Wednesday, October 27, 2021

United Trifold: Handlepost Upgrade

As you may already know, I like to modify my bikes, to make it suit my requirements. The United Trifold bike is no exception.

From the start, I had already planned to upgrade the handlepost, due to various reasons. Although the stock handlepost works well, I did not like the purple colour. It just does not look good in my opinion, although others may have a different opinion. The purple frame is fine for me, but not the long handlepost with a big purple shaft.

Upon receiving the bike, another reason I wanted to upgrade was to lower the height of the handlebar. As on my other folding bikes, I tend to use a short handlepost, as I want the handlebar height to be lower for a more sporty riding position. From the Dahon Boardwalk to the Fnhon DB11, I have always been using shorter-than-average handleposts.

I do not like high handlebars that force me to sit upright and pedal, as it feels very inefficient. I guess I prefer the sporty riding position of drop bars, which I am very used to.

Before changing to a new handlepost, let's check out the stock handlepost first.

Stock purple handlepost on the United Trifold. I was surprised to see a double bolt clamp at the handlepost base!

Most handleposts we see on Dahon-style folding bikes have a handlepost with just a single bolt at the base, which means a shorter clamping height. The downside of this design is lower handlepost stiffness, as the handlepost only clamps onto the steerer tube with a short section.

I first saw the double bolt design on Tern Physis handleposts, which are highly rated for the incredible stiffness and strength. I know this in detail as I have installed the Tern Physis 3D handlepost on the Dahon Boardwalk. Lots more details there if you would like to know more.

This means that the stock handlepost on the United Trifold is actually of a good design, having a tall base to improve the handlepost stiffness. However, the length is still too much for me, so I need a shorter handlepost.

However, it is very hard to find a double bolt handlepost to replace the stock handlepost! I first came across the double bolt Fnhon handleposts when I was building the Fnhon DB11, but they are hard to find nowadays. Apparently, the cost of production for these 3D forged handleposts is too high, and the production has been discontinued. It is a pity as they are really good handleposts, with high stiffness, low weight and nice appearance with no welds.

Why can't I use a single bolt handlepost to replace the stock double bolt handlepost? Because with a shorter clamping section on the single bolt handlepost, the steerer tube would be too long. I can add a  thick spacer under the handlepost to solve this, but the handlepost stiffness would still be poorer.

Weight of stock United Trifold handlepost is 783 grams. This is considered heavy. Imagine if your road bike has a stem that weighs 700+ grams instead of 100+ grams!

After much searching on Taobao, I finally found a double bolt Fnhon handlepost, which is from existing stock. Basically once its gone, they won't be making any more of it. It is twice as expensive as the conventional single bolt type, but it is well worth the money. Just look at the pictures below, and also from the previous comparison when I was building the Fnhon DB11.

New handlepost in sandblasted matte black

Double bolt clamp at the base! Even the bolts and hardware are black in colour.

Weighs 657 grams, quite a lot lighter than the stock handlepost.

New handlepost is 39 cm in length, while the stock handlepost is 42 cm in length. Just a 3 cm difference.

I wanted an even shorter handlepost, such as 35 or 37 cm, but they are not available. Therefore, this new handlepost is only 3 cm shorter than the stock one. A small difference but hopefully noticeable.

Both are double bolt clamp designs, as can be seen from the tall base.

Fnhon handlepost has a red coloured button to release the safety catch, while the stock handlepost has a sliding latch. Both are nice.

Position of clamps are different. Fnhon handlepost has the bolts at the side, while the purple handlepost has the bolts directly under the clamp. Not sure if there is any actual difference in function.

Here is the main difference. Fnhon handlepost is 3D forged as one piece with no welds at the joint, unlike the other one.

Handlebar clamp designs are almost the same. Both open up fully if you need to insert a curved or riser handlebar.

Not exactly the same, but close enough.

Internal clamp design is different. The Fnhon design has the handlepost fully hollow, without a "wall" like the purple handlepost.

The guide for the shaft/bolt are located at different positions. I'm not sure if there is any noticeable difference in quality, strength or durability. Probably just a different way of achieving the same function.

Upon closer look, they are quite different internally. Same clamp concept, but different layout.

As seen earlier, the slot for the double bolt clamping are located differently.

The handlepost should be a straight swap, since both are double bolt types with a tall base. By swapping, the handlebar height will be lowered by 3 cm. I would have preferred a lower handlebar height, but I can't find a shorter double bolt handlepost.

However, before I installed the new handlepost, I decided to study the headset first. I was checking if there is a possibility to change to a better headset, as the stock headset looks quite inferior. Check out the details in the next post.

2 comments:

  1. Just curious, can I buy this double bolt Fnhon handlepost and mount it on my Dahon PAA693? (Specs below) reason for considering is because my Dahon handlepost has sound when I cruise at high speed or when I go up the slope. . .

    (https://www.carousell.sg/p/local-stock-bnib-dahon-airspeed-paa693-16-inch-folding-bike-6-months-local-warranty-1050613489/)

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    1. You could, but I highly recommend just getting the standard single bolt type from Fnhon or Litepro. Double bolt does not have big advantage over single bolt.
      https://handsonbike.blogspot.com/2020/01/fnhon-db11-handlepost-and-handlebar.html

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