DAHON FOUNDER Dr. David Hohn: Physicist evolved into the father of modern folding bicycles

DAHON FOUNDER Dr. David Hohn: Physicist evolved into the father of modern folding bicycles

Exploring the balance between change and constancy in the pursuit of innovation and sustainable travel

Chairman of leading folding bike brand DAHON, Dr. David Hone, a pioneer in the folding bike industry, has developed a patented technology called “Deltec” for all new DAHON bikes this year. This patented technology has been proven through extensive internal and external testing as well as ride data analytics. Deltec technology enables DAHON bikes with unparalleled power and speed, exceeding the performance of traditional mountain and road bikes on the market.

During the year, Dr Hoon also plans to publish four academic papers, highlighting functionality and safety solutions across different types of bicycles. These publications are destined to become valuable industry references, contributing to the advancement of cycling technology.

It is worth noting that the pioneering research conducted by Dr. Hon several decades ago has played an important role in the recent breakthrough achieved by the US Department of Energy in the field of nuclear fusion. For the first time, scientists have achieved a net energy gain in nuclear fusion reactions, with one of the core technologies behind this achievement originating from Dr. Hohn’s previous work.

For many years, Dr. Hon has been dedicated to achieving the perfect balance between change and constancy, from pioneering advances in nuclear fusion to transforming folding bicycles into truly convenient and user-friendly means of transportation.

Committed to green travel, seeking change in life

In 1972, Dr. Hohn joined US-based Hughes Aircraft, a world leader in aerospace technology, where he played a pivotal role in the early research and development of tactical lasers. During the Space Race of the 1970s, he gained a reputation as a highly respected leader in laser technology. The Laser Handbook, co-authored by Dr. Hon, has had a major impact on industry and has become a reference for the scientific community. His outstanding research achievements have earned him numerous invitations to lecture at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

In 1975, amid a severe oil crisis, the urgent need for more efficient urban transportation solutions became apparent, prompting reduced reliance on automobiles. Recognizing the future potential of sustainable travel, Dr. Hoon embarked on a transformative mission to revolutionize public transportation. He began conducting in-depth research into more convenient ways to carry bicycles. While still maintaining his primary job, he devoted seven years of in-depth research with the aim of enhancing the convenience of bicycle transportation. Dr. Hoon focused on improving existing folding bikes, replacing their previously cumbersome design with a more user-friendly alternative. He meticulously improved five important aspects of folding bicycles – ease of disposal, foldability, lightness, safety and economy. This relentless pursuit of excellence has allowed him to maximize their potential while achieving a harmonious balance between these critical elements.

In 1982, Dr. Hoon introduced the world to the first DAHON folding bicycle, which served as the prototype for the majority of contemporary folding bicycles. He fearlessly turned away from his thriving career as an accomplished aeronautical engineer and physicist when he reached the midpoint of his life’s journey. With an unwavering commitment to improving society, he embarked on a new path, driven by the belief that his endeavors would contribute to the greater good.

Subsequently, Dr. Hone became known as the father of modern folding bicycles, transforming from a physicist into a passionate advocate of low-carbon travel and a staunch environmentalist.

In 2008, DAHON achieved a momentous milestone, receiving recognition by Guinness World Records as the world’s largest producer of folding bicycles, with an annual production exceeding 500,000 units.

The development bottleneck prompts a shift to collaborative innovation

Over the past four decades, DAHON, under the visionary leadership of Dr. Hoon, has wholeheartedly pursued its mission of providing unparalleled products and services to customers while maintaining an unwavering dedication to innovation. Starting from humble origins, DAHON has risen to prominence as the industry leader in terms of sales, cementing its reputation as a globally recognized brand in mass-produced bicycles. With subsidiaries and manufacturing facilities strategically established in diverse countries, DAHON has consolidated its massive international presence, embodying its commitment to meeting the needs of a diverse global market.

Group photo of representatives at DAHON International Distributors Conference 2014

DAHON folding bicycles have achieved remarkable success with strong production and sales, attracting the attention of the public. However, starting a business is daunting, and sustaining it presents even greater challenges. One challenge has been insufficient protection of intellectual property rights, which has led to many competitors illegally seizing DAHON’s patented technology. This has led to a flood of counterfeit and substandard folding bikes appearing on the market, significantly impacting DAHON’s global operations. Faced with this developmental bottleneck, Dahun faced a pivotal decision: engage in a protracted battle against encroachment or pursue revolutionary breakthroughs.

As China continues to place greater emphasis on IPR protection, Dr. Hon implemented a technology sharing and dual-brand marketing strategy in 2019, which allows industry peers to use widely recognized or trusted IPRs. As a result of this approach, DAHON has so far established stable partnerships with more than 40 leading domestic and international bicycle manufacturers, providing them with a wide range of high-tech key components. The collaborative effort allows manufacturers to streamline their brand development processes, improve resource allocation, and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Dr. Hon’s entrepreneurial vision is reflected in his unwavering dedication to building innovation-driven businesses and promoting industry growth through resource sharing.

In 2023, a pioneering era for single-beam folding bikes will be ushered in as the iconic bike brand equips all new models with cutting-edge Deltec technology. The revolutionary Deltec reinforcement enhances the tire’s strength and rigidity, delivering unparalleled performance. This superiority was clearly demonstrated in the Speed ​​Challenge race during this year’s China Games in Shanghai, where bikes equipped with the Deltec system outperformed those with larger wheels. While the integration of Deltec technology may result in increased production costs and slim profit margins, it is effective in maintaining the brand’s market-leading position through a focus on product differentiation and continuous improvement.

Thanks to the Chinese government’s increasing focus on protecting intellectual property rights, DAHON’s innovative folding technology has effective safeguards. Led by Dr. Hon, the company’s dedicated R&D team has obtained more than 500 bicycle patents in domestic and international markets. Approximately 10% of the 130 million bicycles sold worldwide each year are folding bicycles, with the vast majority incorporating 5 to 6 patented technologies developed by DAHON.

With its extensive R&D experience combined with exceptional product quality, DAHON has demonstrated its strong technological advantages as well as its leadership role in the industry. DAHON’s product range is no longer limited to folding bikes, but now includes electric bikes, electric assist, biker bikes, carbon fiber, telescopic bikes, learner bikes and children’s bikes.

Moreover, DAHON is scheduled to be listed on the Beijing Stock Exchange in 2024 with the support of CITIC Securities, strengthening its position in the industry.

Dr. Hon’s pursuit of excellence and enterprising mentality have been evident in the company’s many iterations over the years.

In the journey of hard work, the basic mission remains unchanged

As it is often said, hard work pays off. Over the past several decades, DAHON has received numerous national, ministerial and provincial awards as well as being recognized as a National High-Tech Enterprise by the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, a highly regarded designation in the country. Other honors included a Taiwan Invention Award and a gold medal in the Eurobike Design Competition. Notably, the new CURL/disc brake electric bike has won the China Cycle Innovation Gold Award.

At the 2023 China Electric Bicycle Design Contest and Two-Wheeler Fashion Brand Week, DAHON ultra-lightweight carbon fiber folding bike received the Gold Award by standing out among hundreds of competitors along with earning a place in the 2023 Best Fashion Bicycles list. ..

In 2021, Dr. Hone appeared on the cover of a magazine China bike magazine and was invited to conduct an exclusive interview with CCTV Extraordinary craftsmen program in 2022.

While receiving these accolades, Dr. Hon remains committed to his original mission of “serving people.”

Dr. Hun’s philanthropic efforts include his active participation in the “Hope for Pearls” program of the Zhejiang Xinhua Compassionate Education Foundation. Over the past 10 years, he has provided financial assistance to more than 200 underprivileged “Pearl Students” through the program, enabling them to pursue higher education while spreading love and warmth through environmentally friendly public services.

Throughout his remarkable journey spanning eighty years, Dr. Hone has evolved from physicist to environmentalist, inventor, and philanthropist. His many transformations highlight his noble character and unwavering dedication to serving society with selfless love and compassion.

Going forward, DAHON is poised to wholeheartedly embrace Dr. HON’s business philosophy, which is about technology, fashion, environmental protection and comfort. The company will continue to enhance innovation, share its expertise, and strive to become the leading company in the sustainable travel sector.

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