THE CONVENIENT CYCLIST

Where can I test-ride a CHANGE Bike?

Offering the ability to test-ride a CHANGE bike is one of the most challenging aspects of being an Internet-based retailer. While we can deliver bikes anywhere in the country for free and offer a 30-day money back guarantee, it’s not like we’re just down the street for a test ride!

So this past weekend, we had a dry run of a drop-in test-ride opportunity, in Redmond, WA.

There were three requirements:

  1. We needed to offer enough test bikes for useful sizing (at least 5 bikes).
  2. We needed all the other stuff for self-sufficient demoing in any weather.
  3. It all had to fit in one vehicle. And we really mean IN, not on top…

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Five bikes, two chairs, a canopy and banner, a table, a bike stand, a box of components, and music…all INSIDE one vehicle. Try that with any other bike!
The event was somewhat spur-of-the-moment, based on simultaneous requests for riding opportunities in the Seattle area, so we didn’t have much opportunity for communications beyond Craigslist and local flyers.

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So… running with scissors is bad, but what about cycling with a stapler?
Now you see the reason everything needed to be inside the truck. It’s hard to use a bike rack after that promo!

But it all came together fabulously, and gave use the chance to offer a local riding opportunity that can be replicated anywhere within a truck drive, if there’s enough local interest.

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Best of all, we learned something. (We always enjoy learning about customer needs). One of our visitors was Amber, who had been a ride leader for Cascade Bike Club for years and has an affinity for high-end bikes and components. She said—moment of truth for us!–that the quality of the commuter bike ride was better than she expected. Now she was deciding between the commuting bike and the ruggedized hybrid.

More widely useful, she had two observations that can help others as they evaluate CHANGE bikes:

  1. Pop-off pedals aren’t for everyone. Sure, they’re a great way to fold the bike into minimum space, but clip-on pedals aren’t available yet in this format. So if you enjoy the extra power of biking shoes clipped onto pedals, you might consider replacing the pop-off pedals with standard clip pedals, since the threading is standard. One non-removed pedal won’t add any extra space, since it will be inside the folded frame, and the other…well…it will. But you’ll get the usual advantage of clip pedals on a bike that now can fit anywhere.
  2. Hybrid bars aren’t for everyone. Sure, they’re great for the back or for mountain bike-style riding, but for ultimate speed on the way to work–if that’s the way you like to commute–then drop-style bars have to be a consideration. Which leads to the bigger question…

Can we purchase just the CHANGE Bike frame, and then add our own components?

In a word, yes, both as a hybrid/road frame and as a mountain bike frame, each with specific geometries, and each available in both black and white. Note that these are frames only, with no forks:

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The 700c folding frame is made of double-butted aerospace-grade 1005 aluminum in the long-proven triangle shape. Yet it has an internationally patented folding system.
700Csize
CHANGE Bike pays special attention to good riding geometry, with all measurements changing at different sizes.
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The MTB frame is the only folding bike frame in the world to pass the rigorous EN 14766 standard for mountain bike reliability. Think about that on your next jump!
size
Although we at FlatBike typically don’t carry the 18″ size, it can be specially ordered. The CHANGE Bike selection means a good fit for any rider from 5’1″ to nearly 6’8″.

UPDATE (Sep 1): We just heard back from the manufacturer. If you want to order just the frame and add your own components–or turn the commuter bike into a road bike with drop handlebars–you can do it. Each frame retails for $850:

  • Mountain bike frame: 17-inch frame weighs approximately 2.40kg (5.28 lbs), including frame locking device. Also includes: seat post quick release, carry bag, pedals, headset.
  • Commuter bike frame: 460mm frame weighs approximately 2.30kg (5.06 lbs), including frame locking device. Also includes seat post quick release, carry bag, pedals, front & rear brakes, headset.

We also got some great questions about components and custom add-ons that we’ll cover in a later post. And we’ll add more info here after we check out manufacturer’s pricing for frames.

For now, it’s your turn. Is there enough of a “build my own bike” audience out there for us to stock frames? Where should we offer test rides?

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Bob Forgrave
President, Flatbike.com

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