Barcelona, Quick Impression. Part two
This is an update to my previously posted "Quick Impression" of this bicycle.
I called Citizen Bike and talked about my concerns of the frame hinge. Avery
there said the amount of play I was describing was not normal, the solution would
be to box it up and return it and receive a new bicycle. Absolutely good
customer service! However given the lateness of the summer and my total lack of
desire to screw with boxing and shipping, I decided to roll with what I have.
Besides my wife, the actual rider, was getting edgy to say the least. This is
one of those issues that can arise with mail order products, most have turned
out fine though.
The CB rep mentioned the increased amount of stress placed on the hinge
with this frame design. I had been wondering about that myself. Since I have the
Downtube 8H, I put the bicycles side by side. Yes, to my untrained eye, it appears
I could have more leverage applied to the frame hinge of the Barcelona than
the 8H. However I am not an engineer, I have built zero folding bicycles, so I can not
say that one is satisfactory and one isn't. However with the quick release opened there
is a lot of play or slop within the Barcelona hinge
and maybe a very,very slight amount in the 1 year old Downtube. Even with the hinge lock
secured on the Barcelona there is detectable play in the hinge,8H is rock solid.
Yes those hinge locks, or whatever they are called, there must be at least a few
different ways of doing it. One that held the hinge plates tightly together around the
whole perimeter would be best, I would think. But no need for overkill.
I've attached photos of the Barcelona (green) and Downtube (red) hinge locks with the
pins visible that actually drop into the barrel or round (or ???? you tell me what it's called)
that hold the plates together. In both photos you see the maximum the pin can drop.
I am thinking that the Downtube is the better of the two. Not only does it extend down much further,
its end is cut square keeping that much more surface contact.
Sorry getting too long, anyway my wife Beverly loves the bicycle and wants to keep it.
I feel it will be fine for her given her small size and light weight. Also she has no
desire to stand up and grind away at any hill, she's content to simply step off the bike
and walk it up. No curb jumping, no trail riding, well you get it. All easy riding.
Though I won't be doing it anymore I really enjoyed riding this bicycle.
The step through frame is great. The upright position is comfortable. The Barcelona
actually has a more solid feel than the Downtube 8H. I think this is due to no
suspension fork and an improved handlebar hinge locking system and no squeaks!
The 8H seems to groan at the slightest task, I think that the newer stem lock would
cure it. The Barcelona's gearing seems too low, even my wife says so. I like the much wider range of the SA 8 speed on the DT 8H. For those that know what it all means, the Barcelona has 152 mm crank arms, 33 tooth front chain ring and 14 tooth rear cog(?) attached to the Shimano 3 speed. 1st gear is for pulling stumps,
2nd and 3rd for normal riding but you will be looking for 4th, 5th.....
The saddle is comfortable, Beverly especially likes it. Very nice grips that match the saddle,
I know that's not really important, but you know these girls.
The front brake and brake levers are marked C Star, work fine. The rear brake
is a Shimano roller brake. I like this type of brake, seems to really make
sense for a folder though not so much when repairing a flat.
Pedals are Stomp K-79, seem fine. Seat post by A-One, diameter 034 somethings,
but a fat one.
The only accessory we chose for the bike was the basket. Beverly likes it, me too.
A nice front support rack came with it, would be handy all by itself. Photo attached.
Yes this is sort of a Barcelona/8H comparison but mainly about the Barcelona. For
myself, given how the bikes are equipped, I would take the 8H. Gear range is a huge
trump card. If the Barcelona had the same gearing and I was sure the frame hinge was adequate,I would choose the Barcelona (I'm about 180lbs, 5'10+).
I'm not connected to any bike company or trying to pick on any. CB has offered to replace the bike, that's all they can do. Well maybe they could just send me a new frame and I'll change out everything at my leisure.
Kudos for such an extensive writing on the Barcelona, both pros and cons. In looking at the photos you took, it seems to me that the Barcelona's hinge is 'beefier" than the DT's. I would think everything will be fine as long as the quick release clamps down tight against the opposite plate.
Hope Beverly continues to enjoy the bike for a long time to come.
Yes, thanks for the extended write-up on the Barcelona. I have the 8H and am very happy with it. I haven't had the issue with the hinge with mine, but I have not had it for more than a year. What year is your 8H?
Also, a lot of the "veterans" in this forum don't fold their folding bikes at all; or, maybe just once in a blue moon. Thus, I think a minivelo company would do very well here in the USA. And, it would avoid some of those hinge problems and shave off a few ounces in terms of bike weight. Thanks, again.
ShinyBiker, The 8H is about a year old. The frame hinge is fine, blame it on my poor writing skills
if you read otherwise.
Yes, I like the 8H. +++
ewong3, I'm still thinking about the hinges. The DT hinge is actually a little longer.
The hinge rounds of the Barcelona and DT are very close in diameter. The center round
of the Barcelona is much shorter than on the DT, so all three rounds being nearer equal.
The DT has a very large middle round, with the two short outer ones.
Don't know what it all means, but one hinge is quite snug and one isn't.
And we like to keep things tight around here.
We had a nice ride this morning. While taking the Barcelona outside I noticed how much
better the feel of the front brake was than on the 8H. Both do the job just fine.
It looks like the brake levers on both bikes are identical except for color.
Looking closely at the brake arms I could see some difference. The ones on the
Barcelona look a little more elegant, more good technical writing.
When the pads hit the rims you know it, like bringing your fists together.
It's good for me.
While riding beside the Barcelona (green and tan) I noticed it had a military appearance.
Striped fenders, khaki colored tires, little utility rack up front, straight up posture of the rider.
I could imagine it leaning against the wall, near the door, at headquarters.
Too bad it doesn't come with a 16" front wheel and a bigger rack, it would make a cool
little delivery bike.
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