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Upgrades for a cheap folder?

Old 12-06-12, 10:05 PM
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smanitor
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Upgrades for a cheap folder?

Hello everybody, I'm a newb so bear with me...

I bought my first folding bike about 2 months ago, basically the cheapest 6 speed folder on Amazon. I got it basically new off craigslist for $70. I can't complain about its performance for the price, but there are a few things about it that I'd like to upgrade and I was wondering if you guys thought it would be worth it.

The front wheel has a small dent that causes it to wobble and lightly hit the brake. I have been riding it like that since I bought it. Is this worth getting fixed/replaced?

The handlebars on this thing are probably the cheapest part. Here is a link so you can see what I'm talking about... https://www.amazon.com/Folding-Bicycl...pr_product_top They are basically just an aluminum T clamped in the stem. They are very loose and squeak like crazy the entire time I'm riding. I'm not sure what kind of handlebars or handle bar stem I need to buy to replace the crappy thing I have. Any ideas?

Also, what is your opinion of suspension seat posts?

Kthx. Kbye.
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Old 12-07-12, 07:01 AM
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Hi,

A couple of comments:

* If you keep the frame but basically upgrade everything else, that will be more expensive overall then buying a higher end bike. If you've enjoyed the bike, then maybe you should just consider it a stepping stone to a nicer folding bike. This is what I'd probably recommend.

* If you can't afford a higher end bike, then it might not be crazy to upgrade a couple pieces. If, for example, nothing you can easily do fixes the stem being loose, then it's almost certainly not worth putting more money into this bike.

As far as your stem, I'd guess that either it's an easy adjustment or you basically need it replaced. From the picture, it looks like you can't swap out the handlebars without replacing parts.

Have you had the bike tuned up? You can do it yourself (I might start at the Park Tool website).

Your wheel sounds out of true. If you are patient, it is possible to true a wheel yourself. You could also take it to an LBS, but they might(?) charge you more than an (equivalent cheap) new wheel would cost.

Good luck and ask more questions!

Charles
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Old 12-07-12, 11:46 AM
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Also, what is your opinion of suspension seat posts?
I like Cane Creek's Thudbuster seatposts.. they make a variety of suspension elastomers
to adjust for the rider's weight, and have some setback.. but they cost a couple hundred bucks.

Telescopic spring posts are mostly zero setback .. those come cheaper, down to $30.

but are for big wheel bikes, so may not go in place of a long folding bike seatpost

you might do to get a saddle with springs under it..

Last edited by fietsbob; 12-07-12 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 12-07-12, 11:53 AM
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Regarding suspension seatposts while building a budget-minded cheap folder, your best bet might be a low priced suspension seat to use on the stock seatpost.

Something along these lines... https://www.amazon.com/The-Executive-...f=pd_sim_sg_44

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Old 12-07-12, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by cplager View Post


Your wheel sounds out of true. If you are patient, it is possible to true a wheel yourself. You could also take it to an LBS, but they might(?) charge you more than an (equivalent cheap) new wheel would cost.

Good luck and ask more questions!

Charles
You are of course right BUT: If the op decides to buy a new cheap wheel that one will almost for sure also need to be trued soon als so I suggest that if this wheel can be trued do so.

All the cheapo bikes I have wrenched on have needed the front hub and rear greased and adjusted. Also brakes (V-brakes) greased.


To OP: Your info about handlebar being loose is not enough to tell us what is wrong. Desribe it more accurate and post a video on youtube if you can. It can be as simple as tightening a bolt or two. When something is loose you may destroy it further by using it so it is best if you can have it sorted out.

Search youtube, look for a local bike coop, search the forums for old threads about the sme issue or ask again.
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Old 12-07-12, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by darukhan View Post
Regarding suspension seatposts while building a budget-minded cheap folder, your best bet might be a low priced suspension seat to use on the stock seatpost.
+1.

I use a Cloud-9 Suspension seat on my folder and it is a big improvement over the stock seat.


(Not my picture)
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Old 12-07-12, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by badmother View Post
You are of course right BUT: If the op decides to buy a new cheap wheel that one will almost for sure also need to be trued soon als so I suggest that if this wheel can be trued do so.
I agree. I wouldn't bother buying another cheap wheel. And once you start looking at the price of a couple good wheels, you might as well look at the bike that comes with them.

TO the OP: Try truing the one you have...
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Old 12-07-12, 03:32 PM
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There are two ways to look at it. This is a starter bike and you are going to replace it with something nicer real soon now, and you are going to have to make do with this bike for awhile.

Let's take the second one first. Many upgrades can be cheap, but make a real difference in the preformance of the bicycle. For instance I just bought a rear derailleur for my cheap folding bike. I did not go out and by an expensive one, the bike is not worth that, but I got a Tourney TX55, two or three grades better than what came on the bike for $10 from an on line seller. I just replaced the tires, about the cheapest tires I ever saw, with some not too expensive, but a lot better than it had for about $16 each. These make a real difference in the performance of the bicycle, without costing too much. Still most of the folks here are going to sneer at it, some of them are going to sneer at anything that costs less than $3000, so don't worry about it, just enjoy your bike.

Now the first. Suppose you know you are going to keep this bike for only a year, then upgrade it to an upper mid-range bike. So what happens if you put even better wheels and tires on this one than what comes on that upper mid-range bike. If they are the same size, you swap them to the new bike. In the mean time you have a bike that performs very well, because you are using an upgrade to the new bike on it. What you are doing here is pre-upgrading your intended bike by buying the parts before you buy the new bike and using them on the old bike in the meanwhile. A not exactly that, but amounting to the same thing, I took the Brooks B66 saddle from my commuter and put it on my cheap folder. A $150 saddle on a $266 dollar bike? Silly? Maybe, but darn comfortable to ride.

The point I am trying to make here is that there are all kinds of ways to get from where you are today to where you want to be next year, two years from now, or five years from now. Yes, you could just save your money until you have enough for what you want, or you can over load your credit card, or you could be riding while you are getting there without hurting yourself financially.

I will never have the 70' North Sea Style Trawler Yacht I want, but I have had a lot of fun with my canoe over the years.
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Old 12-07-12, 03:54 PM
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I appreciate all of your replies, they have given me some good information. I'll start by saying the very first thing I did to this bike was buy a memory foam suspension seat because it was absolutely unridable with the original seat, ha. This small upgrade made a big difference and I'm not too concerned about getting a suspension seat post, but I didn't even think about regular seat posts being shorter than folding bike posts. So thanks for that info... Also, I think I will try to true the wheel myself because the dent is small and I think I could straighten it with a wrench. Is there some other tool that would make that task easier? Is it easy to put the inner tube and tire back on the wheel once you've repaired the wheel? Sorry, I know nothing about this stuff. The handlebars aren't really loose, they're just flimsy pieces of crap They are fine if you push them all the way down but if you clamp them up high for the upright riding position I prefer, they are squeaky and seem weak. I don't know how else to describe it, but would it even be possible to put standard handlebars on this thing? How would I find out what diameter stem to get?
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Old 12-08-12, 07:39 AM
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good.I wouldn't bother buying another cheap wheel. And once you start looking at the price of a couple
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Old 12-08-12, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by smanitor View Post
I appreciate all of your replies, they have given me some good information. I'll start by saying the very first thing I did to this bike was buy a memory foam suspension seat because it was absolutely unridable with the original seat, ha. This small upgrade made a big difference and I'm not too concerned about getting a suspension seat post, but I didn't even think about regular seat posts being shorter than folding bike posts. So thanks for that info... Also, I think I will try to true the wheel myself because the dent is small and I think I could straighten it with a wrench. Is there some other tool that would make that task easier? Is it easy to put the inner tube and tire back on the wheel once you've repaired the wheel? Sorry, I know nothing about this stuff. The handlebars aren't really loose, they're just flimsy pieces of crap They are fine if you push them all the way down but if you clamp them up high for the upright riding position I prefer, they are squeaky and seem weak. I don't know how else to describe it, but would it even be possible to put standard handlebars on this thing? How would I find out what diameter stem to get?
It is not easy to guess what is the story with the handlebar. Is the clamp tight enough? Could you make a shim by cutting a rectangular piece from a soda can and squeeze it in betwen the outer and inner stem? Would it help to buy this stem from thor: https://www.thorusa.com/accessories/handlebar.htm Scroll down to "Dahon Revolve Stem with quick release top". If that stem makes the bike much more ridable then it is worth it, if not it is a waste. Yo could maybe use it on a different bike later on. You need to measure the handlepost you have, innside and outside to find out.
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Old 12-08-12, 02:38 PM
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This is exactly what I've been looking for, but how do I know which diameter handlebars to get with that stem?
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Old 12-08-12, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by graywolf View Post
Now the first. Suppose you know you are going to keep this bike for only a year, then upgrade it to an upper mid-range bike. So what happens if you put even better wheels and tires on this one than what comes on that upper mid-range bike. If they are the same size, you swap them to the new bike. In the mean time you have a bike that performs very well, because you are using an upgrade to the new bike on it. What you are doing here is pre-upgrading your intended bike by buying the parts before you buy the new bike and using them on the old bike in the meanwhile. A not exactly that, but amounting to the same thing, I took the Brooks B66 saddle from my commuter and put it on my cheap folder. A $150 saddle on a $266 dollar bike? Silly? Maybe, but darn comfortable to ride.

The point I am trying to make here is that there are all kinds of ways to get from where you are today to where you want to be next year, two years from now, or five years from now. Yes, you could just save your money until you have enough for what you want, or you can over load your credit card, or you could be riding while you are getting there without hurting yourself financially.
I find these thoughts to be very good advice. The path I am following is to improve my inexpensive bike by slowly upgrading components as my personal cycling experience indicates a desired improvement, and my research identifies a manner by which that improvement can be accomplished. I'm also trying to purchase components that can be transferred to another bike in the event I wish to do so in the future.

There is one more point to be taken into consideration: the opportunity to learn. Personally, I NEVER would have learned what I have about bicycle mechanics if I had just saved up money and asked a LBS for a bike they thought would fill my needs.
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Old 12-08-12, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by smanitor View Post
... The front wheel has a small dent that causes it to wobble and lightly hit the brake. I have been riding it like that since I bought it. Is this worth getting fixed/replaced?...
Is the rim deformed in just one spot because of impact? If so that can't be remedied by truing... you need to be a little clearer on this... possibly submit a photo.


Originally Posted by smanitor View Post
...The handlebars on this thing are probably the cheapest part. Here is a link so you can see what I'm talking about... https://www.amazon.com/Folding-Bicycl...pr_product_top They are basically just an aluminum T clamped in the stem. They are very loose and squeak like crazy the entire time I'm riding. I'm not sure what kind of handlebars or handle bar stem I need to buy to replace the crappy thing I have. Any ideas?...
This could be a problem with the handlebar clamp although I suspect it's more an issue with the fit/tolerance of the top and bottom stem portions or the hinge itself which wouldn't be surprising considering the that it's an inexpensive unit probably made of some questionable aluminum alloy. The drilling for the hinge bolt and the clamp pivot bolt are usually pretty sloppy.


Originally Posted by smanitor View Post
Also, what is your opinion of suspension seat posts?
Kthx. Kbye.
I don't like them and find them to be nothing more than a novelty... YMMV.
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Old 12-08-12, 07:13 PM
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Not a problem. Normal MTB size. As common as empty bottles.
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Old 12-09-12, 10:03 AM
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I would make sure my rims had a good tape liner instead of the rubber and good set of tires and tubes.
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Old 12-09-12, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by smanitor View Post
This is exactly what I've been looking for, but how do I know which diameter handlebars to get with that stem?
By measuring it. A cheap caliper is something everyone who works on his own bike needs. https://www.ebay.com/itm/150-mm-6-Dig...item1c29cc4575
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