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stiff steering solved (a-bike plus)

Chat about your A-Bike, post details of your exploits, ask advice from other owners, etc.

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stiff steering solved (a-bike plus)

Postby Job on Mon Jun 15, 2009 10:13 pm

I've had my a-bike plus for a week now, and I am still very much intrigued by it.
What an interesting piece of engineering!

But I haven't been riding it much, because I found the steering too stiff.
In fact so stiff that riding it was as much a workout for my arms as for my legs.
Avoiding obstacles was really hard work, requiring all my attention (and I am a true Dutchman, a cycle every day!)
I read some other posts saying that it would improve after a while, but I thought I'd rather improve it straight away.

So I watched the video's on abikesupport.ning.com and learned how to take the front assembly apart.
Then I carefully inspected the plastic bearings and their seatings:
There were sharp edges everywhere!
In my opinion these sharp edges would dig in the soft plastic bearings, and cause unnecessary friction. So I took a sharp knife and carefully scraped these edges round (just enough to take the sharpness away).

On the lower bearing there was even a casting number protruding against the soft bearing, so I scraped that off as well.

Another suspect was the tie-wrap that holds the rear brake cable to the top bar. It has a really long tail that's stuck back in the hole. It ended up wrapped around the top bearing.
So I bent it so it would stick the other way (in the direction of the saddle).

I didn't use a lubricant yet.

After assembly it was a day-and-night difference:
The steering is now almost as light as a normal bike.
Now I can finally a-bike with one hand, using the other to indicate direction / hold a bag / camera / umbrella /etc.
Even braking with one hand is possible now, although I was almost thrown off by the braking force of the rear brake.
Also avoiding obstacles is now as easy as on my normal bike.
Now I can really enjoy riding my a-bike!

So if you have the stiff steering problem, don't despair.
It is a bit of a hassle, but follow the steps in the video to take the front assembly apart, scrape off the sharp edges of the seats of the bearings, reassemble following the video again, and you'll be rewarded by nice and light steering!

Job
Job
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:15 pm
Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Re: stiff steering solved (a-bike plus)

Postby Artefex on Tue Jun 16, 2009 8:33 pm

Ah good, theres at least one other person in Amsterdam who has an Abike!
Interesting problem. The steering on mine is only a little stiff but might be worth trimming any edges anyway (Bearings may last longer).
Artefex
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2009 3:47 pm

Re: stiff steering solved (a-bike plus)

Postby Job on Wed Jun 17, 2009 10:01 am

Hi Artefex,

I was wondering about A-bike riders in Amsterdam, cause I haven't seen them yet.
(only a lady in the Bijenkorf who just bought one).
And I found the name of the bike rather appropriate for the city!

Do you have your A-bike long?
Do you ride it often?

Any mods?

Mine has got a rattling chain, and since yesterday started having the dreaded spiral groove in the rear tyre. And I only have it for a week..
I don't dare to ride it now, so I've contacted abike-shop.nl; hope they can help.

Job
Job
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:15 pm
Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Re: stiff steering solved (a-bike plus)

Postby Artefex on Wed Jun 17, 2009 10:39 am

Had mine about a month now and ride it most days. I work near Schipol and usually have to take two busses, so I started using the Abike instead of the second bus now that the weather is good.

Its much better than any other bike for taking on public transport but there does seem to be some luck involved with the manufacturing quality!

Not had any serious problems yet. Chain was also loose but I changed it to the High tension setting. I think it says somewhere in the manual that it is supposed to be slightly loose and mine is now completely tight, but it rides better and makes no noise.

Not made any serious mods yet, just adjusting the brakes and changing the hand grips, but I will start a new post with some pictures.
Artefex
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2009 3:47 pm

Re: stiff steering solved (a-bike plus)

Postby Job on Mon Jun 29, 2009 9:19 pm

Unfortunately the stiff steering has returned.
So I will take the front fork apart again, and lubricate the bearings.
I'll try teflon spray, I think it should be ok on the plastic.

Any better suggestions?

Job
Job
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:15 pm
Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Re: stiff steering solved (a-bike plus)

Postby jojo on Mon Aug 24, 2009 7:29 pm

Hi Job!
So, did you have a chance to look again at the stiff steering problem? I just received my A-bike and also found steering was very stiff.
Greetings from Barcelona.
Jojo.
jojo
 

Re: stiff steering solved (a-bike plus)

Postby Job on Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:25 pm

Hi JoJo,

I just returned from abroad, and I've only had one chance to ride my a-bike.
The steering was still stiff, even with some teflon spray lubrication.

I suspect it has something to do with misalignment of the components due to play in the frame, but I'm not sure.
So I'm going to visit the Dutch a-bike import company tomorrow, I hope they have a solution!

So more news in a day or two.

Job
Job
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:15 pm
Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Re: stiff steering solved (a-bike plus)

Postby Artefex on Wed Aug 26, 2009 8:15 pm

I also improved the stiff steering by by taking apart the bearings and smoothing every part that touches the bearings. They seem to be designed with only the inner surface as the sliding part, but if the outside of the bearing can also move smoothly that halves the resistance. If one surface sticks a bit the other will still move.
I tried a Silicon spray lubricant rather than Teflon and it seems to have done the trick. Now the steering is still well smooth after 3 weeks.
Artefex
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2009 3:47 pm

Re: stiff steering solved (a-bike plus)

Postby jojo on Thu Aug 27, 2009 10:21 pm

Hi Job and Artefex!

Thanks a lot for your answers! It's nice to see that there's a nice people around you willing to help you solve your problems!! :-)

Anyway, Job, I'm very curious to know what the Dutch distributor thinks about this problem. Please post a little note here as soon as you have some fresh news!! :-) A couple of days ago I sent a message to a-bike.co.uk about this but unfortunately I didn't receive a reply yet. Of course I will post it here as soon as I hear back from them.

Artefex, thanks for your advice. This weekend I will hopefully have the time to take apart the front assembly and see if there's something wrong with it. By the way, is your unit a 1st generation A-bike or an A-bike Plus?

Just for your information, our friend newcross re-uploaded today the pictures of his very interesting post about this subject:
viewtopic.php?t=176
(Thanks a lot newcross!!)

Again, thank you all guys. You are just great!!

Cheers,

jojo
jojo
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 9:50 pm

Re: stiff steering solved (a-bike plus)

Postby Navyfarm on Sun Aug 19, 2012 2:36 am

I am happy new A-bike owner, however, when I first got the bike I was not so happy....the steering was far too stiff. To make matters worse the stiffness varies with loading on the steering bearings. The problem was particularly bad with going up on down hill.
I took the advice found here, and I lubricated the upper and lower bearings with a wax-based cycling lubricant. What a difference. My A-bike is now a joy to ride.
I recommend that the manufacturers lubricate these bearings before shipping.
Navyfarm
 

Re: stiff steering solved (a-bike plus)

Postby Unocorma on Sat Nov 24, 2012 7:14 pm

I also experienced a stiff steering on the A-Bike City I received a couple of weeks ago. I solved the problem just lubricating the upper and lower plastic bearings of the steering with a PTFE spray.
Unocorma
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:46 am

Re: stiff steering solved (a-bike plus)

Postby rickywkc on Thu May 16, 2013 2:20 pm

I tried in this way. I think its better than ever & should works for every a-bike!

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=176&p=5068#p6496
rickywkc
 


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