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  1. #76
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpg View Post
    ...folding bard...


  2. #77
    Senior Member overbyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bhkyte View Post
    Gearing can be measures with a chalk mark and a tape measure also!!
    Lol
    What about fitting.......wait for it.......
    Bullbars to extend cockpit space and improve steering + arodynadnics. They look like they might fold compactly either side.
    Sorry to be so "bhkyte".
    Yes, you can do a direct measurement of gear inches by carefully measuring the distance the bike rolls for one full crank revolution. The formula lets you do "what-if" calculations without actually installing alternative gearing.

    My feeling is that at the speeds that this bike is good for, you don't have to worry much about aerodynamics unless you are bucking against a headwind. I don't know if steering would improve with bullbars.

  3. #78
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    I tend to find a lot fitting cut down drops turned upside down does improve things alot. Done this on 2 mezzo, a downtube and a brompton. And simular on a space genie.

    A few people have fitted bullbars and drops to carry mes and I would have thought from previously owning one that that mod would dramatically improvement the fit and handling of the bike. The carry me is simular to the freeride so I would imagine it would work well.
    My partiluar bullbar mod allows for a compact fold.

    I would be interested to hear if you think the fold would accomadate these bars.
    Last edited by bhkyte; 04-03-14 at 03:42 AM. Reason: added more information and a question
    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.

  4. #79
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by overbyte View Post
    As I calculated above, the Free Ride has gear-inches 46".
    This would have saved you alot of time.

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  5. #80
    Senior Member overbyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
    This would have saved you alot of time.
    Thanks for that link to the gear analyzer. It actually didn't take a lot of time to do the calculations. (What took time was counting the gear teeth and writing out the explanation and results.) I only knew about the gear calculator that Sheldon Brown has on his website. This one gives more flexibility to choose your own parameters rather than picking from a list. But Sheldon's has a nice feature if your bike has an internally geared hub. This calculator agrees that the gear-inches are 46". At a cadence (cranking rate) of 60 rpm, the bike will travel 8.2 mph (13.2 kph). At 90 rpm, it's 12.3 mph (19.8 kph). According to bike gurus I've read online, 90 rpm is the most efficient cadence for most bike riders that are in good condition (not necessarily the top athletes who push themselves harder). 60 rpm (one revolution per second) is a nice leisurely pace.

  6. #81
    Senior Member overbyte's Avatar
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    I've been calling the rear brake a "drum" brake, but it's called a "band" brake since it has a metal band with brake-shoe material riveted to it, and the actuation of the brake pulls the band tightly around a metal drum, creating the friction to stop the bike. Here are photos of band brakes, although none of them are exactly what's on the Free Ride bike: Band Brakes. http://www.partsforscooters.com/sear...s=band%20brake. The wording on the brake says "Allweather 80". This one looks most similar: http://www.partsforscooters.com/Brake-Shoes_2.
    Last edited by overbyte; 04-02-14 at 11:26 PM.

  7. #82
    Senior Member tk1971's Avatar
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    Overbyte,

    My bike shipped, so I guess I'll be getting it in a couple of weeks or so, but in the meantime, I'm going to keep pestering you with questions.

    I was given a Forever folder with a rear band brake and was not impressed by it, even after I adjusted them. My fake A-bike also has band brakes and they're not especially effective. How feasible do you suppose it would be to replace the rear wheel with one that has a coaster brake? The only issue I would imagine would be: 1) Rear triangle spacing; 2) The grafting of the belt pulley to the new wheel.

    What are your thoughts on this?

    Thanks.

    tk

  8. #83
    Senior Member overbyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tk1971 View Post
    Overbyte,

    My bike shipped, so I guess I'll be getting it in a couple of weeks or so, but in the meantime, I'm going to keep pestering you with questions.

    I was given a Forever folder with a rear band brake and was not impressed by it, even after I adjusted them. My fake A-bike also has band brakes and they're not especially effective. How feasible do you suppose it would be to replace the rear wheel with one that has a coaster brake? The only issue I would imagine would be: 1) Rear triangle spacing; 2) The grafting of the belt pulley to the new wheel.

    What are your thoughts on this?

    Thanks.

    tk
    I agree that the band brake is not great. It takes a lot of squeeze pressure to get just a modest amount of braking. It stops, but not as quickly as I would prefer. Therefore, I always use both brakes equally. Lubricating the cables and moving parts of the brakes may also help with pressure to the pads and band.

    I haven't measured the stopping distance yet. There is a US standard for braking in the CPSC bicycle regulation 16 CFR 1512 which involves riding the bike on a flat road with no significant wind and a rider weighing 150 lbs (as I recall) at a certain speed (I think 12 mph) and then testing how far the bike rolls once the brakes are applied hard. Even the front caliper brake on this bike isn't especially strong. I asked my local bike shop mechanic about getting other pads, but he said the ones he has that fit the caliper (bolt-on type) look the same as the grey ones on the Free Ride now, so he didn't think it would make a difference. I wonder whether the band brake improves a little as it wears in and maybe makes more complete contact with the drum. Also, I notice that the way the band is sitting in the housing is a little off of the ideal position relative to the width of the drum. I think one more washer under the band bolt would shift it into a better contact with more of the drum.

    I also wonder if I can fit longer brake pads to these front calipers, such as the ones that are on my full-size touring bike. There are more types of rubber pads available for them, some which are better at stopping but don't last as long.

    I considered the feasibility of changing the hub to an internally geared hub with a built-in brake, such as one that Sturmey-Archer makes with a coaster brake or one that Shimano makes with a roller brake. The problem is that those hubs don't come in 20-spoke configuration, which is what these 12" wheels have. The standard is 36-spokes for larger wheels. I haven't measured the "over-locknut dimension" (OLD) of the rear fork. To do it accurately, I'd have to remove the rear wheel, which I haven't done yet but I will so I can see if there are difficulties that would be encountered to fix a flat tire (tyre). That's what you'd need to do to determine if a different brake would fit. Then you'd have to take the existing one apart to determine how the things bolt together, which I'll probably do at some point to see how to replace the band if it wears out. I don't plan to ride this bike enough to wear out the thickness of the brake lining, but it would be good to know how it's done.

    I also am thinking that changing from the existing 80mm drum to a different band brake with a 90mm drum might improve the stopping power since more band would be in contact with a larger circumference, if it will fit the bike with the existing hub. The links I posted above show that 90mm are available.

  9. #84
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    I have had rear band brakes on an old diblasi r4. The front drum was amount the best brakes I have used. However the rear band was strong enough, but lacked modulation and I did nt like it in the wet.
    I suggest you address cables and outers before upgrades. Few folders are fitted with Teflon inner cables, but most need them or would benefit from fitting them. Teflon lined outers increase the slickness of the cable pull still further.
    Koolstop slamon or swiss stop are considered amongst the best pads for calipers.
    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.

  10. #85
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    also i think you are slowing down alot with the tires which have a max of 35PSI

    lucky for you schwalbe makes big apples in 12" sizes!

    Big Apple HS 430 | Schwalbe North America

    and they go up to 55psi! that should change your ride entirely! I've ridden my cousin's 16 inch chinese folding bikes with those cheap 35 psi tires and it was a huge diff when he changed them to some old kenda's i had that went up to 65psi!

  11. #86
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Can you post pictures from the midshaft to the rear wheel? Is the gearing upgradeable here?
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  12. #87
    Senior Member overbyte's Avatar
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    Rode the bike today to Trader Joe's market.

    I rode today downhill to Trader Joe's market in Santa Cruz. I folded the bike and put it into the shopping basket so I didn't have to lock it outside:
    IMAG0498.jpgIMAG0499.jpg
    There were several people who stopped and asked about the bike.

    On the way back home, I had one section with an average of 3% grade climbing for about 1.7 miles. The bike and I could take the hill but some sections were a little steeper than I could ride, so I walked a little. The bike is easy to push and steer with one hand. I don't think that higher pressure tires would make much difference on the steeper climbs since I'm rolling a low speed anyway, but perhaps it would make the bike a little easier rolling when carrying a load. I weigh about 160 lb. I had the handlebar bag with my cell phone, a multi-tool, and a fanny pack of my personal goodies. I wore a backpack with some extra clothing and the cake and candy I bought at TJ's. I'd estimate my total weight was about 175 lbs (rider + cargo), excluding the bike itself.

    The brakes seem to be working a little better now that I've used them for a few short rides (about 15 miles total so far) including some descents of about 380 feet twice.

    Two days ago, I rode along the Santa Cruz coastal trail to the surfing museum (in a re-purposed historic lighthouse building):
    IMAG0495.jpgIMAG0496.jpgIMAG0497.jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by overbyte; 04-05-14 at 10:33 PM.

  13. #88
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Got to admit... I'm impressed!
    Rivendell Sam Hillborne and Hunqapillar; Brompton M6R Sage Green; Salsa Mukluk 3 FAT Bike; Nerdy Academic; Nikonian; Wing Chun; and a Patridge in a Pear Tree.

  14. #89
    Senior Member overbyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azreal911 View Post
    also i think you are slowing down alot with the tires which have a max of 35PSI

    lucky for you schwalbe makes big apples in 12" sizes!

    Big Apple HS 430 | Schwalbe North America

    and they go up to 55psi! that should change your ride entirely! I've ridden my cousin's 16 inch chinese folding bikes with those cheap 35 psi tires and it was a huge diff when he changed them to some old kenda's i had that went up to 65psi!
    Interesting. I might give them a try when I'm ready to upgrade the bike. To get a feel for the difference, I could lower the pressure in the tires of another bike which has higher pressure tires, such as one of my 20" folders.

  15. #90
    Senior Member overbyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    Can you post pictures from the midshaft to the rear wheel? Is the gearing upgradeable here?
    IMAG0500.jpgIMAG0501.jpgIMAG0502.jpgIMAG0503.jpg (Apparently my cell phone camera didn't focus well on the 2 most close photos here.)
    I did a quick measurement without removing the rear wheel. The distance between the rear forks (over locknut dimension = "OLD") is about 100mm. I can't find any internally geared hub that is that small. Unless someone is very clever with welding, I don't see any easy way to replace the jackshaft with an internally geared jackshaft. I think that the bottom bracket is also too narrow for a 2-speed bottom bracket such as the Patterson 2-speed crankset. (I don't know if the Patterson would even work for a left-drive bottom bracket.) A derailleur for the chain sprocket on the jackshaft would add more gearing choices, if you could make such a major change, but I think it would be a hazard to the rider's leg and probably would cause heel strike.

    Maybe the rear fork can be stretched wider to fit an IGH with an included brake (coaster or roller brake). But they are around 130 mm OLD, so the stretch would have to be about 30 mm. That's about 1.18" of widening. Might be possible, but you'd also have to consider how to attach the belt sprocket and whether it would line up in the "belt line" of the jackshaft belt sprocket.

    As Paul Pinigis said, there doesn't seem to be any easy way to add more gears.
    Last edited by overbyte; 04-07-14 at 09:46 PM.

  16. #91
    Senior Member overbyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
    Got to admit... I'm impressed!
    What impresses you? The small compact size of the folded bike? Anything else?

  17. #92
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by overbyte View Post
    What impresses you? The small compact size of the folded bike? Anything else?
    The compactness, and your willingness to push it to the max in any setting you can think of!
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  18. #93
    cpg
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    Overbyte, having ridden the bike a good few times now do think it can be classed as a proper bike and not a toy or gimmick by the sceptics? How far would you say that you comfortably ride on it?
    I wonder if a second sprocket could be fitted to the intermediate shaft and the chain be moved by hand (for simplicity) as and when a different gear ratio is needed. A simple chain tensioner would also be required to take up slack in the chain between the two different sprockets.
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  19. #94
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Just curious,does the belt fold/twist when the bike is folded? I know the Gates belts don't like to be twisted.

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  20. #95
    Senior Member overbyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
    Just curious,does the belt fold/twist when the bike is folded? I know the Gates belts don't like to be twisted.
    Yes, the fold involves some twisting. I'm sure this belt won't last as long as it could since it is being folded, which is perhaps a good reason to store the bike unfolded when you can. (Just like sleeping bags, which should be stored uncompressed in a large loose-fitting bag so the insulation isn't crushed.)

    However, if you consider it just an expendable item, like brake pads, which eventually will need to be replaced with a new one, it's not a bad trade-off for the convenience of this super-compact fold. I just hope that it won't suddenly fail with no warning, but rather will start to show some signs such as surface cracks. I'll be examining the belt now and then to watch for signs like that. This isn't a Gates carbon fiber belt, so maybe it is more durable than the brittle carbon fibers are in the Gates belt.

  21. #96
    Senior Member overbyte's Avatar
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    Another day doing tourist things with the bike.

    Today was a beautiful day, so I took the bike out in the afternoon to test it some more. I started with the descent from my house near the UC Santa Cruz campus downhill about 380 feet to downtown Santa Cruz, where I stopped at a hardware store for some things I needed. I compressed the wheelbase but didn't completely fold it into the super-compact configuration. I rolled the shortened bike through the store to find my purchases. Again, people stop to comment on the bike. I had to explain that it folds even smaller and that I don't ride it in this shortened shape but rather stretch it out again.

    Then I leisurely rode through downtown toward the coast, through Depot Park on a bike path to the new Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center. I parked it next to a bench for this photo:
    IMAG0504.jpg
    Then I continued along the beach road bike lane to the amusement park, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, which is the last of the historic coastal amusement parks along the California coast:
    IMAG0510.jpg
    The bike was dwarfed against the mass of the big bikes parked in front, such as the beach cruiser bike behind the little bike here. That may have been one of those 29" wheeled cruisers:
    IMAG0509.jpg
    On the way, I noticed that the entrance to the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf (where there are tourist shops and restaurants on the pier) had a sign saying that the parking lot on the wharf itself was full and therefore closed to further cars. I put my bike next to that sign and thought of another use for the bike: Can't park next to your destination? No problem. Go find another parking place farther away. Take the bike(s) out of the back of the car and ride back to the destination, where you can fold the bike and roll it in with you on its luggage wheels.
    IMAG0507.jpg
    Then I continued along the frontage of the Boardwalk, which has a scenic train railway that takes tourists from the Boardwalk up into the Santa Cruz mountains. A section of the track has exposed railroad ties with gravel between them, not quite coming up to the surface of the ties. I figured this would be a good test for the suspension and steering. I rode along the bumpy path between the railroad rails for about 15'.
    IMAG0511.jpg
    (When you look at that picture, you can't help but be struck by the small size of this bike. I'm even surprised now that I look at myself with the bike.)
    The suspension took the harshness out of the ride and the steering did ok as long as I continued rather straight, parallel to the rails. If I turned too much to the left or right, the wheel would be deflected by the leading edge of the tie, where perhaps a larger diameter tire would have continued un-deflected. So this is something to be aware of when riding over especially rough terrain. Likewise, when crossing railroad tracks in pavement, you should take a curved path that lets you cross perpendicular to the tracks rather than at an acute angle, which could catch the wheel in the track groove and deflect the bike, causing a fall. This is true of all bikes when riding over railroad tracks that cross streets at an angle other than a right angle.

    After I left the Boardwalk, I proceeded to the Santa Cruz Harbor, where there are pleasure boats. On the way back, I had to climb a short steep hill which was a seldom-traveled road, so I could use the full width. I tacked up the hill and sat part way and then stood on the pedals the rest of the way. The grade I'm sure was more than 3%, but with the zig-zag tacking technique I handled it well. Standing on the climb gives you a good upper-body workout as you pull against the handlebars for more power, which is one reason I don't ride my recumbent bikes as much as I used to do. On a recumbent, your upper body really can be quite lazy as the legs do the power work.

    Returning home through downtown to the 380' climb at 3% grade to my house, I was just a little too tired to want to challenge the climb, so I walked most of the way up along a pedestrian trail in the median parkway of the road. I thought to myself that when riding this bike one has to think of how cyclocross racers do a combination of riding where they can and carrying the bike where they can't ride, only with this bike it's riding where you can and walking it where you must. That's true of any single-speed bike, probably even more so in the others since most single speed bikes have 60 to 75 gear-inches and this super-compact bike has 46 gear-inch gearing, which can take hills better.

    MapMyRide recorded my route today. I rode 11.55 miles with an overall average speed of 6.8 mph, but the last part of that was walking at 4.2 mph uphill. Through the flat areas of downtown, I rode 8.7 to 9.2 mph in the bike lanes next to parked cars and traffic. This corresponds to a cadence of a little more than 60 rpm, which is a comfortable touring cadence in the city. On the initial descent, I let it get up to 16 mph before slowing for safety in traffic and to make a turn. I discovered that the front caliper brake pads just aren't doing much, but the rear band brake works quite well since I adjusted the cable this morning. Next I'll try refreshing the surface of the front pads with a belt sander, not only to roughen them a little and remove any oil or glaze, but also to improve the angle of the pads when they contact the rim. These simple caliper pads don't have the full adjustability that V-brake pads do. If that doesn't help, I'll replace the pads with some larger V-brake pads that I have as spares for my full-size touring bike.

    This was a good workout with the little bike. MapMyRide estimates that I burned 572 Calories (kcal). I haven't been riding much in the last few months, so this is a good start to the riding season for me. I'll sleep well tonight.


    (Update on the morning after the latest ride: I tried the sanding of the existing pads, but that didn't improve the braking. I installed some fully-adjustable V-brake pads that have a bolt and washer arrangement which allows tilting the pad in all directions to obtain the best pad-to-rim contact possible, including a slight toe-in to avoid brake squeal. 102_1188[1].jpg Testing on the ground by leaning forward against the handlebars while applying the brakes, I feel that the front braking is significantly better with these pads. I'll road-test and report.)
    Last edited by overbyte; 04-07-14 at 09:30 PM.

  22. #97
    Senior Member overbyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpg View Post
    Overbyte, having ridden the bike a good few times now do think it can be classed as a proper bike and not a toy or gimmick by the sceptics? How far would you say that you comfortably ride on it?
    I wonder if a second sprocket could be fitted to the intermediate shaft and the chain be moved by hand (for simplicity) as and when a different gear ratio is needed. A simple chain tensioner would also be required to take up slack in the chain between the two different sprockets.
    After my 3 rides totaling 25 miles of riding the bike, I'd say it's not a toy, but it is a special-purpose bike. Its primary claim to fame is the super-compact folding. It's a "take-along" bike, which you can easily take in the back of a car, on a bus or train or airplane, or roll it into a store or perhaps a restaurant (maybe with a skirt around it) like rolling luggage. Although very compact, it folds a little too thick to be carry-on luggage on an airplane, but it could easily be taken as checked-in baggage in a suitcase that is 12" deep, without any disassembly. Since Amtrak allows folding bikes on all trains, and this bike is so compact and balances well when picked up with the seat tongue, it's an okay bike to take along if you're going by train to somewhere that is rather flat or has hills less than 3% grade. Many bus systems allow folding bikes on board, but they require that the rider keep the bike out of the aisle. When there's no other space to stash the bike on board, the bike could be placed on the lap for the duration of the bus ride. With a little bottom-padded or bottom-stiffened bag, the weight of the bike on the lap is not uncomfortable for a while. The bike might fit between the rider's legs on the floor.

    I thought about adding a second sprocket for the chain at the jackshaft. Maybe that would work if you can figure out how to attach it. The sprocket now is apparently screwed onto the shaft, perhaps by being welded to a nut. The shaft of the jackshaft doesn't protrude beyond the existing sprocket, so you'd have to weld another sprocket and nut onto the existing one, concentric with the existing one. There is already a chain tensioner, which is adjustable but not spring-loaded, so it might work (if the chain is flexible enough) to stop, relax the tensioner sprocket, move the chain to the alternate jackshaft sprocket, and then re-adjust the tensioner. But the tensioner might interfere with the bending of the chain to the new angle, since the tensioner isn't like a derailleur, it's not mounted on a laterally movable arm. You wouldn't want to do this very often, but as an occasional method to shift the gear-inches lower for hills and back to the current gear-inches, the second sprocket might work out.
    Last edited by overbyte; 04-07-14 at 10:35 AM.

  23. #98
    cpg
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    Thank you for all the information and your reviews Overbyte, they have made interesting reading. Its good to know that this bike is genuinely usable and it would seem to be good value for money as well.
    Mezzo I4 (converted to dual drive), Whyte PRST-1, Trek 1200, Dahon Jack, Bickerton (work in progress)

  24. #99
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    Better braking with new front pads

    Definitely the braking action is much better with the V-brake pads on the front instead of the small gray pads that come with the bike. I rode it today on a short ride, and confirmed that it stops much better. The cables probably would have less friction if they are greased. I wasn't sure what kind of lubricant, if any, could be used on brake cables, so I went to the shop of my trusted LBS. The mechanic happened to be greasing some cables for a different bike he had on his workstand. He used some red grease from an unlabeled plastic tub, applying it to the cables that had been removed from their outer sheaths. He said any good grease would work. I asked about the "marine grease" that I had purchased from a marine store, which looked just like the grease he was using. He said he's used marine grease, too, and it's fine. He said the purpose of the grease is to keep the cables from rusting inside the sheath. It also makes them slide more easily. I've read that Teflon lined cable sheaths don't need grease, but the Teflon wouldn't prevent corrosion or rust, so I figure it's a good thing to do no matter what kind of cables are on this bike. I doubt that they are high-end Teflon lined cables. So, that's another improvement I'll try. The brakes seem that they need more lubrication.
    Last edited by overbyte; 04-08-14 at 09:42 PM.

  25. #100
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    Luggage case for the bike

    Today I went shopping at a local discount department store that has a large selection of rolling luggage and rolling duffle bags. I found one that is just deep and wide enough for the folded bike. The length is longer than needed, but that gives some space to store the handlebar bag and my bike helmet. Here are some photos:
    102_1189[1].jpg102_1190[1].jpg102_1191[1].jpg102_1192[1].jpg102_1193[1].jpg
    The outside dimensions of this suitcase are 13"x18"x27", which comes under the Amtrak maximum dimensions for carry-on bags, and under the standard airline maximum of 62" for the sum of L+W+H. (It also expands by 1.5" if an additional zipper is opened, but I didn't need the expansion.) The suitcase is a soft-side case, but it has stiffeners in the ends which have the wheels and pull-out handle, and it has a stiffening wire sewn inside the corners. It rolls on 2 wheels and has multiple handles to help grip and lift, and telescoping handle to pull it when you roll. The brand name is Claiborne and the discount price was $65, which is a lot cheaper than the bike luggage sold for other, larger, folding bikes.

    With the bike in the suitcase, it looks like any other piece of luggage and has some extra capacity for stuffing some clothing into the suitcase pockets.

    I replaced one of the pedals (left side) with a folding pedal for this photo, but subsequently replaced the other one also with a folding pedal. You may have noticed in my prior photos that I had a water bottle mounted on the back of the seat post. I did that using a quick clamp-on mounting bracket onto which I screwed a standard water bottle cage. The bracket clamps on with a quick-release lever that is adjustable for post diameter, so it could be used on the steering stem or seat post.
    Last edited by overbyte; 04-08-14 at 11:56 PM.

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