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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 05-17-10, 03:32 PM   #2276
ROJA
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can't get front wheel off?!?!

Hey folks-

I have a mostly stock Xootr Swift. For some reason, I can't get the front wheel off. When I squeeze the brakes to get the brake cable to come free, the cable does not have enough play to do so. Has anyone else had this problem? Is there any easy fix? The stock brakes generally suck, so maybe I should upgrade anyway...
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Old 05-24-10, 01:32 PM   #2277
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Raising The Bar!

Since putting drop bars on my Swift, I have found that they are too low for comfort. I prefer a more upright position on the bike but like the advantages of drop bars over straight ones. There are various ways of raising the bar height. I have tried adjustable stems and stems that point skywards. Both methods work but I don't like the look of them.

BBB have a neat solution to varying your bar height. It's called an AheadStem Extender and it comes in 1 inch and 1 and 1/8 inch diameters; it will also work with threaded headsets. The gadget is very simple and works like an old style quill stem, in that it slides down instide the steering tube and can then be held in place by a sliding wedge which is tightened from the top by an Allen head bolt. The unit comes with several spacers of varying height. The spacers are not the same as standard units found on conventional headsets. These simply bring the diameter of the unit to fit the stem and the stem itself can slide over them.

The Swift's steering tube is made of strong stuff and its walls are thick. As a result the internal diameter is a little smaller than a normal fork steerer and consequently made fitting the Extender hard work. Lots of grease and a little "gentle persuasion" with a heavy object were required to inch the Extender into the steering tube. It was such a neat fit it seemed very secure even before I tightened the Allen bolt. I don't fancy trying to remove it!

I estimated how much Extender I needed above the normal steerer and chose enough spacers to fit. The stem actually covers two of the spacers and can be slid up and down as required. The black bracket that holds the twistgrip gear changer is sitting at the top of the standard steering tube. I think the unit makes a much neater job of getting the 'bars in the right place than adjustable or angled stems.
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Old 05-25-10, 12:47 PM   #2278
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So I've been waiting until my Swift showed up before I made my first post...and now that time has arrived :-)


First of all, thanks to all who contribute to this forum and this thread in particular. There aren't a ton of places near me where I can compare various models of folding bikes, and all the positive comments and shared experiences here really helped me out when making a decision.


I bought my Swift from xootr.com and have only good things to say about the service so far. I live in Burlington, Ontario Canada, about 45 minutes outside of Toronto, and didn’t want to use UPS to ship the bike so I talked to them about alternate shipping methods. They were quite helpful and we worked something out. I got a bit worried when there was a delay for something and it was looking like it would take a lot longer to get it out to me, but they apologized and offered to bump up the shipping to something a bit better (and more expensive for them) so that it ended up getting to me right around when I had initially hoped it would.


My commute used to be: make sure my daughter gets on her school bus…20-30 minute walk to my train station, where I would always miss a train by a few minutes…wait 25 minutes for the next train…50 minute train ride to downtown Toronto…15 minute walk out to where I work.


This morning I managed to easily make the first train after my daughter got on her bus and the 15 minutes out to my office got cut down to something like 3 minutes. I arrived here in a much better mood than I usually do too :-)


The bike looked as cool as I hoped it would and so far I love the ride. It’s been years since I’ve ridden a bike much, but my favorite bike has always been the BMX bike that I had as a kid. That’s what this thing reminds me of when I’m zipping around, it feels really quick and agile, but when I was riding flat out it felt more like my last non-folding bike (that was stolen while locked up at my train station) so the best of both worlds I guess. On my commute today I covered a real mixture of terrain…rough downtown streets, smoothly paved streets out in the suburbs, dirt trails cutting through a forested area…and it handled everything nicely.


The fold will work fine for me too. The train that I take can get pretty crowded but it empties a lot after the first station and I take up less room with my Swift then I do with my hockey equipment. Doesn’t smell as bad either :-)


In terms of customizing this thing: I will probably change the seat and swap out the handlebar for something else but that’s about it. There are some inspiring bikes around here though so who knows. There is one other forum that I go to a lot that has a cool feature that I would love here. At the top of the page near where the “Thread Tools” link is there is another that generates a page that shows every image that has been uploaded to that thread and clicking on the image brings you to the individual post within the thread. That would be an awesome addition to this site, for threads like this where if you don’t bookmark when you first see it then it’s hard to find it again.


Again, thanks to everyone who contributes to the forum :-)
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Old 05-25-10, 06:40 PM   #2279
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Welcome to the happy Swift owner's Informal disorganised club!

One issue I'd like to stress: The seatpost, firmly clamped by both quick-releases, is a part of the frame. It is absolutely essential it have little play and be firmly clamped on BOTH quick-releases to ensure the bike frame integrity over a long time. If any one of the clamps cannot hold the seatpost very firmly by itself, you have trouble.

Apply some lube (Boeshield T-9 or any oil will do) to the sliding cam surfaces of the quick-releases. This will make them easy to operate and allow to to get firm clamping on the seatpost without fear of the lever breaking off in your hands.

[edit]: Also don't go overboard on the clamping either - the clamps are welded on the seat tubes and as such can crack if forced far enough.

My Swift is still my #1 go-fast bike.

Last edited by jur; 05-25-10 at 06:45 PM.
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Old 05-26-10, 11:58 AM   #2280
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Thanks for the tip. I think the manual talks about applying some grease to the seatpost itself too doesn't it?

A friend also noticed that my real wheel was a bit loose...a bit of a side to side wobble...so I'll have to get that tightened up too.
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Old 06-11-10, 06:51 PM   #2281
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Wow, what an excellent bike. This thing is my idea of what a perfect bike rides like. It's not great for rough terrain, in fact it's pretty bad, but that's my only complaint. I can't even enjoy my Bike Friday anymore after buying my silver swift. This thing is so smooth and talk about FAST.
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Old 06-11-10, 07:13 PM   #2282
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Old 06-14-10, 03:09 PM   #2283
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Smithfield Nocturn!

I'm in! Hoorah! Just two Swifts and a mass of Bromptons: http://www.nocturneseries.com/smithf...ngbikerace.php. All I'm looking to do is get into the final... no chance of a podium position for a fat git like me.

By the way, I owe an update on my jumping chain. The problem was, in fact, a lose drop out. Yes, the drop out was seriously wobbly (a first for me... never seen that before) so a quick tighten up and all was OK again. I still can't use 8th because the chain snags the frame, but I have a larger front ring to slightly compensate.

I'll post some pictures, maybe on the day if I can get the iphone working in the city.

JL
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Old 06-25-10, 04:34 PM   #2284
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Oooops! The Swift thread has dropped off the front page, we cannot let that happen!

I've been looking on the Xootr web pages and was wondering whether anyone has fitted the front derailier (bet I've spelt that wrong) kit. If so; was it easy to do and how do you find it?
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Old 06-27-10, 02:00 PM   #2285
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@Paul: I just bought the front derailleur mount from Xootr this past week, but haven't yet gotten around to buying a front derailleur and second chainring to go with it. I'll let you know how it goes once I do.
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Old 06-27-10, 02:24 PM   #2286
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Those of you have have fit Big Apples on your Swifts -- have you been able to do so with the rear axle all the way forward in the track ends, or have you had to pull it back slightly? I just bought a single Big Apple to find out whether it fits, and it rubs (just barely) if the axle is all the way forward, but fits if I pull it back a little (less than halfway). The rim is still within the range of adjustment of the brake pads, so I don't see a major drawback to this, but still...I'm a little bit picky and wonder if I got one of the "not quite right" frames mentioned in this thread (it's a blue frame ordered in May or June 2009). :-(

Also, if I decide to go ahead and run Big Apples with the rear axle pulled back a little, I'd like to get a "tug"-style chain tensioner like the Surly Tuggnut, to keep the axle from sliding forward and to quickly return it to the exact same position if (when) I have to fix a flat. Has anyone had luck with the Surly or any other brand?
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Old 06-27-10, 10:10 PM   #2287
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Anyone else had a problem with their swift creaking terribly? My bike is creaking constantly, especially when I go over bumps or stand up and pedal. I started to experiment and noticed when I push up and down on the seatpost it creates the noise. It's pretty damn loud too. I got it checked at 2 neighborhood bike shops and neither had any idea what it was. In fact the second guy said it had to be the frame. The first guy lubed the area around the seat post, which did nothing.
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Old 06-27-10, 11:24 PM   #2288
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Yes, that is coming from the interface between the upper & lower seat tube sections. Put some wax-based lube there.

PS Make sure BOTH seat clamps are well tight. Clean & lube the cam surfaces.
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Old 06-28-10, 04:13 PM   #2289
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Agree with Jur: keep those QRs tight. You'll find that with a bit of oil on the QRs you can make them much tighter. I am on my 3rd set of QRs on my 2 year old Swift... I find that the plastic washer eventually gives up.

JL
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Old 07-04-10, 05:27 PM   #2290
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hello!

got my custom swift yesterday. haven't taken it for a real ride yet. alfine 8, marathon plus, flat bars. i'll add photos to this post when i have them later.

mostly trying to get the commuting accessories, setup down. 10-18 miles round trip. small hills, rural, suburbs, and small cities. carry in/on my car, maybe fold and carry into library or fold at office. frequent trips for chores. 95% of time will involve car/bike combos. 20% on front of city bus as well. monthly fold and put under regional bus or on amtrak. some urban "exploring" around boston/cambridge.

i'm transitioning from a brompton, so going through a bit of small folding withdrawal. but the small fold was overkill for what i needed, and i wasn't happy with reliability issues i had with the sturmey archer hub i had. the reliability i'm told was more bad luck on my part, but oh well.

so my first impressions from a folding and commuting perspective, after having fiddled with the luggage setup (25 lbs of food, work and all-weather gear) i've come up with and trying out folding, messing with options for carrying in my 2 door civic coupe:

-it could almost fit in the back seat (and trunk) of my car without detaching stem (like my folded brompton), if i had less wide handlebars. decided quickest method will be unfolded on a typical car rack.
-definitely annoyed by the trying to carrying the bike with detached stem. will buy velcro straps or read more on forums for prefered approach soon (done, wide velcro strap does decent job)
-i miss the brompton front block. my klickfix mount to the stem with 11 lb in backpack makes steering less comfortable. (less noticeable, but will address this when i can afford it)
-like the crossrack, but wish it detached into smoother shape like brompton frames. (irrelevant, takes too much effort to detach frame on a daily basis anyways)
-i hate the xootr folding pedals relative to brompton ones, way to slow to fold. will switch later.
-like the light weight of frame for carrying
-strangely, i shift very infrequently, i wouldn't mind if the shifter was on the top bar instead of handlebars, to reduce cables running to stem when detached and potential damage from frequent folding. also, along that minimalist vibe, i would give up the rear brake and cabling, but doubt i'll get around to either.
-like the crossrack's bag for price. probably, just skip it and buy a real pannier from your favorite company instead
-rear fender seems awkward with fold and seat post. (minor)
-i miss the standing position on brompton ):, i'll get over it
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Old 07-05-10, 03:22 PM   #2291
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So, I added a front derailleur to my Swift this weekend using the Xootr mount and my own shifter (Shimano bar end), front derailleur (Nashbar/Microshift), and 38t chainring (Sugino, no ramps or pins, smallest size that'll fit the stock 130bcd crankarms). It wasn't especially hard, but was a bit fiddly. The instructions on Xootr's website aren't quite right -- the derailleur mount I got seems to be a newer design, with fewer bolts involved. You only need to remove one bolt, rather than the three shown in the photo. The same bolt that closes/tightens the clamp now attaches the cable pulley post also, so contrary to their instructions, you need to re-attach the post as soon as you close the clamp, rather than wait until you're ready to attach the cable. Also, the instructions didn't say to slightly loosen the bolt that attaches the pulley to the post so the former can rotate freely, but I think that must have been the intent -- the shifting feels much easier if the cable turns the pulley rather than sliding across it.

I took a trip to Vermont over the weekend and did some riding while I was there, so the new 23.75" low gear (that's w/ a 32 cog in the rear) was MUCH appreciated. :-)
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Old 07-17-10, 12:39 AM   #2292
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So I am dead set on buying a swift after trying it out today. Been reading this site and I am concerned about one thing. Steel frame versus Aluminum and why everyone is trying to get the steel one. Should I do the same. I am not a "serious" biker...well not yet. Can someone explain this to me?

I live in NYC, does anyone know if you can go to the factory and buy one?
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Old 07-17-10, 04:27 PM   #2293
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The original designer of the bike is Peter Reich of Design Mobility in Brooklyn, in collaboration with Jan VanderTuin of Human Powered Machines in Oregon. Human Powered Machines builds and sells the steel version; Design Mobility builds (built?) and sells (sold?) a steel version as well as an aluminum version (it's not clear to me if Peter Reich still does a steel version; a phone call would clear that up) in their Brooklyn factory. Since these are hand built, you can get them with all manner of component customizations.

Xootr licensed the design, has a factory in Scranton, PA, and uses economies of scale to have the aluminum frame produced overseas (if I recall correctly - someone please correct me if I'm wrong), and produces one ready-to-ride (but easy to tweak) configuration. I think you can make arguments in favor of either frame material, but I believe that the use of the two differing metals for the frame have as more to do with practicalities of manufacturing (small scale vs. large scale) than with the superiority of either material.

In New York, you have three very well respected dealers who carry the Xootr Swift (bfold, Bicycle Habitat, and NYCE Wheels), as well as Design Mobility -- you're lucky, I'm in San Diego, and had to drive up to Los Angeles to get to the only Xootr dealer in Southern California. FWIW, I've had the standard aluminum Xootr Swift for a couple months, and I'm thrilled with it; I can't imagine the steel-framed version being much better.
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Old 07-17-10, 10:12 PM   #2294
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One more Swift

Hi everybody! I got my Xootr Swift a month or so ago for my birthday (my wife suggested we get each other bikes this year); first bike I've had in a looong time.

My silver Swift, which was the demo model for the only SoCal Xootr dealer we could find (my wife reasonably insisted I actually ride one before buying), came all stock except for the extended stem (which is perfect for my height).

I proceeded to upgrade a number of the stock components: Salsa Moto Ace 11-degree-sweep handlebars (cut down to around 560mm), Ergon GR2 grips, SRAM X.4 Trigger shifter, MKS Exim (quick-release) pedals with PowerGrips, and a Brooks B.17 Imperial saddle.

The trigger shifter and Ergon grips made riding a lot more comfortable than the stock configuration (lovely bike but the cylindrical handgrips on such a short bar were abominable, especially with the grip shifter taking up half the right handgrip - I occasionally shifted accidentally, or lost track of which direction was up vs. downshift - the triggers are much more precise/definite), then adding the slightly (~2") wider and more swept-back handlebar made the steering MUCH less squirrelly/twitchy.

Then I added a kickstand, and a Carradice SQR Glentress quick-release seatpost bag (which mostly carries a Kryptonite New York Lock, and the MagicShine and RADBOT 1000 lights, when they're not in use). The bag stays home (dropping noticeable weight) if I'm just doing laps around the neighborhood.

I've got a tiny fold-up backpack inside the seatpost bag, so I can lock the bike somewhere, then put the seatpost bag and pedals into the tiny backpack, if I wander away from the bike. Or, if we're out around the neighborhood, and buy something unexpected, it gives me a hands-free way to carry it home. And the seatpost bag/contents normally stay home (quick-release is nice) if I'm just out riding for exercise, without plans to stop.

I also bought a dozen feet of 1" silver Reflexite V82 Conspicuity Tape, along with a 7/8" hole punch, and proceeded to "decorate" the rims and a few key spots on the frame (and my helmet) with little circles. They mostly blend in on the silver bike during the day, but light up a lot when they meet headlights at night.

And one special mention to the Steady Eye clip-on helmet mirror, which seems far more robust, and far less in-the-way than any of the other helmet-mounted mirrors I considered.

Possible things to add in the future include a Sigma BC1609 computer (wired, because I've read of trouble with signal interference from lights, etc.), Schwalbe Marathon Plus or Big Apple tires, when the stock tires wear out, and Kool Stop MTB brake pads, just because everyone keeps recommending them.

This is my only bike, and I plan to keep it that way -- the Swift seems like one of the few bikes where you can have just one for every purpose. Plus, folding means it can fit in a very small corner of a very small house (as well as easily storing in the car's trunk on occasion).

I've noticed that a big upside for this bike is that, with its mostly off-the-shelf parts, you can do lots of upgrades. The only downside seems to be... you can do lots of upgrades. Plus, bikeforums.net should be arrested for "aiding and abetting"; I've gotten all sorts of dangerous ($$$) ideas here

Two pictures, taken too late in the day; tried to fill in the shadows and ended up getting a bunch of the otherwise-stealthy Reflexite dots to light up.


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Old 07-19-10, 08:29 PM   #2295
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CarlRJ
Very nice posting about your Swift. That was great to attach the website and item when describing the upgrades that you made to your Swift. Gave me some good ideas.
Thanks again.
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Old 07-19-10, 11:45 PM   #2296
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Hey folks-

I have a mostly stock Xootr Swift. For some reason, I can't get the front wheel off. When I squeeze the brakes to get the brake cable to come free, the cable does not have enough play to do so. Has anyone else had this problem? Is there any easy fix? The stock brakes generally suck, so maybe I should upgrade anyway...
bump- Can anyone help me out on this?
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Old 07-20-10, 12:44 AM   #2297
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... For some reason, I can't get the front wheel off. When I squeeze the brakes to get the brake cable to come free, the cable does not have enough play to do so. Has anyone else had this problem? ...
I haven't had any problem getting my front wheel out, so can't answer that precisely, but I can provide some close-up pictures (click through for bigger images) of what the brakes look like on my Swift -- you can compare to yours to see if the geometry looks substantially different (e.g. if you've got considerably less "slack"); if nothing else, presumably you could (temporarily) loosen the screw on the top of the right (in the pics) arm, that holds the (nearly) end of the cable, to get the wheel out.

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Old 07-24-10, 05:26 AM   #2298
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Greetings, Swift owners! I have just joined your club.

I've been riding folders for the past two years and during that time my needs have evolved. Initially, a compact fold was my biggest concern but as time has progressed, I have found myself less and less concerned with compactness and more and more concerned with speed and performance. Part of this has been driven by a longish commute (10-12 miles each way) and part by the fact that I started riding a full-size touring bike a year ago for long road trips, so I've gotten used to (and appreciative of) how powerfully a big bike can perform. And at the end of the day, I want to ride my bike as much as possible, so I want a bike that's going to encourage me to do that--a bike that feels effortless and joyful to ride, not one whose inadequacies I have to struggle against.

To show you the evolution, I have ridden in succession over the past two years a Downtube 8H, Downtube Mini, vintage 80's Peugeot, Downtube Nova, and Dahon Speed P8. As nice as the Dahon is, I was still feeling dissatisfied with the ride, and the folding was complicated and fiddly. I had heard great things about the Swift's performance, but I kept resisting because it seemed like the fold wasn't particularly good. Then--flash of insight--it occurred to me that as long as the fold was "good enough" to fit in the trunk of a taxi or car, it didn't need to be super-compact. At this point, I started seriously fantasizing about the Swift. Finally, I broke down and yesterday I went straight after work to a folding bike specialist, took the Swift on a test ride and, well, you know the rest... the credit card got handed over and I had a fantastic, zippy ride all 12 miles home--and passed several folks on "big bikes" along the way!

I love the simplicity and elegance of this machine, the beauty of the frame, the lightness of the bike, the slenderness of the footprint, the quickness of the fold, the power of the ride. And I love the fact that it was created by a local designer. I think I may have just found folding bike nirvana. It makes me wonder, what took me so long?

Guess it's time to sell the Dahon...

Last edited by Urbanis; 07-24-10 at 06:28 AM.
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Old 07-24-10, 05:59 AM   #2299
Urbanis
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: New York, NY
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So, on to modding... I don't have the mechanical ingenuity and skill of just about everyone else on BF, and I don't want to needlessly clutter up the elegant simplicity of the Swift frame, but there are a few things I am planning on changing on my Swift:

* Replace the stock Kenda Kwest tires with Schwalbe Marathon Racers
* Add a water bottle cage to the headset
* Add lights and a bell to the handlebar and a rear light to the seat post
* Kickstand (possibly--will wait and see if I really need it)

The shop had already replaced the stock pedals with a very elegant pair of folding pedals (not the cheap plastic kind), which makes the fold even nicer.

Question: I am thinking about cargo-carrying options and what kind of rack might work. While I love the classic horizontal rear rack, it seems that this solution would interfere with the fold. I've looked at the cross-rack, but I'm don't like the vertical orientation (harder to strap random things to it) and that its weight is supported by the seat post. At the moment, I am seriously considering the Dahon Front Traveller Rack, which seems like it would provide the benefits of a standard horizontal frame-mounted rack without interfering with the fold. (I also like its look and price.) Your thoughts?
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Old 07-24-10, 07:40 PM   #2300
Urbanis
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Join Date: Jun 2008
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Bikes: Xootr Swift, Dahon Speed P8, Jamis Aurora
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Aargh! I managed to swap the front tire but I am having an impossible time removing the rear wheel from the horizontal dropouts. I set the shifter to 8, unhooked the brake, and removed the spindle per the instruction manual, but I can barely get the wheel to budge. I guess it's time to go to my LBS. I wonder if everything's snugged too tightly in there. Sigh.
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