I'm thinking about buying a Strida for commuting and for use while travelling; I have a few questions, and I'd appreciate any other advice for new Strida owners as well.
How does the 5.0 compare to the 3.2 for longer rides? Do the metal bottom bracket, metal wheels and different freewheel make a noticeable difference?
It appears that some vendors in Asia are selling Strida 5.0s for less than what a 3.2 costs in the US. For example, Yahoo in Taiwan appears to be selling 3.3s for US$320 and 5.0s for US$480. Does anyone know of a shop in Asia that's willing to ship to the US?
Speaking of Strida 3.3s, what is a Strida 3.3? It looks like a 3.2 with metal wheels, but are there any other differences?
Any recommended accessories? I'll definitely need a water bottle holder, and it'd be useful to have a basket or panniers or a rack bag too.
I have had a Strida 5.0 for three months but have no experience with previous models. I understand that when Strida was sold to Ming Cycles they bought the rights to do whatever they wanted to in future improvements. I'm not certain, but I understand the 3.2 and 3.3 are pretty much the same except for the introduction of metal wheels and ergonomic grips in the latter. The 5.0 freewheel is at the rear hub instead of at the crank, as in the 3.2 and 3.3, which I understand makes it more efficient when coasting. I further understand that the plastic bottom bracket housing of the 3.2/3.3 was prone to squeaking under hard riding, which is not a problem with the 5.0's metal housing.
I really like the the 5.0 for my short commutes and recreational rides.
This is a relatively new forum with some information that may be of interest to Strida owners. The "News" and "Where to buy" links are a little out of date but the user forums have photos, tech tips, accessories, web links etc., not found easily from other sites. Many members I believe are predominantly from asian countries like Singapore, Korea and Taiwan where the Strida is more prevalent. The site itself is in English even if some of the users links are not.
The Strida 5 has the freewheel at the back, but any savings due to the belt not turning when freewheeling are offset by the 1:3 ratio turning the front freewheel - lost when it is at the back. This change was more due to being able to use the now more available disc brakes (cf drums), and a conventional crank.
Not sure if that's actually true, but it has some logic to it.
I've read Mr. Sanders' commentary on the rear vs. front freewheel before. I can't say which is better as I've only ridden the 5.0, however I've read the comments of least one user here in these forums who has ridden both and he felt that the rear freewheel was an improvement in coasting over the front freewheel.
Ive had both the Strida3 and Strida5. I first bought the 3 and liked it, but I was leery of the plastic BB and wheels. I'm 6' and 190lbs. When the 5 came along, I thought it was overpriced at US$800. When I found it for $600, I jumped at it. (I probably would not have bought at $800.)
The 5 is definitely a nicer bike. In addition to the obvious changes to the wheels, brakes, BB and crank, there have been many little, subtle things improved. They clearly incorporated a lot of user feedback in the design of the 5. I feel very confident on it.
So, my bottom line is if you're a genteel, occasional rider, then the 3 will be fine. If you're going to ride a lot and ride seriously, the 5 is worth a couple hundred more.