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Old 11-28-06, 12:14 PM   #1
LittleBigMan
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Actionbent Jetstream

Ok, here it is: my review (as I promised) of my Actionbent Jetstream II USS SWB after commuting with it for over 3,000 miles. This is my first bent, so I can't compare it to other bents (sorry.)

Overall, I love the bike. It's extrememly comfortable, carries loads confidently, is fun to ride. I had to go back to a DF bike temporarily, and when I got back on my bent, I was home again. Don't plan on switching back to a DF as my primary transportation. It ascends hills well, although the slow climbing of steep ones can challenge newbies on the balance issue. The price is hard to beat, too.

I found customer service (Randy and Steve at Actionbent, distributors for this Taiwan-made TW Bents model) to be excellent. On a recent problem, they went overboard to make me a happy customer, and they didn't drag their heels. Good businessmen, good to deal with, they really want to make their company stand up for the long haul by backing up what they sell.

On the negative, more toward the manufacturing side, I found some design/quality issues that need addressing. The metal seat frame experienced excessive stress underneath the seat where it bolts to the main frame tube. The bike is supposed to take a rider up to 265 lbs., but even my small person was enough to cause failure of the seat frame through normal use. After the failure, Actionbent was fast acting--they offered me either a new seat or a total refund, my choice. I choose to keep the bike.
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Old 11-28-06, 01:49 PM   #2
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The same thing happened to my Jetstream II USS seat. Snapped right where it bolts onto the frame. Actionbent made no worries about replacing the seat, something was lost "in translation" and so I didn't get my seat for about 3 weeks after it had been promised. The second time I called, they got everything squared away and the seat was at my door in two days. I take most of the responsibility for that mishap.
I agree that the bike is great. The seat is the only flaw that I can really find. If the seat frame was a bit burlier it would solve this issue.
Thanks for the review, you did a great job LBM.
Mike
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Old 11-29-06, 02:06 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by blknwhtfoto
I agree that the bike is great. The seat is the only flaw that I can really find. If the seat frame was a bit burlier it would solve this issue.
Ya, I think another review of this bike is in order in another 3,000 miles. I'm really interested in how well it holds up in the long haul.

I modified my seat where it attaches to the frame. I got some extra mounting brackets and bolted the seat's bottom bracket directly to the seat's plastic inner shell, so that the plastic shell would take any road shock/vibration instead of the metal seat frame. To do this, I had to remove the vinyl upholstry at the seat base and peel it back to expose the inner plastic shell. Then, I bolted the mounting bracket through the shell to a thin metal reinforcing plate on the other side. Finally, I used some small brass wood screws to reattach the vinyl upholstry to the seat. A small hole had to be drilled through the seat for each screw.

I had upgraded my replacement seat to the fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) seat, but after mounting it, I discovered that the head rest did not work well with my helmet. I had to ride helmetless, and that wouldn't do, so I removed the headrest. But then, I decided I preferred the original seat, so that's why I modified my original seat. I actually like the original seat best, except for the metal-fatigue problem, which I think I've solved.

Another design flaw which this bike has is that if the seat fails, it will come down and rub on the rear wheel. I was standing still when mine failed, so I don't know how the bike would have handled the failure during motion. Anyway, I really think this part needs to be redesigned more like Actionbent's other bikes, where any seat failure would not compromise the rear wheel.

I think the problem is licked, and I enjoy the way the bike rides. But the design issue is an important one, I think. If I get another Actionbent in the future, I think I'll look at a suspended bike (to absorb road shock,) or a bike with a frame that does not integrate the seat in the frame structure.
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Old 11-29-06, 02:47 PM   #4
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Yeah, I agree with the sentiment about a non-framepart- seat being a good thing. I kinda want to look at the midracer, it looks fairly low and reclined, a little closer to what I want(fujin sl2) and in my price range(kinda...I could afford it if I made some changes, more student loans!?). I bet it could even be changed over to USS fairly easily with a jetstream esque USS sustem.
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