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Thread: MicroBike

  1. #1
    Wheelbuilder
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    MicroBike

    I Own a MicroBike.
    Does anyone know more about its history?

    /Martin Olsson

  2. #2
    Life in Mono
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    I knew someone who had one in london - a swedish student. It was made in Sweden c 1988, by a couple of design students who turned it into a business. It folds to be long & thin and is reasonably light - folding is based on 6 clever joints in rubber covers which give a sort of concertina fold. His bike wore out in a year and the frame became very wobbly - it was ditched. The very small wheels (12" from memory) seemed abit too small so the handling took abit of getting used to, along with only 1 rear back pedal brake.

    That was a long time ago and before skate boards/skooters with even smaller wheels became popular. I would imagine it would now make a good 'short hop' folder as long as you are not too heavy or rough with it. The long thin folded shape is very useful on public transport ....... like umbrellas.

    I liked the belt drive - shared with the Strida and nice and clean.

  3. #3
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    I Think it was build in Halmsatd in Sweden. It was the first aluminiumbike i saw. It's not welded. it is glued and fixed with blind rivets.
    I'm also looking for new rubber covers. Mine are going to be old and i want to tighten the frame so it don't will be so wobbly.

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    The New York Museum of Modern Art, of all places, sold them for a short time (15?) years ago, where I bought mine for around $500 (too expensive, especially when the front hub was missing a large spacer). Manufacturing skill seemed to be focused on the folding joints. Later there was a Japanese website that showed a model with a front brake, a cute wicker basket (also on front) and a brightly-colored cotton bag that doubled as a picnic blanket.

    I bought a second version long after they were discontinued (ten years ago?) that had the front brake and a lever-operated 3-speed Sturmey-Archer hub, instead of the standard back-pedal activated 2-speed. The European version had a bell on the handlebars and a front (metal?) basket/briefcase hook option, and there were color choices of aluminum anodizing: blue, red, silver, others? The 12" tires had an obscure valve, something like a presta valve, but available replacement tubes had Shrader valves that were barely accessible (little room between the top of the valve and the hubs of the tiny plastic wheels). I spent years trying to find the best pump to fit between the hub and the valve, finally settling on a tiny hand pump as the sole way to get air into the tubes. (Fortunately the wheels tolerated only low pressures, in part required to cushion the ride - small wheels are not as compliant as large ones.) I was able to carry a lot of stuff, including the pump, in a small backpack hung on the handlebars, because the little wheel allowed a very long head tube. The large plastic clip that held the bike together when folded finally broke, but I replaced it with a section of PVC pipe, formed to the correct shape after heating.


    Occasionally MicroBikes show up on the web and command high prices (not often used regularly by the owners/sellers).

    Love the design, the compactness, and the novelty of the belt instead of a chain, but the MicroBike was only desirable for very short (perfectly walkable) hops, actually just barely ridable, but want to keep mine, for mostly whimsical reasons.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by sammyl
    The New York Museum of Modern Art, of all places, sold them for a short time (15?) years ago, where I bought mine for around $500 (too expensive, especially when the front hub was missing a large spacer). Manufacturing skill seemed to be focused on the folding joints. Later there was a Japanese website that showed a model with a front brake, a cute wicker basket (also on front) and a brightly-colored cotton bag that doubled as a picnic blanket.

    I bought a second version long after they were discontinued (ten years ago?) that had the front brake and a lever-operated 3-speed Sturmey-Archer hub, instead of the standard back-pedal activated 2-speed. The European version had a bell on the handlebars and a front (metal?) basket/briefcase hook option, and there were color choices of aluminum anodizing: blue, red, silver, others? The 12" tires had an obscure valve, something like a presta valve, but available replacement tubes had Shrader valves that were barely accessible (little room between the top of the valve and the hubs of the tiny plastic wheels). I spent years trying to find the best pump to fit between the hub and the valve, finally settling on a tiny hand pump as the sole way to get air into the tubes. (Fortunately the wheels tolerated only low pressures, in part required to cushion the ride - small wheels are not as compliant as large ones.) I was able to carry a lot of stuff, including the pump, in a small backpack hung on the handlebars, because the little wheel allowed a very long head tube. The large plastic clip that held the bike together when folded finally broke, but I replaced it with a section of PVC pipe, formed to the correct shape after heating.


    Occasionally MicroBikes show up on the web and command high prices (not often used regularly by the owners/sellers).

    Love the design, the compactness, and the novelty of the belt instead of a chain, but the MicroBike was only desirable for very short (perfectly walkable) hops, actually just barely ridable, but want to keep mine, for mostly whimsical reasons.
    i have a roll n fold with 14 inch wheels I am trying to make a workable short hop(5 or 10 miles )bike but i like it for whimsical reasons as well.

  6. #6
    Weakling
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    I own one too. I love how light it is and the kevlar drive belt. Less risk somebody's cloth get dirty when in a public transportation. What I don't like is the rear wheel not being standard. I've heard two different info on if such are available when it is time to replace it.


    So when I read that one US version had a a lever-operated 3-speed Sturmey-Archer hub that is given me hope. That would be cool to have.
    but the bad thing is that then one need brakes by hand then which me as a weakling is not used to. All old bikes me have owned always had the european back pedaling brake system. 55 years of habit is not easy to relearn.

    I talked to one of the three guys that was producing it. One of them claimed the drive belt is easy to find so I have to trust him on that info. He also knew that the wheels should be able to find.

    Maybe the 12" wheels of a Mobiky is possible to use? That one is three gears in hub I guess.

    To Mod. Yes the thread is an old one but to us that are interested in second hand folding bikes this is an interesting vintage folder.

    I had great problem keeping balance on Strida but have no problem with riding the Microbike. Easy as pancake compared to the old Strida I tested.
    Last edited by Weakling; 12-27-07 at 05:26 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Weakling View Post
    I talked to one of the three guys that was producing it. One of them claimed the drive belt is easy to find so I have to trust him on that info. He also knew that the wheels should be able to find.
    Hi Weakling:

    How can I contact the person above about obtaining a rear wheel for my Microbike. Part of the plastic rim area on the rear wheel broke apart the hub and the gear drive are fine. If it is possible I would like to acquire either just the plastic wheel or the whole assembly that is the wheel with the hub and gear drive.

    This link below take you to an old posting by me inquiring about how to repair this wheel. I also attached images showing the damaged wheel.

    Microbike Repair Advice

    Thanks.
    Last edited by todaynow; 12-30-07 at 06:40 PM.

  8. #8
    Weakling
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    did you contact that guy?
    http://nordicgroup.us/fold/#Microbike

    He is wrong about the dimension on wheels.
    The plastic ones was 12" and the metal ones was 16"
    but only made by hand some 200 plus to find out the market
    for it but not enough interest so they gave up on the Microbike.

    I made a phone call to "Paulo" here in Sweden who was involved to the end and he has not a single part and don't know who has it either. He recommend we buy a used one and take parts from the bike that is most used so one have at least one good working one.

    I would look into the version for USA which had three speed rear hub
    with metal rims or look if it is possible to use Mobiky rear wheels despite
    them being chain driven? and to move the part for the plastic gear for kevlar drive belt? But maybe me too naive if such is possible.

    "Paulo" didn't indicate it was ok to contact him so I will not give out his email address. He told me he know nothing about where to find parts so
    we have to do without his advice. If he reads here he could confirm my
    take on it.

    I know not enough on how these kevlar drives are attached. I am folder
    enthusiast but not good at mechanics I just love small wheeled foldable bikes.

    "Pauolo" told me he was sure of that even the rear wheel is available where they bought it but he gave me no name of firms or companies. The kevlar drive belt seems to be a standard though. and the front wheel is standard too. Others have told me the same as you do. They have failed to find one.

    So not sure why he wrote that it is easy to find them.

    All help is appreciated.
    Last edited by Weakling; 12-30-07 at 10:38 PM.

  9. #9
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    Microbike

    I own 7 microbikes at the moment. All types (except for a larger wheeled one which I have a picture of). To me its a great bike. Much better than the strida for a number of reasons. I have been trying to document the evolution of this bike, so if anyone can help...
    My conclusion as to at least one of the reasons for it's demise is that it was not idiot proof. If not handled carefully, the steel joints would spread, thus killing the stiffness of the frame. I've bought a few of these dirt cheap to use for parts, but I'm shure that by removing the joint pin and clamping they should be repairable.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin O View Post
    I Own a MicroBike.
    Does anyone know more about its history?

    /Martin Olsson
    Please take photos and post them I would much like to see it

  11. #11
    Weakling
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    somnatash, I guess they look like this
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/8233858...7600645923733/

    here is a link to the 16" version.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/8233858...7600645923733/

    I only have a 12" with Nylon rims. The 16" was a last try to make a dent in the market
    but Swedes are not much into folders. Very few buy such. If one visit a Sport shop with
    bikes they make long faces and say that one should go to a Sailors shop or to a shop
    for MotorHomes or such.

    The 16" with metal rims was some 200+ handmade ones to test the market for a modified
    version. The picture is most likely from the gift to the Technical Museum in Stockholm.

    I like my 12" very much. It has shorter wheelbase compared to Strida but are much more
    normal to ride. A bad thing is the cord. It is a standard kevlar but half the width so one
    need somebody to make too out of one sawing it in half. So if belt goes one are out of luck?

    Frontwheel one could use a wheel to Rollator/Walker but the rear wheel have a drum brake
    european style back pedaling.

    I've talked to the guy that made the 200+ last 16" about repair and he says that
    one have to be on one's own. He know nobody that have spare things.
    Owners buy used ones and use as repair source.
    Last edited by Weakling; 10-20-08 at 04:16 AM.

  12. #12
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    I have e-mailed Paoulo, But no reply.
    By the way, The 3speed, disappointedly, has an extra lighter gear.
    I'll write about variations I have found when I get time. I have to check serial numbers for chronology and haven't had a chance.

  13. #13
    Weakling
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    He was very friendly when I spoke to him over phone.
    But he most likely want us to recognize he can not
    help us out. He knows as little as us now.

    Yes would be cool to have them in order. I guess my 12"
    are from 1987 or so. Not sure. The 16" are from much later I guess.
    Their last attempt to make it a biz but too few bought one.

    the 16" red MB with the handlebar mounted backwards on my flickr
    are from an Ad at blocket.se a ebay variety for swedes.

    the owner had not used it much and must have had a haste
    preparing it for photo for the ad when selling it.

    Anders B. bought it and still have it. But he has not taken new photos
    of it as far as I know.
    Last edited by Weakling; 10-20-08 at 08:17 AM.

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    I bought 2 there--loved the bike but never found a pump that would work so i had a wheel built with steel spokes--cost $15,00--still got flats each time I rode the darn thing so I had solid tires --used on motorized wheel chairs put one--no flats but it added weight--more i look at the Strida i think some of it's parts can be used on the microbike--biggest problem I had was that there just where no decent tires--seemed it used regular scooter tires which where like peanut butter--

    but, what a fantastic bike compared to the folding bikes i see here in New York City--also the clip that held it together was a disaster--always snapped--the bike need just a tid more engineering but I have no complaints

    kind of neat to see it mentioned on the net

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    Hi bustermetoo,
    Maybe your wheels were old? or had to be cleaned of any foreign particles inside? Maybe a new rubber protctive band on the rim?
    I never had any problems.
    On another note. One suggestion for much better riding performance is to replace the handle bar tube of 32cm with a bar of 45cm. I find that the control and stability are greatly improved.

  16. #16
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    16" bike looks interesting.
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8. Birdie red.

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    I have a MicroBike too , but unfortunately the right pedal is broken off . Apparently hard to find a replacement pedal arm.
    Interestingly I found a pdf about one of the inventors , Sven Hellestam

    http://www.guf.se/wp-content/upLoads...AN0050_000.pdf

    I know, it is in swedish, but maybe you can get in contact with him . His mail address is apparently sven.helle@telia.se

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    Does anyone know the dimensions of the Microbike when it's folded?

    http://nordicgroup.us/fold/#Microbike says 10" x 10" x 48" (eyeball estimate) but the wheel size itself is 12"...

    Weakling or anyone else that owns a Microbike, please help

  20. #20
    Weakling
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul B. View Post
    Does anyone know the dimensions of the Microbike when it's folded?
    ...
    Weakling or anyone else that owns a Microbike, please help
    The Dimensions or what? I know too little. The one I have in my cellar has
    12" wheels and the rim where a special plastic that he tested in London
    and if I remember correctly I talked over the phone with a partner of him.

    He is into Personal Security innovations if the text I read some years ago are correct.
    You mean I should try to find his phone number or snail mail address?

    There are many others on this FaceBook page that most likely know him.
    http://www.facebook.com/Trampkraft

    One of the guys that are member of that Human Powered Vehicle association he bought
    a 16" version that where the last attempt to get a market. That model had metal rims
    and the folding where different to allow for a lower step in.

    I can be wrong but my gut feeling is that he is not into being a source of info anymore.
    Or else he would be active here by now. I got the impression that he is deep into other projects.
    But who knows. A friendly call over the phone may inspire him to give some feedback.

    I try to look for his name using these details
    Sven Hellestam
    GÖTEBORG

    http://personer.eniro.se/
    gave cellphone number so it cost a fortune to call I guess.
    Remember time zone so you don't call at 03.00AM in the morning.
    I can confirm this email sven.helle@mail.se but I will not write to him.

    No reason why others could not but I don't have that relation to him.
    Swedes can be rather formal especially to Weaklings. I trust my gut
    feeling. Him not being active in forums for folded bikes tells me
    that he does not want me to contact him. He is deep into other things.

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    Relaunch of MicroBike?

    Red 1utfälld.jpgHi everyone in this tread!
    Here I am. In mid 2012 I decided to investigate if a relaunch of the MicroBike is possible. The main marketing problem we faced back then was the lack of sales channels to people using public transport. Thats the original purpose of the bike. Now, 20 years later, and still using the Microbike daily in combination with bus and tram, I am convinced its still the only existing foldable bike practical enough to use in intense city transport. But, no difference today in how to market towards this use. I have set up a web page:
    http://www.microbike.se
    to investigate the interest. Have a look, answer the question, and get in touch by email about specific questions. The section for microbike owners is under building but suggestions on what repairs to describe is welcome. First one coming is how to lubricate the rear hub. The grease in all hubs are by now dry.
    Sven Hellestam
    Last edited by Sven H; 02-12-13 at 12:08 PM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    it's an interesting question and problem. the microbike had no competition when it was originally launched. in effect, the microbike created a sub-genre. now, if the microbike is to return, it must compete with all the micro wheel bikes it spawned. i think that would require some significant redesign and component upgrades.

    1.ve8yuvv34xuazlxmf2jhcz.jpghandybike5.jpgox1.jpg

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by smallwheeler View Post
    What's this one? I actually like the looks of it.
    I plan on living forever... so far so good.

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    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    ox peco

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    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    http://oxgroup.co.jp/bicycle/fb03/f_fb03.html

    it is a sweet bike. i would love to have one...

    comes stock with 12" schwalbe big apples..

    hmm, and dat drivetrain...

    front and rear suspension too!

    Last edited by smallwheeler; 02-12-13 at 05:28 PM.

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