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  1. #1
    Small wheels ARE better! OldiesONfoldies's Avatar
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    30km on my new Strida - brief review

    Having been impressed by the generally positive feedback from this forum, I took the plunge and got myself a white Strida 3 w black mudguards today. The dealer was kind enough to allow me a 30km test ride and these are my findings:

    The Pluses

    1. Stylish design, most pleasing on the eye. Can't believe this is a 20 yo product. Its a magnet for attention.

    2. High quality finish. Lovely paint job, sturdy feel, no cheap and nasty plastic parts.

    3. Brilliant folding ease. Simplicity at its best. Love the ability to push it around while folded, negating the need to carry it. This is the ONLY folder I know that does this so accomplishly. Standing up position too takes far less space on trains. Carrying my Brompton, compact as it may be, for 200m leaves me breathless.

    4. Meaty drum brakes. I love the progression and feel. Clever "handbrake" feature too.

    The Challenges

    1. Slow cruising speed. It is most comfortable at 17kmh only, which really is too slow for me. My Brompton and Dahon Helios easily do 25kmh. I guess one speeders require a different riding expectation but it takes hills reasonably well.

    2. Twitchy handling compared to "normal" frame bikes. Takes getting use to. Certainly not for beginners.

    3. Very upright sitting position. Not very comfortable for a long 30km ride but should be ok for 3-5km jaunts.

    The Strida is a short distance commuter specific folder and taken as that, it's one of the best. Throw in its beautiful design and strong value pricing, it deserves to do better.

    Would love to hear from other Strida users or critics.

  2. #2
    Thinks-too-much member
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    I tried posting this yesterday in the original thread, but something was going on with the site, and the thread dissapeared! So now I have a second chance.

    I bought a IIIa last spring with most of the options (wire wheels and folding bars - a must) which added up to what I thought was a fair chunk of change, but I am very happy with the bike.

    As others have mentioned, one of its big advantages over other folders is its ability to be easily rolled while folded. I took my Strida to Bangkok and there were several situations where it was just too crowded coming out of the Skytrain to immediately ride the bike, so I pushed it (it rolls in front or beside me) a couple blocks until I could ride it. BTW, I did not want to pay oversize charges to the airline, so I took mine apart until just the frame, handlebars, bottom bracket, and hubs were left, packed this in a tubular cardboard concrete form, and packed the rest in a suitcase.

    I took a lot of close-up photos of the bike which can be seen in the link below in my sig.

    The handling is twitchier than any other bike I have ridden (I'm mainly a MTB'er, but also have a Dahon Piccolo and Boardwalk), but I got used to it quickly. I was able to thread between Bangkok gridlock and pedestrians with no problem, especially due to the bike's agile handling and short overhangs. The small wheels do ride harshly, but I factored that as a compromise I can live with. Bangkok's streets are not very good - lots of expansion joints, speed bumps, grates, etc. - but I did alright. I was thinking of going with Big Apple tires, but cyclistjohn informed me that the rear will rub the belt slightly.

    Folding the bike is very quick and easy. My Piccolo is quite picky about exactly how the handlebar position and height should be for a complete fold. It also has external cables that can snag. The Strida has no such issues. The magnet holding the Strida's hubs together is very strong, and the big trick is learning how to unfold the bike by leveraging the hubs apart using the handlebar and bottom tube in one quick snap.

    The drum brakes are very good and modulate very well - better than V-brakes. They are also somewhat out of the elements and don't mar the rims. I biked around during Thailand's rainy season, and agree - the bike does clean up easily, as there is no reaching between small tubes. I did buy the rubber mudflaps for front and rear fenders, as they are short, but I still managed to get my back splattered. Then I began folding the flap back when I put the bike down so the flaps now stick out more, giving more protection.

    As others have mentioned, the bottom bracket housing is plastic, which is the only part of the bike I initially had some doubts about (structurally). It does flex when powering from a stop or just powering at all. However, once up to cruising speed, I forget about it. So don't stand on the pedals! Maybe the Strida IV will improve upon this design in the near future.

    Speaking of pedals, I followed what was done in this thread: click here, buying the same metal Suntour pedals from Easy-Street Recumbants and mounting Powergrips "backwards". Works great!

    One other issue already mentioned is the adjustability of the saddle bracket. It is not quick or easy. Three bolts must be removed and, depending on the amount of adjustment, a shear pin through the frame must be relocated to another hole. The saddle bracket is plastic, but it is quite strong in the direction of the load, and I have no issues with it.

    Some of the other accessories can be seen in my Flickr photo sets linked below (there is also a Strida group in Flickr). BTW, the wireless VDO C1 computer works great due to its long range (transmitter-receiver distance). Also, the powerful Cateye TL-LD1000 tail light is strategically positioned to prevent one of the bolts on one frame tube from scratching the adjacent tubes when folded. There are a couple points where this can happen, but with careful accessory/decal placement, scratching of the high-tech, brushed anodized finish can be minimized. I noticed other colors are now available, but I like the silver finish. Besides, I can also tell the airlines it is a medical device if they ask what it is (while I limp around and ask for a wheel chair).

    The longest ride I took on the Strida was a 23-miler in and around Hua Hin, on the Gulf of Thailand. I think I had a smile on my face the whole time, except toward the end when the saddle was splitting me in half (it really wasn't that bad, just not quite right for me for extended periods). Cruising speed was 12 mph on flat pavement. At one point, I folded the bike and wheeled/carried it up the long steps at Khao Takiab, a rocky hill on the coast upon which are several temples. Coming down, I was able to just roll the bike down the long steps. Carrying the bike the whole way would have been a chore and really got me really sweating.

    Unfortunately for US customers, Stridas will get much more expensive due to a change in distributors. I've heard of the two-speed bottom bracket, but have also heard the sales volumes are not enough to bring the cost down to reasonable levels. I hope sales will improve, but that won't happen with the strategy used in the US market.

    The Strida is a very clever and innovative design of high quality (built in Taiwan). It is not for everyone, but it is perfect for some. I left mine in Bangkok because I will be back, but now I miss it.

  3. #3
    Senior Member wubrew's Avatar
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    3. Very upright sitting position. Not very comfortable for a long 30km ride but should be ok for 3-5km jaunts.

    The Strida is a short distance commuter specific folder and taken as that, it's one of the best. Throw in its beautiful design and strong value pricing, it deserves to do better.

    Whao that's 30/1.6---18.75 miles! How do you feel? I once took my 6ML for a 10 miles spin and decided then that in the future anything more than 2-3 miles I will take my 26" Specialized instead.

  4. #4
    Car free since 1995 pm124's Avatar
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    Howdy, I couldn't make out any of the start points on the bike path. What is a good spot to get on? I'll be there with my Birdy in a month.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldiesONfoldies
    Having been impressed by the generally positive feedback from this forum, I took the plunge and got myself a white Strida 3 w black mudguards today. The dealer was kind enough to allow me a 30km test ride and these are my findings:
    Good review.

    There's a bike dealer in the U.S. that still has the Strida? Where is this dealer?

    I was also wondering if you can use a Brooks Champion flyer with the Strida 3? If this is the case, then long rides with this bike is very possible.

  6. #6
    Small wheels ARE better! OldiesONfoldies's Avatar
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    I must say I feel very happy that the Strida has put a smile upon many owner's faces. I believe long ride comfort can certainly be improved with a better seat, but the fixed handle bar position, described aptly as "Victorian upright" limits touring. But it can be done... I'm sure.

    Like many of you, I own other folders too - Brompton, Dahon Speed Pro & Helios but somehow feel a very special affinity to the Strida thanks to its "user friendliness". Lets see how long that last

    Strida reminds me of my iPod. Simple but stylish and does the job brilliantly well.

  7. #7
    Senior Member wubrew's Avatar
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    Just like the Brommie Strida is limited by the handle height ajustabilty as well as gearing. Both of them great folder though. Will you do the 30km jaunt again soon?

    pm better restart your Birdy Yellow soon!

  8. #8
    Life in Mono
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    I tried posting this yesterday in the original thread, but something was going on with the site, and the thread dissapeared!
    weird - I posted a generally positive comparison of Strida3 and Brompton for commuting in and around London - BUT the WHOLE thread seems to have just vanished !!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simple Simon
    weird - I posted a generally positive comparison of Strida3 and Brompton for commuting in and around London - BUT the WHOLE thread seems to have just vanished !!
    Exactly.

    What happened to the thread? Was there a server crash? Are there backups, or a mirror archive somewhere?

    There's often really useful info' on the forum, & it's sometimes several months after a post that I find something interesting along with relevant links etc., so it's rather sad if it's unreliable storage.

    Did the original poster delete it?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldiesONfoldies
    2. High quality finish. Lovely paint job, sturdy feel,
    Well built, agreed. No paint on mine though, just aluminium, which does scratch fairly easily of course, so decals or cut inner tube strategically placed will help keep it looking nice.

    Quote Originally Posted by OldiesONfoldies
    The Challenges

    1. Slow cruising speed. It is most comfortable at 17kmh only, which really is too slow for me. My Brompton and Dahon Helios easily do 25kmh. I guess one speeders require a different riding expectation but it takes hills reasonably well.
    I think one has to accept that max' speed, or choose another bike. The gearing seems well designed & as Simon says, fitness of rider is most important when it comes to hill climbing. As my fitness has improved, so has the hill climbing.

    Quote Originally Posted by OldiesONfoldies
    2. Twitchy handling compared to "normal" frame bikes. Takes getting use to. Certainly not for beginners.
    I suspect many small wheelers are twitchy? I'd take issue with "not for beginners" though. It depends on the rider. A friend brought her 12 year old daughter around recently & she sped up the road on my Strida, & she'd never *seen* a Strida before, let alone ridden one. She was asking her Mum if she could have one ;-) I think younger riders will take just seconds to get used to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by OldiesONfoldies
    3. Very upright sitting position. Not very comfortable for a long 30km ride but should be ok for 3-5km jaunts.
    Well, with a new seat, I've done 16 mile trips, & felt ok. Most trips I make are about 7 miles or so. I can't recall feeling much different on previous diamond framed bikes. Only my BikeE feels better after really long trips.

    Quote Originally Posted by OldiesONfoldies
    Throw in its beautiful design and strong value pricing, it deserves to do better.
    Agreed.

    Quote Originally Posted by OldiesONfoldies
    Would love to hear from other Strida users or critics.
    Well, we're probably all (especially Paul with that interesting long post) wondering if the thread will stay up for more than a day ;-)

  11. #11
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    "Unfortunately for US customers, Stridas will get much more expensive due to a change in distributors."

    Strida will get more expensive due to the fall in the value of the US$.
    2000 Montague CX, I do not recommend it, but still ride it.
    Strida 3, I recommend it for rides < 10mi wo steep hills.
    2006 Rowbike 720 Sport, I recommend it as an exercise bike.
    1996 Birdy, Recommend.
    Wieleder CARiBIKE (folding), decent frame.

  12. #12
    Thinks-too-much member
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    That too, but according to this thread: New US Distributor for Strida in 2007 US prices will jump $100 next year for the same product.

  13. #13
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    I would second the need for Strida to beef up the bottom bracket housing, which does flex considerably when being pedaled by a strong cyclist. My suggestion would be to get rid of the plastic housing and replace it with a cast aluminum housing of similar design.

    As far as luggage size requirements, Strida claims that the folded bike meets all airline luggage size requirements with no further disassembly required. I had no problem travelling to Europe by air with two folded Stridas in the optional travel bags sold by Strida. My complaint regarding the bags themselves is that they lack sufficiently durable reinforcement at critical wear points; on their first use, several sharp or protruding parts on the bike wore completely through the bags on both bikes.

    As far as wheels are concerned, I think the plastic wheels probably will stand up to more abuse from luggage handlers, etc., than the optional wire spoke wheels; however, the plastic wheels lack a sufficient bead on the inside of the rim to hold the tires on if inflated to more than 55-60 psi.

    The other significant wear I have experienced on the bike itself is an erosion of the plastic 'teeth' at several points around the chain ring.

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    Quote Originally Posted by randya
    As far as wheels are concerned, I think the plastic wheels probably will stand up to more abuse from luggage handlers, etc., than the optional wire spoke wheels; however, the plastic wheels lack a sufficient bead on the inside of the rim to hold the tires on if inflated to more than 55-60 psi.
    I wonder with the new Strida's coming out next year, if the company doesn't make aluminum rims a standard with all bikes. Do you think a Brooks Champion flyer can be used to replace the plastic saddle?

  15. #15
    Small wheels ARE better! OldiesONfoldies's Avatar
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    Concerning packing the Strida for air travel, it may be a good idea to cover those sharper points with cardboard, bubble wrap or a towel before putting into the Strida bag. I see the handle bar stem, seat & rack as areas that need extra care & attention.

    My wish for the Strida is to have a simple 3 speed hub gear like the Brompton. This will give it the much needed gearing esp for light touring. Its a pity as its so airline friendly compared to other folders which has "touring" capabilities.

    I hope someone from Srida Corp is listening to us here in this little forum!

  16. #16
    Small wheels ARE better! OldiesONfoldies's Avatar
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    Would it be helpful for you to know that here in Singapore, the new Strida dealer is having a promotion for a limited time? Strida 3 with performance package plus bag for only S$650 or US$400. Not sure about the shipping cost to the US but you can contact the local Singapore dealer. Write to Vivian or Steven at:

    contact@stridasingapore.com

    They are quite nice folks

  17. #17
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    That's actually quite a good deal, are they unloading old stock in preparation for the new model release?

    re. air travel, I padded the stem and handlebar area with our rack trunks, the most wear to the bag was where the rack 'points' touched the ground, e.g. on the bottom of the bag, and on the side of the bag where the hex head bolt holding the two frame pieces @ the rear wheel rubbed through. IMO, the bags should be reinforced at these points with some heavy duty vinyl or something.

    Some gearing would be good, as would a choice of 16" or 20" models.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by randya
    I would second the need for Strida to beef up the bottom bracket housing, which does flex considerably when being pedaled by a strong cyclist. My suggestion would be to get rid of the plastic housing and replace it with a cast aluminum housing of similar design.
    They already have. Here's a link I posted before:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/1294877...n/photostream/

    I've no idea if this is available to buy.

    Quote Originally Posted by randya
    As far as luggage size requirements, Strida claims that the folded bike meets all airline luggage size requirements with no further disassembly required. I had no problem travelling to Europe by air
    Paul the seeker was surprised about no length restriction - here in Europe weight seems to be the main concern. I had no queries about the length on a flight to France, & we couldn't find anything on the carrier's web site about length limit on stuff going into the hold.

    Quote Originally Posted by randya
    As far as wheels are concerned, I think the plastic wheels probably will stand up to more abuse from luggage handlers, etc., than the optional wire spoke wheels; however, the plastic wheels lack a sufficient bead on the inside of the rim to hold the tires on if inflated to more than 55-60 psi.
    That's my impression. The wheels feel very strong, & no steel spokes to puncture tubes! It did take a while to properly centre a Big Apple tyre on the front, so maybe that's bead related. It's done about 60 miles so far with no problems, so be interesting to see how I fare when I get a puncture. The alloy wheels do look lovely though, along with the disc brakes on those photo's.

    Quote Originally Posted by randya
    The other significant wear I have experienced on the bike itself is an erosion of the plastic 'teeth' at several points around the chain ring.
    Interesting. How many miles has it done roughly?

    I had to get clean mud off the bike recently & didn't notice the build up of dirt in the rear sprocket teeth (it's the same grey colour as the plastic :-) ). I rode off only to stop after a few yards with the belt riding up on the hub. Closer inspection revealed said dirt, so a tooth pick cleared out the sprocket & it was fine again. So far that's the most time consuming cleaning task - about 5 min's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldiesONfoldies
    Concerning packing the Strida for air travel, it may be a good idea to cover those sharper points with cardboard, bubble wrap or a towel before putting into the Strida bag. I see the handle bar stem, seat & rack as areas that need extra care & attention.
    We packed our clothing around them in the shipping boxes, & they were fine. One box had a new hole on the return trip, but that was from the outside. We even squeezed in 2 bottles of wine on the return trip :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by OldiesONfoldies
    My wish for the Strida is to have a simple 3 speed hub gear like the Brompton. This will give it the much needed gearing esp for light touring.
    From a previous post, take a look & listen to Mark Sanders' video - they've tried, trying, will try, all sorts of ideas :-)

    http://video.google.co.uk/videosearch?q=strida

  20. #20
    Small wheels ARE better! OldiesONfoldies's Avatar
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    That's actually quite a good deal, are they unloading old stock in preparation for the new model release?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I dont think so as this is their first shipment which just arrived 5 days ago!

  21. #21
    Life in Mono
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    Thanks For the Links !! ... really interesting ! I like the single speed (am I alone on this ? ) On an idential commute I dont get any advantages on the 3 speed Brompton - Its lightly faster on down hill gradients where strida runs out of top speed (I'm not a spinner !). But strida is actually faster on the return uphill gradients (brompton gears are either just too low or just too high). But the rider makes more difference - a really fit guy on either bike would be faster !

    For hilly rides I wouldn't take either of these (prefer a Whyte Mountain bike )....... but for 90% of Rides to and across london Strida3 is my weapon of choice, throw in a few long corridors, or trips inside shops and Strida gets 100% - as it can be rolled on its wheels, and being long and thin doesn't get in anyone's way.

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    Count me as a single speed aficionado too ;-)

    I like being able to crawl up to a junction, see it's clear, & accelerate away without worrying about cable/ gear/ chain slip, or being in the right gear.
    I imagine there are loads of bikes around with maladjusted drive trains that people just put up with because they can't get more than 1 or 2 changes to operate smoothly.

    Naturally there are times when a higher cruising speed would be nice, but not at the expense of drive train complexity.

    I read your Brompton vs Strida post just after buying my Strida 3 & was relieved at your findings, as I'd considered the Brompton, but just couldn't afford the double(quadruple :-)) cost, as we needed 2 bikes.

    The strolling is really handy too. I've progressed with my near-vertical strolling stand, but it's too heavy as it's steel, so I'm looking for some suitable aluminium tube for the final design.

  23. #23
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    I have been riding a Strida for about 20 months, taking it on a commuter train and then riding about 3 miles in NYC virtually every day, rain or shine. I love it. I have no substantive complaints. I never have any trouble finding a spot for it on the train, and walking it through the station is easy. It folds quickly, it unfolds quickly, and it has a zippy ride. On account of the small and light wheels, which don't store much energy, both stopping and acceleration are excellent, better than on a bike with larger wheels. To go really fast, you have to spin the pedals efficiently, which I like to do; and you have to accept that "really fast" is going to stay under 20 mph no matter what. But you can certainly go fast enough to be comfortable in city traffic. The upright posture is good for city riding, putting me in nearly the same posture as pedestrians. Visibility is excellent. I agree that the bottom bracket flexes too much, but I get used to it.
    The Strida's chief limitation is sizing. It fits people in a narrow range of heights; to make it suitable for larger or smaller people, they would have to make larger or smaller frame sizes (and I wish they would). I weigh 165 lbs and find the Strida very stable, but I gather its stability decreases sharply when you put a heavier rider on it.
    All in all the Strida suits my needs perfectly, and I am amazed I don't see more of them. But, sadly, the one I own is the only one I have ever seen. Go figure!
    RHM

  24. #24
    Small wheels ARE better! OldiesONfoldies's Avatar
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    Just want to say how glad and privilege I am to share and learn from all you Strida enthusiasts. This is my first single speed bike and I am beginning to appreciate the joys and simplicity of it.

    I have added a Minora QB90 water bottle cage that sits very nicely on the handle bar. Its easily detachable and holds the essential water bottle very snugly. http://www.minoura.co.jp/acc-e.html

    Has anyone successfuly changed the seat to Brooks Champion Flyer? That may be my next upgrade.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldiesONfoldies
    I have added a Minora QB90 water bottle cage that sits very nicely on the handle bar. Its easily detachable and holds the essential water bottle very snugly. http://www.minoura.co.jp/acc-e.html

    Has anyone successfuly changed the seat to Brooks Champion Flyer? That may be my next upgrade.
    Can you post a pic' of how it fits on your bike?

    Take a look here:

    http://www.long-john.com/

    Chop! has a great site with lots of interesting pic's & info'.

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