First Ride on a StreetStrider

April 8th, 2012

Took the StreetStrider to Wilson's Total Fitness to ride in their parking lot since they are closed on Easter. I was a bit afraid of falling and after traveling the first 2' decided to hit the brakes and bail out. But I immediately got back on and then felt a lot more comfortable. I described it as "enjoyable but not to the level of fun yet." After a few straight paths and turning the StreetStrider around while off of it, I decided to try a U-turn. My first attempts at U-turns were extremely wide, but were pretty smooth. I just need to get a feel for how far to lean.

Assembling a StreetStrider Summit 8r

April 7th, 2012

My StreetStrider Summit 8r arrived on Saturday morning. I started assembling it in the afternoon after watching the assembly DVD and reading the manual.

Time Required to Assemble a StreetStrider

The time estimate was 45 to 60 minutes to assemble, but that apparently only applies if you've built a few already. It took us just over 4 hours (half Saturday and half Sunday), but probably only an hour was spent on actual assembly - the rest was re-watching videos and trying to find other videos and information I thought I should have been given but wasn't.

Positioning the Strider Poles

The first unexpected snag occurred when we got to step 5 - positioning the strider poles. None of the included metric hex wrenches would fit the nuts holding the clamps. Fortunately, we had a wrench that did fit.

Installing the Rear Wheel

The next problems occurred when installing the rear wheel. While the video actually shows that the wheel should be placed into the dropouts so that the extended tab on the gray and black non-rotating washers enters first, it doesn't mention that. First inclination is to think that the only placement is to make sure the sprocket is on the same side as the chainring and to pull it back to remove any slack in the chain. That's what I did at first, and then I had to remove the rear wheel and start over. At one point I wondered if the non-rotating washers should have entered the dropouts first, but since it wasn't mentioned in either the video or manual, I didn't give it enough thought.

After the wheel is secured in the dropouts, the next step is to hook up the shifter cable. That's when I realized that my wheel had been installed in the wrong position. The instructions say to insert the 2mm wrench into a hole on the sprocket that is at 9:00. I didn't have a hole at 9:00. Then I realized that there was a cable holder that wasn't in the right position to hold the cable. The photos in the video and manual could be closer and clearer.

The assembly video doesn't really show everything you need to know. From the StreetStrider support page, I found a video showing how to replace the Summit 8r shift cables.

There were also a few other problems with the shifter. A rubber plug on the grip shift was open but I couldn't close it because the cable was right at the opening. After watching the video on replacing the cable, I shifted into 1st gear and pulled the cable about an inch out of that opening, used a pair of pliers to straighten an unwanted bend in the cable that was causing the cable to protrude, and then was able to close the rubber plug after pulling on the other side to get the cable back in the grip shift.

close-up photo showing the tip of the shift cable protruding from a hole in the grip shift
close-up photo showing the tip of the shift cable protruding from a hole in the grip shift

About 1" of the cable was exposed. The video on replacing cables explained that when it was pulled from the opposite end, that the cable housing would be pulled closed. Still seems odd to me, but it worked.

photo showing hitch rack

I thought the cable housing should slide through the metal clamp that holds the cable away from the chain. But actually only the tip of the cable is inserted into the clamp, leaving a curve in the cable housing. The assembly instructions don't even mention putting the cable into this clamp - it is apparently only mentioned in the video on replacing the shift cable.

photo showing the metal clamp that holds the shift cable away from the chain

photo showing the metal clamp that holds the shift cable away from the chain

Adjusting the Rear Brake

The next assembly problem occurred at step 10 - checking brake function. The instructions show using a quick release at step 6 to install the rear wheel. I didn't worry about it then, because my StreetStrider came with the brake pads far enough apart to slide the tire through easily. But now, the brake pads didn't move anywhere near the wheel rim when the lever was pulled and I had no idea if the brake had a quick release and whether or not it was open because the rear brake actually on my StreetStrider was not the same as the ones in the video and manual.

I eventually figured out that the small set of screws and clamps swiveled in and out and was the quick release and even though the caliper arms were widely separated, my quick release was not activated. The cable was just very loose. It is a very long time since I did any of my own bicycle maintenance, so when I closed the caliper arms with my hand, I thought I would need to pull a significant length of cable through the brake, but that really wasn't true. As I squeezed the caliper arms closed with the clamp that holds the cable loosened, the clamp slid up the cable and was in basically the right position. The brakes work now, but I intend to get more advice from a bike shop on adjusting the brake because the lever travels almost all the way to the strider pole and I'd like my brake to be tighter than that. My rear parking brake doesn't work at all and my front parking brake slips sometimes.