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Downtube folding bike

Old 12-01-06, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by pm124
Hey everyone, and especially Yan. It would be good for some to make a back up of this Downtube thread. Periodically, entire threads get erased here (as happened last night during server problems). It would be a shame to lose this knowledge base about the Downtube.
I thought this was a really good idea. So I manually copied all the HTML pages and saved it on my hard drive (clunky way to do it, but best I could do on short notice). I did the same for Waveshrdr's reviews of the VIIIH and Mini. I'll try to back them up periodically. This information is too valuable for newcomers.

If anyone wants a copy of these pages, let me know.
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Old 12-01-06, 10:37 AM
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A couple of questions for the DT owners:

1) Is anyone running a 2.0 tire (ie Schwalbe Apples or Maxxis Hookworms) on their DT IX? I'm concerned as to whether or not the chain/seat stays (or even the front shock) will accomodate the extra width. Also, is there a benefit to running a narrower tire in the front?

2) Does anyone know the effective top tube length of the DT IX? Also, what is the length of the stem that comes stock with the DT IX? I'm asking b/c I recently test rode a Dahon Speed P8 and it felt like the cockpit was set up for taller riders, even with a stem length that is actually a 0 mm extension. I'm concerned that even with swapping out the DT's stock stem for something shorter, the reach on the DT might be too much for my short arms.

I'd be grateful for thoughts/advice that somebody could offer to (any of) my questions. Thanks.

ps - I apologize in advance if any of these topics were already covered earlier in the thread, but I did query the forum and didn't find anything to date.

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Old 12-01-06, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by JosephLMonti
A couple of questions for the DT owners:

2) I'm concerned that even with swapping out the DT's stock stem for something shorter, the reach on the DT might be too much for my short arms.
Try turning the stem 180 degrees around and have it pointed towards you.
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Old 12-01-06, 08:49 PM
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The DT will take the Big Apples. As for the stem, you could rotate 180, you could also get the butterfly trekking bars from Harris Cyclery and put those on in reverse.
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Old 12-04-06, 11:16 AM
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My Mini is in the hospital.

The bottom bracket was so stuck I couldn't budge it with an 18" breaking bar or an impact driver - this after letting it soak in liquid wrench (applied from both sides) for about an hour. Hopefully, the LBS will be able to get it out without damaging the frame.

I hope to get it back this evening so I'll let you know how it turns out.

Yan - you might want to check on how these BBs are being installed at the factory. On the non-drive side, which I was able to remove, there was only the slightest bit of grease / anti-seize on the threads. Or, better still, you might want to spec the Shimano UN BB to start with. I doubt that anyone would complain about a $10 price increase, especially when the alternative is early BB failure and then the hassle of trying to get the current one out.
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Old 12-04-06, 03:43 PM
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With all the talk in this thread of installing front derailleurs (FD) and other gearing issues I have started researching the problem. Maybe its me, but I can't seem to get excited about a dual chainring 53/39 with 8sp cluster with all the work and cost it would entail on a DT. First, with modern derailleurs as fussy as they are about placement over the large chainring just how well do FD's perform on the DT given that the seattube is actually behind the bottom bracket? Seems as if that would cause shifting difficulties. Another issue is the question of chainlength and rear derailleur capacity. I have two folders, one with a 30" to 74" overall capacity and my DT FS with a 30" to 84" capacity. The RD cage is enough longer on the DT to make me think that that is about near the limit and thus to make it really worthwhile increasing the overall gear range beyond what is stock on a DT something else needs to be considered. How about the 'trick' of doing away with the FD issue altogether and going to an internally geared rear hub and 7,8 or 9 tooth cassette? SRAM's dual drive hub has a 36% change up or down from direct drive and a 'triple' chainring with a 72% overall change from the smallest ring to the largest without any chainline or derailleur capacity issues 'is' something I can get excited about and/or interested in. Probably a Sturmey-Archer hub could be used as well and for a whole lot less cost. One issue would be rear dropout spacing. Does anyone know what this is on the IX FS? What else am I not considering? Your thoughts, please.

H
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Old 12-04-06, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris43
My Mini is in the hospital.

The bottom bracket was so stuck I couldn't budge it with an 18" breaking bar or an impact driver - this after letting it soak in liquid wrench (applied from both sides) for about an hour. Hopefully, the LBS will be able to get it out without damaging the frame.

I hope to get it back this evening so I'll let you know how it turns out.

Yan - you might want to check on how these BBs are being installed at the factory. On the non-drive side, which I was able to remove, there was only the slightest bit of grease / anti-seize on the threads. Or, better still, you might want to spec the Shimano UN BB to start with. I doubt that anyone would complain about a $10 price increase, especially when the alternative is early BB failure and then the hassle of trying to get the current one out.
Have you indeed been using the Mini in a marine environment? It's pretty incredible that the BB got bound up so quickly.

I got my Mini delivered today and the shipment from Nashbar with the BB in it came in today also. Gonna swap it out first thing.
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Old 12-04-06, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by SesameCrunch
Have you indeed been using the Mini in a marine environment? It's pretty incredible that the BB got bound up so quickly.

I got my Mini delivered today and the shipment from Nashbar with the BB in it came in today also. Gonna swap it out first thing.
The bike has only been wet from dew a couple of times - never rode it in the rain nor has it had any salt spray on it. It's normally very dry here so we don't have salt corrosion problems like they do in Florida where it's humid most of the time. So, yes, I live near the water, but no, I don't think that was a factor - maybe I'm wrong.

The bike is only a couple of months old and I figure I've put about 60 miles on it. The BB started making noise last weekend - creaking.

The LBS called to say that it's done so they must have gotten it out ok. I'll report what they tell me when I pick it up this evening.
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Old 12-04-06, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris43
My Mini is in the hospital.

The bottom bracket was so stuck I couldn't budge it with an 18" breaking bar or an impact driver - this after letting it soak in liquid wrench (applied from both sides) for about an hour. Hopefully, the LBS will be able to get it out without damaging the frame.

I hope to get it back this evening so I'll let you know how it turns out.
The Mini is back home...

What an unbelievable difference the Shimano BB makes. The creaking is gone and it is soooo smooth...

The LBS said they had a really hard time getting the old BB out but the didn't have to drill it or anything like that. I haven't looked at the old one very closely yet. I'll report if I find anything this weekend when I have more time to examine it.

I left the VIIIH at the LBS to change the BB and downsize the chainring...
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Old 12-04-06, 11:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris43
My Mini is in the hospital.

The bottom bracket was so stuck I couldn't budge it with an 18" breaking bar or an impact driver - this after letting it soak in liquid wrench (applied from both sides) for about an hour. Hopefully, the LBS will be able to get it out without damaging the frame.

I hope to get it back this evening so I'll let you know how it turns out.

Yan - you might want to check on how these BBs are being installed at the factory. On the non-drive side, which I was able to remove, there was only the slightest bit of grease / anti-seize on the threads. Or, better still, you might want to spec the Shimano UN BB to start with. I doubt that anyone would complain about a $10 price increase, especially when the alternative is early BB failure and then the hassle of trying to get the current one out.
FYI The current BB is a huge upgrade from the 2006 model. I would wager that our BB is one of the nicest you will find on a folder in our price range. Our bikes have weaknesses, I have been removing them as fast as possible.....too fast is risky for the company. We will retain the current BB's through 2007.

Thanks,
Yan
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Old 12-05-06, 03:59 AM
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Probably a Sturmey-Archer hub could be used as well and for a whole lot less cost. One issue would be rear dropout spacing. Does anyone know what this is on the IX FS?
Downtube have already drawn this conclusion as they now offer the VIII H which comes equipped with a SA 8 speed hub. I assume the OLN is 135mm.

Maybe its me, but I can't seem to get excited about a dual chainring 53/39 with 8sp cluster with all the work and cost it would entail on a DT
It's hardly an expensive upgrade when compared to the SRAM Dual Drive, but it would need to properly set-up.
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Old 12-05-06, 07:02 AM
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One thing at the pictures of all bikes that stops me from buying is the fender size and mounting. The rear one is too short, when I installed such on a similar bike ( https://velosite.ru/catalog/?s=539&sid=2287) my back and head were completely covered with dirt. Also absence of front fender makes the frame dirty not only starting at the bottom bracket but completely from the front fork. The good thing about suspension front fork is that it has v-brake and disk mounts at the same time so I can install disc brakes for winter but from the pictures it does not have fender mounts at all.
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Old 12-05-06, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by magic_magpie
One thing at the pictures of all bikes that stops me from buying is the fender size and mounting. The rear one is too short, when I installed such on a similar bike ( https://velosite.ru/catalog/?s=539&sid=2287) my back and head were completely covered with dirt. Also absence of front fender makes the frame dirty not only starting at the bottom bracket but completely from the front fork. The good thing about suspension front fork is that it has v-brake and disk mounts at the same time so I can install disc brakes for winter but from the pictures it does not have fender mounts at all.
It seems to me that your needs can be met for about $30. REI sells a front fender that attaches directly into the underside of the headtube. Then get a Freddy Fender for the back. Voila!
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Old 12-05-06, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm
Probably a Sturmey-Archer hub could be used as well and for a whole lot less cost.
H
I have also come to the conclusion that the internal hub is ideal for folders and people who don't want to tinker with their bikes. Very impressive performance and range. I don't think that it would cost a whole lot less, though. It would be somewhat more expensive, but worth it.

Not that I need any more folders, but if I were to get another one, it would be a internal hub version.
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Old 12-05-06, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by magic_magpie
One thing at the pictures of all bikes that stops me from buying is the fender size and mounting. The rear one is too short, when I installed such on a similar bike ( https://velosite.ru/catalog/?s=539&sid=2287) my back and head were completely covered with dirt. Also absence of front fender makes the frame dirty not only starting at the bottom bracket but completely from the front fork. The good thing about suspension front fork is that it has v-brake and disk mounts at the same time so I can install disc brakes for winter but from the pictures it does not have fender mounts at all.

I also saw a fender that was only $0.15 once! Someone took a water bottle, cut it in half and used some wireties. Done
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Old 12-05-06, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by magic_magpie
One thing at the pictures of all bikes that stops me from buying is the fender size and mounting. The rear one is too short... ...The good thing about suspension front fork is that it has v-brake and disk mounts at the same time so I can install disc brakes for winter but from the pictures it does not have fender mounts at all.
I have just got my VIII H with the suspension fork. It does have a small hole in the dropout that would allow you to mount a front fender brace if you wanted to.

You could move the rear fender to the front... I would guess it would be a good fit, and they you could get a clip-on Freddy Fender or other rear fender, all for about $10-$15.

One real advantage of the short rear fender which I have not seen mentioned is that the lack of fenders makes it easy to roll the bike around when folded. I use a velcro strap to fasten the fork crown to the rear rack. With the stem folded down between the two wheels and the handlebars strapped to the top tube, the bike rolls nicely while using the seat as a handle. I will try and post a picture later. If you had full-length fenders the bike could not be rotated back far enought to let it roll on its wheels. The rolling position has the frame hinge directly above the bottom bracket. The bike is then balanced and rolls easily. The only minor problem is I replaced the folding pedals with SPDs and the left pedal rubs a little on the front tire while in this position.
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Old 12-05-06, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by SesameCrunch
I have also come to the conclusion that the internal hub is ideal for folders and people who don't want to tinker with their bikes. Very impressive performance and range. I don't think that it would cost a whole lot less, though.
Yes Downtube has some internally geared models but it is the combination of the internal gears replacing the front derailleur and double or triple chainrings AND an 8sp/9sp rear cassette that would give you a 24/27sp gearing with low gears in the mid/high teens and high gears over 100" and. You simply cannot have that kind of range on a 20" wheel any other way and IMO if one is not going to get that kind of total capacity out of a front derailleur project then the stock setup with wide range rear cluster and 48T front ring need not be messed with. The 8sp and 14sp internal hubs offer decent range and gear spacing but cost is an issue. Weight too. I am not sure that the SRAM hub at $200 is terribly more expensive than obtaining a modern FD, chainwheel(s), shifter. The Sturmey-Archer hub is cheaper but fitting a 9sp cassette onto it would be tricky. The SRAM hub is built exactly for that purpose.

H
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Old 12-10-06, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Pine Cone
SesameCrunch - one of the reasons modern bikes shift well is they have teeth on the cogs and chainrings that have been cut down to make it easy for the chain to come off for faster shifts under power. A side effect is that on a bike with no front derailleur you have a natural spot for the chain to fall off. You also have a 9-speed cassette which both means a wide side-to-side flex in the chain as you go from one extreme to the other. Cures include keeping chain tension fairly high by making your chain no longer than it needs to be, but the dummy front derailler or plastic roller (modify a skate wheel if you're cheap) work the best. You really don't want the chain falling off at even moderate speeds. You could try and find an older chainring without the pins and ramps of modern ones, but it would be a bit wide for the nine speed chain.

The plastic and metal rings that can be bolted to your chainring don't always keep the chain from falling off. They do keep it from falling off the crankset and keep the loose chain from going into your back wheel, but you may just wedge your chain between the ring and the guard. That is why the derailleur approach tends to work better.

I like your modifications and will be making similar ones soon when my VIIH gets here. It will be my first new folder in about 30 years! Last one died after damage to the crank and chainring by the airlines...
As an update, I bought a Tiagra front derailleur off eBay and installed it to protect against chain drop. I did not route/install cables for the FD, since I don't intend to shift with it. I bought a double derailleur, but I should have gotten a triple. It needed the wider cage. I ended up just manually widening the cage so it could accommodate the entire 9 gears. I'm hoping that will take care of the problem for good.

Now all my planned modifications are complete. I'm very happy with it. It's a gorgeous bike (see pictures posted earlier). Guess I'll have to go find another bike to tinker with, eh?
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Old 12-11-06, 07:06 AM
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For fenders on the front, I got the full freddy fenders set and just used zipties on the front to lock it down, it'll work.
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Old 12-13-06, 04:15 PM
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I just got an NS today. I was a bit concerned that I would not fit as I am 6', 32 pant, 36 sleeve. The bike looks great! And it will fit me fine. I can't believe that I can get a folder built this nice for the money spent. I will have to take it out for a ride in the next couple of days - dicey this time of year in Michigan. I bought this bike to run around my town on short hops and I think it will suit my purposes just fine. GREAT PRODUCT MAKES FOR A HAPPY CUSTOMER!
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Old 12-14-06, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by stjoeguy2
I just got an NS today. I was a bit concerned that I would not fit as I am 6', 32 pant, 36 sleeve. The bike looks great! And it will fit me fine. I can't believe that I can get a folder built this nice for the money spent. I will have to take it out for a ride in the next couple of days - dicey this time of year in Michigan. I bought this bike to run around my town on short hops and I think it will suit my purposes just fine. GREAT PRODUCT MAKES FOR A HAPPY CUSTOMER!

Just received my IX NS also, did you get the silver alloy pedals? Mine only came with the black plastic pedals. Did anyone else received the alloy pedals?
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Old 12-14-06, 01:05 PM
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I got black pedals and a black rear rack too. There is a disclaimer on eBay saying that the components are subject to change if that is where you got it. I don't particularly like the black rack as it looks pretty heavy, but for what my plans include for this bike, it isn't worth a change. I had a Dahon years ago and had to take the pedals off to fold, so I like these a lot better but they are not alloy. I would have preferred alloy, but again, this should suit my needs for now. Good luck with your new bike!
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Old 12-14-06, 06:02 PM
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The thought of having a folding bike has filled my head again, and I am taking a serious look at the DT bikes. I was previously looking at the VIIIH (internal hub model) simply because I like the option of making it a fixed gear bike with relative ease. Well, the biggest problem I seem to be having with that particular model, is that I don't think I will fit on it. The max height is 6'2" and well, I happen to be 6'4". I have tested other folding bikes, and I just can't get proper leg extension on it because the seat tube is just a hair too short. So I have been thinking about the DT Full Suspension bike. It clearly states it's for the bigger/taller riders so I figured I would ask a question to anyone who might know the answer or offer a suggestion. (sorry for the long intro)

So with the FS model, is it possible to make it into a fixed gear bike? or will the rear suspension be an issue and create all kinds of havoc? I realize that the drop outs are vertical also, but I was thinking you could run a singulator. any thoughts or ideas? Would a single speed be the only way to go? Or is geared about all I can do with this frame?

Thoughts and opinions are appreciated.
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Old 12-14-06, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris43
My Mini is in the hospital.

The bottom bracket was so stuck I couldn't budge it with an 18" breaking bar or an impact driver - this after letting it soak in liquid wrench (applied from both sides) for about an hour. Hopefully, the LBS will be able to get it out without damaging the frame.

I hope to get it back this evening so I'll let you know how it turns out.

Yan - you might want to check on how these BBs are being installed at the factory. On the non-drive side, which I was able to remove, there was only the slightest bit of grease / anti-seize on the threads. Or, better still, you might want to spec the Shimano UN BB to start with. I doubt that anyone would complain about a $10 price increase, especially when the alternative is early BB failure and then the hassle of trying to get the current one out.
I had the same problem on my Swift. This is a pretty common condition whenever aluminum (frame) and steel (BB cup) meet. Grease may help, but to truly prevent future seizing, I recommend anti-seize. You can grab a tube for cheap from your local auto parts store. Slather it on the threads of both the cup and bracket. (Oh yeah, and make sure you're turning the drive-side BB cup clockwise to remove...but you already knew that).
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Old 12-14-06, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by big boy phil
Well, the biggest problem I seem to be having with that particular model, is that I don't think I will fit on it. The max height is 6'2" and well, I happen to be 6'4". I have tested other folding bikes, and I just can't get proper leg extension on it because the seat tube is just a hair too short. So I have been thinking about the DT Full Suspension bike. It clearly states it's for the bigger/taller riders so I figured I would ask a question to anyone who might know the answer or offer a suggestion. (sorry for the long intro)
I am 6' with a 34" true inseam, and I find the max seatpost extension about 1/2 inch too short for me (for a textbook fit). I'd think someone with your height would have to rig up some kind of seatpost extension (or Thudbuster) before you can be comfortable for longer rides.
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Last edited by SesameCrunch; 12-14-06 at 09:40 PM.
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