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Old 10-24-17, 07:19 AM   #226
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Well as a Tern user for a year (have not ridden a bike for 20+ years before this other than short city trips less than 1 hour total over 20 years), I was really won over by Tern's design, and reviews. I wanted to replace my Link with a Verge in 2 years.

But my experience with the bike breaking apart while going downhill at an intersection and the support (lack of) from the Tern company, certainly put me off of them. I don't speak for anyone else but just mine and my wife's.
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Old 10-24-17, 09:27 AM   #227
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Don't really understand the obsession with the Bickerton brand. It seems they do a 20 in wheel folder in green but that bike has completely different frame geometry so no...it's definitely not a Bickerton bike. I'd like to know what brand it is though and add it to the list.
How is it a completely different frame geometry?

Both clearly have near identical single extra large chainstay to the back. Here is the 20" bickerton although with a derailleur not hub gears and different frame colour vs an image of the failed bike. I honestly have no understanding how you can't see the close similarity especially with the chainset, rear rack, saddle etc. It's by far the closest match. What is your basis for 'definitely not a Bickerton'? What is your bike that is a closer match? I'm not saying it definitely is but to say it definitely isn't to me defies all logic and just seems like an inflammatory forum posting with absolutely no factual basis purely to take an opposite side in the debate. Anyone reading this should look at those 2 images and make their own decision. There is no obsession with the Bickerton brand by anyone I know certainly not me but was curious like others I'm sure which bike had actually failed. Why is debating it an obsession in your view? Why even make a post including such words as 'obsession' it just seems childish to be honest.



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Old 10-24-17, 05:16 PM   #228
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Well as a Tern user for a year (have not ridden a bike for 20+ years before this other than short city trips less than 1 hour total over 20 years), I was really won over by Tern's design, and reviews. I wanted to replace my Link with a Verge in 2 years.

But my experience with the bike breaking apart while going downhill at an intersection and the support (lack of) from the Tern company, certainly put me off of them. I don't speak for anyone else but just mine and my wife's.
I hope you're not just trying to badmouth this wonderful company. And please don't be so hysterical!
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Old 10-24-17, 06:05 PM   #229
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Well Bonzo you obviously didn't read what I wrote so for your benefit I'll repeat what I said.


The only 20in wheel folding bike that Bickerton produce in green has a different frame geometry, it's the Argent 1808 Country.
It has a derailleur rear mech, box section frame, hidden hinge abutments, but come on now you know that already...are you not a cycling enthusiast ?


Nice try but the cigar remains in it's box. Don't give up though
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Old 10-25-17, 01:16 AM   #230
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The only 20in wheel folding bike that Bickerton produce in green has a different frame geometry, it's the Argent 1808 Country.

When I bought my Bickerton Mk X there were a couple of Bickerton Sterling models in 20" in various colors, including one, the Sterling Mk 4, in a dark green like the one show. It had a Neos Trinity 24 gear-Dualdrive-Hub, the frame was based on a Tern Link and it was lacking a rack. List price here in Germany was 899 but, as my Mk X, they got heavily discounted after a while and sold for much less via a big bicycle chain. The Mk IV was however the only 20" Bickerton in green of the early models after the relaunch of the brand - I have a catalogue in pdf dating from 2012 and just checked.

Anyway - I still think it is not helpful for this thread desperatly trying to prove that the bike in this video would be a Bickerton - and it is not possible anyway.

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Nice try but the cigar remains in it's box. Don't give up though
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Old 10-25-17, 02:11 AM   #231
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I hope you're not just trying to badmouth this wonderful company. And please don't be so hysterical!
Very helpful post. And so full of content. The behavior of Tern regarding warranties may not be very consumer-friendly in this case but it was transparent that the warranty is only in place for the original owner (or could have been for anyone who informed himself in beforehand). This is not uncommon in the bicycle-industry - it is i.e. the same with premium brands like Riese and Mueller (Birdy) or HPV Velotechnik (premium brand for recumbents and trikes). And if you want to know what bad customer-service looks like try Riese and Mueller - you will never complain again. Both is one of the reasons why I lost my interest in aquiring a Birdy though.

The problem that masch (or his bike) suffers from was not part of a recall, voluntarily or not, hence it would be covered via warranty as long as it lasts, but only for the original owner. Pretty straight forward, while not nice from a consumer's perspective.

As it was lined out in this thread it is no rocket science to replace the hinge bolt. Btw: For my Bickerton I got a service kit for the hinge-bolt from Mark Bickerton free of charge (I do not have a problem with the hinge bolt yet but know of some Mk X that had as the construction is similar to the early Tern Links). It consists of a new bolt, the newer, enhanced bearings (Igus instead of Norglide) and some smaller parts. Should be fitted by a dealer if you are not a very experienced bike-mechanic with a proper toolset (which I would totally agree on). So I cannot complain regarding the service of Mark Bickerton here. And the parts came from the uk, no need to order them in Asia. So even when you would have to buy the parts it should not be expensive and it is the job of the Tern dealerships to sell those parts (and/or do the repair) which would have saved on cost massively in masch's case. Which they seemed to have failed. It has shown in this thread that the choice for Evans as the Tern Dealership in the uk results in a lack of customer service sometimes - as they are a huge chain their level of service seems to vary heavily in between shops.

I consider it totally fair if one steps back from Tern due to the technical problems they had or have or due to the lack of after-sales service by Tern or their dealerships. But as some of these aspects may differ from country to country as the are caused by the dealership or the distribution and not by the brand I consider it not very helpful to mix everything up into a single pot of mess as this does not help customers or potential buyers. And some aspects a not different for other brands as well. In Germany i.e. many people are massively disappointed by Dahon (or do not buy one in the first hand) due to the total absence of after-sales service or spare parts (plus some other aspects).
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Old 10-25-17, 03:02 AM   #232
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Asking that the whole Tern brand not be mixed into one pot is not the way reality works. It was a new brand that almost immediately developed a reputation for frames breaking suddenly and catastrophically, and the brand took further damage by seeming not to understand the problem while it skipped away from it.

I think it would be insane for any thinking person to ride a folding Tern.
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Old 10-25-17, 04:52 AM   #233
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Asking that the whole Tern brand not be mixed into one pot is not the way reality works. It was a new brand that almost immediately developed a reputation for frames breaking suddenly and catastrophically, and the brand took further damage by seeming not to understand the problem while it skipped away from it.
If only life was so simple. Tern entered the market in mid 2011. In early 2014 they had sold more than 100.000 bikes (according to Josh Hon). Of those early bikes some have had problems and the incident could be isolated to certain variants, mainly sold/used in the uk. Those were recalled in various batches - in total something like 170 + 200 + x (maybe ~150) of certain verge and eclipse models plus 1700 Link models. It is not said that every single bike recalled has had a problem - usually this is not the case.

I'd consider these as ram-up problems that have been solved, though they surely not led to a brilliant image of the brand, neither in terms of quality nor in terms of customer satisfaction. The failure-rate for these early bikes in relation to all models and variants of Tern bikes produced, based on the amount of bikes recalled and the sales numbers by josh hon was something like maybe ~2200:~110.000= 2% - surely not brilliant and even higher with the model-variants affected. Bad, to put in plain words. But as the root cause of those incidents could be isolated to a bad weld (and those could be isolated as well) I would consider those solved and gone. Still one may criticize Tern for their strategy of outsourcing frame building and ramping up too quickly as well as for their customer care and still riders of early Tern models may feel uncertain regarding their bikes, no matter if objectively they are unsafe or not. Understandable.


Then there were the hinge-bolts - different story. As far as I digged into the topic there are various root causes for that: First a not too clever design of the bolt and it's fitting in several aspects, second issues with the assembly of the bolt in some cases and third a lack of training, thoughtfulness and diligence with the dealers in regards of adjustment of the hinge before delivering the bikes to customers as well as in service. Plus (as an additional, but due to the little age of the bikes irrelevant aspect) a lack of conciousness of the customers for the need of sorrowful adjustment of the hinge-mechanism.
These factors added up to create a notorious problem with many Tern bikes. As to my knowlege the design aspects have been addressed at least to a degree and definitively the newer design should result in a longer lasting bolt and bearings and at the same time be less prone to failures resulting from imperfect assembly. Still I would consider the hinge-mechanism a potential weak point (as with many folders). But in it's latest revision possibly not more than with many (if not most) other folders that use complex mechanisms that need proper maintenance and adjustment (in opposite to simple "tractor"-mechanics like the one on the Brompton).
Again, Tern did not brilliant in terms of customer service here - a company like Brompton would probably have solved the problem differently, with good will, no matter if first or second owner and no matter if within warranty or not. In fact this is how they behaved in the past and how they behave now with the bottom brackets. But then again: You get what you pay for.

Other than that there were the breakages outside the recalled bikes. And this is what is somewhat frightening, at least emotionally and looking at the history of Tern. I do not have an overview about models involved, the amount of bikes that snapped or any correlations - but what one can possibly say is for one that the failure-rate is probably far lower than in the early days: with more than 100.000 bikes in early 2014 the amount of sold bikes is probably in the range of at least 300.000 now. Possibly more. How many snapped frames were there aside of the recalls until today? And how many from releatively recent production? Clearly not nil, but was it less then ten, tenth, hundreds, thousands? And which models and model-variants were affected? Which correlation or root-cause do they have? All of this is unknown to the public - which may be considered a bad thing and frightening but it is on the other hand normal for a company not to publish those cases. So we cannot judge if there's significance or if this is just the accidental bad weld that might occur (and does with other brands as well to a degree).
What we know (and this is second) is that at least with the Verge-series the frame-design seems have been enhanced by an additional weld. This clearly limits the risk for failure even with a bad weld - but in my eyes it would be the wrong reaction to claim that any bike w/o this additional weld must be considered unsafe. It may be just an enhancement to even out variabilities in the quality of the weld as a second line of defense, no matter how often these variabilities show up. So something positive, not something negative. In fact I can not judge on that and either do not know if something similar has been invented with the Link-series as well.

So while there is still some risk involved and consumers may have a desire for more transparency and a better customer service it is (in retrospective of the events and the changes over the course of the last years) not helpful to throw everything into one single pot, blend it and boil it. I'd instead recommend taking at least a grain of salt.

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I think it would be insane for any thinking person to ride a folding Tern.
A thinking person would be, well, thinking. And this would probably lead to a more distinguished view than the outraged agitating of a simple mind... One may come to the personal conclusion that based on the history one is not willing to take the risk of buying a Tern and this is perfectly fine - objectively (as in "based on facts") it is in my opinion currently not possible to get a perfectly clear image aside of "it seems to be far better now than in the early days".

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Old 10-25-17, 07:04 AM   #234
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Excellent post berlinonaut, really sums it all up nicely. Well written.
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Old 10-25-17, 09:05 AM   #235
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Excellent post berlinonaut, really sums it all up nicely. Well written.
Yes, Tern themselves could not have put their case any better. I just hope this kind of reasoning doesn't lead to more injuries.
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Old 10-25-17, 09:25 AM   #236
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But as the root cause of those incidents could be isolated to a bad weld (and those could be isolated as well)...
That was, if I recall, the company's explanation. A number of us believe the real cause was poor design. According to pictures posted on this forum Tern's design of this weld junction has been vastly improved and strengthened on the most recent bikes.

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Still one may criticize Tern for their...customer care.
J'think?
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Old 10-25-17, 10:27 AM   #237
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That was, if I recall, the company's explanation. A number of us believe the real cause was poor design. According to pictures posted on this forum Tern's design of this weld junction has been vastly improved and strengthened on the most recent bikes.
Well, nothing beats a strong belief. Who needs evidence anyway. One stadium, 22 players, 60.000.000 trainers...
That something has been enhanced does not necessarily mean that it was a total fail before (as outlined before). The world is not only black and white - most people are at least able to see some shades of grey, some people even have full HD, 3D and true color. Might be possible for you, too, if you try hard enough. Makes things more difficult though, obviously too difficult for some. Downside is that this would be an enhancement and this - according to your argumentation - means that you are a total fail now.
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Old 10-25-17, 12:05 PM   #238
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That's an awful lot of words and numbers intended to talk me into trusting a bike company that has shown no sign of having a clue what they're doing. Nope. There's lots of bikes in the world; I'm not riding one with the reasonable suspicion that it will snap in half while sailing down my very steep hill.
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Old 10-25-17, 12:09 PM   #239
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Yes, Tern themselves could not have put their case any better. I just hope this kind of reasoning doesn't lead to more injuries.

I hardly think berlinonaut's post was a pat on the back for Tern, quite the opposite in fact.
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Old 10-25-17, 12:39 PM   #240
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That's an awful lot of words and numbers intended to talk me into trusting a bike company that has shown no sign of having a clue what they're doing. Nope. There's lots of bikes in the world; I'm not riding one with the reasonable suspicion that it will snap in half while sailing down my very steep hill.
Simple mind, simple solution - fair enough. What I would be interested in is your opinion of what Tern as a brand should do to or - more concrete: What would they have to do to make you a convinced customer of their's (w/o bombing themselves out of business). Or should the just close the brand and commit collective suicide (due to the fact that they are evil to the root and even when working in another company or business any former Tern employee would just poison that company, too). Really curious for the answer.
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Old 10-25-17, 12:56 PM   #241
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Well, nothing beats a strong belief. Who needs evidence anyway. One stadium, 22 players, 60.000.000 trainers...
That something has been enhanced does not necessarily mean that it was a total fail before (as outlined before). The world is not only black and white - most people are at least able to see some shades of grey, some people even have full HD, 3D and true color. Might be possible for you, too, if you try hard enough. Makes things more difficult though, obviously too difficult for some. Downside is that this would be an enhancement and this - according to your argumentation - means that you are a total fail now.
There is a very simple argument not needing the avalanche of words you seem to like: A weld must be designed such that it does not depend on near perfect welding technique not to break. It is a safety critical item, so must be over-designed. If designed like that, even a dodgy weld will not result in failure. The hinge plate can be designed to clip into the frame that it would not fail even in the total absence of a weld. I published a sketch of this idea in this forum. In Terns case as well as the ill-fated Origin8 bikes, that was not the case. A slightly weak weld led to failure. Now tell me that is not bad design of a safety critical item. Case closed.
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Old 10-25-17, 12:58 PM   #242
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Simple mind, simple solution - fair enough. What I would be interested in is your opinion of what Tern as a brand should do to or - more concrete: What would they have to do to make you a convinced customer of their's (w/o bombing themselves out of business). Or should the just close the brand and commit collective suicide (due to the fact that they are evil to the root and even when working in another company or business any former Tern employee would just poison that company, too). Really curious for the answer.
I've already said it, and I don't appreciate the "simple mind" insult, tough guy. Tern is a splitoff from Dahon which has gone miserably, and I think all involved owe Dr. Hon an apology for stealing his designs and breaking them. Then they can go find a job they can handle, preferably not involving frame manufacture.
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Old 10-25-17, 03:55 PM   #243
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Well Bonzo you obviously didn't read what I wrote so for your benefit I'll repeat what I said.


The only 20in wheel folding bike that Bickerton produce in green has a different frame geometry, it's the Argent 1808 Country.
It has a derailleur rear mech, box section frame, hidden hinge abutments, but come on now you know that already...are you not a cycling enthusiast ?


Nice try but the cigar remains in it's box. Don't give up though
Wow impressive that you know exactly what colour's were available throughout all Bickerton models and even knowing if any Bickerton bike had been altered to take a hub gear. I've not done extensively research but when I looked it looked like previously Green was available in that frame type. However now that I've done that still I'm not sure it even is the green colour its more like this dark grey colour to be honest. Again its pretty clear with all the surrounding components it is a Bickerton.



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Old 10-25-17, 04:18 PM   #244
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There is a very simple argument not needing the avalanche of words you seem to like: A weld must be designed such that it does not depend on near perfect welding technique not to break. It is a safety critical item, so must be over-designed. If designed like that, even a dodgy weld will not result in failure. The hinge plate can be designed to clip into the frame that it would not fail even in the total absence of a weld. I published a sketch of this idea in this forum. In Terns case as well as the ill-fated Origin8 bikes, that was not the case. A slightly weak weld led to failure. Now tell me that is not bad design of a safety critical item. Case closed.
Jur, I appreciate your opinion and you have a valid point here. It took Brompton more than 20 years to get there (with the new hinges on the MK4 in 2004 and that was as far as I know by accident, not on purpose but as a collateral effect of a new machine for brazing in the hinges more efficiently). Before that braking frames were a wellknown issue with Bromptons. Just w/o any dramatic crashes as they are made of steel and therefor break in a more userfriendly way...

Anyway I think your point is valid - someone designing a bicycle has to find the right balance of weight, complexity, production cost, optics, functionality, robustness and tolerance for failure. Tern obviously seems to have underestimated the necessary amount of tolerance for failure or lacked quality management in the factory (that possibly could have compensated that).

I'll leave out the bolt issue and focus on the weld topic to make things easier. No doubt your proposed design would have made things more tolerant for failure. But on the other hand aluminum frames are the standard on most bikes today and joint welding (not sure if this is the correct word in english) is the standard as well as it is cheaper and offers more flexibility in the design. Only rarely we see issues on bikes welded that way. So in general it seems to be kind of ok - but maybe not on the hinge of a folder?

Hmm, there are many folders out there with aluminium frames and a hinge on the main frame. Rarely there are issues with the weld in this area. Are they all made the way you proposed? I do not know but I doubt it.

Even better: When looking at Tern one can see that not all variants of a model had issues. It were mainly the (cheaper) D/P 7/8 models of the Link series (the mass-models) and the lighter models of the Verge and Eclipse series if I remember correctly. There were (as to my knowledge) i.e. absolutely no issues just on the touring models like the Link P24 or the Verge tour despite one can assume those would be ridden more intensively and with more weight. I do not know if the hinge follows the same design with those but would assume that it is. Maybe it is welded slighly differently - I don't know. And there are other models that were not affected as well. This is one of the reasons why I buy from Tern the story of a single factory producing bad welds for a limited amount of time at least as a possibility. And why I would not say it is a generally bad design. No doubt it is not the optimal design in terms of failure tolerance and could be enhanced in one way or another (or changed completely) but it seems to be more an issue of craftsmanship and quality control than a faulty design. In other words: If you work thoroughly you may i.e. safe on weight or cost by reducing the tolerance for failure. Therefor Tern was possibly "just" to ambitious, making wrong decisions and overestimating what they (or their outsourced factories) would be able to do and to achieve while putting not enough effort in quality control. And possibly they still didn't over the last years as there are still frames snapping. Probably not as often as with the early models but - as said before - one single incident can be one too much.

As to your design: As you describe it it would stop the bike from suddenly breaking apart (good). On the other hand it only cures a symptom (breaking apart) but not the root cause (bad weld). And you can assume that people would still use a bike with a broken weld ignorantly on a daily basis just because it still works - who cares for a broken weld anyway... Not sure if that's what you wanted to achieve.

Nevertheless it would be an enhancement that would relax riders in much the same way as it was achieved by the addtional weld on the younger Verges (possibly in a cheaper way).

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Old 10-25-17, 05:17 PM   #245
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I've already said it, and I don't appreciate the "simple mind" insult, tough guy. Tern is a splitoff from Dahon which has gone miserably, and I think all involved owe Dr. Hon an apology for stealing his designs and breaking them. Then they can go find a job they can handle, preferably not involving frame manufacture.
Which makes it perfectly clear why Tern should reasonably not listen to what you say as you will never become a customer of their's anyway. So from an economic point of you they should ignore you and instead listen to those that want them to become better.
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Old 10-25-17, 05:43 PM   #246
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Which makes it perfectly clear why Tern should reasonably not listen to what you say as you will never become a customer of their's anyway. So from an economic point of you they should ignore you and instead listen to those that want them to become better.
Sure. You asked me what I think they should do, so I told you. What advice Tern takes is entirely between them and the lawyers trying to clean up this mess. I don't think anybody has implied that I'm the arbiter of these things.
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Old 10-25-17, 06:30 PM   #247
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The only explanation from Tern is: "QC from a factory they no longer use". However the CPSC.gov clearly states that these failures were from at least two different factories.

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Biked across the USA twice
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Bicycle delivery worker for Jimmy John's. Delivering is the best workout I have ever had.
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Old 10-25-17, 08:16 PM   #248
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Re the Bickerton images. I'll freely admit I don't know what bike it is, but it just doesn't look look a Bicky to me. If I'm wrong so be it, I won't have a single sleepless night over it
Two points to note - It was a hinge bolt fail I believe, the two sections of the hinge are still attached to their corresponding frame halves. Notice also it has a double bike stand fitted, not standard on any Bickerton AFAIK. Of course the guy could have fitted it himself as many serious cycling enthusiasts do, just as they (in almost all cases) remove spoke reflectors, not him it seems.
He could have fitted a hub gear and done a re-spray who knows, maybe one day he'll pop up and tell us.
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