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  1. #1
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    Bike Friday: Pocket 8 vs. Pocket Companion

    Hi all -

    Brand new to this forum and hoping to get some good opinions and input on this question.

    I'm planning to buy an "entry-level" Bike Friday primarily for riding in and around the Chicago area, and I'm trying to decide between the 24-speed Pocket Companion and the now-discontinued 8-speed Pocket 8. Here are some of the questions that are on my mind:

    1. Practically speaking, do you really get 24 different gears on a 24-speed, or are there some that are virtually identical and serve more as a convenience / "stepping stone" as the chain moves across chainrings or sprockets or whatever you call them?

    2. Outside of racing or really extended touring (where you maybe want to maintain an absolutely steady cadence), my impression is that the biggest advantage to the 24-speed is more about the breadth of the gear range (highest vs. lowest) rather than the steps in between. Is this true?

    3. In short, if I'm not racing and will be biking primarily in the Chicago area, do I really need 24 speeds?

    4. Most friends I've asked about this take a sort of "the more the merrier" attitude about gears -- especially when there's only a $100 difference between the 8-speed and the 24-speed. So ... are there any disadvantages of extra gears? I'm fairly lazy, so my concerns about the 24-speed are:

      1. It will require more basic maintenance.

      2. If not maintained (and even if), it has more stuff that can to break down.

      3. I'm also fairly lazy when it comes to changing gears, and I don't see myself using more than a few gears anyway -- and rarely the highest or lowest, regardless of whether it's an 8-speed or a 24-speed. I know changing gears isn't really a hassle for most people, but I also know from past biking experience that my personal inclination is to change gears as infrequently as absolutely necessary.
    5. My biggest concern with the Pocket 8 is not having a low enough gear if I run up against a major hill (not something I expect in Chicago, but I may want to bike in Ireland next summer). I have heard that the Pocket 8 is geared a bit on the high side and that it might make sense to replace the 53T chainring with something smaller -- e.g. 48T or even smaller yet. Is this a good idea? Is it something I should have Bike Friday do for me? What's the right size and is there any drawback to doing this (outside of the reduction in the high gear)?

    6. All that said, is the entire folding bike market moving or moved to 20+ gears? If I decide to trade up in a couple years (or give up biking), will the Pocket 8 have $0 resale value, or a bigger discount relative to the Companion than the current $100 difference in prices?


    Hope you all can help - I'd really welcome some informed opinions.

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    1) No, with a derailleur setup there are ratio overlaps . you can do the Math and see that .

    A Rohloff hub is 14 different ratios like a 27 speed 9x3 mountain bike in range.
    even that has redundant ratios

    but the shifting sequence cam only uses one of them [its #11]


    I'd get an IG hub then there wont be that long derailleur
    cage to take up all that slack in chain length, puts the pulley,
    down close to the ground, with the small wheels..

    Shimano's Alfine 8 speed , and if the range isn't wide enough , add a double chainring.
    still within the range of a short cage chain-tensioner, [no derailleur needed]

    after coping with derailleurs for decades,, IG hubs are a big benefit.


    I really like my Pocket Llama..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 09-29-11 at 01:56 AM.

  3. #3
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    If you are using the bike for trips I would get the 24 speed.
    Speed Uno
    Dawes Kingpin 2speed

  4. #4
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    I use my 20" folder (not BF) for trips and often ride w a trailer around here. It had 24 gears but I got rid of two front chainrings, front der, cables and shifter. I am curently running a 44t front chainring but want to go to 42. We also use 42 front on the two 7speed IGH equipped folders. Not riding fast and often riding with trailer or heavy lugage. Found to my suprise that they say the same on the Gaerland website about folders; 42 in front for touring.

    I like it a lot at the moment but I keep thinking about changing to ĺ IGH. It has vertical dropouts so the extra work to set it up I guess is what is keeping me from doing it.
    °Empty drums make a lot of noice... (Old Hungarian proverb).

  5. #5
    Senior Member Foldable Two's Avatar
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    We own two Pocket 8's as well as a 27-speed NWT and a 27-speed Crusoe - The Pocket 8 would be a great bike for the Chicago area - can you say FLAT. Last Summer we took our Pocket 8's on a cross-country trailer trip and rode them many times, including 20 miles on Acadia Nat Park's gravel carriage trails. They really performed well. We are in our late 60's.

    I have replaced the 53T Chain Ring with a 48T version - easy to do - It gives us a more versatile gear range, IMO.

    Either model will serve you well. FYI: The Pocket 8 does NOT have a front derailleur mounting bracket built-in to the frame, so the Pocket Companion has greater "flexibility" in regards to possible set-up variations.

    Lou

  6. #6
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    Responses inserted below.

    Quote Originally Posted by runngdog View Post
    Hi all -

    Brand new to this forum and hoping to get some good opinions and input on this question.

    I'm planning to buy an "entry-level" Bike Friday primarily for riding in and around the Chicago area, and I'm trying to decide between the 24-speed Pocket Companion and the now-discontinued 8-speed Pocket 8. Here are some of the questions that are on my mind:

    1. Practically speaking, do you really get 24 different gears on a 24-speed, or are there some that are virtually identical and serve more as a convenience / "stepping stone" as the chain moves across chainrings or sprockets or whatever you call them?
      No. There is overlap.

    2. Outside of racing or really extended touring (where you maybe want to maintain an absolutely steady cadence), my impression is that the biggest advantage to the 24-speed is more about the breadth of the gear range (highest vs. lowest) rather than the steps in between. Is this true?
      No. Closer ratios (smaller steps) enable you to go faster with less effort

    3. In short, if I'm not racing and will be biking primarily in the Chicago area, do I really need 24 speeds?
      Probably not

    4. Most friends I've asked about this take a sort of "the more the merrier" attitude about gears -- especially when there's only a $100 difference between the 8-speed and the 24-speed. So ... are there any disadvantages of extra gears? I'm fairly lazy, so my concerns about the 24-speed are:
      Yes. More gears means more weight as well as more cost


      1. It will require more basic maintenance.
        Yes but minimal

      2. If not maintained (and even if), it has more stuff that can to break down.
        Yes but not a big deal. Its also a bit more complex and if you add an internal hub to get the extra gears, removing a rear wheel (e.g. after a puncture) is a bit more work

      3. I'm also fairly lazy when it comes to changing gears, and I don't see myself using more than a few gears anyway -- and rarely the highest or lowest, regardless of whether it's an 8-speed or a 24-speed. I know changing gears isn't really a hassle for most people, but I also know from past biking experience that my personal inclination is to change gears as infrequently as absolutely necessary.
      While using more gears generally gets you there quicker and easier, not everyone wants to use them. If you don't use them, there is no benefit to offset the cost and weight

    5. My biggest concern with the Pocket 8 is not having a low enough gear if I run up against a major hill (not something I expect in Chicago, but I may want to bike in Ireland next summer). I have heard that the Pocket 8 is geared a bit on the high side and that it might make sense to replace the 53T chainring with something smaller -- e.g. 48T or even smaller yet. Is this a good idea? Is it something I should have Bike Friday do for me? What's the right size and is there any drawback to doing this (outside of the reduction in the high gear)?
      If you are not sure, I would try the standard set up first. Changing a chainring later is relatively easy and inexpensive

    6. All that said, is the entire folding bike market moving or moved to 20+ gears? If I decide to trade up in a couple years (or give up biking), will the Pocket 8 have $0 resale value, or a bigger discount relative to the Companion than the current $100 difference in prices?

    No. Anything from 1 gear to 27 seems to be quite common.
    I would expect both Bike Fridays to have good resale value for many years. Not sure which would hold value better but it may well differ in different places


    Hope you all can help - I'd really welcome some informed opinions.

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