Vilano Folding Bike Refurb: Part II


Here’s the Vilano folding bike version Mark I. I replaced the front brake cable and shoes and adjusted for grip and toe-in. The shoes should contact the rims very slightly toe-in to reduce chatter. You can usually close down a Crescent type wrench on the brake arm and adjust it with brute force-just not too much.

vil-brkfrntThen attach new shoes using the 10mm acorn nut. The washer always goes on the nut side. Clamp the brake all the way tight with bungee, clamp or helper, leaving enough threads on the adjuster to back it off the wheel the right distance after you tighten the cable clamp.

The looped but uncut brake cable was for testing only. When the stem and bar is adjusted correctly (for me always as tall as possible) cut the cable to length for safety (Dremel Moto-tool works best for me), and install a cable end cap to prevent stabbing. As Sergeant Major Cheapskate, I use cheap colored electrical wire nuts.


Somebody’s bad goopy black paint job on an alloy seat post. Why? Must have been scarred. So now it’s uglier and more scarred.


The Crescent wrench trick worked pretty well on the bent chain-ring too. That suspension spring should be tightened for my 185 lbs (84 kg), it bottoms out on some turns and bumps, but it is mondo tight so I haven’t messed with it.

vil-bbshelI removed the old cup-and-cone bottom bracket (BB) without too much trouble, if I don’t count grinding the ears on the right, fixed side of the BB, to fit my big wrench.

The face and threads are good here but your Local Bike Shop (LBS) can chase and face it for you most times for a small fee if yours is rough.


This 68mm BB install was a fail as the bike’s BB shell is probably 73mm. So I bought a used cup-and-cone spindle and ball bearing set for $8USD at the flea market

vil-bbgapHere’s the problem, the BB plastic keeper ring will not screw all the way in, causing interference problems with the cranks.


Stem folding safety clamp was missing so I rigged this up out of an old headlight clamp. Safety first!

The drum brake works worse than already ineffectual normal clamp brakes but rear brakes are weak anyway, 75% of braking being done by the front. The rear brake is needed for wet downhills though, so have one, even if weak. No good place to mount the legally required red rear reflector so I installed this vintage one from an old Schwinn.


Ineffective Drum Brake: Added Red Reflector

This bike really is redundant to my needs, nearly and merely duplicating the function of my Dahon singlespeed folder. It needs a lot of work and I can see wear all over. Unlike the Dahon  it lacks fenders (UK: wings) and book-rack and there is no apparent easy way to install either with the suspension and the folding requirement.

OTOH it’s cute as hell and will make good sale or trade bait toward what I really need, a hard-tail mountain bike of the near past to use at Folsom Lake. My man Robert at Pedal Pros likes folders too, as my friend Nick pointed out. So I’m taking it to Robert to see what he has in stock. Wish me luck. Cheers! (sorry, channeling Wheeler Dealer Mike Brewer there for a moment).


The Light, Cute, Hard(!) Specialized Seat is Strictly Trade Bait

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