Initial Impressions, Bike Assembly & Photosby Larry Lagarde
Late Friday afternoon, my yellow Strida 5 folding bike was delivered. As much as I wanted to open the box immediately, it was getting dark and I had Christmas duties that required my attention. Reluctantly, I put the box at the top of my list for Saturday.
On Saturday with camera batteries supposedly recharged, I prepared to shoot photos of the Strida. Unfortunately, the batteries or camera were malfunctioning (are you listening, Santa...). Three sets of batteries and several hours later, I started shooting.Impressive Packaging
Upon opening the box, I was immediately impressed by the packaging and presentation. Saddled between blocks of foam and with foam sleeves between the frame members, the Strida 5 was well protected and gleaming. The yellow and black color combination reminded me of a '69 Dodge Superbee muscle car.Unfolding The Bike
Once I removed the bike from the box, I opened the quick release on the handlebars, slid the bar ends into place and locked the quick release closed. I removed the single zip tie that held the bike folded. Concerned that a frame member may pop out of one of the ball joints (as was mentioned on CommuteByBike
), I gingerly opened the frame for the first time. With a click, the handlebar tube slid into the bottom tube joint and locked automatically.
Except for the seat post, rear carry rack and a small, soft, rubber mud guard that attaches to the front or rear fender, the Strida 5 is pre-assembled (even the tires were pumped up). The seat post and rear carry rack are made of plastic so I was careful with attaching them to prevent breaking the plastic.Popping The Seat Post Onto The Frame
Attaching the seat post and carry rack is relatively simple but requires some close attention. The seat post is actually two pieces of molded plastic with the seat attached to the top. The bottom of the seat post slips over the frame easily but the top of the seat post is tighter and was bending inward rather than popping onto the frame. I considered removing or loosening the seat but instead used my finger to guide the leading edge of the seat post onto the frame. This worked perfectly.Selecting Seat Height
The procedure for selecting the proper seat height is hit or miss. Protruding from the frame is a pin for adjusting the seat height. Inside the plastic, molded seat post are several notches to fit the pin. The notch you select will determine the seat height but you cannot sit on the seat until the seat post is securely bolted to the frame. I lucked out and got it right the first time.Securing The Seat Post
To secure the seat post and carry rack to the Strida 5 folding bike, Strida provides several allen head screws, a nut (for the carry rack) and 2 chromed bands with lock nuts attached. The shiny bands reminded me of the type of hose clips seen on the water hoses of highly modified muscle cars at auto shows.
I snapped one of the chrome bands over the seat post frame. With one hand, I held the clamp and seat post to the adjustment pin and used my other hand in a fruitless attempt to attach the allen head screw. After a moment, I came up with Plan B: wrap the clamp with some of the foam sleeve supplied with the bike and use an adustable pair of pliers to steadily hold the clamp in place. This solution also provided the pressure needed to bring the clamp halves close enough together that I could turn the screw into the threads of the clamp. I used the allen wrench that comes attached to the bottom of the Strida's seat to tighten the clamp a bit more.
Following the same procedure, I attached the second clamp. With both clamps now on the bike, I tightened them further and took the bike for a test ride without the carry rack attached. Immediately, I noticed that the Strida's radical geometry causes the bike to turn differently. The more you turn the handlebars in one direction, there is a pronounced shift in the weight distribution to that side. It's not dangerous though and I found myself adjusting to this within moments.Tightening Seat Post & Carry Rack Critical
A greater concern was the shifting of the seat from side to side. It was so noticeable that I thought the seat itself was loose on the seat post; however, the seat was fine. Then I wondered... the rear carry rack screws onto the seat post... perhaps attaching the carry rack would make a difference. It did. In fact, the difference was huge. Once the rear carry rack was attached, I detected no motion of the seat. Thus, while the carry rack is only rated to carry 11 lbs, installing the rack is critical to the proper operation of the bike.
By this time, it was dusk and I was out of light - again. I resigned myself to a brief ride and to spend more time with the bike in the next couple of days. I look forward to shooting more photos of the bike soon as well as a video of the Strida 5 in motion and of the bike being folded and unfolded.
Labels: Strida-5-folding-bike, Strida-folding-bike-photos