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  1. #1
    PDR
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    Checked out some folders

    A new Cycle Surgery Store has opened locally so I called in last Friday and had a look at the folders they had on display.

    They had 3 Mezzos in various states of fold, different colours and gear options. They looked to be well made and folded into a neat package. I had a sit on one and it was quite comfortable. I didn’t like the quirky stem design though.

    They also had 3 Bromptons in various states of fold. Initial impression was that these seemed quite light and obviously are a small size when folded, certainly a nice design classic….. but when I sat on one I knew strait away that this is not the bike for me!

    I have not had chance to see a Bike Friday Tikit yet. I have tracked down several dealers and I am getting pretty much the same response from them…. “they are crap”, “have you seen how flimsy they are”, “I wouldn’t ride one myself and we are a dealer for BF” “BF Tikit, yes we have one here, I’m stood by it now and it is a pile of ****” “wouldn’t want to ride one down a kerb” “The BF reps are very pushy”.

    Not exactly what I expected to hear. These comments where from four different individuals who where either shop owners or employees.

    There is one other bike on my short list that I keep coming back to and admiring pictures on the internet…….

    The Riese & Müller Birdy Speed in anthracite, now that is a stunning looking bike!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PDR View Post
    I have not had chance to see a Bike Friday Tikit yet. I have tracked down several dealers and I am getting pretty much the same response from them…. “they are crap”, “have you seen how flimsy they are”, “I wouldn’t ride one myself and we are a dealer for BF” “BF Tikit, yes we have one here, I’m stood by it now and it is a pile of ****” “wouldn’t want to ride one down a kerb” “The BF reps are very pushy”.
    Wow! The BF reps must be very pushy. They got these stores to be dealers, and then had all of them dis the Tikit to a potential customer!

    I've got a Tikit. It's not the bike I would own if I only owned one bike, and the seat post has some flex, but I certainly wouldn't describe it as flimsy.

    Speedo

  3. #3
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    I object, if you can't even state where your from and make disparaging comments about "A" bicycle manufacturer and then offer praise for "b" manufacturer I figure you are a shill.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by garth_s View Post
    I object, if you can't even state where your from and make disparaging comments about "A" bicycle manufacturer and then offer praise for "b" manufacturer I figure you are a shill.
    Are you saying the poster of this thread is a shill or the dealers' reviews he recited? If the former then you are wrong as it only outlines that some dealers are ripping apart the BF Titkit without fair consideration and the poster is raising this as a topic.

    Personally I find BF's and Birdy brands to be great bikes but somewhat overpriced. I'm not qualified on the Tikit.

  5. #5
    New usename ThorUSA brakemeister's Avatar
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    some dealers are their own worst nightmare , no doubt. Usually comments like that are made because the dealer thinks that company A is screwing him or company B has just delivered bikes to his competitor across the street, or company C has actually sold a bike direct , or he owes company D a lot of money and got a nasty letter .... all kinds of stuff, usually has nothing to do with the bikes in question.

    Still those are hard words. It would be the honorable thing to do for the poster and let BF know what dealer is dissing them and if they have a different dealer where he can test the bike without all those negativism ...

    Thor

  6. #6
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    I don't see much evidence that the poster is a shill. He's praising a Birdy, not a Bikes Direct "Motobecane."

    More likely is that many potential customers come to that shop, test-ride a BF, and then order it on the website -- thus depriving the dealer of the sale.

    It is possible that BF reps are "pushy," but I generally don't think it's a good thing to unload a complaint about a bike or manufacturer to a potential customer. If I walk into your shop, I don't want your negativity, I want your expertise. And if you don't think it's a good product or a good company, don't stock it.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    I don't see much evidence that the poster is a shill. He's praising a Birdy, not a Bikes Direct "Motobecane."

    More likely is that many potential customers come to that shop, test-ride a BF, and then order it on the website -- thus depriving the dealer of the sale.

    It is possible that BF reps are "pushy," but I generally don't think it's a good thing to unload a complaint about a bike or manufacturer to a potential customer. If I walk into your shop, I don't want your negativity, I want your expertise. And if you don't think it's a good product or a good company, don't stock it.
    There is a very large camera manufacturer who has garnered such animosity among dealers, their sales force, and service techs, that it's hard to find anyone who recommends them in a cold sale. The shop I do work for only sells them to people who come in expressly asking for the brand. When asked for a recommendation, I tell folks to avoid them like the plague. That assessment is based not only on the attitude of the company, but also an intimate familliarity of the build quality of the product. The sales people are much more diplomatic, as they should be.

    Their reps are beyond obnoxious.

    Not sure about the BF situation, but I could see how the OP could be getting that sort of feedback.

    And he doesn't come off as a shill or troll in the slightest. He actually only mentions an attraction towards a picture of the Birdy. Hope he has a chance to try one out. While relatively expensive, they are well engineered bikes that are light, fold quite small, and very comfortable with excellent riding characteristics. Unless you're a tinkerer and just like doing it, they really don't require any upgrading.

    Also not a shill or troll, and everything I've come across indicates that BF are very well engineered and put together, so there is an underlying problem in the field that BF should be made aware of. It could be that they're not wholesaling the products at a price that allows dealers to compete with direct sales.

  8. #8
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    Some of the responses to PDR's original post seems pretty touchy...

    A quick search of posts here shows several pro-Bike Friday posts on the "is CromeMoly a secret codeword for an evil alloy" thread by PDR. He lives in Britain, and it sounds like Bike Friday may have a bad/pushy rep there. From one of PDR's earlier posts...

    I really do not understand the need for this personal crusade against Bike Friday.

    I have not yet had chance to ride any BF model, but plan a test ride a Tikit within the next month or two…. What I do know is that BF makes some really good bikes and the company has a good reputation and a strong following.
    Or how about this one.... No doubt he is a not-so-secret Bike Friday hater...

    I have not yet physically seen a Bike Friday folder but I have watched all the impressive U-tube videos, studied the BF website and Googled / read everything I could find on the Tikit model including owners comments on various forums and Vik’s useful blog.

    Everything I’ve seen & read leads me to believe that Green Gear Cycling produce a good range of folding bikes, the company seems to be really behind the concept of folding bikes as a good environmental alternative to the use of private motor vehicles and there are plenty of very happy owners….. with that in mind I’m sure a test ride will see me wanting to place an order for a Bike Friday
    If he is a shill or a troll he isn't doing a very good job of it... He wants to like the Tikit and is surprised that not all shops share his opinion. Sounds very sinister to me...

    Me, I haven't seen a Tikit yet, like the Bike Friday bikes I have ridden, don't like the odd tire size on the Birdy, but would love to give one a test ride. Of course I think PDR should buy a Downtube or a Reach, but that's just my biased opinion.

    Lighten up There are plenty of real problems in the world to worry about

  9. #9
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    Bike Friday are a rare sight in the UK, where there are only six official dealers listed. So if four of them are really rubbishing the product there is something seriously wrong somewhere. Cycle Surgury is a chain of bike shops (they have opened three new outlets countrywide, recently) that seem to be the main outlet for the Mezzo bikes, occasionally I've seen a Brompton or a ridgeback folder in there, but not often, Mezzo is their main folding line.

    This forum is a main source of folding bike knowledge, certainly in the UK, and as such I think posters need to be very cautious with unsubstantiated or implied criticism of bikes and manufacturers, its still a new and commercially fragile industry. Bad press can be very hard to shake off, just ask Lancia !

    I'd be interested to know what it was about just sitting on a Brompton that put PDR off them, I found it a disconcerting ride at first, but you soon get used to it, and appreciate its unique qualities. I've never seen the BF Tikit, so I don't know, but I do agree about the anthricite Birdy though, a very nice looking bike ......
    Last edited by Diode100; 03-26-08 at 02:54 AM.

  10. #10
    The Metropolis, UK
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    I had to hire a Brompton for a weekend from Velorution in London to appreciate it. At first I hated the twtiching feeling on the steering. However this isn't down to poor design. It's like driving a new and very different car that one needs to adjust to. After that I found the ride and handling very good. Still prefer my Downtube VIIIH 20" but you cannot knock the Brompton for the combination of compact fold and still maintaining a good ride on normal roads.

    Back to the folding bike forum section. Welcome PDR, never mind the posters who misinterpreted you and started getting personal, we are usually a very friendly lot here unlike some of the other forums.

  11. #11
    PDR
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    I must say that I am quite shocked to see that some members here consider me to be a troll

    As others have kindly pointed out, a few mouse clicks on previous posts would have shown my genuine interest it the Bike Friday Brand (I also subscribed to the YAK list).

    I have just spoken to another Bike Friday dealer in Cambridge (Ben Haywood Cycles) and had a very positive and enthusiastic response in regards to the Tikit, as in fact I also had when I phoned Avon Valley Cyclery.

    The really negative comments I received came from two individuals from the same shop (on different days) who are dealers for Bike Friday. Another dealer suggested that I'd be much better off with a Brompton.

    Obviously it is not my place to name these people, but I did find it surprising that they where so negative about the BF Tikit. When I phoned I specifically asked about the BF Tikit and pointed out that I would probably be after a custom built and therefore more expensive bike (with a higher profit margin for them?) and could I have a test ride. It was not a case of asking for recommendations, though they obviously had strong enough feelings about the product and made these known to me.

    I have been reading all sorts of folding bike reviews for over six months now and have a short list of bikes I like:

    Birdy Speed in anthracite
    Dahon Speed Pro
    B F Tikit
    Airnimal White Rhino
    Moulton TSR27 sep

    I know they are all very different bikes each with their pros and cons. The only one that I have seen in the metal is the Dahon Speed Pro TT.

    If I am going to be spending a considerable amount of cash on a bike then I think I own it to myself to do as much research and ask as many questions and opinions as I can and of course go and have a good look at examples myself and draw my own conclusions.

    I am currently riding around on a Titan Mountain 20” folder (cost £150 from e-bay) and it has given me plenty of time to assess that a folding bike is a worthwhile transport option .I just now want to upgrade to a nicer bike.

    As regards the Bromptoms, I’m not quite sure what it is that I don’t like about them.. maybe the old fashion gear levers and the bolt upright riding stance? I may buy one s/h at some future point from e-bay and see if it grows on me.

    Regards,

    Paul
    Last edited by PDR; 03-26-08 at 06:52 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by brakemeister View Post
    some dealers are their own worst nightmare , no doubt. Usually comments like that are made because the dealer thinks that company A is screwing him or company B has just delivered bikes to his competitor across the street, or company C has actually sold a bike direct , or he owes company D a lot of money and got a nasty letter .... all kinds of stuff, usually has nothing to do with the bikes in question.

    Still those are hard words. It would be the honorable thing to do for the poster and let BF know what dealer is dissing them and if they have a different dealer where he can test the bike without all those negativism ...

    Thor
    I had the Pacific Cycles dealer I bought my Carryme from tell me that it was a "novelty item" when I told him I wanted to commute short distances on it. The manufacturer, Pacific Cycles, designs and markets it as a utility bike, not a novelty for circus clowns.

    I guess the good thing about it was that his lack of faith in the bike compelled him to offer me a good deal: he gave me a free bike bag, 25% off MSRP, and the option to mail the bike back for a full refund.

  13. #13
    The Metropolis, UK
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    Hi Paul,

    Never mind the mindless rants of a small minority, they are the ones acting like stupid trolls.

    If you are willing to pay then the best all-round bike in your shortlist is the Birdy Speed because of its big bike feel and folding ability. Without a doubt the best on your list if you disregard pricing. The Tikit is more for commuting or someone requiring a far more compact fold. Nice little bike but not as good as the Birdy Speed by any means. The Birdy Speed will give you everything you want for short & long distance cycling. Have you also considered the 24 speed Birdy touring for its versatility? It's also a few hundred cheaper than the Speed.

    AVC are a very professional outfit based in Bath and are an expert retailer on folding bikes, highly recommend them.
    Last edited by mulleady; 03-26-08 at 08:42 AM.

  14. #14
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PDR View Post
    I must say that I am quite shocked to see that some members here consider me to be a troll

    As others have kindly pointed out, a few mouse clicks on previous posts would have shown my genuine interest it the Bike Friday Brand (I also subscribed to the YAK list).
    Yeah ... I am surprised by the responses myself.

    From a conversation with Mt. Airy Bicycles, I think that the margins on Bike Fridays are particularly small. So if you want a nefarious reason, perhaps they were trying to push you to a bike with a bigger margin.

    Can you get a test ride? There is a good chance that someone on the YAK group might let you take a short spin on the bike too.

    -G

    EDIT: Perhaps you should just go to a dealer with several of the bikes you are interested in? Given the price tag, probably worth the trip to find the right bike.

  15. #15
    The Metropolis, UK
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    EDIT: Perhaps you should just go to a dealer with several of the bikes you are interested in? Given the price tag, probably worth the trip to find the right bike.
    Yes it's worth the trip, even to somewhere like AVC in Bath because they keep a stock of demo bikes across their range, including Birdy.

  16. #16
    PDR
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    Thanks again for the helpful advice. I am planning to go to a BF dealer in Manchester and a Birdy dealer in Stockport for test rides in the near future.

    I spoke to AVC again this morning and they where very positive about both the Tikit and the Birdy…. briefly asked about the Airnimal Rhino and they confirmed that it is more a bike that can be dismantled and packed into a suitcase rather that a convenient folder for multi-mode commuting.

    The Birdy in anthracite is the bike that I really like the look of in standard form and it does have the edge when it comes to carrying luggage should I ever need to.

    The Tikit is a bike that has grown on me and I personally don’t think it looks as nice as the Birdy but of course the main attraction of the Tikit is the very quick fold.

    I guess I need to consider just how often I would really need the quicker fold of the Tikit. I know that I don’t like the stock soda blue colour of the standard Tikit so when I factor in a custom built Tikit with a few other extras the price differential between the Tikit and the Birdy is not going to be that great.


  17. #17
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Personally speaking, how well a bike rolls while folded is a strong consideration too. At least with utilitarian bikes that are carried often.

    There seem to be a range of opinions on how well the tikit rolls. I personally have never seen one up close let along try to roll it while folded.

    If you plan on using the bike as more of a travel bike, I would stick with the 20" (ERTO 406 or 451) wheels instead of a Birdy or a tikit.

  18. #18
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    I don't look on posts in bike forums everyday so excuse my late response but I would like to apologize to the original poster, my post was within the bounds of ignorant and I have no good excuse, must have been nervy that day, sorry.

  19. #19
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Dealers and employees sometimes have weird agendas that are hard to fathom and don't necessarily reflect what your experience will be like. I've got a Tikit and a Dahon D7. The Tikit is a great bike and I haven't had any issues with flex in the seat post or stem. I bomb around town on it going up and down curbs, hitting potholes, etc....so far the wheels haven't need any attention and the frame has been solid.

    I am also intrigued by the Birdy, but the lack of dealers makes it unlikely that I'll get a test ride in and the Tikit has been very satisfactory as a folder so I'm not really interested in getting another.
    safe riding - Vik
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  20. #20
    PDR
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    Just an update as to where I am up to now…

    I went to Stockport, UK last Saturday and had a test ride on a black Birdy Speed. I absolutely loved the bike, it felt well made, the frame was rigid, it was fast, comfortable and had a gear range that suited me fine.

    I still intend to try out a BF Tikit before making a final decision, but there are several factors in favour of the R+M Birdy, not least the fact that I have family in Germany so spares & accessories will be easier to source without the extortionate import & VAT costs incurred with American made brands.

    I’m just waiting to hear the final outcome of a pay-deal (back-dated for 4 years) rather than dipping into my savings account.



  21. #21
    Small wheels ARE better! OldiesONfoldies's Avatar
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    I'm a very satisfied Tikit owner - love it for its lightning fold, sharp handling and fantastic after sales. Its ability to pack into a Samsonite that converts into a trailer gives me the option to ride out of the airport if I want to. Not sure if that is important to you but in my frequent travelling, the Tikit is the only one in my stable of folders that can do this.

    My cycling buddy has a Birdy and it is indeed a very impressive bike - full suspension and all. I don't own a Birdy so not qualified to comment too much.



    Birdy, Tikit and a Cuppacino together out on a morning ride...

  22. #22
    SWS: Small Wheel Syndrome kb5ql's Avatar
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    One other comment. Seeing that you're in the UK, wouldn't it be your patriotic duty to try out the Brommie again? I know I got the warm fuzzies for purchasing a BF knowing that it is actually handmade here in the states.

    There's got to be just a tidge of national pride there with the dealers you're working with. (and as alluded to by other posters, a better margin perhaps?)


  23. #23
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    I would check out the Brommie again if you need a compact folder. You cannot judge it on a quick test ride or try-out. I thought the same PDR, twitchy steering etc. However i hired one for a long weekend and once you get used to it, it is actually a great folder and agile bike. It really grew on me. However, if you want a folder more capable of longer cycles and even off-roading, have you considered the Downtube? Yan is still clearing the FS for £199 + £25 courier on ebay.co.uk. A great bike for the money. Check the forums here and also the review of the Downtube FS on:
    http://www.foldsoc.co.uk/ under 'test reports'

    Granted the Birdy range are great bikes but there is no way they are 5-6 times better than the Downtubes and you can always upgrade small things like the pedals. I have both the FS and the 8 speed hub bike and love them.

  24. #24
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PDR View Post
    Just an update as to where I am up to now…

    I went to Stockport, UK last Saturday and had a test ride on a black Birdy Speed. I absolutely loved the bike, it felt well made, the frame was rigid, it was fast, comfortable and had a gear range that suited me fine.

    I still intend to try out a BF Tikit before making a final decision, but there are several factors in favour of the R+M Birdy, not least the fact that I have family in Germany so spares & accessories will be easier to source without the extortionate import & VAT costs incurred with American made brands.

    I’m just waiting to hear the final outcome of a pay-deal (back-dated for 4 years) rather than dipping into my savings account.

    I enjoyed riding the Birdy too. With some minor mods it would be an excellent all-around utility bike. My guess is that to get one to be a performance machine would take a lot of effort, however.

  25. #25
    Small wheels ARE better! OldiesONfoldies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mulleady View Post
    I would check out the Brommie again if you need a compact folder. You cannot judge it on a quick test ride or try-out. I thought the same PDR, twitchy steering etc. However i hired one for a long weekend and once you get used to it, it is actually a great folder and agile bike. It really grew on me. However, if you want a folder more capable of longer cycles and even off-roading, have you considered the Downtube? Yan is still clearing the FS for £199 + £25 courier on ebay.co.uk. A great bike for the money. Check the forums here and also the review of the Downtube FS on:
    http://www.foldsoc.co.uk/ under 'test reports'

    Granted the Birdy range are great bikes but there is no way they are 5-6 times better than the Downtubes and you can always upgrade small things like the pedals. I have both the FS and the 8 speed hub bike and love them.
    My same sentiments about the Brompton's initial twitchiness. Don't discount the Brommie, its still the reigning champion for compactness (16") and good enough for a race on some pretty bad roads. I used it for a charity race in Angkor Wat, Cambodia in 06 and was the only folder among roadies, MTBs and rentals. I wasn't last much to the amazement of many skeptics

    I've posted this before but if you havent seen it...


    http://foldsoc.blogspot.com/2006_12_01_archive.html
    click Village Focus race
    Last edited by OldiesONfoldies; 04-04-08 at 07:32 PM.

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