Tandem Cycling - Bike Friday for touring
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We're heading across to Switzerland for a touring holiday soon and are having last minute thoughts on getting a Bike Friday tandem largely for the ease of use of flying (assuming things are actually flying by then)
Does anyone have experience with the Bike Friday's? How do the small wheels compare to 26" wheels, is it just something you get used to? Are they slower bikes?
I've read that the smaller wheel bikes are a bit twitchier, is this also the case with the tandems? How are they fully loaded touring for two?
Any input would be appreciated, I will have to make the decision pretty quickly if I want to get the machine before we go. My other option is my original plan A. Pack up the existing tandem, put up with the inconvenience getting to and from the airport, and then tour on the tandem we know and have a great time
04-21-10, 02:47 PM
We had a Bike Friday Tandem traveler XL, and all in all it was a nice bike. With an adult stoker, it was definitely more flexible than a typical full size tandem, which my stoker did not like.
It is not slower, in fact, they tend to be lighter than a number of tandems, and the smaller wheels offer less wind resistnece and spin up faster.
They are a bit twitchy (less gyroscopic effect) but you get used to it quickly.
Given the flexiblity of the frame, I'd be somewhat concerned if you're planning on loading a lot of weight on it. I'd definitely consider a trailer instead of panniers.
All in all, its a nice bike, with some compromises compared to a full sized tandem, but with the advantage of being packable.
Also if you're looking to buy a new tandem, why not a conventional tandem with S&S couplers?
04-21-10, 05:58 PM
If you get a BF tandem make sure it has 3 brakes. Caliper brakes only in the Swiss Alps will overheat the small rims a bit quicker than 26".
04-22-10, 08:03 AM
I have one.
And I've traveled in South India with it. If you are interested you can read about it here. (http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=RrzKj&doc_id=5072&v=4I) It has some bicycle and trailer review there.
yes, we were using trailer for that 3 month trip. But I can asure you that it would handle any type of fully-maximum-mega loaded tour. Dont know how badly loaded it can be for you, but once it is on the tandem, tandem will cope with it.
Ride is slightly diferent with those 20 inch wheels, but its a matter of short time till you get used. Mostly diference is related to the tandem steering - its more sensitive (or responsive). Otherwise it is more or less the same. Speed issue is quite subjective, coz i find it more depends on the type of tires you choose, rather than the wheel size, if to compare it.
Twitchines was not anoying for us, rather we enjoyed it. It is almost unnoticable, but it makes the ride smoother. but again, it up to your preference. It does not affect handling at all.
Optional drag brake - i have mixed feelings about it. We have it, but only for super high descends you might need it. Coz we were descending some 7 km downhills in India and those V-brakes were coping very fine. But yes, if you will have it - in Alps it could be useful.
Packing - probably better than "whole" tandem. But if you having direct flight, even with your "normal" tandem it shouldnt be to complicating, considering that you will need to pack and handle you BF anyway .
And BF VS S&S Couplers, i find Bike Friday tandem bit cheaper at the end.
One more advice - the tandem Q option is not worth the money. its my oppinion. Simply because its so complicated to convert, that even puts you off from converting.
04-22-10, 08:31 AM
My vote is for your second option: Use your existing tandem. Never used a BF but a local team took theirs for a loaded tour in England and they were disappointed. THe word that comes to mind is "flimsy". They bought a used S&S Santana right after that tour.
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