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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Inexpensive Folding Bike

Check out this great article in Momentum magazine by musician/bicycle mechanic guru Smokey Dymny:

A Great Little Inexpensive Folding Bike

In the article he says:

"I was worried about ergonomics and gear ratios but was soon very gratified. Quadra Island is hilly, but the 48-tooth chainring, enclosed on both sides with a guard, and the 11-28 tooth cog had me spinning up and down hills without a problem. This folder comes with a no-nonsense twist shifter. The seatpost adjusts over a wide range, fitting riders from 4'8" to 6'4". The stem has much less adjustability since it has to fold in half, so short riders will have their hands higher up in front.

The greatest feature is its easy portability. A quick-release lever unlocks the stem, which folds down in front of the crank. Another quick-release on the down tube unlocks the frame, but not until you pull up on a spring-loaded pin. This prevents the frame from accidentally folding under you while riding in case you did not tighten it properly! Having folded the bike in half, you now have the front wheel right beside the rear one. You then fasten the frame together with a Velcro strap (provided) to keep it from opening up. The left pedal tucks under the folded parts, and the right one folds up, increasing the space saving. If you have to take it anywhere at this stage, don’t lower the tall seat post yet. I use the saddle and seat post as a long handle to roll the folded bike ahead of me, or to lift the bike onto a bus. Because of this feature, I don’t actually carry the bike much. When I’m finished moving it around, I release the seatpost and it drops all the way down to the low frame. With practice this only takes 30 seconds. Unfolding is only a few seconds slower.

If I were ever to take it where it needs to be protected for travel, I would use a soft-sided suitcase. I would pack my other gear around the bike in panniers and bags and no one need know I was hauling a bike. Well, not until the metal detectors spotted it. Do I need to buy a high-tech expensive folder? Nope. This one does the job admirably."

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