike with 20” wheels seems apropos. I was also able to fold the bike down and slide it into the lower compartment of the Outdoor Demo shuttle bus with ease. Once I arrived, I unfolded the bike, secured the necessary levers and off I went. The compactness of the bike was also capable of being crammed into an elevator with two other members of our “Twenty-Inch Crew.”
Having ridden a steel frame singlespeed for years, I was apprehensive of hopping off curbs at full speed or jumping over railroad tracks because I had a mental block that it was small and the folding points may not be able to handle the jolt. After riding the Dahon for two days, during which I attended a bike social and took a cruise down the flashing spectacle of the Las Vegas strip, I was unable to stop myself from a couple mini jumps.
I am happy to say, I was able to get the bike back to NuVinci in one folded piece.