Surely its possible to use standard cranks and apply threadlock to the pedals if you are concerned about them working loose.
Surely its possible to use standard cranks and apply threadlock to the pedals if you are concerned about them working loose.
Mezzo I4 (converted to dual drive), Whyte PRST-1, Trek 1200, Dahon Jack, Bickerton Portable (upgraded).
Sugino XD Tandem Left Hand Front or Rear 170mm Arm. I don't know if the super-compact bike has a standard taper on its bottom bracket, so that would have to be checked.
After reading about Overbyte's description on how seller's on Aliexpress operate (sending bogus tracking numbers while they order the goods, then update the tracking number later after actually shipping it), I sent a message to the seller requesting updated tracking info.
The response was that the factory is busy producing this bike, which is apparently under high demand. The seller notes that if I can give them an additional 5 days, all will be good. The seller finished the message by reminding me that I bought the bike at the lowest price ever, and that no one else has bought at this low a price.
Regarding another Aliexpress transaction from another seller, I bought a CarryMe folding Trike when I thought my bike (described above) was already shipped. Positive experience, right? (before realizing that my bike didn't actually ship.) Got an email from Aliexpress that they have suspended the seller and frozen the transaction for the following reason: "The supplier is recently found to have unsafe trading activities. To protect your trade safety , we have decided to check this order, please be patient and wait for further instructions from us."
Looks like I'm batting 0 / 2.
FAIR is a four letter "F" word.
After I had received mine, I did notice that the seller was discounting the bike below the price I had paid, for a "sale" over a couple of days. You must have gotten your order placed at just the right time.
I had the same response from Best Outdoor as you received--that the factory is busy and she needs 5 more days. She apparently doesn't stock the bike but instead orders from the factory as her orders come in from AliExpress. She did come through with the bike after the delay, and I felt relieved when the tracking number was canceled and a new tracking number was posted, which was recognized by FedEx tracking website. Once FedEx has the item, you can watch it move around Asia and then leap into the US. From the date that FedEx received the box to the date a FexEx driver set it down at my door was exactly 6 days, most of which was spent in Asia picking up more cargo. You still should have plenty of time to cancel the order for non-receipt of the product. AliExpress holds the money and doesn't release it to the seller until you confirm that you received the product, or until the deadline for your cancellation is reached and then the money is released to seller without any response from you. Check the date of your refund-request deadline in your order status. Here are the instructions: AliExpress Buyer Protection.
AliExpress acts as an escrow agent between buyer and seller, providing protection against crooks who could take money in advance and not ship or ship a different product or a bad product. So, if you still have time before your cancellation deadline, be patient.
FAIR is a four letter "F" word.
I ordered some additional seatposts and seatpost clamps in the right diameters to let me make a telescoping seatpost so I can have a higher seat position for better knee angle. Currently, when I ride with the seat all the way up, my thighs are horizontal at the top of the cranking cycle and my knee is not extended ideally at the bottom of the cycle.
I also ordered a handlebar stem that will clamp onto the existing telecoping steering post (25.4 mm diameter) and will clamp onto a 25.4 mm diameter handlebar. I'll use that to mount the other goodie I ordered: a folding adjustable trekking handlebar. That will let me get a longer reach and/or a higher grip position for leisurely riding.
Once I've got these installed and adjusted, I'll post some more photos and opinions. Together, they'll make the bike more like the Brompton's P-type handlebar and telescopic seat post.
On another point, I noticed that there's a seller based in Hong Kong which seems to be a big company offering this same bike in quantity 1. Their listing says that they can supply up to 5000 bikes/month. That's clearly a bogus number, considering that the other seller we're talking about is having delays just getting a single bike. The factory isn't named as a bicycle factory. (I mean the actual factory, not the HK trader.) I'd really like to see some photos inside the factory. I'll bet it just a small place with a few people cutting, welding, and assembling the bikes, not one of those enormous assembly lines of mass production. When I searched Taobao using the Chinese name of Free Ride, I found quite a few other sellers who are selling in the China market, for about the equivalent of US$150. So the small factory is probably quite busy building bikes for the domestic demand, even though there is a huge variety of cheap folding bikes in China.
Another interesting point. I asked the seller if China's government has an agency that informs the public about product defects and orders recalls of defective products, like our US Consumer Product Safety Commission (and other western countries' equivalents). She said China is not that advanced yet. So, caveat emptor. Here in the US, every year there are recalls of bike products, not many, due to defects that could cause serious injury. You won't get that if you buy directly from China. If you buy from a US importer who buys from China, then the importer is responsible and liable for product defects and recalls of them.
Off topic, but I thought I'd pass on, since we're talking about dealing with Chinese sellers, a recommendation for a YouTube channel by a cute young woman who is an excellent teacher of conversational Mandarin from the ground up for beginners whose native language is English. Here's her introductory video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOEWadftWHA. When I have some recreational time on the computer, and I'm tired of watching videos that are just "chewing gum for the brain", I watch one of her videos. I don't have the patience to do it, but she says the whole series will teach someone to be an intermediate speaker/listener in conversational Chinese in 1 year.
I haven't received my telescoping seat post and folding handlebar yet, but they're shipped and on their way to me. Meanwhile, I've been thinking about the gearing. Thinking out loud here ...
I think it may be possible to modify the rear fork so an internally geared hub with internal brake could be installed. Definitely the fork has to be spread farther apart or modified by a welding service. The existing fork spread is 96 mm. The Sturmey-Archer S30 3-speed IGH with internal drum brake has an over-locknut-dimension (OLD) of 120 mm. Likewise the competitive Shimano 3-speed IGH has OLD of 120 mm. I'd have to pick up 24 mm (almost 1") of width but not forgetting about maintaining the beltline position and not interfering with the closure of the rear when into the fully folded configuration. I think I can do that with a little creative bending, adding, and welding. I would also have to build a wheel (or rebuild the existing one) with the new hub in it.
The Shimano 8-speed IGH needs 127 mm and it even has the flange for a brake rotor-disk. To add disk brake, a pre-formed disk brake frame bracket would have to be welded in just the right place. A problem with the IGH's that have higher number of gears than 3 is that their lowest gear is a 100% (1:1) ratio but the 3-speed IGH starts with a reduced ratio as the lowest, giving a lower first gear than the other IGH's. The main chainring at the crank would have to be changed to a smaller one to make the IGH range more favorable to this bike that needs a lower gear for hills, but that seems do-able. I roughly measured that the chainring BCD dimension is 110 mm, which is one of the standard sizes, so chainrings as small as 34T can be found.
Using a 34T and the S-A 3-speed hub, the gear-inches would be 31.4, 40.8, and 58.3. Staying with the 40T existing chainring and the 3-speed hub, you get about 37, 48, and 69 gear inches, which is a more versatile range versus the gear-inches in the bike as it comes from China, with better hill climbing and a little higher speed on the flat lands. Compare with the gear-inches of other folding bikes that I posted here: Who else wants one of these? .
Changing the jackshaft chain sprocket to a larger one would also lower the starting point of the IGH, if I can find the right one and the right way to mount it. Anyway, the S-A 3-speed is lower cost and seems adequate for the purpose of the little take-along bike, with the option of dropping down to the 34T chainring for reduced gearing (like the Brompton reduced option).
After I install my new seat post and handlebar, I'll tackle the IGH problem. It sure would be nice to have at least a 3-speed upgrade and still maintain the super-compact fold.
Last edited by overbyte; 04-20-14 at 11:14 PM.
Update: I've sent a request to Best Outdoor for a 5 day Aliexpress extension since my buyer protection will be up later this week. In regards to the CarryMe trike, I received a refund from Aliexpress so it does appear that the site is actively weeding out the criminal element.
I measured my kid's Thomas the Train bike w/ a 12" coaster brake rear wheel, and it has an OLD of about 110mm. From 100mm to 110mm seems do-able, but there are unanswered questions: 1) Will it affect the fold? ; 2) Is the belt cog easily removed from the original rear wheel and whether or not it is possible to graft it onto another wheel; 3) The rear is belt driven, so will the belt / drive train experience extra wear as a result of torque going forward and back (especially during panic braking)? 4) Is it worth the trouble / expense?
In providing gearing options, it may be easier to change out the front crank / bottom bracket with a double (apparently from a tandem). The only trick is to incorporate a chain tensioner on the bottom bracket to take up the slack between the two front chain rings. Manually slipping the chain in the right place is not a big deal.
This bike will be fun to wrench on (when I get it).
FAIR is a four letter "F" word.
I looked again at the folded bike. Unfortunately, the right side of the rear wheel folds so close to the accordion folded frame when the wheels fold up, that there is not enough room for the gear-shifting chain-cable mechanism of a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed IGH. I know that S-A makes a 2-speed IGH with kickback shifting and coaster or drum brake, but I've read reviews saying it doesn't work well or breaks down too easily. I'm considering the SRAM Automatix 2-speed IGH, but I've read reviews saying it shifts too soon on bikes with full-size (26"? 700c? not stated in the review). I think it shifts around 60 rpm at the hub, which would translate to 1/4 of that rate at the crank of this bike (since the chainring to jackshaft is 40/10 and the belt is 1:1). In other words, the shift would occur at a cadence of 15 rpm at the crank. Below the shift RPM, the gearing is 100% in the hub. After the shift it goes to a higher gear for more speed. I know that at 60 rpm cadence currently, the ground speed is 8 mph. So that means that the shift would happen at 2 mph with these little wheels. That's too soon. I've seen reviews showing how to adjust the internal spring of the rpm sensing pawl in the Automatix to make it shift later, but I hope there's some other alternative rather than taking the hub apart, bending the spring, putting it together, testing, repeat until satisfactory. Too bad that SRAM didn't make it externally adjustable by screwdriver through an access port. To get a shift at say 6 mph, I'd have to tighten or replace the spring to shift at 180 rpm at the hub.
Taking the Automatix apart and back together again is cake .. I wound my own springs, no big deal ... set it to shift where ever you want .. I run 3 bikes with the automatic 2 speed .. nice hubs ..
Can you tell me the parameters of the springs you wound? Mandrel diameter, number of turns, wire gauge, type of wire, and at what approximate rpm that spring triggers the shifting?
Does the shifting mechanism have any hysteresis? That is, is the upshift rpm any different than the downshift rpm? I've read that it delays the shift until you let up the pressure on the crank, so maybe that's sufficient to prevent it shifting while you're lugging up a hill even if you get above the shift rpm, until you have easy going and let up. Is that how it's working for you?
Last edited by overbyte; 04-21-14 at 02:37 PM.
I looked at the SRAM i-Motion 3 hub instruction sheet: http://cdn.sram.com/cdn/farfuture/_E...Ins_E_6_06.pdf.
It doesn't give the actual gear ratios, but it says it has 3 gears with jumps of 36% between them, giving a total range of 186%. It is available in 3 different hole counts, 28H, 32H, and 36H. The 28 would be perfect since the existing rim is a 20H. One additional spoke could be added between each of the existing spokes except at the valve stem, giving exactly 28H with the existing rim, re-spoked. The OLD is 130 mm. It has 2 twist-shifter options. It has 3 brake options: coaster (back-pedal), none, or disk. The good thing about it is that the shifting cable exits the hub parallel to the chainstay tube of the bike and within the frame width, not outside of the forks the way the S-A hub does, so this may provide the clearance we need for the folding. Further investigation needed.
The SRAM G8 has 8 gears and option for a coaster brake, but the specs at SRAM don't give the necessary facts, such as the OLD. I think the shifter cable also comes out of a hole in the side of the hub parallel to the chain, not out of the end of the axle. G8 | SRAM
This listing at Amazon says it has OLD 135 mm: http://www.amazon.com/Coaster-Brake-...ywords=SRAM+G8. The SRAM page says it has option for Gates belt drive, so maybe the Gates sprocket can be used with the Free Ride's belt, or the Free Ride jackshaft sprocket could be changed to a Gates, maybe. Lots of maybe's here.
This listing on Amazon says the G8 has OLD 135 mm. http://www.amazon.com/Coaster-Brake-...ywords=SRAM+G8
Sheldon Brown has a page about SRAM/Sachs IGHs: Sachs and SRAM Internal-Gear Hubs
Aaron's Bicycle Repair in Seattle, Washington, has a lot of good info on IGHs. They sell and service them. Note the advice about lubricating them very well in areas that have a lot of wet weather. http://rideyourbike.com/internalgears.shtml. Good pictures there.
Last edited by overbyte; 04-21-14 at 04:03 PM.
Last edited by overbyte; 04-23-14 at 05:22 PM.
My longer seat post came today, a 400mm post. It is a big improvement for my leg extension on the full downstroke. I also received other posts I bought to build a telescoping seat post, but I haven't put it together yet. With the 400mm, the saddle top is almost exactly 3 feet above ground when fully extended to the minimum insertion mark. It leaves about 3" showing above the seat post clamp when fully inserted for the maximum compaction fold:
I was curious how well I could add bags to the bike, so I attached my QR rear rack and mounted some bags: the Nashbar Townie bags and the Nashbar waterproof rear panniers. I also put the rack on the front steering post, the steel one into which the telescoping aluminum steering post inserts. It's not an ideal angle, and to use it for real I'd want the QR rack that doesn't have the pannier frames (just the platform), but the photo does show how it could be used to mount a trunk bag on the front, a Nashbar deluxe trunk bag (the expandable one). Not shown is the Nashbar trunk on the rear rack, which is fine.
I also held a small front rack up to the front of the bike at the level of the non-turning steerer tube. With some sort of brackets, the small front rack could be installed, giving support for a front bag that doesn't turn with the handlebar. That's how the Brompton front block works -- the bag attached to the Brompton front block moves with the frame, not the steering. But mounting the front rack would need to be done with wingnuts or some other sort of quick release so the rack could be removed to fully compact the bike.
If you want to get a QR rack like this (or without the pannier frames), be sure it fits the 31.8mm seatpost outside diameter.
On that last photo, you can see close up the clamp that holds the steering tube onto the steering post coming up from the fork. Notice that I added a zip-tie at that location to hold the front brake cable vertical so it goes straight down into the caliper below it. The way it comes from the factory, there is nothing holding the brake cable from flopping over, which it did before I added the zip tie. When flopped, an excessive amount of cable friction was felt when applying the front brake and it definitely made strong braking difficult. Add the extra zip-tie.
Last edited by overbyte; 04-25-14 at 12:51 AM.
Here are the specs for the Shimano Nexus-8 IGH: Product.
It says that the gear ratios start at the low end with 0.527 (reduction) and go up to 1.615 at the high end. Using it would thus give a good hill climbing range and improved high range for the flats. I haven't yet translated that into gear-inches with the 40/10 chain driving the input to the IGH. I can't use Sheldon Brown's calculator because it doesn't go down to 12" wheels. 16" is the smallest he goes. I'll look at other calculators to see if they combine the chain drive gearing with the IGH the way that Sheldon's does, but go down to 12" or perhaps any custom wheel diameter. Otherwise, it's back to the sliderule . Maybe it's just as easy as saying that the existing 46" drive becomes 46*.527 = 24.3" at the low end, and 46*1.615 = 74.3" at the high end. Is that a valid calculation?
The Nexus-8 is compatible with the Shimano roller brake and the gear shift cable comes out parallel to the drive belt rather than out the end of the axle, which is good for compactness. The issues to surmount will be widening the fork space, attaching the rear belt sprocket to the IGH, preserving the beltline distance, and re-spoking the wheel to handle the new hub. I don't know if I want to take on the challenge or just use the bike's 46" drive train as-is.
Before I invest more time in the gearing, I need to work on the loose steering issue. The headset is something like a threadless headset, but there's no way, no bolt, to compress the stack due to the presence of the telescoping steering tube. The only thing holding the top bearing dust cap down is the double-bolt pipe clamp. There's a lot of play in the steering as a result. I don't think it affects the control of the bike, but it feels loose and may affect the wearing of the bearings and races. Maybe there's supposed to be a centering sleeve in there that's missing or maybe that's an improvement that could be made. If/when you get one of these bikes, let me know if you have the same play in the headset.
Last edited by overbyte; 04-25-14 at 12:17 AM.
Looks similar to a recumbent bike headset that fits 1 1/8" ID. Rans makes a headset adjust clamp:
HEADSET ADJUSTER CLAMP
Instructions here: RANS Headset Adjuster Installation Instructions
Basically, put in place, tighten top clamp, adjust threaded nut to extend the the length against the top tightened clamp (pushing down on the loose lower clamp against the headset). When done, tighten bottom clamp.
Looks like this when adjusting:
Last edited by tk1971; 04-24-14 at 01:24 PM.
FAIR is a four letter "F" word.
I nearly pulled the buy it now trigger on ebay around a year ago. Wish I did now. It looks great.
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.
That looks great! I'll measure the diameter of the tubing and see if the Rans adjuster will fit. Thanks!
I measured. Unfortunately, the steering tube that needs the adjuster is a little more than 1-1/4" OD; actually 32.4 mm. But maybe I can find some plumbing fittings. Since the tubing already is a slit tube with a compression coupling that clamps it onto the steering stem of the fork, all I need is an outside threaded pipe nipple and 2 nuts that I'd screw in opposite directions and maybe a spacer. (Next stop: Home Depot, with my vernier caliper in hand, tomorrow.)
Last edited by overbyte; 04-25-14 at 12:52 AM.
I compacted the bike with my 400 mm seat post still installed, then put it into a rolling duffle bag I had. This duffle used to have a telescoping handle, but to save weight and maximize the interior volume available, I removed the telescoping mechanism but left the rolling wheels. There's a soft grip on the end opposite the wheels, so that can be used as the handle to roll it around. Here are photos, in front of my 20" wheel Schwinn Loop for size reference. I inserted the bike into the bag with the wheels against the rolling end of the bag, worked the sides up around it, extended the seat post to the end of the bag to maximize the volume available, and then placed my helmet and gloves in:
Zipped closed: 102_1210.jpg
Standing up and leaning on the Schwinn: 102_1216.jpg
No disassembly and no tools required. If I open the zipped flap where the telescoping handle used to be concealed, there's quite a bit of space available inside that compartment under the bike, separated by a fabric panel from the bike compartment itself, so I could stuff some clothing in there.
Last edited by overbyte; 04-27-14 at 12:15 PM.