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  1. #1
    Senior Member garethzbarker's Avatar
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    First impressions of a BF Pocket rocket

    2012 custom bf pocket rocket with stock components, standard gauge tubing for frame.
    Extras:
    Custom stem
    front rack
    travel case
    travel bag
    Touch up paint
    cut drop bars

    As everyone reports the service at that company is really warm and friendly.
    On to the bike. I'm still working with the temporary stem but I think I have it almost perfect. If you don't know what I mean you can get a temporary stem and adjust it until it fits then send it in for a one piece custom stem.

    Assembly, packing, folding

    It went together in 25 minutes the first time. I think getting it into the case quickly will take practice. If you have worked on bikes just a little you don't need the video. Just put it together. The fold is harder than it looks on videos. Keeping the chain on the bike is difficult, keeping the chain on packed is almost impossible without help, I'm going to try velcro. The pocket rocket is small and fits in their hard case nicely with lots of room for extra stuff. I probably could have gotten a small pannier in there; you could definitely get a spare tire and bike clothes ect.

    The travel bag is nice and easier to get the bike into than I suspected. I got it in there with the rack on, there is a side pocket on the bag big enough to put a pair of cycling shoes in. You won't be running around with this bag but it went into a cab way easier. You can fold the bag up easily and attached it to the seat tube.

    Components

    It has enough gear range for me with the capreo. The triple and the capreo have a gear range real close to my touring bike. I like the brakes. The tires look flimsy but we will have to see. I was surprised to find they put little presta valves on there. The standard rims are hand-built and well tensioned. These are nice wheels, they feel strong and sturdy. They sent me a bunch of spokes, hope I don't need them.

    Hmmm the microshift 9 speed brifters... Ok they feel just like shimano shifters as far as grip. But they have a downshifting button way up on the shifter making it impossible to shift from the drops. I suggest upgrading to tiagra to anyone buying this bike.

    The look

    I got the candy apply red paint job with matching rack paint. It looks great. But there is a reason the bike comes wrapped up with a million protectors. This paints scratches really easy. To be fair they warned me this paint chips but if you look at it wrong it will come off. Touch it with your shoe, bye bye paint. Hit it with a water bottle, there's a scuff. I'm trying to wait until my custom stem comes in but when it does I'll have to have it wrapped with protective coating if I want to keep it decent looking. It is sure to get scuffed up during packing. I'd suggest going with a black to future buyers.

    A lot of the pictures don't do these little bikes justice. These are pretty bikes. They look sleek. They don't look silly to me. They are eye drawing to people that don't ride. Most people never notice my carbon bike, really only other cyclists. Everyone wants to look at a little BF with panniers on it The drop bar versions look a little more serious than the flatbar BFs.

    The ride

    I really don't feel the twitchy sensation people talk about. I just got on it and rode it like any bike. Just like a big bike, if you set the stem up short it will be twitchy; if you set the stem up long it's going to feel pretty steady. I measured my Spec. Roubaix and used that as a starting point for the stem. It feels very similar to the roubaix on a flat road. Which one feels better? The carbon road bike of course. But the BF isn't uncomfortable. The BF is more agile than a big bike though, it will takes corners well. It falls short on bumps. A bike without a top tube just can't take potholes like a bike with a triangle frame. (Edit: here I complained about flex, but later found out it was my assembly error)
    The little tires are responsive. You take off a little faster. There is flex on bumps but the crank on up through the seat tube is very stiff.
    Basically, it does feel like just another road bike like advertised.
    Last edited by garethzbarker; 06-10-12 at 07:16 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Helicopter tape is keeping my Brompton looking new. It's a great surface, it appears to be scratch-resistant so not only does it protect the paint, it always looks pristine itself.

  3. #3
    Senior Member garethzbarker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chagzuki View Post
    Helicopter tape is keeping my Brompton looking new. It's a great surface, it appears to be scratch-resistant so not only does it protect the paint, it always looks pristine itself.
    Sounds like that's what I need. Now to find a helicopter repairman...
    I was going to take it to an autoshop that does 3m down the road and ask if they would do it. Last time I tried to wrap a bike I ended up with bubbles under the sheet.

  4. #4
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    Same thing, I think.
    I still don't understand how it works, it can be applied wet and somehow moisture doesn't get trapped underneath. I found that the couple of air bubbles resulting from my lack of experience in application gradually disappeared over the period of a week or so, as though the film is permeable enough that the air passes through and surface tension pulls the film flat. ? Magic.

  5. #5
    weirdo
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    It sounds like you`re happy with your new bike, for the most part. Good.

    >Hmmm the microshift 9 speed brifters... Ok they feel just like shimano shifters as far as grip. But they have a downshifting button way up on the shifter making it impossible to shift from the drops. I suggest upgrading to tiagra to anyone buying this bike. <
    Mine has Microshift bar ends and I don`t care for them either (indexed rear works fine, I just have to constantly argue with the front friction one). Wish I had gone Shimano there, also.

    >This paints scratches really easy. To be fair they warned me this paint chips but if you look at it wrong it will come off. <

    I`ve heard similar reports enough to believe there must be something to it, but I don`t understand why. It`s powder coat, which SHOULD be tougher than regular paint. No trouble with mine yet, though I haven`t packed it yet, and I`m not super concerned about paint jobs in general, so I might not even notice smaller scuffs and nicks that others might faint over.

    >A bike without a top tube just can't take potholes like a bike with a triangle frame.<
    Haha! I don`t notice any trouble with potholes, but I keep getting little reminders that there`s no TT when I least expect it... lean the bike against something and it slides down and falls over, hop off and reach for the TT to pick the bike up and carry it into the house, and my hand doesn`t find anything there, make a quick stop and try to hang my sun glasses from the TT routed cables, etc. It`s funny how often I must make use of that silly tube on my big bike and it never occured to me!

    >Basically, it does feel like just another road bike like advertised.<
    My opinion too, and I was very surprised the firs time I rode one- after falling victim to advertising hype many times in the past, I really didn`t expect it to feel and handle as well as it does. On pavement, anyway.

  6. #6
    Conquer Cancer rider Boudicca's Avatar
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    I just took my PR on the Ride for Heart in Toronto, to the amazement of the roadies. "You're cruising at 35 (km/h)," team-kitted one guy said in amazement as he rode alongside.
    Well, it was downhill at that stage.
    Zero gallons to the mile

  7. #7
    Senior Member garethzbarker's Avatar
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    Oh yeah I guess I should have said that. I am pretty happy with the bike so far. It's a little expensive for the component level but it's kind a unique bike. It fits for what I bought it for. I got it for day trips and weekend or shorter sport tours. In Korea we have great mass transit but you can't take a bike everywhere. For instance, you can't take a bike on a bullet train, most buses and some subway lines (subways span huge distances across the country). With a folder you can get anywhere in the country in a few hours. So I'm hoping to use this bike to get in some cycling in places I've never been and still make it to work on Mondays. Also, leaving the country always means a flight. For someone looking for a bike that feels 95% like a sporty road bike but needs to pack it this seems like a good option. I'll have to just try protecting the paint and to also remember it's a piece of sports equipment not a painting, it's going to get scuffs

    I could also see this bike used for fully loaded touring for someone as long as the roads were decent. I have a touring bike I'd probably use for that kind of thing but this bike seems sturdy enough to handle a full load. I'm a clyde, I weigh as much as some people do + 4 panniers; the bike feels fine at 200lbs with a backpack.
    Last edited by garethzbarker; 06-03-12 at 07:04 PM.

  8. #8
    These go to eleven kegoguinness's Avatar
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    I got the Pocket Crusoe some years back. Never have regretted it except for the clumsy fold. But it's my weekend go-fast-or-haul-stuff bike anyway, for the most part. For my commute, it's the Tikit I use as I am multi-modal. Love them both. The Crusoe, when unburdened (no rack/panniers) feel darned quick even with my slow engine. The Tikit does not, but it's so damned handy to roll along the train platform, I cannot imagine a multi-modal commute without it!

    P.S. On a weekend ride-kinda-hardish ride once (on my Crusoe), I passed a guy on a roadbike as we headed up a nice little incline. Later he caught up to me and said "I can't imagine what you could do on a ROAD bike!". Nice compliment and really points out that good folders, if purposed for it, do make good road bikes. Enjoy the bike!
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by garethzbarker View Post
    Oh yeah I guess I should have said that. I am pretty happy with the bike so far. It's a little expensive for the component level but it's kind a unique bike. It fits for what I bought it for. I got it for day trips and weekend or shorter sport tours. In Korea we have great mass transit but you can't take a bike everywhere. For instance, you can't take a bike on a bullet train, most buses and some subway lines (subways span huge distances across the country). With a folder you can get anywhere in the country in a few hours. So I'm hoping to use this bike to get in some cycling in places I've never been and still make it to work on Mondays. Also, leaving the country always means a flight. For someone looking for a bike that feels 95% like a sporty road bike but needs to pack it this seems like a good option. I'll have to just try protecting the paint and to also remember it's a piece of sports equipment not a painting, it's going to get scuffs

    I could also see this bike used for fully loaded touring for someone as long as the roads were decent. I have a touring bike I'd probably use for that kind of thing but this bike seems sturdy enough to handle a full load. I'm a clyde, I weigh as much as some people do + 4 panniers; the bike feels fine at 200lbs with a backpack.
    How are the storage condition for this type of bike in JjimJilBang there? One of these days, I am thinking about taking long vacation there and tour around (CC tour really) but not sure about storage issues for bikes. (and wondering if folding bike helps in the situation).

  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Hood side button? Guess microshift invaded Campag designs for that..
    did they copy the front brifter fine tuning feature of <C> too?

  11. #11
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    Just got a used PR myself. Absolutely love it! I'm an airline pilot and this bike has just made my layovers the best they have ever been...each is like a mini vacation of bike touring. My initial shock is how fast this bike truly is. I think the less wind resistance on a 20" wheel vice a 700cc wheel decreases the drag pretty significantly. Seemed to be cruising in the 33-35km/hr range with a lot less effort than my $8,000 road bike.

    Having a tough time deciding on new tires as the 451 size is very limiting and there appears to be few options between a mtb tire and pure road tire. I think it will be between the Durano and Comet for me based on the feedback I have gotten so far.

    Packing and unpacking the bike is now only about a 25 minute procedure and I am looking at the likes of a Topeak QR Cage Mount to help speed up the process as taking off and putting on the bottle cage is about a 3 minute process in itself....hey it all adds up! I have my bike stored overseas as I would find taking it with me on all my trips would be a little cumbersome with all my other luggage.

    So far I have been ecstatic about my new purchase and the ability to keep training (instead of getting fat eating schnitzel and spattzle) is a great benefit. Now just have to figure out a good gps system for my BF as it is easy to get lost in the villages of Europe...not always a bad thing

  12. #12
    Senior Member garethzbarker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bored117 View Post
    How are the storage condition for this type of bike in JjimJilBang there? One of these days, I am thinking about taking long vacation there and tour around (CC tour really) but not sure about storage issues for bikes. (and wondering if folding bike helps in the situation).
    I've never brought a bike to a Jimjilbong. But I'm sure they wouldn't mind watching a folded bike if you locked it. they probably won't mind in hotels if it folds. Could you sleep in one? Two of my friends at different times woke up with drunk men fondling them in jimjilbongs...

  13. #13
    Senior Member garethzbarker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cervelott View Post
    Just got a used PR myself. Absolutely love it! I'm an airline pilot and this bike has just made my layovers the best they have ever been...each is like a mini vacation of bike touring. My initial shock is how fast this bike truly is. I think the less wind resistance on a 20" wheel vice a 700cc wheel decreases the drag pretty significantly. Seemed to be cruising in the 33-35km/hr range with a lot less effort than my $8,000 road bike.

    Having a tough time deciding on new tires as the 451 size is very limiting and there appears to be few options between a mtb tire and pure road tire. I think it will be between the Durano and Comet for me based on the feedback I have gotten so far.

    Packing and unpacking the bike is now only about a 25 minute procedure and I am looking at the likes of a Topeak QR Cage Mount to help speed up the process as taking off and putting on the bottle cage is about a 3 minute process in itself....hey it all adds up! I have my bike stored overseas as I would find taking it with me on all my trips would be a little cumbersome with all my other luggage.

    So far I have been ecstatic about my new purchase and the ability to keep training (instead of getting fat eating schnitzel and spattzle) is a great benefit. Now just have to figure out a good gps system for my BF as it is easy to get lost in the villages of Europe...not always a bad thing
    Mine came with the bottle cage installed in the case. It does make folding kind of lame And I don't love the location so I was thinking of going with two behind the saddle but the cage so far hasn't effected how it fits in the bag/case. Did you get a rigid cage or something?

    I agree about the wind. I don't feel the wind nearly as much. I'm not a real fast rider but I like to ride in the drop for comfort. Tucked in the drops with those little wheels wind does way less damage.

  14. #14
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    Yes I have a rigid cage and the bike is a large frame (6'2"). What kind of bottle cage do you have...plastic Tacx type? I found that I haven't liked the water bottle behind the saddle as you have to stop to get a drink. The plus side is I had my bottle come off when it was on the top tube and that is a recipe for disaster if you run over it...read: road rash!

  15. #15
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Re water bottle , Brommy I have one in the back pocket of the T bag.

    on My Bi-Fri, a PL, I use the top of the top tube bosses
    to pack my Abus bordo link lock pouch..

    haven't needed 2nd bottle .. plenty of water from the sky most of the year.

  16. #16
    Senior Member garethzbarker's Avatar
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    Mine came with a flexible one. I thought that all did . The bike folds (albiet a bit clumsily) with the cage installed

  17. #17
    Senior Member volosong's Avatar
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    Thank you for your review, garethzbarker. Very informative.

    I purchased a Pocket Rocket the other month, but haven't had an opportunity to ride her yet. First, I had to get some new pedals, then as I was checking it out on the bike stand, I discovered it won't shift onto the large chainring. When trying to change to the large ring, the chain binds up immediately and you can't even turn the cranks. Not sure how to "fix" that, and I'm reluctant to take it to a local bike shop because I purchased it directly from Oregon.

    I still have a little bit of time to figure it out before my trip to Thailand in mid-August.

    I'm thinking of getting the front rack too, (in addition to the rear rack I got with the bike). It is said that a front rack will help make for a more stable ride.

    Only thing I really don't like, (other than not being able to shift), is the length of the stem. It is so short that I can't mount my bike computer.
    Deut 6:5

    ---

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  18. #18
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    yea, The Cat Eye cages do flex, I put a Older Blackburn MTB one
    on the back of the seat post one..

    As there is a hub-dynamo on it,
    rear light goes on the back of the place where the bottle cage is..

    lower than the tail of my rain cape..

    Pondering on how to fit a battery light to go under the Brompton Touring bag.

    since on the handlebar the cape covers it..

  19. #19
    weirdo
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    I had to ditch the flexy cage that came with mine, too- had to really yank on the bottle to get it out, and being soo far forward made that even tougher than it would have been if it had been mounted closer to the ST. Why the heck do they put them so close to the stem, anyway? I`m tempted to install a third boss below the original two so I can move the cage back a couple inches.

    Quote Originally Posted by volosong View Post
    I purchased a Pocket Rocket the other month, but haven't had an opportunity to ride her yet. First, I had to get some new pedals, then as I was checking it out on the bike stand, I discovered it won't shift onto the large chainring. When trying to change to the large ring, the chain binds up immediately and you can't even turn the cranks. Not sure how to "fix" that, and I'm reluctant to take it to a local bike shop because I purchased it directly from Oregon.

    Only thing I really don't like, (other than not being able to shift), is the length of the stem. It is so short that I can't mount my bike computer.
    Volo, do you know what exactly is binding? Chain getting caught between the derailler cage and the side of the ring? Chain cut too short? To help narrow it down if you can`t tell, you might try removing the chain (mine has a master link, which makes it easy- hopefully yours does also) and see if you can easilly shift the derailler that way.

    I take it your computer won`t mount to the bars for some reason? If so, you might take a wander through the plumbing dept of you local hardware store and see if you can piece together some kind of auxilliary stem to clamp on someplace. Or a different computer- some can mount "right side up" to either stem or bars, some have to be sideways to mount to a stem, but I don`t think I`ve ever seen one that won`t mount directly to round bars.

  20. #20
    Senior Member garethzbarker's Avatar
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    I made a mistake. The flex problem I reported was b/c there was just the tiniest bit of slack between the temporary stem and headset. Snugging everything up caused it to get nice and rigid.

  21. #21
    Senior Member volosong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    ...Volo, do you know what exactly is binding? Chain getting caught between the derailler cage and the side of the ring? Chain cut too short? To help narrow it down if you can`t tell, you might try removing the chain (mine has a master link, which makes it easy- hopefully yours does also) and see if you can easilly shift the derailler that way.

    I take it your computer won`t mount to the bars for some reason?...
    The chain bound, (is that a word?), between the large chainring and the inside front derailleur "guide". I dropped a note to tech support at Bike Friday and they answered back later in the day suggesting that the FD was too low on the frame. That is could have slipped down in shipping. I said that I would have to take a look at it when I got home that night and that, upon reflection, it was only logical that it would be the problem. I had forgotten.

    Did take a look at it that night and even though the outside of the cage cleared the chainring, it did so just barely. Maybe 1mm or 2mm. I raised it up several millimeters and it will now shift into the large ring. But, the shift points are not where they should be. I did not loosen the cable when I moved it upward. So now ... I need to figure out how to adjust these things. It's a lot more complicated than the old days where you had the lever on the downtube. Those were easy to adjust. I've never adjusted these newer click levers. I'm sure it is just a simple tightening or loosing of the cable adjustment screw.

    I did get a chance to ride it around the neighborhood that night. It's a nice bike. Feels like my road bikes, but I need to adjust the seat before it is as comfortable as my road bikes. I can see that I'll need to do this everytime I break the bike down for packing. Once I get it set up right, I'll have to take a tape measure ... then carry one with me in the suitcase.

    On the computer ... yes, I could mount it on the bars. I'm just used to using the stem. One thing I'm going to try is to flip the stem. This will lower the bars about 5 mm, and present a larger spot to mount the computer. Might work ... might not. If not, then I'll use the bars.

    - - -

    Why does Bike Friday use 26mm bars? I couldn't get the shape bars I wanted because my rep said that they only use 26mm handlebars.

    p.s. Thanks for the helpful answers.
    Last edited by volosong; 06-10-12 at 05:14 PM. Reason: misspelled word
    Deut 6:5

    ---

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    - Vizzini during his "battle of wits" with the Man in Black

  22. #22
    Senior Member garethzbarker's Avatar
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    volo, my idea for seat height (b/c my knee is really sensitive to changes) is to put a lightweight rear flashing light (or a reflector) clamped down really tightly where the post touches the seat tube. Then it should slide right into the correct position when reassembled. probably use a marker for the drop bars, haven't decided.

  23. #23
    Senior Member garethzbarker's Avatar
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    This is what it ended up looking like with the custom stem.


    bf.jpg

  24. #24
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    Sweet!!!

  25. #25
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garethzbarker View Post
    This is what it ended up looking like with the custom stem.


    bf.jpg
    Very nice...I like the red...

    BTW - I've tried the Stealth Black, Raspberry, Flag Red, Enno Orange and White Bike Friday colours and they have all been durable for me. I found that after 3-4yrs with my Tikit in basic black I was ready for a colour change despite the paint being in great shape.
    Last edited by vik; 07-11-12 at 09:23 AM.
    safe riding - Vik
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