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  1. #1
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    On the subject of great value UK alloy folders... :)

    ... I gave in to temptation and bought an old Bickerton yesterday!

    Not sure of its age, it has a Sachs 3-speed hub and the American-style brace on the handlebar. A little tatty but complete and technically OK. Seller threw in an extra frame with headset, chainset, front and rear wheels with tyres, and a bunch of inner tubes.

    A quite astonishing construction and feather light. Folds down as small as a Brommie in about ninety minutes... The kickstand (or kickwire?) in particular is a masterpiece of minimalist lightweight engineering.

    The grand old Union ratrap pedals are non-folding, so short of carrying a spanner I think I will need to replace these.

    Any ideas for a sympathetic restoration/tuning gratefully received. I will be changing the saddle (maybe to a B17?) and it will need battery lights (strictly speaking verboten here but I'll risk it) in a suitable style.

  2. #2
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elvis Shumaker View Post
    Folds down as small as a Brommie in about ninety minutes...
    Huh? Are you sure it's a folder and not a disassembler?

    --J
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  3. #3
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    ^

    That's how long it took

    Once you get the hang of it a couple of minutes max.

    It is indeed a 'disassembler' - no way to lock it to anything, a thief could just unscrew the frame.

  4. #4
    lowlife bottom feeder BassNotBass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elvis Shumaker View Post
    ...The grand old Union ratrap pedals are non-folding, so short of carrying a spanner I think I will need to replace these...
    Don't they have a sliding mechanism to lock the pedal to the spindle so all you do is spin the pedal to unscrew them... no spanner necessary?
    I plan on living forever... so far so good.

  5. #5
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    Unfortunately no, I don't think so. I spent over an hour trying, cryptex style. No joy. They are just standard rattraps. On the plus side, folding pedals should improve the fold a little - a bit more leeway in positioning the cranks. And one less thing to lose!

  6. #6
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    Just watch out for cracks in the ali sections.

    There used to be a guy in UK who specialised in them, down in the west country I think.
    Jetstream P11 ; iXi

  7. #7
    Senior Member onbike 1939's Avatar
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    These were very popular at one time. The main criticism as I remember, was the amount of flex caused by the extended handlebars.

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    Cleaned, oiled, and brake cables replaced - but still too icy and windy for a proper test ride.

    Seems stable enough, even if the front end has 4 mini quick-releases between me and the ground.
    I am very much hoping we get on, as a bike that size with its own bag/luggage would be handy thing to have.

    Cats marvelling at the tiny fold:


    Ready to go:

  9. #9
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    is that the countryman version, with different wheel sizes & a five speed hub?
    Jetstream P11 ; iXi

  10. #10
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    16"/349 rear, 14"/298 front, Sachs 3-speed hub

  11. #11
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    looks like you have a stronglight brompton crankset.

    the thing thats remarkable about bickerton bikes - not a single weld...

    a good idea would be to put telfon tape or locktite™ on every single bolt holding this contraption together. otherwise, be highly diligent about tightening every nut and screw prior to every ride!

    an unexpected trip to casualty with missing front teeth would be a mood killer.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by onbike 1939 View Post
    These were very popular at one time. The main criticism as I remember, was the amount of flex caused by the extended handlebars.
    The frame of the Bickerton was designed to flex, it's not a cause for concern, it just requires a different riding technique.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member onbike 1939's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diode100 View Post
    The frame of the Bickerton was designed to flex, it's not a cause for concern, it just requires a different riding technique.
    Well it's been such a cause for concern in the UK that now they are almost extinct. I can't remember when I last heard of them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by onbike 1939 View Post
    Well it's been such a cause for concern in the UK that now they are almost extinct. I can't remember when I last heard of them.
    I wouldn't say they are extinct, true they have not been made for a number of years, but they reguarly feature on ebay, occasionally advertised as matching his and hers bikes, with very little use. There was one for sale at an inflated price at a Bremen classic car and bike autojumble a few years back

    I even saw one being ridden in London not long ago, and there is a photo online of one being ridden in one or the Origami rides.
    Jetstream P11 ; iXi

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    A downside is the steel rims, particularly the front 14" one. I wonder if a 14" for a Dahon Sweet Pea or similar might fit?

    My main interest was historical, to be honest, but bikes should be used. The compact fold and light weight do open up a lot of possibilities.

  16. #16
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    a better bet would be to try a 16" 305 wheel in front with a skinny tire like a primo comet. the actual dims on a 305 wheel with a primo mounted is 15" or 380mm

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by smallwheeler View Post
    a better bet would be to try a 16" 305 wheel in front with a skinny tire like a primo comet. the actual dims on a 305 wheel with a primo mounted is 15" or 380mm
    That's an excellent idea, I'll keep my eyes open for an unwanted Dahon 16" wheel. Should be just enough space and if it worked it would eliminate several problems (esp. braking on steel rims, severely limited tyre choice).

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    Riding this has been a surprise - quite a nippy bike and scoots up hills.

    I do have a slight rubbing noise from the front wheel to attend to, and the Torpedo 3-speed is absolutely dismal, but the flex I expected is no more than a fairly benign fore and aft flex in the bars.

    Alloy rims and new brakes are on the wish list for this.

  19. #19
    cpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elvis Shumaker View Post
    Alloy rims and new brakes are on the wish list for this.
    There is 16" Mezzo wheel on ebay at the moment with 4 speed nexus hub. Nothing to do with me.

  20. #20
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elvis Shumaker View Post
    That's an excellent idea, I'll keep my eyes open for an unwanted Dahon 16" wheel. Should be just enough space and if it worked it would eliminate several problems (esp. braking on steel rims, severely limited tyre choice).
    i never took notice - whats the front hub spacing on the bickerton? if its a 100mm OLD dim, you can use any 305 wheel, like a bmx type. there are plenty of them on ebay for cheap. if its 90mm yes, you will need the dahon 74mm hub front wheel. you can probably buy a new dahon front wheel from a local dealer for a reasonable price or get a bmx rim and a novatec 74 hub and build it yourself (not really a cheaper alternative).

    also, if i were you i would grab that mezzo wheel on ebay. the seller says it was never mounted, but it has some rust.. must have been stored outside..

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by smallwheeler View Post
    i never took notice - whats the front hub spacing on the bickerton? .
    80mm

  22. #22
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    aha.. so dahon wheel it is..

  23. #23
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    Prettied up the Bickerton a bit and enjoying it immensely. The whole package with a small saddle pack, bell, bag and bungee weighs in at 25 lbs. Got the folding down to half a minute too

    USB-lights and a Schwalbe Kojak rear tyre are on order. Still on the lookout for a Dahon 16"/305 front wheel and a 16"/349 rear wheel, but I'm happy to make do until then.

  24. #24
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    nice. of course, pics will be in order when you get all that kit together.

  25. #25
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    The Kojak arrived today, tiny tyre in a gigantic box. Duly fitted. Great looking tyre and a very sticky compound - the old Kenda tyres felt like hard plastic in comparison. The mudguards came off too, just for the heck of it...

    I'm looking at this as a pure fun project. A sub-9.5 kg/21 lbs folder - despite the steel rims and hub gear lighter than a titanium youknowwhat - for the equivalent of 90 USD? I'm all for it

    Still not sure what 16"/349 rear wheel to use though. That old Torpedo 3-speed is pretty dire.

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