Sunday, March 24, 2013

First Ride of the Cruzigami Mantis

We got back Friday from Vermont and it was much warmer here in Connecticut.  No snow on the ground. Saturday I tried to go out for my maiden voyage with the Cruzigami Mantis, but that wasn't meant to be.  I hadn't done a great job of making sure everything was tight after unloading the bike from the car.  I pulled into a drive way about half a block from my house to tighten things where I learned a new way to destroy a brake cable.

Front triangle.  Red arrow points to the where I have the cables threaded and where I smooshed the rear brake cable.

Close up shot of where I pointed to in above picture.  Notice the silver bolt.  When the triangle is not attached, it is possible for a cable to get in between the bolt and the wall and it will get smooshed if one is not paying attention.

I had removed the stem and the triangle of the front of the bike to tighten the Delta stem riser.  When I put the front triangle back on, I wasn't paying attention and it got smooshed between the wall and the silver bolt above. The brake cables are lined with metal and when I crushed it, it grabbed hold of the brake cable, effectively freezing my rear brake.

This morning, I took the monkeys to the local REI and bought a new brake cable and housing as well as a shorter seat post (27.2 mm diameter for those with a Origami Mantis).  I got the cable and seat post installed (lowering the seat angle somewhat) this afternoon, pumped the tires up to 100 PSI and went off for a ride.

The ride went quite well; I am very pleased with how the bike rides. The bike feels very similar to my Cruzbike Sofrider - I can ride this one with no hands as well.  I have the two bikes geared almost identically with the same pedals.  I averaged just under 12 mph which is just a bit better than I've been doing recently on similar rides.

Towards the end of the ride, I heard a thump-thump-thump noise coming from the front.  I could tell something was off with the front wheel, but I was close to home and made it there without incident. When I got home, I realized the front tire is not doing well at all.

Picture of where the tire is falling apart.

In one area, the casing of the tire is starting to separate from the base.

Video of tire rotating.  You can see the bulge in the tire (watch it periodically obscure the "Kool" on the brake pade.  The bulge causes a thump-thump noise when riding.

As you can see from the above video, you can see a bulge when that area of the tire rotates around.  I don't have an explanation except manufacturing defect (I rode less than 1 mile on the tire before today where it was inflated to 50 PSI).  I'll report it to Schwalbe and see what they say.

A slightly disappointing end to my maiden voyage, although it would have been a lot worse if the tire had blown, so I think I'll consider myself lucky.  I'm very pleased with how the bike came together and how it handles on the road.

Me on the Cruzigami Mantis.


  1. Too bad about the tire there...but you can ride the conversion no-hands? Wow! I've been on my Giro for over a year now, and still can't go no-hands. Back in my DF days, no-hands was no problem, but not now!

    1. It's much easier to go no-hands on a MBB bike because I can steer with my feet. I found for a short distance, I could even go no hands even without being clipped in (which surprised me a little).

  2. That is very cool! I am tempted to make one of my own.

  3. Nice work Charles. I look forward to reading more as you refine your conversion.