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  1. #1
    Senior Member Shilun's Avatar
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    Disassembling a folder

    I'm new to folding bikes, but I've been riding 'regular' bikes for years. I like to strip bikes down and put them back together again, partly for fun and partly so that if anything goes wrong on the road, I have some idea what I'm dealing with. However, I'm sure folding bikes are a rather different animal. Before I start taking the handlebar stem apart, is there anything I should be particularly careful about? And are there any nasty surprises waiting for me?

    Thanks in advance.

    Shilun

  2. #2
    Senior Member Dave Hickey's Avatar
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    Hi, Shilun. What type of folder are you taking apart? I have a Bike Friday and a Dahon Speed 8 and I've taken both apart because I like to add my own components. Other than the handleposts, most folding bikes assemble like any other bike. The handlepost/stem are usually a one piece unit that can be removed with a 5mm or 6mm hex wrench. Once removed, you can remove or inspect the headset.

    I really don't think you'll have any problems with either a Bike Friday or Dahon. I cannot comment on other folding bikes but is suspect they are much the same

  3. #3
    Senior Member Shilun's Avatar
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    I have a Giant Halfway with rear suspension. The rear two thirds of the bike seems pretty straightforward as far as maintenance is concerned. As you say, it's really the handlepost/stem which is different on folders. Mine breaks down and to the right revealing a hex nut underneath. I was hoping that I may be able to raise the handlepost a little, but if what you say is correct and it's a single unit, I may find I'm out of luck there.

    As a matter of interest, does your Bike Friday have a twist grip gear changer, and if so, have you ever tried swapping it out for a lever. Also, have you tried fitting drop handlebars in place of the straight ones?

    Many thanks

    Shilun

  4. #4
    Seņor Mambo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shilun
    As a matter of interest, does your Bike Friday have a twist grip gear changer, and if so, have you ever tried swapping it out for a lever. Also, have you tried fitting drop handlebars in place of the straight ones?

    Many thanks

    Shilun
    Bike Fridays do not have hinges on their handlebar posts because the entire post is removeable - that's how they "fold". If you have a standard post on your Bike Friday, which is more versatile than the custom post, you can use any kind of handlebar/stem combination you want. This means you can use any gear shift/lever combination you desire as well.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Dave Hickey's Avatar
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    Funny you mention, I just added drop bars this afternoon. I've had my Bike Friday for a month and put over 700 miles on her. My only grip was the touring T bars. They are much wider than standard road bars. My arms and elbows hurt during ever ride. The bike originally came with Sram grip shifters and rear derailleur. When I received the bike, I replace them with Shimano XT rear derailleur and bar shifters. Tonight, I converted to road bars, I just replace the XT bar shifters with Dura Ace bar end shifters and Dura Ace aero brake levers. It work perfectly. I was worried about road brake levers working with V brakes but they work just fine.....

    Cheers

  6. #6
    Senior Member Shilun's Avatar
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    Thanks for the interesting comments. On Bike Fridays, does the addition of drop handlebars add to the size of the folded package? I'm still trying to visualize how such an addition would work on my Halfway. I suspect it may foul up the hinge folding mechanism. Anyway, I'll give it a try some time as I also feel a little discomfort using the straight bars (and I haven't been anywhere near 700 miles on mine yet!!!).

    On my original topic, I finally went ahead and removed the handlebar stem. Thankfully, there were no surprises - in fact the setup is very standard, so it could be replaced with any other stem as far as I can see. The only problem would be that I would lose the folding mechanism. You say that Bike Fridays are a different design - maybe I made the wrong choice! One point I did notice is that Giant is rather stingy with its handlebar stems and seat posts. I have them extended to the limit and I could still do with a couple of extra centimeters. I'm 184 cm tall. Giant claims that the bike is good for anyone up to 190 cm!!

    One final point. The top gear on my Halfway is 74. I find this a little low on the pancake-flat streets of this city. What gearing do you have on a Bike Friday?

    Shilun

  7. #7
    Senior Member Dave Hickey's Avatar
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    I run a 53T front with a 11 x 32 cassette. That gives me 90 inches when in the 53 x 11. I find that even that isn't enough for downhills.

    As for the bars getting in the way when folded, I'm sure drop bars would. I use my BF as a travel bike so I rarely fold it unless it's being disassembled for the suitcase.

  8. #8
    Seņor Mambo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shilun
    Thanks for the interesting comments. On Bike Fridays, does the addition of drop handlebars add to the size of the folded package?
    Yes it does.

    One of the biggest disadvantages of the Bike Friday is that, once folded, there is no mechanism holding it together in a nice, neat package. The handlebar and post literally pop off, and are only secured to the bike by the gearing and brake cables. This is not a problem for travel, but it is a pain in the butt for commuting via bus or lightrail.

    However, its biggest advantage is its versatility. Bike Fridays have pretty smooth rides, use standard components, and have standard measurements - i.e. 100mm front hub spacing and 135mm rear spacing, etc.

    The Brompton, Birdy, Dahon, and Halfway's advantages and disadvantages, for my purposes, are the opposite: compact folding packages which hold together well (except the Birdy), but unique critical components and non-standard sizing which make upgrading and parts replacement a pain. Maybe you can get bar ends for your Halfway?


    One final point. The top gear on my Halfway is 74. I find this a little low on the pancake-flat streets of this city. What gearing do you have on a Bike Friday?

    Shilun
    Mine is set up as a 72 gear inch single speed commuter: 53x15.

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