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Thread: Which IGH bike?

  1. #1
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    Which IGH bike?

    This? http://bikesdirect.com/products/mercier/kilott_wt5.htm
    Or This*? http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/windsor/oxford.htm
    *With the Oxford the plan would be to order the smaller 51cm size and flip the bars for a sporty bullhorn position (or swap in the real bullhorns from my other bike)

    Cons for the Oxford:
    -heavier (nonbutted?) frame tubing
    -lower quality components
    -Twistshifter (which I personally have problems gripping when I have sweaty hands)
    -Only 3 speeds

    Cons for the Kilo:
    -really short wheelbase
    -fenders and kickstand must be purchased separately (and no chainguard if I wanted to give that a try)
    -more expensive (which will hurt when it eventually gets stolen)
    -extra speeds = extra complexity
    -toe overlap
    -49cm frame size could possibly be a little small and the next size up, 53cm, too big...competitive cyclist's fit calculator puts the Oxford's 51cm size smack dab in the middle of my range (I'm 5'7" w/ 29.5" inseam)

    I'm also more "comfortable" with the idea of the Oxford because the configuration is more familiar to me, but I've never really owned a quality "normal" bike before (only folders and recumbents) and part of the reason I'm interested in buying one of these is to see what I might be missing (including drop bars which I've never owned).

    What do you guys think?
    A sure sign of a successful experiment is when failure is prolonged until the experimenter forgets that he's even conducting an experiment.

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    Nobody mconlonx's Avatar
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    How tall are you? Kilo WT5 is only currently available in 49cm, so if you're taller than, say, 5'4" and want a biek RIGHTNOW!!! you got no choice at all...
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

  3. #3
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    How tall are you? Kilo WT5 is only currently available in 49cm, so if you're taller than, say, 5'4" and want a biek RIGHTNOW!!! you got no choice at all...
    I'm 5'7" and after inputting my detailed body dimensions the competitive cyclist fit calculator gave me the following frame dimensions:
    -----------------------CompetitiveFit-EddyFit---Comfort Fit
    Seat tube range c-c 48.5 - 49.0 49.7 - 50.2 51.4 - 51.9
    Seat tube range c-t 50.0 - 50.5 51.2 - 51.7 52.9 - 53.4
    Top tube length 52.3 - 52.7 52.3 - 52.7 53.5 - 53.9
    Stem Length 10.2 - 10.8 9.1 - 9.7 9.3 - 9.9
    BB-Saddle Position 69.8 - 71.8 69.0 - 71.0 67.3 - 69.3
    Saddle-Handlebar 48.0 - 48.6 48.8 - 49.4 50.5 - 51.1
    Saddle Setback 1.4 - 1.8 2.6 - 3.0 2.1 - 2.5
    http://www.competitivecyclist.com/za...LCULATOR_INTRO

    So the 49cm (seat tube c-c) Kilo should be at the low end of my range whereas the out of stock 53cm (which is the next bigger size) isn't even close...and a search of the forum shows that 49cm is indeed the size that many riders of my height are successfully riding with this bike.

    Sure I agree that the Oxford 51cm appears to be a better fit, but I don't see where you get off saying that the 49cm Kilo is unsuitable for people taller than 5'4" because it also appears it would fit me (just not as well as it could if it were a hair larger)...what really concerns me about the Kilo is the crazy geometry: that wheelbase is shorter than my shortest folding bike! But what do I know about "normal" bikes?

    EDIT: You guys were right I made a mistake here because the Kilo sizes are measured c-t which means the above table says the 49cm is too small...but after taking more accurate measurements I generated another table that says that I require a 49cm c-t and and 52.9cm effective top tube length...on the money.
    Last edited by chucky; 12-17-12 at 08:37 PM.
    A sure sign of a successful experiment is when failure is prolonged until the experimenter forgets that he's even conducting an experiment.

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    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Sigh.... this is one of the few times being 6' tall doesn't work in my favor .

    If you're primary purpose is to try something a bit sporty, the WT5 is the choice, the trade off of course is that it's not as utilitarian as the Oxford. You've probably already have at least one bike in your stable that could handle the utility aspects, so..... I don't know. I'd take them both, since they are both different enough from my one and only bike

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    Senior Member maidenfan's Avatar
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    My wife is 5'6" and rides a 52-54 range bike, depending on the manufacturer. I too would agree that, in general, a 49cm frame would be too small for you at 5'7". That's the whole problem with Internet orders though, you're taking a leap of faith. I would suggest going to a few local bike shops and ride a few different brands of bikes - you'll get a good flavor for the general size you fit into (usually a top tube length) and can make a more confident order over the net.
    "Others don't understand because I train every day of my life as they have never trained a day in theirs." Alexandr Karelin - the most dominating Greco-Roman wrestler - ever

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    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Here's a suggestion- check out bikeisland.com. You'll find BD's 'scratch and dent' offerings there. Windsor Oxford 3 spd can be had for $199 (or less) shipped.

  7. #7
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maidenfan View Post
    My wife is 5'6" and rides a 52-54 range bike, depending on the manufacturer. I too would agree that, in general, a 49cm frame would be too small for you at 5'7". That's the whole problem with Internet orders though, you're taking a leap of faith. I would suggest going to a few local bike shops and ride a few different brands of bikes - you'll get a good flavor for the general size you fit into (usually a top tube length) and can make a more confident order over the net.
    First off women have way longer legs relative to their torsos compared to men...so if those are women's frames you're talking about for your wife then they should have a much larger seat tube length (which is the cited frame size) for a given top tube length.

    I've ridden lots of bikes in stores and have generally found that I'm happy no matter how the frame is sized...to me it seems there is no such thing as a "wrong" bike size only a different frame that fits in a different way which is probably why I've never been inspired to purchase a normal diamond frame bike...but now I've reached a point in my cycling journey where I've become a bit curious as to whether I'm just dense and so I just want to put a couple thousand miles on a bike that's supposedly the "right" size by the book to see how it compares with the "wrong" sizes I know and love.
    .
    .
    .
    I once inquired about a custom frame build and after asking me to submit some measurements of my "favorite bike" they're response was, "you must have mixed up the numbers because these dimensions don't make any sense!"

    Quote Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
    Here's a suggestion- check out bikeisland.com. You'll find BD's 'scratch and dent' offerings there. Windsor Oxford 3 spd can be had for $199 (or less) shipped.
    And a fantastic suggestion that is, sir!...at prices that barely cover the cost of shipping I might as well just get one of everything, huh?
    Last edited by chucky; 12-16-12 at 10:22 PM.
    A sure sign of a successful experiment is when failure is prolonged until the experimenter forgets that he's even conducting an experiment.

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    Nobody mconlonx's Avatar
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    Man, too bad they don't offer such bikes at the LBS, where you could get fitted by people who know what they are talking about, or at least test ride to your heart's content...
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

  9. #9
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    So the fit questions aside (which I know you guys are convinced are an unsolvable mystery whose solution requires employing the gods of the LBS...but I'm convinced I got it under control), what do you guys think of the other factors?:

    A) Is it worth getting the Kilo just to get some experience with drop bars?...because I'm skeptical that drop bars really have anything to offer over a good set of bullhorns+aero bars in the middle, but if I'll never know for sure if I don't try the standard "go fast" bar for at least a few thousand miles.

    B) I know the Kilo/Surly frames are hyped up to be so much better quality, but will the butting, etc really make any difference whatsoever?

    C) Which geometry is better, the twitchy/responsive Kilo or the smoother/slower handling Oxford?
    A sure sign of a successful experiment is when failure is prolonged until the experimenter forgets that he's even conducting an experiment.

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    My personal thoughts are I would tend toward the Kilowatt. I prefer the added gears. I have found that added complexity of gears is rarely as much of an inconvenience as not having enough when you could really use them. Plus, the difference between three and 5 isn't all that great. It's not like you're comparing the three speed IGH to an 11 speed or 14 speed IGH. I think the real question for you, though, is what riding position do you prefer? The Oxford appears to be a more upright riding position, while the Kilowatt is a more forward leaning riding position. I'm sure you could always put some straight or upswept bars on the Kilowatt and attain an upright position, though.

  11. #11
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I like my Brompton, AW3 hub, Schlumpf Mountain Drive Crank, which is a second internal gear 2 speed..

    Low in the 2 speed crank is like a 20t second ring with a 50t chainring.. so the 3 speed is used twice.

    But ride my Rohloff Bike Friday pocket Llama Bike More..
    they,R'off, designed in a Mountain drive like lower range, to use the 7 speeds twice, inside the Hub.


    . I see BD bikes , when needing Repairs.. Tourists..

    . [Generic] Frame and stuff attached to the frame = bike
    you can always change the attached stuff..

    . I guess this site talks about them often , because nobody can ride before buying ,
    and there is no LBS that includes 6 months of free tune ups after the sale..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 12-17-12 at 10:34 AM.

  12. #12
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shepherdsflock View Post
    My personal thoughts are I would tend toward the Kilowatt. I prefer the added gears. I have found that added complexity of gears is rarely as much of an inconvenience as not having enough when you could really use them. Plus, the difference between three and 5 isn't all that great. It's not like you're comparing the three speed IGH to an 11 speed or 14 speed IGH. I think the real question for you, though, is what riding position do you prefer? The Oxford appears to be a more upright riding position, while the Kilowatt is a more forward leaning riding position. I'm sure you could always put some straight or upswept bars on the Kilowatt and attain an upright position, though.
    I definitely want a forward riding position, but seems if I just flip the Oxford's bars upside down (and lower them) I'll have an instant bullhorn setup. Is there any reason the Kilo's drop bars would be superior to that? That's what I'm trying to figure out.

    I ride an 8 speed IGH and a singlespeed and I don't think I need so many gears.
    Last edited by chucky; 12-17-12 at 10:34 AM.
    A sure sign of a successful experiment is when failure is prolonged until the experimenter forgets that he's even conducting an experiment.

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    Nobody mconlonx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chucky View Post
    So the fit questions aside (which I know you guys are convinced are an unsolvable mystery whose solution requires employing the gods of the LBS...but I'm convinced I got it under control), what do you guys think of the other factors?:

    A) Is it worth getting the Kilo just to get some experience with drop bars?...because I'm skeptical that drop bars really have anything to offer over a good set of bullhorns+aero bars in the middle, but if I'll never know for sure if I don't try the standard "go fast" bar for at least a few thousand miles.

    B) I know the Kilo/Surly frames are hyped up to be so much better quality, but will the butting, etc really make any difference whatsoever?

    C) Which geometry is better, the twitchy/responsive Kilo or the smoother/slower handling Oxford?
    A) Not worth it for the drop bar, but might be worth it for the additional gearing. 5sp vs. Oxford 3sp. Flipping the bar on the oxford would be fun -- I've got a similar setup on a mtn bike conversion commuter and love it. Drop bars are good because they offer a multitude of hand positions, useful on longer rides.

    B) Tubing doesn't make a huge difference, but it does make some difference. Kilo will feel "livlier." Oxford will feel like the folders and recumbents you are used to.

    C) Because you're used to folders, the twitchyness of the Kilo might not be as bad as others coming from road bikes might think. I think the Oxford might feel very truck-like and slow handling to you...

    Kind of a toss-up: if I was considering permanently mounted fenders and commuting less than 10 mi without too many hills, I'd probably lean toward the Oxford; Shorter commute with more altitude change, the Kilo.
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

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    Does anyone know anything about the Motobecane Jubilee 8 (http://bikeisland.com/cgi-bin/BKTK_S...&ProdID=2599)? It looks like the fork has mounts for disc brakes and they're selling it for $349. If you could get a good set of used disc brakes and pick a couple of disc compatible wheels cheap, say maybe all of that for $200, you could have an IGH bike with disc brakes for under $600 that would be a great year-round commuter. Can anybody comment on the ability to fit disc brakes to this bike?

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    KiloWT5.jpg

    I have a Kilo WT5 and I like it quite a bit. It makes a pretty rad winter and bad weather bike. As a 6'0" man, I have a 56cm frame; you can see my saddle is about equal with the handlebars. I have some toe overlap (with fenders) and heel strike if I don't set my panniers towards the back. I would imagine a smaller frame would only increase those problems.

    Pros:
    Fast
    Reliable
    Simple
    Cheap
    Strong wheels

    Cons:
    Frame is a bit racy
    Stock gearing is way too high
    Stock seat and pedals are awful
    SA hub needs a good oil bath before functioning smoothly

  16. #16
    a fine chap tar wheels's Avatar
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    I commute each day via the Windsor 3-speed, and I've been very happy. I also used it for the Bike DC event here in town this year, that was around 25 miles I believe, and it performed admirably. Sure, the three speeds are a bit limiting, and it's heavy, but I've been very impressed with the ride quality (super smooth and solid) and stock components. Granted, my commute is short, and if it were longer I may feel differently, but mine has been great for my commute. Getting ready to hop on in a few minutes!
    .....___o
    ---" \<,
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  17. #17
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    What will you be doing with the bike?

    Neither of these bikes comes equipped the way you want it. Maybe you should look elsewhere. Equipping them the way you want to would cost you the same as buying a well-equipped bike at an LBS. And quality would probably be better.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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  18. #18
    or tarckeemoon, depending marqueemoon's Avatar
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    The Kilo looks kind of promising, but if you plan to run fenders the toe overlap situation could be a bit much. If the shifter mounts to a standard "pod" you might be able to relocate it to a Paul Thumbie or similar for using with other styles of bars if you decide drop bars aren't for you.

    Neither seems really ideal though. If you're not experienced with drop bar bikes the internet doesn't seem like the best place to buy your first one.

  19. #19
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    A) Not worth it for the drop bar, but might be worth it for the additional gearing. 5sp vs. Oxford 3sp. Flipping the bar on the oxford would be fun -- I've got a similar setup on a mtn bike conversion commuter and love it. Drop bars are good because they offer a multitude of hand positions, useful on longer rides.
    A cheap and light trick I use with bullhorns (ie real bullhorns with long reach not flop and chops) is to tie a piece of cloth between the two horns: then you can ride in a bonafide aerobar position by putting your elbows/forearms near the clamp section of the bar with your hands resting on the cloth up front. Remember that your elbows/forearms don't have fingers to grab the bar...so even with solid aerobars there's no way to pull in the aero position (vs the piece of cloth I use); So if you need to pull on the bars (or brake/shift) you grab the horns or you can also ride on the flats if, like me, you turn into an old granny at the end of a century (like in one of those Snickers commercials) or if you need to carry a pizza or trash bag full of empty beer bottles on top the horns.

    That's 3 distinct hand positions for bullhorns (with more aerodynamics for the aero position and more leverage for the pulling position and more comfort for longer rides since the 3000 mile Race Across America was, afterall, where aerobars were invented as a way to improve on the comfort of drops) plus the ability for the handlebars to double as a rack (either to carry stuff on top or hang stuff below)...so, please enlighten me, what are the "multitude of hand positions" that allow drop bars to compete with that?

    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    C) Because you're used to folders, the twitchyness of the Kilo might not be as bad as others coming from road bikes might think. I think the Oxford might feel very truck-like and slow handling to you...
    I don't know if I'd agree that folders are twitchy...the folder I'm looking to replace isn't twitchy at all because it has the same 42" wheelbase as the Surly Long Haul Trucker. On the other hand, I also have folder with a 39" wheelbase like the Kilo and it's twitchy as hell compared to my 700c carbon high racer recumbent, whose massive 47" wheelbase makes it handle like a bobsled (which is definitely not like a truck because it just zips forward, but it's hardly nimble laterally).

    There's so much more design variety with folders and recumbents...which is precisely why I'm becoming extremely curious as to what the heck all you diamond frame riders are always bickering about (do those millimeters really matter?!).

    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    Kind of a toss-up: if I was considering permanently mounted fenders and commuting less than 10 mi without too many hills, I'd probably lean toward the Oxford; Shorter commute with more altitude change, the Kilo.
    I'll definitely be riding this bike more than 10 miles each way (I don't always commute to the same place, but 10 miles is the minimum up to a max of 50 miles each way) otherwise I would not hesitate to simply use a folder and the only reason I no longer want to use a folder for those longer miles is because I'm tired of not being able to get parts or service at 9/10 LBSs...which is very nice to have when your putting in those kinds of miles.
    Last edited by chucky; 12-17-12 at 07:55 PM.
    A sure sign of a successful experiment is when failure is prolonged until the experimenter forgets that he's even conducting an experiment.

  20. #20
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    Ok I used the "Competitive Cyclist" fit calculator for road bikes again with more accurate measurements and it confirms that the 49cm is my size for the Kilo (and especially that the next size, 53cm is definitely too large):
    -----------------------CompetitiveFit-EddyFit---FrenchFit
    Seat tube range c-c 47.7 - 48.2 48.9 - 49.4 50.6 - 51.1
    Seat tube range c-t 49.2 - 49.7 50.4 - 50.9 52.1 - 52.6
    Top tube length 52.9 - 53.3 52.9 - 53.3 54.1 - 54.5 (larger Kilo has 54.7 top tube length)
    Stem Length 10.5 - 11.1 9.4 - 10.0 9.6 - 10.2
    ...only question is whether or not it's the right design for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    What will you be doing with the bike?

    Neither of these bikes comes equipped the way you want it. Maybe you should look elsewhere. Equipping them the way you want to would cost you the same as buying a well-equipped bike at an LBS. And quality would probably be better.
    I want it for long urban miles (ie up to 100 miles per day among car traffic) getting me where I need to be as quickly as possible in all weather conditions (including ice, snow, rain, heat, etc) with as little time spent on maintenance as possible. No open roads because they only go where nobody needs to be, but that doesn't mean the traffic will slow me down because cars generally go pretty fast even when they have to slow down a little for traffic...so I need to be able to keep pace while simultaneously maintaining visibility and being comfortable enough to keep up the miles.

    But I'm not sure why you're saying neither bike comes equipped how I want because the only things missing are either fenders or bullhorns which are both cheap and easy to add (unlike LBS bikes which almost never satisfy my harder equipment requirements like gearing technology, wheel size, etc)...my main concerns with both the Oxford and the Kilo are quality, fit, and geometry.
    A sure sign of a successful experiment is when failure is prolonged until the experimenter forgets that he's even conducting an experiment.

  21. #21
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    Damn, I tried to order the Mercier Kilo WT5 because the webpage said the 49cm size was in stock, but the order wouldn't go through and when I called bikesdirect they said they don't have anymore and took it off the site:
    http://bikesdirect.com/products/mercier/kilott_wt5.htm

    ...and now that I spent all this time considering the virtues of the Kilo I don't want the other bike!

    Where can I get a bike like the Oxford with double butted tubing or, perhaps, aluminum?
    Last edited by chucky; 12-19-12 at 03:33 PM.
    A sure sign of a successful experiment is when failure is prolonged until the experimenter forgets that he's even conducting an experiment.

  22. #22
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    You should consider buying a used bike. They don't make 'em like they usedta.

    http://lovelybike.blogspot.com/2010/...intage-vs.html
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
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  23. #23
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    You should consider buying a used bike. They don't make 'em like they usedta.

    http://lovelybike.blogspot.com/2010/...intage-vs.html
    I would like to, but I just bought a used bike the other day and now have three bikes in need of repairs and nothing to ride.

    So I need to get back on the road ASAP because my body is starting to go into shock from the lack of exercise...I've hardly even eaten anything in 3 days because I can't work up an appetite! Help!
    Last edited by chucky; 12-19-12 at 06:20 PM.
    A sure sign of a successful experiment is when failure is prolonged until the experimenter forgets that he's even conducting an experiment.

  24. #24
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Head on over to Classic&Vintage or Bike Mechanics. We'll help you fix up your bikes.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  25. #25
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    My Bikes
    Self-designed carbon fiber highracer, BikesDirect Kilo WT5, Pacific Cycles Carryme, Dahon Boardwalk with custom Sturmey Archer wheelset
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    Head on over to Classic&Vintage or Bike Mechanics. We'll help you fix up your bikes.
    I know how to fix my bikes, but it takes time to diagnose the problem, secure or fabricate the parts, get the right tools/materials, etc, etc.

    As mentioned earlier, all my bikes are folders and recumbents...and heavily heavily customized at that with already nonstandard parts custom modified or redesigned by myself (for example, I have the frame of my recumbent flipped upside down from the way the manufacturer intended in order to change the geometry to suit a different wheel size...have you built any of your bikes with the frame upside down?) so I sincerely doubt you'd be able to help me with those repairs (for example, can you tell me what kind of tool I need to take apart the seized freewheel which is located INSIDE the bottom bracket on one of my folders? No, I simply have to take the time to inspect and measure it myself because its a one-of-a-kind)...and when I have asked for help in the past I've mostly been told to just get a normal bike which is why I finally decided to create this thread because although I am certain that my bikes are far superior to normal designs I am getting damn tired of sometimes having to literally reinvent the wheel every time one of my bikes is in need of repair.

    So, yes, I would like to head over to Classic&Vintage and Bike Mechanics for your help, but first I need a bike that is normal enough for you to help me.
    A sure sign of a successful experiment is when failure is prolonged until the experimenter forgets that he's even conducting an experiment.

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