Friday, October 22, 2010

Another Blogger's Experience with Capital Bikeshare

Here is an assessment of the DC Capital Bikeshare based on actual use of the thing.

Capital Bikeshare in the City

He notes that the lighting system (two tail lights, one "blinkie" front light) go off when you stop. Well, that's a fact of life with simple hub generator systems.

He notes that the bike is heavy so one won't be able to ride terribly fast, but a "shareable" bike is going to need to be very strong (and yet not impossibly expensive) so one is kind of stuck with that. And given the flat terrain of most of DC, this isn't so bad as it might be.

I find the geometry of these bikes interesting. The axle of the front wheel is directly in a line with steering tube - this is quite unusual; usually the axle is an inch or more forward of that. Basically the bike has zero "rake" so the "trail" is greater than usual. "More trail is nice at high speeds (motorcycles usually have 80 mm of trail) but can feel sluggish at slower speeds" means this is a puzzling design decision since these are low speed rides. Hmm. Perhaps this is made up for by the head tube angle but I can't judge that by eye.

The drive system is an internal shift rear hub - and there is a thing that looks like a derailleur that is a chain tensioner. This should further insure that users don't end up messing with the chain.

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