Review: IF Urban 700c foldable bicycle

 IF Urban 700C


 E- Walker are the distributors, and they will let Life Cycle and Simon do most of their sales, although the other dealers do not have any stocks right now.

But it is funny that they do a launch with no stocked and I told their rep. Fu De, who was a warm and pleasant rep.

Right now they do a promotion:
Free wireless direction indicator - worth $80
Free puncture resistant inner tube.

Plus a 5 year warranty with free servicing.

I tried the IF Mode:
Very funky design, the grips and seat are in brown stitched leather - nice. The folding design is radical and very easy to use.
But the gear shift is some design where you kick the peddle, I can't describe it you have to try it to see if it suits you.

It weights 14 plus kg, but feels and handles like a lighter bike.

The IF Urban 26:

This costs $100 than the IF Urban 700C, and weighs 1kg lighter. It also uses a 27 speed shift from Sturmey.

This uses a 26" wheel and the "regular type gears". However I felt it was less smooth than the 700C model. Maybe it's the use of the budget Sturmey brand instead of the Shimano alternatives. Something to upgrade, which even the distributors admitted.

It comes in a white/black combination.

As for my choice the IF Urban 700C:

First, the frame fitted me best. And despite using a budget 8-speed internal gear hub from Sturmey, which didn't rate too highly here:
http://hubstripping.wordpress.com/internal-gear-hub-review/

The gear change and the smoothness was significantly superior to the Urban 26.

The bike really folds very easily and I can slip it into my Honda Civic with some room to spare for bags, shoes etc. It will also fit into my backseat.

Video:


With the internal gear hub, there is also less chance of oil dripping onto my seats or boot floor. Maintainence is however more difficult, but without the multiple gears, I feel that less dirt will be trapped an hence need less cleaning on a day to day basis.

I sit more upright, than the Polygons, and the finish is better, the IF being similar to the Specialised bikes in quality of finish.

Note that there is no kick stand, and only 1 bottle holder.
There is also no attachments for a rear rack for bags.

For more info on Sturmey check this out:
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/sturmey-archer.html

This is a rather frightful hobby... and as expensive as my other ones...
From a budget of $300, it expanded to $990 for the Specialised Sirrus and boom! Now I have just parted with more than 2k... ouch...

This is the only foldable locally with a 700C wheel. Somehow the small ones didn't inspire a lot of confidence, and the IF Reach which was a possible alternative didn't look quite right despite a cheaper price for the basic model.

The attraction was also the internal gear hub, which proved to be smooth and I found these advantages:

Advantages

    Hub-gear systems can change gear ratios when the rear wheel is stationary. This can be useful for commuter cycling with frequent stops and for mountain biking in rough terrain.
    Hub-gear systems are simple to use for inexperienced riders, because there is generally only a single shifter to operate and there are no overlapping gear ratios. By contrast, modern derailleur systems often have two shifters, and require some forethought to avoid problematic gear combinations.
    The mechanism is sealed within the hub and bathed in a lubricant. This protects it from water and grit.
    The single chainline allows for a full chain enclosure chain guard, so the chain is also protected from water and grit.
    The single chainline does not require the chain to bend or twist. As a result, the chain can be constructed differently, with parallel pins instead of barrel-shaped ones.[12] Line-contact between the bearing surfaces, instead the point-contact of a derailleur chain, greatly extends the working life of all components.[citation needed]
    The single external sprocket means that the wheel can be built with less dish making it stronger than a similar wheel dished to accommodate multiple sprockets.
    Hub gears completely avoid the danger of collision with the spokes and wheel-collapse that derailleur systems can suffer.
    Hub gears provide a means for shifting gear ratios on drivetrains incompatible with external deraileurs such as belt drives and shaft drives.


I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

1 comment:

  1. Nice review

    I've now had my Urban IF for 12 months used for commuting through London 20 miles a day. This bike is fast. Even though it's 13 odd kilo's it seems to roll well on pumped up tyres.

    It rides so well I have a couple of Strava segments where the IF has achieved 6th out of 712 riders, so its no slouch. Yes the lack of height adjustment on the handlebars and the front wheel being forward of the steering tube make the ride a little twitchy, but putting tri-bars or extenders on the ends of the bars helps here and it's not a million miles away from my carbon weekend bike.

    The weakness here is the Sturmey Archer 8 speed driven by such a small cog on the front. Due to the 1:1 ratio in 1st (unlike others that have 1:1 in the middle gear) necessitates a small front cog to provide sufficiently low gear to start. This means a lot of torque going through the SA. I have blown the hub twice in a year before Pacific assisted with a Shimano Alfine upgrade. This is truly worlds apart and no longer sounds like a sewing machine in gear 3! This is a great bike and if you want to just remain compliant whilst commuting on the train, then this is the bike for you. If you want a bike that folds into a matchbox then you are going to need to buy a brompton..but you won't be catching up with me on it!

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