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  1. #1
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    Bike Friday Tikit..v. Brompton..

    I know this topic has been discussed a thousand times on here..but I just want to throw a few more observations in..I had an old Brompton S6l with a Sachs hub...lovely bike..but then I rode a Tikit and had to have one...just the basic 8 speed..
    No doubt the Tikit is better to ride and the Brompton is better to fold..However I tried a new Brompton S6L last week with a BWR hub..44th chainwheel and a firm rubber suspension unit..hmmm...I have bought one..still not as good as the Tikit to ride..but the new BWR hub with 44th is very close to the Tikit in gear range..the firm rubber gives a sportier ride and the folding is so superior to the Tikit..plus..the Bromptons front luggage bag is so good..Now sadly selling my Tikit..If I cant I will put drop bars on it..a 60 th front chainwheel on the front and pretend it is a Moulton Am series bike..

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    todd fahrner, who sells them in Portland http://clevercycles.com/
    substituted a 110bcd double crankset with a 44/36 combo
    and went on a bike tour last summer , Or,NoCal coast.
    load kept small, down to Touring bag and a Carradice Camper saddle bag.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 03-16-11 at 09:16 AM.

  3. #3
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    I went through the same thing you did and came out with the same decision - to keep the Brompton M6L and sold off the Tikit (with Schlumpf Speed Drive). The Brompton fold just can't be beat, and the ride is good enough to have loads of fun while riding. If I really wanted to go fast, I just ride my full size roadie, so the Tikit got caught in the squeeze.

    Of course, the speed of the Tikit fold is unbeatable. It's just that the extra couple of seconds in the folding process was just not a big deal in my riding patterns.
    Last edited by SesameCrunch; 03-14-11 at 03:21 PM.

  4. #4
    Erudite white trash lexm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SesameCrunch View Post
    If I really wanted to go fast, I just ride my full size roadie, ...
    ...or his smokin' hot Moulton TSR-30, or any of about a dozen others Mr Crunch's post conveniently ignores. (Not that I'm complaining. I'm his protege! )
    @AlexeiM on Twitter

  5. #5
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    What is the gear range in the "new" BWR IGH?

  6. #6
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    BWR high : 1.57, low 0.64. stock cogs 13/15
    [2 speed(no IG) uses 12/16 , so swapping is possible]
    chainring choice makes gear range a 'depends' answer .

    EZ Math : http://sheldonbrown.com/gears/internal.html
    Last edited by fietsbob; 03-15-11 at 10:25 AM.

  7. #7
    Bromptonaut 14R's Avatar
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    Wow, correct me if I am wrong, but that makes it on a 53T chainring something along the lines of high 30s to 120s? That means if you keep a cadence of 90 on the highest gear, you would pretty much reach 30mph.


    hmmm. I want one!

  8. #8
    Junior Member JoelBikes's Avatar
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    Same here. I'd been coveting a Tikit for over a year and was just in love with them...and then I tried one. At that point, I sure liked it a lot but it felt squirrelly in the front. So, I chalked that up to it being a 'not so well tuned' demo bike. Fast forward six months, I tried another one at a different bike shop. I had called ahead and told the owner my concern. He assured me the Tikit I'd be testing out was all set and tuned up. It felt a little better but basically the same. Depression sets in. Then, I happen to be in London for a conference in October so I figured it would be easy enough to pop into a bike shop and test ride a few Bromptons.

    I tried 4 Bromptons - it was one of those "pinch me ... am I dreaming?" moments. The Bromptons rode so well I immediately erased all the bad stuff I'd read about them from my memory.

    As been discussed many times, the fold is an engineering marvel and has to be seen/tried to appreciate. The shopping cart mode still amazes me to this day.

    But, the solid ride, the built-in rear suspension, and absolutely no squirrelly feeling in the handlebars really makes for an amazing bike. I had to have one. So, anyway, I picked up a S6R about six weeks ago (raw lacquer) and couldn't be happier. I added a Brooks aged B67 (awesome springs) and Ergon grips and man, oh man, I'm loving this bike. My wife liked it so much she bought a M6R.

    I am a big fan of the Brompton and hope to have this bike for a long time. I continue to be amazed at the ride every time I take it out. In the end, this was a better choice for me also because of the multi-modal travel advantage the Brompton has - in terms of folded size. But, first and foremost, the ride had to be comfortable and solid or else a folded bike wasn't going to be in my future.

    My life lesson once again was that "I have to try it myself and make up my own mind" -- not everyone will agree on such a personal choice like a bike. A bike's geometry and feel are everything - similarly, I love Gary Fisher mountain bikes but can never get comfortable on a Specialized - go figure.

  9. #9
    Senior Member NigelHealy's Avatar
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    The Brompton is commonly customized, the BWR has a wide range of gears but some still find its not wide enough. A 44T chainring still has a decent high gear but on the steepest hills still benefits from a lower gear so some folks still fit a double chainring and manually move down for the long steep ascents. I like the S-bar for the lower torso for the slightly faster speed and helps with headwinds.

  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    yea 44t is one of the 2 optional cranksets offered on new OEM builds.
    default is a 50. other, a 54t

    SJS in UK shows one chainset made with a steel 1/8'' thick 46t .

  11. #11
    Senior Member lucille's Avatar
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    I have tried the Tikit today and absolutely loved the ride. It didn't feel any different from my 20" wheel NWT, which I rode to the store.
    I haven't ridden the Brompton, I'm curious to try. But to be honest, having one BF already, I'm kind of biased.

    I guess there's a bike for everybody out there. If you're happy with it, it doesn't matter what make it is.

  12. #12
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    I've been riding a Brompton this last week and actually it feels 'squirrelly' compared to both my Dahon Vitesse and Curve SL. The handling is entirely different. So far I think the Curve SL with Thudbuster is a better ride despite its shorter wheelbase; certainly in terms of componentry (and aesthetics) it's miles ahead. I'm going to sell one bike at some stage and I don't know yet which, it all depends on the Brompton's shopping cart ability and how easy it is to take into shops. In terms of wheeling through stations I'm not sold on the Brompton yet; one has to unfold the handlebars in order to pull the bike whereas with Dahons I can have things set up so that wheeling is easy in a fully-folded position.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoelBikes View Post
    Same here. I'd been coveting a Tikit for over a year and was just in love with them...and then I tried one. At that point, I sure liked it a lot but it felt squirrelly in the front. So, I chalked that up to it being a 'not so well tuned' demo bike. Fast forward six months, I tried another one at a different bike shop. I had called ahead and told the owner my concern. He assured me the Tikit I'd be testing out was all set and tuned up. It felt a little better but basically the same.
    In my experience, the Brompton is *much* more squirrely than the Tikit. So how is this reconciled? Is it possible we're using a different meaning of the word?

    The Tikit has quite a bit more flexible front stem than the Brompton, because it's adjustable and (in the hyperfold model) the clamp down is not as strong. Compared the the Brompton the Tikit's stem feels noodly. However the Tikit's *steering* is stabler than the Brompton, which has a mere 24mm of trail (if I recall, the Tikit's got somewhere north of 30). To me squirrely refers to steering stability. Any chance there's a difference of opinion here?

  14. #14
    Junior Member JoelBikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by feijai View Post
    In my experience, the Brompton is *much* more squirrely than the Tikit. So how is this reconciled? Is it possible we're using a different meaning of the word?

    The Tikit has quite a bit more flexible front stem than the Brompton, because it's adjustable and (in the hyperfold model) the clamp down is not as strong. Compared the the Brompton the Tikit's stem feels noodly. However the Tikit's *steering* is stabler than the Brompton, which has a mere 24mm of trail (if I recall, the Tikit's got somewhere north of 30). To me squirrely refers to steering stability. Any chance there's a difference of opinion here?
    I see what you mean. What I meant was, like you said, the Tikit stem feels 'noodly' -- to me it feels loose or too flexible anyway, so I just didn't feel comfortable with all that 'play' in the front. It feels like it might break if I were in a standing position going up hill (and I'm 5' 10" / 175lbs). Whether that would happen or not, I have no idea - but I wasn't going to pay almost $2000 with that concern. From a totally subjective perspective, it did not feel 'stable' to me unfortunately. The Brompton feels tight, solid and similar to the feel of the front of a normal full size bike or a BMX bike. There's no give at all - and every time I'm on the bike I'm surprised at how tight and solid feeling it is. I go up curbs and down curbs in the city and it feels like a BMX bike honestly. I'm accustomed to mountain bikes - and I definitely have a preference for tight, responsive front stem - with no wiggle or play.

    I hope that clarifies what I was trying to say. I use the term 'squirelly' all the time and now I'm thinking it's not quite the right word for what I'm describing-- 'noodly is my new word' ;>

    I really, really wanted to like the Tikit. I went out of my way considerably to have multiple test rides - my wife thought I was crazy. It just wasn't for me. Again, reinforcing for me the 'try before you buy' rule. Thankfully, there are lots of folder options these days ;> for all our different preferences and body types.

  15. #15
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    There's a lot of flex in the stem of the m3l brompton I'm riding at the moment. It's eqivalent to that of my Curve SL. . . about the same. Though being steel somehow it feels healthier(?).

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by feijai;12377205[B
    ]In my experience, the Brompton[/B] is *much* more squirrely than the Tikit. So how is this reconciled? Is it possible we're using a different meaning of the word?
    What exactly is your experience on a Brompton? You've had one before?
    Quote Originally Posted by makeinu View Post
    For a bike without a derailleur you really don't need to oil the chain at all and I don't oil the chains on any of my folding bikes.

  17. #17
    Junior Member JoelBikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chagzuki View Post
    There's a lot of flex in the stem of the m3l brompton I'm riding at the moment. It's eqivalent to that of my Curve SL. . . about the same. Though being steel somehow it feels healthier(?).
    Do you know how old the bike is? I'm just curious so I'm can compare it to my experience. My wife has a 2010 M6R and I find the flex to be what I would consider very minimal (in the realm of folding bikes that is). I could have lived with this and would have bought it anyway, until I tried the Brompton S6R (straight, mountain bike handlebars). The S-series converted me because it's so solid feeling - like I said above - no flex or 'noodly' feeling in the front. I've tried my wife's M-series a few times since we bought them and have concluded that I definitely would have been happy with it if the S-series did not exist. I think one of the advantages the M-series has is that the 'banana like' handlebars give a little so it's almost like a little shock absorption built-in. The S-series definitely doesn't 'give a little' - it's solid - and one of the reasons I replaced the grips with Ergon's for better protection on my palms (grip options doesn't hurt either).

  18. #18
    Junior Member JoelBikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastBiker View Post
    What exactly is your experience on a Brompton? You've had one before?

    Good question - I should have thought to ask that as a point of comparison. My experience is exclusively with the 2010 Bromptons. I test rode six of them - later bought two M6R and S6R (my wife loves hers also). My Tikit, Dahon, Giant experiences are also all based on 2010 bikes. 2010 was the year of the folding bike search.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastBiker View Post
    What exactly is your experience on a Brompton? You've had one before?
    Hey, EastBiker's back in troll form.

    For those of you who don't know, EastBiker last year repeatedly snarked on what he thought was my lack of experience with Bromptons, though he was unable to refute anything I actually said and eventually slunk away. His basic premise was true: I'd not ridden them a whole lot though enough to nail down their differences I think. But things change in a year, EastBiker. I wasn't alone in getting his snark: EB was pretty much a sideline jackass to everyone, particularly FolderFanatic.

    So here's a little piece of red meat for you, EB: the Brompton has just
    24mm of trail.
    Go chew on that.

    I'm obviously a tikit supporter over the Brompton, at least for my riding style, and would be glad to enumerate the reasons. But as a change of pace, how about I state what I think are the primary advantages the Brompton has over the tikit (in the USA anyway).

    Let's get the obvious one out of the way. The Brompton folds beautifully into a compact shape. The Tikit does not. I'm impressed with how well thought out much of the B is, right down to the latch to hold the handlebars to the bike when folded. Another example: Brompton's fenders are clean and thought out and BF's are not.

    The Tikit's famously biggest problem, which BF has never addressed satisfactorally, is its noodly stem. The Tikit's stem is adjustable and as a result is fairly flexible. The Brompton's non-adjustable stem is quite a bit stiffer. On top of that, the clamp on the Tikit Hyperfold model does not hold down the stem as tightly as the Model T, adding a bit more noodlyness.

    Brompton's frame is older in design and has had longer to tamp down problems. Though BF has fixed a lot of the early design issues, the tikit is still a bit of a bleeding-edge bike. I think the two biggest current issues with the tikit's long-term wear are (1) the rear latch plates, which wear down and cannot be replaced, and (2) the the hyperfold trumpet valve, whose ball bearings wear out. The trumpet valve can easily be replaced, but I've found it must be about once a year of reasonable riding. If the latch plates are warn beyond repair, BF has a no-questions-asked lifetime warranty on their frames. I've also heard some concern about ovalization on the stem latch, but it looks good as new to me. Again, lifetime warranty.

    Brompton as a company offers a wide range of colors. The titanium Brompton options are very nice.

    That's all I can think of right now.
    Last edited by feijai; 03-20-11 at 08:42 AM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by feijai View Post
    Hey, EastBiker's back in troll form.

    For those of you who don't know, EastBiker last year repeatedly snarked on what he thought was my lack of experience with Bromptons, though he was unable to refute anything I actually said and eventually slunk away. His basic premise was true: I'd not ridden them a whole lot though enough to nail down their differences I think. But things change in a year, EastBiker. I wasn't alone in getting his snark: EB was pretty much a sideline jackass to everyone, particularly FolderFanatic.

    So here's a little piece of red meat for you, EB: the Brompton has just
    24mm of trail.
    Go chew on that.

    I'm obviously a tikit supporter over the Brompton, at least for my riding style, and would be glad to enumerate the reasons. But as a change of pace, how about I state what I think are the primary advantages the Brompton has over the tikit (in the USA anyway).

    Let's get the obvious one out of the way. The Brompton folds beautifully into a compact shape. The Tikit does not. I'm impressed with how well thought out much of the B is, right down to the latch to hold the handlebars to the bike when folded. Another example: Brompton's fenders are clean and thought out and BF's are not.

    The Tikit's famously biggest problem, which BF has never addressed satisfactorally, is its noodly stem. The Tikit's stem is adjustable and as a result is fairly flexible. The Brompton's non-adjustable stem is quite a bit stiffer. On top of that, the clamp on the Tikit Hyperfold model does not hold down the stem as tightly as the Model T, adding a bit more noodlyness.

    Brompton's frame is older in design and has had longer to tamp down problems. Though BF has fixed a lot of the early design issues, the tikit is still a bit of a bleeding-edge bike. I think the two biggest current issues with the tikit's long-term wear are (1) the rear latch plates, which wear down and cannot be replaced, and (2) the the hyperfold trumpet valve, whose ball bearings wear out. The trumpet valve can easily be replaced, but I've found it must be about once a year of reasonable riding. If the latch plates are warn beyond repair, BF has a no-questions-asked lifetime warranty on their frames. I've also heard some concern about ovalization on the stem latch, but it looks good as new to me. Again, lifetime warranty.

    Brompton as a company offers a wide range of colors. The titanium Brompton options are very nice.

    That's all I can think of right now.
    Jeez, ask a simple question and get a novel in return! That's a lot of blah, and you still haven't answered the question. What is your experience with Bromptons? You rode one years ago at an LBS for 10 minutes? You measureda Brompton's trail, found it to be 24mm and based your whole experience on that?

    Nobody doubts your experience on Tikits. But for you to tout again and again that you have experience on Bromptons, that opens you up to simple questions such as mine.

    So again, what is your experience with Bromptons?

    And for you to call out my snarkiness, hmmmm have you seen yourself in a mirror lately? LOL!
    Quote Originally Posted by makeinu View Post
    For a bike without a derailleur you really don't need to oil the chain at all and I don't oil the chains on any of my folding bikes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EastBiker View Post
    Jeez, ask a simple question and get a novel in return! That's a lot of blah, and you still haven't answered the question. What is your experience with Bromptons?
    I've ridden them a *lot* more since, and beyond that my personal life is my own, jackass. At any rate, what I said back then was correct: the Brompton has many positive features, but it is a significantly more unstable bike than the tikit. The numbers bear it out too. Do you have any evidence to the contrary or is this going to be just another one of those ad hominem attacks for which you were called out last year?

    You measureda Brompton's trail, found it to be 24mm and based your whole experience on that?
    I did not measure the trail. The Brompton's trail is well known. Did you bother to click on the link?

  22. #22
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    Yeah, EastBiker is a troll. In fact, I suspect he's an alter ego that someone made so they can go around spewing nastiness without getting treated the same way by others. That being said, he now has the honor of being the first person on my ignore list.

    Frankly, anyone who has a lot of experience with something they don't like or which doesn't suit them is an idiot. A good folding bike costs over $1000. If you can't figure out the flaws with a few test rides then I have a bridge to sell you.

  23. #23
    It's got electrolytes! chucky's Avatar
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    Now back to our regularly scheduled program....

    I'm another person who used to covet a tikit until I took a test ride and felt the noodly stem. However, I have high hopes that Bike Friday sorts out the stem riser flex because the tikit has a lot of unique features which really put it in a class of its own, such as:
    1. Swappable dropouts (horizontal, vertical, etc). This is huge and is hard to find on any bike, period, much less another folder.
    2. Fold without changing seat height. While years of practice with other folders have made me excellent at setting my seat height, it's annoying to have to reset it once you have it dialed in to the perfect position.
    3. Unified rear triangle. The only other folders currently on the market which have this are the Swift, the Airnimal, and Dahons (and only the Dahons are really comparable to the tikit in terms of fold, but they're not nearly as customizable not to mention other disadvantages)...not even other Bike Friday models. The other day I snapped this NJS certified chain tensioner in half; the Brompton tensioner wouldn't last me a mile:
    njs4pussies.jpg

    The Brompton's alright, but IMHO the Pacific Carryme (which I have and love) beats the Brompton at its own game (and by a wider margin than the Brompton beats the tikit). What I want is a better tikit...with a stiff stem and 20" wheels (tire selection, tire selection, tire selection).

    P.S. I just found out that Bike Friday can build tikits with 100mm front forks without compromising the fold so long as you don't use a chain tensioner or derailleur in the rear...perfect for me.
    Last edited by chucky; 03-20-11 at 10:07 AM.

  24. #24
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by feijai View Post
    The Brompton's trail is well known. Did you bother to click on the link?
    The tikit's trail can't be too different ... can it? The low trail is largely due to the small ERTO 349 wheel which is shared with the tikit.

    Anyway, unless the fit just happens to be on target or if one has a very relaxed position -- townie -- I would be very surprised if many would find the Brompton as a better riding bike. Especially if some time is spent on fitting the person to the tikit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
    The tikit's trail can't be too different ... can it? The low trail is largely due to the small ERTO 349 wheel which is shared with the tikit.
    Okay here's what I know. The formula is trail = (radius * cos(angle) - offset) / sin(angle). Talking to BF, the fork offset on the tikit is 35mm and the head tube is 73 degrees, or 1.2740893 radians. I bugged BF about why they have an offset on the tikit at all -- with an offset of 10mm less they'd be nearly 40mm trail -- and got a nebulous answer. :-(

    A 349-37 wheel is 210mm in radius, giving a trail of about 28mm. With Scorchers installed (349-40), the trail is 29mm. A Brompton is 24mm trail, which I think is crazy low. Put in context, front-load (porteur) bikes are 30 to 45mm of trail usually. "Mid trail" bikes are around 50-60mm, and "high trail" bikes are over 60mm.

    So chucky pointed out several advantages of the tikit. Let me give a few others that matter to me:

    1. Easy customization due to use of standards. I have replaced or upgraded the following on my Tikit: brake pads, saddle (old B67), seatpost (to an old pipe-type), handlebars (twice), grips, forward stem, stem riser, cranks, chainring (to a 60 tooth), chainring guard (to the same), rear derailleur (to an SRAM X7), shifter (to the same), rear cassette (to a 9-speed 11-32), tires (to Scorchers, which don't fit on the Brompton), kickstand, cables and housings. A good number of these items cannot be easily modified on the Brompton outside of the company's poor offerings due to its proprietary mechanisms or constraints. The tikit, even the hyperfold, also has fewer custom parts.
    2. Sizing. Though the tall do assent to ride it, the Brompton is fundamentally designed for teeny tiny people with T-rex arms. Its maximum reach is roughly that of the size small tikit. It's even an inch or so shorter than the Dahon P8 series. The model M puts me in a very upright pootling position, and the model S feels very much like I'll go over the front wheel at any time. I need a longer reach than the Brompton offers by a good 2 inches. The tikit comes in three sizes, different rider weight options, and both its stem and seatmast can be sized. And BF has a reputation for custom builds.
    3. Warranty and support. Brompton's support in the US is okay. BF's is widely viewed as exceptional and deservedly so.
    4. The hyperfold is a very fun thing to have.

    Would I like a bike which folds as small as the Brompton? You bet. But otherwise it's a big ball of compromises. Could I ride the Brompton to and from my local train station? Sure. Would I want to commute 20 miles each way on it? No. The tikit's sizing and customizability, for me anyway, is a big deal.
    Last edited by feijai; 03-21-11 at 02:49 PM.

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