Swapping the brake levers, left and right.
Normally, in the US and I assume in other countries which drive on the right side of the road, the left arm is used for hand turn-signals. Since bike braking is more stable when just the rear brake is applied than when just the front brake is applied, the US regulations and practicality require that the right brake lever controls the rear brake so the left hand is free to signal. For some reason that I can't understand, the FreeRide bike from mainland China comes set up with the right brake lever controlling the front brake. I don't understand this because China (other than Hong Kong and Macau) drives on the right, and the big market for this bike is mainland China.
So, I set out to swap the brake levers to the US standard. I'm writing this to explain how I got around the problems encountered in what seemed to be a simple operation. First, getting the grips off was difficult. They wouldn't budge. What worked was that I first warmed the grip with a hot-air gun (like a hair dryer) to give it more stretch ability, then I worked a thin screwdriver under the edge for about 1" and sprayed into the gap some Windex window cleaner (which is alcohol, water, and detergent, mainly). Then I was able to gradually work the screwdriver around the circumference of the bar under the grip, squirted a little more Windex in, and got the grip to turn on the bar. Then it was easy to slide it off. Getting the brake levers to budge was difficult after loosening the set screw, so I had to use a flat blade screwdriver to slightly pry the brake lever clamp open enough to move it. More Windex on the bar helped lubricate. The Windex was my choice because when you wipe it off it leaves no residue.
Swapping the brake levers, left and right.
Of course if you realize the strongest sword wielding hand is the right one, for most people , then a country evolving
to have the motor traffic , as it was in the medieval ages , passing ready to stab or behead your opponent coming at you , it all makes sense ..
be it Knights of the round table or Samurai ..
Adjustable trekking handlebars and bar-end extensions.
I tried on my new adjustable handlebar today. This was somewhat involved. I had to figure out how to remove the steering post, which stopped coming up at its maximum allowed extension. Turns out that there is a screw in the steering post near the bottom end, which acts as a stop by hitting against the plastic shim sleeve. Getting around that required removing the shim, but it was locked in by a bump of the plastic which engages a hole in the QR clamp. With a little excessive force, I was able to twist and shear off the bump, then the post and sleeve came up and out. I probably shouldn't have done it that way, but instead tapping the quick release clamp upward to get it off of the steering tube with the shim sleeve and all. When I put things back together finally, I'll probably have to install a stubby set-screw in the hole to keep the shim sleeve from turning, which was the function of the bump I sheared off. The sleeve has a vertical rib inside which fits in a vertical groove of the steering post and keeps the post from turning independently.
I then was able to slide the steering stem onto the bottom of the steering post. Unfortunately, the stem I ordered said it fits a 25.4 mm post but it's for a 31.8 mm post, so I need to get the appropriate shim before I can make the installation permanent. (You can't always trust the specs printed in the product ads.) Temporarily I used a rubber shim from a different thing I had, just to see if I liked the configuration. The handlebar itself fits the 25.4 clamp on the new stem. I left the integrated handlebar clamp on the top of the post, which I intend to use for an accessory mounting device by adding a short piece of tubing. I had to use a new stem because the handlebar won't slide through the handlebar clamp that comes with the bike on top of the steering post. The new stem has a front load configuration. I got a 50 mm length stem because it is short enough that won't interfere with the handlebar bag I have. Someone could give up on the front-mount handlebar bag and use a longer stem for longer reach.
I installed the Humpert Ergotec AHS handlebar which I bought from an online shop in Taiwan. This is a well-made, rather complex handlebar of German design, with trekking-style ends and adjustable hinges. By loosening set screws with Allen wrenches, you can change the amount that the handle bar is swept back and the angle of the end extensions for different height and reach. There is no quick release, so when the bike is folded up, you'd need to loosen the screws, move the bar to its back-swept position, and slightly tighten the screws to hold it there. When you unfold, you'd reverse the process, using the angle scale on the hinges to get it back to your favorite (most ergonomic) position. The up-swept trekking ends are removable to let you slide accessories like the brake levers onto the straight section. This is an aluminum 6061 T6 alloy stem. The package instructions advise that aluminum handlebars should be replaced after 10,000 km or 3 years of riding due to the fact that aluminum fatigues. Aluminum frame bikes similarly have a limited useful life due to fatigue. (Most of this bike is made of steel, which has a very long life span.)
Here are some photos:
Attachment 377045Attachment 377046Attachment 377047Attachment 377048Attachment 377049Attachment 377050Attachment 377051Attachment 377052
To make the width as narrow as possible and lower the height of the bar ends, I had to use a different Allen wrench (6 mm) to loosen the bar ends (through a hole in the curved bottom corner) and swing them down and as close to the centerline as possible:Attachment 377053Attachment 377054 However, that may not be necessary since the ergonomic position put the handlebars at about the same height as the saddle with the 400 mm seat post and the width was about the same as the maximum width of the lower portion of the bike itself.
Since the AHS bar requires tools, I put the original handlbar back temporarily with some old handlebar extensions I had, just to compare. The original handlebar uses bullet latches to secure the handle bar width and rotation, so it's like a quick release with no tools. But the bullets' fit into the latching holes is somewhat loose, which may not feel secure. Here are photos (without the brake levers and grips re-attached):
Attachment 377055Attachment 377056