the art of bicycle folding/packing for transport; modifications for rinko etc.

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Brucey
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the art of bicycle folding/packing for transport; modifications for rinko etc.

Postby Brucey » 22 Apr 2019, 10:03pm

I thought I'd start a separate thread for folk to discuss various ways of making bikes easier to pack down small/fold etc. Japanese cyclists who travel by train have evolved this 'Rinko' approach to a fine art and there are parts available to help achieve it. However there are lots of DIY solutions too, which help to make it easier to pack down a more-or-less conventional bike to a small size; let's (for the purposes of this thread) call them A type . There are also two other categories; clever folding frames (which take conventional sized wheels) and clever folding designs which allow the most compact fold possible, some features of which may be applicable to other more conventional bikes; lets call them B and C respectively.

If you simply remove the wheels and strap them to the rest of the bike you have a bundle that may be allowed on trains with less hassle than a complete bike

Image

but you can see the package is still quite long because the handlebars and forks are still in. Small wheels help

Image

But Full-on rinko with a conventional bike requires that the forks come out.
Image

Rinko adaptations are a bit easier with A-head headsets but you can do it with threaded headsets too
Image
a DIY headset locknut inspired by Hirose's design as featured in BQ.

Image
an off-the-peg 650B touring bike designed for 'rinko'

Some of the features that allow/speed/ease rinko style packing;

- you need some luggage straps to bundle everything up. Three straps ought to be enough
- headsets can be QD and ought to have cartridge bearings or at the least clipped balls so that they come apart and go back together easily
- threaded headsets need to have a viable tab washer for ease of reassembly
- if you take the forks out you can leave the front wheel, mudguard, and front rack attached to the forks (a rear rack needs to be removed or it adds to the package size).
- the handlebars need to be able to come some distance from their original location, so ideally cable guides (esp on the rear brake) need to be slotted so that the cables come away easily.
- if you use downtube shifters there is one less set of cables on the handlebar to worry about. Possibly there is an opportunity to integrate the shifter mounts into the top part of the headset; this would allow convenient shifter placement without cable problems.
- the rear mudguard can be removed in one piece or split into two sections. In any event the detached (part) mudguard can be lashed to the rear wheel.
- the saddle is usually lowered fully; no aero seat pins here, and frames/binders that scuff the seat pin are undesirable.
- it is a really good idea to have a chain hanger peg; this keeps the chain out of the way and helps to pull the RD in so that it doesn't poke out too far.
- QD/folding pedals are not essential but they can help to reduce the width of the package
- the package can have 'vulnerable corners' i.e. the head tube, the chainrings, the RD. This means that if you are handling the bike, you should be careful, but if others are to handle the bike, probably it needs to be better packed than that. If the wheels are slightly staggered in the package, they can protect the chainring and the saddle to some extent.

You can see that the (diagonal) length of the package is limited by the distance from the head tube to the rear dropouts; there is no way of escaping that unless you use a weird frame design (eg with short centres and a long stem) or one that folds. The width of the package is usually limited by the distance from the top of the saddle (set at its lowest) to the lowest point on the chainring. Only if the frame size is exceptionally small, the saddle removed and/or the wheel size big does the wheel size actually limit the package size.

As it is normally done, having a bike that is set up for rinko has little or no downside vs a conventional bike. The main things that might catch you out are

1) wear on the fasteners that need to be moved regularly
2) whatever anti-seize is usually applied to seat pin, quill stem, pedal threads etc either makes a mess in the packaging or gets rather depleted

More to come (B and C) in subsequent posts

cheers
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slowster
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Re: the art of bicycle folding/packing for transport; modifications for rinko etc.

Postby slowster » 22 Apr 2019, 10:58pm

Compass/Rene Herse Cycles used to sell a threaded headset tool for rinko bikes, but it's discontinued. However, Ison Distribution still have a small number of the old Cool Tool Headset Adapter Tools, which might be an option for a rinko bike with a threaded headset. The Cool Tool itself is no longer made/available, but the Headset Adapter Tool can be used with a small adjustable spanner provided it has narrow jaws (like those on the old Cool Tool's adjustable spanner); alternatively it could be used with a 150mm Knipex Pliers Wrench.

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Sweep
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Re: the art of bicycle folding/packing for transport; modifications for rinko etc.

Postby Sweep » 23 Apr 2019, 5:31am

slowster wrote:Compass/Rene Herse Cycles used to sell a threaded headset tool for rinko bikes, but it's discontinued. However, Ison Distribution still have a small number of the old Cool Tool Headset Adapter Tools, which might be an option for a rinko bike with a threaded headset. The Cool Tool itself is no longer made/available, but the Headset Adapter Tool can be used with a small adjustable spanner provided it has narrow jaws (like those on the old Cool Tool's adjustable spanner); alternatively it could be used with a 150mm Knipex Pliers Wrench.


Interesting. I have an old cooltool, or the bits of it.
Can I ask how that adaptor works?
Fits onto the cool tool spanner?
Have you used one?
Is there enough leverage?
Sweep

Brucey
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Re: the art of bicycle folding/packing for transport; modifications for rinko etc.

Postby Brucey » 23 Apr 2019, 7:03am

IIRC there is ridge on the adapter which the cool tool (or any adjustable spanner) snugs onto. You can see this upstand more clearly in this BB lockring tool

Image

Is there enough torque? Not really, not enough to loosen really tight parts. But there is probably enough to snug loose parts down, well enough to complete the ride you are on, maybe enough for a rinko style headset.

cheers
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Brucey
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Re: the art of bicycle folding/packing for transport; modifications for rinko etc.

Postby Brucey » 23 Apr 2019, 7:11am

Type B approach aims to modify a more 'normal' frameset so that it can be folded or separated; the priority here is to retain the normal riding characteristics of the bike, rather than to achieve the fastest fold or most compact folded state. In an ideal world you would achieve both of course, but it ain't an ideal world....These bikes (sometimes called 'suitcase bikes') are aimed at the occasional traveller (or are for easy car boot stowage) and are not really suitable for a daily train commute.

I guess an ancestor of all these is the BSA parabike

Image

but this wasn't the first; there were various Victorian folding safety bikes almost as soon as there were safety bikes of any kind. A modern incarnation;

Image

The Ritchey Break-Away allows the frame to be split and the parts are small enough to fit in an airline-friendly case. Other examples of this include

- the Dahon tournado ( using the Ritchey design)
- Separable spaceframe Moultons
- Airnimal
- Montagues/Rudge BiFrame/Fuji folding MTB
- Dahon/Tern folders with 24/26/700C wheels
- any bike which is fitted with S&S couplings.

If your aim is to be able to throw a bike into the boot of a car or to travel by train when they are not too fussy about the folded size, the Montague or Dahon/Tern options apply. These bikes typically have a fast primary fold, but can also pack down a lot smaller if there is more disassembly.

Image
Folded BiFrame

What is not obvious to an average cyclist (or indeed average bike designer it seems) is that the diamond frame works in a particular way, i.e. the frame is only stiff enough in torsion (when pedalling hard, or 'honking') if all the tubes in the main triangle are connected in the usual way, i.e. such that they resist both bending and torsion loads. Thus most (but not all) of the early Montague/Rudge frames are as torsionally stiff as a standard frame, and so should a frame with correctly fitted S&S couplings be too. But the Ritchey/Dahon design is reliant on friction in the couplings (esp the downtube coupling) to be adequately torsionally stiff; let these couplings slacken or wear, and the result may well be as floppy as an old sock. Some frames (BSA parabike being a case in point) are not torsionally stiff anyway, so adding hinges doesn't make as much difference as you might expect.

Modern frame designs with a single hinged beam run the risk of not being torsionally stiff enough for some folk even without a hinge. With a hinge, they can be really rather floppy. Try before you buy.

More to follow.
Last edited by Brucey on 23 Apr 2019, 8:06am, edited 1 time in total.
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Brucey
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Re: the art of bicycle folding/packing for transport; modifications for rinko etc.

Postby Brucey » 23 Apr 2019, 7:17am

Type C approach includes neat design features (to both frames and components) which allow fast/compact folds. For example the Brompton rear end has the fold pivot offset from the BB in order to make the most compact fold; this necessitates a chain tensioner, else the chain would unship every time the bike is folded. However the pivot allows some rear suspension and the tensioner allows freedom from chain wear adjustments and facilitates the 'chain pusher' type derailleur too; thus this 'disadvantage' is turned into an advantage.


more to follow
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slowster
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Re: the art of bicycle folding/packing for transport; modifications for rinko etc.

Postby slowster » 23 Apr 2019, 9:38am

Sweep wrote:Can I ask how that adaptor works?
Fits onto the cool tool spanner?
Have you used one?
Is there enough leverage?

As Brucey describes there is an upstand or lug which the Cool Tool's adjustable spanner grips. The end of the piece of metal that forms the lug is bent over at 90 degrees, and that stops the spanner from being able to slip sideways off the lug (but also prevents the use of a spanner with more normal width jaws).

I have never needed to use mine in anger, but I have tested it on the locknut of my old tourer to see if it works (and have just done so again to check this morning). As Brucey says, it probably will not provide enough leverage for a nut that has been fastened at home with a lot of torque using a workshop spanner. But for a rinko bike it would make sense to assemble the bike at home using the same tool that you would use in the field to disassemble and reassemble it. Similarly I never do up the track nuts on my fixed gear bike at home with a workshop spanner: I always use the small stubby handled spanner that is in the bike's toolkit.

The ideal solution for a threaded headset is probably the custom brazed on fitting on the locknut shown in the article in Brucey's original post, but if anything I suspect the Cool Tool headset spanner would be better than the Rene Herse/Compasss Cycles tool, which does not look like a good design to me (which might explain why it's discontinued).

iandriver
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Re: the art of bicycle folding/packing for transport; modifications for rinko etc.

Postby iandriver » 23 Apr 2019, 10:42am

The most notable part on the pink bike (for me) is the splitting rear mudguard. Now that would be useful.
Supporter of the A10 corridor cycling campaign serving Royston to Cambridge http://a10corridorcycle.com. Never knew gardening secateurs were an essential part of the on bike tool kit until I took up campaigning.....

Brucey
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Re: the art of bicycle folding/packing for transport; modifications for rinko etc.

Postby Brucey » 23 Apr 2019, 11:08am

the mudguard modification is detailed here

https://janheine.wordpress.com/2015/12/17/rinko-parts-useful-not-only-for-train-travel/

but it isn't the only way of doing it by any means, and NB it only works well if you use metal mudguards (IMHO).

I have made various adaptations which have allowed a standard rear mudguard to be QD, such that it stays in one piece and just comes off easily (at one time I needed to carry a bike with mudguards in a small car on a weekly basis). There's more in the pipe too: I'll post these when I get the chance; keeping a mudguard in one piece is a better arrangement, if you can manage it, and it allows any mudguard to be used.

cheers
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simonhill
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Re: the art of bicycle folding/packing for transport; modifications for rinko etc.

Postby simonhill » 23 Apr 2019, 12:57pm

Rinko - spawn of the Devil.

Having toured fairly extensively in Japan (3 times and currently sorting 4th), carriage of bikes on public transport is a pain in the 'arris. I have steered clear of buses and trains, but fortunately the ferries are no problem. It is also often easier to fly with bike in a box, than negotiate buses or particularly trains which sometimes have very limited luggage space. In fact it is fairly common for people to use courier services to get their suitcases to their hotels. Unfortunately these services don't take large items like a cardboard bike box.

It always amuses me how people in the UK moan about taking bikes on trains. I know its not ideal, but just try Japan. In contrast, S Korea allow bikes on all long distance buses, no questions, no charge, just load them in the underfloor hold. Also their metro and suburban trains take bikes at weekends and sometimes off peak mid week. On longer distance trains, you can buy/book a space - dirt cheap and the bike goes in a rack in the cafe car.

It is one of the many anomalies you find in Japan. They probably have more utility cyclists than almost any other country, but facilities for cyclists are very poor. This probably also accounts for the limited number of leisure cyclists.

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mjr
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Re: the art of bicycle folding/packing for transport; modifications for rinko etc.

Postby mjr » 23 Apr 2019, 5:38pm

simonhill wrote:Rinko - spawn of the Devil.

Why do you feel that?

It always amuses me how people in the UK moan about taking bikes on trains. I know its not ideal, but just try Japan. [...]

Yebbut people in the UK are far more likely to compare with our neighbours, which are all better at it than us as long as you stick to regional trains. On high-speed services, the UK has limited space and an annoying reservation system but it carries more undismantled bikes - but unlike our neighbours, some old routes are only served by so-called high-speed services (Norwich-Diss-Stowmarket being one).

I just spent a couple of hours today holding bikes up on an Electrostar local train. The limited bike spaces were already full (with bikes this morning and luggage this afternoon) but at least nobody minded us using a wheelchair bay this morning and the offside doorways this afternoon. As I've said before, I'd buy a bike ticket if it meant having a decent space (so like BE/NL/LUx), but I probably couldn't reserve on a trip like today's.

So I'm also interested in Rinko type A (Adaptations). It looks to me like undoing the stem and twizzling the forks backwards would make a smaller package and escape attention on all but the busiest trains, but I've got mudguards to deal with, so I'm especially interested in Brucey's ideas. I'm also interested in packing, as it seems that Rinko bags are more of just a cover and the carrying handles/straps are attached to the frame not the bag.

Types A, B and C: Adapted, Break-away and Compact?
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simonhill
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Re: the art of bicycle folding/packing for transport; modifications for rinko etc.

Postby simonhill » 23 Apr 2019, 6:58pm

mjr wrote:
simonhill wrote:Rinko - spawn of the Devil.

Why do you feel that?



I thought I explained in the following paragraph of that post. Basically to take a bike on public transport in Japan, you need to Rinko - that's if you are allowed to take it at all due to the very limited luggage space.

It may be a neat technical solution and thanks to Brucey for his detailed descriptions, but its not something I want to do when touring. Imagine if it was obligatory in the UK and maybe Europe. That is why I call it the spawn of the Devil.

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Re: the art of bicycle folding/packing for transport; modifications for rinko etc.

Postby mjr » 23 Apr 2019, 10:03pm

simonhill wrote:
mjr wrote:
simonhill wrote:Rinko - spawn of the Devil.

Why do you feel that?



I thought I explained in the following paragraph of that post. Basically to take a bike on public transport in Japan, you need to Rinko - that's if you are allowed to take it at all due to the very limited luggage space.

It may be a neat technical solution and thanks to Brucey for his detailed descriptions, but its not something I want to do when touring. Imagine if it was obligatory in the UK and maybe Europe. That is why I call it the spawn of the Devil.

It wasn't clear that's what you meant and, anyway, isn't that getting it backwards, or did Rinko exist before train luggage restrictions?
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Re: the art of bicycle folding/packing for transport; modifications for rinko etc.

Postby mjr » 24 Apr 2019, 8:09am

https://wiki.aalto.fi/download/attachme ... 527&api=v2 is one description of a pretty full rinko type A packing.
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Re: the art of bicycle folding/packing for transport; modifications for rinko etc.

Postby thirdcrank » 24 Apr 2019, 8:39am

Can anybody say with any confidence how much rinko-based cycling there is in Japan? (I'm particularly interested in the cycling bit, rather than the clever ways of packing a bike.)