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Contemplating a Birch Folding Bike Purchase: Wise Investment or Regrettable Decision?

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Contemplating a Birch Folding Bike Purchase: Wise Investment or Regrettable Decision?

Old 02-07-24, 05:16 PM
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Hey Univega dude,

Ironically, you have Jur's Ti Swift on the upper left of your photos in post 1.
It's a lovely bike (but I don't know if I have the patience to enforce QC on a chinese manufacturer).

IMO, if you have the money for it, I'd be sorely pressed to get the Origami Swift.
It solves my only complaint with the Xootr Swift---lack of practical luggage,
The Swift folds to fit behind a door/couch, and rides great. It uses non-proprietary parts, can be configured a ton of ways, and is justifiably a cult classic.
The original couldn't fit a rack, and fenders were a PITA. Paul's redesign fixes all those.

For Salted roads, I'd definitely get fenders.

The tyrell IVE was on my short list, but is hard to get in NA.
Moultons don't really fold. They are the creme de la creme in ride quality, but are super expensive.
I'm just glad that people say the Swift rides in the same ballpark.

The only other bike that I can think will fulfill your needs is a used Bike Friday, if it's extremely cheap.
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Old 02-07-24, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
Sure, Paul. The Swift, old and New, disassembles, which is different. For example, how does the handlepost fold? It doesn't. It needs to be removed, diassembled from the bike altogether. You and your deceptive marketing stick once again.

In bringing back Frankenstein, you missed an opportunity to actually improve on that basic design idea and achieve a fold. And it was not hard to imagine how. The path was first charted by the FSIR, a bike that actually folds rather than disassembles, and features a continuous, solid top tube with no hinge. But no, yours was an unimaginative copy-and-paste job, and your originality was simply to outfit that ghastly rack (and those hideous green wheels). Good grief.

Hey Ron,

I'm not sure what argument you're trying to make.

The Swift folds in half, and uses the seat post tube to lock it in place.
In my practice, I found it to lock securely.
It wasn't a great fold, but was an extremely robust and elegant mechanism.

I don't doubt that you have great tastes in bikes, but facts are facts.

If I still had my Swift (I gave it to my friend and teacher), I'd post a quick picture.
Instead, here's a stock photo
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Old 02-08-24, 01:21 AM
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I have a mid-frame hinge, Dahon Speed. I prefer it over a Bike Friday because the latter has a more "messy" fold, and requires removing front and rear racks, etc. Mine I can fold while leaving more in place. The hinge seemed more problematic to me, until I added my ersatz "Deltech" to mimic the function of Dahon's genuine item, which is not yet on the aftermarket for retrofit to older frames (however it is present on their newer models). Doing that totally stopped any periodic hinge adjustment (and also, adding a locknut on the hinge adjustment).

The Swift seems a relatively clean fold, if not the most compact.

I wish the Dahon would fold to starboard/right (instead of port/left) to put the drivetrain in the middle of the fold. My old Dahon, the handlebars and stem fold to go between the frame fold, so I think this would have been impossible. Later Dahons with handlebars/stem folding to outside the frame, I think may be more possible.

The Brompton and clones are a class act, trifold with chain to the inside, and uber small. If I ever get my hands on one cheap, I may try to see what is possible with panniers. (EDIT: Found a pic online of a panniered Brompton, but the full-size panniers in back were really low. I think with lower pannier hooks, perhaps possible, assuming sufficient heel clearance.) My Dahon is fully racked and panniered (rear rack that is high and well aft) and I use them often as a townie. I'll also qualify that I am not a frequent folder, just want it for occasional fold, to obviate need for a car bike rack, and for train trip. I also enjoy the compact unfolded size, it matters in my living quarters. It remains to be seen how much hassle it will be to pack it down for a flight on Southwest (free checked bags, but only normal 62" size, not like free bike policy on other airlines now but having to pay for each checked bag, just no oversize charge).

Last edited by Duragrouch; 02-08-24 at 01:36 AM.
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Old 02-08-24, 03:16 AM
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If you look for a real folding bike that folds small (not as small than the Brompton but smaller than 20" Dahon) with full size rear pannier ability and an excellent heel clearance (and front low riders and Brompton front back if you want) with nothing to dismount when folding, the Birdy with its excellent folding rear rack is your solution.
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Old 02-08-24, 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Jipe
If you look for a real folding bike that folds small (not as small than the Brompton but smaller than 20" Dahon) with full size rear pannier ability and an excellent heel clearance (and front low riders and Brompton front back if you want) with nothing to dismount when folding, the Birdy with its excellent folding rear rack is your solution.
I must say, that's checking off all the boxes for me! Full size panniers, heel clearance. Being already set up with my Dahon (finding the right rear rack is critical), I wouldn't buy a Birdy unless I needed suspension. But a first buyer, those are good features, for townie or tourer. I'm sure if I had another acquisition, it would be a Brompton clone, unless the Curl is reasonably priced.
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Old 02-08-24, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
Sure, Paul. The Swift, old and New, disassembles, which is different. For example, how does the handlepost fold? It doesn't. It needs to be removed, diassembled from the bike altogether. You and your deceptive marketing stick once again.

In bringing back Frankenstein, you missed an opportunity to actually improve on that basic design idea and achieve a fold. And it was not hard to imagine how. The path was first charted by the FSIR, a bike that actually folds rather than disassembles, and features a continuous, solid top tube with no hinge. But no, yours was an unimaginative copy-and-paste job, and your originality was simply to outfit that ghastly rack (and those hideous green wheels). Good grief.
The beauty of the Swift comes in its lack of flex. Your proposed "improvements" would ruin that.
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Old 02-08-24, 08:41 AM
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There are folding stems that are perfectly rigid, as rigid as non folding ones, for instance on the Tern Andros, Birdy, Tyrell.

The stem of the Brompton has a lot of flex, but not because of its folding hinge, because of its length, tube diameter and material. Same is valid for the Brompton frame, it has some flex (less than the stem) but not due to the hinge. And the Brompton hinge are reliable, no play, long lasting.

Many people have bad experiences with folding hinge coming from the Dahon hinge that are subject to wear.
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Old 02-08-24, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Jipe
There are folding stems that are perfectly rigid, as rigid as non folding ones, for instance on the Tern Andros, Birdy, Tyrell
Are any of those telescopic?
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Old 02-08-24, 09:40 AM
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Yes, there are both not telescopic and telescopic stems for the Birdy 3.
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Old 02-08-24, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Jipe
Yes, there are both not telescopic and telescopic stems for the Birdy 3.
My question is do the telescopic ones flex?
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Old 02-08-24, 04:20 PM
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What do you mean by telescopic, do you mean adjustable in height?

There are 3 different stem for the Birdy 3, all are folding, but 2 are also adjustable in height, the difference between them is the tilt, there is a 10 degree forward tilt and a 21 degree forward tilt.
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Old 02-08-24, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Pinigis
The beauty of the Swift comes in its lack of flex. Your proposed "improvements" would ruin that.
Negative. The FSIR has zero flex as it is. And it actually folds. And, and it is quite light at 9.6kg stock, out of the box, requiring no hideous rack to stand. That should have been your initial canvas, but you caved in to a cult. Here, again, you (and your hangers on) displayed a lack of knowledge and imagination.



Still under well under 1,000 views on your channel for the top vid for this bike over three months. I bet it's selling like hot cakes. The "sublime" Sensah RD is reason enough to snag one, I reckon. Bravo. 👏🏿

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Old 02-08-24, 04:50 PM
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In 2015, a Dutch company tried to sell the Fsir Spin in The Netherlands, it was a total failure but understandable when you see how an average dutch guy sits on a Fsir Spin!


Picture extracted from the Vimeo video introducing the Fsir Spin on the Dutch market: https://vimeo.com/136615791
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Old 02-08-24, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Jipe
In 2015, a Dutch company tried to sell the Fsir Spin in The Netherlands, it was a total failure but understandable when you see how an average dutch guy sits on a Fsir Spin!


Picture extracted from the Vimeo video introducing the Fsir Spin on the Dutch market: https://vimeo.com/136615791
There you go again...and again with you outdated, tired Eurocentrism, making pronouncement on the world based on the experience of your village On average (statiscally), the Dutch are some of the tallest, if not the tallest on the planet, therefore hardly representative of humans in our planet or even US Americans. Has Google come to Belgium yet? Cuz a quick search would have revealed that the mean height of U.S. men and women is significantly lower than that of the Netherlands.. In any case, Google was not needed. Some of us have actually studied and worked internationally with Dutch people, and live in a former Dutch colony where they are not uncommon, and we have lived and are familar with the populations and peoples of the United States. We can tell you that putting up the Dutch as a yardstick for height is quite inapt in the context of the United States, and of course, the rest of the world where most of the human population lives. The U.S. and rest of the world is not like your tiny Low Countries village.

In any case, a re-design would have taken that into account. It's called a re-design cuz...wait for it....you actually re-design it. And by re-design I mean more than adding a rack and painting the wheels green.

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Old 02-08-24, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Jipe
What do you mean by telescopic, do you mean adjustable in height?

There are 3 different stem for the Birdy 3, all are folding, but 2 are also adjustable in height, the difference between them is the tilt, there is a 10 degree forward tilt and a 21 degree forward tilt.
Please answer if Birdy adjustable stems flex.
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Old 02-08-24, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by mlau
Hey Univega dude,

Ironically, you have Jur's Ti Swift on the upper left of your photos in post 1.
It's a lovely bike (but I don't know if I have the patience to enforce QC on a chinese manufacturer).

IMO, if you have the money for it, I'd be sorely pressed to get the Origami Swift.
It solves my only complaint with the Xootr Swift---lack of practical luggage,
The Swift folds to fit behind a door/couch, and rides great. It uses non-proprietary parts, can be configured a ton of ways, and is justifiably a cult classic.
The original couldn't fit a rack, and fenders were a PITA. Paul's redesign fixes all those.

For Salted roads, I'd definitely get fenders.

The tyrell IVE was on my short list, but is hard to get in NA.
Moultons don't really fold. They are the creme de la creme in ride quality, but are super expensive.
I'm just glad that people say the Swift rides in the same ballpark.

The only other bike that I can think will fulfill your needs is a used Bike Friday, if it's extremely cheap.
Jur's Ti Swift is one of the best looking bikes I've seen. He really nailed it. I think the Origami Swift could fit my needs and budget well. I like that it doesn't have much in the way of proprietary parts and can accommodates fenders and luggage.

The Tyrell Ive is an interesting design that I've never seen in person. Thank you for all your excellent suggestions.
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Old 02-08-24, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Jipe
There are folding stems that are perfectly rigid, as rigid as non folding ones, for instance on the Tern Andros, Birdy, Tyrell.

The stem of the Brompton has a lot of flex, but not because of its folding hinge, because of its length, tube diameter and material. Same is valid for the Brompton frame, it has some flex (less than the stem) but not due to the hinge. And the Brompton hinge are reliable, no play, long lasting.

Many people have bad experiences with folding hinge coming from the Dahon hinge that are subject to wear.
I definitely recognize the hinged beam as a potential weak spot for Dahons. However, Deltech may change that a lot; Just my MacGyvered one has made an enormous positive difference in feel, and need for adjustment. I hope the add-on Deltech is not priced ridiculously.

I've wondered about lateral stiffness and loosening over time, of a swinging rear triangle; Bike Friday has seatstays that come up and lock into place with a quick release, helping in that regard, but I still wondered about the swinging joint over time, any rattling, or inadvertent gear changes due to lateral flex? The short span of the pivot, with any looseness at all, would magnify into a lot of lateral movement at the rear axle. The Brompton and others with no firmly attached seatstays (to the seat tube), plus suspension, would be even more critical. Is there any looseness in time? Are there replaceable bushings there? The pivot bolt, obviously, would be replaceable. I'd appreciate the experience of those who have ridden one of these designs, a decade or more with tons of miles/kms. Thanks in advance.

Last edited by Duragrouch; 02-10-24 at 02:48 AM.
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Old 02-09-24, 04:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
There you go again...and again with you outdated, tired Eurocentrism, making pronouncement on the world based on the experience of your village On average (statiscally), the Dutch are some of the tallest, if not the tallest on the planet, therefore hardly representative of humans in our planet or even US Americans. Has Google come to Belgium yet? Cuz a quick search would have revealed that the mean height of U.S. men and women is significantly lower than that of the Netherlands.. In any case, Google was not needed. Some of us have actually studied and worked internationally with Dutch people, and live in a former Dutch colony where they are not uncommon, and we have lived and are familar with the populations and peoples of the United States. We can tell you that putting up the Dutch as a yardstick for height is quite inapt in the context of the United States, and of course, the rest of the world where most of the human population lives. The U.S. and rest of the world is not like your tiny Low Countries village.

In any case, a re-design would have taken that into account. It's called a re-design cuz...wait for it....you actually re-design it. And by re-design I mean more than adding a rack and painting the wheels green.
So this bike previously claimed to be the perfect folding bike compared to the crap Swift, suddenly requires a re-design?

Actually, the reason why the Fsir Spin (and several others folding bikes) is too small/short is that it was intentionally made short to reduce the folded length which, even with such a short frame, is already bigger than other more clever design.
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Old 02-10-24, 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Jipe
Actually, the reason why the Fsir Spin (and several others folding bikes) is too small/short is that it was intentionally made short to reduce the folded length which, even with such a short frame, is already bigger than other more clever design.
That made me curious, since my Spin5.1 is a dream to ride for me with 6'1" and 195lbs. Then i found this:

https://www.cyclinguk.org/cycle/bike...-folding-bikes

..with actually measured 650mm reach of a standard Brompton, and a Birdy World Sport - the original design, with 710mm - with the non-standard handlepost with extra forward angle. My Spin has 670mm, measured like the cyclingUK guys did, with a standard conservative 12 handlepost. That is more than the standard original Birdy with less forward angled post and Brompton has.





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Old 02-10-24, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by splithub
That made me curious, since my Spin5.1 is a dream to ride for me with 6'1" and 195lbs. Then i found this:

https://www.cyclinguk.org/cycle/bike...-folding-bikes

..with actually measured 650mm reach of a standard Brompton, and a Birdy World Sport - the original design, with 710mm - with the non-standard handlepost with extra forward angle. My Spin has 670mm, measured like the cyclingUK guys did, with a standard conservative 12 handlepost. That is more than the standard original Birdy with less forward angled post and Brompton has.





Your curved stem is different from the one I saw in the video, it increases the saddle-handlebar distance (Tyrell made a different stem for the Yve that also increased the saddle-handlebar distance and made the Yve usable for EU riders).
Is this curved stem specific for the place you live (UK if I understand well)?

FYI., the Birdy stem (both Comfort ans Sport) have two handlebar positions, one with a shorter reach, another one with a longer reach. For the Sport 21 degree stem, which is tilted to the front, the saddle-handlebar distance increases quite a lot when the stem and seatpost are extended as required for tall riders.


Picture extracted from the Vimeo video introducing the Fsir Spin on the Dutch market: https://vimeo.com/136615791

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Old 02-10-24, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Jipe
Your curved stem is different from the one I saw in the video, it increases the saddle-handlebar distance (Tyrell made a different stem for the Yve that also increased the saddle-handlebar distance and made the Yve usable for EU riders).
Is this curved stem specific for the place you live (UK if I understand well)?

FYI., the Birdy stem (both Comfort ans Sport) have two handlebar positions, one with a shorter reach, another one with a longer reach. For the Sport 21 degree stem, which is tilted to the front, the saddle-handlebar distance increases quite a lot when the stem and seatpost are extended as required for tall riders.


Picture extracted from the Vimeo video introducing the Fsir Spin on the Dutch market: https://vimeo.com/136615791
The handlebar stem is a design option with 39cm length, returning the same 12 angle as the standard post, that can be telescopically extended(?), giving even more reach. I know how i look like on my bike and can assure you that the guy in the commecial video is significant taller than me. Top tube length on the Spin5 is 57, which is very close to the bikes you propose to be sufficient for european riders. I'm from germany btw
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Old 02-10-24, 11:18 PM
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Doesn't seem to offer anything over any other bifold bike which you can probably get cheap on AliExpress/Taobao/etc branded Fnhon/Ynhon/Rifle/etc.
If you feel that its worth a try for the price, then its really a 'why not' situation.
Otherwise, as a bike in itself, its 7sp, chromoly (ie. generally inexpensive material) and folds the same.
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Old 02-11-24, 12:31 AM
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I think the FSIR Spin appears to be an elegant looking frame design, however the lack of seatstays would make mounting a rear rack to be very difficult, a primary consideration for me. For the vast majority of folder users, I think not a consideration.

I also would like to understand about where the seatpost goes through the chainstays, and the pivoting joint, if either of those have any slack in parts, or if they will over time.

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Old 02-11-24, 02:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Duragrouch
I think the FSIR Spin appears to be an elegant looking frame design, however the lack of seatstays would make mounting a rear rack to be very difficult, a primary consideration for me. For the vast majority of folder users, I think not a consideration.

I also would like to understand about where the seatpost goes through the chainstays, and the pivoting joint, if either of those have any slack in parts, or if they will over time.
There have been a handful of FSIR threads discussing those and other aspects of the bike going back to 2018. It's all in the channel archive. Relative to a hinge bifolder, it folds larger, but it actually folds and is self standing when folded, and it was 9.6kg in weight stock, out of the box. Last time I weighed mine, it was 9.5kg. Again that's in the channel archive.

The issue of sizing and reach is overstated. One reason is that unlike, say, a Birdy, Brompton and the Frankenstein Swift, the FSIR takes standard, non proprietary handleposts which come in a range of lengths and angles, including banana shape handleposts. These inexpensive, ubiquitous handleposts further allow the installation of extending stems, if needed. Beware the outdated notion of the channel gurus that there is flex in these handleposts or its mechanism. That's no longer the case in 2024 and for several years now. It's a concocted non-issue today, and a reflection of their bikes and their knowledge.

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Old 02-11-24, 03:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon
There have been a handful of FSIR threads discussing those and other aspects of the bike going back to 2018. It's all in the channel archive. Relative to a hinge bifolder, it folds larger, but it actually folds and is self standing when folded, and it was 9.6kg in weight stock, out of the box. Last time I weighed mine, it was 9.5kg. Again that's in the channel archive.

The issue of sizing and reach is overstated. One reason is that unlike, say, a Birdy, Brompton and the Frankenstein Swift, the FSIR takes standard, non proprietary handleposts which come in a range of lengths and angles, including banana shape handleposts. These inexpensive, ubiquitous handleposts further allow the installation of extending stems, if needed. Beware the outdated notion of the channel gurus that there is flex in these handleposts or its mechanism. That's no longer the case in 2024 and for several years now. It's a concocted non-issue today, and a reflection of their bikes and their knowledge.
FSIR: Thanks, I'll look.

Stems: There is most definitely rigid stems available, and I would even go so far as to say, most folders have them. Bike Friday has stayed with their skinny long steel stems and long steel seatposts. The seatpost, I think they actually want the aft flex as a semi-suspension, and it allows custom (standard size) top ends, like for suspension. Also, the skinnier frame seat tube gives a lot more room for the front derailleur to go way inward for a triple crank.

The stem, I think it relates to their folding strategy, as the stem comes out for folding. Otherwise, there's tons of more-rigid aftermarket stems available that they could use, copied from Dahon or Brompton designs after patents expired, I would imagine, that are very nice looking forged or swaged tapers, thick at the base, quite optimum structurally. BF is famous for customer accommodation, I'm sure if a customer desired a modern folding stem, they would provide a fork with a bit longer steering tube, sans external threading and headset nut, with internal threads, to mate with a modern stem and preload bolt.

Last edited by Duragrouch; 02-11-24 at 03:14 AM.
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