Monday, November 14, 2011

Journey of the Boardwalk: Part 8 (Advanced Zhng-ing)

Since the previous blog post, I have already tried out the new handlepost and handlebar for a few rides, and so far its working fine. No problem with the handlepost, it works great as it is much stiffer than the original adjustable one. The handlebar is also great, being light and stiff.

However, this handlepost is considered tall for me, as the handlepost height prevents me from maintaining a lower posture. It would be a good height for cyclists who are taller or prefer an upright position.

A general guide for sporty/recreational cycling is for the handlebar to be around the height of the saddle. This would allow better control and slightly less air resistance.

The cruiser/relaxed kind of set up would have the handlebar significantly higher than the saddle, such that the cyclist rides sitting straight up.

On the other extreme, the handlebar would be much lower than the saddle. This is common for time trial cycling, where the saddle and handlebar positions encourage aggressive riding. The low handlebar position with aerobars also allows the cyclist to get low and minimise air resistance.

Fantastic picture of Fabian Cancellara on his TT bike.

Team time trial, where the whole team works together to minimise the time taken to complete the course.

As for me, I decided to position my handlebar lower, so as to improve my riding position. At the same time, the bike must be foldable and compact. Usually these requirements are conflicting, as it is difficult to have a compact fold when you have drop handlebars or other configurations. However, I managed to get a stem for my Dahon handlepost that can alter my handlebar position.
Dahon fans may find this familiar, as it looks similar to that used on high end bikes such as MuSL, Speed Pro TT, etc. The Dahon version is called the Syntace VRO Clamp, and comes in black. A similar version is shown below:

Besides the colour, the distance between the two holes on the clamp is also slightly different. The gold coloured LitePro clamp has about 1cm more distance in it. Other than that they have the same functions.

Just to test the compatibility of the clamps with the handlepost and handlebar, I attached the clamps to my old handlepost and handlebar. This saves me the trouble of removing and attaching the components on my current handlebar.

Some of the tests I made was to try twisting the handlebar around the closed handlepost clamp. Thankfully the handlepost clamp is strong enough to resist any kind of movement. Once I was satisfied with the gold clamps, I transferred them onto my current bike. In order to fix the clamps, I had to slide out one side of the grips and brake levers.

In keeping with the colour scheme of my bike, the gold and black combination is maintained. As can be seen from the pictures, the clamps puts the handlebar about 3cm forward and 3cm lower compared to the original position. The difference is quite significant despite the small increase in reach, I now feel that the riding position is more comfortable. Note that the clamp lever restricts the actual range of possible handlebar positions. For example, the gold clamps cannot be placed completely horizontal as the handlebar will intefere with the clamp lever.

For me, being able to fold the bike into a compact package is also important. After all, it is a folding bike, and if the folding is seriously compromised, it might be better getting a mini-velo that does not fold. Prior to getting the clamps, I have thought about how the clamps will affect the fold. Theoretically, the clamps should not get in the way of folding, but only by actually trying it out will I know if it folds properly.

Folding the bike with these gold clamps on is more complicated. First, the handlebar has to be restored to its default position. This is accomplished by opening the handlepost clamp and changing the object that it is clamping, from the gold portion to the actual handlebar.

Original setup, with the handlebar in the handlepost clamp.

Afterwhich, the clamp lever is placed back and tightened slightly by twisting the nut on the other side. It cannot/need not be tight as riding will not be done in this configuration. This additional step prevents the clamp from getting in the way of the folding.

Upon folding the handlepost down, the clamp is tucked in nicely below the metal rod for the fenders. Note the small clearance between the handlebar and the metal plate used to receive the magnet during folding.

At the rear of the bike, there is a small but strong magnet attached to the frame, which is attached to the metal plate in front when folded, in order to hold the folded bike together. This small magnet will hit the handlebar when the bike is folded. It is still possible to stick the magnet to the metal plate, but it may scratch the handlebar. To prevent that, I attached a metal plate to the original mount for the magnet. This lowers and extends the magnet, so that it will stick onto the metal plate firmly when the bike is folded.

To sum it up, this upgrade is quite useful, as it allows a better riding posture. The folding is not compromised, although the time required for folding is increased by about 1 min. I guess that most people will be happy with their current handlebar setup and will not go to such an extent to add these clamps.

25 comments:

  1. HI Tylsteve!
    Nice blog. Have seen here the LitePro Clamp; where did you get it from? And, maybe I'm lucky, have you put it on a scale? Just wanted to know, as the "Original" Syntaco VRO Clamps weights about 70g.
    Greetings!
    David

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  2. Thanks! I got it from www.thecyclopedia.com. I have weighed it and it is around 100g.

    Regards,
    Steve

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  3. Hi. What is the weight difference between the litepro stem and the dahon stock stem?

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    Replies
    1. Are you referring to the Syntace VRO stem as described above? I have no idea of the weight of that, but it should be similar to the LitePro stem, which is about 100 grams.

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  4. VRO stem (33mm) weighs 62g, VRO 47 stem (47mm) weighs 120g. Got these info from the websites.

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  5. I've been told by DahonPro at Jalan Rumah Tinggi and BRU at Yishun twice that the short aluminium bar comes with the clamp is too thin, hence it's not strong enough. They suggested to get hardware store to cut out thicker one.
    What do you think?

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    Replies
    1. They have a point there. But i think there should not be a problem under normal usage without putting high loads on it.

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  6. hello tysteve,

    it was good blog and knowlodge. thank you for it. I would like to ask you i have dahon ios d9 model. my handle bar like T handle bar and i have black stem. i would like to change with gold clamps besides and also black clamp on the middle. how can i adapte it on my bike and where can i find it ??? thank you.

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  7. Usually it can be found on Taobao.com. Or try Thorusa.com.

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  8. so,,my handle bar like T handle bar and i have black stem. i would like to change with gold clamps besides and also black clamp on the middle. how can i adapte it for my ios d9?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just change the original black stem to the gold stem. The gold rings beside is just for decoration. As mentioned above, they are available at litepro.taobao.com.

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  9. i understand what you mean, but my bike T-Bar Handle as your previous bike bar ( grey one ) and then you change to another handle bar with black one.you write like this "Original setup, with the handlebar in the handlepost clamp." thanks alot.

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    Replies
    1. http://handsonbike.blogspot.sg/2013/05/installing-fnhon-handlepost-for-dahon.html

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  10. Hi, I have put Litepro Stem on my Dahon Speed P8 by placing back the clamp lever and twisting the nut. However, no matter how tight I place back the clamp lever, the stem still rotates on the handlepost clamp. (I think it is tight but I can easily rotate it when I am riding it.) Is there any advice or feedback you can give me to tighten this connection.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is the Litepro stem centre tube rotating in the handlepost clamp? Or is it the Litepro stem rotating around the centre tube?

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  11. Hi, I have put Litepro Stem on my Dahon Speed P8 by placing back the clamp lever and twisting the nut. However, no matter how tight I place back the clamp lever, the stem still rotates on the handlepost clamp. (I think it is tight but I can easily rotate it when I am riding it.) Is there any advice or feedback you can give me to tighten this connection.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Litepro is a brand, not a thing, what do you mean by compatible? And what is a non t bar handlepost?

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    2. Yeah no kidding its a brand but this thread is obviously about the stem isn't it so else would it be.

      The handlepost I have is not a tbar handlepost. It appears from the pictures the bike you have doesn't either. In other words the short aluminum tube is required because there is no "T" for the camps to clamp on to.

      The vro and andros stems say they require a physis tbar handlepost but it appears you don't need one on the litepro. Is that correct?

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    3. If you have a clamp type handlepost, then you need the tube to mount the Litepro stem. The stem comes with the tube.

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    4. Do you know the difference between T-bar and non-T-bar?

      This is what a T-BAR handlepost looks like. Notice the T shape at the top thats why its called a T-Bar.

      http://premiumbikegear.com/product/tern-physis-3d-t-bar-handlepost/

      Notice the description below that says you need a T-bar to use the VRO or Andros stems.

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    5. btw my handlepost has a clamp at the top the one I linked to does not

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    6. Maybe you didn't understand what I wrote. The tube from the Litepro stem converts the clamp to a T bar.

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  13. Hi,
    The handlepost option is VERY expensive - 150$.
    No other MUCH cheaper option?
    If do - Can you please write it down?
    Tnx!

    ReplyDelete