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Old 07-26-12, 07:55 PM   #1
mancunian
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Origami update: not the happiest of campers

So, my Crane arrived today to much anticipation and a little worry after seeing the condition of the box -- it had a bunch of dents and holes (all photographed in case I needed to show Fedex) but the bike inside was well padded and seemed fine....couple small scuff marks on the luggage rack which might or might not be unrelated, nothing else.... Took me a little bit of fiddling to get it unfolded but the latches felt really secure, everything looked good, took it one block to the corner store & back no problem, so i decided to give it a little more of a test after work running an errand that was conveniently located right at the other end of one of our 2 paved trails.

This is when things started getting messy....got a little ways down the road and the seat post started sliding down. Actually, first it slid sideways, like a rotating chair, when I looked over my shoulder before pulling out into the street!!. Got off, tightened it, leaned on it to make sure it was secure, got on again, got a little further & it started happening again.....long story short, it got worse the more i tightened it, to the point where the lever felt like it was going to snap if I wnet any tighter.... I tried making a gasket with the rubber from my brake light but no good....eventually it was just sliding straight down as soon as I let go.

At this point (of course) i was stuck about 1 mile from where my old bike was, & i couldn't even calll anyone to get me since I was on a trail in the middle of a wooded area. So I had to decide if I was going to walk it back, trying to beat the rain that was starting to come in, or ride it with the seat down against my ankle. Figured what the heck, faster that way & at least on a trail couldnt get into too much troulbe. So I did that, felt like a horrible mix of an oversize kids scooter and posting on the bumpiest pony EVER, instead of showing off i was praying the whole time nobody i knw would see me! but I made it back only a little wet & VERY sore (dont even want to think about what tomorrow will be like!!). Renewed gratitude & affection towards my old broken Giant MTX which at least has a comfy secure seatpost....

Thing is, i'm no mechanic, but when I took it apart to try the gasket i noticed two things: one, the collar that tightens around to lock the seat is very small and the slot that it is supposed to compress doesnt seem to have a lot of give. Secondly and this may be more important, the angle of the seat as it goes in, and the angle of the socket, are not exactly congruent. It doesnt look like there is a whole lotta contact even when the collar latch is closed, so i'm honestly not sure if it is fixable.

This is a shame because there are a lot of good points to the Origami Crane--the lock mechanism for both frame & steering column is rock solid, i never had any concerns during the ride and it handles nicely for such a light little bike--along with a few other bad ones (cant read the shifter numbers thru the plexi for one, did NOT handle hills well at all) but this is just too ugly to live with. Its a bad day when a new bike is worse off than a beat up third hand dirt bike with hipster brakes and a munged gear....starting to think i should have gone with Citizen, none of the listed faults of them include "seat falls down on first ride & wont stay up"...
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Old 07-26-12, 08:12 PM   #2
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First, contact the manufacturer/distributor. They may be able to help.

Second, when ordering a bike online, one should not expect perfect set up. It vastly helps if you are (bike) mechanically competent. Or if you know someone who is who is willing to help you. My Mercier Nano came with numerous issues, for example.
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Old 07-26-12, 08:38 PM   #3
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Well, I was told it would be tuned up & ready to go OOB, maybe some minor tightening, but "issues" doesnt seem to quite cover a seat post that is the wrong size and/or a collar that is completely unsuited to it.... "you will need to replace the seatpost & find someone to figure out what will work" is what i would expect from the bikes at the pawn shop down the street, not a new mfgr trying to make a good name for themselves.
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Old 07-26-12, 08:39 PM   #4
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Also i didn't get a response to my first email query about the bikes before i ordered, but we know that Paul reads & posts in this forum....
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Old 07-26-12, 11:14 PM   #5
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Try degreaser on the seatpost and collar; if there is even a little bit of oil or grease on the post this can happen.
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Old 07-27-12, 05:43 AM   #6
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The post is quite a bit smaller than the tube, (it wobbles back and forth when the collar is open/off, unlike my Giant) so ....i don't think it's a grease problem. Also for the record 5'2", weigh 150 & was wearing a 10-lb backpack._
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Old 07-27-12, 07:54 AM   #7
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pics please
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Old 07-27-12, 11:33 AM   #8
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To me it sounds as if a shim is missing. Since the seatpost of a folder is going up and down muc more often than on a regular bike there is often a shim, and it is often plastic or nylon to protect the seatpost and frame and also to help hold the seatpost in place. It sounds to me like this piece is missing. Something looking like a old fashioned filmbox with no bottom and I would guess it is split down the one ide. Should be put between the frame and seatpost. Did you remowe or loose one like that when you unwrapped the bike? Could alsa be missing since the package was looking like you describe.

This link is to a Brompton one, since this one was easy for me to find and link to: http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/brompton-...spt-prod17554/

Hope you can solve your problem. Keep us updated!
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Old 07-27-12, 11:43 AM   #9
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Please provide a photo of the yoke and seat post. My guess is that the yoke was simply not tight enough. This is an easy fix that only requires holding the nut and turning the lever clockwise (try 1/4 turn at a time until the lever resists closure). We do adjust these prior to shipment, and we try not to overtighten them, but this one may not have been quite tight enough. If this does not work, please send it back for a refund or exchange.
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Old 07-27-12, 12:56 PM   #10
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcCDgnykwAA&feature=plcp

Video of the problem -- I had it tightened all the way at one point, using pliers, until it would barely close, & the lever was creaking, and it still slid right down. That was when I gave up & turned it into a temporary scooter....
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Old 07-27-12, 12:58 PM   #11
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Hi Badmother, didnt see any shims in the box (there were no directions but it seemed very intuitive except i haven't been able to get the pedals to fold back....) but did some reading & find a lot of people with regular bikes using beer cans to shim old/damaged posts or wrong size posts....never heard of that before (folding OR standard frame) but learn something new every day I guess....!
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Old 07-27-12, 01:31 PM   #12
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Hi Badmother, didnt see any shims in the box (there were no directions but it seemed very intuitive except i haven't been able to get the pedals to fold back....) but did some reading & find a lot of people with regular bikes using beer cans to shim old/damaged posts or wrong size posts....never heard of that before (folding OR standard frame) but learn something new every day I guess....!
Oh yes. I am just back from a campingtrip where trying to make a shim out of a beer can to stop a seatpost from sliding was part of the fun..
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Old 07-27-12, 01:35 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by mancunian View Post
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcCDgnykwAA&feature=plcp

Video of the problem -- I had it tightened all the way at one point, using pliers, until it would barely close, & the lever was creaking, and it still slid right down. That was when I gave up & turned it into a temporary scooter....
Just watched your film. Something is wery wrong. Wrong size seatpost (if the bike is not sold with a shim) or shim missing. Do you have the tools to measure the seatpost? That would help the seller to tell you exactely what is wrong I think.
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Old 07-27-12, 01:37 PM   #14
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You can try putting a dab of grease on the quick release contact points and then try to tighten the nut on the quick release a bit more in order to close the gap before you press the lever end in. Has worked for me in the past.
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Old 07-27-12, 01:41 PM   #15
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Looking at the video again, the seat tube looks flared which does not look good. Seems like a shim will be needed to account for the difference.
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Old 07-27-12, 06:15 PM   #16
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That video was better than pics. Does the seat post have a size on it?
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Old 07-27-12, 07:26 PM   #17
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I didnt see any marks on the post at all, was busy at work all day & had to run an errand right after closing but i can measure it in the morning (it 's there under my desk right now) with calipers from the cutting dept. FWIW I rode it only on smooth streets & trails before the disaster--no curb jumping!--avoiding potholes, i'm a pretty cautious (ok timid) cyclist & i've only wiped out 2x in the past year on my MTX, once on glare ice & once in sand when I was just starting to get back in the saddle. So i wasn't abusing it in a way that should have bent the post in that half-a-mile....

Just for kicks I took the old Giant seat array apart after i got home & it took a lot of prying to get the collar off even after I unscrewed the bolt....then the seat post just slid up and down in the tube like a piston, tight as a glove, no lateral motion at all. Once i put it back together it was rock solid again....even after pedal mashing up & down a 75' riverbank drive & ridgeway nothing shifted in the frame....

Last edited by mancunian; 07-27-12 at 07:29 PM.
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Old 07-27-12, 09:08 PM   #18
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Did the shim slip into the seat tube and perhaps fall out the bottom? (Looks like a shim problem.) Tightening the clamp isn't going to work - probably the slot is closing completely. Forcing it may trash the frame.
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Old 07-27-12, 09:45 PM   #19
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The frame of my BAHIS B3 folding bike is made of harder 7005 alloy, therefore there are 3 slots on the tube, no shim is used. My other folder (GOAL) and a road bike are made of 6061, and only have one slot on the seat tube.
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Old 07-28-12, 05:38 AM   #20
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Violini, FWIW the Giant has only 1 slot & no shim, but the fit is exact & the collar & screw are a lot more robust. I cant say 100% that there was no shim in the package but i sure didnt see one anywhere & if the Origami requires a shim to be ridable this a) really SHOULD be noted somewhere for the user & b) is a very bad design to my mind since you are constantly opening the QR and turning the bike over to fold it/carry it/ store it....
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Old 07-28-12, 08:45 AM   #21
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Violini, FWIW the Giant has only 1 slot & no shim, but the fit is exact & the collar & screw are a lot more robust. I cant say 100% that there was no shim in the package but i sure didnt see one anywhere & if the Origami requires a shim to be ridable this a) really SHOULD be noted somewhere for the user & b) is a very bad design to my mind since you are constantly opening the QR and turning the bike over to fold it/carry it/ store it....
But this is exactely why a shim is a good thing, less wear on the frame and seatpost. A shim is cheap and easy to replace, frame or seatpost is not.

I understand that you are disapointed and frustrated but I think this is just bad luck, or could of course be that somebody was in a hurry when packing the bike. It is NOT proof of a poor quality bike and I am sure once you get this sorted out you`ll enjoy your bike, and fairly soon ask us what folder to buy next time..

Did you read Pingis post? Try asking them for a shim, I think what he sugested (before seing your exellent video) is not spot on.

If you are riding the bike maybe try finding a piece of tube or plastic (like a lid for a container or something) or simply go to a bikestore and ask for a shim. If you are lucky that could solve the problem. To keep the shim in place try some glue, but not epoxy or similar, just something sticky to keep it in place. This is what is done on the Brompton bikes: http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/brompton-...ess-prod13546/
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Old 07-28-12, 09:03 AM   #22
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But do the Citizen bikes require shims? Let alone the higher end models, the Dahons, Terns, etc? I've not seen that from any review so far. Kind of surprised that the bromptons do but at least they provide a part for it HOWEVER i cannot afford to order an imported part that might not fit.

A mis-sized post -- & 1/8" is way far off when it comes to parts fitting at least outside the cycling world-- and a collar that is weaker than that on a $150 kid's bike, IS a defective bike to me. I am not going to ride a bike that is likely to fall apart on me, as this one is. Im not going to jury rig a brand new bike. If this was a $50 bike from the pawn shop down the street then sure but i'm not going to drop $300 into something that doesnt feel safe & requires me to do all kinds of rigging to make it even usable. If there were absolutely no other issues then i MIGHT consider it, but given the shifter & gears are worse than on my (busted!) Giant 225, why should it be on ME to fix the problem??

ETA -- a glued shim still isnt safe, I work with all kinds of machines w moving parts at work & do a lot of crafts & have plenty of experience trying to get metals & plastics to stay together under strain. since you have to open the seat QR every single time you put the bike awy or take it out, a piece of flimsy plastic lid that is NOT epoxied in--and even many epoxies wont hold that kind of abuse & mismatch of materials--is an accident waiting to happen a lot farther than 1 mile away from home.

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Old 07-28-12, 09:23 AM   #23
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But do the Citizen bikes require shims? Let alone the higher end models, the Dahons, Terns, etc? ...
I don't know about Citizen bikes, but most (maybe all) current Dahons and Terns have seatpost shims. Some are aluminum. Some are plastic.

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Old 07-28-12, 10:21 AM   #24
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The seatpost is not the wrong size, there is no design error, the gods have not conspired against you....you lost the shim when you pulled the seatpost out. Would you like another?
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Old 07-28-12, 10:30 AM   #25
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I`ll make one more attempt: If you read trough the forums you`ll find the advice (again and again) that if you need the bike to be tuned up and 100% before you recive it (that is AFTER it is remowed from the box) you just have to take the cost and buy the bike in a bikeshop where you get a tuneup included in the price, and maybe another one after some km`s or weeks of riding.

It is almost impossible to perfectly tune a bike and then pack it and ship it so that the buyer can unwrap the still perfect bike. If that is what you payed for that is what you should expect, but I doubt it is the case.

Quality bikes ready to ride are not cheap, especially folding bikes. If you order and pay for a WW Beetle that is what you get, not a Porsche delivered on the door.

You said:
ETA -- a glued shim still isnt safe, I work with all kinds of machines w moving parts at work & do a lot of crafts & have plenty of experience trying to get metals & plastics to stay together under strain. since you have to open the seat QR every single time you put the bike awy or take it out, a piece of flimsy plastic lid that is NOT epoxied in--and even many epoxies wont hold that kind of abuse & mismatch of materials--is an accident waiting to happen a lot farther than 1 mile away from home.

I am sure you do, but we between us have years and years of experience with folding bikes. Some as a hobby, some as commuters and some selling or repairing bikes. We are doing our best to offer you free advice, and it is up to you if you want to listen or go on about what you expect for the money you payed.

Hope you can make the bike work for you.
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