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Thread: swift folders

  1. #3226
    Senior Member mtalinm's Avatar
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    Xootr as mountain bike?

    I'm thinking about trying mountain biking and am hoping I can give it a try without buying a mountain bike ... at least not yet. Can I use my Swift, at least for some test runs? I actually have two Swifts, so here is what I am thinking:

    One possibility is to repurpose my daily driver. It is built up with drop bars, Rhyno Lite rims and Big Apple tires with a drum brake in front and Capreo hub in back. It also has a Thudbuster seatpost.

    xootrcommuterwebpage.jpg

    The other is to take my travel bike, which is more of a standard Swift (flat bar) aside from currently sporting studded tires (would they work on trails?). It has a MTB cassette, so I can get 1.2 gear ratios at the low end.


    Drops bars for a MTB sounds silly, but I like the BA tires and Thudbuster so I was thinking of moving those over to the flat-bar bike. Or maybe just a big apple on the front, where there's enough clearance. Or I could put my regular Marathons on there instead of the Marathon Winters if it's a bad idea to use studs on trails.

    other thoughts? I don't really want to throw a suspension fork on it. Any experience using it as a MTB would be most welcome. Btw I don't see myself trying to jump tree trunks, moreso riding pretty well worn trails.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Trek Domane 4.5 (commute/distance), Specialized Roubaix (climber), Xootr Swift (winter/travel), Trek Soho (around town)

  2. #3227
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    That could be an interesting experiment..... Not something that way I would go about it.
    Quote Originally Posted by mtalinm View Post
    I'm thinking about trying mountain biking and am hoping I can give it a try without buying a mountain bike ... at least not yet. Can I use my Swift, at least for some test runs? I actually have two Swifts, so here is what I am thinking:

    One possibility is to repurpose my daily driver. It is built up with drop bars, Rhyno Lite rims and Big Apple tires with a drum brake in front and Capreo hub in back. It also has a Thudbuster seatpost.

    xootrcommuterwebpage.jpg

    The other is to take my travel bike, which is more of a standard Swift (flat bar) aside from currently sporting studded tires (would they work on trails?). It has a MTB cassette, so I can get 1.2 gear ratios at the low end.


    Drops bars for a MTB sounds silly, but I like the BA tires and Thudbuster so I was thinking of moving those over to the flat-bar bike. Or maybe just a big apple on the front, where there's enough clearance. Or I could put my regular Marathons on there instead of the Marathon Winters if it's a bad idea to use studs on trails.

    other thoughts? I don't really want to throw a suspension fork on it. Any experience using it as a MTB would be most welcome. Btw I don't see myself trying to jump tree trunks, moreso riding pretty well worn trails.

  3. #3228
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    I'm thinking about trying mountain biking and am hoping I can give it a try without buying a mountain bike ... at least not yet. Can I use my Swift, at least for some test runs? I actually have two Swifts, so here is what I am thinking:
    Yes, you can use your Swift. I have a Schwalbe Black Jack 20x1.75, which has a respectably knobby tread, and did a fair amount of gravel riding and some trail riding with it on the front of my Swift. It did fine, as 20" wheels could be expected to do offroad. The ride was rougher, it took considerably more energy to roll over obstacles and cornering was quite a bit sketchier, but with some skill and care most terrain was doable. Fun, even.

    That said, if you're trying to see what mountain biking is all about, a 20" bike may not give you a very accurate picture. Like I said, the ride will be quite harsh, you'll more easily get hung up on smaller obstacles, and you won't corner as confidently on terrain that isn't smooth and solid. A beginner coming at moderate-to-advanced terrain on small wheels is a lot more likely to end up discouraged IMO. You might consider finding a similar-height friend from whom to borrow a 26" or 29" hardtail (front suspension, not rear). You could also consider renting, but most shops that rent out bikes typically are going to put you on a full-suspension bike that may be overkill and isn't really ideal for learning either. IMO.

    Of course, if you develop your mountain biking skills first on 20" wheels, you'll have honed them to the point that you'll be exceptional on larger wheels.

    Drops bars for a MTB sounds silly
    Not to me. I've been riding drop-bar 29"-wheeled mountain bikes for nearly a decade. I find the hand positioning much more comfortable. For me, flat handlebars lead to hand numbness really quickly. At first I tried putting long bar ends on the bars, and putting my hands there during smoother or uphill sections when I didn't need to brake, but eventually got tired of constantly shifting my hands back and forth. I just found that drop bars -- positioned high enough! -- worked better for me. It's not for everyone (or, even, for most) but many of us who've tried it will never look back.

    So I'd just take the drop-bar bike and put fatter tires on it, if it's just to experiment with riding on gravel or mild-to-medium dirt trails. The Big Apples might be OK at low pressure, but probably not the best choice. The Marathon has some offroad capability, but if your studded tires are the Marathon Winter they may actually be your best choice (at least on the front). The Marathon Winter is actually a pretty decent offroad tire. Studs won't generally cause any problems off road. They could slip a bit on large wet rocks, and I suppose the studs could pull out on really extreme terrain, but I've done quite a lot of offroading on studded tires and NEVER had that happen. I say go for it.
    Last edited by GlowBoy; 12-18-12 at 12:21 AM.
    I like bike lanes. I also practice VC when I'm not in them.

  4. #3229
    Senior Member mtalinm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlowBoy View Post
    Yes, you can use your Swift. I have a Schwalbe Black Jack 20x1.75, which has a respectably knobby tread, and did a fair amount of gravel riding and some trail riding with it on the front of my Swift. It did fine, as 20" wheels could be expected to do offroad. The ride was rougher, it took considerably more energy to roll over obstacles and cornering was quite a bit sketchier, but with some skill and care most terrain was doable. Fun, even.

    That said, if you're trying to see what mountain biking is all about, a 20" bike may not give you a very accurate picture. Like I said, the ride will be quite harsh, you'll more easily get hung up on smaller obstacles, and you won't corner as confidently on terrain that isn't smooth and solid. A beginner coming at moderate-to-advanced terrain on small wheels is a lot more likely to end up discouraged IMO. You might consider finding a similar-height friend from whom to borrow a 26" or 29" hardtail (front suspension, not rear). You could also consider renting, but most shops that rent out bikes typically are going to put you on a full-suspension bike that may be overkill and isn't really ideal for learning either. IMO.

    Of course, if you develop your mountain biking skills first on 20" wheels, you'll have honed them to the point that you'll be exceptional on larger wheels.

    Not to me. I've been riding drop-bar 29"-wheeled mountain bikes for nearly a decade. I find the hand positioning much more comfortable. For me, flat handlebars lead to hand numbness really quickly. At first I tried putting long bar ends on the bars, and putting my hands there during smoother or uphill sections when I didn't need to brake, but eventually got tired of constantly shifting my hands back and forth. I just found that drop bars -- positioned high enough! -- worked better for me. It's not for everyone (or, even, for most) but many of us who've tried it will never look back.

    So I'd just take the drop-bar bike and put fatter tires on it, if it's just to experiment with riding on gravel or mild-to-medium dirt trails. The Big Apples might be OK at low pressure, but probably not the best choice. The Marathon has some offroad capability, but if your studded tires are the Marathon Winter they may actually be your best choice (at least on the front). The Marathon Winter is actually a pretty decent offroad tire. Studs won't generally cause any problems off road. They could slip a bit on large wet rocks, and I suppose the studs could pull out on really extreme terrain, but I've done quite a lot of offroading on studded tires and NEVER had that happen. I say go for it.
    wow, thanks for the thoughts! they are Marathon Winters, so maybe I will give them a shot and see how it goes! he paths I'm thinking about are well worn w/o big obstacles.

    I hear you on bigger tires though. I have an old Target Mongoose dual-suspension MTB which is probably a POS but I oiled it up and got the brakes/gears working, may give it a try too.
    Last edited by mtalinm; 12-18-12 at 01:25 AM. Reason: forgot the MTB!
    Trek Domane 4.5 (commute/distance), Specialized Roubaix (climber), Xootr Swift (winter/travel), Trek Soho (around town)

  5. #3230
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtalinm View Post
    I'm thinking about trying mountain biking and am hoping I can give it a try without buying a mountain bike ... at least not yet. Can I use my Swift, at least for some test runs?
    It depends on the trail. I've ridden my Swift on some trails around Boston. It did okay on most, but not well at all on a couple. Big Apples are, not surprisingly, much better than 1.5" tires. It's outright fun on undulating, packed dirt (Reformatory Branch rail trail). It does pretty well (certainly better than a road bike) on sane gravel roads that would be passable in a car. It even does okay on eroded trails with large, smooth rocks (Lowell-Dracut-Tyngsboro State Forest).

    Where it fails are tree roots, fist-sized rocks, and tight going. It doesn't take much of a tree root to stop it cold (while your body continues forward), and I had to turn back from a rocky fire road in Middlesex Fells because I couldn't steer with all the bouncing. I also found it hard to control on somewhat smooth but tight and twisty paths through trees (Belmont's Rock Meadow/Beaver Brook North), but that might be okay with flat bars or dirt drops rather than road drops (the problem was brake leverage and getting my hands bounced off the hoods).

    It's an eccentric thing to do, no question about that. :-)

  6. #3231
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    Sorted the loose seatpost problem with some copper tooling foil 0.1mm. It’s very malleable and easy to cut but strong enough to keep its shape.

    I like the idea of a 0.1mm slither of copper between the two parts of the seat tube where they come together, too.

    It’s a lovely snug fit even with the clamps undone.

    Back to work tomorrow following my visit to relatives but hope to get it on the road for next week.

    Wishing everyone a prosperous new year.
    SP_A0109_zps379e9948.jpgSP_A0106_zpscae3dc2a.jpg

  7. #3232
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    I finally got round to doing some work on my Xootr as well.

    Here she is with a few changes from when I posted her stock (with BAs and an adjustable raised stem fitted) back in September.




    The main obvious changes are new mudguards (old new stock 60mm wide aluminum ones), the Klickfix bracket on the seat post and rear light fitting. I have been riding the bike all through late summer in the evenings and its just so much fun to ride. Now though I have decided to use it more for my daily 10 mile round commute. As such a decent set of mudguards in our wonderful UK winter weather is essential. Finding and fitting the right mudguards was a challenge. First I tried some short clip on ones but gave up as without full fitting ones the mud just sprays up. I was using shorter ones because I did not want to effect the fold and the seat post locking the frame together when folded. However having read through all 100+ posts here I realised I could use full guards and it would still work.


    Here she is with the Klickfix ruck sack fitted. The bag looks wonky but that is because I had just come back from a ride, was hot and had stuffed my jumper in it and the metal frame inside had got dislodged.





    Jerry
    Last edited by jerrysimon; 01-02-13 at 03:50 AM.

  8. #3233
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    Ok you have probably noticed some more stuff going in


    This is a VERY small electric assist motor. Its not much larger than a dynamo and weighs just 1.4Kg. For radial spoking (this is a very low powered wheel and its small so inherently strong) I used washers to pack out the counter sunk spoke holes for alternate heads out/heads in as all spoke heads out, looks so much better.







    Controller






    The small controller fits behind the seat post frame tube and takes input from a pedelec sensor fitted to the crank axle. The motor kicks in and speeds up as you pedal/increase cadence.






    Jerry
    Last edited by jerrysimon; 01-13-13 at 04:25 AM.

  9. #3234
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    I then have a choice of three safe 36v DIY batteries which go into the ruck sack. A 1.1Ah, (0.5kg), 2.3Ah (1kg) or 6Ah (2kg) giving me around 5, 10 and 30 miles respectively in and around Cambridge.


    Last edited by jerrysimon; 01-01-13 at 04:35 PM.

  10. #3235
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    This bike is so nice to ride in its stock form that I only switch in the assistance when needed i.e. when its windy/raining, go up inclines or if I am feeling just plain lazy.

    A simple on/off switch on the bars engages the pedelec and a cutout brake kills power when braking.





    The bike is lovely to ride even before adding assistance and with this light weight 200W assist its the icing on the cake. The bike carry weight without the ruck sack is still less than 14kg.

    I tend to fold it and carry it like this though I am not sure if its advisable or not ?

    I find this the most comfortable way to carry it. Something else I always do is to turn the front wheel in 180 degrees before locking the frame up as I find that makes for a smaller fold ?






    Note the champagne cork to both give seat most more length (taken up by the klickfix mount) and help it lock tight against the mud guard when folding

    Also note the extra flap (still need to rivet it on) to stop splash up hitting the back pack.


    Jerry
    Last edited by jerrysimon; 01-10-13 at 01:48 AM.

  11. #3236
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    As a comparison here is my Brompton Ti also fitted with the same assistance. The Brompton in this form is 2kg lighter (less than 12Kg carry weight) and I use it when I know I am going in and out of shops or to restaurants/coffee shops etc.




    Finally here are both bikes shown side by side.





    As many know with folders its all about compromise. The Brompton is just so portable, perfect for mixed mode transport but I would not want to ride it for very long trips. With the Swift you lose portability, but gain so much in terms of long ride comfort, rigidity and speed!


    Regards

    Jerry
    Last edited by jerrysimon; 01-13-13 at 04:28 AM.

  12. #3237
    Portable Audio/Bike Lover tds101's Avatar
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    Man, I'd trade my bike & an iPad for that thing!!! Great work,...& Happy New Year!!!
    Fitness is only a side effect,...I feel alive when I ride!!!

  13. #3238
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    Lol thanks and a happy new year to you too.

    I been converting small wheeled bikes to "e" assist for the last three years. Over that time motors and batteries have been getting smaller and smaller. Some may say its cheating, but for me over the last three years its made the difference of commuting every day by bike (a total of 4500 miles covered now) from previously using my car every day.

    Regards

    Jerry
    Last edited by jerrysimon; 01-01-13 at 04:29 PM.

  14. #3239
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    Quote Originally Posted by nish2575 View Post
    more details on the basket frame.

    Attachment 206118
    Attachment 206119

    i consider getting it myself, but only if it was rixen kaul compatible. i haven't heard back if it is using the rixen and kaul clip in

    to me the idea of having something with a large mounting frame attached (such as the baske) to a folding bike defeats the purpose. the carradice bags, brompton bags, and rixen kaul backpacks where the frame detaches and is small. i couldnt' imagine lugging around a basket with a folding bike in another hand.


    i also thought this was cool, posted on some other bf thread:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/4505157...57626242702790

    That flickr link was actually my work

    There is a wealth of info in this Xootr thread. This caught my eye and I thought looked VERY interesting






    I much prefer any weight carried on small wheeled bikes to be loaded low down on the front and on the main frame i.e. not attached to and weighing down on the steering. Bromtpon and Dahon/Tern have this sown up and both have metal lugs welded on the header tube onto which mounting blocks attach. Alas the Xootr does not. Anyway this may provide a solution. The plate appears to be stabilised from twisting left/right by that screw/stud that must be tapped into the frame header tube. I don't want to start drilling into the frame but I have an idea about how it might be done using two U bolts and a mounting plate. I will report back later.

    Jerry
    Last edited by jerrysimon; 01-02-13 at 04:04 PM.

  15. #3240
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    Ok the obvious most simple choice for mounting stuff up front is using the Klickfix range. This is one of the standard fixing units that attaches to your stem as posted in this thread already. Unfortunately it can't be mounted on the main frame header tube







    You can then use any of their shopping type bags like this.


    0300sp.jpg


    Does the job but will effect steering when fully ladden. I have ordered one to try.
    Last edited by jerrysimon; 01-03-13 at 03:21 AM.

  16. #3241
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    I have been out in the workshop to look at how I might fit something to the front frame tube to take the luggage weight off the steering. This is my prototype to see how it might work. As you can see it uses the U bolt idea I got from the around post 100 way back earlier in this thread and copied above.

    These are standard U bolts used on car exhaust clamps. Covered in heat shrink to protect the frame/paintwork






    These are a little bit too narrow diam U and larger thread (M8) ones but fine for the prototype. I have sourced and ordered some slightly larger diam ones to fit the 41.5mm OD of the frame head tube and with a thinner M6 thread. In these positions they do not foul/rub on either the top head set or bottom cup race so steering is not interfered with/effected. The wider U diam and thinner m6 ones will fit even better. A flat plate is then needed to attach to the U bolts. Again just a prototype in thin aluminum. The final one will need to be made of thicker aluminum plate. Note the plate will also need to be spaced away from the frame head tube, probably two spacers one top one bottom. Shown is just a temporary spacer. All four bolts can then be tightened down equally, but not with this thinner plate which just flexes. Obviously care will be required not to over tighten things and deform the frame head tube, though that would probably be unlikely given that in this position the U bolts are also over the the area which will be strengthened where the cups will be inside the head tube anyway.







    A choice of carrier block, which in my case will be a Brompton one as I have a lot of their luggage, will need to be modified and attached to the plate.






    Ok the plate is large and ugly but its a prototype and on the final plate, material can be removed where not required by cutting back smaller/rounding edges off as shown below again in prototype form.





    More later when I get the new U bolts and some thicker aluminum plate

    Jerry
    Last edited by jerrysimon; 01-03-13 at 03:26 AM.

  17. #3242
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    Here is something similar I did on an old Raleigh Moulton MK3 which has worked well for a couple of years even carrying heavy loads of milk, wine and beer from local shop runs.




    A bit over kill with three jubilee clips but you get the idea.

    Jerry

  18. #3243
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    I just sold my Brompton because I like the Swift ride a lot better.
    Quote Originally Posted by jerrysimon View Post
    As a comparison here is my Brompton Ti also fitted with the same assistance. The Brompton in this form is 2kg lighter (less than 12Kg carry weight) and I use it when I know I am going in and out of shops or to restaurants/coffee shops etc.




    Finally here are both bikes shown side by side.





    As many know with folders its all about compromise. The Brompton is just so portable, perfect for mixed mode transport but I would not want to ride it for very long trips. With the Xootr you lose portability, but gain so much in terms of long ride comfort, rigidity and speed!


    Regards

    Jerry

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    If I could only have one bike it would still be the Ti EBrompton shown. Fortunately I can have more than one, so I will keep both

    I agree the Swift rides much better, but for city riding/shopping & fun the Brompton has it.

    Regards

    Jerry
    Brompton M2L (SRAM A2), Brompton M2L(X), Dahon Uno (SRAM A2), Both Swift Xootr & Moulton TSR2 now gone

  20. #3245
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    I could have kept both.... but after a year of riding the brompton, I kept kicking my heels on the wheels on the rear rack. I tried pedal extenders... ect... but I just could not get used to it. SO I ride the Swift for most things over 4 miles, and I have a BF Tikit coming in a few weeks. It's not as compact as the Brompton... but it will do nicley.
    Quote Originally Posted by jerrysimon View Post
    If I could only have one bike it would still be the Ti EBrompton shown. Fortunately I can have more than one, so I will keep both

    I agree the Swift rides much better, but for city riding/shopping & fun the Brompton has it.

    Regards

    Jerry

  21. #3246
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    A slight update the Rixen&Kaul, KLICKfix shopper plus bag turned up. Like the Brompton one, it's nice and large (24L) to carry all your local shopping/groceries. Seems well made and is easily clipped on and off when needed.



    As I said though this mounts onto a stem fitting so the weight is fully taken on and effects the steering. Not unusual as many bike have baskets on their steering/handle bars.

    The other U bolts turned up, so I will continue to work on the frame mounted arrangement.

    Jerry
    Last edited by jerrysimon; 01-05-13 at 12:05 PM.
    Brompton M2L (SRAM A2), Brompton M2L(X), Dahon Uno (SRAM A2), Both Swift Xootr & Moulton TSR2 now gone

  22. #3247
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    Great work Jerry!
    The swift looks like a nice bike, I wish the fold was more compact. My current bike (MuP8) lives in my car boot and even then takes up too much room!

  23. #3248
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    Couple more pics/tweaks.

    The rear fender extender is now neatly pop riveted on. This does a great job of keeping the rear spray down from hitting the back of my ruck sack





    I also found mud was spattering up from the front guard to hit the BB and seat post frame tube. I have a couple of Bromptons already, so thought I would try a Brompton mud flap which fits and works perfectly to prevent that.


    Brompton M2L (SRAM A2), Brompton M2L(X), Dahon Uno (SRAM A2), Both Swift Xootr & Moulton TSR2 now gone

  24. #3249
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    I have now tried it once on my ten mile round commute to work and this bike is simply fantastic. Living in Cambridge and it being so flat I find I am quickly reaching 19-20 mph on the flats so have started to look at gearing. I thought a slightly higher top gear might be nice. The big apples already raise the stock top gear from 92" to 95" having an effective circumference of 512mm, which takes them nearer to a slick 24" wheel rather than 20" one!

    Looking at my calculator we therefore have the following for an 11T sprocket

    Main 52T = 95", 54" = 98" and 56T = 102"

    Again owning Bromptons I thought why not try a Brompton 54T chain ring





    This is a simple swap though I am going to need a longer chain to get into bottom gear. Note the Brompton pedal

    I may even try the Brompton folding pedal on the other side to help neaten up the fold. With this larger main ring things get more comfortable at higher speeds. The Brompton ring is nice in that it has a chain guard that sits better against the ring than the stock one and prevents the chain coming off. It is also lighter than the stock chain set, though some complain more flexy. I may try a 56T on the stock spider but would also need to get a larger chain guard, which I see is available on ebay

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2908411615...84.m1438.l2649


    Already a converted Brompton fan, I have to say that I am loving the Swift Xootr which is just such a great/comfortable bike to ride. IMHO the big apples transform it and make it one of if not THE most comfortable small wheeled bikes for the money to ride. I own a Mouton TSR which is silky smooth to ride, but they are at least twice the price and you would never leave one locked up anywhere


    Regards

    Jerry



    .
    Last edited by jerrysimon; 01-09-13 at 03:35 AM.
    Brompton M2L (SRAM A2), Brompton M2L(X), Dahon Uno (SRAM A2), Both Swift Xootr & Moulton TSR2 now gone

  25. #3250
    Portable Audio/Bike Lover tds101's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Qns Vlg, NYC
    My Bikes
    Puma Nevis w/Nexus 8-Speed, Lombardo Power 2000, Schwinn 411 IG5, Gravity G29 SS, Xootr Swift w/NuVinci N360 Hub
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    Gawd I want your bike!!! LOL!!!
    Fitness is only a side effect,...I feel alive when I ride!!!

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