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If you give a bike a cookie

July 10, 2012

Ok, so tell me if this has every happened to you?

It started with new pedals for the Dahon. It was simple. The plastic stock ones had lost their grip and new shiny metal pedals would be required. Very shiny. Comparing them to the rest of the bike, I began to notice things. Like those yellowed cables. Brake pads that appeared only half their original size. And that handlebar. Well perhaps nothing was technically wrong with the flat handlebar. But for some reason, after spying a photo of MG’s HonSolo with its retro mustached handlebar, I just couldn’t find a comfortable riding position on those flat bars anymore. Really, I had no other option.

The Options

At 6’2″, I am at the outer limit of Dahon’s recommended height range for the Curve D3. Although seat height is adequate for my legs, the bar to seat length sometimes makes me feel like I’m tipping over the front of the bike. The Nitto mustache bars I admired on the HonSolo would be too aggressive to make the change worthwhile. I figured I needed something that would allow a more upright riding position. After sorting through a cornucopia of options (including Nitto Albatross, North Road Style, Soma’s Oxford bars), I decided on the Soma Sparrow bar (560mm). The Sparrow’s rise, angle and length would suit me well.

The Build

After the bar arrived the first order of business was making sure the bike still folded. No problem. This was going to be cake. And it may have been. Wanting to replace the shifter and brake cables anyways, I bought new metallic cable sets from Velo Orange. Due to its fold, the bike requires extra long cable. Unfortunately, the front brake cable was a tad too short and the shifter housing came in three segments. A few hours later I figured out an alternative brake route that would allow the bike to fold. I cleaned the old shifter housing up a bit and reused it. Next time, I will make sure to just get housing with ample length.

The Fold

As mentioned above the bike does still fold. After adding a bell and very essential coffee mug holder the clearance between the tires become a little tighter. Making sure the cables don’t snag on anything or pull too tight is another concern when unfolding. Yet, it does work. I would say these new concerns add an additional 15 seconds to the fold and 20 seconds to the unfold. This will, of course, become less when I become more proficient. The added weight (if any) is negligible and doesn’t affect the carry.

The RideSo was it worth the time, money, and effort? Absolutely! It’s like having a brand new bike. Initially, the bike felt jerky but it didn’t take long to adjust. The angle of the bars feel good and does not tweak my wrists. I’m no longer slumped forward and therefore don’t feel it’s a tight fit anymore. The upright position is perfect for city riding too. It reminds me of a much lighter version of DC’s CaBi’s. Oh, and the bars are shiny and very cool looking!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. July 10, 2012 7:58 am

    Love the new parts! The handlebars look especially well suited to the bike. Your Curve also reminded me of a CaBi, which I had noticed when we rode together. Nicely done!

  2. portajohn permalink
    July 10, 2012 9:44 am

    Very cool. I am looking at some “city bikes” on Craigslist (think very few gears, mustache bars, fenders, front rack) and have already gotten bitten by the Velo Orange bug. Making lists of things I would want to replace on this or that bike depending on which one I get. New bars, shellaced cloth tape and the metallic cables are high on the list.

  3. July 10, 2012 8:19 pm

    Kevin…we have your old 20 inch bike in he the shed…it looks like your Dahon…but 25 years older…but the Dahon looks really sharp. Ride safe!

  4. July 14, 2012 9:23 pm

    Very nice blog! I loved your new mustache bar.

  5. July 30, 2012 7:29 am

    Love the new bars – really sweet! Those Curve D3’s are a cool little bike – I’d love to get one for my eldest daughter. 🙂

  6. July 30, 2012 9:40 am

    Nice work and helpful review of the process.

  7. September 16, 2012 11:05 pm

    Super cute. I’ve slowly started replacing all of the pieces on my beloved bike and so understand the “just one more piece” temptation. My seat was literally falling apart before I replaced it, but it was totally worth it.

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