Saturday, July 28, 2018

Oxelo Town 7 XL Kick Scooter: Introduction

Although a kick scooter is not a bicycle, some components of it work similarly to that of a bicycle, so I shall also write a bit about it since it is the first time I got a kick scooter. I have many bicycles for different purposes, but sometimes what I need is just a simple way of getting from A to B in a fuss free and stress free manner.

Even with a folding bike like the Dahon or Brompton, I still have to "take care" of the bike as those bikes are not cheap, and so I cannot leave it unattended. I can bring the bike along with me, but that makes it cumbersome, even with a Brompton that I can push along.

With a kick scooter, that simplifies things as I can fold it with just one action, and carry it along as it is so lightweight compared to a bicycle. It also does not attract as much attention as when you push or carry a folded bicycle with you. Finally, I will not need to wear a helmet as I am just scooting along the pavement at low speeds. It is not an E-scooter, so I feel like I am in control at all times. If anything happens I can jump or run off the kick scooter easily.

Being impressed by Decathlon's range of kick scooters, I decided to give it a try and get one from Decathlon. After comparing each models' pros and cons, I decided to get this one, which is not too expensive. After all, kick scooters are cheap compared to bicycles!

Oxelo Town 7XL, in a dark silver colour! Comes in an easy to carry box, similar to IKEA furniture.

Includes large wheels for smooth rolling, brake lever for braking (which is very important to me), and also suspension for comfort.

Other features include the optional kickstand (included in box) and a place for you to clip lights if you need to scoot around in the dark.    

Comes folded in the box, almost ready to go!

Detachable handlebars, which I feel is the weakest part of this kick scooter design. More on this later on. At least there are holders for the detached handlebars.

Adjustable handlebar height, and detachable ends for compact storage.

Quick release lever for adjusting of handlebar height. Not really safe or ergonomic to have the end of the lever sticking out at this angle.

The plastic buttons that you press to release the handlebars from the centre handlepost. These two buttons are the only two areas preventing the handlebar from twisting or falling out.

Low platform height makes it easy and effortless to scoot around

I like the wide and long platform that accommodates both my feet easily. The rubberized layer is also useful for additional grip.

Decathlon, being a French company, has this kick scooter designed and engineered in France. As with most things, it is Made In China. It has a weight limit of 100 kg.

Rear suspension, visible through a transparent lens on the platform

Just a simple coil spring and elastomer in the middle, similar to the Brompton rear suspension. Adjustable by turning the nut at the top.

Large 200mm diameter rear wheel (equivalent to 8 inches). Nice spoke design too. Rear suspension arm made of stamped sheet metal.

Front suspension located between the front fork and the head tube. With just a rubber boot covering the mechanism.

It seems like the mechanism is just a shaft suspended within a tube, much like a standard bicycle front suspension. Front fork is also made of stamped sheet metal. Front fenders included.

Braking function can be activated either by the brake lever or by stepping on the rear fender.

Stock brake lever, mounted on the right side of the handlebar.

Using an inner cable, the rear brake mechanism is activated.

When the brake lever is pulled, the inner cable will pull the silver coloured brake shoe, which will then touch the rear wheel.

Another view of the rear mechanism. Rear brake mechanism is suspended on the rear arm, which itself is suspended from the main frame by the suspension spring.

Another way to activate the brake shoe is to step on the large aluminium rear fender. This aluminium fender looks and feels much more sturdy than the plastic ones that are usually used.

Front headset is the threaded type. Steerer tube is threaded, and secured with two interlocking nuts. The long handlepost is then clamped onto the steerer tube by this clamp shown here.

Hollow centre tube section of the platform. Strong yet lightweight.

Folding mechanism at the front. The lever on the left loosens the mechanism, while the lever on the right activates the fold.

Instructions on how to fold shown here. Quite easy to do but needs both hands to work.

Actual weight is 6 kg, which is OK, considering that it has full suspension and also a brake lever.

Optional kickstand

Kickstand attaches to the platform with two bolts and nuts.

Little kickstand activated!

Looks pretty good! I like the design of the wheels and also how integrated the suspension mechanism is.

Overall view of the Oxelo Town 7 XL kick scooter!

The large wheels plus the smooth sealed bearings makes the kick scooter glide so smoothly and quickly! On a smooth flat road, it just glides effortlessly along. It only takes 3 good kicks to roll a distance of approximately 50 metres.

In stock condition, the rear suspension was far too hard for me to feel any effect. I had to loosen the nut by quite a few turns, in order to feel the suspension compressing when I step on it. Sort of like setting the sag on a mountain bike suspension.

As for the front suspension, it was also far too hard to feel any movement when I step on the platform. However, I could not find any way to adjust it.

During actual usage, I did feel the rear suspension work, when rolling over the raised yellow dots on the floor. As for the front suspension, I only felt it activate occasionally, when the front end goes into a depression on the ground or drops over a small curb.

The brake lever is useful for reducing speed, as compared to using the foot to step on the rear fender. It is better for me as I don't need to shift my weight balance when braking, whereas if you use your foot to brake, you need to balance with one foot while using the other to brake. Also, pressing the brake lever requires much less reaction time, compared to using the rear fender brake, where you need to shift your balance, followed by finding the rear fender to step on, then trying to modulate the braking force so that you don't fall off the kick scooter.

With the brake lever, I can modulate the braking force more precisely with my hand, while preparing to put down a leg when I come to a stop. It is safer and more stable to have a brake lever on a kick scooter.

So far, all is good. However, the wobbly handlebars are not the best. As the handlebars fit into the handlepost loosely, you can still move and rotate the handlebar even when you are moving, which is quite unsettling. Although it will not fall out, the moving handlebar still makes me a bit worried. To mitigate this, I try to hold the grips and push it downwards when riding, so that it settles in a fixed position and not move around.

I am not too satisfied with the condition of the rear brake setup, so I will modify it a bit...

Friday, July 20, 2018

Crius AEV20 1x11: Final Assembly

With all the components gathered, now I can assemble everything onto the Crius folding bike frame! Instead of writing too many words, let us just look at the pictures.

Shimano 105 CS-5800 11-32T 11 speed cassette mounted onto the Wheelsport rear wheel

With the Litepro headset installed, and Fnhon handlepost assembled onto the Crius bike frame

Another view of the handlepost. Inward folding type for a compact folded size. Also note the 3M sticker applied to prevent scratches.

Ultegra-grade SM-BBR60 Hollowtech II road bottom bracket

11 speed drivetrain assembled! A front single drivetrain looks neat.

New 11 speed chain on the Wolftooth 48T narrow wide chainring

Smooth cable routing to the Ultegra R8000 rear derailleur

Chain on the smallest 11T sprocket on the 11 speed cassette

Chain on the largest 32T sprocket, with the rear derailleur cage stretched out.

Setting the gear to gear distance between the 32T sprocket and the guide pulley. A distance of 5 to 10mm is usually ideal.

Shimano LX V brake calipers mounted. The ideal setting is for the brake arms to be parallel when the brake pad touches the rim.

Front V brake caliper mounted. Plenty of clearance to fit mudguards if required!

View of the Wheelsport front wheel with Schwalbe Kojak tires

Litepro Monster handlebar installed, with the shifter and brake levers mounted.

Using cable wrap to make the routing neat and tidy

Another view of the shifter, brake lever and Ergon grips

Litepro seatpost and Selle Italia Q Bik saddle

Wellgo M111 flat pedals with quick release adapter

There were no major issues detected during component assembly, which is good. Some other information which I discovered were:

1) Head tube inner diameter roundness is not good, making it difficult to press in the head set cups.
2) Rear frame opening is a few millimeters wider than 130mm, which means that you can probably fit in a 135mm OLD rear hub if you need to.
3) Diameter tolerance between seat tube, seat post shim and seat post is not ideal, as the metal shim can move inside the seat tube quite easily.

Clearance between the left crankarm and the kickstand is quite small, at less than 2mm. This is mainly due to the shape of the kickstand leg.

Picture of the fully assembled bike! All black as requested by the rider.

With a 1x11 speed drivetrain, shifting operation is straightforward and yet has a wide and well spaced drivetrain for efficient pedaling.

Folded size, with the handlebar tucked in between the frame for the most compact fold.

Full component specifications for this 1x11 speed Crius folding bike, and the final weight.

Actual weight of the bike is 9.6 kg inclusive of the pedals, which is the same as the calculated total. It is possible to cut down the weight further, as many of the components that I used are a good balance between weight and price. With a larger budget, the overall weight can be reduced by quite a bit.

Additional weight savings possible, without going to extreme levels (boutique/custom parts):
Wheelset: -200g
Tires and inner tubes: -100g
Grips: -100g
Brake levers: -50g
Handlebar: -50g
Cassette: -50g
Brake calipers: -50g
Saddle: -100g
Pedals: -50g
Remove kickstand and magnetix: -250g

Further weight savings possible, with a boost in budget: About 1 kg!

With this hypothetical "what-if", this folding bike project is completed! Although the bike is not mine, I still enjoyed sourcing for the parts and assembling the bike, and finally tuning it to run as smoothly as possible!