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  1. #1
    Senior Member Nachoman's Avatar
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    Bike Friday upgrade suggestions

    I'm thinking about buying this new, lower end, pocket pilot (components listed below) and am wonding if you experienced folder people have some upgrade suggestions for me. I'm afraid I may be spoiled by the full ultegra on my non folder bike. Thanks for your suggestions!
    _____

    Frame Bike Friday Pocket Pilot™
    Headset 1 1/8" DiaTech SBN clamp/threaded headset
    Stems BF Custom Adj Stem 1 1/8" steerer/ 7/8"x.049
    Handle Bars Kalloy Anatomic Drops (40,42,44cm)
    Brakes Tektro 510A Dual Pivot Road Caliper 41-56mm
    Gear Shifters Shimano Sora-STI 8x2 shift / brake
    Front Derailleur Shimano Sora Braze Double
    Rear Derailleur Shimano Sora SS 7/8/9 (28t) - for double rings
    Crank Arms Alloy 170mm 39/53 Alloy Rings 130 bcd 110mm axle .
    Bottom Bracket bearing BF Sealed 110mm 68xEnglish
    Chain KMC Z-50 8 speed Chain
    Cassette cogs 11-32 8sp SRAM PG-830 Cassette Silver
    Rims Alex DA22 (451) 32o 20 x 1 1/8" Silver
    Spokes DT 14 ga. Stainless w/ brass nip
    Front Hub Alloy 32o Q/R Black w/rubber seals
    Rear Hub Alloy 32o Freehub Q/R Black w/rubber seals
    Seatpost Kalloy #243 Sil adjust post 28.6 x350mm

    ______
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    Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.

  2. #2
    Señor Mambo
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    Kenal() is the dude to question. Here's an example:

    Another upgrade to my BF Pocket Pilot

  3. #3
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Is there a specific purpose for this Pilot, e.g. touring, training etc.

    If you're in good with your LBS, I'd try and do a test ride on a Sora-equipped bike. That way, you'll know whether or not you are OK with the Sora, as from what I know it may not be as crisp as the Ultegra. But it may also be fine for your purposes.

    What's the gearing range, by the way?

  4. #4
    Prodigal Son
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    I have two 700c Dura-Ace equipped bikes, and a Pocket Rocket Pro with 105. The performance of the 105 gruppo is definitely not as crisp for two big (and probably several less significant) reasons:
    1) 105 simply isn't as good.
    2) Because I travel with the Bike Friday and am folding/unfolding on a regular basis, the cables get stretched out, and I find that I need to make minor adjustments fairly frequently.

    Obviously, #2 is going to be a big factor for you, and I suspect the Sora gruppo will be a similar step-down for you from your Ultegra gruppo. Just be aware that even if you find that Sora works for you on a non-folder, that you'll have a slight decrease in peformance based on the folding/unfolding and its effects on the cables.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Nachoman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
    Is there a specific purpose for this Pilot, e.g. touring, training etc.

    If you're in good with your LBS, I'd try and do a test ride on a Sora-equipped bike. That way, you'll know whether or not you are OK with the Sora, as from what I know it may not be as crisp as the Ultegra. But it may also be fine for your purposes.

    What's the gearing range, by the way?
    Good idea. I think I should go test ride a sora equipped bike. Thanks for that suggestion! I think the gearing is 39\53--11-32, but there were other higher gearing options available.
    .
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    Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Nachoman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ICU Doc
    I have two 700c Dura-Ace equipped bikes, and a Pocket Rocket Pro with 105. The performance of the 105 gruppo is definitely not as crisp for two big (and probably several less significant) reasons:
    1) 105 simply isn't as good.
    2) Because I travel with the Bike Friday and am folding/unfolding on a regular basis, the cables get stretched out, and I find that I need to make minor adjustments fairly frequently.

    Obviously, #2 is going to be a big factor for you, and I suspect the Sora gruppo will be a similar step-down for you from your Ultegra gruppo. Just be aware that even if you find that Sora works for you on a non-folder, that you'll have a slight decrease in peformance based on the folding/unfolding and its effects on the cables.
    BF offers a bar end shifter option instead of STI shifting. I wonder if this would eliviate the adjustment issues that result from frequent folding\unfolding?
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    Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.

  7. #7
    jcl
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    Hi Nachoman,
    I had a Pocket Pilot custom built earlier this year, and it is my favorite bike. I contacted Steve Strickland at Bike Friday, and asked if they could substitute certain components for me, if I purchased them myself. I ended finding some great deals on various sites on Ultegra 6500 parts: bottom bracket, cranks, front derailleur. I went with a Capreo setup on the rear, and bar end shifters on their H-Bar.

    I am very happy with this bike. I went with one of the stock paint colors, upgraded the tires to Stelvios, and ordered a Samsonite traveling case as well. Altogether the bike was just over $1400, which is a great deal on a custom bike built to my specifications.

    I had a great experience with Bike Friday - I hope you will too.

  8. #8
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    53/39 chainrings with a 11-32 cassette is geared a bit on the low side. But as long as you are fine with coasting downhill, you will be fine.

  9. #9
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    Nachoman,
    One of the big differences between Sora shifters and their higher end brethren (Tiagra on up to Dura Ace) is that Sora shifters can't be shifted up comfortably from the drops of a road bar. This may or may not be a problem for you, but I'd check it out on your test ride so you can see what I mean. The other more obvious difference is the shifting isn't as smooth, but it is very reliable. I use a Sora 3x8 myself and really like it. I only had trouble when I was out on a training ride with some roadies,
    Juan

  10. #10
    Senior Member Nachoman's Avatar
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    Juan, what kind of problems were you experiencing with Sora?
    .
    .

    Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.

  11. #11
    Prodigal Son
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcl
    Hi Nachoman,

    I am very happy with this bike. I went with one of the stock paint colors, upgraded the tires to Stelvios, and ordered a Samsonite traveling case as well. Altogether the bike was just over $1400, which is a great deal on a custom bike built to my specifications.

    I had a great experience with Bike Friday - I hope you will too.

    Bottom line.....if you realize that a Bike Friday can come close to feeling like a roadbike, understand the limitations of these bikes, and understand its tremendous travel advantage, you'll love it. BF is a class act, and it is worth the money. I'd suggest buying a better grouppo than Sora, but if that is what you want for now, one of the other great things about BF is that they don't use proprietary parts so you can always easily upgrade to whatever setup that you want.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Nachoman's Avatar
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    Thanks for the suggestions. Based on some great advice I got from ya'll, I'm now likely upgrading to Tiagra with a few Capreo components. But I'm still interested in more opinions on what you think are some other upgrades that I'll regret not having ordered. Please! More suggestions! Before I take the plunge! And thanks again!
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    Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.

  13. #13
    Prodigal Son
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    I'd agree with one of the other threads in this forum to get the Chris King headset. For an extra $100, you'll save yourself a headache.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nachoman
    Juan, what kind of problems were you experiencing with Sora?
    Sorry Nachoman,
    Haven't had a chance to check the posts until now. I was out on a training ride with a roadie friend of mine and we were doing sprint drills. I was already in the drops and had to change gears but realized I couldn't unless I switched my hand up to the top of the break lever. You simply cannot reach the up shifter from the drops. Other than that, I have no problems whatsoever with the shifters.
    Juan

  15. #15
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    Nachoman,
    Unless you are getting a deal on the Tiagra, I would get the 105 shifters. Nearly any roadie you talk to will say the if you are going to upgrade from Sora, you might as well go to 105s. It's the best price/performance value. The only exception may be the Tiagra rear derailleur. I have heard that it is a very solid performer. I also happen to have one on my Raleigh Twenty and it performs very well.
    Juan

  16. #16
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    My wife notices a big difference between the 105 and Tiagra front derailers. I can live with the Tiagra front derailer.

    Personally, I always thought that the most important components were those with the ball bearings. Some not so scientific experiments--just rolling down a few hills with bikes that have very similar tires but different hubs--with Tiagra and 105 hubs led me to believe that the 105 hubs were considerably better. Bike Friday's Tiagra-level models often come with a Formula BF sealed bearing front hub. Considering the amount of work needed to change the hub later, I would upgrade that.

    Also take notice of the type of valve used on the bike. I recall that the Tiagra model is spec'ed with a schraeder valve rim/tube instead of a presta valve. Not a big deal unless the rest of your bikes have presta valves.

    The Bike Friday Yak group is big on the Chris King headset because of the stress of the long stem tube.

    Are you thinking of STI shifters or barcons? If you go with barcons, I would place less emphasis on the derailers.

    Considering cost, effort needed to modify later, and value added, my ranking of upgrades is the following:

    (0) Chris King headset -- I added this in after typing #1-6
    (1) capreo rear hub -- the gearing is so much better with the 9-26 cassette
    (2) 105 front hub -- pretty cheap upgrade
    (3) 105 crank/bottom bracket -- unfortunately, there is a compatibility issue with the Tiagra cranks and 105 bottom brackets
    (4) STI -- one can often get good deals with a little patience
    (5) 105 9-speed rear derailer -- are they still available?
    (6) 105 front derailer

    Note that a NWT with a complete 105 setup described above is about $2000. A Tiagra/Capreo setup is something like $1800. So you might have to choose your poison.

    Don't forget that Bike Friday give a 5% discount to Adventure Cyclist and League of American Bicyclist members.

    Good luck.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Nachoman's Avatar
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    Thank you guys for the excellent upgrade suggestions. If I implemented all of the upgrade suggestions the price of the pocket pilot would shoot up from $1,198.00 to $1,924.00. And as long as I'm considering all of these upgrades, then maybe I should consider upgrading from the pocket pilot to the pocket rocket. In that case, total price would go from $1,198.00 to $2,392.50.00. Ouch!
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    Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.

  18. #18
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nachoman
    Thank you guys for the excellent upgrade suggestions. If I implemented all of the upgrade suggestions the price of the pocket pilot would shoot up from $1,198.00 to $1,924.00. And as long as I'm considering all of these upgrades, then maybe I should consider upgrading from the pocket pilot to the pocket rocket. In that case, total price would go from $1,198.00 to $2,392.50.00. Ouch!
    Yeah ... it can be pretty steep. How good are you with a wrench? How much time do you have to search EBay and the web? You can save some money that way; but you will spend a lot more time on the project.

    By the way, don't forget to consider the cost of the suitcase and "custom" packing socks. Also, the above price does not include a saddle nor pedals.

  19. #19
    Prodigal Son
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nachoman
    Thank you guys for the excellent upgrade suggestions. If I implemented all of the upgrade suggestions the price of the pocket pilot would shoot up from $1,198.00 to $1,924.00. And as long as I'm considering all of these upgrades, then maybe I should consider upgrading from the pocket pilot to the pocket rocket. In that case, total price would go from $1,198.00 to $2,392.50.00. Ouch!
    ...and thus the advantage of Bike Friday using standard, off-the-shelf parts. If you don't want to spend 2G, then get the lower end components (with the exception of the Chris King headset), and upgrade piecemeal so that it isn't so painful.

  20. #20
    Señor Mambo
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    In terms of drive train and shifters, most folding bikes use "standard, off-the-shelf parts."
    Last edited by spambait11; 12-15-06 at 10:25 AM.

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