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  1. #51
    rhm
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    I agree, OP's negotiations with the manufacturer, and his alerting the rest of us to a potential problem, are separate issues.
    Last edited by rhm; 11-26-07 at 07:23 AM. Reason: I originally wrote something else, but realized my observations had already been addressed

  2. #52
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhm View Post

    So I repeat my question: Barneybarney, have you contacted Yan directly about this? If I were you, I would send him an email through Downtube, not a Bikeforums PM. I would offer to trade him the broken frame for a new one. And I would post his reply here.
    This whole situation is getting curiouser and curiouser to me.

    The OP has not answered any of our numerous questions regarding circumstances of the breakage. He has not contacted Yan for resolution (per Yan's post). He is not upset about the breakage, which most of us would be. I can't quite figure this one out.

    Unless, the OP knows he did something something to contribute to the breakage??

  3. #53
    rhm
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    Quote Originally Posted by SesameCrunch View Post
    This whole situation is getting curiouser and curiouser to me.
    For those of you who missed it, SesameCrunch quoted an ephemeral post that I deleted right after writing it. Yan's post --which I had somehow missed-- had already answered most of my questions, and anyway, I would not post a private communication without the permission of the person who wrote it.

    The questions about the rider's weight is relevant, and it would be nice to have some sort of an answer. The question about seatpost extension (or hyperextension) is important both generally and to me specifically because I habitually ride my Mini with the seatpost extended about an inch over the "minimum insertion" line.

  4. #54
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian_1 View Post
    "Cycling home from work this morning the frame split in two at the seat tube, sending my handlebars one way and the seat post the other, no bruises but my downtube days are over boo hoo."

    I've heard of two other Downtube frames breaking. Just interested to know - is the Downtube frame made in China? If not, where is it made?
    I'd be very curious to know the circumstances of the other 2 frame breakages, since I own several DTs. Can you share them with us?

  5. #55
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    " I've heard of two other Downtube frames breaking. Just interested to know - is the Downtube frame made in China? If not, where is it made?"

    Yes, it's China. I'm thinking all these Chinese bikes on the market don't all have their own factories. Dahon does I guess. Walmart probably has their own. Wonder if most of these smaller market brands, Swift and DT to name just two, are all built in the same factory?
    Last edited by tgzzzz; 11-26-07 at 08:25 AM.

  6. #56
    Wheelsuck Fat Boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tgzzzz View Post
    The other is the shear point in the pics makes a lot more sense if that was where the saddle post ended.
    Remember, even if the seat post is down in the tube, it doesn't mean it is supporting any of the loads in that tube. Without the clamp at the top of seat tube, it is not a tight enough fit to support much weight at all. There could be quite a bit of bending before the seat post takes any load. Also, if the seat post were farther down in the tube that might have been the saving grace that kept the guy in one piece when it broke.

    I think all of us are pretty interested in the failure and what the answer to it is. In my case, I have a bike with a different frame. It doesn't affect me personally. I am interested in Yan's response. As a person who runs a small business, I know that making my customers trust me is very, very important. Yan's actions have so far been text-book of 'What not to do'.

    Here is 'What To Do:'

    1. Talk to the OP and find out all the details. Weight, mileage, abuse level, etc.
    2. Get the damaged frame back to you.
    3. Trade out frame with new or good used frame. It would be fine to pro-rate the cost of a new frame. Have OP pay shipping, but DT should provide a mechanic to do the work. Regardless, DT should want to get that frame back in their shop.
    4. Perform a complete failure analysis. Was the aluminum the correct alloy? Was the weld undercut? Cut the seat tube apart and evaluate where the witness marks of the seat post were to determine actual seat post engagement. FIND OUT WHAT WENT WRONG. This is not an exercise in finger pointing, it's an exercise in finding the root cause of the problem and then remedying that problem.
    5. Work with factory to fix the problem. Like I wrote previously, I'd think some gusseting would go a long way towards fixing the problem.
    6. Tell everyone on this forum that in an effort to make sure their customers are safe, DT is willing to pro-rate a new updated frame to anyone who wants it. The customers send in their old frames and a certain amount of money based on how long they've had their existing frame. Customers pay shipping. They are sent a new frame which they can rebuild into a 'new' bike.
    7. Done properly, Yan could figure out what the original problem was, improve his product, make sure all of his existing customers were riding a frame they felt was safe, foster good feelings among existing customers by showing a willingness to step up to the plate, reduce liability for old frames which might have a weak point, and probably make a little money on the whole deal in the process.

    The ball is in your court, Yan, what is the right thing to do?

  7. #57
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fat Boy View Post

    The ball is in your court, Yan, what is the right thing to do?
    I agree with everything in your post. It's extremely reasonable and logical.

    However, I think Yan is not playing in this sandbox anymore. My belief is if the OP had handled this in a private manner, Yan would have been more motivated to work with him in problem resolution.

  8. #58
    Wheelsuck Fat Boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SesameCrunch View Post
    My belief is if the OP had handled this in a private manner, Yan would have been more motivated to work with him in problem resolution.
    OK, but that doesn't change the problem. In fact, the OP, didn't come on and say, "This bike is a piece of crap" or anything like that. In fact, he was oddly complimentary. Yan was not attacked, regardless of what he thinks. Go over to the Road forum and see what Mike from Bikes Direct goes through. That is attacked.

    The truth is that the problem (at least several hundred of them) is still out there for the customers to deal with alone if Yan isn't up to the task. Why isn't he dealing with it? Because he got his feelings hurt over the injured party notifying a core group of enthusiasts of a potential problem with their bikes. Come on, grow up, man. That's no way to do business.

  9. #59
    Bicycling Gnome
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    Quote Originally Posted by tgzzzz View Post
    " I've heard of two other Downtube frames breaking. Just interested to know - is the Downtube frame made in China? If not, where is it made?"

    Yes, it's China. I'm thinking all these Chinese bikes on the market don't all have their own factories. Dahon does I guess. Walmart probably has their own. Wonder if most of these smaller market brands, Swift and DT to name just two, are all built in the same factory?
    Whether it was made in China or elsewhere is irrelevant. Like any factory ANYWHERE, Chinese factories should know what they have to deliver, at what quality and at what price. If they know there's no quality control by the importer, they'll cut corners - who wouldn't? Quality is the responsibility of the person commissioning the work in any real world, hard negotiated contract.

    That post above is an attempt to cast a slur on competition. All the crap about Matell products, reflects entirely on Matell who didn't bother to test the quality of mass produced products. This was a failure on a massive scale.

    I'm quite sure by the way that Downtube do test their designs and their manufactured products. Yan said so. I'm simply objecting to the slur I see far too often from people who really want to rubbish the cheaper competition from outsourced manufacturing nations. Sour Grapes, in my opinion. The Brompton aficionados do it all the time about a certain Taiwanese make. Outright lies about every aspect of the bike.



    Just as others have said, the circumstances of this particular failure have not been explained. It is ludicrous to speculate about mass failures or trends on the basis of this incident. We've already heard people here say how they ride their bikes with excessive seat tube extension. We know some folks are far too heavy for the bikes they ride, and some abuse them horribly. Of course some bikes have faults, but it is impossible for us to know why this bike failed or whether it is part of a bigger pattern. Actually, scrub that last point.... How many have we heard of?
    “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live." - Mark Twain

  10. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvilV View Post
    Whether it was made in China or elsewhere is irrelevant. Like any factory ANYWHERE, Chinese factories should know what they have to deliver, at what quality and at what price. If they know there's no quality control by the importer, they'll cut corners - who wouldn't? Quality is the responsibility of the person commissioning the work in any real world, hard negotiated contract.

    That post above is an attempt to cast a slur on competition. All the crap about Matell products, reflects entirely on Matell who didn't bother to test the quality of mass produced products. This was a failure on a massive scale.

    I'm quite sure by the way that Downtube do test their designs and their manufactured products. Yan said so. I'm simply objecting to the slur I see far too often from people who really want to rubbish the cheaper competition from outsourced manufacturing nations. Sour Grapes, in my opinion. The Brompton aficionados do it all the time about a certain Taiwanese make. Outright lies about every aspect of the bike. ?
    EV- I think you're railing at the poster I quoted rather than me. My point was simply that if many of these Chinese bikes are built in the same factory (with probably many of the same suppliers) it puts a different spin on the quality and quality control issues.

  11. #61
    Bicycling Gnome
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    Quote Originally Posted by tgzzzz View Post
    EV- I think you're railing at the poster I quoted rather than me. My point was simply that if many of these Chinese bikes are built in the same factory (with probably many of the same suppliers) it puts a different spin on the quality and quality control issues.
    Sorry -

    “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live." - Mark Twain

  12. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fat Boy View Post
    The truth is that the problem (at least several hundred of them) is still out there for the customers to deal with alone if Yan isn't up to the task. Why isn't he dealing with it? Because he got his feelings hurt over the injured party notifying a core group of enthusiasts of a potential problem with their bikes. Come on, grow up, man. That's no way to do business.
    +1

    There should not be different treatment if the OP comes privately or publicly. This has happened before, as seen after reading through these threads. There seem to be many claims to benefit the people with this product at this price point, but is it a fun-way street? All the positive publicity in the forums can help the brand, but negative should be dealt with accordingly? What have the people received from the positive support?

    I can see why the company's representative is disappearing. Any implicit consent in these forums on their part, or not saying "You shouldn't ride with your seatpost above the extension mark" when numerous people say this amidst other threads, or people making these strange modifications (a recumbent?) to suit the needs of a bike that doesn't appear to have replacement parts (aren't many artificially making the seatpost longer than it comes with? Did someone put some wood in theirs?) and not getting feedback publicly is just opening a liability case. There's a reason why other companies are not in here representing their product as an owner or affiliate. OP could have died.

  13. #63
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimIsbell View Post
    Any implicit consent in these forums on their part, or not saying "You shouldn't ride with your seatpost above the extension mark" when numerous people say this amidst other threads, or people making these strange modifications (a recumbent?) to suit the needs of a bike that doesn't appear to have replacement parts (aren't many artificially making the seatpost longer than it comes with? Did someone put some wood in theirs?) and not getting feedback publicly is just opening a liability case.
    I'm quite certain you have a good point here, but I've read your paragraph 5 times and have not been able to comprehend it. Short sentences can be useful sometimes...

  14. #64
    Señor Mambo
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    Quote Originally Posted by SesameCrunch View Post
    I'm quite certain you have a good point here, but I've read your paragraph 5 times and have not been able to comprehend it. Short sentences can be useful sometimes...


    Quote Originally Posted by TimIsbell View Post
    There's a reason why other companies are not in here representing their product as an owner or affiliate. OP could have died.
    I'm guessing the above is his gist.

  15. #65
    jur
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    Quote Originally Posted by SesameCrunch View Post
    I'm quite certain you have a good point here, but I've read your paragraph 5 times and have not been able to comprehend it. Short sentences can be useful sometimes...
    Yep let's eschew obfuscation.

  16. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimIsbell View Post

    I can see why the company's representative is disappearing. Any implicit consent in these forums on their part, or not saying "You shouldn't ride with your seatpost above the extension mark" when numerous people say this amidst other threads, or people making these strange modifications (a recumbent?) to suit the needs of a bike that doesn't appear to have replacement parts (aren't many artificially making the seatpost longer than it comes with? Did someone put some wood in theirs?) and not getting feedback publicly is just opening a liability case. There's a reason why other companies are not in here representing their product as an owner or affiliate. OP could have died.
    I think he means the designer / importer may open himself to liability suits by entering into dialogue with people who habitually discuss how they operate the bikes outside their design parameters; eg: riding with over extended seat posts; trying to compensate by stuffing a broom shank up the post, or turning the bike into something else entirely. Once he shows he's here operating a bike advice clinic, it may be expected that he continue, and he may be held liable when I write in and say I've attached wings and a microlight motor to mine and he doesn't caution me not to do so.

    LOL - That's just as obfuscated as TimIsbell's post.
    “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live." - Mark Twain

  17. #67
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvilV View Post
    I think he means the designer / importer may open himself to liability suits by entering into dialogue with people who habitually discuss how they operate the bikes outside their design parameters; eg: riding with over extended seat posts; trying to compensate by stuffing a broom shank up the post, or turning the bike into something else entirely. Once he shows he's here operating a bike advice clinic, it may be expected that he continue, and he may be held liable when I write in and say I've attached wings and a microlight motor to mine and he doesn't caution me not to do so.
    You know that's my doing, don't you ?

    P.S. Well said, EvilV. I think you're right about his intent.

  18. #68
    All ur bike r belong Enki james_swift's Avatar
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    What's the matter here? The broken bike hasn't been replaced yet?

    When the seat tube on my Swift developed a 1-inch crack, I got an email from Xootr saying they would send-out a free replacement bike (not just the frame) less than 30 minutes after I had sent an email to customer service reporting the problem. The new bike was shipped to me free of charge and I was back on the road in about a week. Oh, and they offered to send me a loaner bike to use as the silver model was out of stock at the time.

    Those crazy folks at Xootr apparently send out each and every bike frame with a lifetime warranty.

    All bias aside, sorry to hear about your predicament. I'll be following this thread to see what comes of it.

  19. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by james_swift View Post
    ...
    When the seat tube on my Swift developed a 1-inch crack, I got an email from Xootr saying they would send-out a free replacement bike (not just the frame) less than 30 minutes after I had sent an email to customer service reporting the problem. The new bike was shipped to me free of charge and I was back on the road in about a week. Oh, and they offered to send me a loaner bike to use as the silver model was out of stock at the time.

    Those crazy folks at Xootr apparently send out each and every bike frame with a lifetime warranty.

    All bias aside, sorry to hear about your predicament. I'll be following this thread to see what comes of it.
    James,

    interesting post, thanks.

    Do you think Xootr would replace a frame if it failed out in the sticks somewhere?

    Ie., suppose one was on tour on such a bike, in, eg., Tibet, but had internet access, could a "nearby" postal spot be agreed as a drop off for a replacement?

    If so, buying a Xootr Swift would be good insurance!

    I think there's only one UK dealer, but maybe buying direct might be better in the long term.

  20. #70
    Senior Member downtube's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by james_swift View Post
    What's the matter here? The broken bike hasn't been replaced yet?

    When the seat tube on my Swift developed a 1-inch crack, I got an email from Xootr saying they would send-out a free replacement bike (not just the frame) less than 30 minutes after I had sent an email to customer service reporting the problem. The new bike was shipped to me free of charge and I was back on the road in about a week. Oh, and they offered to send me a loaner bike to use as the silver model was out of stock at the time.

    Those crazy folks at Xootr apparently send out each and every bike frame with a lifetime warranty.

    All bias aside, sorry to hear about your predicament. I'll be following this thread to see what comes of it.
    I would like to address several points made in this thread.

    #1 We are great with any warranty claims. I have had two frames break during crashes, both breaks look similar to the one in this thread ( I am not trying to imply anything, just stating a fact). The bikes were not warrantied due to the crash ( no manufacturer warranties crashes ) however we gave sweetheart deals to both riders to get them back on the road with our frames. Does anyone know of another company that wholesales bikes for around $300 & covers customers on unwarrantied crashes???

    #2 The poster of this thread never filed a claim with us, and from his post it sounds like he doesn't want a replacement. I will respond to any warranty claims properly.

    #3 I am doing everything to the best of my ability in running Downtube. I am certain my actions will not satisfy everyone.

    #4 In 2005/2006 I was welcomed here as manufacturer that fights the established order. I thank all the friends I made in that time....it was awesome. However this past year it seems I am being treated as part of the establishment....not the change. There is no denying a difference in tones has occurred by viewing posts over the past 3 years. It is not fun defending myself and my decision making. I am a very honorable proper person. Having my integrity challenged in a forum takes the fun out....when it is no fun I leave. Therefore, I have minimized my viewing/posting to once every 10-14 days.

    #5 I find the legal arguments interesting, however I am certain I am allowed to hang out at different places online & offline. Past, present & future always change....nothing can stay the same forever.

    #6 I am running the Downtube as an experiment. I am not a businessman nor will I ever be one. Did anyone notice we have more price elasticity than any of our competitors? Dahon bumped the Speed 7 to $429 in 2008, just a few years ago the same bike was $249. We can easily charge $100 more for our lineup and we would still be way below our competition, with no drop in sales.

    In short we have done everything different from our competitors the beginning. I design/import/distribute/retail all bikes. I handle all emails & all phone calls. Why do I do this? I want to be as efficient as possible as we scale. I do not want any inefficiencies creeping into this business. When I am done my global scaling ( Japan, S. Korea, & S. America ) I will write a book on how to develop a business ( cookbook style ). Hopefully I can help society by distributing great bikes & hopefully I can help others do the same in other industries. My experiment should be over in 12-18 months. At the conclusion we should have a hyper efficient scalable business that can be replicated in other industries.

    In this post I have defined were we came from, where we are, and were will will go. I can not see anything improper in our goals or actions, hence I can not understand a repeated negative tone towards us.

    Thanks,
    Yan

  21. #71
    Bicycling Gnome
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    No Yan - I can't either. Some people like to b*tch. They're probably just unhappy sort of folks.

    You sell the cheapest decent folder in the UK as far as I can see. It was always a good deal, but with the changing exchange rates it is now a real buy. If I hadn't already got too many bikes, I'd buy one of those 2007 minis for sure.
    “Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live." - Mark Twain

  22. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by downtube View Post
    #6 I am running the Downtube as an experiment. I am not a businessman nor will I ever be one. Did anyone notice we have more price elasticity than any of our competitors? Dahon bumped the Speed 7 to
    This is why these bikes are being sold with a 1 year warranty, when everything else name brand has 5yr or life? Sounds like an experiment for the buyer too.

  23. #73
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    I'm new to this forum, but I have two folding bikes.
    This is the first I had heard of the Downtube bikes. They seem like everything I am looking for in a folder, but I am on the high side for the rated capacity of the mini (I'm 195# dressed in the summer...), so I couldn't tour with it.
    I like the looks of the front suspended bike with the Sturmey Archer hub.
    I noticed on some other posts that the owner of the bike that failed used a post rack and panniers. I wouldn't be surprised if that isn't the cause of the frame failure since he also rode on rougher trails with it.
    I am a welder, and I despise aluminum! As wonderfully light as it is, it will not tolerate flexing/overloading.
    If you overload it, it is finished. It is also easy for inexperienced or sloppy welders to mess up the welds, despite how easy it looks.
    So far all of my bikes have been steel, and this is the first aluminum bike I have even considered owning, however I would have to go with the 20" wheel front suspended model to get a strong enough frame rating to allow panniers. Too bad, but I can live with 20" wheels. Obviously the design choice was to go for light weight on the mini, and you can't please everyone without charging much more.
    I only wish there was a dealer in Western Canada so I could try one out..
    Dean

  24. #74
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    Ive posted my experience with my Downtube so it doesnt need to be reposted.
    Yan personally dealt with some concerns I had via email within 24 hours and
    I B-E=A=T my IX-NS daily for 20 miles and I have not had one problem to
    date after the initial sorting-out period. It seems that no actual DT owners are
    bashing the bikes, not even the owner of the cracked-framer.
    For 200-350 + or - what other mainstream company makes anything comparable ?

  25. #75
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    Why not ask downtube what they charge for a new frame, explaining your situation. Or check ebay craigslist.
    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.

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