Oyama Bloomsbury 2010

Real life bike and gear tests

Oyama Bloomsbury 2010

Postby CommuRider » Sat Apr 09, 2011 8:49 am

Name of product
Oyama Bloomsbury 2010 20’’ Champagne Folding Bike. I call it the folding bike with “nearly” all the bells and whistles.

Where bought and price
CRC (but this transaction - like many others on here - was hit by their credit card fraud issue).

Ths bike is directed at the EU market so it has Bloomsbury Oyama.EU on the bike. Oyama’s 2010 range is named after some tube stations in NYC and London hence the Bloomsbury for this one. It’s in their classics range, with St. James the other one (has a 3-speed nexus hub). AFAIK, not available in Australian markets but appears on the Oyama EU website (they have a Dutch importer). Oyama is a Taiwanese brand (after founder Oyama Wang) not Japanese and the bike is made in Taiwan. I paid GBP375.19 and this roughly converts to AUD590

How it is used
I’ve only had it for a week and am using it for an easy, leisure ride. It will not be my commuter substitute as my commuting bike (road bike, heavily modified) is faster and has the proper set up for commuting with the rear panniers. This will be for little weekends away and where space is a premium.

Description
It’s a folding bike under 13kg. Main specs: 7-speed Shimano Nexus hub, Alex Rims and Tektro brakes. It features mudguards, kickstand, rear rack, front and rear lights, front and rear reflectors, plastic chainguard, a tinker bell. It was delivered by CRC within 7 business days. The bike was packed straight (not folded) and you have to attach the seat, the front light and the foldable pedals. Pretty straightforward to assemble for someone so unmechanical like me. You need to lube and grease all the parts as CRC doesn’t do it for you. The generic Chinese tyres needed to be pumped up (recommendation of 35-45 psi; up to 310kpa), wheels have a high spoke count.

As this is my first folder it has taken me a while to adjust to the different seating position required. I will probably keep on adjusting the seat and handlebar post (do I sit forward or take a more relaxed position) until I find the right angle/seat/comfort. My legs are far more forward like a cruiser as the pedals are the ones you’d find on an Electra or such. I haven’t had a windy day yet on it which could be a factor as I know someone on a folder and riding in the wind just doesn’t cut it for him and his wee bike. I am adjusting to the smaller turning circle (way smaller than in a ‘proper’ bike which is a bit unnerving), how fast the wheels go and the sound they make with their revolutions going down a hill as it makes a different noise to my commuter.

In form, the bike looks pretty cool. It looks streamlined, well designed and I like bikes that look like pieces of art. I feel good when it looks good and vice versa.

Positives
It folds, saves space and practically anyone can use it regardless of height. The seatpost and handlebars are adjustable so that a short and tall person can use it which helps if I want to go riding with someone who isn’t really much of a cyclist. It’s a good spare bike for visiting friends and relos. The suggested height and weight limits are 85kg and 185cm. I think anyone taller will mean potential suffering from vertigo.

I have only folded the bike a couple of times but it’s intuitive. Basically there are three major folds – the front post (stem joint), the middle to fold the body, and the handlebar. You push levers to release the locks. The other two adjustments are lowering the handlebar and seat posts. And that’s about it. I’m amazed how quickly it is to fold it no wonder why there are so many folder enthusiasts! Sure, my folding isn’t neat or the folder won’t be as neatly folded as say the Strida, but for placing it in the boot of my car when one is in a rush, I am pretty content with the ease of folding.

I like the little things that they have thought of with this bike too: the subtle touches. I like the ‘spacer’ (I don’t know what you call it) which separates the fiddly brake wires neatly and tidily – kinda like what you have for all the computer wires that go everywhere; the kickstand that folds up as you start riding (if you forget to put it up); and the magnet on the rear hub that joins up with the front wheel hub so it closes “neatly”. Don’t know if these little things are standard for all folding bikes but I liked these “accoutrements.” So yes, this bike pretty much ticks the boxes for me.

Negatives
The white seat and white handle grips. White just attracts the dirt, the mess and I wear black tights, black lycra shorts, black pants, black gloves...and they smudge. Cool idea but totally impractical. I have a spare saddle and handle bar grips so likely to replace them pretty soon. Front light is well designed as it is placed near the front wheel where it bookends the front mudguard....but in function the light is pretty wussy. I have a 900 lumen light for my commuter bike and I know it’s unfair to compare but the light they have for the Bloomsbury doesn’t quite cut the mustard around the bike paths I ride along especially when riding in the dark. Funnily enough, their rear light is pretty good and is encased so looks pretty waterproof. Because my commuter has a suspension seat post, I am feeling the bumps more with this one.

Additional notes
Each bike has its own limitations and knowing what they are will help you decide when you purchase a bike. This is how I will eventually accessorise or ‘improve’ the bike:
- nice looking luggage (preferably leather) that will sit on top of the rear rack. It can carry up to 20kg (I had my son stand up on top of it to test the weight/mass)
- mirrors (I feel blind without them now!)
- light/mobile charger dynamo hub for the front wheel
- nice looking bike bag to carry this around
- bottle cage
- lock?
- maybe an Airzound (though that could be rather extreme being on a folder)
- pedals

Recommendation
Strong buy if your needs are similar to mine. So only buy after you know what you want in a folding bike. I wanted a folding bike that shared the same features as my commuter. So I see this as a mini-me to my commuter bike eventhough they look nothing alike. I’ve modified my commuter to suit my needs and this folding bike has most of the stuff I want in a bike now.

I have surfed the web for comparable bikes – Brompton, Dawes, Dahon. What irritates me (as I’ve mentioned in previous topics) is that some of their bikes aren’t available in the Aussie market. As a recent convert to the joys of riding with an internal-speed hub, folding bikes which have a 7-speed (and up) are at least twice this price. A Brompton with a basic 3-speed was a couple of hundred dollars more than this. I was looking at the Dahon XXV in magnesium (!) but it has a rear derailleur and not available here. The award-winning Dahon Mu and Vitesse were also the two I was looking at but the LBS I rely on didn’t have them or they are not available in this country. Hence, in terms of cost and convenience I’m pretty happy with the Bloomsbury. Perhaps I will test-drive a Brompton or one of the upper range Dahon (preferably lighter weight) one of these days to compare. Dahon has better tyres so they’d probably go faster than this one. But really, I am not in a hurry since this folding bike suits my needs and expectations.

OVERALL SCORES

Quality Image

- 9 (ticks most of the boxes for me)

Performance Image

- 8 (in a folder you have no chance of racing against a CF speed freak)

Value for money Image Image Image

- 9 (I have looked at similar other folders and they are 2x, 3x the price of this one with similar specs but happy to be proven wrong)

Photography's not my forte but here are shots I have taken of the bike in the morning. (Armory, Parramatta River)

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Amateur oenologist and green-friendly commuter.
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CommuRider
 
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Joined: Sat Sep 25, 2010 6:16 pm
Location: Sydney

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