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Panasonic Traincle

Old 10-24-22, 12:44 AM
  #26  
Reddleman
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In terms of ignorance, I admit to have spent time looking at Taobao, Carousell and AliExpress in awe at the bikes and components on sale, but also being uncertain as to what exactly I should be looking to buy or who to buy from, compared with my usual online sources anyway (bike shops in NZ, the UK, Europe, Japan and Australia, plus eBay and its local knockoff/imitator).

Iím lucky enough that I donít have to worry about duty compared with other nations (I need to spend $500 USD on bike bits before the taxman here in NZ hits me with 5% duty and 20% sales tax) but postage and shipping can be another complication - for example, some items Iíve bought from China and from Germany have ended up sea freight and took months to arrive, while others have been with me in a week or two. AliExpress is quite popular here in NZ so its not the platform itself, just the vagaries of shipping and the unknown quality of the traders behind it that puts me off ordering more (no shade, the worst online marketplace Iíve used is the fake Kiwi eBay, so Iím cynical of everybody these days, especially on bigger online purchases).

So Iím guess Iím trying to say in a roundabout way is Ron, what are your hints and tips for online shopping direct from Asia for newbies and those with limited or no grasp of the local languages? What should we look out for and what should we avoid? For example, when putting together a frame and handlepost combo, which ones are compatible and how to tell? Which brands are legit and which ones canít be trusted? How can you check what form of shipping will get used? A Dummies Guide, if you will.
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Old 10-24-22, 07:30 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon View Post
I, who's lived in Asia Pacific for two decades and currently lives just a few hours flight time from the PRC (and Taiwan) is perhaps aware of that more than most people on this channel. You'll find that this channel is still heavily aligned on the London-Eugene axis despite the undeniable, inexorable evolution of the segment and that the epicenter of folding bikes today is Asia.
I am based in the USA but I have travelled extensively in East Asia. I have ridden a Brompton all over South Korea, including the 4 Rivers Trail, and biked all over Kyushu, western Honshu and Shikoku. I have taken multi-day bike camping tours on my folder. I haven't been to Singapore but I have met many Singaporean bike tourists in South Korea and Japan and they seem to be the most dedicated folding bike enthusiasts. And every single Singaporean folding bike enthusiast I met had a high end folder, almost always a Brompton or a Birdy. Bromptons have a cult-like following in East Asia that far surpasses the pockets of Brompton fans found in USA in urban areas such as NYC. You can buy 3rd party Brompton upgrades that are impossible to find elsewhere. I have seen a very small handful of Bike Fridays in Asia. I once saw a Traincle in the wild in Japan that had a THM crankset fitted to it.

My point is, cycling enthusiasts in the East Asian countries I've visited still prefer the high end stuff. Perhaps by sheer sales volume the inexpensive Chinese-made folders dominate the market but the hardcore folding bike enthusiasts have certain preferences. I'm not poo pooing the Chinese products but I'm not sure if they're the paradigm shift you're implying they are.

Last edited by bokenikon; 10-24-22 at 08:07 AM.
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Old 10-24-22, 09:58 AM
  #28  
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There is an incredible Asian BF community and many post their builds on the BF facebook group. Lots of group rides (big!) and lots of bling. There's one shop that is sort of the epicenter for this hardcore group of enthusiasts. They take USA $3k bikes and pour in a lot more $ by swapping in the most expensive lightweight parts they can find. Everyone has to have a hobby, lol.
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Old 10-24-22, 03:00 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by bokenikon View Post
I am based in the USA but I have travelled extensively in East Asia. I have ridden a Brompton all over South Korea, including the 4 Rivers Trail, and biked all over Kyushu, western Honshu and Shikoku. I have taken multi-day bike camping tours on my folder. I haven't been to Singapore but I have met many Singaporean bike tourists in South Korea and Japan and they seem to be the most dedicated folding bike enthusiasts. And every single Singaporean folding bike enthusiast I met had a high end folder, almost always a Brompton or a Birdy. Bromptons have a cult-like following in East Asia that far surpasses the pockets of Brompton fans found in USA in urban areas such as NYC. You can buy 3rd party Brompton upgrades that are impossible to find elsewhere. I have seen a very small handful of Bike Fridays in Asia. I once saw a Traincle in the wild in Japan that had a THM crankset fitted to it.

My point is, cycling enthusiasts in the East Asian countries I've visited still prefer the high end stuff. Perhaps by sheer sales volume the inexpensive Chinese-made folders dominate the market but the hardcore folding bike enthusiasts have certain preferences. I'm not poo pooing the Chinese products but I'm not sure if they're the paradigm shift you're implying they are.
You should also mention Japan in your list of folding lovers.

Japanese like small wheel bikes, folding and not folding.

They also like high end bikes.

Japan is the biggest market for high end Moulton.

Tyrell makes beautiful bikes (look at the gorgeous Tyrell XF limited edition). Its a pity they are too small for most US and EU cyclists.
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Old 10-24-22, 03:07 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Jipe View Post
You should also mention Japan in your list of folding lovers.

Japanese like small wheel bikes, folding and not folding.

They also like high end bikes.

Japan is the biggest market for high end Moulton.

Tyrell makes beautiful bikes (look at the gorgeous Tyrell XF limited edition). Its a pity they are too small for most US and EU cyclists.

One of the coolest folders from Japan was the OX Peco Buccho. I believe the rims were CNC machined. Discontinued, unfortunately.
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Old 10-24-22, 05:48 PM
  #31  
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Indonesian folding bike festival this past weekend:

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Old 10-24-22, 05:59 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by bokenikon View Post
You can buy 3rd party Brompton upgrades that are impossible to find elsewhere.
With the 3sixty, Aceoffix, Afluen Avro, Aleoca, Alps, B-Bike, Backer Gravity, Billiton, Camp Royal, Chedech, Cigna, Crius, Element Pikes, Flamingo, Fova, Groo, Harry Quinn, Kreuz, La Bici, Leggero, Mint, MIT, Mobot, Movebike, Neo, Panlova Ecosmo, Pico, Pikes, Pytitans, Sanye, Sunrimoon, United, Viking and Week Eight "you can buy 3rd party Brompton knockoffs/copies that are impossible to find elsewhere".
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Old 10-24-22, 06:03 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by tcs View Post
Indonesian folding bike festival this past weekend:

https://youtu.be/BLvuT5a7kvU
OMG, please, not yet another reminder of that circus. That event would be the last thing I would attend. If you lived here, you'd probably understand why.
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Old 10-24-22, 06:14 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by bokenikon View Post
I am based in the USA but I have travelled extensively in East Asia. I have ridden a Brompton all over South Korea, including the 4 Rivers Trail, and biked all over Kyushu, western Honshu and Shikoku. I have taken multi-day bike camping tours on my folder. I haven't been to Singapore but I have met many Singaporean bike tourists in South Korea and Japan and they seem to be the most dedicated folding bike enthusiasts. And every single Singaporean folding bike enthusiast I met had a high end folder, almost always a Brompton or a Birdy. Bromptons have a cult-like following in East Asia that far surpasses the pockets of Brompton fans found in USA in urban areas such as NYC. You can buy 3rd party Brompton upgrades that are impossible to find elsewhere. I have seen a very small handful of Bike Fridays in Asia. I once saw a Traincle in the wild in Japan that had a THM crankset fitted to it.

My point is, cycling enthusiasts in the East Asian countries I've visited still prefer the high end stuff. Perhaps by sheer sales volume the inexpensive Chinese-made folders dominate the market but the hardcore folding bike enthusiasts have certain preferences. I'm not poo pooing the Chinese products but I'm not sure if they're the paradigm shift you're implying they are.
I note that the countries you mentioned and your experience appears to be in the handful of high-income Asia-Pacific countries (Japan, ROK, Singapore). Yeah, I've been to all of those, including HK and Taiwan, toured in two of them, though I have not been to Japan. Therefore your observations are biased toward that cohort. To the first approximation, Asia-Pacific is not high, but rather low middle income. To the first approximation, in terms of population, Asia-Pacific is China and Indonesia. Economically, it is China whose economy is larger than Japan and Indonesia combined by a lot. As one who's actually lived in Singapore, I can tell you first-hand that there is a great variety of folding bikes there and that a reason why Bromptons are common is that Singaporeans as a group are a lot wealthier that most of Asia-Pacific. A Brompton here in Indonesia, the second largest country in the region and fourth most populous in the world with a good quarter billion people, costs almost three times the national median salary. How many Bromptons do think are sold in Laos or Timor-Leste (been to the former, lived in the latter)? So, to know truly know and opine on Asia-Pacific it really does require that you speak about the middle of the distribution rather than the upper tail.

Last edited by Ron Damon; 10-24-22 at 06:20 PM.
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Old 10-24-22, 06:25 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Reddleman View Post
In terms of ignorance, I admit to have spent time looking at Taobao, Carousell and AliExpress in awe at the bikes and components on sale, but also being uncertain as to what exactly I should be looking to buy or who to buy from, compared with my usual online sources anyway (bike shops in NZ, the UK, Europe, Japan and Australia, plus eBay and its local knockoff/imitator).

Iím lucky enough that I donít have to worry about duty compared with other nations (I need to spend $500 USD on bike bits before the taxman here in NZ hits me with 5% duty and 20% sales tax) but postage and shipping can be another complication - for example, some items Iíve bought from China and from Germany have ended up sea freight and took months to arrive, while others have been with me in a week or two. AliExpress is quite popular here in NZ so its not the platform itself, just the vagaries of shipping and the unknown quality of the traders behind it that puts me off ordering more (no shade, the worst online marketplace Iíve used is the fake Kiwi eBay, so Iím cynical of everybody these days, especially on bigger online purchases).

So Iím guess Iím trying to say in a roundabout way is Ron, what are your hints and tips for online shopping direct from Asia for newbies and those with limited or no grasp of the local languages? What should we look out for and what should we avoid? For example, when putting together a frame and handlepost combo, which ones are compatible and how to tell? Which brands are legit and which ones canít be trusted? How can you check what form of shipping will get used? A Dummies Guide, if you will.
Bro, I wish I could help you and provide sage advise, but I am afraid I can't. The reason is that I have never ever shopped or purchased a single item from the likes of Taobao, Ali Express, Shoppee, etc. I simply don't want to deal with the woes of shipping, questionable products, sellers, etc. I buy exclusively from the local Indonesian market. I leave the shipping, duties, importation, customs to the seller. I order from reputable sellers on the largest online shopping platform Tokopedia, the goods are shipped almost always from the neighboring island of Java and they arrive at my doorstep within a week. No hassles, no worries, no duds.
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Old 10-24-22, 07:12 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Ron Damon View Post
I note that the countries you mentioned and your experience appears to be in the handful of high-income Asia-Pacific countries (Japan, ROK, Singapore). Yeah, I've been to all of those, including HK and Taiwan, toured in two of them, though I have not been to Japan. Therefore your observations are biased toward that cohort. To the first approximation, Asia-Pacific is not high, but rather low middle income. To the first approximation, in terms of population, Asia-Pacific is China and Indonesia. Economically, it is China whose economy is larger than Japan and Indonesia combined by a lot. As one who's actually lived in Singapore, I can tell you first-hand that there is a great variety of folding bikes there and that a reason why Bromptons are common is that Singaporeans as a group are a lot wealthier that most of Asia-Pacific. A Brompton here in Indonesia, the second largest country in the region and fourth most populous in the world with a good quarter billion people, costs almost three times the national median salary. How many Bromptons do think are sold in Laos or Timor-Leste (been to the former, lived in the latter)? So, to know truly know and opine on Asia-Pacific it really does require that you speak about the middle of the distribution rather than the upper tail.

Fair enough, although I did say East Asia. My impression of Chinese bike culture (I visited Mainland China once, 10 years ago) is that while the country itself has become the dominant low cost producer of the low to middle end, the local recreational cycling culture is just not that well developed. And, bicycling as transportation is associated with the poverty of the Mao Era. After all, until the late 1980s one of the iconic images of China was that of a traffic jam of commuters on Flying Pigeon bikes in the middle of Beijing traffic. Hence there is a saying in China "It is better to cry in the back of a BMW than smile on a bicycle." Just my observation. Different countries have different bike cultures, irrespective of their per capita income. I saw plenty of South Koreans in spandex riding $10,000 carbon fiber bikes along the bike trails but rarely any bicycle commuters in Seoul. Meanwhile in Japan the mama-chari is ubiquitous and everyone rides them with no shame, from salarymen to perfectly made-up young women in skirts to housewives with baby carriers.


So while China may dominate in terms of sheer market size and manufacturing output (I can't opine about Indonesia), does China "matter" in terms of setting or starting trends? I'm not being derisive about lower income countries, I'm just making an observation. For example, the Flying Pigeon is THE most produced bicycle in history (500 million produced since 1950) but in that period to the modern era all the trends that have come and gone, thrived and evolved have been bred and nurtured elsewhere (mountain biking and its associated design aesthetic that is still evolving, for example). Quantity vs quality?

Last edited by bokenikon; 10-24-22 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 10-24-22, 07:42 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by bokenikon View Post
One of the coolest folders from Japan was the OX Peco Buccho. I believe the rims were CNC machined. Discontinued, unfortunately.
I had wanted that bike so badly,...
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Old 10-24-22, 11:52 PM
  #38  
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Is Fnhon based in the Peoples Republic of China? Their V-brake-based chromoly frames are the best thing going in folding bicycles, IMO. I can buy one of those and piece it up into a complete bicycle at any level of quality that I want for minimal cost, since I wouldn't have to pay for the junk which comes on complete bicycles.

As for how to buy outside of China, I would use a purchasing agent such as ParcelUp .com to buy one from a Taobao vender. ParcelUp allows you to pay via Paypal. I haven't actually used ParcelUp but have used another purchasing agent to buy a frameset from Germany and it worked exactly as specified. Purchasing agents have no incentive to scam people. I wouldn't use any that didn't offer Paypal payment though.
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Old 10-25-22, 01:13 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Nyah View Post
Is Fnhon based in the Peoples Republic of China? Their V-brake-based chromoly frames are the best thing going in folding bicycles, IMO. I can buy one of those and piece it up into a complete bicycle at any level of quality that I want for minimal cost, since I wouldn't have to pay for the junk which comes on complete bicycles.
...
Yes, FnHon is PRC Chinese. And that's exactly what I was talking about about. The segment has been thrown open by the availability of inexpensive, quality frames based on open-source, non-proprietary parts. A frameset like this will set you back $160 and to build it you can spec every single part high or low, anyway which way you want it. If I don't need the smallest fold - I don't - why would I ever buy a London job when I can build my own to exact spec for a third of the price, and it will be lighter, with wider getting and a choice of 305 or 349 wheels, and zero proprietary parts. It's a slam dunk.

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Old 10-25-22, 01:25 AM
  #40  
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The problem of FnHon is that it is one more center folding frame that results inn a relatively big folded bike and a folded shape difficult to carry.

It may ride well but for people looking for a small folded bike, they do not fit the requirement.

There are lots of pictures of FnHon bike and frames but almost none of folded FnHon!
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Old 10-25-22, 11:57 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Jipe View Post
The problem of FnHon is that it is one more center folding frame that results inn a relatively big folded bike and a folded shape difficult to carry.

It may ride well but for people looking for a small folded bike, they do not fit the requirement.

There are lots of pictures of FnHon bike and frames but almost none of folded FnHon!
When I was researching folding bicycles, one video I watched was a demonstration of how to fold a particular bicycle. After the person folded it up, they picked it up and carried it off the video frame. Right then, I knew what I didn't want in a folding bicycle.

The Dahon Speed is what I decided on. Fnhon Storm w/V-brake mounts is the same thing but less expensive to customize. Among a list of many reasons why I chose it, was the ability to roll it while in folded mode. I have no difficulty doing that and it goes inside with me, everywhere. If I had to carry it, I could. So far though, I haven't had to.

Last edited by Nyah; 10-25-22 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 10-25-22, 02:30 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Reddleman View Post
In terms of ignorance, I admit to have spent time looking at Taobao, Carousell and AliExpress in awe at the bikes and components on sale, but also being uncertain as to what exactly I should be looking to buy or who to buy from, compared with my usual online sources anyway (bike shops in NZ, the UK, Europe, Japan and Australia, plus eBay and its local knockoff/imitator).

I’m lucky enough that I don’t have to worry about duty compared with other nations (I need to spend $500 USD on bike bits before the taxman here in NZ hits me with 5% duty and 20% sales tax) but postage and shipping can be another complication - for example, some items I’ve bought from China and from Germany have ended up sea freight and took months to arrive, while others have been with me in a week or two. AliExpress is quite popular here in NZ so its not the platform itself, just the vagaries of shipping and the unknown quality of the traders behind it that puts me off ordering more (no shade, the worst online marketplace I’ve used is the fake Kiwi eBay, so I’m cynical of everybody these days, especially on bigger online purchases).

So I’m guess I’m trying to say in a roundabout way is Ron, what are your hints and tips for online shopping direct from Asia for newbies and those with limited or no grasp of the local languages? What should we look out for and what should we avoid? For example, when putting together a frame and handlepost combo, which ones are compatible and how to tell? Which brands are legit and which ones can’t be trusted? How can you check what form of shipping will get used? A Dummies Guide, if you will.
Originally Posted by Ron Damon View Post
Bro, I wish I could help you and provide sage advise, but I am afraid I can't. The reason is that I have never ever shopped or purchased a single item from the likes of Taobao, Ali Express, Shoppee, etc. I simply don't want to deal with the woes of shipping, questionable products, sellers, etc. I buy exclusively from the local Indonesian market. I leave the shipping, duties, importation, customs to the seller. I order from reputable sellers on the largest online shopping platform Tokopedia, the goods are shipped almost always from the neighboring island of Java and they arrive at my doorstep within a week. No hassles, no worries, no duds.
Here's a solution to shipping these bikes to the USA: https://uniexpressgt.com/tokopedia-i...hipping-to-us/

Hopefully it would be a workaround to shipping to your area of the world.
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Old 10-25-22, 05:45 PM
  #43  
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It is no deep mystery or impenetrable art how these bikes fold. They fold like all mid-hinge folders, you know, the most common folding bike type fold there is. The fold is no better, no worse, no different from the mid-hinge folds of Dahon, Tern, Downtube, Origami, etc., etc., etc.
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Old 10-26-22, 03:00 AM
  #44  
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All bike manufactures provide specifications of their bike or/and frames: frame geometry, folded size, weight... and pictures of their bike/frames unfolded and folded but not FnHon !
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