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Old 09-03-17, 12:11 AM   #1
pinholecam
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Spend $$$$x1 or $x5? - A Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Super Pro review

Spend $$$$x1 or $x5? - A Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Super Pro review

I guess we have heard some saying along this line (on forums of any hobby)
"Spend on a costly "insert item" once or spend many times on something cheaper many times looking for the right one.

So I had to satisfy this curiosity and also to meet what would be a "theoretical" need for my riding.
Curiosity
1. Would a small wheeled bike be fast enough to keep up with a road bike?
By extension, since I sold my road bike some years ago and only have a tri bike, this would hopefully serve as my "road bike" for roadie rides.

Needs
A. I need a bike that packed for travel (esp air travel) so that I can do overseas events and supported rides.
I already have a Tyrell IVE that suits loaded touring needs


B. A bike that is faster than the IVE and by implication, its bigger wheels and lighter weight.




The IVE does have many things going for it as a touring bike.
Able to fold for easy getting on/off coaches/Trains, etc
Wide tires for better ride comfort and tyre types.
Rack and luggage truss for carrying travel gear.

But some rides I do (or would like to do) are supported touring and events, where the luggage capacity, ease of fold and more rugged tires would not be necessary.
I'd found that for such rides, the IVE with its weight (setup for touring) and 18" wheels would not be able to keep up on surges and benefit from momentum on hilly rides.
The typical situation would be that riders on road bikes would start off faster and I'd have to reel in the riders over the distance as they start to tire and slow down on longer climbs (they'd use the higher gearing and momentum on their road bikes to overtake me on the down slope though).


I have/had the Moulton TSR (20" 406), but I found that the penalties of the suspension and weight in exchange for a cushy ride was not for me. (perhaps a heavier rider would make use of these qualities better)

There's also the Raleigh mini velo (20" 406), and this rides really well despite its lower end parts.
This is perhaps my fastest small wheeled bike.

So armed with this knowledge of how the different bikes ride and my specific requirements, the Bike Friday Pocket Rocket seem to tick all the check boxes.


Bike_Friday_PRSP_1 by jenkwang, on Flickr

So did I follow the "advice" from the above saying correctly or done a fool's errand?
(more coming soon)

Last edited by pinholecam; 09-03-17 at 12:29 AM.
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Old 09-03-17, 04:27 AM   #2
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I would get a Dahon Dash Altena. Bangkok is only 2.5 hours away from you...





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Old 09-03-17, 05:01 AM   #3
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I would get a Dahon Dash Altena. Bangkok is only 2.5 hours away from you...
With Taobao/Ezbuy here, I don't even need to go to Bangkok.
Its about S$5xx for a basic Dahon Dash frame which can then be built up to spec.

Problem with this option (which I've looked at numerous times ) is the size after fold.
Just too tall after folding as I prefer it to be more compact.
Same reason why I did not consider the Tyrell FX


Other than that, its probably one of the best option out there (including the price)
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Old 09-03-17, 07:01 AM   #4
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The Pocket Rocket has a lot of owners who are very happy with the bike riding exactly what you are trying to do. Of your choices, I think you're right that it's best suited for your use case.
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Old 09-03-17, 09:24 AM   #5
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Tons of Pocket Rocket owners on the Bike Friday facebook community page. If you haven't already, I would post your questions there as you will hear back from owners of the specific bike. https://www.facebook.com/groups/bikefriday/
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Old 09-03-17, 09:24 AM   #6
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20150725_120159 by Nacho Neal, on Flickr
My pocket rocket has served me well. It's a bit outdated now, with nine speed triple 105, but I've used it so relatively infrequently over the years that it's all still in perfect working order.
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Old 09-03-17, 06:17 PM   #7
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Bike Setup

I was actually looking for a Pocket Rocket Pro as the requirement for the lighter weight over the "non Pro" version.
It seems the balance of weight and cost.
But the Super Pro frame turned up at a good price, so I got it instead.

20170901-IMGP9841 by jenkwang, on Flickr

Since I did not want to add weight back to what is intended to be a light sports folder, I opted for the Ultegra R8000 groupset.
The rest were easy since I'd just need to throw on the handlebar and saddle and the bike would be ready to go.

Bike Friday (Pocket Rocket Super Pro)
Ultegra R8000 groupset
Ultegra pedals
Chainring 52/34T
Cassette 11-28T
Selle Aspide saddle
3T roadbar
Wheelsports Smart Super 451 wheels



All in a 8.2kg bike.
Not the lightest that I've read about, but still a very good weight to me and of course within a sane budget.

Last edited by pinholecam; 09-03-17 at 08:25 PM.
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Old 09-03-17, 07:36 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by pinholecam View Post
Bike Friday (Pocket Rocket Super Pro)
Ultegra R8000 groupset
Ultegra pedals
Chainring 52/34T
Cassette 11-28T
Selle Aspide saddle
3T roadbar
Wheelsports Smart Super 451 wheels



All in a 8.2kg bike.
Not the lightest that I've read about, but still a very good weight to me and of course within a sane budget.
The only concern I'd have with the setup for fast group rides is that the chain rings are a little small. My Pocket Rocket came with 60/50t rings and I later switched to 60/42t for touring. The 60t large ring and 11t cog gives me about the same gearing as a 53t & 13t combination on my 700c bikes.
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Old 09-03-17, 08:22 PM   #9
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The only concern I'd have with the setup for fast group rides is that the chain rings are a little small. My Pocket Rocket came with 60/50t rings and I later switched to 60/42t for touring. The 60t large ring and 11t cog gives me about the same gearing as a 53t & 13t combination on my 700c bikes.

Good catch!
And yes, this was a concern for me too when I spec'ed the groupset.

My experience on my TT bike, and 406 bikes is that I start to really 'cruise' at about 90-92GI.
Something that I can reliably sustain a 10km stretch on at about 35kph.
Between 100GI to 94GI would be something that takes a bit of effort, but certainly useful for surges or pushing the pace.
Not something that I'd want to hold for very long though.
92GI was what my Moulton TSR had at the 55T/11T max combo.
The 'good' is that 92GI seldom spins out (only if the downslope is long/steep).

So I took the guideline that I'd need a max gear of more than 92GI (and no need for >100GI).

The current combi is about 94GI.
Having a bit more 'at the top' would be nice of course as a 'guarantee'

The downside of the current Ultegra R8000 option is that the 52T option is the only one that is out at the moment.
There will be a 53T option, but atm, its not really available.
The new crank arm design follows that of the DA R9000 series and is hence not compatible with older chainring options.
So no changing to a larger 55T atm.


There are both up and downsides to the 52T/11T combi, which I will elaborate more later on.

Last edited by pinholecam; 09-03-17 at 08:26 PM.
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Old 09-03-17, 11:58 PM   #10
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why not a 1x, 58T/11-46T drivetrain?
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Old 09-04-17, 12:55 AM   #11
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why not a 1x, 58T/11-46T drivetrain?


Seriously considered it, but the Shimano cassettes are too heavy for this build, esp when compared to the SRAM option. (450g cassette)
I also wanted to set this bike up with STI shifters to better react to quick changes in pace.
With my other setups of trigger shifters mounted on a fixie roadbar, it worked well, but I lost some reaction time changing position to shift when the pace was high.



I looked at SRAM too, the 10-42T would be excellent with a 50T chainring.
But I was limited by SRAM knowledge and the XD driver info out there for small wheels.
The wheel I have was with a 10sp freehub, no idea/info if it will take the XD Driver.
I even had to play it safe to get the wheel distributor 11sp freehub body rather than attempt a more 'generic' one which might not fit after purchase.
Also, their Double Tap system does not appeal to me.

Last edited by pinholecam; 09-04-17 at 12:59 AM.
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Old 09-04-17, 08:09 PM   #12
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The Frame

20170901-IMGP9837 by jenkwang, on Flickr

The Super Pro frame appears to be a refinement or weight reduced version of the non-Pro/Pro frame.
So away goes the convenience of the quick releases on the frame for the seat mast and handlebar post.
These are replaced with a lightweight Titanium seat mast and a fixed goose-neck post/stem (though the latter can be specified to the usual post+stem ).
Release of both are by allen keys.
I don't find this to be really more hassle as the Pocket Rocket is more of a pack-able bike than a foldable one.

There is only one bottle cage mounting point on the top tube.
I'd prefer 2 mounting points, but I guess for a speedy frame its fine.

There are no mounting points for rear/front racks.

The bike finish is good, but I find that the BF paint job is not as good/robust as the ones I've seen on other bikes I have.
The Tyrell IVE is probably the best with the Kadowaki powder coat, which appears beautiful, and hard wearing.
The Moulton TSR painting is good in the sense that its "industral strength" thick if not high in quality.
The one on the BF (as with that on 2 other friend's bike) seem less robust and thinner with higher chance to be scratched.

One nice touch is how the FD hanger is made to be very long so that the FD can be positioned to cater for various chainring sizes.

The Pocket Rocket really has to be taken more as a "breakable bike" than a folding one.
One is left with odd bits to carry (ie. seat mast and handlebar post) and the bike does not sit well nor push around when folded.
Its the bike where the use case is for a priority on the ride and the bike just needs to be broken down once in a while for transportation.
So its not the bike to choose for multi modal commute nor easy in/out of shopping malls.

This meets my use case well.
Pack the bike > go to the audax/ride/event > ride fast > pack only at the end of the trip.

Last edited by pinholecam; 09-05-17 at 02:38 AM.
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Old 09-05-17, 01:47 AM   #13
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It kind of defines the category of Travel bike---not really a folding bike. Much like the Ritchey full size frames.
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Old 09-05-17, 08:56 AM   #14
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It's Powder coat You may be comparing it with liquid paints.... whole different application, and prep, too ..
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Old 09-06-17, 09:43 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinholecam View Post
I looked at SRAM too, the 10-42T would be excellent with a 50T chainring.
But I was limited by SRAM knowledge and the XD driver info out there for small wheels.
The wheel I have was with a 10sp freehub, no idea/info if it will take the XD Driver.
I even had to play it safe to get the wheel distributor 11sp freehub body rather than attempt a more 'generic' one which might not fit after purchase.
Also, their Double Tap system does not appeal to me.
I've wondered about the SRAM 10-tooth cog/cassette as a modern update to Capreo. I thought that 11-speed cog spacing was the same -- or close enough -- across Shimano/Campagnolo/SRAM cassettes.

Drivetrain compatibility hidden in plain sight | VeloNews.com
Campagnolo, Shimano and SRAM 11 Speed Wheel Compatiblity

The question for me would be whether a 10-toothed cog could be taken apart to make a cassette more appropriate for road use.

I'm confused by your comment. What is uncertain about the XD driver with respect to small wheels? Don't you just get an XD driver hub and build a wheel?
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Old 09-06-17, 07:49 PM   #16
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I've wondered about the SRAM 10-tooth cog/cassette as a modern update to Capreo. I thought that 11-speed cog spacing was the same -- or close enough -- across Shimano/Campagnolo/SRAM cassettes.

Drivetrain compatibility hidden in plain sight | VeloNews.com
Campagnolo, Shimano and SRAM 11 Speed Wheel Compatiblity

The question for me would be whether a 10-toothed cog could be taken apart to make a cassette more appropriate for road use.

I'm confused by your comment. What is uncertain about the XD driver with respect to small wheels? Don't you just get an XD driver hub and build a wheel?

11 speed cog spacing may be close enough between the brands, but I'm pretty much on my own here if its not or I get 'dirty' shifts.

What I mean is that the wheels available here for small wheels are usually Shimano compatible.
I got my wheels 2nd hand with a 10sp Shimano freehub.
Changing to SRAM would mean buying a XD driver and installing it on the wheel and compatibility between XD Driver and Wheelsports hubs is not known.

Yes, to get a SRAM 10T on a small wheel, one will either have to buy a XD hub and build up the wheel.

SRAM now has the Force1, Rival1 and Apex1 groupsets.
They have the XG-1150 and XG-1180 cassettes which are 10-42T.
https://www.sram.com/sram/road/produ...z6vmjh55pjz5lx
https://www.sram.com/sram/road/produ...z6vmjh55pjz5lx

They do need the long cage RD though, which may be a problem using on smaller wheels (not for 406 wheels for sure)
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Old 09-06-17, 08:45 PM   #17
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How about...?

58T single ring with 11-36T cogset (XT M771) with Tiagra GS 4700 RD. 32-105GI.

The Tiagra RD is rated to 34T max, but your can probably fudge it to 36T.

Last edited by Abu Mahendra; 09-06-17 at 08:52 PM.
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Old 09-07-17, 02:28 AM   #18
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The Ride

20170901-IMGP9835 by jenkwang, on Flickr

With the long weekends here, I managed to get off 3 rides with the bike. (Actually I also did a 30km warm up ride the day before Ride1)
Ride 1 - 100km small group ride
Ride 2 - 60km easy solo ride
Ride 3 - 60km large group ride

The first impression when I get up the bike and start pedaling is how light and nimble it is, coupled by its stiffness.
There isn't that 'airy' feel at the front that I get from Tern/Dahon style fold bikes.
The weight of the bike probably play a part with the nimble feeling.

I've been a skeptic about how it rides 'like a road bike', esp when its not shaped like one, but this is the really surprising part.
It DOES feel remarkably like a road bike.
The way it feels on the cockpit to its response to the pedaling changes; I need to look down to remind myself I'm not on a road bike.

The frame is stiff and it does help when pedaling hard to keep in the pack, which will not want to be behind a small wheeled bike.
Hard efforts at about 43kph on the flats over 3-4km are possible without that feeling of reaching for that extra exertion needed when compared to my Moulton TSR and IVE.

For longer stretches, I found it possible to go at about 35kph over a straight 10km length of road within RPE 6-7 (Individual effort).
This is an improvement over previous attempts on the TSR and IVE as well, where I'd be in RPE 7-8 for near the same speed.


Of course there are differences between the bikes I've mentioned.
Ride position, aerodynamics, weight, wheel size, all add up.
Bottom line to me is that I managed to keep up (and in some cases lead) in rides with peers on roadbikes which I often ride with at the same level.

On the TSR, it can go fast, but I feel more effort for going up to speed and when I hit any slopes, the weight and suspension losses come into play and I get over taken by roadbikes which do benefit from the momentum.
They then go to the higher gearing on the down slope to get ahead.
For the Pocket Rocket, it feels light and stiff on the climbs and I'd manage to stay with the pack.



52T/11t for the gearing seems adequate up to a point.
If its a sustained stretch, where one needs to hold some in reserve, the gearing does fine (in fact it may prevent over committing and exploding at the later stretch of the run).
If there are very aggressive attacks, or when there is an incline enough for other riders to push the gearing to 100+GI, then thats where I'd wish for "1 more gear".

As its an overseas ride/event bike with 100km+ distances in mind, I'd like to keep the lower gearing than get even higher ones.
I think I will stick to this gearing for a while to see how it pans out.
Furthermore, I will take this time to see what 3rd party options come out for 54T,55T chainrings for the 4 arm R9000, R8000 cranks.


Overall, I am very impressed by this bike and the way it rides.
Seems it will meet my needs very well indeed.

Last edited by pinholecam; 09-07-17 at 02:37 AM.
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Old 09-08-17, 08:03 AM   #19
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Quote:
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Yes, to get a SRAM 10T on a small wheel, one will either have to buy a XD hub and build up the wheel.

SRAM now has the Force1, Rival1 and Apex1 groupsets.
They have the XG-1150 and XG-1180 cassettes which are 10-42T.
https://www.sram.com/sram/road/produ...z6vmjh55pjz5lx
https://www.sram.com/sram/road/produ...z6vmjh55pjz5lx

They do need the long cage RD though, which may be a problem using on smaller wheels (not for 406 wheels for sure)
Yeah ... that's why it would be helpful to know whether the cassette could be split and combined with a road cassette. If you have a double ring crank up front, an 11-speed 10-28 or 10-30 cassette should be wide enough for a small wheel.
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Old 09-08-17, 08:36 AM   #20
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How long does it take to "build up" the various bikes from the suitcase? I have been playing with this quite a bit with different bikes and my theorem is, "More Time for Touring OK, Less time for In and Out and Business Travel".

I have a Visc SL that fits into my suitcase without disassembly and runs a 9 Speed Shimano Capreo - Business Travel, 305 - 16 wheels. Nice bike.
I have a Visc D18 which I can pack into the same suitcase with 18 Speed Tiagra and 406 - 20" wheels that is more suited for Touring etc. Takes me about 10 minutes to put together (Rear wheel stays on in the suitcase so the chain line is not broken).

I do remove the derailleurs from both bikes when I am flying. Pack them in a Soft Samsonite suitcase which is not oversized at all.

I've packed Mu's into suitcase legal sizes but wheels removed and more time for assembly. There are some very nice bikes in that range. Anniversary Replica, LT10, Rohloff etc.

I've not assembled/dissassembled a Bike Friday but nice pics above for sure.

Glad the bike is working out for you! Very cool (I just read the thread in more detail)

Last edited by L Arnold; 09-08-17 at 08:46 AM.
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Old 09-08-17, 09:41 AM   #21
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Can we get a picture of the whole bike (I like bike porn)?
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Old 09-09-17, 08:22 PM   #22
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Quote:
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How long does it take to "build up" the various bikes from the suitcase? I have been playing with this quite a bit with different bikes and my theorem is, "More Time for Touring OK, Less time for In and Out and Business Travel".

I have a Visc SL that fits into my suitcase without disassembly and runs a 9 Speed Shimano Capreo - Business Travel, 305 - 16 wheels. Nice bike.
I have a Visc D18 which I can pack into the same suitcase with 18 Speed Tiagra and 406 - 20" wheels that is more suited for Touring etc. Takes me about 10 minutes to put together (Rear wheel stays on in the suitcase so the chain line is not broken).

I do remove the derailleurs from both bikes when I am flying. Pack them in a Soft Samsonite suitcase which is not oversized at all.

I've packed Mu's into suitcase legal sizes but wheels removed and more time for assembly. There are some very nice bikes in that range. Anniversary Replica, LT10, Rohloff etc.

I've not assembled/dissassembled a Bike Friday but nice pics above for sure.

Glad the bike is working out for you! Very cool (I just read the thread in more detail)
IMG_3645 by Nacho Neal, on Flickr
It takes me about 30 to 45 minutes to assemble, and more like an hour to carefully pack it up.
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Old 09-10-17, 10:50 PM   #23
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IMG_3645 by Nacho Neal, on Flickr
It takes me about 30 to 45 minutes to assemble, and more like an hour to carefully pack it up.
Very nice.
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