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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 05-30-07, 10:56 AM   #1
cyclistjohn
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airframe "Super 8" help please!

Are any of you helpful souls familiar with this folder?

Trying the "search" revealed only about 3 posts on this mysterious folder.

I'm looking at an unfolded one now..........

So, you've guessed it - what's the correct modus operandi for (un)folding please? :-)

It appears to traverse the living room floor only in gear # 8, ie. top. I've just downloaded & will shortly Read The Fine Manual, but it looks like I'll need to withdraw from life for a while.....
So, do any of you have experience, & thus maybe a shorter time to fix, of this Sturmey-Archer "XRF8" 8 speed hub please?

I've been to:

http://airframe.foldabikes.com/

which appears to only cover the Mk1?

airframe site is "under construction".

Chop!'s got a link, but points elsewhere.

thanks folks.
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Old 05-30-07, 12:35 PM   #2
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Where/when did you purchase? I had wondered (i) who bought the things and (ii) whether airframe had gone out of business. It does seem a deeply eccentric concept, with a not particularly small fold. But then again, I've never encountered one in the flesh and it does - I guess - have a certain uniqueness about it.
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Old 05-30-07, 12:41 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matt52
it does - I guess - have a certain uniqueness about it.
Well, matt52, I do ride a Strida you know.......... ;-)

Let me sort out the technical stuff first please, & then I'll post back :-)
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Old 05-30-07, 10:32 PM   #4
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I've ridden the Shimano 4sp version (replaced by the SA 8sp). It rides a little flexibly but goes surprisingly well if you 'go with the flow'. Some funny creaks though, particularly when standing.

Adjusting the SA8 isn't hard (aligning between marks on the fulcrum arm in the 'correct gear'), although cable tension is quite sensitive (otherwise you get random gears).

Folding it (from memory) involves turning the handlebars through 180 degrees (the correct way to avoid damaging the front brake cable), pushing the saddle forward a little and lifting until the BB is near the top tube. The spring-loaded sleeve on the seat tube is lifted and the saddle allowed to fold beside the folded frame. The handlebars are folded either side of the folded frame. You end up with a long, skinny package (like a golf bag) that can be trolleyed on the front wheel.

There is a better folding description (and ride report and photos) on the Folding Society website.
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Old 05-31-07, 01:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LWaB
I've ridden the Shimano 4sp version (replaced by the SA 8sp). .....
Adjusting the SA8 isn't hard (aligning between marks on the fulcrum arm in the 'correct gear'), although cable tension is quite sensitive (otherwise you get random gears).

Thanks for responding LWaB! In fact the SA8 manual I downloaded is only 4 pages, & some of those mention brakes! I'm not much wiser from that. I've been reading the extensive DT mini thread which appears to have that hub, but like one lady owner mentioned, there's no trace of any "yellow marks" for alignment. "Random" is a good description! :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by LWaB
Folding it (from memory) involves turning the handlebars through 180 degrees (the correct way to avoid damaging the front brake cable), pushing the saddle forward a little and lifting until the BB is near the top tube. The spring-loaded sleeve on the seat tube is lifted and the saddle allowed to fold beside the folded frame. The handlebars are folded either side of the folded frame.
I'll have another cup of tea, & take another look thanks :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by LWaB
You end up with a long, skinny package (like a golf bag) that can be trolleyed on the front wheel.
Sounds just like my Strida! ;-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by LWaB
There is a better folding description (and ride report and photos) on the Folding Society website.
Any specific link you have handy please?
I did look, & I have a 2002 AtoB back # describing their riding experiences with one. Their write ups seem a bit anecdotal sometimes, & it can be hard to know exactly which bit they're talking about :-)
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Old 05-31-07, 03:43 PM   #6
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I've test ridden the 8 SA airframe and it's a funny old bird. Like Little Wheels and Big says, it groans a bit under power but you do get used to it's springy ride. I preferred it to a Strida, but that was due to the wider gear range. However, I did not feel comfortable out of the saddle, but that may have been due to my size. I did not fold it as I had no intention of buying it!

Last edited by Fear&Trembling; 05-31-07 at 03:48 PM.
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Old 05-31-07, 06:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclistjohn
Any specific link you have handy please?
It is amazing what can be found in the Folding Society's Test reports page (not the same thing as A to B)
http://www.foldsoc.co.uk/airframe1.html

By the way, I am >180 cm tall and >80 kg weight, so the Airframe felt more than a little flexible.

http://www.sturmey-archer.com/pdfs/XRF8.pdf should give you the adjustment details. There should be a fulcrum lever on the axle (shown in fig 1 of http://www.sturmey-archer.com/pdfs/XRF8.pdf) that has the necessary yellow marks.
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Old 05-31-07, 11:07 PM   #8
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Ok, thanks to you both for responding.

As I had no accompanying information at all, I didn't think it wise to twist & turn various bits until I was clear on the order of operations.

I've become accustomed to the Strida's 10 Kg, & I wouldn't really want a bike much heavier than that. The airframe is about half a kilo heavier, but does have a SA 8 speed hub which is good compensation for that increase. The weight seems well distributed too, as it feels as light as the Strida, although that's unfolded, as I didn't actually get an opportunity to fold it. Apparently it is strollable too, another indispensable feature I find.

I'm about 170cm & 75kg, & as I was unsure if it was already properly completely unfolded, just rode it along a poor quality surface driveway, & I didn't notice any flex for that short ride, It was silent too, just like my Strida. It's a fair bit longer wheelbase than the Strida which I suppose translates to more comfort at the expense of a tight turning circle.

Fear&Trembling, are you much bigger than that? Maybe there's a transition height / weight where flex starts to appear?

The bike is no longer here, but there will be another shortly, so if anyone's interested, let me know, & I'll write down my findings.
Already it looks though that riders' impressions of a particular bike's ride won't necessarily relate to another individual's experience.....

The airframe is a very interesting design, looks substantially well built, & no frame unhinging devices.

LWaB, typical, I did come across that link later yesterday, but I appreciate the post, thanks. The reviewer didn't actually ride the bike much distance, & I can't find his promised follow up. I'll see if I can find more on "Denise Wilson rode the bike in a sponsored 400Km charity ride" as that might be more revealing.

I think I must have erroneously assumed a link between the folding society & AtoB, so thanks for mentioning that!

I did eventually find those yellow marks as per the SA8 pdf, but according to that document it was aligned correctly anyway, so I don't know why only top gear worked. My only previous experience is with derailleur gears, & my favourite (except when it comes to monster hills ;-) ) none at all.
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Old 06-01-07, 12:05 AM   #9
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The reviewer eventually used the bike for several months. Several other Folding Society members rode the same bike (with varying degrees of enthusiasm) during that time.

I found that the SA8 cable should be adjusted towards one mark more than the other for best shifting (which seems fairly common with the SA8) but can't remember which one. My two SA8 hubs are being used by other people now.

A to B used to be called the Folding Society many years ago. When it changed name, the internet-only Folding Society began but it has no affiliation to the magazine.
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Old 06-01-07, 01:44 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fear&Trembling


I've test ridden the 8 SA airframe and it's a funny old bird. Like Little Wheels and Big says, it groans a bit under power but you do get used to it's springy ride. I preferred it to a Strida, but that was due to the wider gear range. However, I did not feel comfortable out of the saddle, but that may have been due to my size. I did not fold it as I had no intention of buying it!
I've just spotted a ? at the top of your post, but the Flikr url says it's private.

I think you ride a Birdy?

Was your test ride after you'd been riding your Birdy awhile?
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Old 06-01-07, 01:47 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LWaB
I found that the SA8 cable should be adjusted towards one mark more than the other for best shifting (which seems fairly common with the SA8) but can't remember which one. My two SA8 hubs are being used by other people now.

A to B used to be called the Folding Society many years ago. When it changed name, the internet-only Folding Society began but it has no affiliation to the magazine.
Ok, thanks for the tip. Have you found the SA8 hub to be reliable & not need much adjustment?


Ah that explains it :-)
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Old 06-01-07, 02:29 AM   #12
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@cyclistjohn

I'm 6" 2' about 88kg (too much foreign beer and curries).

I just badger my local Evans for test rides of their folders - they don't mind that I rarely buy bikes, as I am probably their best inner-tube customer.

FYI, Evans have slashed the price of the Airframe by over 350 - this is not surprising as the Airframe's level of brand awareness is very low. I am guessing the high rrp cost does not help with sales either.

I sold my Birdy and Brompton to friends, and now have 2 Treks. Am still procrastinating re: my next folder.

The image was simply of an Airframe - I doubted many people had seen one!
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Old 06-01-07, 05:11 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Fear&Trembling
@cyclistjohn

(too much foreign beer and curries).
I can relate to that ;-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fear&Trembling
am probably their best inner-tube customer.
& that, at an average of 1 a fortnight :-)
I'm trying to decide which tyres I should fit those liners to out of my growing collection.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fear&Trembling
...the Airframe's level of brand awareness is very low. I am guessing the high rrp cost does not help with sales either.
Probably so, & it looks like that's going to change, as is the price. Most of the search references point to "under construction". I'll post a link when I get a few more details.


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I doubted many people had seen one!
or dealers that purportedly sell them actually!
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Old 06-02-07, 02:46 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclistjohn
Have you found the SA8 hub to be reliable & not need much adjustment?
Once I got it right, it stayed that way. When I moved the rear wheel (puncture or chain stretch), I'd have to fiddle with the cable adjustment a little (once) while riding.
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Old 06-02-07, 03:32 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LWaB
Once I got it right, it stayed that way. When I moved the rear wheel (puncture or chain stretch), I'd have to fiddle with the cable adjustment a little (once) while riding.
Ok, thanks.

I've really got used to replacing tubes & tyres on my bike without taking the wheels off. The AF front wheel would be ok, as there's a QR. Can you recall if it might be possible to fit a QR on the rear wheel?

Did you ride the bike in Oz, at a dealer?
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Old 06-02-07, 02:34 PM   #16
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You can't fit a QR to any internal hub except a Rohloff. I rode the Airframe when I lived in the UK.
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Old 06-04-07, 09:22 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matt52
Where/when did you purchase? ...... I've never encountered one in the flesh and it does - I guess - have a certain uniqueness about it.
Matt,

I wouldn't want to inflict "where" on you. My LBS experiences for much than tubes & tyres aren't great, I'm sad to say, with the most recent leaving me speechless......

Anyway, the British manufacturer is much more pleasant & enthusiastic to deal with. They are in the process of modifying the airframe website, though currently have an airframe link on their manufacturing site:

http://silkmead.co.uk/airframe1.htm

The price quoted there is for the 4 speed hub. The 8 speed variant is 450.

I think a North Londoner bought one recently, so maybe you'll see it around :-)
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