10 September 2012

The Bike That Started It All

The bike that started it all, was on display at the EuroBike show.  Here's the story:

When Dr. David Hon, one of the leading experts in laser technology, decided to leave the space trade behind him and focus on green transportation for everyone, his own star was born – Dahon. Working together with his brother Henry, the two developed the first modern folding bicycle and proceeded to unfold the bicycle’s potential. 220+ patents and 30 years of quiet evolution and ingenious technologies later, Dahon has shaped the way folding bikes are made and the way we get from one place to another. Focused firmly on a green future, Dahon remains unyielding in redefining green mobility.

1972 Dr. David Hon, aerospace physicist and leading expert in solid-state laser technology at Hughes Aircraft Corporation in California, was working on breakthroughs for missile guidance systems, laser-guided anti-aircraft guns and the NASA space shuttles.
1974 Knowing his efforts were devoted to instruments of war rather than the betterment of mankind, Dr. Hon became increasing dissatisfied with his work.
1975 The mounting world oil crisis manifests itself in Dr Hon’s thinking. Struck by the magnitude of the world’s dependence on oil, he returns to his college mode of transportation – his bicycle. The seed is sown for Dahon folding bicycles.
1980 Dr. David Hon has already filed for and received 7 patents for his visionary folding bicycle. His design has won awards the world over.
1981 Henry Hon took charge of marketing the new folder, seeking a bicycle company which would produce their idea. As they could find no one to support their “niche” idea, Henry began raising the money to begin production on their own.
1982 Undaunted at the turndowns, Dr. Hon quit his job and went to Taiwan, where he built his first factory with the $3 million in venture funding he had been given by idealistic supporters. By the end of the year, Dahon folding bicycles were rolling from the assembly line.
1983 The first folding bike was a success: offering all the riding performance of a standard bike, but transforming quickly to a compact size for stowing or carrying. 6,000 folders were built and sold in the first six months.
1984 Henry left his lucrative computer programming company and took up the marketing and administration of Dahon’s finances full time. He became Vice President the same year.
1985 The Dahon folding bike caught on across the country, and the press got wind of the Dahon brothers’ revolutionary idea. Even television was interested in showing this timely invention, and David and Henry became celebrities in their own right. Dahon has sold 10,000 bike this year.
1987 Dahon bikes take to the air! The ingenious Dahon folding bike appears on the cover of Great American Airways “In Flight” magazine, and under the seats of the passengers.
1993 Dahon wins the Taiwan/CETRA Outstanding Product Award.
1995 The new Shenzhen factory opens in China. This remains Dahon’s biggest production facility, turning out 400,000 bicycles every year.
2000 Dahon is cited in the Guinness Book of Records Millennium Edition as “the world’s largest producer of folding bicycles”.
2002 Dahon receives the Taiwan Symbol of Excellence award for its bicycle innovation.
2005 Cycling Plus cites Dahon with Silver Bike of the Year Awards for the Speed D6 and Budget bikes.
2006 Eurobike Silver Design Award: Glide P7/P8
2009 Taipei International Cycle Show: Innovative Products Award
2009 Dahon Ios XL wins Gold –  the Eurobike iF Design Award
2010 Dahon Vector X10 wins again at Eurobike
2012 Today, Dahon is celebrating 30 uninterupted years of excellence and innovation in folding bikes – continuing to set the trend for environmentally conscious people everywhere.

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