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  1. #1
    Building a better Strida
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    Sub $100 chinese folders (to get the newbies folding faster)

    Hey guys, i figure this place has been a great help to me, so I figure if we can, have a sticky of the 'recommended' folders that we can suggest within-reason for less than $100.

    For the fiancée, I picked this up today. $90 flat out the door, new.

    Saw a kijiji ad for a dude in toronto and has a few new bikes that he and his friend had imported from china. Wife-to-be hinted that she wouldn't mind riding with me if she could fit her bike with a basket to put the dog into, so I decided it wouldn't hurt to look at this one, since it met the criteria of:

    1. folding handlebar stem
    2. 16" wheels (can use my knock-off strida's pre-upgrade tires as spares for both bikes)
    3. single speed with hand brakes
    4. luggage rack

    as a bonus, it has rear suspension.




    Wow, this blew away my first folder from a few years ago. The main tube hinge mechanism is locked on both ends and has an adjustment shaft for elimiating play. The handlebar stem folds down to the left and locks between the bike when the bike is folded completely, and has a plastic sleeve built into the stem that keeps the handlebars pointed straight all the time.




    The single speed gets it going at a decent pace and I figure its because of the size of the crankwheel.

    Has a smooth comfy ride with the 40psi tires 16 x 1.75 and also rear suspension and womans sprung seat. The seat itself is a shorter nose womans saddle.

    Not planning to make any upgrades to this one, but I already swapped out the really crappy stock pedals for the fake strida's previous folding pedals. When I get around to it, I'll also put on the stridas previous Velo Ergo grips! Folding basket will be attached to the handlebars!

    Overall, I think the bike, even tho its small, is around 26lbs. Its easy to carry but after 10mins can be a bit much. it can be dragged as a stroller using the seat or extended handlebars. A decent ride for $90 and heck, I got to see the family i'm helping support a small bike start-up, and we can't have enough of those!

    anyone have any others worth mentioning?

  2. #2
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    What is the folded size of that? You bought this in Canada from a dealer? 'Definitely shows the lower limit of how much functional things can be produced for at low cost of labor. Now if they'd just design a few things to accept standardized components, adopt a better Brompton-like design, and voila.

  3. #3
    Building a better Strida
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    yup, the dealer is in toronto.

    the folded dimensions, I imagine are very similar to the smallest dahon:



    32 x 64 x 75 cm (12.6" x 25.2" x 29.5")

    folds the same way and the wheels are the same size.

    The lack of standard components on my first chinese folder really ticked me off when i wanted to upgrade or replace stuff, but on this one, it shouldn't be a problem - it already has everything i spec'd out.

  4. #4
    Pedaling fool ShinyBiker's Avatar
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    Maybe they'd be interested in importing those Flamingo brommie clones. I'd run up there to pick one up and I'm sure I'm not alone.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShinyBiker View Post
    Maybe they'd be interested in importing those Flamingo brommie clones. I'd run up there to pick one up and I'm sure I'm not alone.
    You're definitely not alone. Now that Brompton doesn't have an inexpensive model, it's needed to have something else enter the market with their folded size. It costs $1100 to get into something of theirs now. 1 year ago it was $650.

  6. #6
    Building a better Strida
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    i have seen, but haven't ridden or folded a brompton, but they seem to be the BMW of folding bikes, with Birdy following close behind and can understand why.. they look great, and its that look that influenced my purchase for the bike, above! There is a certain brompton influence in that horozontal tube.

    Its quite strange that the brompton hasn't been made for a lower cost. Understanding that the components are top-shelf, I wouldn't mind a stripper version knock-off that i could fix up depending on my intended usage and budget.

    if there are any other no-name or inexpensive folders, please post em!

  7. #7
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Wow.

  8. #8
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    trueno, I'm looking for a folding basket to attach to my Downtube mini's handlebars (it does not have a rear rack). Do you have any recommendations? I haven't haven't managed to Google one up yet.

  9. #9
    Building a better Strida
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    im going to take the folding basket I have and simply use velcro straps to strap it on either side to the handlebars and then one to the stem and string it between the basket. i'll post pics, but its pretty good and the velcro straps are very decent and won't break away without serious effort. vibration just makes them work better.

    if it doesn't get in the way of the fold (shouldn't be too thick between the wheels), then i'll prob ziptie the ones on the handlebar.

  10. #10
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Please post an update / ride report after you've logged some km on this little machine... a sub $100.00 folder sounds like a great idea as long as it delivers some solid performance.

  11. #11
    Building a better Strida
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
    Please post an update / ride report after you've logged some km on this little machine... a sub $100.00 folder sounds like a great idea as long as it delivers some solid performance.
    yes, an "I didn't break it yet!" mini review will be pending once the weather stabilizes and we don't get any more freak thunderstorms.

  12. #12
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trueno92 View Post
    Its quite strange that the brompton hasn't been made for a lower cost. Understanding that the components are top-shelf, I wouldn't mind a stripper version knock-off that i could fix up depending on my intended usage and budget
    There is indeed a Brompton clone. It's called the Merc and is sold in the UK for 330 Pounds. Very good bike.

    Here's mine in the wild:



  13. #13
    Building a better Strida
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    yup, there are a few merc owners on the forum and they look great. 330 pounds = like $700 canadian.. I guess I meant to say that I am surprised they haven't started to mass produce them for a lower cost.. say similar to dahons etc etc.

    that bike looks so sweet tho. gimmie one in cream and one in british racing green, please. How much do they weigh? AtoB mag said they components were pretty crap, your setup looks more decent tho.

  14. #14
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    Hi trueno92, are you talking about a folding basket like the one here (http://www.amazon.com/Wald-Folding-B.../dp/B0012DZEBY) strapped to the handlebars and stem using Velcro One-wraps (http://www.amazon.com/Velcro-Brand-O.../dp/B000BSJC6Y) or plastic cable ties (http://www.amazon.com/Gardner-Bender...3642365&sr=1-2)?

    When you have a chance, please post pics of your bike with the folding basket, with bike in folded and unfolded states. I'd be grateful.

    Thanks!

  15. #15
    Building a better Strida
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    Urbanis, yes, you are bang-on. Except im using a slightly cheaper basket from MEC.ca, velcro wraps are similar. I figure velcro wrapping is better since its removable. also when wrapped thru the basket, it would require carrying something really heavy.

    Wanted to take the easy way out and just have the basket on the rear rack as there is plenty of room, but if the dog is in the basket, and the dog falls out while riding.. the gf would throw the bike at me.

  16. #16
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    Hi trueno92, thanks for your note. I really like the idea of having a folding front basket that I could leave attached to my folding bike (if it works with the fold), but if I had to remove the basket, I could fold it up and throw it in a tote bag. Since my bike doesn't have a rear rack, my idea is to have a folding front basket into which I would throw a zippered tote for hauling stuff around. A simple, lightweight, and compact solution.

    I don't understand what you mean here: "also when wrapped thru the basket, it would require carrying something really heavy"? Can you clarify?

    Thanks!

  17. #17
    Building a better Strida
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    Quote Originally Posted by Urbanis View Post
    I don't understand what you mean here: "also when wrapped thru the basket, it would require carrying something really heavy"? Can you clarify?

    Thanks!
    got distracted mid-sentence, should read:

    "also when having the velcro wrapped thru the basket, it would require carrying something really heavy to unfasten the velcro"

    again, it SHOULD work alright. folding baskets are about an INCH thick when folded tho... So I don't know how well they will fare folding up between each half of the bike.

    I know JUR has a pretty mini, maybe he can share how much space there is when the bike is folded up.

    These damn folding baskets are a touch weighty tho.. maybe around a whole pound.

  18. #18
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trueno92 View Post
    How much do they weigh? AtoB mag said they components were pretty crap, your setup looks more decent tho.
    Mine's around 27lbs. The bike is not crap by any means. It's not perfect, but quite good. The AtoB article is religiously biased because it's a clone. You know well what emotions that brings out in certain quarters.

  19. #19
    Building a better Strida
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    yeah, I figured the Brits would have not been too pleased with a clone of their beloved brommy.

    looks very good tho, but $700 daaaamn......... there has to be another company out there willing to take more pride in folding bikes. The seller of these folders told me that with bikes sooooooo common in CHINA that every manufacture is just interested in hammering out something cheap with minimal assembly required. Also, bikes go missing quite a lot, so a NICE folder isnt a huge priority.. just somethign that works for a few months is fine for their standards..

    i'll start saving my pennies, nice upgrade with rollerblade wheels on the rack.

  20. #20
    Building a better Strida
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    basket while folded won't work, the bike folds up too compactly.. looks like the basket will have to travel seperate.

    more details tomorrow





  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by jagatron View Post
    You're definitely not alone. Now that Brompton doesn't have an inexpensive model, it's needed to have something else enter the market with their folded size. It costs $1100 to get into something of theirs now. 1 year ago it was $650.
    Yeah, and I'm slightly unhappy that I didn't grab the last $600 one (no tax, free shipping) from Calhoun Cycle. But I don't really need it, so I guess I can wait for flamingo/merc to get more established.



    BTW, that looks like a nice bike for $90 trueno92. Great thread.
    Last edited by makeinu; 06-17-08 at 10:55 AM.

  22. #22
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    Hi trueno92, thanks for posting the pics. Your Chinese bike is very similar to my Downtube Mini, so I'm sure I won't be able to fold with basket attached either.

    I may go for a regular lift-off non-folding basket to save the hassle of having to strap/re-strap on the folding one. This basket looks like it might work: http://www.amazon.com/Wald-Standard-.../dp/B000AO3H2Y

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by SesameCrunch View Post
    ... The AtoB article is religiously biased because it's a clone. You know well what emotions that brings out in certain quarters.
    Not just that, but a Brompton clone. That's a double heresy.

    What does AtoB stand for, anyway? I imagine it's Accolades to Brompton, but I could be mistaken.

  24. #24
    Building a better Strida
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    yeah, I figured, dahon would have made the basket fit/work, but alas, it cannot be done..

    The handlebars fold down really compactly between each half-frame, so I can't fault the design of the bike! Strapping off and on is a tad clumbersome, but works for now and only takes a few mins..

    I may try another solution, not sure what yet, or simply get that clip on removable basket, as you linked from amazon..

    from mec.ca
    Swagman Retro Basket


    Product Number: 5012-401


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    Gear Notes:
    Swagman Retro Basket
    Use this basket to do a bit of shopping and then mount it on your bike and pedal on home.
    • Quick release mechanism makes the basket easy to mount or detach.
    • Recommended maximum capacity of 7kg.

  25. #25
    Building a better Strida
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    actually, maybe im gonna try to find a wicker basket.. lol. looks much more humane than that folding cage. lol

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