Saturday, July 30, 2011

New way of folding your Dahon bike!

Just discovered a new way of folding the Dahon bike today. The usual way of folding is to put down the seatpost, fold the handlepost down and then fold the frame in half. However, sometimes the problem or inconvenience comes when you are trying to fit the handlepost/handlebar in between the bike frame. You will need to rotate the handlebar or adjust the height of the handlepost in order to fit it between the wheels. This method applies only to inward folding handleposts, which basically excludes the high end bikes, where the handlepost folds outwards.

However, there is an alternative way of folding! Check out the pictures below

Step 1: Put down your seatpost, and turn your saddle as shown in the picture above. Seatpost should not be down all the way, or it might affect the later steps.

Step 2: Left crank should be rotated to approximately the angle shown in the picture above. Put up the kickstand.

Step 3: Fold the frame in half, don't close the magnetic latch yet. Rest the bike on its 2 wheels and seatpost.

Step 4: Fold down the handlepost, so that it goes over your rear wheel. The handlebar will go under your saddle/saddle bag. This is the tricky part, where you might need to experiment a bit to fit everything nicely. If the handlebar is stuck, it may be because the seatpost was put too low, causing the saddle bag to block the handlebar. When done properly, the handlepost will rest nicely on the frame and the magnetic latch can be closed.

Note that the left pedal will be in front of your front wheel as shown above.

The right pedal will be below the handlebar. All the vulnerable parts of the bike (Eg. Rear derailleur, brake levers, chainring etc) are now on the same side of the folded bike.

In this configuration, the bike can still be laid on its side, such as in a car boot, or stored standing up, such as in a hatchback car. It can also be carried onto the MRT easily, without fiddling with the handlepost height or handlebar clamp. The advantage is that the height of the handlepost does not need to be readjusted everytime you fold and unfold the bike. You can also place more accessories on the handlebar without affecting the folding. However, the folding package is now wider as the handlepost/handlebar now sticks out on the side.

2010 MuSL, with the RD on one side and the handlebar on the other side when folded.

This is somewhat better than the outward folding handleposts (where the RD is on one side and the handlebar is on the other side), as the vulnerable parts are all on the same side, allowing you to carry/lay down the bike on the other side.

In my case, this allows me to fold my bike for transport without moving the gold stem clamp that connects the handlepost to the handlebar. Try the method!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Journey of the Boardwalk: Part 9 (Upgrades from Taiwan)

More upgrades to the Boardwalk! Upgrades are never ending, especially if you already have an upgraded bike!

Went to Taiwan recently, thus I had the chance to buy some special components that cannot be found in Singapore, and possibly outside Taiwan!

As always, I like to keep to my colour scheme of gold and black, thus I already had in mind what I wanted to get before I went to Taipei. Also prepared a list of bike shops to visit, as can be seen from the previous blog post.

Initially wanted to get an aluminium Vitesse frame, but they did not have the type of frame I wanted (with luggage mount at front). Thus I decided to keep my trusty Boardwalk frame and upgrade other components instead!

Bought an Aerozine Road BB in gold colour, with ceramic bearings! Just spinning the sealed bearings by fingers, it feels a lot smoother than the original BB. Goes really well with the black 105 cranks. However, when actually riding the bike, the difference is quite negligible. The drag from the BB is quite small compared to other forms of drag, such as aerodynamic drag.

Also bought some gold coloured brake pad holders, which add to the bling! However these brake pad holders are "thicker" and "taller", and I had problems aligning the brakes to the rims properly. In the end I only mounted the gold brake pad holders onto the rear brakes. Note the alternating layers of black and gold across the brake area!

Also got a gold headset for my Dahon bike, but only when I tried assembling then I realised that the bearing races are press fitted into the frame and onto the fork. Thus I could only change the spacer/cap that is at the top of the headset.

More bling to come! Even the small details will not be overlooked, check out the gold brake cable housing!

The biggest change of all is the wheelset! Check out the gold rims with some slight profile, brings out the gold look of the bike! The spoke pattern is quite special too.

6 pawl freehub, slightly more drag but stronger.

Opened up the freehub mechanism and found that there was actually quite little grease in there. Decided to add in more grease to make the freehub smoother, but the additional grease will cause the noise level to drop. Note that the freehub grease is not your normal grease, it is actually a mixture of oil and grease, giving a grease that is very light.

Before changing the components, I found it easier to just strip the whole bike, clean everything and then assemble with the new components. Enjoy the pictures!

And finally, thanks Joeel for the great picture!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Taiwan: Land of the Bicycle

I'm back after a long break from blogging! Had an eventful June/July period, the most significant of which was the trip to Taipei!

Taiwan is the land of bicycle manufacturing, where most big brands base their operations. Naturally there will be many bike-related industries, such as bike accessories, modifications, customization services all around. Just in Taipei alone there are so many bike shops, but most of them are small shops. Very few large shops, and even fewer large folding bike shops. I had identified a few larger shops in Taipei to visit. Also happened to pass by some bike shops which I did not know was there.

The shops are rated according to 3 criteria: Range of accessories, Accessibility and Variety of folding bike stuff. The stores below are those which I feel are worth going, be prepared to get poisoned!

Accessories: 5/5
Accessibility: 5/5
Folding bike stuff: 4/5

Giant bike shop I came across near 巨蛋。

Stripe Magic (魔術方塊摺疊車專賣店)
104 Taipei, Taiwan台北市中山區復興北路36巷1號1F
Accessories: 5/5
Accessibility: 4/5
Folding bike stuff: 5/5

Bike shop outside Hualien Train Station

Accessories: 3/5
Accessibility: 3/5
Folding bike stuff: 1/5

Bike shop at 淡水老街. Good to rent bikes from here to cycle to 渔人码头.

Bike shop opposite Miramar
Accessories: 4/5
Accessibility: 5/5
Folding bike stuff: 2/5

There is another bike shop, 八里羚羊車店(蒞達自行車行), which is apparently quite good with a wide range of Dahon bikes and other brands. However it is not near any MRT station, thus we did not pay a visit to it. Although it should be quite easily accessible by taxi. The address is 台北縣八里鄉頂寮三街16號. Accessories: ?/5, Accessibility: 2/5, Folding bike stuff: 5/5?

Some of the other more interesting things can be seen in the pictures below...

Book on Shimano Road components maintenance!
At one of the book stores along 书局街。

Colour-coded modifications!

Black Vitesse at 城市绿洲

White Boardwalk at 城市绿洲

At 城市绿洲

At 城市绿洲

Pink brake pads at 城市绿洲

Carbon mini velo at 城市绿洲

Bike with kangaroo-like pouch on the top tube。 Seen at 五分铺。

Integrated front and rear lights at La Boutique Du Velo.

Carbon mini velo with special wheels at Stripe Magic.