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Old 09-25-08, 09:23 AM   #1
joose
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Which folder requires the most maintenance?

Some bikes just go and go, year after year with no problems, other's seem to require constant attention whether to sort out niggles such as seat post squeaks, Frame hinge problems etc..

..which folder gives you the most hassle, irritation, problems on a regular basis? Conversely, which models, brands give nothing but sweet simple riding pleasure?

This isn't just for sheer moaning sake, I'm overall enjoying my folder and want another one in the future but I want to avoid to much 'faff' with my next bike. I want the easy life

To start this off I have a Dahon Curve D3, problems include:
  • Constant slipping seat post
  • Main hinge always needing adjusting
  • Handle bar hinge needs constant adjusting both for locking as well as setting up for riding
  • Constant creaks, I oil them, new ones appear!
  • Bike falls over 50% of time when leaning on its prop stand
  • Random front flat tires?! No leaks, no punctures just sometimes totally flat
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Old 09-25-08, 09:53 AM   #2
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....... Conversely, which models, brands give nothing but sweet simple riding pleasure?
Haven't ridden a broad enough range to say which require most, but since you also ask about least.....

If I was a commuter, the hands down winner is the Strida - almost nothing to rust in the rain, hub brakes still work fine even through last year's floods (not quite so wet this year), punctures are trivial to repair (& we've had plenty of those) & neither bike has had anything done other than cleaning. Nice small footprint, stroll nicely, but tall of course.

SInce owning the Strida, I now have experience with 2 406 mm. wheeled bikes, both requiring derailleur adjustment from time to time, but not too arduous. One of them has good brakes, the other downright dangerous.

My most recent folder has a Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub, & no adjustments so far after ~ 350 miles.

So, commuting in the wet, < 16 kms say, & not too steep hills, Strida, definitely requiring the least maintenance, & great fun to ride.

Big hills, need more speed than a single 56" gear gives, long distance, then some other bike probably, but almost certainly more maintenance required.............
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Old 09-25-08, 09:53 AM   #3
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I have no experience with other brands but I have 2 Dahon Mu P8 and same thing here...
*slipping seatpost - I had to replace 4 shims and 2 seatposts in order to fix it and I really hope I did ( I have to take the bike for a long ride).
* main hinge - I put 200 miles on my bike, no hinge problems so far.
* creaks and clicks - you are totally right, I gave up and I hope one day they will go away.
*bike falls over - don't have any problem, it feels very stable and solid; in your case it must be the size and weight distribution.
* Flat tire - had only one but the Mu equipped with QR so changing tube is a breeze compare to te Curve D3.

TC

UPDATE: I have tried to fix the slipping seatpost problem but to no avail. I am returning both bikes to the store for a refund. 3 different Dahon dealers couldn't fix that problem so maybe the guys in Dahon California could find what's wrong with the bike. Dahon people said there is only one shim they use but I have received 3 different shims from Dahon Cali and one Dahon dealer in T.O found 2 more from Dahon Speed TR and Dahon Curve D3 - and they are all different !!! WTF.... needless to say that my seatpost still slips and I really have to reconsider purchasing another Dahon. I am so upset,
I have spent hours trying to find a solution for that and when I say hours it's roughly 40 hours !

TC

Last edited by Tommy C; 09-25-08 at 04:12 PM.
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Old 09-25-08, 10:20 AM   #4
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About the bike falling over: do you mean on the kickstand, or while folded?
The Mu P8 also has an annoying tendency to fall over when folded. Experiment with seatpost height to cure.
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Old 09-25-08, 11:05 AM   #5
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Vitesse D5 2007

Handlepost hinge needs re-threadlocking and adjusting every few weeks. The threadlock is necessary, perhaps I should get stronger threadlock (using medium strength).

Sturmey archer hub plus now very slight axle creep means that the hub needs adjusting every couple of weeks or so, and the rear axle every couple of months.

No need to adjust the frame hinge since purchasing the bike around a year ago. Needs lube on the contact to prevent creaking, but that's no problem.

Seat post slippage is not really a problem since greasing the shim/frame contact area.

The rear mudguard has developed a rattle between plastic and metal bracket - will have to sort that somehow.
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Old 09-25-08, 12:57 PM   #6
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* Flat tire - had only one but the Mu equipped with QR so changing tube is a breeze compare to te Curve D3.

Tell me about it After writing this, finished work, unfolded bike.. flat front again!!! grrr Although being a folder, got on a packed train fine (proper puncture this time although no cause and will need a new tube as its so close to the valve it could go any second. Hopefully will last until I can get to LBS and back tomorrow?

About the bike falling over: do you mean on the kickstand, or while folded?

On the kickstand, I have a rack pack with a pack jacket and some small tools which just seems too much? But we are talking such a small amount of weight. Just need a extra inch on the kickstand and I would be fine I think?

So, commuting in the wet, < 16 kms say, & not too steep hills, Strida, definitely requiring the least maintenance, & great fun to ride.

I really think the Strida has to be my next bike, it sounds perfect for my journey even though I thinks it's expensive


So far so Dahon! lol

Silver lining.. Because I had to catch the train I saw a really old mini Dahon, the type with the struts everywhere, in Red. It looked like my bikes Grandpa lol (was cool)

Last edited by joose; 09-25-08 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 09-25-08, 01:55 PM   #7
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this is a really really good thread, great question joose. Is sear-post-slippage the secret scandal of folders - had it on the merc, on the DT mini (but maybe exceptional circs on the latter....)....
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Old 09-25-08, 02:37 PM   #8
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It's never slipped on my Swift. The tradeoff is, the quick releases on the seatpost are pretty stiff to deal with. But no slippage.
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Old 09-25-08, 02:58 PM   #9
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My Swift hasn't required much maintenance at all. I don't fold and unfold it very often, though. I've had it a few months, rode it a little less than 1,000 miles, I guess.
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Old 09-25-08, 04:16 PM   #10
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My Helioses (Helii?) have had the same problems, and I ride them perhaps two weeks out of the year (they're in another country). It was these problems that eventually drove me to go upscale in the folder I keep in my home (a Tikit). The tikit has its own different maintenance issues, but so far nothing of real irritation like on my Dahons. The tikit's also got the advantage of having very little to adjust each time, and thus little to start sliding on you. And no unidentifiable squeaks, that's what drove me nuts on the Dahons.

I have a friend with a Speed P8 and it's gone flat on him repeatedly: the reason was simple though. Dahon applies quite inferior rim tape, and the spokes poke holes in the tubes. Retaping, an easy task for any bike shop, cures the problem.
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Old 09-25-08, 04:23 PM   #11
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The only slippage I have had was with carbon seatposts. Ritchey liquid torque fixed it good.
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Old 09-25-08, 04:42 PM   #12
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Maintenance, right... chain lubing is the most frequent, chain and cassette replacement, brake block replacement (and more frequent re-adjustment), occasional bearing regrease, Swift has a notched headset which will need replacing. The R20's rear hub is the biggest bugbear so far - broken planet gear and endless lubing trouble, bearings rust, and of course the ongoing adjustment sensitivity.

Chains are the biggie. My Swift's chain wore a huge amount in the 420km Opperman trial, since it rained for 12h non-stop and chains can't handle wet conditions especially with dry lube which easily gets replaced by wet road grit as you pedal on wet roads. Basically it went from no wear detected to a throw-away job in one ride. I think if I had a thick greasy lube on it it might have lasted better under those conditions.

Ah, and occasional tyre replacement. So far none from complete wear-out; two from huge cuts and two from carcass failure.

I get the occasional creak from the Yeah but no biggie. The Yeah also has the older style Dahon latches which don't go out of adjustment so easily and regularly.

Last edited by jur; 09-25-08 at 04:47 PM.
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Old 09-25-08, 04:48 PM   #13
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I haven't had any unusual maintenance issues on my BF NWT (in fact, I have fewer than I do on my road bike). This is probably for two main reasons.

1. Because the fold is relatively large (a disadvantage in certain situations, of course), there are fewer issues related to the folding mechanism (i.e., folding doesn't involve the seatpost sliding; there is no hinge in the downtube, and the handlebar stem lifts out rather than folding down).

2. I fold it and unfold it on average probably once every two weeks.
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Old 09-25-08, 04:53 PM   #14
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I have a Birdy Red (8 speed), no major maintenance issues except local DC dealer (Vienna VA) doesn't even stock spokes. He'll custom make 'em at a premium price all the while selling more big money, birdy bikes at a good profit. Go figure, sell 'em don't support them ?. Still the bike is just ok given the unique wheel size, constant creaking, and weird bounce. If I had to do it all over again Bike Friday or Dahon, although the earlier posts are discouraging re: Dahon.
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Old 09-25-08, 07:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joose View Post
:
  • Constant slipping seat post
  • Main hinge always needing adjusting
  • Handle bar hinge needs constant adjusting both for locking as well as setting up for riding
  • Constant creaks, I oil them, new ones appear!
  • Bike falls over 50% of time when leaning on its prop stand
  • Random front flat tires?! No leaks, no punctures just sometimes totally flat
1. The constant slipping of the seat post you'll encounter on alot of folders. The problem results when the steat post touches the ground and drags dirt and oil inside the frame. You have to clean the post real well including the well where it slides inside. My Presto had this probem when it was new but as it aged, it stopped because the post became scratched. It was the scratched marks which provided extra grip.

2. They hinge is a problem but this was only after I abused the bike after four years.

3. I never had to set the handlbar since I'm 5'7 and only had to do it once. I guess if you're taller, this might not be the case.

4. Constant creeks are a problem with all folders.

5. Front tire flats, you have either a slow leak or the rim tape need to be replaced.
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Old 09-25-08, 08:26 PM   #16
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Steve: Your Presto seems to have the older style latch on the main hinge. Jur also mentioned his Yeah not needing adjustment. Mine, and joose's gripe is with the 2008 V-clamp. IMO a step backwards.

My folder-specific problems:
- V-clamp adjustment rather difficult
- Handlepost/stem won't stay put, will slip during a ride
- Slipping seatpost but Dahon.Steve is right, once you have scratches on the seatpost you can get away with looser clamping.
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Old 09-26-08, 01:39 AM   #17
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I would say the Pacific Carryme requires most maintenance (Looking towards New York and Germany before running for cover!)

On a serious note, I have had no maintenance issues with my Brompton and found it very reliable. After 10 months extensive use I would say the most it needs is a good cleaning of the gears and regreasing of the chain.

The Downtube 8H I own developed a hairline crack at the seatpost but that would happen on many alu frame folders as I had it slightly above the minimum insertion point. Of course I did find the seatpost wasn't really long enough and I'm 6 feet tall exactly. My Downtube FS proved to be very reliable and a taller frame but I did have problems with the bearings in the folding pedals developing clicking noises within a few weeks of use and the left crank fell off cycling. Once I addressed these issues it was more or less a trouble free bike.

Last edited by mulleady; 09-26-08 at 01:46 AM.
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Old 09-26-08, 02:35 AM   #18
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Dt ixfs

Downtube IXFS

Just after i received the bike I stripped down everything with a bearing in it and repacked it with high grade lithium grease.

  • The BB developed an annoying and worsening click/creak - but following a brief exchange of e-mails, Yan sent me a shimano cartridge unit by express delivery that solved the problem (three cheers for Dr Yan).

    The rear suspension arm became loose at the pivot point after about 300 miles. Due to the nature of construction the pivot bolt could not be tightened to eliminate the play and so I fabricated a simple shim for each side. This has eliminated any lateral movement and all is well after another 300 miles.

    As per Mulleady one of my pedals developed a grinding click that i could feel through the sole of my shoe - I thought one of the ball bearings had disintegrated. On stripping down the pedal I found a tiny piece of grit that was causing the disproportionately loud click. Clean up - re-grease and reassemble sorted it - just one of those things I guess that could have happened to any bike. But I would like to know how it got in there?
I would consider chain lubing and punctures part and parcel of cycling and not something that is different for folders. But for the record I have only had a single puncture in 600 miles - and that was really my fault for riding through a pile of broken glass that I had ridden through the previous day on my mtb

All in all I'm very happy with the DT that takes me to work every day through all weathers and over some minor off road sections to boot.

R

Last edited by kcorfognik; 09-26-08 at 02:36 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 09-26-08, 05:20 AM   #19
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I have a friend with a Speed P8 and it's gone flat on him repeatedly: the reason was simple though. Dahon applies quite inferior rim tape, and the spokes poke holes in the tubes. Retaping, an easy task for any bike shop, cures the problem.

I'm taking your advice here feijei and have brought my bike to LBS this morning for a new tube and rim tape to be replaced. LBS also said they would check to see it any spokes needed filing down and would do so, which I thought was good service on their behalf. I'm also buying and having fitted the sprung version of the Brooks B17 in black

1. The constant slipping of the seat post you'll encounter on alot of folders. The problem results when the steat post touches the ground and drags dirt and oil inside the frame. You have to clean the post real well including the well where it slides inside. My Presto had this probem when it was new but as it aged, it stopped because the post became scratched. It was the scratched marks which provided extra grip.

I've tried all the tricks mentioned here as well as the grease ones and it hasn't helped. I'm hoping it will settle in with age?

2. They hinge is a problem but this was only after I abused the bike after four years.

Mine has been a problem after 2 weeks. Have got the glue needed and will put that on this weekend.

3. I never had to set the handlbar since I'm 5'7 and only had to do it once. I guess if you're taller, this might not be the case.

I'm 5'10. However, my design requires I pull the top handlebar about 3cm above Max setting each time I want to fold it (which is normally 4 times a day) This is more an hassle than a problem as I have to line up my steering each time

5. Front tire flats, you have either a slow leak or the rim tape need to be replaced.

I'm all over this!!! Well my LBS is today lol (Bunneys in Nottingham btw - I recommend them)
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Old 09-26-08, 07:45 AM   #20
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Update on the tire rim tape.

Went to Bunneys at lunch to find the bike had popped the new tubes fitted while they were testing them (sorry!). It turns out the spokes have studs which aren't counter sunk in anyway and stick out a country mile!!! Going back later as they are fitting heavy duty plastic tape (which is coming from a lot larger diameter wheel size).

Design flaw?
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Old 09-26-08, 08:17 AM   #21
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It turns out the spokes have studs which aren't counter sunk in anyway and stick out a country mile!!! Going back later as they are fitting heavy duty plastic tape (which is coming from a lot larger diameter wheel size).
Glad to be of service.
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Old 09-26-08, 08:58 AM   #22
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Glad to be of service.

Do you work at Bunneys?
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Old 09-26-08, 09:09 AM   #23
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I have a Birdy Red (8 speed), no major maintenance issues except local DC dealer (Vienna VA) doesn't even stock spokes. He'll custom make 'em at a premium price all the while selling more big money, birdy bikes at a good profit. Go figure, sell 'em don't support them ?. Still the bike is just ok given the unique wheel size, constant creaking, and weird bounce. If I had to do it all over again Bike Friday or Dahon, although the earlier posts are discouraging re: Dahon.
The District Hardware shop has a Phil Wood threading machine -- I think that the shop recently moved to 24th ST NW just north of L ST -- such that I suspect that they could make the spokes you need. They also have some excellent mechanics there that some friends take their vintage bicycles.

The building is a new condo built inside the old framework of the Columbia Women's Hospital.

If you have stock rims and hubs, you can also get spokes from Black Dog Bicycles online.
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Old 09-26-08, 10:28 AM   #24
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I am "inbetween" folding bikes right now, but my downtube NS had developed few problems before I sold it. and excuse me but my bike terminology is poor. the wire controlling the gear came off. I had to drive to bensalem PA to even figure out what was wrong. the bull horn bars were poor and parts fell off and I had to use tape to fix it up. few cracks developed on the folding pedals which were made from cheap metals. the front hinge was very squeaky. it was great bike. and I liked it. except I was not using it as a folder because of the fold size. septa was denying my boarding during peak hours and during off-peak hours I did not have to fold it.
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Old 09-26-08, 11:11 AM   #25
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Re: Seatposts slipping

I use a seatpost clamp (like this or this) clamped directly to my seatpost to prevent slipping and maintain my height adjustment. Unfortunately those particular clamps aren't practical if you lower your seatpost to fold (I remove the seatpost to fold and transport my Swift).

A QR clamp would work, at the expense of adding another step to the fold/unfold process. I haven't seen one in 34-35mm but I'm sure someone stocks them.
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