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Marlboro/Fuji Folder Project

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Marlboro/Fuji Folder Project

Old 02-20-23, 12:25 PM
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Marlboro/Fuji Folder Project

I mentioned that I would consider a Marlboro folder during the discussion of a Mini-Velo on another section of BikeForums. @bark_eater offered me a Marlboro folding bike that he had in his shed for a reasonable price plus delivery.

So, here starts another project. I like the Marlboro/Fuji bike for the fact that a lot of them were sold and therefore available now almost 30 years later for reasonable prices. Reasonable to me us $75 and under. This bike has an what appears to be a sturdy folding frame that is similar to the Montague in design. In fact, I at first thought that perhaps this was designed by Montague and built under licence. It turns out to be more interesting than that.

Here is the bike as delivered. bark_eater claimed it to be less complete and in worse condition than it actually was in. As you can see the bike is complete right down to the folding pedals.


bark_eater photo

This bike was built with low end components that worked well, but were not the lightest or most durable. My plan is to upgrade the components starting with the plastic covered steel crank. I would like to build or get wheels that have a freehub/cassette rather than a freewheel and quick release skewers for the wheels.

I will be posting here with project updates and information.

Last edited by Velo Mule; 02-21-23 at 10:37 AM. Reason: Photo Credit
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Old 02-20-23, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Velo Mule
I mentioned that I would consider a Marlboro folder during the discussion of a Mini-Velo on another section of BikeForums. @bark_eater offered me a Marlboro folding bike that he had in his shed for a reasonable price plus delivery.

So, here starts another project. I like the Marlboro/Fuji bike for the fact that a lot of them were sold and therefore available now almost 30 years later for reasonable prices. Reasonable to me us $75 and under. This bike has an what appears to be a sturdy folding frame that is similar to the Montague in design. In fact, I at first thought that perhaps this was designed by Montague and built under licence. It turns out to be more interesting than that.

Here is the bike as delivered. bark_eater claimed it to be less complete and in worse condition than it actually was in. As you can see the bike is complete right down to the folding pedals.



This bike was built with low end components that worked well, but were not the lightest or most durable. My plan is to upgrade the components starting with the plastic covered steel crank. I would like to build or get wheels that have a freehub/cassette rather than a freewheel and quick release skewers for the wheels.

I will be posting here with project updates and information.
Long Island, huh? Great deal,... I've never seen one out here, or in Queens, that wasn't beat to death. I can't wait to see your upgrades. It's definitely a solid frame to build up.
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Old 02-20-23, 08:56 PM
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US Patent 5360225

Originally Posted by tds101
Long Island, huh? Great deal,... I've never seen one out here, or in Queens, that wasn't beat to death. I can't wait to see your upgrades. It's definitely a solid frame to build up.
Lucky for me that this one came from the mid-Atlantic. It was ridden, but taken care of. It is a nearly 30 year old bike so it does have it's share of issues.

The patent listed below and the name Redlof provided research fodder. I was curious about the origin of this design.


Sometimes searching for patents can be frustrating. I finally found it. It turns out that the patent number listed above is registered to Robert W. P. Chen. The address listed is in Taiwan. To spare you from having to look it up, here are the first three pages of the patent. What is interesting is that there are 3 prior art references for Montague and Chen (the same Chen, I presume) has 2 prior art references. I've seen the 1990 patent from Montague. This patent/invention/submition was clever enough to recognize the Montague patent, but change it in a substantial enough way that it was granted it's own patent.








If you are interested in this, search for the patent listed above. Patent law is an interesting game.
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Old 02-20-23, 09:23 PM
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Spec's and info

RedloF is/was a frame and bicycle manufacturer in Taiwan.

Here is the specifications on the Fuji Folder. The same bike as the Marlboro promotional folding All Terrain Bike.


Interesting to note above the tubing is listed as Hi-Ten and on the frame it is stickered Chrome-moly.

This was from a Naver blog for Folding bikes. They also had an entry for RedloF.




The link listed above is no longer active. If you search for RedloF International, Inc. you will find some of the older company info.

Why didn't they survive? I don't know. The frame design seems good, but you need more than a good design to succeed.
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Old 02-21-23, 10:43 AM
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Serial number

I have looked all over this frame and have not found the serial number. It has more tubes and odd places than a diamond frame. But I am still baffled. Can it not have a serial number?

The only place I haven't looked is under the "Made in Taiwan" sticker on the head tube. I can't imagine they would cover up a serial number with a sticker.

Anybody know where it might be?
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Old 02-21-23, 01:59 PM
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Cool project. If you have the frame stripped, whatís the weight?

which tubing do you think it has?
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Old 02-21-23, 05:00 PM
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Stripped

I'm leaning toward Chromoly @3speedslow because of the sticker that is on the frame. I haven't taken any measurements. I will see if I can get a weight on the frame and fork. It is stripped down at this point.



I have been trying to clean the grease/dirt that is on the frame. It is some tenacious stuff. You can see some of the worst of it on the side of the top tube. If I can't get it off, I'll live with it. It's a rider.
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Old 02-21-23, 11:01 PM
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Frame & Fork Weight

I took a scale home from work. This is an old Chatillon spring type scale. It was zeroed out before hanging the bike. That chainring protector came in handy to hang the frame on the hook.


9-1/2 to 10 lbs, everything stripped except the lower headset race on the fork. I did remove the headset races on the headtube. If I have a chance I will check the accuracy of this scale against something more modern. There is no friction in the mechanism. The weighing hook is directly attached to the spring. As long as the spring is not fatigued, and there is no reason it would be, it will be accurate. Hooks law.

I always thought that the term "Maker" was a recent thing. Apparently not, as seen below. I've only known Chatillon for their scales, but perhaps they were making other things back then.

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Old 02-22-23, 07:33 AM
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Good looking frame. Itís cool to see naked frames before the start of a build.

Are there any marks on the fork steer tube?
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Old 02-22-23, 08:05 PM
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Steerer tube

Good question @3speedslow . Not a mark at all. No writing, not even some obscure symbol. And no serial number either.

Wait a minute.............what is that???



It is so faint that I almost missed it. It looks like the only the bottom portion of the symbol shows up. It doesn't look much better in person than the picture. Anybody recognize this partial symbol?
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Old 02-24-23, 07:11 PM
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If you took a sharpie to it then wiped it away you might highlight the lettering. I donít recognize it either.
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Old 02-24-23, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by 3speedslow
If you took a sharpie to it then wiped it away you might highlight the lettering. I donít recognize it either.
Good idea. I'll give it a try. What would we do without Sharpies?

I checked the old Chatillon scale:



It looks good.
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Old 02-26-23, 04:05 PM
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Here is the symbol with Sharpie enhancement. I found that the best lighting was in sunlight that streamed through the window inside the living room. The good part is that I can see clock or radial tick marks around the circle. The bad part is that I cannot see anymore of the symbol. The reflection is not hiding anything in the picture.

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Old 02-27-23, 06:22 PM
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On lower end bikes, there are cranks that look like aluminum three piece cranks but are plastic covered steel. I don't have a problem with that, but this look-a-like crankset is heavy. This, and other bikes that are trying to achieve low retail prices often use these steel cranks to save money while maintaining the reliability. This crank can probably handle Shaquille O'Neal. The cranks weighs 1340gm. Or 3lbs. That is without the bottom bracket assembly.



These cranks are going to get replaced with something lighter. But what cranks to use has me thinking. I would like to use something that I have already. I envision this bike as a commuter/cross-country bike. Not a Mountain bike.

I don't have the perfect crank, so I am still pondering.
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Old 02-27-23, 06:44 PM
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Good idea to replace the original crank. Before you get rid of the BB, measure the axle length. It might give you an idea of length for a good chain line. But the best length really depends on the crank you choose.

someday someone might chime in with the makers name on the fork. Till thenÖ

keep up the good work!
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Old 02-27-23, 11:26 PM
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Thanks @3speedslow. Good idea. I've got a few cranks but none of them seem to be the one yet. I've got a Dura Ace FC-7700 but that seems too high zoot for this bike. I've got a pair of aluminum cranks with triple steel chainrings that could work from a Trek 800.

I'm thinking of making this a single chainring to keep in simple. Maybe I'll put the mountain bike triple on for now and get the bike operational with the original wheels just to get riding it and then see how much I like it and then figure out how to proceed.
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Old 02-28-23, 12:17 PM
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That Dura Ace crankset is not doing any good just sitting in my parts box. I figured I could at least try it on the Marlboro bike. The bottom bracket fit without any problems.





It looks like there is no way that I could use the inner chainring and I might even be limited on the outer chainring.



The crank is within 2mm of the chainstay. This is not comfortable territory for me.



It looks like I will keep searching for a crank.
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Old 02-28-23, 12:34 PM
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This is a crank off of a Trek 800. It has aluminum crank arms swaged to steel chainrings.



The plastic trim is loose. I wanted to see if it looked better without it or if i would need to paint the plastic. It weighs in at 887 grams.

I'll probably put this on and see how it goes.
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Old 03-04-23, 10:11 PM
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While cleaning the frame I noticed what I thought was a slight bend in the top tube. I got out an 18" scale and sure enough it is bent. It is, but not much, probably less than 1/8". I am guessing that it is from the welding process rather than being bent from riding aggressively because the frame hinges perfectly. There are no hard spots when folding it. But I thought that welding that hinge tube on the bottom of the top tube would cause the top tube to bend upward. Is that right?


I'm just going to precede with the rebuild, ride it and see how it goes.
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Old 03-05-23, 07:16 AM
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I would also do just what you saidĒ Build and rideĒ.
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Old 03-06-23, 12:30 PM
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VP-112 Pedals

I was pleased when @bark_eater delivered the bike that it had the original folding pedals on it. Folding pedals can be expensive. These are probably the cheapest folding pedals available, but since they come with the bike, they are essentially no cost. These pedals needed some restoration. The metal plate on the bottom is held in place with two screws and a slot. Both pedals had the screws loose and the plate out of the slot. I was also pleased to find that the spindles were fine.

I cleaned the rust off of the steel plates and repainted them. And bought new screws to hold the plate to the pedal. One interesting feature of this pedal is that there is a quarter turn screw that is used to hold the pedal platform horizontal when riding. This can be removed to either oil or grease the spindle. I wouldn't mind a oil/grease port on non-folding pedals.

Disassembled:


Back together:


The pedal on the left is looking from the bottom and the pedal on the right is looking from the top in the folded position.

By the way, mud dauber have a way to create a strong bond of dirt to plastic. They seem to like these pedals with homes in every nook and cranny.
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Old 03-06-23, 06:43 PM
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I just learned two interesting things about this bike from a Website called Cyclingeezer.

1. The maker of the bike REDLOF spelled backwards is F O L D E R. That is it? Folder? It is an odd enough name that I was thinking about it but, I wasn't thinking it was an English word spelled backwards.
2. The position of the serial number is on the bottom bracket tube on the non-drive side. It is clearly visible on Cyclingeezer's bike, but why my frame is missing the engraved serial number is a mystery.




Photo Credit Cyclingeezer

I have seen this in other pictures of the Marlboro/Fuji folder where the paint has faded. It looks like the red just disappeared. Nothing left of the red once it has oxidized. The paint on my frame is intact, having been stored in a shed presumably out of direct light. The translucent red over white looks good when it is in good condition.

Thank you Cyclingeezer for filling in some unknowns.

Fantastic Folding Fuji-MLCB #400

I may have to check out some of the other posts on this site.
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Old 03-06-23, 09:57 PM
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One of these on ebay has a serial number on the seattube, on the non-drive side, just above the BB shell and is clearly visible in the pics of the bike.
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Old 03-06-23, 11:47 PM
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Serial # found

Good call @Russ Roth ! Thanks (again). There it is, just like you said it would be.

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Old 03-07-23, 01:24 PM
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Neat project! Thanks for sharing.
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