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Old 03-01-10, 08:53 PM   #1
neilfein
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New Bike Friday!

My new light touring rig: A Bike Friday Tikit! It's meant for weekenders - two or maybe three day credit-card trips.



My work moved to a town called Summit in October, next to a town called Mountainside, with lots of streets called High Street, Mountain Street, Valley Road, etc. A 3-speed IGH wasn't cutting it anymore! The Tikit is now my main commuting rig, but I wanted it to also be a light touring bike. My trusty Dahon Curve is now my snow bike.
  • Heavy rider upgrade - it's rated for up to 260 pounds.
  • Double chainring, 39/53 - I'd like to get a chainring protector, to keep from tearing up my pants when standing at a light.
  • 8-speed SRAM cassette
  • H-bars with bar-end shifters
  • Brooks B-17
  • Front and rear Bike Friday racks - the rear won't take panniers without heelstrike, which is why this is a light touring rig
  • Tektro road caliper brakes
  • Schwalbe Kojak tires, 16 x 1.25


Bike Friday just put a longer seatmast clip in the mail to me - the saddle presses on the chain next to the rear deraileur when folded.


Closeup of the seatmast clip.


TekTro R530 brakes over Schwalbe Kojaks. These treadless tires actually grip the road very well, and even do a good job in rain and, oddly, don't suck on very thin black ice! (I'm still using the Dahon with wide tires for any serious snow riding, though.)
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Old 03-01-10, 09:59 PM   #2
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Congrats! Have fun with it. These are fun little bikes. I was able to put panniers on my New World Tourist rear despite my big feetses. I used Ortliebs and set the top part of the mount so that they were back-positioned a little bit. Works fine.

Anyway, she's a beaut. You're in for some fun!
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Old 03-01-10, 10:21 PM   #3
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Very, very cute! I see quite a few of these on the streets where I live but have never been on one myself.

Are they any less comfortable than riding a full-sized 26 inch or 700c bike? I'm merely curious about how they'd feel on an extended multi-week tour. It would certainly make things much easier when flying!

Congratulations on your purchase.
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Old 03-01-10, 11:37 PM   #4
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@Matt - It's too soon to tell how comfy she'll be, but early signs are good. The saddle will take some time to break in, of course, but it's already pretty comfortable. The only thing I'm concerned with is that the reach is either too long or the bars are too low. I've asked my shop to look into a slightly longer handlebar post, this one's extended as high as it'll go. (If that doesn't solve the problem, well, BF does have a money-back guarantee... but they can't have it back!)

The only real differences with small wheels come with acceleration and potholes. 16" bikes accelerate incredibly fast. A pothole can also swallow a small wheel!

The bike is very maneuverable, responsive, and much faster than my Dahon. She climbs like a monkey!

@Alekhine - I think I might be able to offset small panniers on the rear rack, I haven't tried it yet. I know I can fit my large Ortlieb Rollers on the front - I did it this evening, although I haven't ridden the bike with panniers yet.
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Old 03-01-10, 11:42 PM   #5
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Congratulations, Neil!
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Old 03-02-10, 09:47 AM   #6
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I'll be curious to hear how you like your new Tikit for light touring. I've had a New World Tourist for 10 years and love it.
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Old 03-04-10, 03:16 PM   #7
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I love your white Tikit... That's definitely the colour I'll get next if my Tikit ever needs replacing. I may even spring for a repaint and some point just to spruce up the old girl!

My white Bike Friday NWT sends its regards to your Tikit!

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Old 03-04-10, 03:27 PM   #8
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@Vik - nice bike!
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Old 03-04-10, 04:11 PM   #9
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neil, that's a great looking bike. I've recently tried to educate myself on folders, but I'm still low on the learning curve regarding variations in frame designs, wheel sizes, etc. Can you tell me what was it about the Tikit that made it your choice for a folder?

vik, you also have a fine setup. The twist shifter and rear derailleur had me confused. Looking closer, it appears you're using the rd as a chain tensioner in combination with an IGH. Do you find the IGH works better for your needs?
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Old 03-04-10, 04:24 PM   #10
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Nice bike Neil!!!
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Old 03-04-10, 06:50 PM   #11
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First commute home without the train - 21.8 miles in 2 hours and 20 minutes, better time than I've ever made by 5 minutes! I didn't walk any hills (although I came close once or twice).

In some ways, this is a better bike than my Novara Randonee touring bike - it's a little faster and climbs hills a little better, but it's not quite as comfortable (which will doubtless improve as I make small adjustments) and doesn't carry as much stuff as the touring bike. The Brooks is already starting to break in. I think if I raise the bars a touch and move the saddle forward a little, that maybe all the dialing-in I'll need.

I hit 37.8 MPH coming down the Watchung Mountains. (My previous speed record is 39.)

Language to adequately describe how much I like this bike would probably get me a PM from the mods, but I'm in love with this bike!
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Old 03-04-10, 06:58 PM   #12
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@desertdork - I got the Tikit as a commuting bike I could take on the train but also use for occasional credit-card touring. There's a thread I started in the touring forum, and also one in the commuting forum that answer a lot of these questions. Long story short: I'm used to 16" wheels, so small wheels don't scare me. The Tikit folds up larger than my Dahon, but is a much better bike. A steel frame is also attractive - Aluminum is nice and light, but harsh and not good at carrying stuff.

The built-to-order option Bike Friday has is pretty awesome. They measure your body to within 1/4 " to make the bike! I ordered the bike in late December and got it last week. This is not a bike to get if you need it in a hurry!
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Old 03-04-10, 07:46 PM   #13
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vik, you also have a fine setup. The twist shifter and rear derailleur had me confused. Looking closer, it appears you're using the rd as a chain tensioner in combination with an IGH. Do you find the IGH works better for your needs?


I've now got a JTEK shifter which works much better than the twistshifter and a Surly Singlenator which looks cleaner than the rear derailleur as a chain tensioner.

http://thelazyrando.wordpress.com/20...1-year-review/

I really like IGHs....most of my bikes have them and all my new bikes will. They just work better than derailleurs for 90% of my riding.



I don't want to hijack this thread so drop me a PM if you want to chat about my NWT any further...
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Old 03-04-10, 10:41 PM   #14
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Thanks for the links, Neil. That "H-bar" must be unique to Bike Friday. The more I look at it, the more it makes sense.
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Old 03-05-10, 08:25 AM   #15
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Neil - just wondering why you went with road calipers rather than v-brakes?
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Old 03-05-10, 08:58 AM   #16
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Neil - just wondering why you went with road calipers rather than v-brakes?
Good question, but it's just what BF chose for me. I asked them to set up the bike for steep climbing under load, and I guess they decided these brakes go well with that. The stopping power on these brakes is pretty incredible, although the clearance between brakepads and the rims is pretty tight.
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Old 03-10-10, 07:14 PM   #17
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Nice looking bike, Neil. I can tell you spent some time setting it up nicely. I've been eyeing one of these for airline travel but I'm still undecided on the whole concept of small folding bikes.

I don't want to get too personal, but do you think a person's height has anything to do with how they will like a folding bike? I seem to notice a lot of smaller riders on folding bikes and not too many long ones.

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Old 03-10-10, 07:53 PM   #18
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Thanks!

If you're looking at a bike for airline travel (and not commuting), I'd recommend the Tikit's big brother the New World Tourist. It has 20" wheels and can haul more stuff (panniers on the rear rack of the Tikit won't work, there'd be heelstrike).

In terms of height, I imagine that Bike Friday would be able to accommodate you with a built-to-order model. They measure you to withing a quarter of an inch and cut the frame to order.

Setup - I've actually not done all that much. I adjusted the saddle a bit, replaced the folding pedals (I found them slippery in the rain) and raised the bars a touch. I'm actually at the maximum bar height, I've asked Bike Friday to cut me a new handlebar post. However, these are all quibbles - the first time I hopped on it at the shop, it felt like it was made for me - which it was!

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Nice looking bike, Neil. I can tell you spent some time setting it up nicely. I've been eyeing one of these for airline travel but I'm still undecided on the whole concept of small folding bikes.

I don't want to get too personal, but do you think a person's height has anything to do with how they will like a folding bike? I seem to notice a lot of smaller riders on folding bikes and not too many long ones.
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Artistic Differences - 8-track EP "Dreams of Bile and Blood" now available for download.
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Old 03-11-10, 10:13 AM   #19
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I don't want to get too personal, but do you think a person's height has anything to do with how they will like a folding bike? I seem to notice a lot of smaller riders on folding bikes and not too many long ones.
Major part of the reason for that is many folding bike brands only offer one size frame which can only fit a certain segment of the population well. Since many folders are used for short distance commuting with transit in the middle bigger folks often ride folders which are too small for them, but it works over a short distance well enough.

For a touring bike a good fit is critical to being efficient and happy when your goal for the day could well be 100kms away over some mountains.



My first folder was a Dahon which worked and opened my eyes to the possibilities of folding bikes, but at 6' I'm too tall to ride it comfortably for long distances. So I started looking around and found that Bike Friday provides multiple frame sizes and full custom folding bikes. My first Bike Friday was a Tikit folder like Neil's [but not as sweet looking!]...it had a 58cm top tube like my Surly LHT and fit like a glove. Then I got a Bike Friday NWT which is the bigger stiffer touring brother to the Tikit - although it doesn't fold in a heartbeat the way the Tikit does. The NWT fits just like my Surly LHT since they are both setup with drops.

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Old 03-12-10, 12:09 AM   #20
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Thanks for your ideas guys.
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Old 03-13-10, 10:10 PM   #21
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Neil,

I am also interedted in the BTO Tikit. You mentioned that the bars maybe too low and that you may need a longer stem. I was looking at there sizing form and it looks pretty accurate and even compares measurements from your favorite bike. Did they make a mistake on your size?
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Old 03-13-10, 10:54 PM   #22
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Good question Andy. Even though the bike is incredibly comfortable, I'm putting too much weight on my hands. It could be that I'm simply used to an upright riding position and have to get used to being slightly more stretched-out one.

It's not the stem I need longer, it's the handlebar post - it connects the stem to the frame. But I'm no longer certain that's what I need. I discovered on Friday that if I move the saddle back, I put a little less weight on my hands. Strange!

I suspect the measurements are correct. I'm used to riding on a touring bike, with a far more upright position than the Tikit is designed for. I'll have a more informed opinion after I put a few hundred miles on the Tikit.

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Neil,

I am also interedted in the BTO Tikit. You mentioned that the bars maybe too low and that you may need a longer stem. I was looking at there sizing form and it looks pretty accurate and even compares measurements from your favorite bike. Did they make a mistake on your size?
Thanks,

Andy
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Artistic Differences - 8-track EP "Dreams of Bile and Blood" now available for download.
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Old 03-14-10, 06:48 AM   #23
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Dayum Neil....now you have me flip flopping again! I am about halfway to my financial goal that will allow me to buy a new folder...I am STILL going back and forth between the Tikit and the Brommie.

Very nice bike! Glad to see you like it. BF seems to really be on their game.

Aaron
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