Dahon Qix D8 + Swytch

KidWok

Member
Hey all!

I'm really excited to build up a Dahon Qix D8 with the yet-to-be-released Swytch system. I have the Dahon being delivered next week and the Swytch likely won't be delivered until late this year. I previously had a GoCycle G3 that didn't quite meet my ideal for a folding e-bike. Am hoping that the Swytch system will be as easy to set up and live with as they suggest. The Dahon promises to be a quick folding and useful machine. Will post more when I get this project off the ground. I'll be riding the Dahon around for a few months sans motor to get accustomed to it.

Tai
 

Ann M.

Moderator
@KidWok, looking forward to hearing more about how that Swytch system works for you. It's a new idea and it looks like the company focused on one appropriate for the smaller wheels on your Dahon folder. Keep us up to date and load pics and descriptions of how the installation goes for you. Companies promise a lot :) but it's what our real world community sez that helps.
 

KidWok

Member
Hi all!

Over a year later...I finally got the Swytch kit and got it working!

So I ordered this thing in late June of 2018 and was told it would be delivered later that year. I actually ordered two of them. Time and time again, the company gave me delivery timelines that they failed to meet. I finally got one of my kits around February of this year. I installed it on the Dahon Qix D8 and went out for a little 20 mile commute trip. The kit seemed to work fine but there was immediately a problem. They include a torque arm kit that I couldn't use because it wouldn't fit around the aluminum fork of my Dahon. Since I didn't use it, the torque from the motor immediately started spreading out the dropouts and damaged the fork. I couldn't figure out a way around this issue with the aluminum fork and sat on the kit for awhile doing nothing.

In June, I bit the bullet and just ordered a STEEL Dahon fork to replace the aluminum one. It was a bit hard to find and I ended up getting it on eBay from Germany. That came in and was a quick swap-out with the aluminum one. I had hope that this thing would finally work. Somehow during the four months that the kit sat unused with only about 20 miles on it, it had error messages on it when started back up. Now that I had the right fork for the motor, the controller wouldn't work! It took a lot of prodding at Swytch to get them to review it for warranty, but I finally got through that process. They said they would send out a replacement controller right away, but after waiting almost a month I still didn't see it so I had to poke at them again. It finally came in last week. So about 14 months after initial ordering, I have one of the kits up and running.

First thing to discuss is the fork issues. This motor REALLY shouldn't be used with any aluminum forks. Even if the torque arm was able to be installed, I can't imagine that the dropouts could handle it in the long run. So that kind of limits you to the lower end Dahon models like the Speed D7 or Uno models unless you buy a nice once and then pay the $90 to get the steel fork. I've seen pictures of other users who have destroyed their nice aluminum suspension mountain bike forks with the standard kits.

The other issue is that the hub that is used for both the Brompton and Dahon kits have very thin axles specific to the Brompton's dropout spacing, which I think is 8mm. Dahon uses the same narrow 74mm hub as the Brompton BUT they use a normal 10mm dropout spacing. That means there ends up being pretty large gaps between the fork dropouts and hub axle. The little "shelf" of material on the hub between the axle and the hub shell also is really small. If you try to tighten down the hub nuts well, it actually kind of sucks that shelf into the fork dropouts and the inside surface of the fork then pretty much rests directly on the hub shell and won't let it spin. I ended up having to make shims to go inside the fork dropouts to fill in the 1mm in front and back of the axle. The shims were made with stainless steel inserts from car windshield wiper blades, which were bent into u-shaped clips. Those then were jammed up into the gaps with the loop ends of the clips hanging OUT of the dropouts.

So...the bottom line is that I did get it working. Now that we got it working, it does work fine and I'm pretty happy with it. It's only been another 20 miles or so and time will tell if the product holds up. That said, I probably wouldn't do this again knowing what I know now. The combination of repeatedly missed deadlines for delivery, difficulty getting support, still not getting my second kit, technical issues that really makes the kit far less compatible with Dahons as is claimed on the website, and maybe some poor QC related to my controller failing after only 20 miles makes the Swytch Dahon kit very difficult to recommend. I paid $575 per kit for the 50 mile Dahon kits, which I think was a bargain if the product worked well and was as easy to install as they suggested. My first kit ended up in the second shipment for US customers and have been informed that the third shipment will arrive in October with my second kit. Not holding my breath given what I've been told in the past. I've tried to be patient with the company as they're a startup. Maybe give these folks some more time to get up to full production before you consider their products.

I'll follow up with long-term reviews.

Tai
 

KidWok

Member
I had written the last post after I had gotten the replacement controller, installed it, and took it for a short ride to make sure it worked. A few days later, I had my son (110 lbs) on it and we were out for about 25 miles when the controller failed in the exact same way the previous one had failed before. After getting a hold of Swytch and doing another diagnostic meeting via WhatsApp, I found out that they've been aware of an issue with the motor MOSFET they used in their Brompton/Dahon controllers. Now I need to send the whole power pack back for repair. To reiterate, it's probably a good idea to give these folks some time to figure out how to deliver a reliable product and run a business.

Tai