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  1. #1
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    BF tikit - WARNING, Stem Issue

    Just got this email:

    An important Safety Warning from Bike Friday Co-Founder Alan Scholz

    Dear Bike Friday tikit owners:

    It is with much concern that I write to you today. We have found that your tikit could be dangerous to ride. I want to tell you in the strongest terms we recommend all Bike Friday tikit owners to stop riding their bicycles immediately, until we have fully determined which tikits are at risk.

    We have learned that two tikit stems have broken. A stem break is a very serious issue. Should your stem break while you are riding it there is a high risk of losing control of your bike causing you to crash with serious injury or even death as a result.

    In August, 2012, an owner of a Bike Friday tikit sustained injury when his front stem broke while riding. Earlier this month, in September, 2012, a second stem failure was brought to our attention.

    We received the first bike for inspection [PHOTO ABOVE, right. The second is still unavailable to us] 10 days ago, and upon reviewing the results of that inspection we acknowledge the potential exists for front stems to crack, and ultimately break.

    Because of that, we recommend you do not ride your tikit until we can conduct enough tests to isolate the problem, the extent of its potential for failure, and implement safeguards to make your tikit safe to ride again.

    Please follow this link to our website to fill out a registration form so we can keep all tikit owners updated as we work through this issue. We will follow up this email with more information on how to inspect your tikit for potential problems.

    We are very serious at Green Gear about this. Many of us are regular and extensive tikit users. I have ridden a tikit since the first weeks of production in spring 2007. I rode it to work daily and on tours -- even doing several century rides on it until it was stolen last year. My wife and two of my daughters own and ride tikits regularly.

    The tikit is an important transportation solution for my two daughters and neither owns an automobile, relying on their bike for most travel. I understand that this will also be true for many of you.

    I say this so you understand how deeply I apologize for the inconvenience this causes for you not to ride your tikit until we have come up with a safe solution for you.

    At this time our engineers and designers have been working to replicate the problem so we can develop solutions. We have stems being tested around the clock. I promise we will share our findings as soon as we have enough information to draw conclusions and offer solutions. Until then, please do not ride your tikit and make sure you register your contact information with us.

    This safety warning only affects Bike Friday 16-inch wheel tikits. We have suspended production and delivery of tikits. It does not affect any of our 20-inch Pocket Bike Fridays.

    I appreciate your patience in this matter. We have nearly 4,000 Bike Friday tikits located around the world, and getting this important message to all tikit owners is our priority at this moment. I hope you can imagine the challenge for a company of 33 cycling enthusiasts here in Eugene.

    Sincerely,

    Alan Scholz, Co-Founder, Bike Friday

    PS, If you know others who have tikits please be kind enough to tell them to ensure that they have this important Serious Warning and that they can sign up for updates if we have not yet been able to reach them. In the interest of doing this as quickly as possible it is going out to everyone at the same time but everyone may not get the e-mail and we may need to hunt for them. We thank you. The Bike Friday Community thanks you.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Foldable Two's Avatar
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    Can you post the picture mentioned in Alan's letter?

    Lou

  3. #3
    tcs
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    Here's BF's web page on the issue:
    http://www.bikefriday.com/momentum/tikit_stem

    If it's like the earlier frame cracking issue, they'll probably mail us owners a sheet metal bracket to bolt on that prevents the stem from being folded.
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

  4. #4
    Senior Member bargainguy's Avatar
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    So the stem is breaking just above the headset in riders with heavy use.

    Gotta give BF props for getting the word out like this. I've been at BF HQ, met the owners & staff, toured the factory.

    Too bad they're experiencing this issue, but for folding bikes with unique stresses compared to conventional bikes, perhaps not that surprising.

    Don

  5. #5
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    I called BF today about an unrelated topic and discussed the stem issue. They've found two instances of it happening. They only have the actual bike in one of the two instances and are working to get the second bike in. It appears to be correlated with bikes with tall stems (more leverage of course), but a sample size of 2 isn't much to go on. Also the bikes in question are at least 18 months old. As was the case with the aardvark safety notice, they've got a machine in-house that's been able to reproduce the issue. We'll hear more in a while.

  6. #6
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    HAZ just below the bottom plate-pair ? They're tig'ing these, right?

    While nice folding there, that seems like a danger zone (maximum stress concentration) to mess with, unless properly heat treating that entire stem/steerer afterward. It's all 4130 ?

    Better photo link for closeup,

    http://portapedalbike.com/wp-content...7150834546.jpg

  7. #7
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Ah , perhaps ,like Brompton, they can invest is cast hinges to be made.
    that let the tube sleeve in for brazing, rather than Butt welding onto the hinge plate.

  8. #8
    Junior Member Doug Huffman's Avatar
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    We have three BF, Air Glide, DoubleDay, & NWT. I think we need to wait on GG BF's engineering consultants.

    This break imaged is not a simple break, see the 'fish mouth' shape. It is not a simple failed weld - for the shape. It is not a fatigue failure and it is not a brittle failure.

  9. #9
    Senior Member bargainguy's Avatar
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    A bit OT, but welcome aboard, Doug!

    See your washington island location - that wouldn't happen to be your small red air glide on ebay now, would it? I have an AG petite (I'm 5'4, 120 lb) that's similar but in midnite blue.

    Don

  10. #10
    tcs
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quiwi View Post
    We have found that your tikit could be dangerous to ride. I want to tell you in the strongest terms we recommend all Bike Friday tikit owners to stop riding their bicycles immediately...
    Hmm. Wonder what they'd recommend I do for a folding bike until they get their design problem worked out?
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

  11. #11
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    Has anyone seen which of the Tikit models/series have broken? Roger

  12. #12
    Senior Member bargainguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcs View Post
    Hmm. Wonder what they'd recommend I do for a folding bike until they get their design problem worked out?
    1. Any Bike Friday except the tikit. 2. Nothing.

    Don

  13. #13
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    BF has posted an update that has a picture of a failing stem (probably one generated by their stem destroying machine I'd guess). I was told that the cracks should be obvious. Check your tikit and call BF up. And be sure to register.


  14. #14
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    There's more:

    "........A review of our service warranty records since 2007 show that about 2.5 % of the nearly 4,000 tikits we have sold have experienced stem issues that could be related to this issue. We are in the process of contacting as many of those owners as we can to learn more about this issue.........Our interviews with those Bike Friday owners that we have been able to reach tell us that most of them experienced play or loosening of the stem, which led them to have their stem checked. Most instances have been after long periods of extended use. The two breaks in the stem were after 1.5 to 2 years of heavy usage. Again, at this point, Bike Friday strongly recommends that you do not ride your tikit. ........At this time our engineers and designers have been able to replicate the problem, and we have begun working on solutions. We have suspended production and delivery of tikits until we can come to conclusions on this issue. We are working to redesign the stem.........This safety warning only affects Bike Friday 16-inch wheel tikits, It does not affect any of our 20-inch Pocket Bike Fridays.......STEP-BY-STEP INSPECTION INSTRUCTIONS WILL COME MONDAY. We will update you with more information as it becomes available to us. We understand the implications of not being able to ride your tikit, and we appreciate your patience as we work through this issue
    -http://www.bikefriday.com/momentum/tikit_stem

    I just want to know if-hypothetically-I did have one of these bikes and it was my primary or only bike, what in the world should I do? Walk? Hitchhike? Or has the Bike Friday company have some sort of loaner bikes available as a back up plan (or any back up plan at all besides filling out forms or patience-try reasoning with your boss about not being at work over a bicycle's mechanical failure if car free) for their customers. Even other bikes from other manufacturers would do.

    Just curious.
    Last edited by folder fanatic; 09-28-12 at 09:12 PM.

  15. #15
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Curious if all were using the cable operated hyper-fold? or any T knob..

  16. #16
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    They could have a major lawsuit if someone gets hurt with major injuries. I guess all those comments about the stem flexing was indeed a problem after all. I also suspect the second bike was not returned because the owner probably contacted an attorney who told him not to send it in for repairs. You can tell they are worried and if I were them, I'd stop sending out any more detailed emails. The fact that they were aware that close to 100 Tikets had similar problems since 2007 is an admission of guilt. This could very well put them out of business!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Ah , perhaps ,like Brompton, they can invest is cast hinges to be made.
    that let the tube sleeve in for brazing, rather than Butt welding onto the hinge plate.
    What's not clear is that this tubing section welded to the bottom plate looks about 5cm max in height, and appears to be of the same tubing used for the rest of the steerer (in the top section that's also joined to the top hinge plate). Why wouldn't they have used, for a 5cm max height of tubing, something with a much larger wall thickness, at least to allow for much more tube--plate surface area for the weld region. It's extremely clear that this bottom tube section is the "fulcrum" of this lever and the weakest link -

    @others that own this bike model - is the bottom little tube the same OD/ID as the top section?

    @DH - the HAZ is often a fish mouth form, or could induce risers of that, I don't think they do any final heat treating of their frames, or they'd mention it given it could double fab cost. But regardless, there should be serious butted endes on the pieces that attach to the plates, and no reason (weight/cost/etc.) not to have a quite large bottom tubular piece. Not clear if they're trying to aid environment contaminants on opposing side during weld, I'd guess no. Maybe there'll be some disclosure as @DS mentioned they're quite worried, especially if having seen a potential problem and only addressing it after injury ensued.

    edit, many similar examples:

    http://rockwoodmachinery.com/content...d-preparation/

    (because thermal energy needed to bring that thick plate up to temp will be much more than the small tube they're welding to)
    Last edited by JimBeans83; 09-29-12 at 04:35 AM. Reason: link

  18. #18
    Junior Member Doug Huffman's Avatar
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    Geeze OT. 50 posts to PM, 48 to go.

    Quote Originally Posted by bargainguy View Post
    A bit OT, but welcome aboard, Doug! See your washington island location - that wouldn't happen to be your small red air glide on ebay now, would it? I have an AG petite (I'm 5'4, 120 lb) that's similar but in midnite blue. Don
    My wife's. I'm 6'2" 230#

    On topic - I would say that GG BF is doing Due Diligence in mitigating the risks to customers and not taking any particular legal position. That's much better PR than stonewalling a customer to death. Remember that they are a coop - or were.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Huffman View Post
    My wife's. I'm 6'2" 230#

    On topic - I would say that GG BF is doing Due Diligence in mitigating the risks to customers and not taking any particular legal position. That's much better PR than stonewalling a customer to death. Remember that they are a coop - or were.
    I agree. The transparency and openness is refreshing - it really says a lot about the integrity of the company, and it only increases the likelihood of my my next bike being a Bike Friday.

  20. #20
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Remember that they are a coop - or were.
    Nope, Alan Co Founded Burly, but separated himself from it many years ago.
    gave them the Trailer design, later was a separate contract supplier for the late 80's Tandem Frames .

    But Bike Friday was a Family thing with brother, and now daughters involved .

  21. #21
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Huffman View Post
    My wife's. I'm 6'2" 230#

    On topic - I would say that GG BF is doing Due Diligence in mitigating the risks to customers and not taking any particular legal position. That's much better PR than stonewalling a customer to death. Remember that they are a coop - or were.
    Hah ... your title on the post cracks me up Doug.

  22. #22
    Senior Member kamtsa's Avatar
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    Would be interesting to see what contraption they used to reproduce the problem. Any guess?
    Happier than a camel on wednesday.

  23. #23
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    Even if there was a lawsuit, I'm sure Bike Friday have indemnity insurance. This is a big challenge for them but they are a good company and honest. I wish them all the best. It can happen to the best including anyone from BF to Toyota.

    However, could you imagine some peoples reaction (especially some BF enthusiasts) if this had been Brompton?

  24. #24
    Senior Member Foldable Two's Avatar
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    As might have been expected at today's Portland Sunday Parkways (the last of 5 such rides for the year), Bike Friday was there with their regular booth and a 1/2 doz. Pocket bikes, but NO tikits.

    Lou

  25. #25
    tcs
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    Quote Originally Posted by mulleady View Post
    However, could you imagine some peoples reaction (especially some BF enthusiasts) if this had been...
    ...Dahon?
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

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