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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 04-02-12, 09:45 AM   #1
puchfinnland 
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upgraded 7 speed Di Blasi r4

sombody requested the picks of this bike, she is a bit dirty but she has a colorful history....so...

[IMG][/IMG]

in 1994 in germany I purchased a new de blasi R4 ,
it had 4 speed freewheel and plastic wheels.
the German mark was very strong and it set me back over 500 bucks back then, I was too cheap to go for the stainless one-what regrets!

I dont know its weight at the time- new catalog says 14.2kgs with spokes

I was living in 2 bags and the bike was the addition.

my first stop was Palma de Majorica, I straped the bags on the bike and rode into town from the airport. within a week the plastic spacer rings in the cheap freewheel started to crush, a visit to a local bike shop and for a few shekels I now had a used 5 speed freewheel.
soon I was on a yacht and we stopped in Gibraltar, I took the cable car up to the top and decided to ride down, I can confirm the brakes are asbestos as they were smoking coming down!
In the canaries it was nice to get away from the boat on 2 wheels
In Antigua it really was nice to go touring, along with many other islands,
Soon enough I was sailing back to Europe, first stop was bermuda and I went from end to end on that island, Next stop was Azores and again it was great to ride all day up to the top of the volcano and fly down.
I took a flight to Austria and cruised around,


eventually after 18 months I came home (Baltimore)and put the bike on a refit.
loose weight!

the rear light was broken too many times, I put thumb nuts on it from a bmw taillight so i take it off before it goes in the travel bag,
steel cranks out- used sungino maxy 170mm cranks in
steel brake levers got swapped for all plastic units-weight and corrosion loss
[IMG][/IMG]

I now went to a sachs 7 speed freewheel, better climbing ratio and a better top speed,I had to install a wider axle also.
regina crome chain
used campy derailleur to replace the steel one.

the pivot bolt where it folds was worn, I replaced it with a stainless one which is harder,

[IMG][/IMG]

total loss was over 2 pounds, gain was beter climbing ratio and faster top speed(12t)



I upgraded the functioning lights to a halogen front bulb and upgraded the wiring.
[IMG][/IMG]

back on tour again started in New York-Bermuda and Antigua.
then st marteen,dominican republic,bermuda,azores,gib,barcalona,finland,france and back to the states.
after a few more tours The De Blasi was checkered with stickers from all over,
[IMG][/IMG]

[IMG][/IMG]

I use her occasionaly, my friend takes her on his yearly sailing expedition


If I could do more to this bike?

I would love a shimano nexus 7 hub with a coaster brake but to give up the plastic wheel is a big loss in strength, too bad they never built asc z-rims in 16"!

A different seat also, I got spacers under mine as im over 6ft,

I have different folding pedals but these are so fast to fold,

like to loose more weight but she is sadly not used so much anymore.







I do not agree with the negative opinion the press has on it, the short wheelbase takes a bit to get used to.

the drum brakes and plastic wheels are perfect for a folder. you just cant hurt them when the bike is badly handled.
yea it is a bit heavy-
but if you need to be quick in and out of the train...

I want to see any folder as quick in and out of a commuter train or bus,
I can cycle up to the train and fold it in under 4 seconds including the pedals.
when the doors opened I would hit the ground running in about the same 4 seconds.

mike in finland
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Old 04-02-12, 09:53 AM   #2
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Respect - a hard travellin' bike !
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Old 04-05-12, 05:53 AM   #3
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Most under rated folder in the world IMO. Idiot proof fold, fastest as well.

Like to see how upgrading goes.
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Old 04-05-12, 10:10 AM   #4
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upgrading was done over 12 years ago-rock solid
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Old 04-06-12, 01:46 PM   #5
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Should be easy to swop the twin seat post for a longer lighter tube set?
better wheel set would shed most weight ?
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Old 04-06-12, 02:03 PM   #6
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never get rid of those diblasi wheels!

those wheels are indestructible, a folder will see many planes, dropped, smashed.
sure i can get alloy wheels but its not worth the trade.

swapping out the seat tubes is not all that easy, there is a lot of load on the thin pipes, swaping for stainless or TI maybe .

my wife had a dahon folder with alloys, it did not survive its first transat flight , broken fender and bent wheel

im thinking of finding some childrens 16" plastic wheels, cutting up the centers and drill them for spokes, making my own z-rims, then i can mount the nexus 7-8 hub and throw out the derailleur

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Old 02-04-13, 02:47 PM   #7
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Very cool, that thing has been around the block! I'm surprised the wheels have held up so well, I've seen a few plastic BMX wheels that got brittle and broke (though they were probably left out in the sun too often...)
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Old 02-04-13, 03:04 PM   #8
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That just looks like such enormous fun. That exact model is still going for 250-400 Euros used in German small ads today, so it has kept its value well. Seems to be the sailor's bike of choice.
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Old 02-04-13, 06:11 PM   #9
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I am selling my 2o" wheel version with the folding fork, if anyone is interested. Its on ebay UK.
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Old 02-05-13, 12:15 AM   #10
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I wish I had the stainless version...
250-300? I have seen them much cheaper in the past.
my bike would be happier with a 6 speed rear, but the smallest now is 12t and it suits the bike perfect.
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My name is Michael, and I am a recovering bike addict, It has been 11 months since I purchased a bicycle for myself..
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