Having done the commute a couple of times on the Origami and a 100Km ride yesterday, I feel that I can write a fair review of it. I’ll discuss the good first before mentioning the not so good.
Firstly, it folds. The seat comes off and goes back on straight forwardly, and I have had no slippage. The main frame hinge joint is solid. The initial opening can be a bit reluctant, a third hand would be useful. I seem to find myself trying it from one side and then the other before it opens. The integral rack and added mudguards do not complicate the fold and the chain tubes stop you getting dirty.
The integral rack is brilliant. The two legged stand does its job and is handy for changing and adjusting gears because the real wheel can spin.
Getting on and off is fairly easy, easier than many SWBs, because the step over is not too high and the steering mast folds. (This is true of the original tiller set up, and the Terracycle glide stem replacement I fitted so I could have tweener bars.) Not withstanding the easy step over, the seat height is high enough to be comfortable in traffic and in group rides with upright bikes.
There is an extensive range of seat angle adjustment. Crucially for me, angles above 35 degrees are possible. The hard shell seat makes it easy to get your legs down whilst being adequately cupped.
It is easy to balance on this bike. Stopping, starting and hill climbing are not difficult. I had many climbs during my metric century yesterday and spent a lot of time in the 17.5” bottom gear and I didn’t have any problems holding it in a straight line. Even rough roads and passing traffic didn’t induce any weaving around.
Now the not so good. This really boils down to the dual 20” wheel format with no suspension. The frame is very rigid so you are relying on the tyres and the seat pads to soften the blows, and to an extent the relatively long wheelbase. Despite good tyres, a good seat pad and the seat positioned some way from both the wheel hubs, I still had to be mindful of the road surface. The numerous cattle grids were almost enough to dislodge my glasses from my sweaty face, the weight of the eye-ware mirror attempting to dislodge the arms of the glasses from my ears. The problem with the smaller wheels is they can get stuck in trough shaped road depressions which are difficult to spot. Exiting the trough causes quite a jolt. The bike tracked well through these with its long wheelbase but it was still a bit alarming. I found myself wishing for suspension at times but I still finished the ride without the aches, pains and bodily insults that I would have suffered on an upright.
Whilst I got up some decent speeds on downhill sections, probably around 30 mph, I didn’t feel that my momentum carried me greatly into a following uphill section. My friend was a on a drop bar bike with GP4000s 700c tyres. I didn’t feel he had an an advantage on the downhill but I felt he had one on the subsequent freewheel run-out. The weight of the Origami should have provided more momentum perhaps. It’s not a heavy bike by bent standards, though can’t be classified as a light one either.
I think the bike is a keeper because of its folding ability and good manners. I’ll probably fit a more supple tyre than the BA on the rear. I have a 120 tpi Maxxis DTH on the front so will look to match that.
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I have watched your trials and tribulations with interest and have been glad to see you are now getting it the way you want it. As a newbie to recumbents myself I have nothing to compare my experiences with so it is good to see how others manage things. Keep up the feedback! It's interesting stuff.