Ed note - with explosion of foldable bicycles, we were agog to see Aleocas for sale in Fairprice Xtra and Carrefour for just under $100. Would the bike fall apart in challenging terrain? So I asked a field biologist to share his experience.
|The new ride. The Aleoca Esecuzion AB2006-EC11|
Aleoca Esecuzion AB2006-EC11,
a review by Marcus Chua (submitted 31 Jan 2012).
I was upset after all my four field survey mountain bikes were stolen, including the old Gary Fisher Wahoo I have owned since Primary 5! Admittedly I had outgrown that bicycle and now I looked around for a new, affordable ride for use during my surveys.
Foldies have always appealed to me for their functionality - portability meets mobility! With my infrequent use and relatively short rides, the bicycle's weight was not terribly important, and the most important criteria really was the bike's capability to survive the mild offroad conditions I require their use in.
The Aleoca Esecuzion AB2006-EC11 was available for cheap from NEX FairPrice Xtra at SG$98 (U.P. $148), so I purchased one for a field test on off-road terrain before laying down the dough for the remaining 3 bikes.
For its price, the bike’s specifications are modest. There is a Shimano 6-speed shifter, alloy handle bars and rims, coupled with a steel body on 20” wheels. Design-wise, it’s simple, stylish and functional, but more in a fancy newspaper delivery boy way. Would not be mistaken for an off road adventure monster for sure.
Road and field test
The three minute ride home from NEX back to Bartley Road was fine and the gears helped in battling some slopes. It was comfortable, but did not feel as stable as a mountain bike. However, the real test would be on leopard cat island where the rocks, gravel, sand, mud and grass await.
On my secret off-road test terrain, the Aleoca handled admirably well for a 20-incher, surpassing my expectations. On compacted soil, it performed similarly as on paved road, just slightly twitchy on the uneven bits. Moving onto rougher terrain on full tyres, it (and I) took every bump on stony tracks in stride. It could be the that the twin springs under the seat could have cushioned some of the impact (or the balls of steel). No complaints of the bike over grass either.
I was starting to really like the little thing until sandy tracks came along. The bicycle did fine on normal sandy tracks, however, soft, thick sand on the reclaimed land proved to be a bit of a problem. Perhaps the tyres were a little narrow and the threads too shallow, and as the threads filled with sand, the bike slipped on a few instances. Fortunately, control was not lost and there were no falls or crashes. But with that in mind, I did not dare ride on mud (also partly in fear of dirtying the shiny new frame and chain).
|Me riding the new bike with my eyes closed. Credit: Vilma D’Rozario|
My ever obliging field help, Vilma and Celine also took the bike for a spin. Vilma was impressed enough to want to get her own for her PCN adventures, while Celine proclaimed, “better than walking!” [at that point, I had made them walk more than 2 km in the morning sun] Three thumbs up!
After all the action, folding it is relatively simple and can be done in a minute. This is achieved by first lowering the headset and seat post via adjustment levers, then folding the bicycle by unlocking hinges on the headtube and crossbar.
The entire construction folds to 84 (L) x 59 (H) x 30 (D, at widest point of wheel bases and excluding pedals) cm, which meets LTA guidelines for carriage in Rapid Transit System and public buses. Due to the design, it does not seem possible to wheel or tow the folded bicycle. However, this design oversight can easily be solved by tilting the bike so that it is resting on the front wheel.
The Aleoca Esecuzion is a pretty, functional bike. But most of all, it held up decently compared to the mountain bikes I am used to during my field surveys. I would miss the stability and ruggedness of the old Gary Fisher, but if the pick up is unavailable, the foldie would be hard to beat in terms of portability and mobility for a two person survey - two bikes can fit nicely in a taxi or car boot with space to spare. And if it holds up, nothing can beat the price!