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Incredible score - $40 Strida Mark I aluminum belt drive folder

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Incredible score - $40 Strida Mark I aluminum belt drive folder

Old 11-25-21, 11:27 AM
  #1  
molleraj
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Incredible score - $40 Strida Mark I aluminum belt drive folder

I am so excited I managed to snag this original Strida folding bike from between 1987 and 1992. The industrial design professor selling it said 25 people were interested, but I was only a 10 minute drive away. Shockingly nice ride (once I became accustomed to the handling) and comfortable seat. Only about 20-22 lbs. Aluminum, belt drive, single speed, drum brakes, fully functional except top joint, and only $40. All it needed for now was a rear tube replacement, but I also ordered a 3D printed top joint replacement (white ASA body with black ABS letters). Some ride pics and handling discussion up next...


Left side view. Note there is no kickstand. It's intended to be rested on the rear rack while folded.

Another left side view.

Crack in the top joint. I ordered a 3D printed replacement in ASA for $40.

Strida folded up. Like a stroller in shape.
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Old 11-25-21, 11:29 AM
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The Strida has quite nimble and responsive steering that feels twitchy until you get accustomed to it.

I also found it has four speeds - 1) walking up a steep hill, 2) climbing an incline, 3) accelerating on a flat while pedaling, and 4) coasting downhill. Sadly the belt slips when I climb a steep hill, but I just slow down or walk as necessary. Very very comfortable and I barely feel bumps which I would on my Huffy Touriste and Dahon Speed D7. I am pretty impressed.
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Old 11-25-21, 11:44 AM
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So far I have ridden it 27 miles around rural SW Ohio. Here are some photos from my journeys the past few days.


Rainy 5 mile ride. Photo at an intersection near home.

Former railroad crossing. Historic railway station (now house) on opposite side of the tracks.

Pedal power meets electron power at the local substation.

Nice park under the bridge with kayak/canoe launch

View from the kayak launch

Strida at a railroad crossing

Another, bigger local park

Indian Creek view from Indian Creek Metropark (Reily, Ohio)

My Strida and my shadow

Evening sunset with the Strida
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Old 11-25-21, 11:49 AM
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Must have been hyped in the Industrial Design community. The ID director at my work commutes on one of these. He calls it "Vlad the Impaler"

Nice score!
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Old 11-25-21, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by thinktubes View Post
Must have been hyped in the Industrial Design community. The ID director at my work commutes on one of these. He calls it "Vlad the Impaler"

Nice score!
Ha, thanks! I would guess so. The previous owner (ID professor) bought it for $220 in Boston and managed to get it on a plane as a "personal mobility device."
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Old 11-25-21, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by molleraj View Post
The Strida has quite nimble and responsive steering that feels twitchy until you get accustomed to it.
I rode one once, back maybe 10 years ago in Burlington Vermont. I was selling something bike-related on Craigslist and the lady I was doing business with asked me if I wanted to see her Strida. Couldn't say no to that! I had no idea what it was, but felt pretty safe. She wheeled it out and I was relieved to see we were still talking about bicycles!! I got to take it for a spin. It really did take a while to get used to. The angles are slack, but the fork's got no rake!
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Old 11-25-21, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
I rode one once, back maybe 10 years ago in Burlington Vermont. I was selling something bike-related on Craigslist and the lady I was doing business with asked me if I wanted to see her Strida. Couldn't say no to that! I had no idea what it was, but felt pretty safe. She wheeled it out and I was relieved to see we were still talking about bicycles!! I got to take it for a spin. It really did take a while to get used to. The angles are slack, but the fork's got no rake!
Oh nice! What were you selling?

I suppose it does have no rake given the angle between the rear and front tubes, and really the lack of a top tube. It feels surprisingly safe to me as well - I am also surprised it absorbs bumps so well.
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Old 11-25-21, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by molleraj View Post
Oh nice! What were you selling?
I really have no recollection! Wheels, maybe? A frame? Kids bike? Someone had abandoned a bunch of bike parts on the corner outside my apartment that year and I'd taken them in, built some bikes out of them, and slowly sold them off for extra cash. I am poor now, but I was destitute in those days. Craigslist was my golden goose. I still have/use the smattering of Park Tools and tub of Park green grease from that haul. There was some hi-zoot WTB-branded stuff in there, some of which I sold and some of which I sent to family and friends.

I suppose it does have no rake given the angle between the rear and front tubes, and really the lack of a top tube. It feels surprisingly safe to me as well - I am also surprised it absorbs bumps so well.
Yeah, I bet the frame is pretty flexible. Really the only recollection I had was of getting on the Strida, almost falling off, and thinking "no way is this ridable" and then getting back on and wobbling down the road a ways before I got the hang of it.
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Old 11-25-21, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
I really have no recollection! Wheels, maybe? A frame? Kids bike? Someone had abandoned a bunch of bike parts on the corner outside my apartment that year and I'd taken them in, built some bikes out of them, and slowly sold them off for extra cash. I am poor now, but I was destitute in those days. Craigslist was my golden goose. I still have/use the smattering of Park Tools and tub of Park green grease from that haul. There was some hi-zoot WTB-branded stuff in there, some of which I sold and some of which I sent to family and friends.
Oh wow, I bet Craigslist was. So glad you profited off those abandoned bike parts!

Yeah, I bet the frame is pretty flexible. Really the only recollection I had was of getting on the Strida, almost falling off, and thinking "no way is this ridable" and then getting back on and wobbling down the road a ways before I got the hang of it.
​​​​​​​Yeah, my first ride was absolutely awful. I was somehow raising my knees and steering the Strida at the same time. I guess I pretty quickly learned not to do that.
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Old 11-25-21, 08:27 PM
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Congratulations, that's a great score!

I have a Mk III and I rode the _____ out of it for several years. I took it on the train twice every day. The weird thing about the geometry is that the higher you put the seat, the closer you are to the handlebar. When you get up to my size (I'm about six feet tall) that means when you're riding the bike your posture is pretty close to standing upright or walking. It's geared much lower than my fixie, but I don't know the gear inches. Anyone know? Anyway, as I recall top speed was like 12 or 13 mph and that's spinning like crazy. I don't think you could gear it higher because the belt would slip. To get a little extra speed out of it I put shorter crank arms on it. I don't know about the Mk I, but mine took unicycle cranks. I put some crazy short cranks on it, I think they're 5", so I could spin faster, but I think I stopped riding the bike not long after that. It's not that the experiment failed so much as the bike was worn out and I wanted something else.

It's a brilliant design, a beautiful example of thinking outside the box. Is it a great bicycle? Well, it's a great folding bicycle. With folding bikes you have to decide whether you want a bike that folds up great, or a great bike that folds up. This is the former.

And yes, that's definitely C&V!
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Old 11-26-21, 02:51 AM
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My brother has the first version (with drum brakes) and a later version of the bike (with mechanical disk brakes).
He had problems with one of the wheel bearings on the first version and had to order a whole wheel to replace it, as they did not sell the pressed in bearing separately. The bearings on the later version seems to be holding up better.
It's good enough, I guess, as a town bike to do short commutes on or grocery shopping, if you strap on a basket on to the built in rear rack.
I tried riding both his Stridas and the "begging dog" - like riding position makes it quite uncomfortable after some time and distance though and the twitchy front end makes it tiresome. The belt drive surprisingly, was a bit noisy making chattering sounds that cannot be adjusted away. Must be some tolerance problems with the molded front sprocket. Not matching exactly with the teeth on the drive belt or vice versa. I tried adjusting the seat to improve the riding position, but adjustment range is just too limited to make real improvements.
I'm also a bit apprehensive about all the major plastic (Delrin?) frame parts on the bike that might eventually start cracking from UV and stress.
I think the Strida is more of just an engineering conversation piece than a real, practical daily rider bike. A Brompton or a Dahon, although not as cool looking, will be a much better choice.

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Old 11-26-21, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
Congratulations, that's a great score!
Thanks!

I have a Mk III and I rode the _____ out of it for several years. I took it on the train twice every day. The weird thing about the geometry is that the higher you put the seat, the closer you are to the handlebar. When you get up to my size (I'm about six feet tall) that means when you're riding the bike your posture is pretty close to standing upright or walking.
I'm 5'10" and feel the same. The big issue for me is in my first rides my knees would hit the handlebars when I steered. I started leaning back in the seat and rode much better after then. Somehow now it feels more comfortable than a regular bike perhaps because my weight (135 lbs) isn't directed straight down a post, but rather on the side of triangle.

It's geared much lower than my fixie, but I don't know the gear inches. Anyone know? Anyway, as I recall top speed was like 12 or 13 mph and that's spinning like crazy. I don't think you could gear it higher because the belt would slip. To get a little extra speed out of it I put shorter crank arms on it. I don't know about the Mk I, but mine took unicycle cranks. I put some crazy short cranks on it, I think they're 5", so I could spin faster, but I think I stopped riding the bike not long after that. It's not that the experiment failed so much as the bike was worn out and I wanted something else.
That's super interesting. I think the Mk I has a one piece Ashtabula crank so that may not work...unless I find an Ashtabula crank with shorter arms.

It's a brilliant design, a beautiful example of thinking outside the box. Is it a great bicycle? Well, it's a great folding bicycle. With folding bikes you have to decide whether you want a bike that folds up great, or a great bike that folds up. This is the former.
I don't know, maybe I am weird but it feels so oddly ergonomic. My butt doesn't hurt despite the simple seat and I rarely feel bumps the way I do on other folders. I haven't ridden on a sidewalk though, yet.

And yes, that's definitely C&V!
Haha, awesome.
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Old 11-26-21, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
My brother has the first version (with drum brakes) and a later version of the bike (with mechanical disk brakes).
He had problems with one of the wheel bearings on the first version and had to order a whole wheel to replace it, as they did not sell the pressed in bearing separately. The bearings on the later version seems to be holding up better.
Uh oh! Thanks for the heads up. How many miles until he had that problem?

It's good enough, I guess, as a town bike to do short commutes on or grocery shopping, if you strap on a basket on to the built in rear rack.
I tried riding both his Stridas and the "begging dog" - like riding position makes it quite uncomfortable after some time and distance though and the twitchy front end makes it tiresome. The belt drive surprisingly, was a bit noisy making chattering sounds that cannot be adjusted away. Must be some tolerance problems with the molded front sprocket. Not matching exactly with the teeth on the drive belt or vice versa. I tried adjusting the seat to improve the riding position, but adjustment range is just too limited to make real improvements.
Interesting! I don't know why I find the position so comfortable. That's weird re chattering. I only hear quick skipping going up a steep hill, at which point I just give up and walk.

I'm also a bit apprehensive about all the major plastic (Delrin?) frame parts on the bike that might eventually start cracking from UV and stress.
I think the Strida is more of just an engineering conversation piece than a real, practical daily rider bike. A Brompton or a Dahon, although not as cool looking, will be a much better choice.
Agreed. I do store mine indoors though and except for the top bracket the other parts seem OK. I will have to watch for sun damaging the plastics.

I thought it was just a cool idea, as you stated, and my Dahon Speed D7 is way more practical with its derailleur and larger rack, but this Strida is so dang comfortable. It's definitely going to be good for short rides (10-20 mi) on lightly rolling/even terrain.
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