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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    'U' shaped folders - Need advice

    I've noticed quite alot of folding bikes that has a 'U' shape frame. (Some old, some new).
    I would appreciate if someone ca help me with the following questions:
    - How well is their handling ?
    - Can they carry heavy stuff ?
    - Are they strong ?

    If you have additional info - feel free !

  2. #2
    Hauja
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    I had one it was not too bad the gearing was wrong. If i knew then what i know now i would have kept it and modified it.

  3. #3
    Explorer CaptainSpalding's Avatar
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    The U-shaped frame is definitely "retro." There is certainly an elegance about the design. I have only seen one in person. It was an Italian make that I'd never seen before, a Di Blasi Safari. It didn't seem flimsy to me at all, but it was heavy.

    I snapped a picture of it on my cell phone, but I'm unable to upload. Here is a modern facsimile.

    I came to say I must be folding . . .
    Dahon Jetstream XP
    Dahon Helios SL
    Strida 5.0
    Twenty project


    or not . . .
    Fisher Mt. Tam (c.1988)
    Merlin Road flat bar project
    Schwinn Twinn Deluxe

  4. #4
    Senior Member af895's Avatar
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    2003 KHS F20-Westwood folding & enough parts to make several more bikes...
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    If you're talking about the type of bike I think you are...

    Some links:
    http://www.yellowjersey.org/aq.html
    http://www.mopedarmy.com/photos/brand/144/2588/ (the motorized version of the previous one)
    http://www.biria.com/bicycles/ez/ Biria makes folding and non-folding "EZ" frames. (as in "easy boarding")

    I had a Peugeot folder years ago that qualified. Liked it fine.

    Dahon will be introducing the "Ciao!" for 2006. Looks nice. I believe it's won some awards already.

    Generally, for a given frame stiffness, you have to build a bike slightly heavier if you rely on this type of geometry, or just accept a slightly less stiff frame. (more "fore/aft" flex)

    Material technology has come a long way these days - better alloys, computer modelling - so the impact on frame weight shouldn't be huge.

    In short, if you really want a low step-over height, don't hesitate to look at this style of bike. I'd be surprised if they were any different in handling or payload than any other bike - they may weight a pound more to start though. (but that's just a theory)

  5. #5
    Explorer CaptainSpalding's Avatar
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    That Bianchi Aquiletta is exactly what I was referring to. The integrated rack forming a rear rectangle is the distinguishing feature. The one I saw wasn't a Bianchi. I would have remembered it if it were. Even in pink its a cool bike.
    I came to say I must be folding . . .
    Dahon Jetstream XP
    Dahon Helios SL
    Strida 5.0
    Twenty project


    or not . . .
    Fisher Mt. Tam (c.1988)
    Merlin Road flat bar project
    Schwinn Twinn Deluxe

  6. #6
    Pedalpower clayface's Avatar
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    I've got one and it is a reliable commuter hack. I found the frame in a dumpster and built the bike to meet my needs so gearing, riding position, etc are all good foer me. Handling is fine for a shortish wheelbase: fast and predictable (altough I wouldn't ride it without hands!). The frame is strong and it can carry quite a heavy load, but it must be spreaded between the rear (short chainstays) and the front( I've added a front rack since the pic was taken). It doesn't fold as compact as modern ones do but it's very close there.

    Roberto

  7. #7
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    In my experience (i owned one) many of the cheap U -frames are not good, mine failed totally right where the frame flex the most and i am not a heavy guy. But this has IMO! most to do with the materials and lack of workmanship as well as some with the design. I don't think most will hold up too long, though there are exceptions, like Clayfaces bike, that frame is of a different caliber (from what i can see on the pciture) than most of the ones i come across.
    http://www.rhizomes.nl/twenty.html
    My Tweaked and modded Raleigh Twenty. Lots of pictures and lots of general info on for example a different & Cheap Bottom Bracket solution as well as fork solution.

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