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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 04-29-10, 08:51 AM   #1
rhm
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I crashed my Downtube Mini.

I crashed my Downtube Mini on Tuesday evening. Quiet residential street, not paying attention (yes, I know), left hand on the handlebar, right hand not. Front wheel jerked to the right and then to the left (I don't know why!), I went down on the right, landing on asphalt covered with an inch of soft mud, which broke my fall to some degree.

When I stood up, the handlepost was folded. I have had problems with it folding before; see this post where I described the problem. But I must emphasize, to be fair, I don't know why I fell. I may have jerked the handlebar; the post may have failed; I don't know. I wasn't paying attention.

Injuries are not very serious; road rash on elbow and knee, minor; road rash on the heel of my hand, bleeding and painful; and my right shoulder took all my weight, and is still very sore. I may have to go to the doctor about that, but I'll wait another couple days before making that decision. I got on the bike and continued on my way home, and rode it yesterday and today... but I am annoyed at myself and at the bike.

No damage to the bike, which is a little under both 3 years and 8000 miles, and really should not need replacement yet.

But we can't get away from the problem with the handlepost. It is not a matter of adjustment. It's either a design flaw or a manufacturing flaw, and I am coming to the conclusion that it cannot be fixed.

Jur's advice about the resilient block was on target; that resilient block was squashed flat and thin to the point that it had no resilience. But even with that replaced (three layers of butyl from an innertube), the resilience is the only thing keeping the thing from folding. That's not enough; the QR is not putting enough pressure on the clamp to keep it from folding.

Suddenly I am thinking about replacing the bike. Anyone want to recommend something? What's your favorite high performance bike that fits a man 6' tall and folds up very small?
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Old 04-29-10, 08:58 AM   #2
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rhm: What is your current bike?

I bought a Dahon Speed D7 for my wife, and I like it better than my Curve D3. More room to sit upright, more gears, and still affordable for a folder. I wouldn't buy fewer than 5 gears again, after having bought two consecutive 3-speeds.

Oh, also: Both bikes, and probably all modern Dahons, have double locks for the main folds. (handlebar & frame) That would prevent this type of crash, even if the resilient block wears out.
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Old 04-29-10, 09:06 AM   #3
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Jeremy, the Downtube Mini is my main commuter. I have a spare, which I call YFB; here's a thread about that.

I guess I should try a 20" folder, to see if the fold is small enough for me to take it on the train.

I'm going to stick with internally geared hubs, no matter what bike I get. I'd like to stick with the Sturmey Archer 8 speed hub; I like it.

Hey, anyone in NYC willing to trade bikes for a day or two? I have to see how a bike fits on the NJTransit train before I commit myself.sfd
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Old 04-29-10, 09:20 AM   #4
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If 20" folders fit on the train then you have lots of options. Given how much you ride, you might as well spend the time to test ride a bunch of bikes to find the right one.

P.S. Glad that everything is still working.
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Old 04-29-10, 10:17 AM   #5
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Rudy:

If you're willing to go up in price range, you gotta consider the Brompton. It is unbelievable in its ride, folding and overall pleasure to ride. It's the King of Commutes. I'm 6' tall also, and it fits me just fine. You can't get 8 speeds with it, tho, just 6, but the gear range is wide enough for commuting.
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Old 04-29-10, 11:38 AM   #6
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Rudy, you can borrow my Curve D3. (It's actually a D2 at the moment, but works fine other than that.) PM me if interested.
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Old 04-29-10, 11:51 AM   #7
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Thanks Neil, but no, you misunderstand. My Mini is fine, I'm still riding it; I'm merely angry at it, and scheming to replace it (and yes, I have told it so, and in no uncertain terms. It looked the other way, pretending not to listen). So I am considering considering something with 20" wheels. But before I start seriously considering that, I need to see how 20" wheels would fit on the train. So your Curve, being the same size as my Mini, won't tell me anything!
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Old 04-29-10, 01:58 PM   #8
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Dahon Vittesse (Nexus 7) or Mu Sport XL (Nexus 8, Maybe Alfine on the newer models)
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Old 04-29-10, 02:08 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
Suddenly I am thinking about replacing the bike. Anyone want to recommend something? What's your favorite high performance bike that fits a man 6' tall and folds up very small?
I'd suggest a Birdy, if they weren't so hard to find in the US... Great performance, compact fold, very comfortable.
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Old 04-29-10, 04:40 PM   #10
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There's a thread about folding handleposts on ebay, and from Kalloy-Uno. The Kalloy ones will work as-is on the mini, being of a quill design.

Also, I have a spare Mini handlepost. I could shoot it across to you, postage from Philly to you the only thing to be sorted. But you need to shout immediately as the window is past by Saturday.

One thing, does the hinge not have a fail-safe latch which prevents folding? Mine has.

Last edited by jur; 04-29-10 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 04-30-10, 06:04 AM   #11
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Jur, thanks for the offer, but I decline. A little judicious work with a flat file and a new set of washers from another QR (from a Razor scooter) give me renewed confidence.

How does your fail-safe latch work?
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Old 04-30-10, 01:09 PM   #12
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I'm still sorting out the broken handlepost on my '06 Mini. Already had to reweld it once. Trying to replace it with a Dahon Fusion and Ahead-to-quill adapter. Got a Fusion from Thor but the stem doesn't fit in the handlepost, I'm waiting for a replacement. I saw that Kalloy Uno post too, that looks perfect, but I'm already $120 into the Fusion setup and wouldn't know where to find the Kalloy anyway.

MEANTIME last month I tested & bought an '08 REI Novara Buzz Flyby and found it superior enough to my Mini to make a snap purchase...which I'm now regretting somewhat...please read my soon-to-be posted long saga about it and give me some advise.
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Old 05-03-10, 06:33 PM   #13
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Rudy, glad to hear you're OK. I don't know what's up with the Downtube Mini handleposts. My Mini's handlepost always had a wobble - both the original 2009 post and the replacement 2008 style post. Not sure why. Manufacturing tolerances, maybe? I'm now riding a Dahon Speed D7 and the handlepost feels SOLID, in place at all times, no flex, no issues whatsoever. Not sure I'd recommend this bike to you. I'm missing the Mini's suspension a lot. I put on a Brooks Flyer (with springs) to take the edge off the bumps. If you want a test ride, drop me a note. My guess is you'll want something higher end, with more gears.

Oh- you said you want to stick with an IGH. Hm, that rules out most Dahons. Bike Friday makes models with an IGH, don't they?
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Old 05-04-10, 06:00 AM   #14
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How does your fail-safe latch work?
The failsafe latch is a button which pops out through a hole as you close the hinge. To open the hinge, this button needs to be fully pushed in to allow the hinge to open. There are at least 3 different Mini stems, mine is the one in the "middle".
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Old 05-04-10, 09:39 AM   #15
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MEANTIME last month I tested & bought an '08 REI Novara Buzz Flyby and found it superior enough to my Mini to make a snap purchase...which I'm now regretting somewhat...please read my soon-to-be posted long saga about it and give me some advise.
REI have good return policy in general. Have you talked with them?
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Old 05-04-10, 10:17 AM   #16
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REI have good return policy in general. Have you talked with them?
Yeh, the kid in the REI bike shop kept saying "100% satisfaction garuantee." Which I interpret as: "Ride it as long as you like, bring it back if you ever change your mind." That's so cool I almost feel guilty. Almost.

As a twenty-five year REI member I felt obliged to write a nice looong email to REI about their pricing on this bike and encouraging them to continue carrying folders. They were, being REI, extremely nice about it all.
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Old 05-04-10, 01:20 PM   #17
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[QUOTE=SesameCrunch;10741111]Rudy:

you gotta consider the Brompton.......... You can't get 8 speeds with it, tho, just 6,

Not as standard ,but a Sturmley Archer SA8 will fit ,see our German friend "stomachs" posts
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Old 05-04-10, 01:20 PM   #18
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[QUOTE=SesameCrunch;10741111]Rudy:

you gotta consider the Brompton.......... You can't get 8 speeds with it, tho, just 6,

Not as standard ,but a Sturmley Archer SA8 will fit ,see our German friend "stomachs" posts
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