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Downtube folding bike

Old 01-30-07, 04:59 PM
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One of my the few shortcomings of the Downtubes is the fenders. They are great value for the money you pay, but if you plan on riding them in variable weather, one of the first upgrades you should get are a pair of Freddy Fenders. They're fairly easy to install yourself, although I don't know if all the newer DT models have attachment points for them. These fenders make a big difference in reducing splash-up, are reasonably priced, and look a lot better than a recycled home-brew solution.

I'm riding a 2005 DTVIII, front-suspension.
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Old 01-30-07, 05:23 PM
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I love my Freddy Fenders. I had to use zip ties instead of bolts on the front one to keep the fender stays on. Couldn't get nuts on the bolts with the front suspension, not enough room.

Anyway, definitely love them. People may also want to get Lizard Skinz neoprene covers for the suspension fork if they have one, it's a 9 dollar fork sure you could get another any time, but why go through the hassle. B/c the suspension fork is cheap, any gook that gets inside will fairly quickly jam the suspension up. I also have the lizard skinz for my rear derailleur.
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Old 01-30-07, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by BigMacFU
I love my Freddy Fenders. I had to use zip ties instead of bolts on the front one to keep the fender stays on. Couldn't get nuts on the bolts with the front suspension, not enough room.

Anyway, definitely love them. People may also want to get Lizard Skinz neoprene covers for the suspension fork if they have one, it's a 9 dollar fork sure you could get another any time, but why go through the hassle. B/c the suspension fork is cheap, any gook that gets inside will fairly quickly jam the suspension up. I also have the lizard skinz for my rear derailleur.
BigMac:
Regarding the front fork you provided a link for last time - The website indicated a 1" steerer tube. Isn't our bike 1 1/8"? Do you know for sure?
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Old 01-31-07, 12:59 AM
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Hi everyone-

I have been reading through the bikeforums and checking out different foldable bikes. I'm really interested in the Downtube 2007 IX (front suspension bike ) Folding Bicycle 9 speed ($299) and the Downtube 2007 VIIIH ( front suspension Sturmey Archer hub) Bike Folding Bicycle ($399).

I will mostly be using my bicycle to commute and take recreational city rides, but will occasionally want to take a weekend camping tour and possibly a 2wk-1month tour sometime in the next couple years. Do you all think that these models can endure a long distance tour? If so, which model would be better for this?

I think I'd prefer the one with the internal hub for maintence reasons, but am unsure, if it would be able to handle some of the larger climbs on a tour through say, the mountains in New Mexico, without having to take it to a bike shop to have the gears modified. This concern comes from the large number of people who have written about needing to lower the gears.

Also, this might be a silly questions, but can these models be taken on an occasional beginner / intermediate mountain bike trail without causing trouble?

Any guidance / advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
eli
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Old 01-31-07, 11:22 AM
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Good question Sesame, I have no clue.

Eli, if you do not live where there is adverse weather, the rear derailleur should be fine and gives you that extra gear range. But if you're not going to be going off roads or paved/crushed stone paths, you may want a non-sus so you can load it up with more gear for touring.
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Old 01-31-07, 01:44 PM
  #931  
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Originally Posted by eli_d
I will mostly be using my bicycle to commute and take recreational city rides, but will occasionally want to take a weekend camping tour and possibly a 2wk-1month tour sometime in the next couple years. Do you all think that these models can endure a long distance tour? If so, which model would be better for this?

I think I'd prefer the one with the internal hub for maintence reasons, but am unsure, if it would be able to handle some of the larger climbs on a tour through say, the mountains in New Mexico, without having to take it to a bike shop to have the gears modified. This concern comes from the large number of people who have written about needing to lower the gears.
The gear range you need to tour will end up being a personal thing. If you own, or have a friend with, a bike that has very low gears, load it up and find a nice steep hill to climb. See how low you need the gears to be to climb the hill comfortably. Convert that low gear to gear inches using the wheel diameter of the bike you used for the test. Your target bike should have a gear (as measured in gear inches) that is that low if you plan to tour on it.

Gear inches (like gain ratios and gear development) is a way of describing the gearing on a bicycle that is invariant to the wheel diameter. For an explanation see: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_g.html#gearinch

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Old 01-31-07, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by BigMacFU
Good question Sesame, I have no clue.

Eli, if you do not live where there is adverse weather, the rear derailleur should be fine and gives you that extra gear range. But if you're not going to be going off roads or paved/crushed stone paths, you may want a non-sus so you can load it up with more gear for touring.
The steerer is 1 1/8"

Thanks,
Yan
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Old 01-31-07, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by eli_d
Hi everyone-

I have been reading through the bikeforums and checking out different foldable bikes. I'm really interested in the Downtube 2007 IX (front suspension bike ) Folding Bicycle 9 speed ($299) and the Downtube 2007 VIIIH ( front suspension Sturmey Archer hub) Bike Folding Bicycle ($399).

I will mostly be using my bicycle to commute and take recreational city rides, but will occasionally want to take a weekend camping tour and possibly a 2wk-1month tour sometime in the next couple years. Do you all think that these models can endure a long distance tour? If so, which model would be better for this?

I think I'd prefer the one with the internal hub for maintence reasons, but am unsure, if it would be able to handle some of the larger climbs on a tour through say, the mountains in New Mexico, without having to take it to a bike shop to have the gears modified. This concern comes from the large number of people who have written about needing to lower the gears.

Also, this might be a silly questions, but can these models be taken on an occasional beginner / intermediate mountain bike trail without causing trouble?

Any guidance / advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
eli
Eli:

Both are very good bikes and great value. If you were only doing commute and recreational rides, I would have recommended the VIIIH in a heartbeat. The range and convenience of the internal hub is very appealing to me. Changing the gearing on the VIIIH to suit your riding needs is a very simple matter and, in my opinion, should not be a factor in the purchase decision.

However, I would be reticent about taking the VIIIH on a long distance tour (depending on where you're going). Parts and service may be more difficult to find for the hub. There are many people who tour with Downtubes, they're described in some threads on this forum, so you should be confident of that. (There are some upgrades and maintenance items I would do before touring, however.) But, it sounds like that trip is only a possibility. If so, I would get the VIIIH and ride the heck out of it.

As for riding on easy trails, just put on some knobby tires and you're good to go. I think both those bikes come with a sprung saddle plus the front suspension - you can ride in dirt paths with no problems.

Good luck with your choice.

Last edited by SesameCrunch; 01-31-07 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 01-31-07, 05:08 PM
  #934  
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Originally Posted by downtube
The steerer is 1 1/8"

Thanks,
Yan
Thanks for clarifying, Yan.
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Old 02-01-07, 01:37 AM
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Eli_D, check out the gearing here: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears/. The cranks as so, so, and I'm not sure how you would change the front chainring, but you can probably find one that will fit your needs.

Make sure to true the wheels and check for spoke tension before a tour.

Also, think about your size needs. The Mini and the NS are the smallest, I believe.
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Old 02-01-07, 09:44 AM
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Dahon NS weights.


All in all, I am grateful I bought the Downtube over the Dahon I think it is a great bike! Even though we always complain about this and that, I hope Yan knows how much we like his bikes. I too would like to give him my list of things I’d like to see.

That list would up the price enough that the Downtube would loose its great place in the market. So I am glad changes to the Downtube are done slowly and that Yan listens to his customers but at the same time recognizes that trying to grow to fast would destroy the company we all want to see succeed. Looking forward to seeing what changes occur in 2007 (March?) and possibly my second Downtube.

I decided I’d like to slim down my 2006 NS 9 speed Downtube and bought a scale to check out some weights, while this list is not a complete list. (I don’t have a desire, at the moment, for a complete disassembly.) So take it for what it is worth.

I also made an incomplete list of bolts sizes I will post if anyone is interested in using TI and Aluminum to lighten up things.

Peddles Alloy Folding 268g each (536g pair)
Back fender W hardware 88G (W/O hardware 59g)
Bell 19g
Chain Ring W Plastic Guard 305g (232 W/O guard)
Seat Post Clamp 33g
Seat post collar 15g
Kick Stand W/hardware 281g
Stem Adjustable 243g
Rack and reflector W/o HW 630g
Bar Ends (Pair) 107g
Velo Comfort Seat 735g
Seat Post 425g (20g) seat post bolt
Threadless like post section 122g (With Star-nut)
Top Cap 10g
Top Cap bolt 8g
Crank bolt 14g (each)
Grips 8g each side
Brake Lever “APSE” 106g and 109g
Skewers “Quando” 117g (Front 56g Rear 62g)
Frame bolt “M6 x10mm” 5g (x2)


Another comment.
I think the bell is awesome, much better than the one I had.
I don’t know why there were so many complaints about the bag? I like the bag ,particularly that it came free with the bike, nice touch!
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Old 02-01-07, 01:55 PM
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Downtube with 8-Speed hub -- each gear-inch?

What are the 8-gear-inches as installed on Downtube's internally-geared model ? Thanks.
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Old 02-01-07, 03:37 PM
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ggia-

someone else will need to confirm this, but I'm pretty sure that the gears are as follows (i don't know if it's possible to convert ratio to inches?):

Gear Ratio

• Overall Range - 305%
• Gear 1 - 1.00 (Direct Drive)
• Gear 2 - 1.28 (+28%)
• Gear 3 - 1.45 (+45%)
• Gear 4 - 1.64 (+64%)
• Gear 5 - 1.86 (+86%)
• Gear 6 - 2.10 (+110%)
• Gear 7 - 2.38 (+138%)
• Gear 8 - 3.05 (+205%)

(taken from the Sturmey Archer xrf8 site at https://www.sturmey-archer.com/hubs_8spd_XRF8.php)

(maybe check the tech manual too: https://www.sturmey-archer.com/pdfs/XRF8.pdf)
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Old 02-01-07, 03:45 PM
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Baldone:

Thanks for sharing this information!!!! If you get more, please share also! I am particularly interested in how much the fork weighs. Judging by some previous posts, I think some others would be interested also.

It's good to get facts on our bikes once in a while.
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Old 02-02-07, 09:29 AM
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Hi everyone,

Don't have a downtube yet, but I'm pretty sure I'll be getting one sometime this year.

Thanks for all the info (wow, rather extensive)!

Anyone know how much the wheels weigh on the 2007.5? (no cassette, no tires)
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Old 02-02-07, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by SesameCrunch
Baldone:

Thanks for sharing this information!!!! If you get more, please share also! I am particularly interested in how much the fork weighs. Judging by some previous posts, I think some others would be interested also.

It's good to get facts on our bikes once in a while.
Welcome.

The NS 9 has a threaded headset.

I believe, I do not have the correct wrenches to retighten the headset one I loosen it. I know very little about threaded headsets. I can't remove the fork without removing the headset.

I will check my Zinn bike book and see if I can do it with regular wrenches.

A complete threadless design would be nice in this application as it is more simple and of lighter weight. I don't know what it would do to costs.

Yan do you have any plans to go threadless on the forks/headset of any of the downtubes?

I can get the wheel weights on the 2006.5 (2007) model if I get some time this weekend. I'll also do the tires, cassette, chain, and while I am at it, the tubes also.
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Old 02-02-07, 05:29 PM
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I posted this in its own thread but just wanted to let everybody here know: Mauna Kea did a sweet mod with a thud buster where he hacked the original seatpost and combined it with a thudbuster to make a telescoping post that would give the taller riders the ability to achieve more of a road bike riding geometry. Well, that was when the Downtube seatpost was 31.4mm. Now it's the fairly standard 27.2, which is good because you can get the Thudbuster XL which is 450mm. But, it still wasn't enough height for me at 6' for a road geometry. Well, the "butt buddy" from https://www.sidetrak.com adds another 3 inches or so in height to any seatpost. It's a bonus that it's also a suspension saddle accessory. Now, on my bike, that means I've got double seat suspension. But, for all you Downtuber's looking for that extra little bit of height, this device (despite the name) is fantastic.
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Old 02-02-07, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Baldone

A complete threadless design would be nice in this application as it is more simple and of lighter weight. I don't know what it would do to costs. Yan do you have plans to go completely threadless on the stems of the downtubes?
Thanks for publishing the weights. I am certain many readers will find it very useful. Our bikes are very functional with racks, kickstands, saddles, etc that a rider can easily remove to lighten up the bike.

We would love to go with a threadless setup....I would also like to use ISIS cranks, and air/oil fork. However each of these changes has a high cost (unfortunaely we are a small company). We will make big upgrades in 2008 ( the spec's are almost final ). We may get some cool more pricey upgrades in 2009 (such as threadless stem) if sales are good in 2007, and 2008.

Thanks,
Yan
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Old 02-03-07, 12:13 PM
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Mini HOWTO on threaded forks

Threaded forks aren't too bad to deal with. While it is optimal to have a set of headset wrenches to work with them, you can certainly loosen/tighten them with any wrench that you can get to fit. The main problem is that the nuts are narrow, and most standard wrenches are too wide. (if you manage to get a pipe wrench to fit, prepare to have your nuts scuffed up - this can be reduced by covering the nuts and wrench with masking tape first).

Caveat: I write the following without my DT bike in front of me, and only from general experience, so there could be minor variations in the DT setup from what I'm describing here.

The two nuts work the same way as the nut/cone combo in your hubs. The idea is that the bottom nut (actually, integrated w/bearing cup) sets the amount of pressure on the bearings. The top nut simply "locks" the bottom nut in place, by friction between the two, with a washer in-between.

To remove, you simply loosen the lock nut (top) one first, then the second one (bearing cup) should be removable quite easily (usually by hand). At this point the fork can be taken out, just watch out for the bearings falling out of the bottom cup as you pull the fork out.

To install, it goes in the reverse - bearing cup nut first, then lock nut second (oh yeah, and there's usually one or more spacer/washers in-between these two nuts). The re-tightening is only slightly more tricky than removal. You basically want to get the top bearing cup tight enough so that there is no side-to-side (or fore-aft) play in the fork assembly, while still providing smooth rotation. My DT headset came from the factory overtightened, and I could tell because upon turning the handlebars, it felt like there were subtle detentes, i.e. lack of smoothness. The way I usually adjust the tightness is to a) first, slightly overtighten the bearing cup, so that steering is no longer smooth, b) put washers and lock nut on, hand tightening lock nut, c) use wrench to reverse the bearing cup nut back off, which has the dual effect of loosening the steering back to normal, while locking the cup in place against the lock nut. It may take a few tries to get the tightness right the first time, but with a little practice, it's not hard at all.

So, if you get a chance to do this and measure the weights, that would be awesome. I think a lot of the weight of the bikes is coming from the wheels. This is not a complaint - lightweight weels cost a lot of $$ so I wouldn't expect super light wheels on an inexpensive bike. But someday, when I finish other bike projects, that will be my next upgrade.
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Old 02-03-07, 01:01 PM
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More weights
Downtube NS 9speed 2006 1/2

Rear Cassette 9sp 344g
Tire Kenda Kwest 1.5 480g
Front Wheel 24 spoke quando hub alloy v rims w/o reflector 685g
Rear Wheel 28 spoke quando hub alloy v rims w/o reflector 919g
Wheel reflector 17g
Tube Kenda 118g

Brake arms (pair) w/o bolts 168g-170g

Front fender 128g (with steel wire) w/o bolts that go in fork.
Front fender/reflector bolt 55mm M6? 14g (w/washers and nut)
Front relector and plastic assembly 29g

Threadless bolt M8 103mm long 38g (looks as this cannot be shortened)
Quill 46g
Folding section of stem, complete assembly 905g (With both quick release levers, quill, and associated hardware)(Does not include upper threadless assembly)


Note:
Spoke protector was similar to black electrical tape, but better, good light weight low-cost option and is included in the weight of the wheels. In fact, I was prepared to remove standard protector and replace it with black electrical tape. As the spokes are recest in the rim this should be fine for high pressure applications.

The tires were VERY difficult for me to remove I would doubt anyone would have safety issues with the tire coming off while riding. I broke a tire lever I guess I shouldn't have been using my multitool. Yet, perhaps that is more a reflection on me and my folding kevlar-beaded tire ways.

Due to the difficulty I had with the front wheel, I did not remove the rear tire from the wheel. I just removed everything else and subtracted the weight of the tire and tube from the front wheel to get the weight of the rear wheel.

I would love to get the fork weight but the wrenches I have are simply to wide.

Last edited by Baldone; 02-03-07 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 02-03-07, 01:40 PM
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Yan, here's a question:

When people first started talking about DT's on this forum, they were talked about most often as having quality comparable to Dahon, but at a noticeably lower price. I've noticed DT's undergoing a lot of different upgrades in components (which is appreciated!) but this seems to have shaved off of the price differential between the two brands. What's the plan going forward? Will there be a "value-priced" DT in order to continue selling bikes to folks for $200-$250 on ebay?

Or, if not, and the DT's start to approach Dahon in pricing, what will their emphasized selling points be? Why go on the internet to buy an untested DownTube (because they're not available in most stores) when there's probably a LBS that sells Dahons relatively close-by, and you can test-ride them first?
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Old 02-04-07, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by bookishboy
Yan, here's a question:

When people first started talking about DT's on this forum, they were talked about most often as having quality comparable to Dahon, but at a noticeably lower price. I've noticed DT's undergoing a lot of different upgrades in components (which is appreciated!) but this seems to have shaved off of the price differential between the two brands. What's the plan going forward? Will there be a "value-priced" DT in order to continue selling bikes to folks for $200-$250 on ebay?

Or, if not, and the DT's start to approach Dahon in pricing, what will their emphasized selling points be? Why go on the internet to buy an untested DownTube (because they're not available in most stores) when there's probably a LBS that sells Dahons relatively close-by, and you can test-ride them first?
Dahon's cheapest model in 2007 is a Speed 7 for $379. All our 20" bikes are priced between $299 and $399 and are much higher grade than the Speed 7. Our retail prices have stayed steady for over a year....I doubt we will ever approach the $600+ average selling price for a Dahon. Hence I think we are a value priced folder and sales are confirming my theory ( sales are up 300% over last year )

Later this season we will introduce lower grade 8sp models. Prices will be approximately $50 less than our current 9sp models. We will have products in the low to mid $200 price point, however they will be lower grade than our current models (closer to our 2005 models than our current 2007's)

Thanks,
Yan

Last edited by downtube; 02-04-07 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 02-06-07, 12:51 AM
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More weight info - I had the chance to weigh two DT forks. The non-suspension fork on the IXNS weighs about 620grams. The Zoom suspension fork on the IX Front Suspension came in at around 1600 grams. As I had guessed, there is about two pounds difference between the two forks.

These were weighed with a kitchen scale, so no 6 digit decimal accuracy...
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Old 02-06-07, 03:47 AM
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Fork Staunchion Not 1+1/8 !?!?!?!

Hi there - i've been trying to replace my suspension fork on my 2006 downtube 9. I've come across a bit of confusing info from a folding bike shop that i took my bike to. They had a lot of forks with 1+1/8 staunchions but they said that none of them would fit the stock downtube headset. They measured the staunchion on the stock zoom fork and found it was a non standard size, so could not do the replacement. Could this be right?

Yan has posted above saying that the headsets take a 1+1/8" fork. I know alot of measurements are refering to the full suspension model and wondered if the front suspension only model might be different? If any body has ever measured the fork stanchion themselves on a downtube 9 could they post their measurement (the shop forgot their finding so i'm none the wiser).

Many thanks
Barney
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Old 02-06-07, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by barneybarney
Hi there - i've been trying to replace my suspension fork on my 2006 downtube 9. I've come across a bit of confusing info from a folding bike shop that i took my bike to. They had a lot of forks with 1+1/8 staunchions but they said that none of them would fit the stock downtube headset. They measured the staunchion on the stock zoom fork and found it was a non standard size, so could not do the replacement. Could this be right?

Yan has posted above saying that the headsets take a 1+1/8" fork. I know alot of measurements are refering to the full suspension model and wondered if the front suspension only model might be different? If any body has ever measured the fork stanchion themselves on a downtube 9 could they post their measurement (the shop forgot their finding so i'm none the wiser).

Many thanks
Barney
It is a 1 1/8" threaded steerer fork....the threaded steerer makes it more dificult to find replacements. Someone here swapped the threaded headset for a threadless and used a threadless fork.

Thanks,
Yan
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