Dynamic Bicycles Runabout 8 review, part 1.
We now present the first in a series of articles reviewing the chainless bikes from Dynamic Bicycles. Before we get to discussing the actual bike, we want to cover the process of obtaining one.
Ordering and Shipping
Since Dynamic Bicycles are not available in stores, you are out of luck if you want to test ride one before buying. They do have a 30-day satisfaction guarantee. If there is an issue they cannot resolve over the phone (1-800-935-9553), they offer a “courtesy return authorization.” The bike can be sent back for a refund (less a 10% handling/restocking charge). This takes some of the risk out of trying a “new” type of bike like this, sight-unseen.
Our order for two bikes was entered in to their system on a Tuesday, and the bikes were delivered the following Tuesday. They were shipped via UPS from the Dynamic Bicycles headquarters in Rhode Island to the Doing Des Moines offices here in Iowa. The website said to expect in-stock orders to ship within 1-2 days of order confirmation, and delivery times ranged between 2 to 6 days depending on destination. For the Midwest, our one-week wait from order to delivery was as expected.
Their order system did send an order confirmation e-mail, but it did not send (or we did not receive) a shipping notification with UPS tracking number. After several days of waiting for a shipping notification, we began to get impatient. Apparently Amazon.com had spoiled us. “How can an online business survive and take this long to ship a product?” we thought.
We sent in an e-mail asking when our bikes would ship but did not receive a response. Much to our relief, we found the bikes sitting on our doorstep a day or so after our impatient e-mail. Had we known when to expect delivery, we could have arranged to be in the office to receive them (or had UPS hold them for pickup at a nearby UPS Store).
The bike is delivered in one large shipping box. Unpacking the box revealed a variety of cardboard/paper wrapped items. There were four main components inside the box:
- The main bike frame with rear wheel already attached.
- The front wheel (strapped to the bike frame with zip ties).
- The seat.
- The handlebars.
Any accessories ordered (such as the rear carrier rack we ordered) would also be included. There was also a small box that contained instructions, a small squeeze bottle of oil, the pedals, and an Allen wrench tool.
The website claims assembly time is less than 20 minutes and has a page with step-by-step instructions with color photos. A black-and-white printed version of this guide and a thicker manual shipped with our bikes. None of the Doing Des Moines team had ever assembled a bike before, so we weren’t sure how long our “20 minutes” would actually take.
As it turns out, the most time consuming part of the process was probably removing all the cardboard and paper wrap from the bike parts. After snipping a few zip ties that held pieces together, and making a nice pile of trash after removing the protective coverings, we were ready to begin.
Assembly itself was quite easy. Basically, all we needed to do was:
- Insert the handlebar and tighten using the included Allen wrench.
- Attach the front wheel (making sure the tire pattern direction is the same as the rear wheel). The front wheel uses a quick release lever so it can be attached without any tools.
- Insert seat post and lock in to place using the quick release lever.
- Connect the front brake cable. It came fully wired up, but was disconnected to give room to insert the front wheel.
- Screw on both pedals. This required a 15mm wrench (not included). The pedals are marked “L” for left, and “R” for right, as each one screws in a different direction based on how that side of the pedals turn.
- Apply grease to shaft drive. This involved removing a small bolt using the included Allen wrench, then squeezing the entire contents of the small bottle of grease that was provided.
- Check tire pressure and inflate is necessary.
A note about the front wheel: You do have to insert the axle/skewer in to the wheel yourself. It is found in the small box, and involves removing an endcap nut and a spring from one end, then sliding the axle through the wheel center, then placing the spring back on the other side and putting the endcap bolt back on. Once the axle is installed, the wheel can be placed where it goes on the front fork of the bike. The axle ends slide in to position at the end of the fork, then the nut can be tightened a bit and the quick release lever on the other side of the axle can be locked in to place.
It was so easy, even a blogger could do it, (It helps that the instructions came with photos. We had no idea what a “skewer” was. Why isn’t it just called an axle?)
Adjustments and Fine Tuning
Unlike a cheap bike you might get from a big box retailer, Dynamic Bicycles had already adjusted brake pads and cables before shipping. We found no fine tuning was needed beyond adding more air to the tires. We did follow the instructions to make sure everything we installed was tightened, aligned, and working as intended.
In our next installment we will discuss our first test ride on a chainless bike.