After seeing how much grit was around the steering head bearings, I wanted to pull the whole bike down to clean and re-grease everything. I had some dramas at first, trying to undo the notched lock rings that hold the steering stem in place as they are difficult to access. After some penetrating catalyst and gentle taps with a hammer and punch they came free. The steering head itself has a similar lock ring which is easier to access with a C-spanner once the head stem is off.
The steering column and seat post that folders use are arrangements of sliding tubes with matching ridges and grooves that use plastic inserts to slide on when the quick releases are unlocked. This maintains the straight alignment of the handlebars and seat when folding/unfolding.The Dahon’s steering head itself is unusually squat, with large diameter caged bearings similar to a one-piece crank.
I also disassembled, cleaned and re-greased the pedals then re-assembled them. Putting copper-slip compound on the threads makes them easier to remove for later servicing. I originally thought that the pedals were mismatched because one was not a folder, but have since discovered that some Dahons were made this way with one rigid and one folding pedal. The folding one has caged ball bearings while the fixed has loose ones. The pedals on a bicycle are are highly stressed components in a vulnerable position for dirt and water entry and subject to various knocks and scrapes, so it’s sometimes a wonder that they can last as well as they often do, without attention.
The front hub has now been rebuilt with new bearings. I think I was lucky here because it is unusually narrow and a replacement hub may have been hard to get, had I needed one. I have “pimped” the wheels with some blue anodised valve caps that I had, and some vintage wing nuts on the front wheel just for fun.
Here is the frame disassembled, to show how it breaks down. There was so much surface rust that I have had to repaint it with a close colour match and treat the inside with fish oil spray.
I hope this gives more of an idea of how this little folder works – it’s something new for me as well.