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Disposable 03-11-11 05:33 PM

tall man tikit
3 Attachment(s)
I am the proud new owner of a slightly used large orange tikit which has been seen previously on these pages:

Not much point in showing pics as that's been well covered by a better photographer than I. Bike Friday modified it for me with an eight-speed hub, and changed the sticker while they were at it, so now it's a Season's tikit. I added removable pedals (Wellgo QRD-M138 which I first heard about here on bike forums) and a saddle and it fit great right from the start. I have an early New World Tourist, and a custom touring bike, and this thing felt as good as either of them as soon as I got on it. Bike Friday really did a great job of building a folding bike that I can ride comfortably. It seems equally at home on my very short commute or on a two-hour Sunday cruise, and I have high hopes about other rides-to-be as well.

But of course the tikit's goodness is old news, and not what I'm here to tell you about. Also old news is that the tikit doesn't really fold very small. I was okay with that, it folds small enough to meet my needs (it does now), and it fits me very well. Have I mentioned that I'm 6'5"? Almost, but not quite, within the fit range of lots of other folding bikes. What was important to me was that good fit, the ease if not the speed of the fold (because it's COOL, but I'm not really in any hurry) and the immediate ridability without the need of adjustments, because once you get something right you shouldn't have to keep changing it, chasing what you had.

But even if it's not tiny, it is important that the bike folds and stores and doesn't get in the way while it's going about it. Under my desk, in half a shopping cart at the grocery, next to the luggage in the back of the car, stuff like that. And my new tikit didn't do that. The folded tikit is designed to rest on a triangle of two small built-in feet and one wheel, but adjusted for my height, the handlebars fold nearly three inches beyond the wheels and contact points, and prevent the bike from standing on its own at all.
Here it is on the table, on its designed contact points, to show how the bars extend. Three inches adds a lot to the folded size.

I have to lean it against something, and the handlebar, or the saddle if I tip it up, is in the dirt, and the Quick Transit Cover, a nearly $50 option, won't cover it with the seat and stem extended. I could attach quick releases to the stem mast and seatpost and lower them each time, but of course that slows it down and brings on the need to constantly readjust. I had read that it was a little ungainly, but nowhere did I see that the fold wouldn't be any good for somebody of my height. I spent a lot of money here; I wanted it to do what I'd been looking forward to. This wasn't what I expected, and I was pretty disappointed.

What to do? I'm not about to send it back; it's still a cool bike even if it does have a flaw. I spent a few days dwelling on it, thinking about folding stems and quick release levers on the pinch bolts and different-shaped handlebars that might curve down and out of the way. It was pretty frustrating because surely I'm not the first tall rider to run into this, but I couldn't seem to see a fix that anybody else had talked about. Then I came across the Octagon stem: Available through QBP, their part #SM0030, my local guys got it for me no problem. This is made by the people who make Montague bikes, and it's a vertically extendable stem mast with indexed stops so that I could easily raise and lower it to the same spot every time. Range is a little over 4.6 inches and I only need to move them 3 inches to get the handlebars back out of the way. And it's even the right size to fit over the tikit's existing 1 1/8" stem mast. Perfect. Why didn't it occur to me a little sooner that if I needed a collapsible part I should be looking at collapsible bike makers? Actually it did, but I'm not really quick. I waited eagerly for that part for one long week, it also being not really quick, and when it came in finally I rode over and got it and rode home and yanked the handlebar off the mast and ripped open the packaging and... And it didn't fit. The extendable part is designed to go down into the steer tube, but the tikit stem mast is thicker-walled aluminum, and the I.D. is too small. I may have said something along the lines of "Darn."

Well. I thought about that for a little while, had some Girl Scout cookies and calmed down, and realized it might not really be a problem after all. Because 1 1/8" isn't just a popular size for modern steer tubes, it's also a popular size for classic steel frame tubes. Out back I found a ruined old bike, a Firenza GT3000, likely mid-70's vintage, no idea where I picked it up but probably from when I was looking for junk to cut up for brazing practice. Downtube is 1 1/8" high tensile steel. Downtube is now enjoying a new life as the bottom half of my tikit's stem mast, cut to length and sanded a little. And that brings me at last to the point of this story:

Attachment 193273
The new stem, extended.

Attachment 193274
The tikit, folded as nature intended and resting on its own three feet amongst the remnants of a Mardi Gras trip. And the Transit Cover works just fine, if a little snug.

If you're frustrated with the bulky fold of your tikit, especially because you're taller than the design was optimized for, replacing the stock stem mast with an Octagon extendable stem and a length of 1 1/8" O.D. steel tubing will allow the bars to be folded to a size within the outline of the rest of the bike. The cost is another step in the folding process, but you don't give up your finely tuned handlebar position. To allow for the length of the Octagon extender, cut the steel tube 7 inches shorter than whatever length your aluminum stem mast is now. Or 5 inches shorter if you're already at the minimum insertion point. Mine ended up being 11 1/4 inches long, but it depends on where you start from. Mark the minimum insertion with a Sharpie or something on the steel tube at the same spot as on the original. This requires no changes to the aluminum mast and so can be returned to original at any time if you don't like it.

Thanks for reading my story.

vmaniqui 03-11-11 08:04 PM

is that a pepper spray on your new stem ?

vik 03-11-11 08:22 PM

I'm glad you found a clever solution! Enjoy the Tikit...:thumb:

Disposable 03-11-11 08:56 PM

You know, I've never had any cause to use that pepper spray, and I've thought some about how unlikely it is that I'd be able to use it effectively if I needed to, but its presence makes me feel more secure, so I figure it's already done what it needs to do, in terms of helping me go for a bike ride.

fietsbob 03-12-11 10:38 AM

So Vic flipped the Orange bike, he raved about in July, in just 7 months?

vik 03-12-11 11:05 AM


Originally Posted by fietsbob (Post 12350139)
So Vic flipped the Orange bike, he raved about in July, in just 7 months?

Yes. Is that a problem for you?...:rolleyes:

I have a lot of bikes and in a given year I usually add a couple get rid of a couple. I own my bikes - they don't own me.

I wanted to check out a new Tikit compared to my older version from 4yrs ago. I did that and it was definitely an improvement in some areas. During that time it also became apparent to me that my GF, despite cycling to work 90% of the time and being fit, was not going to be able to go on any longer rides with me. So I decided to look into tandems so we can go on tours and ride 100K day rides.

I won't bore you with the rest of the details other than to say I needed to make room for the Bike Friday tandem, which is smaller than a 700c tandem, but still quite a long rig!, so getting rid of a Tikit seemed like a reasonable option since I had two in the fleet. I could have gotten rid of my older Tikit, but we have a lot of history together and being quite a bit older it doesn't have much value compared to a newer bike.

In a similar way I bought a couple new touring bikes to try out, but when it came time to make room in the fleet I sold them and kept my oldest bike [a Surly LHT] and my Bike Friday NWT. The newer bikes found great homes with people that love riding them and I got to try them out. Sometimes the latest technology/design is the way to go and sometimes you are best to stick with a proven bike that's shared many awesome adventures with you...:love:

lucille 03-12-11 12:19 PM

Nice tandem, congrats!

Foldable Two 03-12-11 05:19 PM

We are getting some colorful bikes on this sub-forum (says the guy with the green bike equipped with red pedals and red water bottle holders).

Makes me look almost fashionable.

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