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Old 11-20-11, 01:35 AM   #1
freighttraininguphill
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Putting my new Bike Friday Pocket Companion to the test on steep hills

I finally got my new Bike Friday! I had to wait until my recumbent sold first. I picked it up a couple days ago. First thing I did was replace the stock 30t small chainring with a 24t, since I bought this bike solely to climb the steepest hills I can find. Today was the first climbing ride with this bike. All the climbs are in El Dorado Hills, CA: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/129715640#

I also got a new GoPro HD Hero 960 camera, so I mounted that to the lowest point on the handlepost. Unfortunately that location turned out to be a failure due to an obnoxious creaking noise from the handlepost or handlebar. The creaking occurred on the steepest parts of all the climbs. Also, the shifter cable was annoyingly close to the lens of the camera, so the only footage I kept was a quick 40 mph descent. You can see the shifter cable slinging around slightly in the video, but at least the GoPro did an excellent job of muting wind noise thanks to its enclosure.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUpy0yOSyCE

Since I recorded the entire ride with the helmet-mounted ContourHD, I used that footage for the climb video. All the hills in this video have grades of 15% or higher, with a max grade on some of them of 19%. In spite of that, I never had to shift lower than the third largest cog in the back. With the 24t chainring, my lowest gear is 16 inches. That's lower than my mtb at 16.7.

http://contour.com/stories/steep-el-...n-folding-bike

Here's some pics.





The GoPro mounted on the bike.



How I got the bike home from the LBS.


Last edited by freighttraininguphill; 05-18-12 at 06:00 PM. Reason: removed link to deleted photo, changed link to video
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Old 11-20-11, 02:17 AM   #2
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Woah 40 MPH, you're nuts! You could tie the shifter and brake cables with zip ties.

Nicely done.
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Old 11-20-11, 05:23 AM   #3
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Nice choice, I have just set up a couple of pocket sports and really like them (especially on the climbs)!!
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Old 11-20-11, 03:48 PM   #4
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I don't have as much fear of high speeds after over a year of climbing rides. That doesn't mean I ride recklessly, quite the opposite actually. I just pick the right roads for high speed descents and keep my bike well maintained.

I found out that the creaking noise was definitely coming from the handlepost, not the bars.

I agree, the Bike Friday does great on the climbs! I'm very happy with my purchase!

Last edited by freighttraininguphill; 05-18-12 at 06:02 PM. Reason: removed link to deleted video
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Old 11-20-11, 06:06 PM   #5
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I've had my Pocket Companion for two years now. It's a great bike. I changed to Schwalbe Marathons after the Kendas started getting lots of flats, and they are an improvement.
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Old 11-20-11, 06:12 PM   #6
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Hello freightttrainuphill, nice videos! can you please tell me what blue color your frame is in : cream soda or sapphire? ( it seems too dark to be blue sky sparkle and too light to be midnight blue ) .. I am about to order a BF bike.. Thats why
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Old 11-20-11, 06:17 PM   #7
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I've had my Pocket Companion for two years now. It's a great bike. I changed to Schwalbe Marathons after the Kendas started getting lots of flats, and they are an improvement.
I'm loving it so far! I run tire liners in all my bikes, so hopefully my luck won't run out. I have the same tires in a 20x1.95 version on my Worksman Port-O-Trike, and so far no flats. The stock tires got a couple flats, even with liners.

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Hello freightttrainuphill, nice videos! can you please tell me what blue color your frame is in : cream soda or sapphire? ( it seems too dark to be blue sky sparkle and too light to be midnight blue ) .. I am about to order a BF bike.. Thats why
It is cream soda blue. It looks metallic in person.
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Old 11-25-11, 01:41 PM   #8
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Thanks! Actually i just ordered a pocket llama in saphire blue.. I'll post some pics in the forum uppn delivery.

I'm also impressed about your downhill speeds, not saying that you are nuts or 'close to it' but
1/ you have my respect
2/ couldnt imagine a folding bike above 25 mph!!
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Old 11-25-11, 01:54 PM   #9
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I look forward to seeing those pics!

This summer I took my Dahon Speed D7 up and down some Sierra mountains. Here's the thread. The descents of Monitor Pass and Mt. Rose are on the second page.
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Old 01-02-12, 09:24 PM   #10
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The Bike Friday impresses me more and more every time I take it up a hard climb. Yesterday a local cycling club had a hill repeat challenge. The idea was to see how many times you could climb Beatty Drive (a 3/4 mile long hill with lots of 10%-12% grades and a max grade of 16%) in two hours.

I am not a member of that club, so technically I wasn't a participant. I was just along for the ride. Since I love climbing, I figured what better way to ring in the new year than by climbing the most popular sufferfest hill in El Dorado Hills. This is one of the hills that was included in the videos in my OP.

Between climbs I stood on the side of the road with a fourth camera and recorded the riders going by. I could only do that for a few minutes at a time before I got the overwhelming urge to do more of my own climbing.

The Bike Friday climbs at least as fast as my road bike, if not faster. Descending is another story though. I feel like the tall handlepost makes it less stable, and I spun out my highest gear on a descent. The road bike is definitely faster downhill.

I also had front and rear facing cameras on the bike. One was mounted on the seatpost facing the rear, one was on the handlebars facing the front, and a third camera was mounted on my helmet. That's right, 3 cameras. I wanted to have all angles covered.

The front and rear cameras did a great job of capturing passes. The rear camera caught the suffer faces of overtaking cyclists, and the few I managed to pass.

The video alternates between front and rear views. There was some commentary from spectators and passing cyclists. Occasionally I included footage of that from front and rear cameras so the viewer gets a second chance to hear what was said, like the guy who said "A Bike Friday, on a Sunday".

Garmin data. Over 4,000' of climbing on this ride.

Ride details from the bike club's website

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WjAVfsj6q8
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Old 01-04-12, 02:10 PM   #11
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I got to thinking about Sunday's ride, and I had a bad feeling that I may have screwed up by riding along without saying anything first. I PMed a BF member who is also a member of The Hammerin' Wheels, and he confirmed my fears. Another lesson learned the hard way.

To anyone I may have offended by doing this, I am sorry.
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Old 01-05-12, 12:43 PM   #12
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On the lighter side, I discovered this blog entry from a local Clydesdale who also likes to climb. Halfway down the page, right above the picture of him climbing, is this.

"Another low point was being passed by someone on a Bike Friday Ė one of those folding travel bikes. All I could think of was ďare you kidding me?Ē As it turns out, that person was there to watch the repeats, not do them (at least not all 12). So, pace was not a concern to them ó that took a bit of the sting out of it. Still, thatís the sure sign of trouble. Any time someone on a folding travel bike passes you, youíve got issues. It felt like I was driving in a Nascar event, and getting passed by a Prius. Itís not right. I probably could have knocked them over, and beaten them to death with their ridiculous bike, and the police would understand (it was simply overtly disrespectful Ė I had to do it). Of course, Iíd have to catch them first."

I left a nice comment on his page with the links to the videos, and he was good-natured and even pointed out where I could see him in the videos.

To some, his writing style might seem crass, but to me it was funny as hell! You see, I have a warped sense of humor. I'm not uptight like many cyclists. Life is too short to live like that. I will continue to follow the blogs of cyclists with a sense of humor.

His comment does reflect the stereotypes many cyclists have about small-wheeled bikes though. Many people believe folding bikes can't perform as well as full-size road bikes. After riding the steepest hills around on my Bike Friday, I beg to differ.
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Old 01-05-12, 03:04 PM   #13
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Interesting situation. Kudos on beating him!
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Old 01-05-12, 03:32 PM   #14
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Well, climbing is power-to-weight, so if he weighs 90-100 pounds more than me he has his work cut out for him. I am still working on losing weight so I can climb better. I was passed by more people than I passed, including a couple of female cyclists (I am also female). In the good old days of 120 pound weight, women hardly ever passed me until I upgraded to the Sport class of mountain bike racing back in 1993. Then it became the kind of sufferfest I don't like!
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Old 01-05-12, 04:08 PM   #15
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If they still run the Mt Tam Hill climb up from the Stinson Beach side , on the road .
then you can get an ascent time to compare with the other people.. lots of them..
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Old 01-05-12, 06:03 PM   #16
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Taken in the right context it is very funny.
"Any time someone on a folding travel bike passes you, you’ve got issues. It felt like I was driving in a Nascar event, and getting passed by a Prius. It’s not right. I probably could have knocked them over, and beaten them to death with their ridiculous bike, and the police would understand"

I have been riding some hills lately and don't find that I climb any worse on my folding bike than on my road bike. Flat land speed is a different matter though.
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Old 01-05-12, 11:13 PM   #17
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If they still run the Mt Tam Hill climb up from the Stinson Beach side , on the road .
then you can get an ascent time to compare with the other people.. lots of them..
I joined the cycling club that hosted the hill climbing challenge today, so I'm sure there will be plenty of good sufferfest rides that will allow me to compare my ability with others.
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Taken in the right context it is very funny.
"Any time someone on a folding travel bike passes you, youíve got issues. It felt like I was driving in a Nascar event, and getting passed by a Prius. Itís not right. I probably could have knocked them over, and beaten them to death with their ridiculous bike, and the police would understand"
It had me laughing my ass off, that's for sure!
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I have been riding some hills lately and don't find that I climb any worse on my folding bike than on my road bike. Flat land speed is a different matter though.
Agreed. I think my Bike Friday climbs at least as well as my road bike, if not better. Descending is another story though. The road bike rules for descents!
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Old 01-06-12, 02:12 AM   #18
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the math of a 10" smaller wheel diameter is always a winner..
for the same gear ratio, turning said wheel..
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Old 01-06-12, 08:38 AM   #19
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The road bike rules for descents!
I actually like how my folder descends. It has great brakes. The low center of gravity and the 1.5" tires inspire confidence when pushing through turns. I never really felt totally comfortable with skinny 700's.

As a curious point of interest, my folder has the same wheelbase as my road bike. It fits on the rollers (without adjustment being necessary) and for me is actually easier and more fun to ride on said rollers.

A bike that feels controllable inspires confidence and helps me go downhill faster.



Breezer Zag 7 (rebadged Dahon Vitesse)
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Old 01-06-12, 09:49 AM   #20
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The brakes on the Bike Friday are great. It's just that the tall handlepost makes it feel less stable than my road bike. On my Dahon Speed D7, I lowered the handlepost as far as it would go, making that bike more stable and allowing almost 44mph top speed down Monitor Pass last summer.

I'm not sure I can lower the handlepost much more on the Bike Friday.
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Old 01-06-12, 10:17 AM   #21
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Put a drop bar?
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Old 01-06-12, 12:45 PM   #22
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allowing almost 44mph top speed down Monitor Pass last summer.
That's what I'm talking about!
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Old 01-06-12, 08:01 PM   #23
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I am a slow and steady descender regardless of the bike (always have been) but mrs tourer is routinely descending at over 70kph on her BF pocket sport. I am a really big fan of these bikes and since moving to a 56t big chainring we can also gather good speed on the flats.
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Old 01-07-12, 01:53 AM   #24
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Sure you can lower the bars... just order a shorter steering mast
from BF in Eugene.

have them send you a custom adjustable trial mast.

then get the fit dialed in , by riding and tweaking the adjustment,
then send the trial part back, in the settings you like.

then they will bend and fabricate a new part that will replace
the original mast and the clamped on common stem.
one swoopy curved tube.. very slick looking..

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Old 01-07-12, 03:23 AM   #25
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OK, I overlooked the obvious , and I was able to lower the bars quite a bit. Right now they're as low as they can go, which is slightly lower than the seat. I will test it out on tomorrow's climbing ride. I'll have an allen wrench handy in case I need to raise them slightly. I'm leaning over at least as much as I do on my road bike now, maybe more.
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