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Previewing Small Wheeled Bicycle Handling using a Scooter as a Test Mule

Updated on February 9, 2013

A-bicycle and scooter

A-bike with test scooter preview vehicle.
A-bike with test scooter preview vehicle.
Scooter and A-bike wheel study.
Scooter and A-bike wheel study.

Small Wheeled Bicycle Testing

I was looking at the internet and found the A-bike design. I have a detailed report on the bike on another hub but I wanted to share with others the process I used to see if the bike was worth even looking at. This article deals with things I did to figure out if the price of the bike was even worth paying to buy it.

The first things I did was to look at some of the specs the bike had. The bike combined the gearing of a bike with the smaller wheel size of a scooter.

I first looked at the amount of inches the bike had. I found this to be 42 gear inches. To see how this low gear setting felt, I looked up my gearing on my 12 speed ride bike. I used the smaller 42 chain ring and the rear 26 gear setting on rear gear cluster. This gives a 1.62 gear ratio. The inch number one gets is 44 gear inches. Once I had this set-up, I rode the bike without shifting gears. I got the feel of how the pedalling cadence would act on the A-bike. The A-bike design has 140 mm length arms compared to the 170 mm on the road bike so there would be a small amount of differences between the two bikes but not too much. The real difference on the frame design is the fact that the A-bike uses a multi-sectioned frame while the road bike uses a welded aluminium rigid frame. The road bike gives a far more rigid, powerful ride quality. The difference in wheel sizing gave two different road handling.

In order to figure out the way the bike would feel on the road, I used kids scooter as a test base to feel how the smaller wheels felt on varoius surfaces The wheel size on the scooter is only 100 mm in diameter, half the size of the A-bike copy I bought. I did find the ride quality on the rough side on some of the roads where I live. This gave a very good sampling of what to expect on the A-bike design. The scooter is also much lighter then a bike giving a lighter handling qualities. I was expecting air-filled tires on the bike I bought but it was equipped with solid tires just like the scooter. It put me off a bit but figured that at least I did not to worry about flat tires. The scooter test provided me with a good test how the bike I bought was going to feel. It helped me out greatly that the bike was now worth looking into.

After using two different types of vehicles, I had to get a since in my head of what the A-bike would feel like. For this was really nothing I could ride. I had to imagine in my mind how the frame would be like. After seeing the many folding points, I saw a frame that had a bit of sway to it. The bike type is designed in a way that hard riding will reduce the life span of it. The bike is also very light in weight making it easy to handle like a scooter. The bike was going to be slow as well based on the data I got from the road bike gearing test rides.

Putting all of this data together helped me think out the fact that this neat folding bike was a worthy buy. Having clocked 100 km on it with a few small minor problems cropping up, I was comfortable buying this bike. Seeing just how different the A-bike design is from a normal bike, using the gearing base off of the road bike and the smaller sized vehicle based scooter for wheel size testing helped me get a bike I like to use a lot now for short trips.


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