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New BF - How to ID model and vintage

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New BF - How to ID model and vintage

Old 02-17-18, 11:41 PM
  #1  
aggiegrads
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New (to me) BF - How to ID older model and vintage

Got a new BF today - Didn't pay a ton for it, but I know that it is of an older vintage. I cannot find a serial number and it is a dual top tube.

Shifters, bars, saddle, and brake levers are planned for change. I need a slightly longer stem, and need to determine how to lower the stem as well. The stem riser (?) is too long and cannot go down any further and I still have 3-4 full inches of bar to stem rise. Not sure if cutting it is a bad idea. I prefer drop bars to be at or slightly below saddle height - and the saddle needs to go lower as well, so I will either trim the post or swap it out for something with a little more setback.

Whoever had the bike before me either had very long legs and a very short torso, or preferred to sit bolt upright.

Hubs are 36 hole, laced to 24 hole rims. It has seven speed (freewheel) friction shifting.

No specific questions now besides curiosity about model and age. Will consider options and report back if I need guidance from the experts.


Cockpit:

Last edited by aggiegrads; 02-18-18 at 12:22 AM.
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Old 02-18-18, 07:32 AM
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Find the serial number and call Bike Friday at their 800 number and they will be able to give you your bikes pedigree. Unless it was specially made the 2 top tudes mean mid 1990s production. They should also be able to provide you with any special Bike Friday parts (stem) you might need. I have a very early Pocket Rocket that is very similar to your bike and mine is a 1994. Roger
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Old 02-18-18, 08:43 AM
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Looks exactly like one that I acquired. Excepting that mine has a single ring in front. I would love to see a close up of the FD mount, as I could use the extra range of a front double or triple.
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Old 02-18-18, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by elcraft View Post
Looks exactly like one that I acquired. Excepting that mine has a single ring in front. I would love to see a close up of the FD mount, as I could use the extra range of a front double or triple.
The mount is a flat tab with a small adapter plate with the curve milled in:





You might be able to accomplish the same thing with one of these, depending on where the "top tube" meets the seat tube:


https://www.universalcycles.com/shop...6&category=530
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Old 02-18-18, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by rhenning View Post
Find the serial number and call Bike Friday at their 800 number and they will be able to give you your bikes pedigree. Unless it was specially made the 2 top tudes mean mid 1990s production. They should also be able to provide you with any special Bike Friday parts (stem) you might need. I have a very early Pocket Rocket that is very similar to your bike and mine is a 1994. Roger
Any suggestions where to look for a serial number? There is not one on the BB - I have cleaned off all the schmutz and searched with a flashlight and it is not there, nor on the seat mast.
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Old 02-18-18, 10:31 AM
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You can cut down the stem (lop the top) and just make sure you leave adequate room to insert the quill fully to the mark. That looks like a heavy duty (higher weight limit) equivalent of today's New World Tourist. Serial # is most likely stamped into the bottom of the bottom bracket but it can be filled in with paint. I had to use the "braille" method to find mine, and then a piece of paper and a pencil to lightly trace the impression to read it. I got 3 of the 4 serial numbers and BF was then able to find my bike and send my the full original spec sheet. It also could be on the rear triangle tubing - wash the bike and then lightly run your finger tips everywhere to see if you feel it. My 2003 has the same front der bracket on it.
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Old 02-18-18, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
You can cut down the stem (lop the top) and just make sure you leave adequate room to insert the quill fully to the mark. That looks like a heavy duty (higher weight limit) equivalent of today's New World Tourist. Serial # is most likely stamped into the bottom of the bottom bracket but it can be filled in with paint. I had to use the "braille" method to find mine, and then a piece of paper and a pencil to lightly trace the impression to read it. I got 3 of the 4 serial numbers and BF was then able to find my bike and send my the full original spec sheet. It also could be on the rear triangle tubing - wash the bike and then lightly run your finger tips everywhere to see if you feel it. My 2003 has the same front der bracket on it.
Found it! It was on the drive-side dropout:

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Old 02-18-18, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by aggiegrads View Post
Found it! It was on the drive-side dropout:

Nice, now email them and wait for your history =)
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Old 02-18-18, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
That looks like a heavy duty (higher weight limit) equivalent of today's New World Tourist.
The early versions of BF NWT were all built this way in the 90ies. It was only later that they changed the design and kept the older design for heavy duty riders.
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Old 02-18-18, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by berlinonaut View Post
The early versions of BF NWT were all built this way in the 90ies. It was only later that they changed the design and kept the older design for heavy duty riders.
Nowadays you pay extra for the diamond frame, makes sense though. For many riders it was overbuilt and extra weight.
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Old 02-18-18, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by berlinonaut View Post
The early versions of BF NWT were all built this way in the 90ies. It was only later that they changed the design and kept the older design for heavy duty riders.
So is it safe to assume this is a NWT?

What were the differences between the NWT and pocket rocket? 406 vs 451 and rack eyelets? Do all early BFs have double braze ons to give the option for cantilever or center pull?
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Old 02-18-18, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by aggiegrads View Post
So is it safe to assume this is a NWT?

What were the differences between the NWT and pocket rocket? 406 vs 451 and rack eyelets? Do all early BFs have double braze ons to give the option for cantilever or center pull?
I am clearly not an expert regarding Bike Friday, neither on the models nor on the history. But if you read this article (or at least look at the photos) it seems that the pocket rocket had the modern frame design already from the start whereas your's looks quite similar to the first BF (which as far as I know was or became the NWT). Other than that the stem of the pocket rocket is clearly different from the one on your bike as well (and has always been as far as I know).
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Old 02-18-18, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by aggiegrads View Post
So is it safe to assume this is a NWT?

What were the differences between the NWT and pocket rocket? 406 vs 451 and rack eyelets? Do all early BFs have double braze ons to give the option for cantilever or center pull?
Yes.
I have an early (purchased '94) Pocket Rocket although I actually ordered an NWT. The factory build was delayed and I ended up accepting the dealer's demo Pocket Rocket so I could take it on my European trip. At that time the NWTs all came with the front triangle frame while the Pocket Rockets had the single oval tube. The Pocket Rockets did have braze-ons for a rear rack and fenders, but not for a front rack. The only brake type supported by my PR are road-style side-pull calipers (Shimano 105s on mine). Pocket Rockets came with 451mm wheels with 24 spokes but using 36-hole hubs (I rebuilt my rear wheel years later with 36 spokes for loaded touring). The original tires were IRC Roadlite 20 x 1 1/8" but wider Primo Comet 20 x 1 3/8" fit as well.

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Old 02-18-18, 06:25 PM
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My frame didn't have a serial and I bought it from BF as pre owned. I called to ask them about the no number and when the person looked it up he said mine was a preproduction test frame and it was actually the 2nd one built. Mine is a double tube frame and I think was built in 1994. Berlinonaut that means the first ones were double tubes. I kind of know Alan the owner and he told me all the first frames were doubles because they couldn't source the larger tubing at first for single tube frames. Because it was a Pocket Rocket it has no brazons for brakes and just used standard road brakes from that era. My brakes are Shimano 600s. 36 hole hubs with 24 hole 451rims with. These are the worst photos in the world but they are the only ones of my Pocket Rocket on my computer. Roger
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Old 02-18-18, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by aggiegrads View Post
The mount is a flat tab with a small adapter plate with the curve milled in:





You might be able to accomplish the same thing with one of these, depending on where the "top tube" meets the seat tube:


https://www.universalcycles.com/shop...6&category=530
Originally Posted by aggiegrads View Post
The mount is a flat tab with a small adapter plate with the curve milled in:





You might be able to accomplish the same thing with one of these, depending on where the "top tube" meets the seat tube:


https://www.universalcycles.com/shop...6&category=530
Thanks for the clarifying photos! My BF completely lacks that welded-on tab. The "seat" tube nearby is also ovalized, as well. That derailleur mounting adapter will need some modification, if it is wide enough to fit around a the tube, in the first place. I suppose I could make arrangements with ha more local builder to add such a tab. I am always stunned by how light this folder is when compared to other folders- I just wish I had a little more range on the gears.
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Old 02-19-18, 03:09 AM
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Originally Posted by rhenning View Post
My frame didn't have a serial and I bought it from BF as pre owned. I called to ask them about the no number and when the person looked it up he said mine was a preproduction test frame and it was actually the 2nd one built. Mine is a double tube frame and I think was built in 1994. Berlinonaut that means the first ones were double tubes. I kind of know Alan the owner and he told me all the first frames were doubles because they couldn't source the larger tubing at first for single tube frames. Because it was a Pocket Rocket it has no brazons for brakes and just used standard road brakes from that era. My brakes are Shimano 600s. 36 hole hubs with 24 hole 451rims with. These are the worst photos in the world but they are the only ones of my Pocket Rocket on my computer. Roger
Interesting, thanks for sharing! This means that the dating for this photo in BF's blog is wrong:



Tagline is: "the original BF crew in 1992" and it clearly shows a pocket-rocket with a single-tube frame. BF was only founded in 1992, thus the Pocket Rocket probably got invented a bit later. The original BF they show in the same blog-post...



with the picture named "old-tourist" and the tagline "the first bike friday" looks quite similar to what the OP seems to have.
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Old 02-19-18, 07:22 AM
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That is not a 1992 picture no matter what that says. Alan is the man in the upper right hand corner of the picture and the girl in the photo hidden by the saddle I believe is his daughter Hanah who is now running the business. Ths bike in the black and white picture is one of the first ones from 1992 as my friend Lon had one of them. It is possible my frame is earlier but it was sold to me it was 1994 and I know of a couple of other Pocket Rockets in the Chicagoland area that are made the same as mine and the same date. Alan who I have been on tours with a total of 3 weeks is the one who told me they wanted the single tube as it simplified building the frame but couldn't source or afford to source them until later. That is probably an introductory picture for the new single tube frame. Roger
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Old 02-19-18, 10:06 PM
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Thanks everyone for the replies and information. I did notice a couple of peculiarities on this bike. First, the bottle bolts are not metric. They are slightly smaller than M5 bolts, which probably makes them 10-24. They use an 1/8" hex to drive. A little annoying to carry an extra wrench, but I could drill them out and helicoil if it really bothered me.

Second, there are two sets of mounts both front and back for brakes (three if you count that the fork crown is drilled).
I'm not sure if this is to accommodate center pull or cantilever, or if it is to make the frame universal for 406 and 451. Interesting either way:


There is also an unknown (to me) mount on the underside of the seat stay bridge/yoke. My assumption is fender mount, but there is no place to mount at the chainstay because of the asymmetric folding hinge.


Front and rear wheels have 36 hole hubs and 24 hole rims, so the lacing leaves six open holes on each flange.

The hinge is not like any Bike Friday that I have seen. The pin is permanently attached to the chainstays and a clamp is brazed/welded to the underside of the bottom bracket. The pin is held with a face plate, similar to a two-bolt threadless stem:


Zoomed out:
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Old 02-20-18, 11:52 AM
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In the early days of Bike Friday they did a LOT of experimenting. Yours sounds like one iteration. Let us know if you get back any history info from them!
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Old 02-20-18, 12:23 PM
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John Allen says that his NWT can swap between 406 and 451. Your bike with the multiple stud mounts fits with his description. I heard that some early models had cantilever brakes. So you definitely have an old bike.
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Old 02-20-18, 03:26 PM
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BF returned my e-mail inquiry promptly this morning. The bike was manufactured in April '93, that was the only data they had (and the original sales price was $750).

So it definitely qualifies as an early model.
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Old 02-20-18, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by aggiegrads View Post
BF returned my e-mail inquiry promptly this morning. The bike was manufactured in April '93, that was the only data they had (and the original sales price was $750).

So it definitely qualifies as an early model.
I've never worked on one, but I recall folks telling me that the early models had "right folds". Facing forward, the rear triangle swings to the right rather than the left like my model. Supposedly packing is a bit more difficult.
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Old 02-20-18, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
I've never worked on one, but I recall folks telling me that the early models had "right folds". Facing forward, the rear triangle swings to the right rather than the left like my model. Supposedly packing is a bit more difficult.
My 2003 is a right fold.
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Old 02-20-18, 04:14 PM
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It is quite possible that there were two frame styles for the early bikes. A mono-tube, and a bi-tube style.

I believe there is either the first, or one of the very first bikes in the BF showroom. Unfortunately I'm not seeing photos of it on the internet, but I believe it was of the monotube style.

From the Bike Friday history page:
https://www.bikefriday.com/folding-b...iday-was-born/



This is purported to be from the 80's, with a monotube Bike Friday prototype shown on the right.

Ahh... here is the "display". Unfortunately the info on it isn't readable.



My visit to Eugene's Bike Friday store: I order a way-cool folding bike - HinesSight

But, that bike doesn't look as old as I thought it was, so perhaps I'm confused about the origin.
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Old 02-20-18, 05:03 PM
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OP post a pic of your bike and the info you have on the Bike Friday Facebook community page. Alan Scholz hangs out there and might have some insight about it!
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