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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 05-01-08, 07:42 AM   #1
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Tikit 2 Pannier Front Rack



Bike Friday was kind enough to entertain my repeated requests and build me a custom 2 pannier front rack for my Tikit. If you want to see lots of photos and my full comments jump to my Tikit Blog.



The Coles Notes version is:
  • rack is light and looks well made
  • mounts easily
  • accepts my Ortlieb front panniers
  • bike folds with rack mounted - left pannier must be removed [large frame]
  • bike rolls with rack mounted [large frame]
  • bike can be covered with shower cap with rack mounted, but not rolled [easily fixed I will advise BF]
  • handling is slower and quite stable with loaded panniers
  • rack is quite stiff and panniers do not sway with steering input
  • rack is not a production item at this point, but if it continues to work well I'd be suprised if BF didn't add it to their line up of Tikit accessories
  • Small & Medium frames have less clearance between the front and rear wheels when folded so there may be issues folding those bikes with this rack that I am unaware of



Looking down on my ortliebs as I rode home from the grocery store yesterday I started to get excited for some warm weather touring on the Tikit. I'll be interested to see how the touring rear rack BF is working on performs with the Tikit.
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Old 05-01-08, 09:31 AM   #2
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Thanks for the report Vik. Glad to see that they finally delivered on this rack. It looks like a nice option for touring.
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Old 05-01-08, 09:34 AM   #3
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Thanks Vik.

I guess the rack needs another bar on the front to let the tikit roll with the shower cap on.
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Old 05-01-08, 09:46 AM   #4
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Thanks Vik.

I guess the rack needs another bar on the front to let the tikit roll with the shower cap on.
Not even anything that complicated...it just needs a tab on the front of the lower crossbar so the shower cap stops sliding down onto the front wheel - a very minor change. I don't roll my Tikit covered often [never at this point] so I don't care much about this, but if I wanted to I could fab up something on my rack in about 5 mins to allow allow the shower cap to work when the Tikit is rolled.

I'll let BF know so that they can make a change to the rack assuming they put it into production.
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Old 05-01-08, 09:53 AM   #5
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Thanks for the report Vik. Glad to see that they finally delivered on this rack. It looks like a nice option for touring.
Thanks Alex your PR rack for your Tikit inspired me to make my Tikit more useful than just a commuter bike with no luggage capacity.

I'm still quite enamoured by your PR rack and may see if I can get something fabricated locally. My DIY skills are beyond hopeless so I need to find someone who will take on the project here.

I'd love it if BF made a PR rack for the Tikit, but I get the sense the idea of a single front platform is even a harder sell than a 2 pannier front rack - which took some convincing to make it happen. I'd say you were ahead of your time Alex...lol...except the PR rack is such an old & proven idea.
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Old 05-01-08, 10:15 AM   #6
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I'd love it if BF made a PR rack for the Tikit, but I get the sense the idea of a single front platform is even a harder sell than a 2 pannier front rack - which took some convincing to make it happen. I'd say you were ahead of your time Alex...lol...except the PR rack is such an old & proven idea.
Have you thought about fitting the Nashbar front rack?

http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...%3A%20Panniers

Over the weekend I tested it out on the downtube mini. Worked fine.
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Old 05-01-08, 12:31 PM   #7
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Nice. That's an uptick for the Tikit in functionality.

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Old 05-04-08, 09:26 AM   #8
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Have you thought about fitting the Nashbar front rack?

http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...%3A%20Panniers

Over the weekend I tested it out on the downtube mini. Worked fine.
I wouldn't recommend using that rack to hold much real weight. I've seen a couple fail, the aluminum is pretty soft and tears where the rivets secure the mounting plate to the rack. The rotation of the mounting plate also makes them less secure feeling.

For lightweight stuff (a few pounds) it's okay. For 40lb loads (about the max that I've carried on my Tikit porteur rack) you'll want something else.

Vik -- I have had friends bolt a big Wald basket down to the top of a Bike Friday normal lowrider rack to get a cheap porteur-like setup. You could do the same thing on your Tikit rack. Check it out on this photo: http://bp1.blogger.com/_CGYQGxEMolw/...h/P1030688.jpg

The basket is just held on with heavy duty zip ties and can be removed easily to use it with panniers.
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Old 05-04-08, 04:18 PM   #9
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Just to follow up ... the Nashbar front rack is only rated for 15 pounds. So it is good for commuting and carrying a few things. Not a bad option for those of us without wielding skills ...
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Old 05-05-08, 06:59 AM   #10
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I wouldn't recommend using that rack to hold much real weight. I've seen a couple fail, the aluminum is pretty soft and tears where the rivets secure the mounting plate to the rack. The rotation of the mounting plate also makes them less secure feeling.

For lightweight stuff (a few pounds) it's okay. For 40lb loads (about the max that I've carried on my Tikit porteur rack) you'll want something else.

Vik -- I have had friends bolt a big Wald basket down to the top of a Bike Friday normal lowrider rack to get a cheap porteur-like setup. You could do the same thing on your Tikit rack. Check it out on this photo: http://bp1.blogger.com/_CGYQGxEMolw/...h/P1030688.jpg

The basket is just held on with heavy duty zip ties and can be removed easily to use it with panniers.
Thanks Alex....that is a good option to keep in mind...
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Old 05-05-08, 04:02 PM   #11
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Just to follow up ... the Nashbar front rack is only rated for 15 pounds. So it is good for commuting and carrying a few things. Not a bad option for those of us without wielding skills ...

I wouldn't expect them to last long with 15lb loads either.

There is another option that is much higher quality and not too much more expensive, the Nitto M12. The Nashbar rack is a copy of it in aluminum with a poorer design. The M12 is 3 to 4 times as expensive, but still a bargain at about $50.

My commute load is often over 15lbs because I tend to make grocery runs on the way home. Today I'm carrying a package to deliver to the post office, then will hit a grocery store after that. My really heavy loads come when I stop by Online Metals on the way home -- that is how I've carried around 50# on the front of my Tikit.

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Old 05-05-08, 05:25 PM   #12
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All these discussions about loading up the front of the tikit with this and that does not make much sense to me. I much prefer the load to be carried behind, leaving the steering unencumbered.

Is there a chance of designing a rear rack for the tikit that takes panniers? I would be very interested. Not sure if Bike Friday R&D Dept is working on this. Vik, any updates?
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Old 05-05-08, 05:40 PM   #13
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All these discussions about loading up the front of the tikit with this and that does not make much sense to me. I much prefer the load to be carried behind, leaving the steering unencumbered.

Is there a chance of designing a rear rack for the tikit that takes panniers? I would be very interested. Not sure if Bike Friday R&D Dept is working on this. Vik, any updates?
Bike Friday is working on a rear touring rack for the Tikit - no ETA yet or details.

Loading the front of the Tikit up with cargo does make a lot of sense:

- the front wheel is lightly loaded and quite strong
- steering is very quick and benefits from being slowed down [especially when touring]
- you may want cargo front and back if you are touring so a solution for both ends of the bike is needed


You can fit small panniers to the standard Tikit rear rack that is currently available so a four pannier touring setup is already feasible without affecting the fold.
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Old 05-05-08, 08:47 PM   #14
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I wouldn't expect them to last long with 15lb loads either.

There is another option that is much higher quality and not too much more expensive, the Nitto M12. The Nashbar rack is a copy of it in aluminum with a poorer design. The M12 is 3 to 4 times as expensive, but still a bargain at about $50.
Yeah ... I understand the skepticism. But it has lasted through two years of commuting and performed well for a few other buds. However, I have never put more than 10# on the front and I believe none of the buds have either.

How close are the two designs ... the Nitto and Nashbar? Could one infer that the Nitto would fit from fitting the Nashbar front rack?
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Old 05-05-08, 08:49 PM   #15
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Loading the front of the Tikit up with cargo does make a lot of sense:

- the front wheel is lightly loaded and quite strong
- steering is very quick and benefits from being slowed down [especially when touring]
- you may want cargo front and back if you are touring so a solution for both ends of the bike is needed
Those comments are definitely true for the NWT.
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Old 05-06-08, 01:27 AM   #16
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Thanks Vik for those good and valid reasons, but my point (that was not clearly expressed, sorry!) is why load up the front first without filling up the rear? I see the front panniers as an add on to rear panniers. That's why it does not seem to make sense to me. I hope the rear touring racks will be available soon.

Are there folks here who have a preference for loading up front panniers first, or am I the odd one out?

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Old 05-06-08, 07:36 AM   #17
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Thanks Vik for those good and valid reasons, but my point (that was not clearly expressed, sorry!) is why load up the front first without filling up the rear? I see the front panniers as an add on to rear panniers. That's why it does not seem to make sense to me. I hope the rear touring racks will be available soon.

Are there folks here who have a preference for loading up front panniers first, or am I the odd one out?
Well it makes sense to load up the front without loading up the rear for exactly the same reasons noted above. Your body weight is largely on the rear wheel so it is quite heavily loaded without any additional cargo. Slowing down the steering and balancing out the weight distribution is a good idea as well. Quite a few folks in the touring forum will tour with only front pannier or fronts panniers and a tent on the rear rack. It isn't an uncommon configuration. If you just load up the rear of your Tikit you concentrate all the weight on the already heavily loaded rear wheel and just exacerbate the already quick handling.

However, if you are asking why BF made a 2 pannier front rack before they released a 2 pannier rear touring rack for the Tikit - the answer is because I bugged them...lol...otherwise I think you would have seen the rear rack first. To be clear this front rack hasn't delayed the release of the rear touring rack, but I don't think BF had any interest in dealing with a new front rack until they had completed the development work on both the rear racks they had planned for the Tikit.
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Old 05-06-08, 08:01 AM   #18
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I'm learning new things everyday from this forum thanks Vik!
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Old 05-06-08, 08:44 AM   #19
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I've always been curious about the tikits. You don't find the 16" wheels to be too harsh for touring? I commute ocasionally on my Pocket Llama and have had some bone jarring experiences on it. Mind you , that's in a particularly bad spot and it's bad on my mountain bike too, none the less, I'd think the 16" wheels would be pretty hard on you for the long haul.
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Old 05-06-08, 09:01 AM   #20
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It really depends on where you are touring. I've recently gone to Sumatra, Indonesia and that is definitely not suitable for the tikit or other 16' folders. But there are places where its mostly good roads and it should be fine...

Check out this video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUTC5eHBg7Y
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Old 05-06-08, 09:02 AM   #21
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I've always been curious about the tikits. You don't find the 16" wheels to be too harsh for touring? I commute ocasionally on my Pocket Llama and have had some bone jarring experiences on it. Mind you , that's in a particularly bad spot and it's bad on my mountain bike too, none the less, I'd think the 16" wheels would be pretty hard on you for the long haul.
Naturally smaller wheeled bikes will do better on smoother roads. I wouldn't take my Tikit off road touring! Having said that it does fine all over town and there are some bad spots to get through. Having a 700c, 26" and smaller wheeled touring bikes I can say that each bike has its own pros & cons. My 700c LHT is fast, stiff and is a great road touring bike, but you can't fold it and throw it in the trunk of a small car! I'm not suggesting the Tikit would be as good a touring bike as the LHT for the long haul, but I can see quite a few shorter tours - especially those requiring frequent multi-modal transport legs - that would be ideal for the Tikit.
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Old 05-06-08, 09:07 AM   #22
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Thanks Vik for those good and valid reasons, but my point (that was not clearly expressed, sorry!) is why load up the front first without filling up the rear? I see the front panniers as an add on to rear panniers. That's why it does not seem to make sense to me. I hope the rear touring racks will be available soon.

Are there folks here who have a preference for loading up front panniers first, or am I the odd one out?
I've experimented with many ways of loading my bicycle. Front loading has come to be my preference. For commuting I prefer to use a platform rack with the load placed over the front wheel.

There are many reasons for front loading:
* With the right geometry (low trail and low wheel flop factor) the handling is improved. The Tikit handles pretty well with a front load.
* The frame can be lighter and less rigid since the load is carried on the fork. Most forks are already plenty stout to handle 30-40# loads, so there is no reason to beef them up for front loading. The hinges on folding bikes make the frame less rigid already, so this is even better on folding bikes.
* You can see and interact with the load. This allows me to get away with way overstuffing panniers or bags on short trips.
* Folding bike specific -- rear racks that are large enough to fit panniers usually have a significant impact on the folded size. This is especially true for Bike Friday and Swift Folder models where the rear triangle folds underneath, so the folded bike would be sitting on the rear rack.

I haven't met many people who have tried front loading on a frame with the right geometry for it and who didn't like it.
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