After three years! Returning to the 2019 Philippine Bike Demo Day

Since attending the 2016 Philippine Bike Demo Day, I had every intention of going back to this unique event. Unfortunately, life and commitments got in the way, and I was not able to attend the 2017 and 2018 editions. Things finally lined up favorably and I was able to return for the 2019 edition, which sees it having become arguably the premier Philippine bike industry event of the year.

Arcovia City’s Arco de Emperador is a scaled-down homage to the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany.

One reason I was not able to join previous editions was its move in 2018 from Filinvest City in Alabang to Arcovia City in Pasig, accessed along the northbound stretch of Circumferential Road 5 (C-5). While not favorable to me in terms of travel, I do have to admit its present location elevated the event’s profile.

The exhibitors are a veritable who’s who of the local bike industry, spanning the budget gamut from affordable to affluent. I visited with my wife and roamed the grounds for about three hours. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to take my helmet, so I didn’t get to demo any bikes. Here’s what we saw.

Pat Miranda, Pam Angeles, and yours truly.

Pat Miranda and Pam Angeles of Bikeary Bicycle Lifestyle flew the flag for the bikepacking crowd, offering offbeat “cycling contraband” such as reflective safety pizzas, full-length fenders, dynamo front hubs, and extra-large bottle cages. Ever the laid-back fellows, they even had beer on offer at the grounds.

What I found truly interesting were the two separated booths that made up the Shimano exhibitors’ presence. Notably, both booths had a noticeable presence from Lazer Sport, the Belgian helmet company. This reflects Shimano’s completed purchase of Lazer in 2016, to supplement their other corporate entities Pearl Izumi (clothing) and PRO (accessories).

Lazer Bullet 2.0; vents closed.

Two helmets stood out on the display. First was Lazer’s premium helmet, the reworked Bullet 2.0. The original model had the headline sliding vents feature which allowed for ventilation or aerodynamics by sliding the top cover open or closed, respectively, but wasn’t universally loved. Lazer stuck with the concept but refined it into this 2.0 iteration.

Lazer Bullet 2.0; vents open and visor deployed.

Aside from generally improving the helmet’s ventilation and slimming down its profile, Lazer gave the Bullet 2.0 a removable visor that secures to the helmet with magnets. Neat.

When not in use, the visor can be stowed on the back of the helmet, where a third magnet point keeps it on. This is similar to how many road cyclists poke the arms of their sunglasses into their helmet vents backwards.

The Bullet 2.0 is said to retail for about PhP8,500. That’s not bad for a helmet with aero leanings.

Lazer Century; Twistcap in maximum aero mode.

The second helmet I took interest in is their Century model. It uses the same concept as the Bullet 2.0 but vastly simplifies the execution. Instead of a sliding mechanism to open and close the vents, Lazer uses a central “Twistcap” piece that attaches to the middle of the helmet with magnets. Depending on how you attach it, you can go for maximum aerodynamics, some ventilation, or maximum ventilation – the latter of which involves taking the Twistcap completely off.

Lazer Century: Twistcap in ventilation mode.

The Century is friendlier to your wallet too, set to go for about PhP5,300 if memory serves. My one disappointment here is neither the Century nor the Bullet 2.0 demo helmets had the MIPS rotational injury system installed; MIPS versions of both do exist.

Since we’re talking about the Shimano booth, we might as well look at their footwear.

The first thing I noticed was they had the new XC5 (a.k.a. SH-XC501) on display. Unlike the outgoing model (a.k.a. SH-XC500), this uses a single BOA dial and gets rid of the laces, and also looks quite a bit better ventilated.

It retains the old carbon-reinforced sole with Michelin rubber lugs, though.

If the XC5 is gravel shoe lite, then Shimano’s all-new RX8 is the full-fat counterpart. Outwardly, it is very similar to the XC5 in the upper, down to the single BOA dial, Velcro toe box strap, and larger perforations.

The main difference is in the sole. The RX8’s sole looks a lot less like the XC5’s, and more like a much burlier version of the RT4 and RT5 – even dropping the sticky Michelin rubber and ability to mount toe spikes. In return, the sole has more (visible) carbon fiber in it and boasts a higher stiffness rating.

When I asked for samples to try, curious about how these new kicks fit versus my current XC5s, the Shimano representatives told me that they were essentially just demo units and meant as teasers for the show. Both the new XC5 and RX8 are supposed to go on sale in February 2020, they said.

These balance bikes looked pretty nice. Start ’em young!

Junni Industries, the erstwhile distributor of Dahon and now exclusively handling Tern folding bikes, was in attendance as well. I gravitated toward their Tern BYB folding bike, which is a significant evolution of the long-running Dahon/Tern KA-series folding bike frame. The BYB’s party trick is that it folds into a much more compact form factor than pretty much any folding bike based around 20″/406 mm wheels has any right to, because it introduces a second frame hinge just behind the head tube, and it folds up vertically. Its rear rack also has an integrated pair of roller wheels for easy movement in folded form.

I pored over the BYB P8 on display, equipped with a Shimano Acera 1×8 drivetrain. Ever the mechanical geek, I reckon it may be possible to give this bike a double chainring drivetrain with the removal of the stock chain guard, as the seat tube appears very similar to the 34.9 mm size used in many Dahon and Tern bikes, and should fit a LitePro-style front derailleur adapter.

Quite a few friends from the Manila Coffee Cycling Club had a presence at the show. Leroy of The Brick Multisport was there, with a smattering of Pearl Izumi goodies on discount.

Maximus Athlete’s Shop Cafe had its array of Chapter2 road bikes on Tacx Neo smart trainers – a state-of-the-art three-rider Zwift setup.

On the other side was RYAO cycling kit and the Alpha6 Saber triathlon bike on display.

I dropped by Dave Bikes‘ booth, too, and asked about their handlebars. They had stuff on display from Planet X and On One.

Last but certainly not least, JP Carino of Gruppo Veloce Sportivo and La Course Velo was there too.

Days before the expo, he announced a tie-up with Serk Cycling, accepting reservations for a Kyrgyzstan bikepacking expedition in 2020. What better way to do so than with an Allied Alfa Allroad gravel bike festooned with Apidura bikepacking bags?

Closer to home, La Course Velo also had this Brompton on display. At first, it doesn’t look like anything special, but look closer and you’ll see it has a full pedal-assist electric drive system tucked into the tiny triangle within the frame. Apparently, the electrics drive a little roller that turns the rear wheel via contact with the tire tread. The compactness of the setup is amazing.

The LifeCycle/Giant booth was pretty busy the whole time.
Indonesian bike manufacturer Polygon had an extensive mountain bike lineup on display. The brand is famous for well-kitted-out bikes at affordable price points.

That sums up my time at the 2019 Philippine Bike Demo Day. Traffic congestion aside, I had quite a bit of fun. Here’s hoping it doesn’t take me another three years to drop by again!

2013 Dahon Vitesse: Main frame hinge parts disassembly and replacement

WARNING: This post is purely for demonstration purposes only. If you decide to follow its instructions to service your own Dahon folding bicycle, proceed at your own risk. I will not be liable for any injury or warranty loss that may arise from you following these instructions.

Previously I wrote about how loose Bino had gotten at his Achilles’ heel, his main frame hinge latch. The last time this happened, I brought him to Junni Industries in Quezon City for repairs. This time, with more mechanical know-how and hoping to save time, I decided to do it by myself.

Noting the many similarities of the Dahon Vitesse to cheaper variants of Tern’s Link folding bikes, and their shared manufacturer, Mobility Holdings Inc., I got Tern’s FBL Hinge Parts set for the 2013 Link C7 from Thorusa.


  • Tern Link C7 FBL Hinge Parts set (2013-up)
  • Hex keys: 2 mm, 5 mm
  • Torque wrench
  • Pliers or Philips screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench or 6 mm open wrench
  • Medium-strength thread locker, e.g. Loctite 242

Open the frame hinge as normal. Fold the main frame tube 90 degrees to expose all the inner parts, as folding it all the way hides them.

Ideally, you would strip the frame first of all its components, especially the cranks and cabling. If that’s not possible, you will need to find a way of supporting the bike even with its main frame tube folded up. I used my Minoura DS-30AL display stand to support the heavier rear half of the bike.


Tension adjustment bar attached to the tension pin.

The first thing that has to go is the hexagonal bar that serves as the main latch lever’s tension adjustment. I call this the tension adjustment bar. Like a typical barrel adjuster, you increase tension by backing it out and turning it counter-clockwise. Back it all the way out with your adjustable wrench or 6 mm open wrench until its threaded end separates from the main latch lever’s security pin.

Main latch lever security pin.
You can pull the main latch lever security pin up and out once free.
Tension pin.

Once disengaged from the main latch lever, remove its other end, by either undoing a screw or removing a circlip with pliers, and pull it out. This also releases the tension pin that sits on the front half of the frame tube. Pull and slide it downwards; it should still have some grease on it.

Removing the top hinge pin bolt.
Removing the bottom hinge pin bolt.
The two hinge pin bolts.

At this point, the only thing remaining of the hinge assembly that connects to the front frame tube is the hinge pin bolts – there are two of them. Take your 5 mm hex key and undo them both. Note that the lower of the two hinge pin bolts has a plastic bushing which the front frame tube rotates on; remove this as well. Removing the hinge pin bolts results in the frame separating into its front and rear halves.

The separated front and rear halves of the Vitesse’s main frame tube.
Once the two halves of the frame are separated, you can access the plastic bushing, shown here held by my pliers. It fits into a recess in the lower pivot.

The final component that may need replacement is the main latch lever itself. It’s held in place by a grub screw (i.e. a screw with no obvious head) on the drive side. You should be able to undo both of these with your 2 mm hex key.

Removing the grub screw that secures the main latch lever and its pin axle.
Grub screw removed.

The main latch lever spins on a really long axle, so slide this downward to free it. You can use a 3.5 mm bolt to screw into the axle to make it easier to extract. I didn’t have one, and my main latch lever was in good condition, so I left it alone.

Clockwise from left: latch tension pin, grub screw, main lever security pin, tension adjustment rod, tension adjustment rod securing screw, hinge pin bolts, 3 mm hex wrench, plastic bushing

At this point the Vitesse’s main frame hinge assembly is fully disassembled. Take the Tern FBL Joint Repair Kit and replace any parts as necessary. In my experience, I’ve had the tension pin bend and the main latch lever crack before.

When reassembling, take note that the following parts should have medium-strength blue thread locker applied to them from the factory:

  • Hinge pin bolt x 2
  • Grub screw
  • Tension adjustment bar

If this is missing from their threads, reapply. This will prevent them from walking out of thread engagement due to vibration while riding.

Once fully reassembled, make sure to readjust the tension adjustment bar with your open wrench. As per Tern’s Owner Briefing video, when properly adjusted, the main frame latch should open with two or three fingers, and close with the palm of your hand.


My main concern prior to the repair was that the hexagonal tension adjustment bar had run out of usable screw thread, and it may have been due to the hinge pins becoming bad. Tightening any more resulted in the bar separating.

As it turns out, the adjustment bar used when it was last repaired as a smidge too short, by about 5 cm. Not only that, it was secured to the tension pin by a screw, instead of a circlip on both the original hinge parts and the Tern FBL hinge parts set. This allows a bit more slack, and ultimately more scope for adjustment, without the tension adjustment bar releasing from the main latch lever due to running out of screw thread.

A photo of Bino upon acquisition. Note the tension adjustment bar. It’s anchored to the tension pin via a circlip. The replacement part that Junni Industries used was 5 cm shorter overall and anchored by a screw.

With more scope for tension adjustment, the whole bike becomes much stiffer. Now it actually takes a bit of effort to shut the main latch lever flush with the main frame tube, which is very reassuring. Of course, it will never be quite as solid as Hyro, my cyclocross bike with its traditional diamond frame, but it’s sufficiently stiff and no longer worrisome when riding.

Adjust the tension of the main frame hinge lever with an adjustable wrench or 6 mm open wrench. As per Tern’s instructions, it should require the force of the palm of your hand to close, and three fingers to open.

As with many DIY repairs, I have a newfound appreciation of the engineering that went here – the original reason why folding bicycles appealed to me. However, I am also more cognizant of the limitations of the design, and so Bino will most likely lead a more genteel riding life with me going forward.

Bino on the loose

Perhaps noticeable to regular readers is that I rarely write about my folding bike Bino these days. Unfortunately, as of this writing, not all is well with my little blue Dahon Vitesse.

It would be relatively easy and straightforward for me to fix things like the brakes, drivetrain, or touch points. However, when it comes to folding bikes, they all require some sort of maintenance at the frame level, unlike most non-folding bicycles. With the myriad ways of folding a bicycle into a smaller package, many of them proprietary, this isn’t always as straightforward or as easy as it looks.

As one of the larger players in the folding bicycle industry, Tern has published guidelines on what to look for regarding their bikes’ frames.

For Bino, there was a bit of guesswork needed. Dahon isn’t as strong as its sibling company Tern with making customers and owners aware of folding bike frame maintenance, and it doesn’t help that Dahon made a LOT of versions and refinements of the basic main frame joint and clamp mechanism. Fortunately, as a 2013 Vitesse, Bino was made around the time Dahon and Tern “made amends” (the particulars of which make for a very long story), with the two consolidating bike manufacture under the company Mobility Holdings Ltd. Among Tern’s lineup, Bino is closest in frame design to the entry-level Link B- and C-series bikes.


At best guess, roughly 80% of folding bikes are patterned against Dahon’s original design of breaking the main frame tube in half, and installing a hinge and clamping system to join the two halves together as a solid, rideable bicycle.

To provide the clamping effect, the main frame hinge and latch mechanism uses special bolts, hinge pins, and threaded rods. Quite obviously, riding around with a loose main frame joint is a recipe for potential disaster.

Adjusting the tension of the mechanism is done by turning the hexagonal rod that lives underneath the main frame lever with a 6 mm open wrench. If the lever opens or closes too easily and with no resistance, the mechanism is too loose. With correct tension, it should take at least three fingers to open the lever, and the heel of your palm to close it. Backing out the hexagonal rod by counterclockwise rotation increases the mechanism’s tension and makes the frame more solid.

The hexagonal rod in this photo serves as the tension adjustment for the main frame hinge mechanism.

By design, the hexagonal rod should have enough screw threads along its length to sufficiently tighten the entire main frame hinge without unscrewing from the joint lever completely. This is no longer the case with Bino — perhaps because of the looseness that developed at the main frame hinge pins themselves. Even with the hexagonal rod barely having any screw thread left to hold it in, Bino’s frame is no longer as solid as it used to be.

It’s not as if this cannot be fixed. One upside to Dahon and Tern’s market ubiquity is that spares are available, if you know where to find them. My plan is to replace the old main frame hinge parts and fully restore frame stiffness.