Fed up with my broken Strida (Toronto CANADA)

Not sure if this should go under “reports” or “problems”, but as I have a problem and I need it fixed NOW, I thought I’d put it here.

Last year I bought a Strida 5.0 at savedbybikes.com. It ran great for the first few months under light use. Then I began a daily 6km commute to school five days a week, which involves a lot of uphill climbing. It went well for a while, but then I decided to ride it during rainy weather multiple times. This was when the problems began. No one ever told me that the Strida would break down in rain.

First, the bike started to make a clicking noise while pedaling. I posted in this thread and Blackstridaaustria was very helpful in giving an answer. However, I have still not yet applied this fix, as the job is too complicated; I’m hoping that a bike shop can do this for me.

Second, the Strida’s freewheel stopped being silent. Before it was silent when it was cruising and when it was folded up and being wheeled around. Now it makes a clicking noise similar to a standard bike.

Third, the belt started to slip sometime in November. This affected mostly my acceleration, but it also made my Strida choke during uphill climbs, which greatly affected my daily commute. I e-mailed Mr. Inniss, the proprietor of savedbybikes.com, and he said it was more of a snubber adjustment issue than increasing the belt tension. He gave me some vague instructions (adjust the snubber) which I couldn’t do because I didn’t have the right equipment. I told him to come down and repair it for me, and I would even pay to have it fixed. He said he wouldn’t come down until another person in Toronto purchased a bike. Three months passed before that happened, but in the meantime over Christmas, I took the bicycle to Urbane Cyclist, a shop that specializes in commuter and folding bicycles. They moved the belt tension from middle to maximum, but said that my freewheel needed replacement. They couldn’t replace it for me because the Strida uses proprietary parts. I showed them the email about the snubber adjustment and they dismissed it.

By increasing belt tension, I noticed that it took more effort to pedal, but the slipping was mostly gone. This worked… for 2 weeks. Then the slipping came back, but the pedaling still took extra effort.

Finally, Mr. Inniss came down in February and serviced my Strida. He said that Urbane Cyclist “didn’t know what they were doing” and that by increasing belt tension to maximum, they stretched the belt. He said the freewheel was fine. He kept the belt tension at maximum (because it’d slip too much at lower tension due to the stretching), then adjusted the snubber inward. Unfortunately, even with the snubber pushed inward all the way, there was still a noticeable gap between the snubber and the the belt, which Mr. Inniss said was not normal. He told me that it wasn’t entirely fixed, and that I’d probably need a followup in Spring. But the slipping was reduced to a minimum. I noticed a Strida in the back of his car which was completely pimped out with the alloy freewheel and pedals. I inquired him about that, and he said that he his customers have never had a plastic freewheel go bad, and that the Strida was very durable. Apparently, my case was uncommon. Maybe I should’ve asked him to upgrade my Strida right there, but I didn’t.

Of course, with the amount of usage that my Strida gets, it was only a matter of time before it acted up again. The service fix lasted about 2.5 months, and now it’s slipping yet again, but with belt tension at max and the snubber pushed in all the way, what is there to do now? I emailed Mr. Inniss again a week ago, but as of this writing, he has not responded. Looking at savedbybikes.com now, I notice that he has no more Stridas for sale and that the site hasn’t been updated in a while. He’s gone AWOL.

I still need my Strida for most of my transportation needs, so my current makeshift fix is to wrap duct tape around the snubber, thus enlarging its circumference so that it can actually touch the belt. This has helped it somewhat, but as I have learned from above, it’s only a matter of time before this makeshift fix fails. I need a permanent solution.

So to recap: currently I have a stretched-out belt, the belt tension is at maximum so I have to exert more effort into pedaling, there is a clicking noise when I pedal, and the freewheel is no longer silent. And I can’t accelerate fast or go uphill at all.

This Strida was purchased on May 11 of last year, which means my 1-year warranty will expire in two weeks. My guess is that Mr. Inniss wants to run me out of my warranty, and then I’ll be shit out of luck.

It must be nice to live in Singapore, or Hong Kong, or Europe, where there’s actual support for the Strida. I can’t recommend that anyone in Canada purchase one if there’s only 1 lame-duck distributor who will only do a half-assed job of supporting his customers. Now I feel like I’ve been ripped off, having spent $750 on a bike that’s more fragile than a $100 Made in China bike from Canadian Tire. Maybe I should’ve just spent the extra money on a Bike Friday Tikit. At least the bike shops around here can service THAT.

Please tell me if there’s any hope for me to actually have my Strida serviced before the 1-year warranty is up. Thank you.

Pics included below:

Dear verycherry,

thanks for your detailed report, I’m sad to hear that you have so much trouble.
But, I’m sorry to say, I mean that you’ve too high expectations for a simple bike in general.
Also I am sure that there is no bike on the market which can be ridden during rain, many miles and for a long time without any maintenance and/or care.
If you have issues with your bike and you’re unable to fix it yourself (which is absolutely OK, not everyone is a bike mechanic and I do respect that), you should take time and insist on the fixing of issues by an experienced bike shop in time.
I think it’s not the best idea to ride on and on without maintenance.
Above might sound rude and I beg your pardon, but I do not really understand that you were unable to find a helpful bike shop in a big city like yours.
You wrote about the clicking noise problem at October and could not find somebody to fix it since half a year?

However, I would like to help, therefore your report was forwarded immediately to Mrs. Sara T. of Ming Cycle, hopefully a reply will come soon.
Moreover that, I could offer you the spare parts which seem to be worn out - belt and metal freewheel are in my private stock - but sadly I am not owner of a bike shop, you would have to pay for the parts.

The most important thing you have to do yourself - to find a helpful and experienced bike store which is willing and able to do the installing and also upcoming maintenance and care operations.

Thank you for the response.

I believe there are only 2 bike shops in Toronto that even specialize in folding bicycles: Urbane Cyclist and Curbside Cycle. Curbside Cycle is interesting in that they were the distributor of Strida bicycles in Toronto before savedbybikes.com, but pulled out for some reason.

If Urbane Cyclist failed to service my bicycle (and made it worse) because the mechanics have never seen it before, do you really think that any other bike shop will actually listen to what I have to say and fix it properly? The reason I haven’t brought it to another bike shop is that they’d all say the same thing that the Urbane Cyclist has: “this bike uses proprietary parts so we cannot repair it.” The belt drive is a curse: no bike shop knows how to deal with it. How would the bike shop order parts?

I will go to Curbside Cycle today and show them this thread because they’re my last hope. Hopefully now that I’ve written all my issues down here, it’ll be easier to communicate everything. If Curbside Cycle can repair my Strida, I’ll be forever grateful and I’ll write a heap of praise here.

If a bikeshop is not able to order parts - who else should be able??

Imagine a Chrysler car mechanic: If he would tell you not to be able to change your Dodge’s water pump because it is proprietary, what would you think about him?

Maybe I am not the usual customer (I would say I’m a bit more interested than usual - nothing else), but I am able to order (nearby) every Strida part which is still in production.
If I cannot get parts from the Netherlands then I order from Hong Kong directly, also I have parts from USA and Malaysia (rarely ordered).

I believe that is not a matter of ability, that’s a matter of will!

Surely that cannot be big business for a bike store, but I mean some stores do not recognize the importance of word-of-mouth advertising from satisfied customers (or they think not to need it because they’re “big” enough).

Wow that bike is in pretty worn out condition. I’m in Toronto also but my strida 5.0 was bought before savedbybikes was even in business and I learned to maintain things myself, after 1 year updated to the 18 inch wheelset with the metal freewheel. The real funny thing is that my bike has been doing 3.5 year (so far 6500km’s) of DAILY (6km each way) commuting for the spring/summer/fall seasons and so far there’s nothing wrong with it yet that I can’t ride. This is on top of those 60km charity group rides. around the summer that I use the strida for. I use it like it’s my only bike.

If I show you my bike it’s in very clean condition, any bike be it tikit of brompton would eventually break also without proper maintenance and cleaning. I find if you ride in the rain you should hose off the belt afterwards because you attract dirt to it which eats the plastic freewheel in the back like sandpaper. And you kept riding it regardless of the situation made it worse in the long run especially with urbane maxing out the tension that would just exasperate the problem (belt drives are supposed to be on with minimal tension) the guys at urbane treated it like a chain bike because they never dealt with belts in their store. I think people can’t take Mark Sanders literally when he says it’s totally maintenance free, it’s like every other bike that needs tuning and cleaning every so often.

I have to say this though:

After the first year of riding I changed out my plastic freewheel for the metal freewheel and that should be standard on the strida I think. The plastic freewheel was more of a design error and should never have been on a $600+ bike in the first place, I noticed quite alot of wear on the teeth of my old freewheel because the belt is made of kevlar and a harder substance than the plastic freewheel, the front doesn’t need to be changed out since i’m still on my first one even though I kept a spare chainwheel and belt I never had to use it yet with minimal wear. But once I changed the rear freewheel from a plastic to a metal I noticed my belt skips alot LESS! and with 18 inch wheels I had more tension when climbing even higher inclines!

I can’t tell you what’s wrong with your bike, one would need to ride around with it before they can make a judgement on it. You might need a new freewheel because I bet the teeth on it are pretty ground down, BUT if you are crazy enough you can take it to urbane and tell the guys to change the belt drive to a chain drive! I think you can easily attach a chain drive chain wheel and freewheel to it. Has anyone tried such a thing? with that you will never have belt skipping problems again! but then have fun with chain maintenance that’s a whole other matter, ride that in the rain without maintenance and it will turn into a beautiful rusty colour for you. :slight_smile:

Thanks Edd, you’ve brought some good ideas in the discussion, I mean.
A completely worn out plastic wheel might also explain the big gap between freewheel and snubber bearing, assumed that the teeth are smaller now. This would also explain the steady slipping of the belt.
Possibly the belt is in fact not elongated, but due to the, now smaller, diameter of the freewheel it is impossible to achieve proper tension.

There should be no way in hell he can stretch the drive belt at all! it’s made of kevlar for CARs!

to try to stretch any thing on it the belt would have to snap since kevlar isn’t elastic.

Your reply comes off as rather pompous and arrogant. I couldn’t care less how meticulous you take care of your Strida; not all of us are willing to clean every nook and cranny with a toothpick. That’s not even the main issue. The main issue is that the ONLY official distributor of Strida bicycles in Canada is unresponsive and will not service its customers at all, whether their bikes are under warranty or not. If Ming Cycle wants their bicycles to become more popular worldwide, they should do something about the distributor problem. When I purchased my Strida, I wasn’t given the option of an alloy freewheel. I didn’t even know they existed until I came here. Plus I was fed a number of bogus claims by Mr. Inniss, such as the Strida needing little maintenance other than tires and tubes, and that it’s an excellent winter bicycle. Suuuuuuure.

And how was I supposed to know that Urbane Cyclist would make my Strida worse? I went to a bike shop that specializes in commuters and folders, and their mechanics failed. I am a student who lives in an area with poor TTC coverage, so I had no choice but to keep using my Strida as it wore down. If you want to pay for my taxi rides (because the TTC sure won’t get me to school in 30 minutes like my Strida) then I will gladly give you my PayPal details.

The difference is that I can buy a Brompton or a Bike Friday Tikit in person at a local bike shop, and if there’s a problem with it, I can go to that bike shop and have it serviced right away. I can’t do that with my Strida. I only bought the Strida because it was the lightest and least expensive of the three by a huge margin ($750 vs. $1600). I guess I got what I paid for. Lesson learned.

Anyway, I went to Curbside Cycle and surprise! The mechanic there has actually serviced a Strida in the past. He charged me $60 for a “tune-up” and is aware of the belt slipping problem; we’ll see by tomorrow if everything is OK. I left him a printout of this thread.

Well as pompous and arrogant as I sounded sorry about insulting you but that entirely IS the problem and main issue of your entire belt skipping problem. I had the same problem with my original plastic freewheel and didn’t clean the belt often. The dirt actually ATE away the freewheel teeth like a grinder, and pretty quickly it was screwed because the dang thing skipped alot more than it was new, every minor incline and my belt was skipping away. You can actually see worn flat spots on the freewheel teeth if you look at it closely, as stupid as it sounds the belt CANNOT take dirt on it for long periods of time The snubber to keep the belt contacting the freewheel isn’t that effective by then. Try that in winter instead of just rain and you’ll find out really fast how long it’ll last because of the dirt/salt mix we use for winter mixed with snow. Belt drive has it’s uses and it’s own maintenance schedule but they are not maintenance free. They shouldn’t have sold you saying that you don’t have to do anything.

Curbside used to sell strida’s so they would have previous experience on what to do and I still think your freewheel is pretty worn out by now and if that was the case no amount of tuning can fix it after a certain point. hopefully they can order a new freewheel for you it’s around $30 something for the metal one. Strida’s should never have been sold with a plastic freewheel to begin with, they did that to cut costs cause it’s alot cheaper to pop out a plastic mould than machine a metal piece.

Oh yeah also if you wanted to know how long will your plastic strida freewheel last if you rode it in the winter???

stridaforum.com/forum/viewto … f=2&t=2791

One season! some guy in germany needed it replaced and someone else went through 3 of them already. The problem went away once they all switched to the metal freewheel which seems like you’ll have to do if curbside can order this for you.

According to Sara of Ming cycle is the new US distributor east coast cycle supply.
verycherry’s post was forwarded to eccs today.
(verycherry please see also your pm)

I am the “guy in Germany” and yes, I can confirm that the plastic freewheel got eaten after one winter and that I haven’t had this problem since switching to the alloy freewheel. Too bad about your experience, but now you know and can hopeful prevent the problem from recurring in future. Another tip for winter would be to never allow slush to accumulate around the freewheel or anywhere between the belt and the pulley or snubber. In the right conditions this will turn to ice and cause massive wear (or just stop you in your tracks). If you have to, stop and clear it out, don’t try to ride through it.

And please don’t shoot the messenger (Edd), who is neither pompous nor arrogant, merely very helpful and patient! :slight_smile:

I actually got back my Strida yesterday. Curbside Cycle’s turnaround time was under 4 hours! I don’t know what Eli the mechanic did, but he’s a god. He basically did what the mechanics at Urbane Cyclist couldn’t, and that was fix everything. Curbside Cycle gets my complete praise and recommendation. Anyone in Toronto who needs their Strida serviced should go there and nowhere else.

  • The clicking noise when pedaling isn’t completely gone, but has been drastically reduced
  • The clicking noise from the freewheel is gone
  • Skipping is gone
  • All parts are now magically squeaky-clean
  • He even did some extra stuff; there was a bum spoke on the rear wheel that was there when I first got the Strida; that’s been fixed, too!

The only issue is that belt tension has remained at maximum, and so it now takes much more energy to pedal. I’ll be looking for a hook spanner today and see if I can change belt tension back to medium.

Freewheel appears to be OK, but judge for yourself in these new pics:

The mechanic told me that the belt should be replaced, so I need a new one. I also want to get this alloy freewheel as a preventative measure. So how would I be able to acquire these two parts, seeing as how savedbybikes is dead? Curbside Cycle sadly could not order these parts for me.

This doesn’t help too much as ECCS still lists savedbybikes as the sole Canadian dealer here.

My best regards to your mechanic, but I don’t think so.
First should the plastic freewheel be changed, I mean it’s clearly visible that yours it totally worn out.
And that will be the reason why the belt seems too long now.
(The active diameter of the plastic wheel is much smaller.)

Posted here:
[url]Strida 5.0 upgrade DIY]

you can find pics of a worn out freewheel, these:

and here are pics of a, maybe not brand-new, but much better one:

Do you see the difference between the teeth?
Maybe you should show above pics to your mechanic?

Those pictures are misleading. I don’t believe my plastic freewheel ever had the teeth depth of the alloy freewheel, even when it was new. Open up a new Strida and then take a picture of its freewheel. Obviously the alloy freewheel is better, but I don’t think my plastic freewheel actually sustained much damage, if at all.

Do I have to contact ECCS directly in order to obtain an alloy freewheel?

now you’ve gone too far, that’s enough.

If the pics are misleading, please find better ones by yourself.

If you don’t believe us, you need not ask.

What??? :open_mouth:
You suggest me to disassemble a new Strida?

Edd and StridaD replied to your post to supply help.
I’ve forwarded your post to Ming cycle, and their reply to you via private mail.
I’ve written to Ming cycle and eccs to support you.
Then I’ve forwarded eccs reply to you, also via pm.
I’ve searched for acceptable pics for you and had to load them up to my account.
All this happened without one single “Thanks” from you, moreover you’re attacking us and don’t trust us.

And now you command to disassemble a Strida and take pics for you? :open_mouth:

As you are a student, you should be able to learn.
So, please learn about the meaning of the words respect, thankfulness, acceptance and fairness.

For my part, the discussion has ended here, for the first time in two years of posting I’ll reject to supply help any longer.


You do not believe us but ask again?
Just do as you think…

Finally a warning: Please choose your words in your next post most carefully.

So long!

Above post was locked, which means it cannot be edited without a moderators permission.

LOL butthurt much?

My original post was to ask if there was any way to have my Strida serviced before my warranty expired. It wasn’t an invitation for other elitist Strida users to tell me how and where I should ride my bicycle. I can’t control the weather; I have to commute rain or shine. Guess what, if savedbybikes actually took care of its customers, perhaps my Strida could’ve been repaired long before things got worse!

And yes at this point I find the claim that my plastic freewheel is worn down to be bogus. If that were the case, the Curbside Cycle mechanic would’ve been unable to repair my Strida. But he did repair it. Now that my Strida is repaired, I want to order the alloy freewheel as a preventative measure, not because you claim that my plastic freewheel is currently worn out. When I first got my Strida, my plastic freewheel looked almost exactly as it appears today, and I’ll stand by that. It never had long teeth to begin with.

Sorry Verycherry, but you should respect Blackstrida’s expertise because his conclusion of replacing the freewheel is correct and based on facts:

  • your belt pops up even when excessively tensioned, while according to Mike Sanders, the designer of the Strida, the tension should be as low as possible.
  • the gap between snubber and belt is too large.
  • the belt cannot be tensioned any further.

All these symptoms ,confirmed by your pictures, make us conclude that the teeth of your freewheel are worn out, which leads to a smaller outside diameter of the freewheel.

You can see the teeth profile of a new frewheel on the sides of it, where the belt didn’t wear it:

As belts and plastic freewheels are rather unusual on bikes, it might explain why the Curbside mechanic didn’t notice that it was worn.

That’s very nice and all. However, my argument is that the plastic freewheel was already in this condition when the Strida was brand new. I’m sure it wasn’t used; Mr. Inniss opened the packaging and assembled it in front of my very eyes. At no point did the teeth on the center of the freewheel match the teeth on the sides. In any case, Edd’s right: it’s silly that such an important part is made of plastic.

Also, I’d take Mr. Sanders’ words with a grain of salt: apparently, he thinks the stock saddle on the Strida is comfortable, but I guess all those people who replaced theirs with lovely Brooks saddles disagree.

I haven’t received a response from ECCS yet regarding parts replacement, but when I do, I’ll let everyone know.

Well, according to this ad, it seems that plastic freewheels don’t last long in Toronto:

You should know that the teeth profile on the freewheel, is just the same as the one of the crank wheel, and yes, the teeth are that deep:

But I am sure that the young student will not believe an automotive engineer with 20 years experience. So I will leave this topic as well.

…No it’s not. The teeth in the center were never as tall as the teeth on the sides. Again, open up a new Strida and see for yourself, or visit your dealer and take a picture, because I sure can’t do that. :unamused:

By the way, your engineering experience is irrelevant. For the freewheel issue, all that matters is what Ming Cycle put into the box.