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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    HP Velotechnik Grasshopper fx folder

    Hi folks- just before Christmas I was fortunate to hear about a sale at a nearby bike shop which enabled me to buy a fully equipped Grasshopper fx . For those who haven't heard of it this is a German 20/20 folding SWB with a Rohloff hub, hydraulic disk brakes and full suspension. So far I've only ridden about 350 miles on it (the weather is not very conducive to riding far at this time of year over here!) Has anyone out there got one of these machines? If so I would love to hear your experiences and opinions. I was slightly dissapointed with the fold-- although the frame does fold sideways in the middle one would need to remove the RH pedal and probably the tiller/handlebars before getting it down to a size where air travel might be a possibility. I have however managed to get it on the train to and from London on a couple of occasions - but only at off-peak times! It's certainly no Brompton but MUCH more comfortable over longer distances!
    I'm all ears!

  2. #2
    Still moving forward.
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    Photos! We must have photos!

  3. #3
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    I took a test ride on the HP Velotechnik Grasshopper. I like it a lot.

    Ciao,
    O^o
    Life is good O^o

  4. #4
    Senior Member caotropheus's Avatar
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    less talk and more pictures!

  5. #5
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    The reason you're not going to find anyone on that recumbent is because your bike would cost as much as a new motorcycle! LOL.

    I still want to see pictures.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by sahadev View Post
    Photos! We must have photos!
    Have a look at http://www.hpvelotechnik.com/produkte/ghp/index_e.html

    Yes- I agree it was expensive (cost more than my last car!) but as an epileptic I no longer drive a car! I use the Grasshopper for longer rides in the country and my venerable Brompton for commuting to work.
    Last edited by grounded_kiwi; 01-24-09 at 03:15 AM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Lalato's Avatar
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    Jealous!!!!

  8. #8
    Nobody mconlonx's Avatar
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    Folding trike, too: http://www.hpvelotechnik.com/produkt...x/index_d.html

    I like the carry strap on the Grasshopper--wonder why more folding bikes don't come with such a thing. Brilliant!
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

  9. #9
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grounded_kiwi View Post
    Have a look at http://www.hpvelotechnik.com/produkte/ghp/index_e.html

    Yes- I agree it was expensive (cost more than my last car!)
    Out of morbid curiosity, what's the ballpark?

    Quote Originally Posted by grounded_kiwi View Post
    but as an epileptic I no longer drive a car!
    Same here. Small world.
    Tour Journals, Blog, ride pix

    I'm in the celtic folk fusion band Baroque and Hungry. "Mended", our new full-length studio album, is now available for download.

  10. #10
    Non-Spandex Commuter jdmitch's Avatar
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    Ooh... nice... I've oogled the Scorpion fx with the Rohloff / SON Dynamo / Schlumpf Speed Drive and (if memory serves these are all options) Schwalbe Big Apples...

  11. #11
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    Normal retail price is about 3400 in the UK with the options I have-- I'm lucky I didn't have to pay that much! (I still don't leave it lying around unlocked though in London!)

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by grounded_kiwi View Post
    Normal retail price is about 3400 in the UK with the options I have-- I'm lucky I didn't have to pay that much! (I still don't leave it lying around unlocked though in London!)
    WOW! That recumbent would cost over $7,000.00 UDS!

  13. #13
    Senior Member Lalato's Avatar
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    It will be a long time before I can afford that one... but man it would be so worth it to add it to my stable. One of these days I'll win the lottery... one of these days...

  14. #14
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    I bought my Grasshopper just before they brought out the folding model, great bike and extremely comfortable, tend to ride it less in the winter as here in somerset most of the mud from the fields end up in the road. I have a birdy with a Rohlof hub and I am somewhat disappointed with the hub, maybe it will improve with more use.

  15. #15
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    The Rohloff is a little noisy in the lower gears but the range, easy of changing, and lack of overlap I find just great! How they ever managed to get 14 speeds in a single hub is quite amazing !
    Last edited by grounded_kiwi; 03-10-09 at 06:43 AM.

  16. #16
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    Finally- a picture

    Quote Originally Posted by sahadev View Post
    Photos! We must have photos!
    At last here is a picture--after about 3500 miles I've got used to the machine and can often beat conventional bikes UP the hills and leave just about everyone behind going DOWN!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  17. #17
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grounded_kiwi View Post
    Hi folks- just before Christmas I was fortunate to hear about a sale at a nearby bike shop which enabled me to buy a fully equipped Grasshopper fx . For those who haven't heard of it this is a German 20/20 folding SWB with a Rohloff hub, hydraulic disk brakes and full suspension. So far I've only ridden about 350 miles on it (the weather is not very conducive to riding far at this time of year over here!) Has anyone out there got one of these machines? If so I would love to hear your experiences and opinions. I was slightly dissapointed with the fold-- although the frame does fold sideways in the middle one would need to remove the RH pedal and probably the tiller/handlebars before getting it down to a size where air travel might be a possibility. I have however managed to get it on the train to and from London on a couple of occasions - but only at off-peak times! It's certainly no Brompton but MUCH more comfortable over longer distances!
    I'm all ears!
    Not sure if you there is a 100% bent site here:

    http://www.bentrideronline.com/

    Lot's of HP Velo owners there.
    safe riding - Vik
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  18. #18
    smallwheelsonly
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    hp velotechnik is one fine recumbent/trike maker I went to a local dealer a month ago and looked at their offerings and wanted the one with full shocks but i really went there to find out more about the faired version=velomobil

    they were not able to let me ride it[the velomobil] it was damaged in an accident the week they got it and insurance claim pending.

    seeing the current prices i'll probably should just build a shell myself as a new one will push me into bankruptcy.



    folded grasshopper fx out of their website

    Yes its A Folding Bike
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by EM42; 07-15-10 at 09:58 AM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by grounded_kiwi View Post
    At last here is a picture--after about 3500 miles I've got used to the machine and can often beat conventional bikes UP the hills and leave just about everyone behind going DOWN!
    I thought it was the trike that you bought from the reading didn't know it was a two wheeler. Do you have a picture of your bent all folded up? Folding bents are something that I drool over. Best of both you can fold it up and fit into a car and it rides like your are floating.

  20. #20
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
    WOW! That recumbent would cost over $7,000.00 UDS!
    I think grounded_kiwi gets hammered because of UK taxes. I think that the Grasshopper would typically be about $3K here. Add in a Rohloff and say $5K for good measure.

  21. #21
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tim24k View Post
    I took a test ride on the HP Velotechnik Grasshopper. I like it a lot.

    Ciao,
    O^o
    folding or standard? Someone on bentrider wrote that the wheelbase is longer on the folding model.

  22. #22
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    To clarify: the Grasshopper is non-folding, the Grasshopper FX is folding.

    I'd like to see a comparision with the ICE B1 foldng recumbent, 2010 edition, for ride, fold and whatnot.

  23. #23
    Senior Member cod.peace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by just4tehhalibut View Post
    To clarify: the Grasshopper is non-folding, the Grasshopper FX is folding.

    I'd like to see a comparision with the ICE B1 foldng recumbent, 2010 edition, for ride, fold and whatnot.
    There is a nice review of the B1 here: http://www.recumbentjournal.com/revi...b1-review.html
    old steel Specialized Hardrock

  24. #24
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    Here is my updated review of the GH fx for comparison-

    "About 5 years ago I developed epilepsy which cost me my career as an airline pilot along with my driving licence. Suddenly cycling became a prime means of transport – at that stage using both a Brompton 6 speed and a hard-tail mountain bike. Unfortunately with increased cycling (and changes of seat!) I began to suffer increasingly from coccyx pain which even affected my ability to sit comfortably in an office chair- hence an increasing interest in recumbent bikes. My research lasted over a year – considering the high cost and relative rarity of these machines in the UK I was determined to make an informed choice. Eventually I narrowed the UK market down to ICE and Velotechnik machines. The ability to fold to at least a limited degree was a factor in my choice to allow carriage by train.

    About 18 months ago I was fortunate to hear of a pre-Christmas sale at a shop in London where I remembered seeing a fully equipped Velotechnik Grasshopper fx in stock. The outcome was that I bought it over the phone and then immediately took the train to London to collect it. This meant that my very first (wobbly) ride was right through the central business district of London!. Quite an experience for the recumbent “newbie” but it did demonstrate one factor of importance that has been confirmed with riding experience. Most vehicle drivers give me more clearance on the recumbent than they do when I ride a conventional bike!

    The machine I purchased was pretty much "top of the line" as it has the Rohloff 14 speed hub, Magura Louise disk brakes, Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres, Bodylink hard-shell seat with headrest, rear carrier, mudguards, right-hand (UK) mirror, prop-stand and under-seat bottle carriers. Initially I had not intended to go for quite such a high specification but the available machine was an ex high-spec demonstrator. The machine came fitted with the above-seat handle-bar option which, if nothing else, gave me somewhere to attach my GPS on longer rides.
    For the first week or so I seriously doubted that I had made a good purchasing decision! Hill climbing was quite hard work along with starting from traffic lights and stop signs- particularly when up-hill!. (I also ride an old Brompton 6 speed on a regular basis and the techniques are entirely different ) As any readers from this part of the UK will know, it is difficult to go any distance in southern England without the necessity of a bit of hill climbing!
    However, as I had been told, it is just a matter of training some previously unused muscles and getting used to much higher cadences on the steeper hills. The Rohloff hub is an amazing (if expensive) piece of kit and well suited to this design of bike.. Its major advantage on a recumbent is the ability to change gear when stopped thus facilitating rapid starts from fully stopped situations. I usually hold the brakes on whilst positioning the left pedal past the vertical- when the lights change I just release the brakes and push with the left foot resulting in very rapid acceleration! Another advantage is that it is set-up with the optional external cable connector box thus greatly simplifying removal and replacement of the rear wheel in the unlikely event of a puncture.(So far though not a puncture in 3600 miles!) Unlike a derailleur gear system the only maintenance required is an annual oil change using a special Rohloff kit. Other “conventional” cyclists comment on the “whirring” noises it makes in low gears when climbing – according to Rohloff it should get quieter after about 5000 miles!

    The Bodylink seat with it's ventilated cushion completely overcomes my previous discomfort problems and the added headrest is helpful on the hills when pedaling hard. There is allowance for adjustment in both rake and back length although in my case with the back length set at maximum the headrest is still a little low. (Velotechnik have just announced a redesign of this so I may invest in that at a future date.) Another recently announced option is a redesign of the above-seat handle-bars- ostensibly to give better aerodynamics but I think probably better knee clearance as well. I’m relatively short in the legs but for anyone with very long legs it can be difficult to find a suitable boom-length/handle-bar compromise that avoids one’s knees touching the handle-bars occasionally.

    The suspension (something that Velotechnik are best known for) is excellent—allowing a ride quality at least as good as a rigid bike with full-size wheels. Both front and rear shock units are adjustable for spring force. I replaced the original DNM basic (and heavy) rear unit with a DT SWISS SSD190L Carbon Fibre Air Shock that I found on eBay at a much reduced price. It’s main advantage apart from the weight reduction is much easier preload (via a little pump) ,plus rebound adjustment, resulting in an even better ride.

    As I stated earlier the bike came fitted with the Magura Louise hydraulic disk brake system. In my opinion disks are almost a necessity on a small wheeled high performance bike because of the reduced rim area for braking with rim brakes. The Louise brakes are superb when used with caution! It is quite easy to lock a wheel on less than perfect surfaces- particularly so as the hand-controls are fitted the opposite way around to normal UK practice. With the Rohloff twist grip on the RH side I’ve left the brakes like this to allow braking (as on all bikes the front is the most effective) whilst changing gear ready for a fast get-away!

    Eventually I may use the bike for some UK or even European tours and in this regard it is well set up. My machine came with the very neat optional rear carrier which is cantilevered from the suspended part of the frame, thus treating one’s baggage to the same smooth ride as the rider. RADICAL- the dedicated Dutch manufacturer of bike luggage, make some clever pannier bags which attach to the rack and project forward under the seat space thus giving maximum (55 litre) volume whilst still retaining an aerodynamic profile. Whilst I have these, Velotechnik also supply their own brand of pannier bags (I think made by the same company – larger and more expensive!)
    Various other load carrying options exist such as mid frame racks , but for day trips I use an ALTURA box which attaches to the frame with easily removable Velcro straps behind the seat back

    In order to fold the bike first (easily) remove the seat using three quick-releases. The bike then folds via a clever and substantial quick-release joint in the middle of the main down-tube and flexible chain tubes (which allow the chain to twist as it folds) but it's certainly no Brompton! After folding the bike fills a box of about W40cm L120cm H80cm. I've taken it on the UK trains many times, and rarely have had to fold it anyway. HPVelotechnik claims a 60 second fold time. That seems about right. I have yet to find a safe way of taking it on a plane without risking damage or needing a private charter! Velotechnik have however just announced the release of a new carrier bag with shoulder strap which should at least get it past most UK and European train operators.

    Overall, after 18 months and around 3600 miles I have no regrets at all about my purchase of this machine and without doubt it is the most comfortable non-powered vehicle I have even ridden. I frequently ride with local groups as the only non-conventional cyclist and although frequently I am outclassed by some in the race to the summit of the steeper hills, I more than make up for this on the downhills and flat sections. My advice to any new purchaser is to persevere for the first 1000miles or so and accept that you will be very slow on the hills until you develop the necessary muscles and improved cardio-vascular fitness. After that it just gets better and better!

    The frame comes with a 10 year warranty ! The only problem I had initially was with the flexible portion of the chain tube getting caught by the chain. I emailed Velotechnik and within a week a received a letter containing improved parts which after over 3600 miles of riding have never given any further problems. They even emailed me photographs from the production line showing the correct way to fit the new tubes and fastenings.

    So far I’ve never seen a single other example in the UK although there have been a few for sale on eBay—probably people who didn’t persevere in the way I did!"

  25. #25
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    Thinking about Grasshoppers

    Hi, thanks very much for your excellent review of the Grasshopper. I'm thinking seriously of getting one so it was very helpful. At the moment I'm riding a rare Brompton Recumbent which is fun and a good introduction to bents so after riding around 150 miles in three days with no pain I'm prospecting for a serious touring bike.

    So I thought I'd ask if you were still enjoying it, whether it's usually OK in UK trains and whether you had managed to fly with it? I've used a (normal) Brompton for international travel a lot and I've also packed a Hase Pino Tandem for a long haul flight to and from India so I'm thinking it should be do-able.

    Like you I'm sold on the Rohloff (we have one on the Pino) and I think my preferred spec would be very similar to yours, down to the Radical bags, although I think I would go for the cheaper and simpler Avid BB7 mechanical disk brakes. I've lived with Louise brakes and they haven't been completely easy.

    Finally, I assume it was Bikefix you bought it from. One of my problems is that the two main UK dealers are Bikefix and Kinetics in Glasgow, and I've had mixed experience with both of them. Were Bikefix helpful and if you had any problems or special requirements did they deal with it well?

    Thanks again for the report.

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