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  1. #1
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    V-Clamp Rehab for a 2012 Dahon Mu Uno

    My fairly new Mu Uno only has about 500 miles on it, but some of those were under wet, muddy, touring conditions, as recently posted here.

    I've only folded it and unfolded it about ten times, but I had noticed before the tour that it was hard to get the frame to fold after opening the clamp. In hindsight, that should have caused me to double-check the adjustment of the clamp, but I didn't.

    Anyway, at the end of my tour I actually had to kick the frame a bit so that it would fold, and as I feared not only had some dirt and grit found its way in, but the mating surfaces show wear and a plastic piece is damaged. (Likely due to my forceful folding -- I'm not proud of that, but I was in a hurry to get it ready for transport at the end of the tour.)

    I've never serviced one of these hinges before, and other than the instructions for adjusting the tension, it isn't clear to me how to which parts should be lubricated, if there's a best type of lubricant, if I should be worried about the wear on the frame and, most pressing, if its possible to get a replacement for the damaged plastic piece.

    Here's a photo showing the damaged plastic piece (from what I can tell it just prevents the clamping bolt from swinging around, so I bet I can make due if replacements aren't available):

    i-ZXMWgq5-M.jpg

    Here's a photo showing the worst of the wear on the frame:



    And, finally, in case it's not clear what's what, here's a picture showing the entire hinge area (from here one can see that the plastic piece has actually been pulled away from the two bolts intended to hold it in place, thus stretching, thinning and warping the plastic):



    Any tips / advice would be much appreciated!
    Last edited by Derailed; 05-29-12 at 07:03 PM.

  2. #2
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    It looks like the grease goes into the holes where the grease flow sticker is. I googled and found this http://www.dahon.com/technology/greaseflow-technology
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    Ouch Derailed!

    Did you receive the service manual with your Dahon? Anyhow, find a local Dahon dealer and order the part for you from Dahon. It may take awhile though; my Mu SL latch also broke and it took months to get a replacement. Perhaps Thor can help as he carries some spare parts and I have been fortunate enough to get parts for my Mu relatively quick. For the stuff on the hinge, use a paint brush and mild soap to rinse it off. Then quickly dry the joint area. The service manual will show you how to maintain the frame joint plus torque values for the nut.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dynocoaster View Post
    It looks like the grease goes into the holes where the grease flow sticker is. I googled and found this http://www.dahon.com/technology/greaseflow-technology
    Although I'm embarrassed for not having found this myself, thank you very much for doing so and providing the link.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derailed View Post
    Although I'm embarrassed for not having found this myself, thank you very much for doing so and providing the link.
    Derailed,

    You shouldn't have to maintain the hinges other than following the instructions on the manual to adjust the correct tension so that it closes properly. The dealer will do the rest. I happened to buy bikes from this local dealer that provides free lifetime adjustment services which was the reason I bought local and paid a bit more. Also, when the plastic retainer broke is because it's not that it has enough grease but the tension got tighter as the grease attracted dirt and grime creating an even tighter gap between the frame and the latch itself. I've experienced this with my Mu SL in dusty environment when it too had some type of lubricant on the hinges and you can't close it unless you kick it! Which is why I carry the wrench needed with me on travels to adjust the latch so it can close until I can bring it to my dealer to clean and service it if the problem arises. My dealer told me that grease can be both your friend and enemy. The problem with the grease and with dusty and dirty environment is that, once dirt attaches to the hinges, it acts as sand paper grinding your hinge posts on the frame (especially aluminum) as it flexes a bit while you ride. Eventually though, there will be enough of a gap that when you apply torque on the pedal, the frame twists and then you will hear annoying ticking and creaking noises. I hope you can find the spare part to replace it.
    Last edited by pacificcyclist; 05-27-12 at 08:41 AM.
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  6. #6
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    Unfortunately, I learned that those expensive big name bikes were not that well made after all. I would suggest that owners should protect the joint box with Saran wrap while on tour.

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    Doesn't look like 'wear' per se. It appears the finish(paint) has flaked off, leaving the aluminum to corrode. In fact, it looks like it's pitting on the rest of the contact area as well, indicating a possibly less than adequate paint job. Each of these pits will start to grow. And if the factory neglected to properly grease the thing, the 'greaseflow' holes would allow water to enter the hinge. I'd give Dahon a call, as one wet trip with a new bike shouldn't produce these problems.

    There's a reason zerks are commonly at grease points...keeps grease in and crud out. When greasing a joint via a ***, as indicated in the manual, the usual practice is to pump until the grease starts oozing from the joint, which indicates that grease has been adequately forced in. Seems difficult to to do this without a fitting, nor is there any indication of your hinge having been lubed.

  8. #8
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    It looks like a special grease *** in the pic from Dahon that uses a pointy tip that goes into the holes. Bruce Metras has an Uno and I dont think I have read any problems like this with his.
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  10. #10
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    Thanks for the help, everyone!

    pacificcylicst: I'm not aware of a dealer nearby; I bought it online from a place a couple hundred miles away. That said, I've now written to both them and Dahon -- hopefully they can put me in touch with someone closer.

    I wish I understood the latch better before now (actually, I'm still confused about how it distributes the load), so I would have known to loosen the bolt... and potentially avoided damaging the plastic piece. I'll go light on the lubricant, as you suggest.

    Clownbike: I agree that it looks like Al corrosion, but it seems like a lot for just a few wet days.

    Dynocaster: Thanks for the link! Unless I hear otherwise from Dahon or a dealer, that's what I'll get.

    Does anyone have a sense for whether or not this damage will cause longterm problems, assuming I clean, lube and adjust everything appropriately? (Perhaps I'll lightly sand and paint the affected areas.) There's really not much material gone but, unfortunately, it does seem to be right where the two halves come together. I'm not worried about the hinge failing or anything like that, but I do fear that it will be more prone to creaking.

    I guess I still don't quite understand how the hinge distributes the riding stress -- does it depend on a flush mating of the two haves, including the area that has been damaged (corroded?)?

  11. #11
    jur
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    I suggest to stick duct tape on the hinge faces. That will cure any creaking and prevent raw metal rubbing. The damage is more probably from erosion - wet grunge from the road located inside the hinge faces, and with the tiny movement from riding, it easily erodes away. Tape will arrest this.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derailed View Post
    Thanks for the help, everyone!

    pacificcylicst: I'm not aware of a dealer nearby; I bought it online from a place a couple hundred miles away. That said, I've now written to both them and Dahon -- hopefully they can put me in touch with someone closer.

    I wish I understood the latch better before now (actually, I'm still confused about how it distributes the load), so I would have known to loosen the bolt... and potentially avoided damaging the plastic piece. I'll go light on the lubricant, as you suggest.

    Clownbike: I agree that it looks like Al corrosion, but it seems like a lot for just a few wet days.

    Dynocaster: Thanks for the link! Unless I hear otherwise from Dahon or a dealer, that's what I'll get.

    Does anyone have a sense for whether or not this damage will cause longterm problems, assuming I clean, lube and adjust everything appropriately? (Perhaps I'll lightly sand and paint the affected areas.) There's really not much material gone but, unfortunately, it does seem to be right where the two halves come together. I'm not worried about the hinge failing or anything like that, but I do fear that it will be more prone to creaking.

    I guess I still don't quite understand how the hinge distributes the riding stress -- does it depend on a flush mating of the two haves, including the area that has been damaged (corroded?)?
    In my experience of owning the Mu SL, the creaking comes from 2 areas -- the hinge joint and the clamp. These two areas form the seal necessary to form a solid top tube for the bike. I mean the service manual really emphasize the rider to "periodically" inspect the force of the hinge clamp to ensure a good solid connection to the frame. When the frame flexes, the hinge joint and the clamps are the culprits for the ticks and creaks, assuming that your chain and cassette aren't worn out. I wouldn't worry about the 2 halves -- mine are just as scared as yours after 5 years of use. Greasing / lubing the joint area is ok, but you need to inspect and clean the area pretty much every night after the ride because wet grease and wet lube are dust and dirt magnets! The environment you're in must be pretty muddy and wet I assume to have it end up like that. Typically if you tour a lot on a Dahon, the key to a creak-less ride is to ensure the clamp pressure is tight enough to prevent any movement on the v clamp lever and you need to adjust it in slow increments of about 1/16 turn to fine tune it. Eventually the wear will require you to tighten the tension nut a bit more to compensate for a slight play on the hinges until such time I will need to order the clamp repair kit from ThorUSA. But then, I do fold a lot and I expect this wear and tear but I noticed the Tern hinge design to be much better than my Mu SL. I was looking at the Verge S11i as comparison. That is one nice bike!
    Last edited by pacificcyclist; 05-28-12 at 08:36 PM.
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  13. #13
    New usename ThorUSA brakemeister's Avatar
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    hmmm pretty good sign ... I emailed the folks at Dahon and send them a Link .... they answered that they are talking to the customer and they are finding solutions as we speak ....

    Thats good ....

    thor

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    Quote Originally Posted by brakemeister View Post
    hmmm pretty good sign ... I emailed the folks at Dahon and send them a Link .... they answered that they are talking to the customer and they are finding solutions as we speak ....

    Thats good ....

    thor
    Thanks for your efforts to help with this, Thor, even though I didn't buy the bike from you -- you're a class act.

    Additionally, I got a message from the shop from which I did buy the bike demonstrating that they've contacted Dahon on my behalf.

    Anyway, at this point it looks like in addition to the helpful posters in this thread, I'll be getting support from the shop from which I bought the bike and, hopefully, Dahon. I've got no complaints.

  15. #15
    jur
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    That's great! And from where I stand, it isn't even a guarantee issue, what with road dirt rubbing away at hinge surfaces. So they are going the extra mile.
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    As this has happened to a very low milage, fairly new bike, that has seen only one wet extended ride, it could possibly be a warranty situation. He also indicated that it was difficult to fold/unfold at the outset.

    Seems that the clamp adjustment would have little bearing on smoothness of fold, that would be more of a hinge problem. If no adjustment for that, it would likely be caused by lack of lubrication. As far as the grease attracting dirt thing is concerned, that's why you grease it 'till it bleeds and then wipe off the excess in a design like this. Considering the lack of fittings at the lube ports it might be prudent to do this on a regular basis here, and make sure there is grease filling the ports. That, and the grease at the hinge joints, are the only things keeping water out of the hinge.

    PS - With Dahons, don't forget to register a new bike with them to get the lifetime frame warranty. You do need to get an invoice from a bike shop that they've inspected it to qualify. Details are on their site.

  17. #17
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    Update:

    Things are no longer looking as promising as I had hoped last week. The bike shop from which I bought the bike has provided no feedback other than, as mentioned before, they let me know that they had forwarded my inquiry to Dahon early last week. Neither the shop, nor I, however, have heard anything back from Dahon. (The shop has suggested that I try contacting Dahon myself, but I already did that early last week, with no response.)

    Thor: I suspect the person at Dahon with whom you communicated had my issue confused with something else.

    Regarding whether or not this is a warranty issue: Honestly, I don't think so. This really was a hard, muddy ride, with the bike sitting out in the rain for two nights.*

    I don't fault Dahon for the condition of my hinge, but I am indeed very frustrated that I can't even get a response regarding how to replace the damaged plastic piece.

    I took a gamble that I wouldn't have any problems with my Dahon and jumped on a low online price. Now that I need support, however, this was not such a good deal afterall! I would only consider another Dahon if I had a good local dealer (which I don't) or through Thor, who appears to bend over backwards to provide support.

    * Again, I'm not proud of this, but I don't want to hide it, either. I generally take much better care of my bikes, but I really wanted to fulfill my fantasy of using a folder to facilitate using pub trans to start my tour. I took a gamble with the weather and lost! Ultimately I guess I'll need two folders: one that's light, quick and easy to fold, and dedicated to fairly short commutes (the Mu Uno) and one for touring (a Bike Friday NWT).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Derailed View Post
    Update:

    Things are no longer looking as promising as I had hoped last week. The bike shop from which I bought the bike has provided no feedback other than, as mentioned before, they let me know that they had forwarded my inquiry to Dahon early last week. Neither the shop, nor I, however, have heard anything back from Dahon. (The shop has suggested that I try contacting Dahon myself, but I already did that early last week, with no response.)

    Thor: I suspect the person at Dahon with whom you communicated had my issue confused with something else.

    Regarding whether or not this is a warranty issue: Honestly, I don't think so. This really was a hard, muddy ride, with the bike sitting out in the rain for two nights.*

    I don't fault Dahon for the condition of my hinge, but I am indeed very frustrated that I can't even get a response regarding how to replace the damaged plastic piece.

    I took a gamble that I wouldn't have any problems with my Dahon and jumped on a low online price. Now that I need support, however, this was not such a good deal afterall! I would only consider another Dahon if I had a good local dealer (which I don't) or through Thor, who appears to bend over backwards to provide support.

    * Again, I'm not proud of this, but I don't want to hide it, either. I generally take much better care of my bikes, but I really wanted to fulfill my fantasy of using a folder to facilitate using pub trans to start my tour. I took a gamble with the weather and lost! Ultimately I guess I'll need two folders: one that's light, quick and easy to fold, and dedicated to fairly short commutes (the Mu Uno) and one for touring (a Bike Friday NWT).
    You really need to be patient on this matter. I had a warranty issue on my Mu SL a few years back (the hinge and the Pantour hub) and it literally took Dahon and Pantour months to ship the required parts to my dealer for service. Thankfully, it was during the middle of winter anyhow, so by early spring the issues were fixed. I'm not saying that you might have to wait that long, but it's not uncommon for Dahon to stay silent while they try and locate a part for you. Most bike makers make just enough parts to make enough bikes. Also, it pays to shop in a reputable shop that you can hold to them accountable to, especially in regards to dealer prepping! You pay extras but you get a better service. Some dealers may skip this and expects you to prep the bike yourself. They pass the savings to you. You had a choice to go with ThorUSA. If you did, you know who to put the squeeze on. That's also the reason why I shop his shop too and his customer service can go beyond what is expected of a normal dealer. My Mu SL had all the battle scars and damage much worse than yours, but it is still going strong and had toured with it many times. In fact, it's way more reliable and stiffer in terms of the ride compared to my older Bike Friday NWT which I no longer own because of its own problems.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derailed View Post
    Update:

    Things are no longer looking as promising as I had hoped last week. The bike shop from which I bought the bike has provided no feedback other than, as mentioned before, they let me know that they had forwarded my inquiry to Dahon early last week. Neither the shop, nor I, however, have heard anything back from Dahon. (The shop has suggested that I try contacting Dahon myself, but I already did that early last week, with no response.)

    Thor: I suspect the person at Dahon with whom you communicated had my issue confused with something else.

    Regarding whether or not this is a warranty issue: Honestly, I don't think so. This really was a hard, muddy ride, with the bike sitting out in the rain for two nights.*

    I don't fault Dahon for the condition of my hinge, but I am indeed very frustrated that I can't even get a response regarding how to replace the damaged plastic piece.

    I took a gamble that I wouldn't have any problems with my Dahon and jumped on a low online price. Now that I need support, however, this was not such a good deal afterall! I would only consider another Dahon if I had a good local dealer (which I don't) or through Thor, who appears to bend over backwards to provide support.

    * Again, I'm not proud of this, but I don't want to hide it, either. I generally take much better care of my bikes, but I really wanted to fulfill my fantasy of using a folder to facilitate using pub trans to start my tour. I took a gamble with the weather and lost! Ultimately I guess I'll need two folders: one that's light, quick and easy to fold, and dedicated to fairly short commutes (the Mu Uno) and one for touring (a Bike Friday NWT).
    You really need to be patient on this matter. I had a warranty issue on my Mu SL a few years back (the hinge and the Pantour hub) and it literally took Dahon and Pantour months to ship the required parts to my dealer for service. Thankfully, it was during the middle of winter anyhow, so by early spring the issues were fixed. I'm not saying that you might have to wait that long, but it's not uncommon for Dahon to stay silent while they try and locate a part for you. Most bike makers make just enough parts to make enough bikes. Also, it pays to shop in a reputable shop that you can hold to them accountable to, especially in regards to dealer prepping! You pay extras but you get a better service. Some dealers may skip this and expects you to prep the bike yourself. They pass the savings to you. You had a choice to go with ThorUSA. If you did, you know who to put the squeeze on. That's also the reason why I shop his shop too and his customer service can go beyond what is expected of a normal dealer. My Mu SL had all the battle scars and damage much worse than yours, but it is still going strong and had toured with it many times. In fact, it's way more reliable and stiffer in terms of the ride compared to my older Bike Friday NWT which I no longer own because of its own problems.
    Trek 5000 carbon road bike
    Masi Speciale CX touring bike
    Dahon Mu SL (performance hybrid road bike)
    Dahon Speed Duo (slow poker shopper or coffee getter bike)

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacificcyclist View Post
    Also, it pays to shop in a reputable shop that you can hold to them accountable to, especially in regards to dealer prepping! You pay extras but you get a better service. Some dealers may skip this and expects you to prep the bike yourself. They pass the savings to you. You had a choice to go with ThorUSA.
    Sorry if my message wasn't clear, but this is exactly the point I was trying to make. I took a calculated risk in buying based on price, and I got burned (slightly -- I don't mean to be overly dramatic about this; I'm confident that I'll get everything working just fine, with or without support.)

    However, I do indeed think the lack of any response from Dahon, even just an acknowledgement that they're looking into the replacement part, is lame. That said, perhaps I'll get a pleasant surprise with a helpful response in the not-too-distant future, but at this point I'm very turned off by the lack of a clear channel for getting the part.

  21. #21
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    you need to understand that Dahon is a very lean run company, not all that much overhead ..like Trek or SPecialized for example. Dahon simply doesnt have the manpower to answer every email from a consumer in due time.... They pass this on to their dealers, thats what we are here for, thats why we make the big bucks ..( yeah right ..lol )
    Dahon will answer to your dealer for him to contact you ... thats the correct way ......
    Now if your dealer sits on his hands... than of course..lol ... but I am sure he doesnt .. give him a couple days .... and if you getting too frustated than just email me and I will put some fire under Dahons butt....
    but give it a couple days ...

    thor

  22. #22
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    Latest update:

    Still no word from Dahon (i.e., not even an acknowledgement of two inquiries from me plus from my dealer).

    But, I'm up and running!

    I first brushed and wiped away all of the gunk and then used WD-40 liberally while moving the clamp bolt back and forth. In no time it was moving quite smoothly. I then used a mini grease *** (I got one from Harbor Freight for only $5) to pump synthetic grease into the two "grease flow" ports (those basically service the main hinge mechanism) and did that two more times after working the hinge back and forth. It is also now very smooth.

    The plastic piece is so severely deformed that it can no longer be used, so I've simply removed it for now. All it does is prevent the clamp-bolt mechanism from flopping around if it were to get loose, so I think this will be okay for the time being. (Although I do hope that, eventually, I can get a replacement from Dahon!) I'll just take a little extra care each time I fold and unfold the bike to make sure the clamp mechanism is properly aligned before cranking it down.

    Next, I used some 320 grit sand paper to VERY lightly sand the frame areas that were abraded by the mud. I was pleased to see that the extent of the damage really is not that bad -- the photo I posted makes it look severe, but other than a few small pits, it's really no big deal. I used the touch-up paint that came with the bike to cover those two areas, and it looks pretty good.

    Adjusting the clamp-bolt tension is easier than I had feared, and with just a little trial and error I think I have it nicely dialed in.

    I took the bike for a 35 mile ride last night (to Lake Michigan for a Transit of Venus viewing party -- not to get too sidetracked, but it was awesome! Thanks, Kalamazoo Astronomical Society.) I get a couple of creaks from the main hinge when I start or stop, but nothing that worries me. I'll be taking it on an overnight train to DC tonight for a business trip and look forward to some site seeing on my rehabbed Mu Duo.

    Here's a photo of the end result (oddly, I swear it looks better in real life!):



    Finally, thanks again to everyone for your helpful replies! (Thor: if you happen to ever get your hands on those plastic pieces, please let me know. I swear I've learned my lesson and won't make any future bike-buying decisions purely based on price!)
    Last edited by Derailed; 06-06-12 at 06:34 AM.

  23. #23
    jur
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    Nice job! You still have the option of adding some duct tape to the hinge faces to arrest any squeaks.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derailed View Post
    Latest update:

    Still no word from Dahon (i.e., not even an acknowledgement of two inquiries from me plus from my dealer).

    But, I'm up and running!

    I first brushed and wiped away all of the gunk and then used WD-40 liberally while moving the clamp bolt back and forth. In no time it was moving quite smoothly. I then used a mini grease *** (I got one from Harbor Freight for only $5) to pump synthetic grease into the two "grease flow" ports (those basically service the main hinge mechanism) and did that two more times after working the hinge back and forth. It is also now very smooth.

    The plastic piece is so severely deformed that it can no longer be used, so I've simply removed it for now. All it does is prevent the clamp-bolt mechanism from flopping around if it were to get loose, so I think this will be okay for the time being. (Although I do hope that, eventually, I can get a replacement from Dahon!) I'll just take a little extra care each time I fold and unfold the bike to make sure the clamp mechanism is properly aligned before cranking it down.

    Next, I used some 320 grit sand paper to VERY lightly sand the frame areas that were abraded by the mud. I was pleased to see that the extent of the damage really is not that bad -- the photo I posted makes it look severe, but other than a few small pits, it's really no big deal. I used the touch-up paint that came with the bike to cover those two areas, and it looks pretty good.

    Adjusting the clamp-bolt tension is easier than I had feared, and with just a little trial and error I think I have it nicely dialed in.

    I took the bike for a 35 mile ride last night (to Lake Michigan for a Transit of Venus viewing party -- not to get too sidetracked, but it was awesome! Thanks, Kalamazoo Astronomical Society.) I get a couple of creaks from the main hinge when I start or stop, but nothing that worries me. I'll be taking it on an overnight train to DC tonight for a business trip and look forward to some site seeing on my rehabbed Mu Duo.

    Here's a photo of the end result (oddly, I swear it looks better in real life!):



    Finally, thanks again to everyone for your helpful replies! (Thor: if you happen to ever get your hands on those plastic pieces, please let me know. I swear I've learned my lesson and won't make any future bike-buying decisions purely based on price!)
    Put chalk on one side of the hinge and ride a little. Open up the hinge and see where the chalk rubbed off on the opposite side to check on the contact areas.

    On another note, it looks like that 3D hinge might not be such a hot ticket as it appears to be more difficult to keep it clean.

  25. #25
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    3M produces this product for vehicles but this might help
    http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3...otection/Film/
    Speed Uno
    Dawes Kingpin 2speed

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