My fascination with the Strida started many years ago whilst I was still at school and I saw a prototype (in yellow and black) at a design show in London. I was only young but I wanted one!
Skip forward many years and I happened upon the Strida website whilst looking for a folding bike for my daily commute. I decided to treat myself and ordered a new Strida 5, which arrived last week.
So after a week of ownership, how do I feel?
As I lifted it out of the box, the quality of workmanship was obvious. This is a seriously well crafted piece of kit. Being a man I didn’t bother reading the instructions and within a few moments I was pedalling round my lounge, grinning like a child. Then I spent about 10 minutes just drinking in the design. I think it is an absolute classic.
Since arrival I have been taking it to work on the train daily. Even when the train has been busy, I simply shove the Strida up on the overhead shelves and I’m just like any other train passenger. At the other end, it deals with the cycle to the office without issue, able to hop up and down curbs with no problem. Last night I cycled back from my gym which takes me along unmade public footpaths, through some woods and up a sandy path off-road. I was amazed that it dealt with everything I could chuck at it. OK, it’s never going to do jumps but this is a seriously robust bike. Back at my flat, it takes up no room at all and can just be grabbed as I dash out to work in the morning.
Nevertheless there has been some experimentation and an element of trial and error involved in getting to where I am today. I should probably point out that I’m 6ft 4in (193cm) and weigh about 90Kg so I’m right at the top end of the recommended size for riding a Strida. I took the liberty of ordering the bent handlebars as recommended by Strida.com for taller riders. I did expect these to be fitted upon delivery and was slightly surprised to find them thrown into the box alongside the standard bike with standard bars fitted. Swapping the handlebars was simple enough… until I tried to put the brake levers back on! The standard brake cables aren’t long enough for the new handlebars and I then realised why there was an extra set of cables (which are slightly longer) in the bottom of the box. Following instructions posted on this forum ([url]replacing brake cables???]), I tried to attach the new cables to the old ones and use them to pull the new ones through the frame, but my mixture of string and tape didn’t hold all the way through, leaving me with 2 hours of fiddling and swearing to get everything sorted. Another noteworthy point is that all my other bikes have the rear brake handle on the left-hand side of the handlebars, but when I went to brake hard for the first time, I realised they are factory-fitted the other way around on the Strida and almost shot over the handlebars as the front wheel locked! I resolved this while I was replacing the brake cables.
With all of that done, I could concentrate on getting the saddle in the right position. I’ve managed to fit it high up and move it back an inch or two, but still feel it needs to go back a bit further. On tight turns my knees do knock the bars but I doubt many riders have a 36” inside leg measurement like me! Further experimentation will hopefully resolve this. I have found the standard saddle to be fairly comfortable so far.
I hope I don’t sound too negative because, as I have already said, I’m loving the Strida. If you own one, expect to be stared at and asked lots of questions by passers by. Stridas really stand out against the urban landscape! I’ll give a longer term review soon, once I’ve got a few more miles under my belt.