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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 03-22-13, 04:06 AM   #1
Elvis Shumaker
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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.
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Old 03-22-13, 04:17 AM   #2
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Folds down as small as a Brommie in about ninety minutes...
Huh? Are you sure it's a folder and not a disassembler?

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Old 03-22-13, 04:24 AM   #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.
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Old 03-22-13, 05:28 AM   #4
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...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?
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Old 03-22-13, 05:44 AM   #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!
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Old 03-22-13, 05:21 PM   #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.
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Old 03-24-13, 06:15 AM   #7
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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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Old 03-25-13, 02:54 AM   #8
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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:
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Old 03-25-13, 05:03 AM   #9
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is that the countryman version, with different wheel sizes & a five speed hub?
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Old 03-25-13, 05:07 AM   #10
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16"/349 rear, 14"/298 front, Sachs 3-speed hub
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Old 03-25-13, 10:22 AM   #11
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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.
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Old 03-26-13, 04:46 AM   #12
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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.
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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Old 03-26-13, 05:19 AM   #13
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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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Old 03-26-13, 06:12 AM   #14
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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.
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Old 03-26-13, 06:54 AM   #15
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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.
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Old 03-26-13, 12:50 PM   #16
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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
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Old 03-28-13, 06:50 AM   #17
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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
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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Old 04-02-13, 04:34 AM   #18
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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.
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Old 04-02-13, 10:29 AM   #19
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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.
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Old 04-02-13, 11:30 AM   #20
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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..
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Old 04-02-13, 12:07 PM   #21
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i never took notice - whats the front hub spacing on the bickerton? .
80mm
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Old 04-02-13, 12:15 PM   #22
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aha.. so dahon wheel it is..
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Old 04-05-13, 11:04 AM   #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.
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Old 04-05-13, 11:06 AM   #24
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nice. of course, pics will be in order when you get all that kit together.
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Old 04-10-13, 02:14 PM   #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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