When I brought the Dahon Formula S18 home from NYCeWheels on Metro North, I didn’t fold it. I didn’t have to. Since I wasn’t on a peak hour train, it wasn’t necessary.Dahon Formula

But knowing the role bike restrictions on public transport play in the folding bike industry, I decided that I really should learn how to fold it. Like the super suit from “The Greatest American Hero” my Dahon Formula S18 didn’t come with instructions. It was my fault since I didn’t think to ask NYCeWheels for them.

This inconvenience was more than cancelled out by the fact I’d be able to fold the bike for the first time in the privacy of my own home. This is more important than it sounds. When I rented a Brompton in Edinburgh last year, I rode the bike out of the store and later spent several humiliating minutes on a public sidewalk trying to turn it into that neat little square I’ve seen them transform into before.

On the surface, the Dahon Formula’s folding mechanism is obvious. The big hinge in the middle features a tiny safety lever one has to push to one side before flipping the hinge open.

Dahon Formula

Also, the front fork and rear triangle have a magnetic mechanism in place to keep the two halves of the bike together when folded – a welcome feature I saw when I reviewed the Tern Node D8. The seat drops straight down through the frame to give the bike a three-legged stool effect. Fortunately, the seatpost has numbered lines on the back which would make it easy for me to readjust the height when unfolding the bike.

But here’s where the story takes a bit of a wrong turn: I couldn’t figure out where the handlebars needed to go. The hinge configuration suggested they need to be placed between the two halves of the bike, but the handlebars were interfering with the magnetic catch. What finally solved the problem was the adjustable stem; a feature not found on every folding bike that is quite useful when you want to fine tune your frame just the way you want it (earlier, when I took the Formula for a post-inaugural joyride in Stamford, I lowered it slightly to better mimic my road bike).

With the stem lengthened, the handlebars fit under the magnetic catch and the bike finally looked the way a good folding bike should.

Dahon Formula

I lifted it off the floor.  It had the picking-up-a-suitcase-you-thought-was-full-but-isn’t sensation found on pricier folding bikes. Yes, it would probably get on any number of commuter trains easily and I wouldn’t hesitate to carry it over a subway turnstile if the situation called for it. I found that carrying it on the non-drivetrain side kept my trousers out of danger and my legs didn’t hit the pedal while walking. Depending on your body type – and I suppose if you have to squeeze the bike into tight areas and carry it often – you may want to consider folding pedals.

Dahon Formula

While the lightness of the folding bike made me realize I could carry it anywhere, it also made me want to unfold it again, take another ride, and see how long I could stay in the big chainring. More adventures to come on the Formula S18 Folding Bike!

Written by Mike from DIYBIKING.COM

 

 

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Fixing a flat on a bromptonSo there you are, pedaling hard at the last stretch of a 20 mile commute home from work – your blood is pumping, your energy is holding strong, and with any luck you’ll beat your best time and make it to your uncle’s annual chile cook off before sun down. And then POW!!!! Two pedals into Nail Alley you get a flat on your rear tire, and in a single moment all hope of a delicious steaming pile of cooked beans and spices have been obliterated forever.

Fixing a flat on the rear wheel of a Brompton is known the world round as “a little tricky.” But I promise, once you get the hang of it, you’ll be fixing your own flats in no time! While my co-worker Josh was replacing a tube on a Brompton, I asked him if I could take a few closeups:

What do you need to fix the flat?

All you need to fix a flat on a Brompton Bike whether it is the rear or front wheel is a pair of tire levers:

A 15 mm wrench like this one:

16 mm wrenchAnd one of these!

Josh from NYCeWheels

Preparing to change the flat

Josh here has a bike stand which can hold the Brompton off the ground and, in general, this makes working on any bike easier. However, if like most of us you don’t own a fancy mechanic stand, just find a stable place to lean your bike so you can work on the rear wheel without the bike moving around on you. Then get your 15 mm wrench ready, we’re about to go to work.

Josh fixes a flat on a brompton

Step 1: Detach the shifter chain

At the axle of your rear wheel there is a large nut. At the center of this nut there is a small chain which goes into the rear hub itself. This chain connects at the other end with your shifters, and it is responsible for shifting your gears. The first thing you want to do is detach this chain by loosening the small cylinder at the base of the chain:

Brompton bike

Then detach the chain entirely by loosening this cylinder looking thing.

Brompton

Once the chain is detached it will be hanging freely out of the axle nut like a piece of noodle.

Step 2: Remove the axle nut!

Use your 15mm wrench to loosen the axle nut, pull it off the chain, and remove the washer behind it:

Brompton nut

Once the bolt and washer are removed, remove the shifter chain itself by twisting it counterclockwise and pulling it right out of the hub! Make sure to set nut, washer and chain aside in the order you removed them. When you put these parts back on the bike, you’ll screw the chain back in the hub first, then thread the washer back on, and then screw on the nut, so it’s helpful to set them aside in this order.

Step 3: Pull off the chain tensioner and loosen the nut behind it!

There is now nothing holding the rear derailleur in place so you can go ahead and remove it from the from the frame.

Brompton bikeOnce you have the chain tensioner removed, you will see a second nut behind it. Loosen this nut with your wrench. You can remove it entirely or just loosen it half way like Josh did here:

Brompton nutYou’ll notice above that there is a strangely shaped washer behind this nut. This washer has two little wings which nestle into the frame and can be a little tricky to wiggle free. The easiest way is to pry it off using your wrench like this:

removing the rear wheels of a brompton bike

Step 4: Remove the rear wheel and extract the tube!

Once you have loosened this nut and washer on both sides of the axle you are ready to remove the wheel from the frame and change out the tube. Just lift the frame of the Brompton off the wheel, squeezing the flat tire with your fingers to allow it to pass through the brake calipers.

removing the rear wheel of a Brompton Bike

Once the wheel is free you want to use your tire levers to pop the tire off of the rim. Here’s how you do it. Take one tire lever and insert the curved end (not the hook end) underneath the lip of the tire. Use the lever to pry the tire over the edge of the rim. This will bend the rubber of the tire and create tension, so you’ll want to hook the other end of the lever around one of the spokes, holding the tire in place and preventing it from snapping back into place. If the lever is hooked around the spoke properly, you should be able to remove your hand and let this lever bear the tension of the tire all on its own. With this lever jammed up underneath the tire, you should have enough room to insert the other lever under the exposed tire lip and begin to bring the rest of the tire over the rim, by pulling your lever counter clockwise around its circumference. Below you can see Josh begin to do this:

Removing a brompton tire

Step 5: Replace the tube, and reinstall the rear wheel

Once you have the tire brought over the lip of the rim, you can remove the bad tube per usual. This is standard tube changing stuff, but I’ll try to describe it in some detail for any first timers.

Start by finding the valve, pulling it down through the hole in the rim and clear from the tire. Holding this section of the tube in your hand you will be able to pull the rest of the tube free from the tire, like a snake from its rubbery den. Here you will want to carefully run your hand along the inside of the empty tire to make sure there is no dirt or glass stuck in there that could cause another flat. Be very careful while doing this so you don’t cut yourself.

Checking your Brompton Tires Here Josh chose to remove the entire tire from the rim although it should be noted the tube can be removed and the tire checked with one side of the tire still inside the rim. If you did remove the entire tire from the rim, you’ll want to put one side back around the rim before installing the new tube.

To install the new tube, fill it with tiny bit of air so that it isn’t so flat, and then push the tube inside the tire under the lip that has been brought over the rim. You’ll want to start with the valve. Bend the tire back a little so that the hole in the rim is exposed, shove the valve down into it, and bring the tire back OVER the valve. From here you should be able to push the rest of the tube up underneath the tire, moving around its circumference. Just pull the loose edge of the tire away from the rim and tuck the tube inside it. Once the tube is evenly distributed, bring the tube filled tire back over the rim.

Bringing the loose edge of the tire back over over rim with the tube inside can take a little practice. You should be able to bring 3 quarters of the circumference of the tire back over with no problem, but once you run out of slack, you will need your trusty tire levers to pry the remaining tire back over the rim and allow it to snap back in place.

Once the new tube is inside the tire and the tire is back on the rim, replace the front wheel onto the frame, placing the two prongs of the fork back on the bolts on either side of the front hub, threading the still flat tire back through the brake calipers, making sure that the bike chain is threaded around the teeth of the hub sprocket.

Replacling the rear wheel of the BromptonOnce the wheel has nestled itself back in place with the chain around the sprocket, push the funky washers back flush with the frame, making sure the top of the washer says “TOP” on it, and then re-tighten the nuts using your wrench.

Now you are ready to replace the chain tensioner!

replacing the Brompton chain tensionerStep 6: Replacing the chain tensioner

One of the things that makes it a little more complicated to change out a flat on a Brompton bike is that you have to remove and replace the chain tensioner. As we saw, removing it is no big deal, you just unscrew the nut, and it pulls right off. But putting it back on takes a little more technique. Here’s how you do it.

First place the tensioner back over the axle nut so that it looks like this:

Replacing the derailleur on the bromptonYou can see the long arm of the chain tensioner is pointing up while the short end is pointing down. Here you want to make sure that when you place the tensioner on the bike that the chain goes UP and OVER the teeth on the shorter arm like this:

Replacing the chain tensioner on a bromptonNext, replace the small shifter chain, by sticking it straight into the axle and twisting it clockwise. Twist it until it won’t twist any more and then go back two spins counter clockwise. This creates a little slack which you will need later when you reconnect this shifter chain to the shifter cables. When this is done, replace the washer and the larger axle nut like so.

Changing a flat on a Brompton bikeNext, take the longer arm of the chain tensionser, rotate it counterclockwise, past the shorter arm of the tensioner, and set it ON TOP of the bike bike chain like this:

Replacing the chain tensioner on a brompton bikeFinal steps!

Now you’re pretty much all done! To finish off, screw the shifter chain back onto the shifter cable, by twisting the thin cylinder thing as shown below.

Fixing a flat on a brompton!There should be a little slack in the chain to allow the Brompton to shift to all three speeds in the internal hub.

Then pump up your tires and you’re DONE!!!!!

I hope this was helpful. Follow these steps closely and you’ll be fixing flats on you brompton folding bike in no time!

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Tern Node D8

After taking the Tern Node D8 for several get acquainted rides around Stamford, I was ready to bring it to a real-world situation: I was to ride to the Stamford Metro North station, bring it to Manhattan, and ride it back to NYCeWheels.

On the train platform, the Tern bicycle got the attention of a professional and attractive woman and I struck up a conversation with her about the usefulness of folding bikes. To wit: no need to abide by head-scratching bike on train restrictions, easy to move about or stow under a desk, no need to pay to park the car at the station, and so on. When the train arrived, we ended our chit-chat and got inside.

Even with the 24″ wheels, the Node D8 made a fairly compact and easy to handle package on the train. If one is traveling on the newer Metro North cars that have the fold-up seats near the vestibule, the Node can even serve as an arm rest.

Really.

Tern Node D8

The conductor who collected my ticket ignored the folding bike completely – which meant the Node D8 was zeroing in on a gold star: after all, any folding bike that gets a lot of attention of an attractive professional but none from a mass-transit employee is a winner in my book.

At Grand Central Terminal, I walked the bike outside, put on my helmet, and began the 40-block trek north to NYCeWheels. And it was here that this utilitarian, overbuilt machine came into its own.

Tern Node D8

I can’t understand it. In open ground the bike just feels comfortable, if a little slow. But on crowded, bumpy city blocks it took on a zippier, ‘I’ll-Handle-This’ feel that I didn’t detect before.

The big wheels and the fat tires made sense – especially on roads that haven’t seen new asphalt since the Hoover administration. The upright riding position, which I already appreciated due to the comfort, was quite nice as it gave me good visibility. The gearing gave me enough for the odd hill but didn’t leave me exhausted – which is important if you want to ride a bike to work and not smell offensive to your colleagues.

Tern Node D8

In all, the Node chewed up and spat out each and every one of the city blocks and I made it to NYCeWheels even faster that I expected. Tern has certainly made an impressive city bike, and I said a fond good-bye to it at NYCeWheels with certainty that the Node D8 would find its way to a good home.

Tern Node D8

This of course begs the question: how did I get back to Grand Central Terminal to return to Stamford? Well, as it happens, I left NYCeWheels with a completely different bike: the Dahon Formula, and I’ll tell you all about it soon.

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We need your help to drive important legislation that will not unfairly limit the potential of the electric bike industry.

All reports indicate that legalizing electric bikes will provide significant revenue for the North American bicycle market, just as it has in all of Europe, as well as providing a clean and efficient transit alternative.

Please act today — call your legislator and ask for the bill to be heard!
For calls to the Assembly: Ask that the Speaker put this on a debate list.
o 518-455-3791
• For calls to the Senate: Ask that Co-Leader Skelos and Co-Leader Klein put this on an active list.
o Skelos-518-455-3171
o Klein-518-455-3595

Below I have outlined some basic talking points, should you need background.

Background

In 2002, federal law was amended to distinguish bicycles with low-power electric motors capable of reaching speeds of 20 mph or less, from motorcycles, mopeds, and motor vehicles. The New York Legislature never enacted a conforming update to state law. Accordingly, these bicycles are considered “low-powered motorcycles” by New York State law.

The Solution to the Problem

Currently it’s legal to buy these bikes but not to ride them in New York. We need to change the law so it matches the federal law.

This bill solves the problem by making New York State law in compliance with the federal law, and clarifying that electric bicycles, which have a top speed of 20 mph, are not motor vehicles. Since electric bicycles travel at about the same speed as bicycles, and weigh about the same as ordinary bicycles, its fair and the right thing to do by aligning New York State’s definition with the federal government’s definition.

There is an unnecessary burden put on delivery workers who could utilize these bikes, they often work 10-12 shifts carrying food around the city. Electric bikes would make their job easier and alleviate a physical strain on them.

Dylan on the BionX Crosstown

Since federal law preempts state law, this conflict raises significant legal questions about the validity of the Dept. of Motor Vehicle’s registration requirements and the enforcement of those violations. Some electric bicycle riders report receiving hundreds of dollars in violations for a bike they purchased in a department store. Small businesses do not need additional financial burden on them or their employees.

This would afford the elderly to have the same ability to travel, visit family or to pick up necessary items such as prescriptions with ease. It would also take off the physical strain that would normally leave those individuals homebound.

There is no fiscal impact to the state.

What you can do!

For calls to the Assembly: Ask that the Speaker put this on a debate list.
518-455-3791

For calls to the Senate: Ask that Co-Leader Skelos and Co-Leader Klein put this on an active list.
Skelos-518-455-3171
Klein-518-455-3595

NYCeWheels Team

Thank you in advance for your assistance with this important electric bicycle industry initiative!

-The NYCeWheels Team

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Just last month we received our first shipment of the new BionX S350DX and RX 48V conversion kits. Here they are below, just out of the box, nice and shiny and full of untapped potential.

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Above is everything you’d need to convert your bike into a powerful electric bike. There on the left is the premium 48 volt lithium ion battery that would fit onto your frame, behind it is the motorized wheel which would replace the rear wheel of your bike, and to the foreground you can see the console which fits on your handlebars and the cabling which allows these parts to communicate.

All of these parts come with the regular BionX conversion kits, so what makes the DX series so exciting?

BionX DX series

Easy installation, high quality, and great support!

The DX series is the first BionX conversion kit that is compatible with cassettes instead of freewheels, making it easier to install on a wider range of bikes, and compatible with a wider range of modern gear systems.

To explain, let me jump into a bit of bike terminology. “Cassettes” and “Freewheels” are two different methods for attaching gears to wheels. Freewheels allow the gears to screw into place, whereas cassettes have splines which allow gears to slide in and then lock. The differences can more or less be seen in the pic below. As you can see, in past years only the screw-on freewheel was compatible with the BionX:

The freewheel only conversion kits of the past had several main drawbacks. First, if you wanted to convert a bike which used a cassette, you would have to spend extra money to replace your cassette with a freewheel.

Second, freewheels are much less common in the world of bicycle gearing, namely because cassettes tend to perform more efficiently. Thus this addendum on the freewheel product page:

BionX DX seriesPlease note, modern 10 speed cassettes are mass produced at a level which makes them very high quality and precise. Because of the small demand for 10 speed freewheels in the bicycle industry these parts are produced in small runs. As a result they are not produced to the same quality standards as 10 speed cassettes. You may notice some slight wobbling of the freewheel as well as a little more noise than you may be used to while pedaling.

The BionX S350 DX conversion kit is superior to the old kits because it is compatible with more sophisticated, and more popularly used technology. This means better performance, smoother shifting, easier installation, and better support! Check out BionX’s new website to see their extensive resources on the new DX kits.

The DX Cassette Series up close

Like the original bionX conversion kit, the BionX DX Series can use either a 36 volt or a 48 volt battery, which can be installed either where the water bottle would go on the down tube of your bike, or on a rear rack. Kits which have rear rack mounted batteries will be labeled RX instead of DX.

BionX DX Series BatteryThe motor is 350 watts as was its predecessor, with enough torque to get you up steep inclines, and reach top speeds of 20 mph on a flat. The entire system is also 20% lighter than the 36 volt PL350!

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To summarize, the new BionX DX series is fast, powerful, and lighter than the PL 350, and now that it is compatible with cassettes it will also have better response, better power transfer, and better support from a wider range of gearing systems!

I hope this article was helpful. We’re very excited to have the newest and the best of BionX – get your BionX S350 DX Series today!

BionX DX Series

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BionX E-folders Coming From Tern—Great Combo, By Turbo Bob.

May 29, 2014

I first rode this E-bike during the spring at a recent CicloSDias. Tern was one of the sponsors and had a booth with many of their bikes on hand. Two caught my eye that day and I rode both, a Node D8 and a Link P9, with the awesome BionX E-conversion on board. Last week [...]

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The EcoReco – a Perfect Electric Scooter

May 22, 2014

I have always personally been a little skeptical of electric scooters. They always seemed so heavy and bulky and ready to run out from under my feet with the barest touch of the throttle. Why not just get an electric bicycle? But today, I got my first chance to test ride our newest scooter the [...]

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Upcoming Brompton Events in 2014!

May 15, 2014

As you enter NYCeWheels bike shop in NYC, you may be distracted by the shiny new folding bikes lining your peripheral, you may even feel star struck as Peter from the NYCeWheels videos takes your hand, leading you forward like a young Charlie Bucket – but it can be easy to miss the fleet of [...]

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A quick ride on a Dahon Formula S18

May 8, 2014

The Dahon Formula S18, the first two words I’ll say about this bike is DISK BRAKES. It’s so easy to forget the raw stopping power that disk brakes provide when you’ve become so used to calipers… that first stop gave me a jolt, “easy there on that lever kid,” advised my inner cycling coach. This [...]

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Happy Surly Moonlander Customer!

April 26, 2014

Of all the electric bikes we have in the shop the Moonlander BionX Bike is one of the most fun. It has monster 4.6 inch tires that make you feel like you’re riding on air— seriously you could run over a deer with this thing and not even notice. The bike itself is made by [...]

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