Dahon Mariner D7 Folding Bike Review

Dahon Mariner D7 - Brushed Aluminium 2016

Our Rating

8 Build Quality

7 Design

7 Riding Experience

7 Mobility

9 Value for Money

A fantastic, no-frills, well built commuter bike which delivers as promised. Highly recommended

The Dahon Mariner D7 is one of the best-selling folding bikes in the U.S. and has been for a number of years. But what makes this bike so appealing?

Upon initial inspection, it seems to tick all the right boxes…

7-Gears, adjustable seat and handlebars, solid frame construction, 20-inch wheels, mud guards and bike rack included, sexy brushed aluminium finish, relatively lightweight, packs down pretty small. etc.

It seems like it’s got everything, but how does it stand up in the real world. Let’s put it to the test…

RRP: $599.00 – view sale price

▼ Read our full review below ▼

Our Dahon Mariner D7 Review

For the purposes of this review, the bike was ordered from amazon.com.

The Dahon Mariner D7 is currently ranked #5 in our Top 10 Best Folding Bikes.

Dahon Mariner D7 2016 - Unfolded Side View Silver

Dahon Mariner D7 2016 - Photo collage

Packaging

The size of the Dahon box

The size of the Dahon box

The Mariner D7 was shipped in a relatively small box. Unpacking the Mariner D7 took a bit of time as it is shipped with a lot of protective packing materials – which is good. There are instructions included with the bike but they aren’t that informative, neither that clear. However, you can easily set up the bike without instructions. – Download the setup and service instructions for the Mariner D7 (4.0MB)

You can download other Dahon service manuals, operating instructions and owners manuals for free at manualslib.com – http://www.manualslib.com/brand/dahon/

The Mariner D7 also comes with a little bottle of touch-up ‘paint’ in case the bikes protective coating gets scratched (so as to avoid rust developing on the frame). We’re off to a good start!

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Initial Setup

Dahon Folding Pedals

Dahon Folding Pedals

Assembling this folding bike is very easy. The seat post and both pedals are the only items that need to be attached. Make sure to match up the pedals to the correct side (you’ll see L & R respectively for left and right). You’ll need to get a wrench to make sure the pedals are tight.

Upon delivery, our bike needed a bit of tuning, especially the gears which didn’t seem to be set up very well at all. It only took us 15 minutes to get everything near perfect, but would have been nice for it to of been delivered already fully tuned.

Assembly/Setup time: 15-20 minutes.

Folded Size & Weight

The Dahon Mariner D7 folding bike is pretty small when folded down (kind of average) and can easily be stowed under the office desk, in a small cupboard hole of a boat or car boot.

Folded size: 53.09 cm³ – 28 x 81 x 66cm (11″ x 31.9″ x 25.7″)
Weight: 11.8 kg (26 lbs)

You can compare weights and total folding size of all the folding bikes we’ve reviewed and sort them accordingly over on our Best Folding Bikes Table page.

Dahon Mariner D7 Folded

Dahon Mariner D7 Folded

Unfolding

Unfolding the Dahon Mariner D7 is a relatively painless exercise.

Completed in a number of steps, all of which use quick release catches:

  1. Your first must lower the seat until it almost hits the floor
  2. Next twist/reposition the handlebars so they are pointing towards the floor
  3. Next you must position the telescopic handlebar post to a given mark on the stem.
  4. Then release the handlebar stem catch and fold the handlebars down to meet the front wheel.
  5. Next, release the main mid-frame hinge and fold the bike in half.
  6. Lastly, you can fold down the pedals by pulling them out and folding them down.

Please watch the below video for more information. It also gives you a closeup of the various parts of the bike and its operation.

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Frame & finish, available colours

The Mariner D7 comes in only one finish (multiple colours as of early 2016), that’s the brushed aluminium finish. It has a rust resistant coating unique to the rest of the Dahon range (mainly because it’s being marketed at boat owners) and a clear coating on top of that to further protect the frame. It looks beautiful and is a definite head turner. I’d say the bike is geared more towards males but I’ve already seen another woman cyclist on the Mariner a couple of weeks ago and it suited her just fine. It’s a shame it’s not available in more colors though.

Dahon Mariner D7 - Brushed Aluminium 2016

Dahon Mariner D7 – Brushed Aluminium 2016

UPDATE: The Dahon Mariner D7 now comes in multiple colours:

Build quality

The build quality of the Mariner D7 is extremely high, especially the frame. Due to the brushed aluminium finish, you can easily see the welds which are of a very high standard. Yes, even if you’re a heavy-set person, this folding bike will likely be able to hold your weight. It’s got a max rider weight of 105 kg (230 lbs).

Dahon Mariner D7 2016 closeup of the welds

Dahon Mariner D7 2016 closeup of the welds

The quality of some of the rubber components (including the tires) however seem a little low and stand out easily from the rest of the bike. Having looked at other reviews online, this seems to be a semi-common issue, raised by more than a couple of people. BUT, for many of the readers, it was not at issue.

Handlebars and Handlebar Post

The handlebars on the Mariner D7 are fully adjustable, you can swivel them towards you or away from you via the quick release mechanism in the middle. Once secured, it feels very solid.

The handlebar post is also fully telescopic and will suit the very short and tall riders alike. There is a lot of adjustment height.

Tires

The tires of the Mariner D7 folder don’t appear to be of high quality. According to the specification, they are K-1045 20″x1.75″, tires. They look a little cheap.

Gears and Derailleur

Dahon Neos Derailleur

Dahon Neos Derailleur

The Dahon Mariner D7 is fitted with the low profile Dahon Neos Rear Derailleur System which cuts down on bulk and reduces the folding size. Having a slim-line derailleur built especially for folding bikes also means that it’s less likely to get knocked and damaged.

It’s also got a rust-resistant chain but we still oiled ours just to be on the safe side.

The changing of the gears is handled by their SRAM 7-speed grip shifters which are very convenient and work well.

Brakes

The brake levers are metal, as are the brakes, they appear to be of good quality.

Pedals

Dahon Folding Pedals

Dahon Folding Pedals

The pedals on the Dahon Mariner D7 do fold but they are made of plastic and our experience of folding plastic pedals in the past have not been good. I’d almost instantly recommend you upgrade the pedals on the Mariner D7 even before taking it for a test ride. We highly recommend the MKS FD-7 Medal Folding Pedals, see bottom of our test ride section below for more info.

Additional Features

Dahon Magnetix Locking System

As with most other new Dahon bike models, it comes with the Dahon Magnetix locking system which keeps the bike folded when packed down. It’s a very well designed feature and appears to do the job well, much better than using straps or plastic catches.

Fenders and Bike Rack

The Dahon Mariner D7 comes with SKS fenders and bike rack. There are a couple of bungee cords attached to the bike rack so you can start using it straight away (included in the box but not shown in photo below).

What are SKS fenders? – Made specially for Dahon by SKS in their Sundern, Germany factory from nearly indestructible chromeplastic material. Includes mud flaps, adjustable stainless steel stays, and stainless hardware. – Dahon

Dahon Mariner D7 2016 Folding Bike - Rear Bike Rack

Bike Rack and SKS Fenders

Folding Down

Quick and easy to fold. After a few goes we managed to fold the bike down in 12 seconds, and set it up in just under 20 seconds. So pretty good.

Mobility

It’s slightly heavy and not all that suitable to carry around places long distance. Due to the way it folds up, it’s also not possible to roll the bike on both wheels. It’s possible to roll it on one wheel but it’s not easy.

Warranty

Dahon provides a 1-year warranty on all of its bikes (upgradeable to a 5-year warranty by contacting Dahon – this excluding wearable items like tires, derailleur etc, all of which have a 1-year warranty). However, to activate the warranty you will have to get the bike setup by a qualified bike mechanic, only then is it valid. This all at additional expense. Something we’d rather not have to deal with. Also, with the Mariner D7, there are a couple of other clauses which require you to do ongoing maintenance to the bike to keep the warranty valid which I guess is fair enough.

Carry Bags

Dahon Airporter II Travel Suitcase

Dahon Airporter II Travel Suitcase

Dahon has recently released a special carry case for people wanting to protect their bike whilst traveling either via air, land or sea. It’s called the Dahon Airporter Suitcase, more information can be found on their website here or you can read reviews and buy it on amazon.com here.

General Overview

Upon initial inspection, the Dahon Mariner appears to be a well designed and solidly built folding bike. Whilst most of the components are not brand named they look like they would hold up well to some abuse. The tires however, do look like they could be better.

The Mariner D7 folding bike has many extras which you buy and attach to help customise the bike to your own need, namely a water bottle cage, saddle bags, panniers and front/rear lights.

Have a look at our other Dahon folding bike reviews in our Dahon Reviews section.

▼ Test Ride Results and Full Bike Specifications below ▼

 

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Price

The RRP for the Dahon Mariner D7 is $599.00. We struggled to find it cheaper online. 🙂

Save $20.01 here on Amazon.com (Discounted Price: $578.99)

UK Price: ~ £429.99 (Check Prices Here on Amazon.co.uk)

Price Last Checked: 19th June, 2017: $578.99 (3% saving)

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Past recorded prices (from amazon.com)
 12th Jun 2017 : $589.99
 5th Jun 2017 : $589.01
 29th May 2017 : $579.99
 *** 22nd May 2017 : $575.00 *** BEST PRICE
 15th May 2017 : $585.00
 8th May 2017 : $585.00
 [...]

The Dahon Mariner D7 Test Ride

Dahon Mariner D7 2016 - Unfolded Side View Silver

Dahon Mariner D7 2016 - Photo collage

We initially took the Mariner D7 out for a test ride on a dry day but figured that in order to get a full idea of how the bike performs we waited for another wet day to take it out for a test ride.

UPDATE: We’ve been using this bike for a few weeks now and have updated our test ride results below with things we’ve noted during this time.

Saddle

Dahon's 'comfort' Saddle

Dahon’s ‘comfort’ Saddle

As with most of the Dahon bikes the seat is pretty uncomfortable, even on shorter journeys. The Mariner D7 comes with a Dahon WTB Comfort Saddle but do yourself a favour and if you decided to buy any Dahon folding bike (or many others for that matter), make sure to buy a good seat too, it’s perhaps the best investment you can make and it will transform your riding experience and make cycling a folding bike a pleasurable experience! My personal seat of preference is the 5020 ARS Saddle (see below for more details).

Riding Position

The riding position of the Mariner D7 is neutral to relaxed but also fully adjustable. The seat goes up nice and high, as does the handlebars, allowing you to pedal in a comfortable position with little strain to the lower back. You can also adjust the riding position so that its more aggressive.

Frame Stiffness

The bike feels and rides like a larger bike. It’s easy to pick up speed on the Mariner D7 and it feels very solid to ride. I’m not a heavy person but I’d confidently say that a 250lbs person would have no problem riding the Mariner.

The lightweight frame constructed out of 7005 aluminium (Aluminum Frames: 6061 vs 7005. Which Is the Best?) certainly cuts down a lot of weight but also increases the vibration kicked up from the ground whilst out riding, not huge amounts but noticeable. We found that we could minimise almost all of this vibration by replacing the stock handlebar grips with aftermarket ones, in our case the Ergon GP1 Grips (more info below) and by replacing the seat to our go to ARS 5020 Saddle. To reduce the vibration further, I’d also recommend upgrading the wheels, which you’ll probably end up doing anyway if you’re using the bike for commuting purposes.

Handlebars and Stem

The adjustable handlebars are always a good idea on a folding bike, however, on the Mariner D7 we found there to be a little too much ‘flex’ in the stem. Ideally, you’d want no extra flex, but you’re always going to get a little because you’re introducing another weak point into the design, however, it is noticeable on the Mariner. It doesn’t feel unsafe, neither does it move per se, and maybe it’s just our experience that is able to feel it, but it’s not as solid as it could be we don’t feel.

Derailleur & Gear Shifting

The Neos 7 derailleur is very good and works well on the Mariner. The low profile design does mean that its subjected to more wear and tear so make sure you keep it well oiled and maintained, if you do then you’ll get the most from it.

Gear inches on the Mariner D7 are 37″ – 85″.

Dahon SRAM Grip Shifts

Dahon SRAM Grip Shifts

The gripshift gears work effortlessly and make changing gears easy thanks to the SRAM 7-speed shifters and the Dupont L3 lubricant which is used inside the gear cable.

Gear Ratios

Changing gears is a smooth process once you have tuned them and the gear range is excellent. The lowest gear is perfectly suited to picking up speed along the flat or even pedalling slightly down hill and highest gear makes going up hills a breeze – even steep ones. Well done Dahon on this one, they’ve obviously been experimenting over the years!

Grips

Dahon Biologic ergonomic grips

Dahon Biologic ergonomic grips

The Mariner D7 by Dahon comes with Dahons own brand Biologic ergonomic grips which are a nice additional feature to the bike, something you’d not normally find on a bike at this price point. However, the grips aren’t all that premium, so if you’re looking for a relatively cheap upgrade that will drastically increase comfort then I’d upgrade the grips.

Brakes

The brakes were also a bit of a letdown on the Mariner D7, not so noticeable in the dry but in the wet, they lack power and feel a bit spongy. We’d hazard a guess at it being more an issue with the brake pads themselves as the metal levers looked and felt fine. However, poor brake pads coupled with the poor quality tires, it doesn’t give you much confidence whilst out riding in the wet! We’ve been on worse performing bikes when it comes to stability and braking in the wet, but on this area alone we’d give the Mariner D7 a 6/10.

Tires

The tires of the Dahon Mariner D7 really let the bike down and it’s clear that a cost saving exercise has been used here. They really are pretty poor. They are skinny, don’t offer up much grip in the wet and look/feel to be of quite a low quality.

Update: We’ve been riding this bike on and off for the last few weeks and we’ve found that the tires need to be pumped up every week or so. We initially thought we might have a slow puncture or a dodgy valve, but it was on both tires, having checked a few other reviews online, we can confirm it’s a common issue with this bike/tires. If we were going to use this as a commuter bike, then we’d almost definitely replace the tires. It’s a bit of a nuance after a while.

Vibration

There’s quite a bit of vibration whilst out riding which we kind of expected from the stiff 7005 aluminium frame. We found that by replacing the saddle, and grips we got rid of about 70-80% of the additional vibration. Replacing the tires with larger, more premium ones, I’m sure you could get rid of another 20% or so.

Cornering

Cornering in the dry was OK. But in the wet I was apprehensive to take corners at speed to say the least. People should take it easy when out riding in the wet anyway so I’d say as long as you did this you’ll be ok.

Misc. Pros

One additional benefit you get from the Mariner D7 is that when it’s folded, you can sit down on the seat quite comfortably which makes it a great temporary seat (it forms a kind of tripod between the two wheels and the seatpost). Perfect when you’re legs are tired from riding and there’s nowhere on the tube to sit down!

The fenders do a great job of keeping the grime off your clothes.

Misc. Cons

After a bit of use, the fenders seem to come loose and require semi-regular refixing.

Update: Another annoying little issue the Mariner D7 had is the magnetic catches that hold the bike together (via points on the outside middle of the wheels), they can come undone quite easily whilst carrying around if not held really delicately. There’s a lot to say about the inconvenience of having to strap a bike together when folded in order to keep it together, but if magnets are the solution, then they have to be strong enough, else you end up using a strap anyway.

Another issue worth mentioning about the Mariner D7 is that when it’s folded down, the drive-chain and all oily parts are on the outside of the bike as opposed to being folded on the inside and sandwiched between the two wheels. This means that whenever you fold and carry it you have to be really careful not to get oil, dirt and grime on yourself or anyone else! It can get a bit stressfull when using in conjunction with tubes and railway services.

Pedals in the Wet

Plastic pedals in the wet rarely seem to work as intended. Indeed, this is the case with the Dahon Mariner’s pedals. They work well in the dry, but in the wet you’ll be hard pushed to get much grip from them. This is a common fault with most low to mid-range folding bikes out there. For us it’s an easy upgrade. It’s also questionable how long the folding pedals will last as they are predominantly made from plastic.

Practical Folding Size

The bike folds down to a reasonable size, but it’s still not ‘compact’. I guess at this price range though you can’t expect much better. It’s small don’t get me wrong, but it’s a mile of being Brompton small…

Recommended Upgrades

With a couple of low-cost upgrades you can convert the Dahon Mariner D7 into a great folding bicycle and enjoy a much nicer riding experience. My personal essential upgrades:

Disclaimer: As a product reviewer for Folding Bike 365, I am providing my unbiased opinion of any bikes or products featured on this site; reviewed bikes have either been purchased, borrowed or provided to us by bicycle manufacturers. I do not posses any type of relationship with the manufacturer’s company or parent companies. Companies that send in their goods to be reviewed do not compensate me any way.

This page also links out to bikes which can be purchased on Amazon.com, to which I am affiliate. The website earns a small commission on any sales which are generated from this site. All reviews remain unbiased.

Conclusion


Pros

  • Beautiful looking bike
  • Very well constructed frame
  • Fenders, bike rack included
  • Great value
  • Overall it feels solid
  • Quick and easy to setup and fold
  • Rust resistant
  • Good gears
  • Great value
  • A handy seat when folded
  • Fully adjustable riding position
Cons

  • Not so great in the wet
  • Poor quality tires & brake pads
  • Likely have to get some aftermarket parts to make it a really good folder
  • Quite heavy to carry around for long times
  • You can’t really roll it when folded
  • Gears on outside when folded
  • Uncomfortable saddle
  • Magnetic catch prone to coming undone in transit
  • Standard Dahon issues with warrenty

Probably one of the best folding bikes in the price-range and gives more expensive folding bikes a run for their money. If it wasn’t for the fact that the tires are crap and the breaks are poor in the wet (and the seat is uncomfortable), I’d recommend this bike to everyone. – Paul Thomson

Video Review

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You can also watch another video review here from another YouTub’er.

Basic Specs

  • Weight: 11.8 kg (26 lbs)
  • Folded size: 28 x 81 x 66cm (11″ x 31.9″ x 25.7″)
  • Speeds: 7
  • Frame: KM SERIES, 7005 ALUMINUM ALLOY, VISEGRIP TECHNOLOGY
  • Wheel Size: 20 inch #
  • Suggested Rider Height: 142 – 193 cm (4’8″ – 6’4″)
  • Max. Rider Weight:  105 kg (230 lbs)

▼ Full Specifications and FAQ Below ▼

Common Questions / FAQ

  • Country of Manufacture: China
  • Bike rack included: YES
  • Front and Back Fenders Included: YES
  • Handle Bar Adjustment: YES
  • Do the Pedals Fold: Yes

Got a Question? Ask me here (I aim to respond within 15-20 minutes)

Can you fold up the bike and roll it on two wheels?

Kind of but it’s not as easy as a Brompton. It is possible but it takes a bit of practise as only one wheel can touch the ground at any one time.

Does the bike come with front and back fenders?

Yes. Both front and back fenders are included on the Dahon Mariner D7. The back rack can support up to 20kg.

What are the max PSI for the inflation of the tires?

60-65PSI

Does the Mariner D7 come with a kickstand?

Yes, the kickstand in included.

Detailed Bike Specifications

[sociallocker]
Color: Brushed Aluminium, Carbon, Ultramarine
Handlepost: RADIUS TELESCOPE, ADJUSTABLE – Forged Aluminium
Forks: ALUMINUM, INTEGRATED
Brakes: DHV-107 W/O LOGO, SILVER (levers: DHL-42G W/O LOGO)
Grips: XH-G51 90 mm/125 mm BLACK WITH “O”, PVC
Crankset: KINETIX SUPARA, FORGED CRANKS, ALLOY CHAINGUARD
Seatpost: SP-22, 34 x 580 SILVER
Spokes: STAINLESS
Tires: K-1045 20″x1.75″
Pedals: FOLDING BOTH SIDE, NW-319
Kickstand: NH-KC19AA, SILVER

Full spec available on Dahons website here – http://www.usa.dahon.com/mainnav/bikes/single-view/bike/mariner_d7.html
[/sociallocker]

Buy Now / More Info

More info on the Dahon Mariner D7 Folding Bike can be found on the Amazon pages below, along with past customer reviews of the product and a tonne of questions and answers from the community.

The RRP for the Dahon Mariner D7 Folding Bike is $599.00.

Save $20.01 here on Amazon.com (Discounted Price: $578.99)

UK Price: ~ £429.99 (Check Prices Here on Amazon.co.uk)

Price Last Checked: 19th June, 2017: $578.99 (3% saving)
Past recorded prices (from amazon.com)
 12th Jun 2017 : $589.99
 5th Jun 2017 : $589.01
 29th May 2017 : $579.99
 *** 22nd May 2017 : $575.00 *** BEST PRICE
 15th May 2017 : $585.00
 8th May 2017 : $585.00
 [...]

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1 Comment

  • Roy WIlkie says:

    The Dahon Airporter travel case isn’t available anywhere online, probably because nobody would buy it. Not only was it expensive, it doesn’t meet standard airlines size requirements for < 62 'linear inches' (L+W+H) – it comes out closer to 73 linear inches.

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