2009 Chris Boedeker custom, 1988 Tommasini Prestige, 2007 Bill Davidson custom, 1985 Univega Gran Turismo; 1988 Specialized Stumpjumper
Tour of Bike Friday factory - recommended
I was in Eugene, Ore., this week w/my son looking at the U of O and we arranged to stop by the factory (shop, really) where Bike Friday folding bikes are made and give it a quick tour. Highly recommended if you are in the area. They have a show-room with a bunch of bikes (including a few used ones on display), and then the "factory" itself.
They have a "just-in-time" inventory model -- they order the parts and components for each bike after the customer places an order, and they don't start a frame until all the parts have arrived. They make all the frames and forks by hand -- on a really interesting array of custom-made jigs, frames and racks. Most every work station appears to be custom-made or have machinery that was heavily adapted for their needs. They appear to be big believers in continuous improvement -- any place in the production process where they think they can improve it has an orange tag hanging from it.
My interest is in BF as an N+1 bike or a replacement for my commuting/touring bike. I have ambitions to take a trip to France w/in the next couple of years and w/the steady increase in airline fees for bikes, something like a bike with S&S couplers or Bike Friday makes sense to me so you can pack a bike in its own suitcase and just check on the plane like regular luggage...W/Bike Friday, you can also turn the bike carrying case into a trailer, which makes particular sense in Europe, where you could tour from town to town and then hop on the train w/your bike (in a case) to move onto the next area (some trains in Europe take bikes; some don't - but w/Bike Friday you don't really care).
Anyway - interesting, super-nice people, great way to spend an hour. We also could have arrange a tour of Co-Motion while in Eugene but didn't get organized in time....
Della Santa, Bike Friday Air Glide, 1974 Schwinn Paramount, Cannondale t2000 Touring, Cannondale r500 Road Silk, LeMond Buenos Aires, Trek 7000 mtn bike, Sears and Roebuck[ made by Puch. I have had up to 36 bikes at one time. I am a sick person.
I was also at Bike Friday last year after a ride from Klamath Falls to Eugene. I had a Friday Pocket Rocket for years and recently purchased a Friday Air Glide, the touring bike. They are indeed great folks to deal with.