Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Modifications to Flamingo London NX7: Front Luggage Truss

I have been riding my Flamingo London NX7 for about 3 months now, and I am pleased to report that there have been no issues with the bike so far! Nothing has broken down yet or gone missing, which is good. Although the Flamingo has a rear rack, it is not really meant for luggage, especially if you intend to fold the bike. One of the things that has been bugging me is the lack of luggage capacity on the Flamingo. I don't need to carry a lot of things on the Flamingo, because I can ride the Dahon Boardwalk with lots of pannier space instead. However, I would like to carry some stuff when I commute to work.

Usually, when I ride the Flamingo to work, I will need to carry a bit of luggage, such as my work clothes or other small objects. Even though I have the Topeak MondoPack Hydro, which is huge, it cannot carry a set of clothes.

So far, I have been using my Crumpler sling bag when I commute to work with the Flamingo. It is a durable bag, but because it covers my back, it traps the heat and sweat, and is plain uncomfortable, even for short rides due to the heat buildup. I have heard that some messenger bags are good, but I would prefer if I don't have to carry anything on my back when cycling.

Remember that I was using the Dahon Tour Bag on my Boardwalk? Ever since I got a rear rack and Ortlieb Front Panniers for the Boardwalk, I have retired the Tour Bag from luggage carrying duties. It is a really nice bag, and I couldn't bear to sell it even though I was not using it. Maybe I would find a use for it in the future?

Then, I thought of installing the Dahon Tour Bag onto the Flamingo. To do that, I have to fix on the Luggage Truss that is used to mount the Dahon Tour Bag. This truss is designed for use on Dahon/Tern bikes, with the front luggage socket dedicated for this luggage truss. I had to check the compatibility before I can try to put on the luggage truss.

First, I need to find suitable bolts for the luggage mount on the Flamingo. M4 bolts are too small, while M5 bolts can only be screwed in a couple of rounds before it gets too tight. This is quite puzzling, is the thread size non-standard, using imperial thread sizes? I actually went around looking for imperial sized bolts, of 6/32 inches, which is about 4.76mm in size. These are quite hard to find, and when I found it, the bolts do not fit properly.

 The luggage socket located on the front of the head tube.

Finally, after asking around, Kian Lim from MBS told me that perhaps it is just paint inside the hole. Alamak! I didn't think of that as the entrance of the bolt hole seems to be free of paint, it didn't seem like there was paint jamming up the hole. I got a M5 tap, and tapped both the holes. After that, M5 bolts could go in easily! After so much trouble, the bolts I needed were actually just standard M5 bolts.

Next, to try out the Dahon luggage truss. After some measurements, I noted that the distance between the holes on the Flamingo were 25mm apart, while the Dahon luggage truss has holes 30mm apart. Also, the hole size on the luggage truss is meant for M6 bolts, while the Flamingo luggage mount takes M5 bolts.

Luckily, this discrepancy is not too severe. With some modifications, the luggage truss should be able to fit on the Flamingo!

See the difference? Different centre-to-centre distance for the holes. Holes are of different sizes also.

What is required is a bit of modification to the luggage truss. By modifying one of the holes into a slot, it will fit the luggage mount on the Flamingo. Also, I got some shims to increase the diameter of the M5 bolts to M6, so as to give a better fit and prevent any looseness between the truss and the mount.

 
After modification, with the bottom hole enlarged into a slot.

The luggage truss securely mounted onto the frame with M5 bolts

 The Dahon Tour Bag fits nicely onto the bike, does not affect steering.

When I need to fold the bike, I just remove the box from the luggage truss and sling it onto my shoulder. Example of this would be when I take the MRT with the Flamingo. The luggage truss does not affect the folding at all, although it does add a bit of height to the folded package.

This must be the cheapest upgrade I have done for my bikes. It costs nothing, since I am merely reusing the Dahon Tour Bag which I had previously retired. The modifications did take me a bit of time, but as you can see, it is worth it! With this, I can carry quite a bit of luggage when needed, without being bothered by a sweaty back. If desired, this can also be done on Brompton bikes!

Adding luggage capacity to the Flamingo without affecting the fold

6 comments:

  1. Hi, good article. Can I ask where do u go to look for screws of different sizes? Thanks!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. most hardware stores will have them. even Daiso may have them

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  2. Are these bikes sold in Europe?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. nope, in Europe you can get the Brompton instead

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  3. Good post.. i love Modifications replace my old luggage to suitcase scooter

    ReplyDelete