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Building two Brompton clones

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Building two Brompton clones

Old 01-01-19, 11:27 AM
  #1  
Raxel
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Building two Brompton clones

I'm currently working on building two Brompton clones (Actually done building the first one, and transferring parts to the second frame for now). Two have slightly different dimensions (3sixty one is a copy of old Taiwan Brompton and EasyTi is based on current Brompton) but most parts are compatible.



#1 : 3Sixty m3 chrome plated

3Sixty Cromoly frame/fork/handlepost/rear frame (chrome plated version)
Frame modified for external 2-speed drivetrain
820gr Chinese prebuilt wheelset
7.98kg (as shown above)





#2 : EasyTi full titanium (Left one)

Titanium main frame / handlepost /fork (currently shipping) / rear frame (currently shipping)
780gr Chinese prebuilt wheelset (shipping)
Calculated final weight: 5.85kg


Frankly I always thought Bromptons are overpriced boat anchors but those clones are actually pretty good value, with some tuneup.
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Old 01-01-19, 02:26 PM
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This is going to be good.
The prices for easyti stuff on ebay look quite high to me... but if the quality is good then it could be worth it. An odd thing about the ebay listings is that they omit the weight savings over brompton components.
What are your impressions of the quality of the easyti main frame?
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Old 01-01-19, 03:53 PM
  #3  
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i saw that the forks over the locknut dimension(o.l.d.) in easyti version is 110mm!
can you measure the old in rear triangle?
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Old 01-01-19, 06:15 PM
  #4  
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3sixty and easyti

-3sixty frame is (almost) the direct copy of the old TW Brompton. It has rear old of 109mm, headtube diameter of 25.4mm, and has slightly shorter top tube. It does have front luggage mount, which TW Brompton lacked. However I had to go through a number of hoops to convert it to external 2 spd.

-I purchased a brand new chrome plated 3sixty m3 with decent components (3 spd SA hub, two bolt seatpost, dual pivot brakes, Kozak tires) at around $550. The welding and painting are obviously not as good as the original one but still quite acceptable.

-Titinium one is the direct copy of current Brompton, with 112mm rear OLD and 28.6mm headtube.

-I have ordered ti frame parts from multiple different venders, and currently I only have the main frame and handlepost delivered. The main frame is superb with very clean welding lines and attractive finish (I ordered in brushed finish). I ordered other parts in matte finish but I now consider polishing them as well.

-Titanium clone frames are not inexpensive (I paid like $2K) but they are actually very good value considering the weight savings (roughly 1.8kg over full steel version). The Nikel plated Brompton with ti fork and rear frame is around $3.5K here. My total build costs around $4K, but is 5kg lighter. According to my calculation I can make the whole bike as light as 5.1kg with current frameset if I go up to 11 (and some people do nowadays!)

Last edited by Raxel; 01-01-19 at 06:25 PM.
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Old 01-01-19, 07:11 PM
  #5  
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Sexy stuff, Raxel. I look forward to seeing pics of the finished builds.
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Old 01-01-19, 07:43 PM
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in Singapore?
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Old 01-02-19, 03:03 AM
  #7  
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I live overseas now. Anyone know who sells these 2 versions of Brompton clones on-line? Ebay searches? or?
Thank you for info.
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Old 01-02-19, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by tmac100 View Post
I live overseas now. Anyone know who sells these 2 versions of Brompton clones on-line? Ebay searches? or?
Thank you for info.
2 sixty stuff seels in alibaba/aliexpress.
easyti stuff seels in ebay.
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Old 01-02-19, 06:50 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by Raxel View Post
It does have front luggage mount, which TW Brompton lacked.
This seems not to be entirely true, following an old website.

Originally Posted by Raxel View Post
-Titanium clone frames are not inexpensive (I paid like $2K) but they are actually very good value considering the weight savings (roughly 1.8kg over full steel version). The Nikel plated Brompton with ti fork and rear frame is around $3.5K here. My total build costs around $4K, but is 5kg lighter. According to my calculation I can make the whole bike as light as 5.1kg with current frameset if I go up to 11 (and some people do nowadays!)
Would be interesting to know what the weight of the frames is. An Mk4 Brompton main frame weights about 2,1kg, the Brompton fork 560g (steel) or 260g (titanium), the Brompton rear frame 800g (steel) or 480g (titanium). The stem differs depending from the model - an S-stem weights about 880g, an H-stem about 910g, P and M about 810g.
A full steel Brompton frame including M-stem (as yours), forks and rear frame would therefor be roughly about 4,27 kg, the ti-version ~3,53 kg.
If the ti-clone does safe 1,8kg over a steel Brompton it would therefor be around 2,47kg and - assuming that Brompton ti-parts (fork and rear frame) and equivalent clone ti-parts would weight around the same - save about 1,18kg on frame and stem which equals around 40% of the weight of a steel Brompton main frame + M stem (~2,9kg). Quite impressive.

Regarding the "5kg lighter": A stock Brompton M2Ex (2-speed ti w/o rack, lights and blades) like your build weights around 9,7kg. With your build being 5kg lighter you should end up clearly below the 5kg mark... Regarding the price: If you want to have a shiny silver main frame on your Brompton indeed the Nickel Edition is the only factory choice. But as it is far more expensive than an "ordinary" ti-Brommi a price comparison to your build would rather be with a ordinary model. In this case you would have plenty of money left to upgrade to the same lighter parts that you use on your build (and even more if you'd sell the stock parts). So in the end the weight difference will end up at about the weight difference between Brompton frame and stem vs. Clone ti-frame and stem. Which still may be impressive enough.
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Old 01-02-19, 09:19 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Raxel View Post
-3sixty frame is (almost) the direct copy of the old TW Brompton. It has rear old of 109mm, headtube diameter of 25.4mm, and has slightly shorter top tube. It does have front luggage mount, which TW Brompton lacked. However I had to go through a number of hoops to convert it to external 2 spd.
Does the 3sixty lack the bolt-on nut on the chainstay for the derailleur part? How did you deal with that and manage to convert it to a two-speed?

Originally Posted by Raxel View Post
-I purchased a brand new chrome plated 3sixty m3 with decent components (3 spd SA hub, two bolt seatpost, dual pivot brakes, Kozak tires) at around $550. The welding and painting are obviously not as good as the original one but still quite acceptable.
Regarding the welding: In the original thread about the 3sixty some of the brazing/welding looked quite awkward and frightening:


How does this look on your bike?
Regarding the painting: As your 3sixty is chrome-plated: In which sense does it seem lower quality than the paint-job on a Brompton?
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Old 01-02-19, 09:40 AM
  #11  
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Part weights

Originally Posted by berlinonaut View Post
This seems not to be entirely true, following an old website.
I think the TW Brompton is different from Neobike Brompton.. I have seen many of them for years (had one myself) and none had the front luggage mount. Maybe I just haven't seen newer ones.

Originally Posted by berlinonaut View Post
Would be interesting to know what the weight of the frames is. An Mk4 Brompton main frame weights about 2,1kg, the Brompton fork 560g (steel) or 260g (titanium), the Brompton rear frame 800g (steel) or 480g (titanium). The stem differs depending from the model - an S-stem weights about 880g, an H-stem about 910g, P and M about 810g.
Mine are 1271gr (for main frame) and 461gr for S-stem. I have seen pictures of ti frame that weighs as little as 1100gr, and S-stem as little as 380gr (maybe special ordered ones).
So 1.2~1.5kg saving over stock steel ones.

Originally Posted by berlinonaut View Post
Regarding the "5kg lighter": A stock Brompton M2Ex (2-speed ti w/o rack, lights and blades) like your build weights around 9,7kg.
Yes, that's a bit of exaggeration, but here the Ni edition is only available as S2L-X configuration. It weighs 10.24kg on scale.
My build will be 4.39kg lighter than that.


S2L-X Ni scaled

Originally Posted by berlinonaut View Post
But as it is far more expensive than an "ordinary" ti-Brommi a price comparison to your build would rather be with a ordinary model. In this case you would have plenty of money left to upgrade to the same lighter parts that you use on your build (and even more if you'd sell the stock parts).
Here even ordinary titanium Bromptons are quite expensive (almost $2.8K). I guess the Bromptons are cheapest in UK, but titanium ones are still around $2K USD. So titanium clone is still cheaper.
And honestly all the stock Brompton parts are quite crappy and has negligible resale value anyway nowadays (at least here... many people just use the frameset and dump the rest)
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Old 01-02-19, 10:00 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by berlinonaut View Post
Does the 3sixty lack the bolt-on nut on the chainstay for the derailleur part? How did you deal with that and manage to convert it to a two-speed?
I have made a 3D printed pusher adapter and it seems to work fine. Then I figured out I could just glue a nut instead.




Originally Posted by berlinonaut View Post
some of the brazing/welding looked quite awkward and frightening
The BB shell part is made of two pieces weld together, and has ugly welding line in the middle. And welding/brazing lines are not very clean and uniform as some machine welded frames.
But they are just bit uglier, and should be okay functionally. Painted version looks pretty much the same as the UK Bromptons.



Originally Posted by berlinonaut View Post
Regarding the painting: As your 3sixty is chrome-plated: In which sense does it seem lower quality than the paint-job on a Brompton?
Maybe it's just me, but 3sixty colors look somewhat cheaper than UK ones. (Not the paint quality, but the color choices)
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Old 01-02-19, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Raxel View Post
And honestly all the stock Brompton parts are quite crappy and has negligible resale value anyway nowadays (at least here... many people just use the frameset and dump the rest)
Where is "here"? I would not say all the stock Brompton parts are quite crappy. I own a couple of Bromptons of different ages and the quality of the parts has improved a lot over time. And they do the job. No doubt there are parts of higher quality available (especially in terms of bling and weight) but for a price. And typically not only for a financial price but sometimes also in terms of endurance or limitations in use. As many of the aftermarket parts come from Asia they are not only more expensive in Europe but sometimes also designed with an asian rider in mind (smaller size and less weight on average) which may limit the usefulness for taller or heavier Europeans or Americans sometimes. Maybe that's the reason why there seems i.e. to be no aftermarket titanium telescopic seatpost available while the amount of aftermarket ti seatposts for the Brompton has risen to probably more of a dozen over the last years.

So to me the stock parts still are a good compromise for everyday use in even harsh conditions with a good lifespan whereas some of the amazing looking tuning bikes seem more like showroom bikes to me. Nothing wrong about that, just not my cup of tea - my Bromptons are workhorses. Still thankful for some of the aftermarket upgrade possibilities. The whole aftermarket business has only evolved in the last years - in ~2011 Brompfication was founded. Before them there was Kamoya (who did not ship outside Japan), Steve Parry, Ben Cooper, Juliane Neuss and maybe Mr. Ultimate Folding Bike (who all did Brompton tuning but not in the sense of bling and accessories that we see today). That was pretty much about it. Most of the other companies appeared only over the last years with the Brompton becoming popular in Asia (and Brompton tuning becoming popular along with it as well).
Here in Europe the resale value of original parts is pretty much ok btw..

Last edited by berlinonaut; 01-04-19 at 06:12 AM.
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Old 01-02-19, 11:15 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by berlinonaut View Post
Where is "here"? I would not say all the stock Brompton parts are quite crappy. I own a couple of Bromptons of different ages and the quality of the parts has improved a lot over time. And they do the job.
Technology marches on, and everything is relative. Check the price of Shimano Alivio groupset (for proper mountain bikes, unlike Bromptons)
You can get indexed trigger shifters, triple crankset with external BB, front and rear derailleur, chain, 9 speed cassette and holy-moly hydraulic disc brakes for only $130ish.... now guess how much stock Brompton parts will cost.
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Old 01-02-19, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Raxel View Post
Technology marches on, and everything is relative. Check the price of Shimano Alivio groupset (for proper mountain bikes, unlike Bromptons)
You can get indexed trigger shifters, triple crankset with external BB, front and rear derailleur, chain, 9 speed cassette and holy-moly hydraulic disc brakes for only $130ish.... now guess how much stock Brompton parts will cost.
Here in Germany: Starting from 145 w/o brakes, with mechanical break levers, w/o bottom bracket.

Contents:

Shimano Alivio T4000 groupset includes:
- 1 Shimano Alivio crankset (FC-T4060), bash guard included
- 1 x Shimano Alivio rear derailleur (RD-T4000)
- 1 pair of Shimano Alivio 3x9-speed brake / shift levers (ST-T4000), gear indicators included
- 1 x Shimano Alivio front derailleur (FD-T4000)
- 1 x Shimano cassette (CS-HG400-9)
- 1 x Shimano chain (CN-HG53)
- incl. shift cables

But that kind of comparison is a bit pointless. Brompton sells prebuilt bikes with certain specs, no framesets or custom build high end bikes. They are handbuilt in London, there's 40 years of development in them and many of the parts are proprietary or custom made. They are not the cheapest bikes and they do neither claim nor intend to be. They cost whatever they cost and some people are willing to pay the price while others are not. And an sufficiently amount seems to consider their offer to be fair enough to buy one. Your comparison is a bit like comparing the price of a Rubik cube to the price of the plastic involved in it's manufacturing.
There are clones out there but - as you recognized - they are cheaper but of lower quality. Plus they did not invest a penny in development - they just copied. They are built in China with much lower labor cost, possibly with dubious environmental conditions and low social and workplace standards. And possibly one would not want to know about warranty, service and the spare parts situation. If they would not be much cheaper something would be seriously wrong...

On the other hand: Possibly Brompton could build a high end bike or one for the higher priced market (in fact they do with the ti-nickel). They seem not to see a big enough market in a componentvise high end speced bike at the moment - but maybe they will some day, especially with the Asian market further developing for them. But their company mission is urban transport, not blinged up bikes, so this may take a while...
What makes their components crappy? Do higher speced components really deliver a better value, better endurance or relevant better speed? I doubt it, for most of the aftermarket mods. A Rohloff gearbox or disc brakes have their place, but only for a minority of riders and they are served by third party. Most of the common mods are just for owning them, because they are fun and possible, not because they would deliver any relevant additional value. That's fine and everybody is free to do so - but that's not the business Brompton is in.
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Old 01-02-19, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by berlinonaut View Post
They are handbuilt in London, there's 40 years of development in them and many of the parts are proprietary or custom made.
40 years of development... and now we have raw lacquer, black lacquer, flame lacquer, two-tone special edition, gradation painted special edition. Oh we have the $$$$ Nikel plated one too.
What development again? I don't really see ANY real difference between 2018 Brompton and 1998 brompton, except for hub dynamo and dual pivot brake etc.
Nothing really changed for decades until Asian guys started building something new in house with modern technology (CNC, titanium, carbon fiber etc) a few years ago. It's quite embarrassing.
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Old 01-02-19, 01:46 PM
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Why don't they sell those improved Bromptons in Europe/N.A. ?
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Old 01-02-19, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Raxel View Post
I don't really see ANY real difference between 2018 Brompton and 1998 brompton, except for hub dynamo and dual pivot brake etc.
Maybe you should give it a second look. I recently hat a chat with a friend who works as a Brompton mechanic about exactly that topic and we came to the surprising conclusion that a 1998 and 2018 Brompton do not share any identical part apart from possibly the standard and longer seatpost and maybe the hinge pin. Everything else is different, to the tiniest bolt and has changed at least once. Still almost everything is backwards compatible.

Originally Posted by Raxel View Post
Nothing really changed for decades until Asian guys started building something new in house with modern technology (CNC, titanium, carbon fiber etc) a few years ago.
Well: You could get a carbon seat post for the Brompton from a company in the UK already in the early 2000s. They invented their titanium models back in 2005. And instead of using all their creativity and abilities to build a better folder than the 40 year old British thingy those Asian chaps, with all the technology available today, get no better as to copy the bike in a miserable way or to create bling for it that adds no real advantage but weight and cost and even lowers the reliability. Nobody seems to have missed it until recently the Asians turned up as customers. A different view on the topic and as strange, wrong and weird as your argument.

Originally Posted by Raxel View Post
It's quite embarrassing.
And still you want one. And the Asian markets are the ones with the highest growth rate for Brompton. Strange, isn't it?
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Old 01-02-19, 07:40 PM
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The "big" Brompton development is probably the electric version. But don't know if that will be the money making product for the future of the company. 2018, there was the new shifter and brake (pad? ). 2019 .... more colors.

I wonder if Brompton will introduce a widget that prevents the seat tube from sliding down. (Yeah I know you can buy the cheap chinese clamp and file it down, sheesh ...) If it happens, this will be the big breakthrough for decades to come.
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Old 01-02-19, 09:03 PM
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Brompton development

Originally Posted by dahoneezz View Post
The "big" Brompton development is probably the electric version. But don't know if that will be the money making product for the future of the company. 2018, there was the new shifter and brake (pad? ). 2019 .... more colors.




Look at how other companies now make their ebikes. They use custom frames with large internal/ surface mounted battery and motor located at the bottom bracket area. This way they can keep the weight distribution and rotating mass unaffected, while keeping everything clean and tidy.


Now look at the e-brompton. They just slap aftermarket hub motor wheel on their bikes and call it E-Brompton. People have been doing that for years, at home. Development? What development? They could at least try something, like increasing the diameter of the main tube to house the battery. They hand make their frames, don't they?
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Old 01-02-19, 09:36 PM
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Is the motor chinese bafang motor? I thought they did internal development with Williaams F1?

At the end of the day, it all about the ride. With such a small wheel, I doubt that the CG will be that much higher than if placed at bb. I have never ridden the e-brompton, so I have no idea how it rides. But with the motor config on front wheel, I think its possible to swap out the wheel and put a normal wheel so you can still use it like a normal brompton. Don't know whether you can take out the battery and used the bag for groceries though.

To do motor at bb, will mean a totally new and different bike. (Like Bosch config.) Just imagine the domino effects of trying to keep track of inventory, spare parts etc.
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Old 01-03-19, 06:02 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by chagzuki View Post
This is going to be good....
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Old 01-03-19, 06:59 AM
  #23  
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In China many Chinese won't buy Chinese branded products preferring to buy western brands even if made in China and sold at much higher prices. There is culture of corner cutting and little regard for safety. Often products sold in China do not meet international standards and Chinese brands have an uphill battle convincing their own nationals that their products are safe. So there is a culture for those who can afford it to buy western brands who they perceive as not cutting corners and ensuring products are safe. There has been many accidents and deaths due to Chinese cars and bicycles. The international standard for bicycles ensures the bicycle frames are strong capable of carrying heavier riders and they have a long realistic lifespan this obviously means more material may be needed. If you are in heavy traffic and the frame fails that could mean a large vehicle pretty much kills you instantly.

Bromptons seem over-priced to me, I don't own one but surely you can't knock their approach to create a safe, extremely compact folding bike. Yes if they made them in China they would probably be half the price although manufacturing costs in China are increasingly quite a lot now. It's like comparing a spanner one costs $2 made in China and the other $15 made in Europe or the USA. The Chinese spanner seems great value until you encounter something with a bit of extra resistance and suddenly the Chinese spanner is useless and thrown away and you have to buy the $15 spanner anyway. What looked like a saving of $13 is actually $2 wasted. Here in the UK Brompton resale value is extremely high, much to my annoyance so I don't own one but it makes sense, a quality product with a long perceived lifespan holds its value where as you can get crappy Brompton clones for low money on ebay when you occasionally see them as they are quite rare. You also see very cheap chinese folding bikes with what should be stronger 20" wheels and they state maximum rider weight 60kg which is 22kg less than the average weight of a man in the UK, in the US the average weight is closer to 90kg I believe. Presumably these bikes have gone through the certification process to sell in Europe and that is what they are rated to for maximum load capacity with a long service life.
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Old 01-03-19, 09:56 AM
  #24  
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I really would like to ride a full Ti or a chromo Brompton to the point of seeing for myself the difference provided by the weight loss and shock absorbency of different frame models. On the other hand I thoroughly enjoy riding the one I have as is. I could list some changes that I'd like to see.... V brakes, the ability to run wider tires, a wider rear triangle for more gearing choices, but even so, it is still good. Being almost 70 I see this bike as lasting as least as long as I will and I have tinkered with it enough to be able to do all the maintenance it might require with the exception of the rear triangle hinge spindle and building wheels. I do look forward to the wheel building at some point but I'd rather pay to have the rear hinge done.
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Old 01-03-19, 10:56 AM
  #25  
Schwinnsta
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Perhaps getting off topic, but adding to 12boy's post, I would like to see an adjustable stem.
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