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  1. #1
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    Downtube IX help

    hey everyone!

    I just received my Downtube IX NS 9 speed!! This is my first bike purchase ever. I'm happy to say that the research and the posts on this forum helped me make my decision.

    I have trouble folding the bike as the brochure that came with it is pretty null. What is the best and quickest way to fold a Downtube? And what do I need to maintain my bike?

    Thanks alot for reading=) see ya on the rooooaaaad!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member downtube's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by passonby
    hey everyone!

    I just received my Downtube IX NS 9 speed!! This is my first bike purchase ever. I'm happy to say that the research and the posts on this forum helped me make my decision.

    I have trouble folding the bike as the brochure that came with it is pretty null. What is the best and quickest way to fold a Downtube? And what do I need to maintain my bike?

    Thanks alot for reading=) see ya on the rooooaaaad!!
    To fold the bike try the following:

    1. Loosen the stem quickrelease
    2. Push the quickrelease in the direction of the red arrow and allow it to fold.
    3. Put the seatpost all the way down.
    4. Loosen the frame quickrelease
    5. Push the quickrelease in the direction of the red arrow and allow it to fold.
    6. Folding is completed

    I like White Lightning for lubing the chain, Pedro's Syngrease for most everything else. Also make sure to get some basic bicycle tools.

    Thanks,
    Yan

  3. #3
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    thanks Yan!

  4. #4
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    I also just received my new IXNS (just in time for an ice and sleet storm, heh.). And I am also having some trouble folding 'compactly'.

    If I do what seems to be a 'standard' fold, the two wheels are nearly together but the handlebars are also on the side of the bike, making the width something like 17" and hard to put in the bag.

    If I rotate the fork/front wheel 180 degrees (mashing the front reflector a little bit), the handlebar semi-fits between the two wheels but the width is still about the same, 17-18".

    Downtube's web site says the folded size is 12" x 23.6" x 33", is that 12" width with the stem fully removed? I hope not. What have most people been doing with the fold?

  5. #5
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    Folding the Bike

    I too haven't been to impressed with the size once it is folded. It can be quite awkward. I have had limited experince with a Dahon and the folded Dahon seemed similar. Much smaller than a regular bike but a bit awkward.

    I have felt that in its folded mode it is not as slick there as I had hoped.

    To help resolve your question perhaps you can rotate the stem around a bit and run the handle bar parallel to the frame.

    I had swapped out the treadless stem for a 15cm (150mm) stem for ride quality. After seeing what that does to the fold, I would consider going with a 50 or 60mm stem and that would improve the compactness if that is what is most important to you.

    Probably not the best answer but I though your question deserved something.

  6. #6
    Folding bike junkie! Wavshrdr's Avatar
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    If you want a smaller fold, you pretty much need to go to 16" wheels. I too was surprised at how big my first 20" folder was especially since I had an adjustable handlebar stem and needed the bars higher for my height. Once you bag it, it doesn't seem quite as big.

    If you put the bars between the frame halves, it seemed smaller for me. Did you drop the seat and bars all the way? The Downtube isn't any worse than the other 20" models out there. The Downtube Mini is definitely smaller and so is the Brompton and Merc.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wavshrdr
    If you want a smaller fold, you pretty much need to go to 16" wheels. I too was surprised at how big my first 20" folder was especially since I had an adjustable handlebar stem and needed the bars
    Wavshrdr, after all your experiencde with folders, would you lean toward the Brompton design if folding size is the primary consideration?

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the replies. I am not concerned about the overall general size of the 20" fold (I consciously chose not to get a 16" wheel for now), but the width being 17-18" folded versus the web site's 12" width claim for the NS model; I was wondering if I was doing something wrong with the handlebar/stem.

    I actually thought the bike seemed HUGE in the carrying bag, it is much better outside the bag.

    My primary criteria is whether Amtrak will give me any problems with the bike on the short 25 minute segment I will use as my commute. I'll report back in a couple weeks.

    If Yan wants to comment on whether the 12" width listed on the Downtube site is with the stem fully removed, or the "general" width of the main frame+wheel and doesn't count the stem portion, it would help clear things up! I just want to make sure I am not mis-folding the bike.

  9. #9
    Folding bike junkie! Wavshrdr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasong
    Wavshrdr, after all your experiencde with folders, would you lean toward the Brompton design if folding size is the primary consideration?
    I hate to say it but yes; either that or the Merc. I do have to give props though to the Downtube Mini though. I like it a lot more to actually ride than the Brompton. 8 useful gears, great breaks and excellent ride quality.

    The Brompton brakes definitely leave something to be desired and I don't think it is a good value. However when I have some extra $$$ to spend on bikes, I'll add another one. My boss is thinking about selling his and maybe trying to find one of the full Ti Brommies. That is way out of my price range for a bike.

    So to make it perfectly clear the Brommie is not the best folding bike but it has the best fold (Merc is the same). So if folded size is your priority, go with a Brommie or Merc and then the DT Mini. I honestly think the Mini is the best bike in the DT lineup but maybe I'm biased. It really surprised the heck out of me.

    JugglerDave- the reason I said IN the bag as then it doesn't LOOK like a bag and most people don't hassle you when you carry it on. If they ask tell them it is sporting good equipment. Put a decal of a local pro team and they'll never bat an eye.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wavshrdr

    JugglerDave- the reason I said IN the bag as then it doesn't LOOK like a bag and most people don't hassle you when you carry it on. If they ask tell them it is sporting good equipment. Put a decal of a local pro team and they'll never bat an eye.
    I support you on that one. I use the black bag to carry my Downtube in the bus because they do not allow bikes on there.

  11. #11
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    i carry my multi tool with me and adjust the stem so it folds in on itself, also the bar ends. it fits the bag much easier after that. took the bike and bag on the train the other day and found other people had bags much bigger than mine! also handlebar should be on the outside not between the wheels.

    barney

  12. #12
    Senior Member downtube's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JugglerDave
    Thanks for the replies. I am not concerned about the overall general size of the 20" fold (I consciously chose not to get a 16" wheel for now), but the width being 17-18" folded versus the web site's 12" width claim for the NS model; I was wondering if I was doing something wrong with the handlebar/stem.

    I actually thought the bike seemed HUGE in the carrying bag, it is much better outside the bag.

    My primary criteria is whether Amtrak will give me any problems with the bike on the short 25 minute segment I will use as my commute. I'll report back in a couple weeks.

    If Yan wants to comment on whether the 12" width listed on the Downtube site is with the stem fully removed, or the "general" width of the main frame+wheel and doesn't count the stem portion, it would help clear things up! I just want to make sure I am not mis-folding the bike.
    FYI the bike comes in a 13" wide box....hence with the stem removed it is 12" wide.

    The problem you are having is the stem folding to the outside and sticking out. You can swap the orientaion of the lower stem so it folds between the frame halves. You may have to work with the stem height and angle.

    Thanks,
    Yan

  13. #13
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    Yan, I just received my 2nd downtube today, an IX NS. I have one of the older ones from 2005.

    Should there be any play in the main hinge before closing the quick release? That is, should I be able to lift from the back half of the frame and see about 1-2 mm play between the flat surfaces of the hinge plate (this is when the QR is aligned in the upper/lower holes, just not closed). There is no play in my 2005 Downtube. Closing the QR you can see a few millimeters rise in the frame as the halves join.

    Also, the hinge bolt seems to have one washer in the top of the two horizontal gaps. Should there be a washer in both gaps? order is: bolt head, washer, frame front, washer, frame back, frame front (note no washer between bottom frame:frame junction), washer, bottom bolt head.

    I have pics if this helps the description,

  14. #14
    Senior Member downtube's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasong
    Yan, I just received my 2nd downtube today, an IX NS. I have one of the older ones from 2005.

    Should there be any play in the main hinge before closing the quick release? That is, should I be able to lift from the back half of the frame and see about 1-2 mm play between the flat surfaces of the hinge plate (this is when the QR is aligned in the upper/lower holes, just not closed). There is no play in my 2005 Downtube. Closing the QR you can see a few millimeters rise in the frame as the halves join.

    Also, the hinge bolt seems to have one washer in the top of the two horizontal gaps. Should there be a washer in both gaps? order is: bolt head, washer, frame front, washer, frame back, frame front (note no washer between bottom frame:frame junction), washer, bottom bolt head.

    I have pics if this helps the description,
    The play you are referring to is not normal....and you are missing a washer. Email me your address and we will send you one, hopefully that will fix the problem.

    Thanks,
    Yan

  15. #15
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    Yan, I further inspected the hinge assembly today while removing the bottom bracket. Apparently, there are no washers between the frame_front,frame_rear inner interface (to revise my assembly: bolt head, washer, frame_front_interface, frame_rear_interface, frame_front_interface, washer, bolt head). Should there be anything other than listed? There is a fair amount of gap that exists between the two pieces, perhaps at max 2mm. This accounts for the movement that occurs between the frame halves when taking the quick release from open to close. Wiggling the frame when the hinge-safety is in place can push that gap to either side of the frame/frame interface.

    Other notes:

    The torque that the bottom bracket has been installed is well beyond any spec. After leaving liquid wrench on the threads for 20 minutes and tapping, I had to use a 2 foot breaker bar with perhaps 100 feet of downforce (200 ft-lbs) to break the cup. The opposite side wasn't as bad, but still ~50 lbs (100 ft lbs). This is a very bold move considering that the cups are steel and the BB shell is aluminum. I was surprised not to see the threads trashed inside the shell. In a bike that had been ridden for maybe 5 minutes, I could already see overuse on what appears to be the only ball bearing side (non-drive!) race. Apparently the drive side is sitting on some sort of bushing??? (very unsmooth, scratchy roll)

    Also, the threads on the driveside crank bolt were completely stripped. Other side ok. There was no way the lockring on the non-drive side was going to come off the cup. I could see it already was rounded off from the installer. I rounded a bit off my lockring tool trying to remove it.

    As I mentioned in an email, all of the fasteners holding on accessories like the guards/rack were way over torqued for their quality. One has to deform the bolt head to remove it (even after liquid wrench).

    Headset is adjusted too tight.

    Rims appear to be a hair large, as breaking bead on stock tires is challenging. Installing new Stelvio tires takes a bit of a grip.

  16. #16
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    A follow up on this bike.

    The frame's bottom bracket shell was not threaded to be perfectly centered for both halves. The threads are perfectly intact and I can screw in the original bottom bracket that came by hand (one half at a time).

    I had removed the bottom bracket (above post). Today I attempted installing another bottom bracket that has a thicker cartridge shell that mates with another cup (ISIS). The opposite free cup has a limited tolerance in which the cartridge side can slide through and assumes that both cups centers are perfectly on axis.

    So, this is now an unfixable problem.

    One of the bolts that were holding in the chainring had threads that were stripped, so using this BB isn't going to be safe or possible.

    I've read at least another Downtube problem story of someone having a seized bottom bracket. I'd guess that most people haven't removed their bottom bracket, or they would have felt compelled to write about the amazing amount of torque needed to get it out, or other techniques (heat).

    I'm concerned that these bikes are going to be tossed in 5 years. The bottom bracket is going to fail or someone will realize that it's been giving too much resistance all along, or now play has developed because it wasn't ever installed properly. So you're going to want to reinstall this later on to see the damage that was done and nothing can be done. Had I not wanted to upgrade the bike, I wouldn't have seen this, as it indeed pedaled out of the box.

  17. #17
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    Bottom Bracket Removal

    I removed my bottom bracket on my FS DT using the correct tool (My first ever act
    as a novice bike mechanic) and it came out fine, using techniques described in
    my basic bike mechanic manual. The BB from China was pretty poor black iron
    item that I replaced with same size Shimano with no real effort.
    The original was pretty crappy , but, for me, was easily replaced.
    Same goes for headset. I tore it down, lubed and put together.
    I have also replaced the derailleur and shifter.
    I wish I was lucky enough to have bought a IX NS, as most of the upgrades I did
    would have been covered by the better parts on the 2007 bike, compared to my late 2005 bike.

  18. #18
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    My BB was a bear for my lbs to get out, took him 6 hours. Granted I had ridden in the rain at that point. I don't doubt the stock BB leads to certain problems as my crank bolt on the non-drive side also stripped easily. All is well with my Shimano Octalink BB though.

  19. #19
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    BMFU, how much did your LBS charge you for 6 hours labor in removing the BB?

    Hbob, don't assume that the components included in the IXNS are of any better quality. The BB that came with it appears to only have balls on one side (the non-drive, if I remember) of the BB. The other side grinds while spinning as if a bushing is used. You're wise to have serviced the things that normally aren't serviced. It's not clear why final assembly is even done, because it only risks that the user will try to ride something that hasn't been properly assembled and risk damaging the bike.

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