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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 09-02-05, 10:38 AM   #26
af895
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The owners/manufacturer can confirm this but I'd wager the Downtube takes ETRTO 406 sized tires - aka "20 inch."

These are arguably the MOST common tire size next to MTB 26 inch and 700c - making them VERY easy to source. Tons of options for 406 sized touring tires. I'm running 100psi Schwalbe Marathon 20x1.50's. (40-406)
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Old 09-02-05, 11:59 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zowie
I'm always pleased when manufactures come onto boards (bicycling or other subjects). I don't know why more do not -- they or at least their employees must read them.

I'm wondering what size tires & tubes the current downtube takes, for availability of spares and options for replacement.
We use Kenda 47-406 20"x1.75, replacements should be easy to find.

Thanks,
Yan
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Old 09-03-05, 11:09 AM   #28
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Do any of you have pictures of folding your downtube and putting it in the bag? My bars
(viii non fs)
seem to fold to the inside rather than the outside of the bike. What am I doing wrong? Thanks. I still love this bike and use it more often than my dahon - which is my 2nd back up bike. I don't often need to fold it - but thought I would practice putting it in bag for when I do - it was a disaster. Icouldn't find pictures of how to fold on downtube site - so I thought I would ask here.
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Old 09-04-05, 09:01 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by downtube
I am the designer of the Downtube Bike, my name is Yan Lyansky.
Someone else here mentioned being 180 cm tall, and right on the limit of the stock seat post. I'm 194 cm (6' 4") so I'm guessing the bike won't fit me.

Is there a longer seatpost available?

Is it possible to swap out the riser to get a more comfortable position for a taller rider?

(Good info to add to the website, maybe...?)

./Magnus
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Old 09-04-05, 05:43 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farrellcollie
Do any of you have pictures of folding your downtube and putting it in the bag? My bars
(viii non fs)
seem to fold to the inside rather than the outside of the bike. What am I doing wrong? Thanks. I still love this bike and use it more often than my dahon - which is my 2nd back up bike. I don't often need to fold it - but thought I would practice putting it in bag for when I do - it was a disaster. Icouldn't find pictures of how to fold on downtube site - so I thought I would ask here.
The stem should fold to the right of the bike (assuming you are on the bike) however several customers have swapped the orientation of the stem. Rotating it 180 degrees it will fold to the left and will give a more compact fold. However that folding technique may take an extra second or two. Either approach should be compact enough for the bag. Once the stem is folded the frame can swing around to give you a nice compact fold.

To be honest I am not a big fan of using the bag, I hardly ever use it. Well over 50% of our customers requested a bag when they bought our VI model last year, hence we decided to include a bag with every purchase. I can try to take some pictures next weekend, however if I look clumsy/silly I will not post
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Old 09-04-05, 05:54 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yangmusa
Someone else here mentioned being 180 cm tall, and right on the limit of the stock seat post. I'm 194 cm (6' 4") so I'm guessing the bike won't fit me.

Is there a longer seatpost available?

Is it possible to swap out the riser to get a more comfortable position for a taller rider?

(Good info to add to the website, maybe...?)

./Magnus
Magnus,

The seatpost is 500mm from bottom to the seatpost clamp, I do not think you will find a longer post. I have a friend that is 6'4" and rode my bike. It seemed fine for short distances...around the block. However, I think the top tube length may be too short for a tall rider. An option may be to replace the stem with a Zoom adjustable stem. Unfortunately, I can not guarantee this setup will work for you. If you are in the Philly area stop by and try one out.

Thanks,
Yan
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Old 09-04-05, 07:09 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yangmusa
Someone else here mentioned being 180 cm tall, and right on the limit of the stock seat post. I'm 194 cm (6' 4") so I'm guessing the bike won't fit me.

Is there a longer seatpost available?

Is it possible to swap out the riser to get a more comfortable position for a taller rider?

(Good info to add to the website, maybe...?)

./Magnus
Magnus,

I just measured my downtube bike (VII-FS). With the seatpost at full extension (extended to the markings) it measures 68.5cm from the center of the bottom bracket to the center of the seat rails, and about 60.5cm from the middle of the seat rail fixture (of the seatpost) to the center of the original handlebars.
Just as comparison my road bike's (frame size 56cm) measurements are 71cm and 71cm. Since I have "fine tuned" my seating position on that road bike for quite some time, I tried to replicate those measurements on the folding bike. And I actually came pretty close with installing a regular 1 1/8 inch stem on the steerer tube. Obviously the folding capability suffers a little bit, but I don't need to fold it very often. Most bus drivers let me take it on the bus without folding it.


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Old 09-07-05, 09:04 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rincewind8
Magnus,

I just measured my downtube bike (VII-FS). With the seatpost at full extension (extended to the markings) it measures 68.5cm from the center of the bottom bracket to the center of the seat rails, and about 60.5cm from the middle of the seat rail fixture (of the seatpost) to the center of the original handlebars.
Just as comparison my road bike's (frame size 56cm) measurements are 71cm and 71cm.
Christoph,

The bike looks really good in bright orange with the drop bars!

I just played around with a tape measure and stationary bike.. Actually the extension will be no problem. I seem most comfortable in the 68 - 72 cm range. Seems I could easily manage that with a new stem. I suppose I prefer a fairly upright posture for my height.

I think the real killer is leg length - center of b-b to top of saddle was 79 cm.

Since you already have a decent road bike, I don't suppose you choose the Downtube to go for a hard & fast ride. But if you did, and if you stood up to go fast uphill.. what then? Flexy?

cheers, Magnus
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Old 09-07-05, 10:19 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yangmusa
I think the real killer is leg length - center of b-b to top of saddle was 79 cm.
I measured to the seat rails, since not all saddles are created equal... So I guess if I add the stock saddle it would be 4-5 cm more (total of 73cm maybe?).

Quote:
Originally Posted by yangmusa
Since you already have a decent road bike, I don't suppose you choose the Downtube to go for a hard & fast ride. But if you did, and if you stood up to go fast uphill.. what then? Flexy?
I take it for commuting to campus. That's about 18 miles each way. For 16 miles I take a bike path that gives the opportunity to go fast. It doesn't feel flexy in those cases.
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Old 09-13-05, 04:27 PM   #35
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This is my first post on the forums. I currently have a Dahon Mariner and just received my new white VIII folder. Here is a link to some pictures and a short video. I will write a quick review when I get a little time.

http://bridgeofwalls.darktech.org:8080/pictures

Let me know if anyone wants and detailed pictures of any part of the bike.

My first ride was very nice. Frame feels stiffer than my Dahon and I'm not scared to go down STEPS on it! See the video on my site.
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Old 09-14-05, 05:27 AM   #36
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Cool Bike!! :-)

@ There, Thanks a lot for the pictures. But: They are huge and many rather blurry, any chance for other/improved ones? Plus the video looks very promising but i don't see any bike in it! Just the staircase...?

Perhaps Downtube could even more good pictures too, i think it would really help interest and sales.

For the rest: a most impressive bike for the money for sure! Personally i think:

The Pedals, brake levers look so so, as does the front chainring and suspension. Then again that is just an opinion and i have never even seen one, so i am not even very informed either.

Maybe it is just a prejudice/taste but personally i would go for the non-suspended version i think and buy a sprung Brooks saddle. I find that cheap suspension systems tend to add a lot of complexity, weight and lack of reliability to a bike, plus a lot of the cheap suspension systems soak up a lot of your pedalling energy. Still if you are not so so concerned about efficiency this is the best deal you can get on a full suspension folder bar none! I will be very curious to see next years incarnation and whether the price will remain the same!

I wonder is it possible to order just a frame or custom Downtube? I for one would love to have a frame and then maybe select the parts that most appealed to me.

Anybody have an informed opinion about the (drivetrain) components and wheelset, i know they are more obscure than the "big brands" stuff but are they good? I actually like that Downtube is not using Shimano and such, i am not a fan of big business.

I love the construction, solid welds and simple but distintive logo/font! Great product guys! Also i find the philosophy "Overall, we are very excited about our bikes, in our first month we sold about 150 and sales are increasing. We are able to sell our bikes for less than our competition for several reasons. We design/import/distribute/retail our bikes. This allows for phenominal cost savings which we pass on to our customers. We feel many quality products are overpriced, our goal is assist in making a more efficient market." great.

That is exactly the philosphy i hold/appreciate.

"Kronan" bikes had the same bizz practice and filosophy in the Netherlands for the first few years. As a result they went from a tiny company to selling lots and lots of bikes... Of course then they kinda sold out after a few years and abandoned their filosophy and i think merged/became a regualr company using regular distribution and such. The result was that prices became much higher.

I hope Downtube will never go this way!

If you Downtube guys need a contact or advocate in the Netherlands i am game! The folder market seems to be exploding here.

As for the Aluminium frame, i think that is a pity, i prefer steel, the reasons being durability and that it is easier to fix. Other people explain better than i can in recent thread why from a certain perspective (despite being slightly heavier) steel is preferable for some..

Lastly i think that downtube could maybe look at the Xootr Swifts, their dropout design in particular is worth checking. The fact that i allows many drivetrains (fixed gear, derallieur, hub gear) means that it makes an interesting bike for many types of buyers which means more potential buyers.

Keep up the great work!

Last edited by v1nce; 09-14-05 at 05:59 AM.
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Old 09-14-05, 10:14 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v1nce
Cool Bike!! :-)

Thanks!

@ There, Thanks a lot for the pictures. But: They are huge and many rather blurry, any chance for other/improved ones? Plus the video looks very promising but i don't see any bike in it! Just the staircase...?

---I will take some more better quality pictures today. The video seems to work here. I make another one aswell.

Perhaps Downtube could even more good pictures too, i think it would really help interest and sales.

For the rest: a most impressive bike for the money for sure! Personally i think:

The Pedals, brake levers look so so, as does the front chainring and suspension. Then again that is just an opinion and i have never even seen one, so i am not even very informed either.

---The pedals (plastic) seem to "give" a little. When standing out of the seat and going up hill the pedals seem just a tad flexy. This is true on my Dahon as well. I'm used to riding bikes (mostly BMX style) with steel or alm pedals. Does anyone have a recomendation for a wide folding metal pedal ( I have big feet, size 13 ).

---The chainring seems to do it's job well, even though it is plastic.

Maybe it is just a prejudice/taste but personally i would go for the non-suspended version i think and buy a sprung Brooks saddle. I find that cheap suspension systems tend to add a lot of complexity, weight and lack of reliability to a bike, plus a lot of the cheap suspension systems soak up a lot of your pedalling energy. Still if you are not so so concerned about efficiency this is the best deal you can get on a full suspension folder bar none! I will be very curious to see next years incarnation and whether the price will remain the same!

---For me anyway the suspension is great! I live in Manhattan and on the street I was getting beat up from the bumps on the road on my Dahon, the downtube is a HUGE improvemnt. As for soaking up energy I only notice it when climing a huge hill standing out of the saddle. On flat land it seems fine.

I wonder is it possible to order just a frame or custom Downtube? I for one would love to have a frame and then maybe select the parts that most appealed to me.

---Call up the designer, I have talked to him on AIM. Seems like a great guy. I'll give you his number if you can't find it. (his AIM name is DowntubeY)


Anybody have an informed opinion about the (drivetrain) components and wheelset, i know they are more obscure than the "big brands" stuff but are they good? I actually like that Downtube is not using Shimano and such, i am not a fan of big business.

--- I believe mine needs adjusting. Sometimes it will jump off the biggest gearing on the rear wheel, and on the smallest gear in the rear is seems to have a "clicking" in the chain and crank when pedaling. I have not adjusted anything yet so the issues is most likely mine.

I love the construction, solid welds and simple but distintive logo/font! Great product guys! Also i find the philosophy "Overall, we are very excited about our bikes, in our first month we sold about 150 and sales are increasing. We are able to sell our bikes for less than our competition for several reasons. We design/import/distribute/retail our bikes. This allows for phenominal cost savings which we pass on to our customers. We feel many quality products are overpriced, our goal is assist in making a more efficient market." great.

---The wheels seem awesome. I have really beat them so far and they are still true. If anyone in Manhattan would like to test ride mine just let me know.

That is exactly the philosphy i hold/appreciate.

"Kronan" bikes had the same bizz practice and filosophy in the Netherlands for the first few years. As a result they went from a tiny company to selling lots and lots of bikes... Of course then they kinda sold out after a few years and abandoned their filosophy and i think merged/became a regualr company using regular distribution and such. The result was that prices became much higher.

I hope Downtube will never go this way!

If you Downtube guys need a contact or advocate in the Netherlands i am game! The folder market seems to be exploding here.

As for the Aluminium frame, i think that is a pity, i prefer steel, the reasons being durability and that it is easier to fix. Other people explain better than i can in recent thread why from a certain perspective (despite being slightly heavier) steel is preferable for some..

Lastly i think that downtube could maybe look at the Xootr Swifts, their dropout design in particular is worth checking. The fact that i allows many drivetrains (fixed gear, derallieur, hub gear) means that it makes an interesting bike for many types of buyers which means more potential buyers.

Keep up the great work!
--- I am a little over 6' and weight about 150lbs. The seat stem is just a tad short for me. Does anyone know where I can find a 550mm - 600mm seat post?

09:54:AM:Wednesday] johnisathomenow: I'm 6' 1 and have very long legs. I need about 2 - 3 more inches. I'm going to head to a local bike shop here in nyc. Is there a perticular size I should ask for? How big around is it?
[09:55:AM:Wednesday] johnisathomenow: So far I'm really enjoying the bike. While riding here in manhattan I ran across *ANOTHER* downtube bike. She had just got it last week. She also is loving the folder.
[09:56:AM:Wednesday] DowntubeY: great
[09:56:AM:Wednesday] DowntubeY: 550mm
[09:56:AM:Wednesday] DowntubeY: may do the trick
[09:56:AM:Wednesday] DowntubeY: but it will be tough to find
[09:57:AM:Wednesday] johnisathomenow: how big around is the post if I look online?
[09:58:AM:Wednesday] DowntubeY: 27.2 will do
[09:58:AM:Wednesday] DowntubeY: without the shim you can go larger....but I'm not sure how large
[09:59:AM:Wednesday] johnisathomenow: Thanks.

here are the updated pictures (much clearer) and 3 short video clips in 640 x 480

http://bridgeofwalls.darktech.org:80...s/newpictures/

check out the AVI movies aswell. (Right click and save as). Site is hosted at home so it may take a little time.

----------------Please excuse all the spelling errors. -----------------

Last edited by there__; 09-14-05 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 09-15-05, 01:01 AM   #38
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I'm new to commuting by bike, and I'm very interested in the Downtube for use on the Caltrain system. It's great to hear these thoughtful posts by both owners and designer.

A few possibly picky questions:
* When folded, is there a device to keep the bike folded together or would you need a bag?
* What's a realistic folding time? 20sec?
* Is it comfortable to carry folded sans carrying case? (If, for example, the frame acts as a carrying grip.)
* How conceivable is it to add a grocery front pannier?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-15-05, 03:23 PM   #39
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It takes me a minute or so to fold my downtubeVIII - mostly because I have only folded it about three times(it takes me about that long to fold my dahon too for the same reason) - if I folded it more often I feel certain I would be better at it. It comes with a bag, although I imagine you could use a strip of velcro to bind wheels together and go from there without the bag. It isn't hard to carry, but wheel/chain dirt can be an issue.
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Old 09-15-05, 04:45 PM   #40
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Ah, thanks for the pictures! They are much clearer if still rather large. The movies are pretty convincing as far as the suspension goes.. nice!

About wheels, well they definately look like really nice/serious wheels! But even a decent 20 inch is pretty much bullet proof when it comes to warping (at least compared to larger sizes). That's not to say i don't appreciate the fact that the Downtube's wheels are great!

Also, they more i look at the Downtube (particularly the sprung model) the more it reminds me of a Moulton, and that's high praise i'd say.
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Old 09-16-05, 06:14 AM   #41
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v1nce: FWIW, a 32-spoke, cross laced, 20" wheel is about equivalent in strength to a 44-spoke 700c. (eg: bomb-proof) I don't think I've ever seen a 20" tacoed either.
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Old 10-19-05, 09:22 PM   #42
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There__,

Did you have any luck in finding the longer seatpost?

I've needed some specially sized seatposts in the past, and it seems like one option would always be to have a very strong pipe turned to the proper diameter. A fairly inexpensive lathe (<$1000 9x20) could turn both ends separately and get to above a meter. I have no idea what pricing a machine shop would offer for that.
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Old 10-20-05, 07:49 PM   #43
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I just did a search for a longer seatpost at qbp.com, the biggest bicycle wholesaler in the world, unfortunately they didn't have anything. I am trying to get a longer seatpost in future versions, however I can't make any guarantees.

FYI I just recieved another container of bikes. These have 28H front and rear wheels, so we have dropped some weight. The next container will have the following upgrades/changes:

1. Kalloy Uno adjustable stem
2. Removable Alloy Chainring
3. 24H front wheel 28H rear and 1.5" tire in the front (1.75" in the rear)
4. Same replaceable dropout as the VIII bike
5. Better cables
6. Stainless Steel spokes

We will upgrade to 9sp in the 2006 model year. We will also stock quality cost effective fenders, and QR rear racks for the FS model in 2 months.


Sales have been very strong.....I want to thank everyone for their support. It has been a blast producing and selling these bikes. I get compliments from almost every customer....we hope to continue producing great afforable bikes!

Thanks Again,
Yan


Quote:
Originally Posted by jasong
There__,

Did you have any luck in finding the longer seatpost?

I've needed some specially sized seatposts in the past, and it seems like one option would always be to have a very strong pipe turned to the proper diameter. A fairly inexpensive lathe (<$1000 9x20) could turn both ends separately and get to above a meter. I have no idea what pricing a machine shop would offer for that.
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Old 10-20-05, 08:22 PM   #44
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Yan,
Those are some great updates! Especially the replacable chain ring and the adjustable stem. Maybe the company that produces them knows where to get a longer seatpost or can make one?!

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Old 10-20-05, 08:33 PM   #45
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Just so you know I spec'd both bikes with 550mm posts. However only 500mm were availible....so we used those.

I'm trying!

Thanks,
Yan

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Originally Posted by Rincewind8
Yan,
Those are some great updates! Especially the replacable chain ring and the adjustable stem. Maybe the company that produces them knows where to get a longer seatpost or can make one?!

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Old 10-20-05, 08:44 PM   #46
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Yan, can the swingarm be easily removed from the VIIIFS? It's not clear from the photos what's fastening the swingarm to the rest of the frame (ie. for really compact travel).

Thanks,
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Old 10-20-05, 09:14 PM   #47
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It is not difficult, however it is not easy either. The crank gets in the way of removing a bolt on the swingarm. If you can work through that you'll be fine.

Thanks,
Yan

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasong
Yan, can the swingarm be easily removed from the VIIIFS? It's not clear from the photos what's fastening the swingarm to the rest of the frame (ie. for really compact travel).

Thanks,
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Old 10-21-05, 01:16 PM   #48
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I'm curious - is there a reason that the current models couldn't hold a 9 speed rear drivetrain now? I'm sure cost is a factor; it seems like 8 speed stuff is fairly cheaper than that. But I've also heard that chainline becomes more of an issue on a folder because of reduced wheelbase, and also it's a real 8 speed drivetrain, whereas in most bikes only 7 of the 8 speeds would be recommended for each chainring.

I guess the current freehub will hold a 9 speed cassette since they're the same size as an 8 speed.

Which chain are you spec'ing for use with 9 speeds? Something more bendy than normal? I've read the SRAM chains are a bit noisier than the shimano (9 speed) chains, implying that some chains are a bit better suited for bending than others.
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Old 10-21-05, 06:05 PM   #49
af895
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Originally Posted by jasong
I'm curious - is there a reason that the current models couldn't hold a 9 speed rear drivetrain now? I'm sure cost is a factor; it seems like 8 speed stuff is fairly cheaper than that. But I've also heard that chainline becomes more of an issue on a folder because of reduced wheelbase, and also it's a real 8 speed drivetrain, whereas in most bikes only 7 of the 8 speeds would be recommended for each chainring.

I guess the current freehub will hold a 9 speed cassette since they're the same size as an 8 speed.

Which chain are you spec'ing for use with 9 speeds? Something more bendy than normal? I've read the SRAM chains are a bit noisier than the shimano (9 speed) chains, implying that some chains are a bit better suited for bending than others.
Jasong,

I'm no Sheldon Brown but I do frequent his website. Check out this page: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/k7.html

The line that sticks out: "Shimano 8- and 9-speed hubs and cassettes are fully interchangeable with one another, so any 8-speed hub can be a 9-speed, or vice-versa."

I understand this would need a narrower chain but it bodes well for the upgrade.
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Old 10-21-05, 08:16 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by af895
I understand this would need a narrower chain but it bodes well for the upgrade.
Af, I wasn't in doubt about the cassette replacement (assuming that a normal freehub is in use here). It's the narrow wheelbase that can make this very challenging (not as much lateral distance over which the chain can bend).
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