Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Question for former Bike Friday owners...

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Question for former Bike Friday owners...

Old 03-15-23, 01:23 AM
  #26  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Houston area
Posts: 549

Bikes: Catrike 700; Bike Friday Llama single; Bike Friday Tandem Tuesday; Easy Racers Ti-Rush recumbent; Catrike Expedition; Rans Seavo tandem

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 28 Post(s)
Liked 43 Times in 29 Posts
Still own Bike Friday bikes, not a former owner. The Llama with rear rack and panniers is excellent for light touring.
Tony Marley is offline  
Old 04-13-23, 09:27 PM
  #27  
Rider. Wanderer. Creator.
Thread Starter
 
john m flores's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 861

Bikes: Bike Friday Pocket Rocket, Cinelli Hobootleg, Zizzo Liberte

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 435 Post(s)
Liked 911 Times in 430 Posts
Well this happened...

After looking online for New World Tourists, this Pocket Rocket showed up on Craigslist just 20 minutes away. Got a good deal and a beer and good bike talk too. This will be a proof of concept bike - to convince myself and my girlfriend that we can live with 20" wheels.

The bars are a little wide and the reach a little long, but it already impresses me with its ride quality. On the inaugural ride on indifferent road surfaces of NJ, it feels like a good 700c steel bike. Acceleration is instantaneous and handling is quick; still working on riding no hands. I do miss bracing my knees on the top tube on descents.

I'll take care of the bars, which will help me familiarize myself with the peculiarities of the Bike Friday design. And then we'll probably take it on some short semi-loaded trips and see how it does.


The fastest color.

The goofiest headtube badge!

Came with mini pump

Shimano 105 drivetrain. Shift cables exir directly out from the brifters, so I am guessing this is a laye 90s/early 2000s bike

Elegant engineering

2x. Gearing seams adequate unloaded. May need a lower gear for loaded touring.

Looks like the handlebar splits for packing.
john m flores is online now  
Likes For john m flores:
Old 01-18-24, 12:49 AM
  #28  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 2,325
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1064 Post(s)
Liked 571 Times in 460 Posts
Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
Thanks for the additional detail. Wow, a Campy Ekar on a Moulton. I suspected that the derailleur might hang too low to be safe from damage on a 20 inch wheel, but if Moulton can do it, then Bike Friday should be able to do it too.

Regarding the IGH hubs like the Alfine hubs, for touring I would not suggest a drive train with less than 526 percent gear range. I was not sure what the gear ranges were for Alfine since I never considered that for touring, so googled it, those are 308 or 409 percent, assuming Google is right.

I have often spun out on my Rohloff touring bike on downhills, that has a 526 percent gear range, but that is on my heavy touring bike where I need a really low gear for heavy loads uphill so it lacks some of the upper range that I would like to have. My derailleur touring bikes have a wider 558 percent gear range which as been adequate, both on the high and low ends. I thought I might tour on my folder when I built it up, that has 540 percent gear range, but I have not toured on it, although I planned a few trips that did not happen, I might still tour on it some day.

My bikes that would never be asked to carry a touring load of weight can have smaller gear ranges like the Alfine ranges, my rando bike range is 504 percent and my road bike that I bought as a complete bike has 355 percent. (I built up my other bikes, thus I specified the gearing on those, but the road bike was built by Raleigh.) I would not suggest these narrow gear ranges for someone that wants a bike for touring.
"Derailleur too low..." That's exactly the point of a 9 tooth high, it allows 400% with a 36 tooth low, that's a lot smaller pieplate than most 1X gearing, and that means derailleur less low to ground. I only recently wondered about that possibility, but had not seen that cluster before the post above, and I still don't know what it requires in terms of a special freehub body, I can't imagine it could use ones designed for an 11 high as smallest cog.

You need 526% on a tour? I currently have 21-85 gear inches (400%), seems adequate, but a major BF tourer said he needed 15 gear inches low on some grades like 15-20% I think, so yeah, that would equal that. (Me, I walk the bike up steeps, a good change of pace, using different muscles, and no slower than pedaling when that steep.) However you said you spun out on your Rohloff on downhills; I can pedal mild downgrades with the 85, but faster than that, I can't see the merit of pedaling, except that it does save wear on the freehub internals.

I'm open to 1X gearing that would package on 20" wheels and offer me the gearing I want. Currently I need a double crank. I really want to avoid an IGH; As capable as I am, my current housing (small room) does not have nearly the space for a workbench for doing maintenance on a IGH, nor do I want to pay pros to do it. And double cranks and 7/8/9 speed cassettes and chains are so dirt cheap now, for adequate quality.
Duragrouch is offline  
Old 01-18-24, 01:07 AM
  #29  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 2,325
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1064 Post(s)
Liked 571 Times in 460 Posts
Originally Posted by john m flores
The bars are a little wide and the reach a little long, but it already impresses me with its ride quality. On the inaugural ride on indifferent road surfaces of NJ, it feels like a good 700c steel bike. Acceleration is instantaneous and handling is quick; still working on riding no hands. I do miss bracing my knees on the top tube on descents.


2x. Gearing seams adequate unloaded. May need a lower gear for loaded touring.
That looks like a 53/39 105 crank, 5x130mm BCD. You'll want lower for touring with any load. BF's can easily do a triple, as the tube the derailleur attaches to is normal size (much larger there on a Dahon, I had to settle for double, 50/34 (Hollowtech II style) on 5x110 BCD, sacrificing some top end). BF can recommend an appropriate triple that fits well and has low Q-factor, pedals closer together than mountain triple. I would stay away from some newer Shimano cranks, there is a recall over debonding. I much prefer like that crank you have, 5 bolts. You may also need a wider range front derailleur, in travel, and cage size so you don't drag the chain when on the low chainring, but try the current derailleur first.

Don't expect to ride that bike no-handed; It has inherently less stability than a larger wheel bike. Probably less caster/trail, definitely less gyroscopic stability. Adding a front rack and panniers, handlebar bag, drink bottle forward of handlebars, basically anything that adds mass forward of the steering axis, will improve stability.

On fast descents when not sitting, I still keep my thighs clamped around the seat, otherwise you can get a nasty shimmy (Dahon Speed 20", a trunk bag heavy with tools for touring on a tall rear rack, did help damp that).

The curved steering stem you have, saves some weight for the Pocket Rocket, but has the disadvantage of not being able to change out the top stem for different reach. BF could sell you their more widely used straight stem.

While you're on the phone with Bike Friday, check if that pocket rocket frame and rear triangle are suitable for touring, they made frames in different weights and strengths.

Last edited by Duragrouch; 01-18-24 at 01:22 AM.
Duragrouch is offline  
Old 01-18-24, 06:36 AM
  #30  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 11,334

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1966 Perfekt 3 Speed AB Hub, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad MkII, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 48 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3523 Post(s)
Liked 1,500 Times in 1,172 Posts
Originally Posted by Duragrouch
...
You need 526% on a tour? I currently have 21-85 gear inches (400%), seems adequate, but a major BF tourer said he needed 15 gear inches low on some grades like 15-20% I think, so yeah, that would equal that. (Me, I walk the bike up steeps, a good change of pace, using different muscles, and no slower than pedaling when that steep.) However you said you spun out on your Rohloff on downhills; I can pedal mild downgrades with the 85, but faster than that, I can't see the merit of pedaling, except that it does save wear on the freehub internals.

I'm open to 1X gearing that would package on 20" wheels and offer me the gearing I want. Currently I need a double crank. I really want to avoid an IGH; As capable as I am, my current housing (small room) does not have nearly the space for a workbench for doing maintenance on a IGH, nor do I want to pay pros to do it. And double cranks and 7/8/9 speed cassettes and chains are so dirt cheap now, for adequate quality.
In rolling hills, I like to pedal downhill to try to maintain momentum part of the way up the other side of the valley. Pedaling up a hill, coasting down and pedaling up more of the hill, that gets old pretty quick. But if coasting works for you, go for it.

I have walked up plenty of hills with the bike when my heart rate monitor told me that I am working too hard. But, I prefer to pedal as far as I can instead of walk.

My IGH experience for maintenance is limited to vintage Sturmey Archer and a current Rohloff hub. Both occasionally need a new sprocket or sprocket flipped over, you can do that outside with a small screw driver and small pliers. Rohloffs, I change the oil outside, I would never want to do that indoors. Not sure what other maintenance you are talking about. A friend of mine over a decade ago walked into a bike shop and said he wanted the most maintenance free bike they had for daily commuting. He balked at the price of belt drive, so he bought a bike with a Shimano IGH and chain drive. His hub has had no maintenance since he bought it, I am not sure if the chain has either.

If you store your bike indoors, an FYI, you can expect a Rohloff hub to occasionally drip oil, especially when the oil change was recent. I put some paper in the floor under the hub to catch any errant drops.

Maybe you tour differently than I do. I had over two weeks of food on the bike when I took this photo, this is my bike with the Rohloff hub. Gear range is 16.2 to 85.1 gear inches. I wish it had higher gearing for shallow downhills, but I do not want to lose my lower gears to obtain that.



My light touring bike below. Gearing ranges from 20.7 to 115.5 gear inches, but the two highest gears that are greater than 100 gear inches are only used on downhills. I think I had about a week of food on the bike when I took the photo, the bag on top of the rear panniers was where I had the food, the bag was almost empty at the end of the trip.



In both of the trips where the above photos were taken, weather was expected to range from 30s to 70s, with semi-frequent rain, but for both trips needed to be prepared for sub freezing temps, which is pertinent to the amount of clothing and camping gear that was needed.

I have also toured in areas where it is easy to resupply with food every other day and the weather is always great. If you are touring in such areas, it is easy to pack much lighter. And there are a few on the touring forum that are former racers or are minimalists or maybe both, that can sleep outdoors with a very small amount of gear on a racing bike. If you are one of those, then I can see that you can get by with a much narrower range of gearing with a very lightly loaded bike.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 01-18-24, 03:10 PM
  #31  
Junior Member
 
Small cog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2023
Location: Wessex UK
Posts: 120

Bikes: Vintage Raleigh and more modern Roberts

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 58 Post(s)
Liked 169 Times in 66 Posts
Originally Posted by john m flores
Thanks for the responses, so far. Here's the backstory for context...

My girlfriend and I are starting to talk about early retirement in five years and hitting the road for a big multi-year, multi-continent bike trip. She's got a Surly LHT (that could use a refresh) and I have a Cinelli Hobootleg (that needs to be ridden more). We can certainly use those bikes. But she's itching for a new ride and I'm thinking about those situations where we need to go multimodal with buses or trains or boats (we're trying to keep our footprint small and not fly) where there may be some restrictions on full-size bicycles. Or situations where we get a small room and want to bring the bikes inside with us without having them take up all the room. In those situations, a folding bike would help. So as long as there are no deal-breakers, I'm inclined to give folding touring bikes a try.

Slightly slower speeds doesn't bother us. I've heard some people talk about the lack of availability of 20" tires in remote places. And I've heard that the long cage derailleur hangs pretty close to the ground, which might be an issue on gravel or dirt. That's about it. That's why I was asking primarily for the opinions of former owners; to see if their reasons for going away from Bike Friday are things that we need to think about.

I figure that we'll need to choose our rides in the next 2-3 years and then do some shakedown trips to dial in our bikes and gear. Plus, I'm currently smitten with the new Bike Friday All-Packa. So that's spurring this discussion.
I have done several trips that involve trains and planes with both full size bikes and a folder, a Brompton with a 20" wheel conversion to be precise and having the Brompton made life so much easier, I have only ridden a Bike Friday briefly but found my Brompton to be so much more rideable with bigger wheels compared to 16", I did 100 miles in a day on it last year in India and its packed size is not much larger than a standard one.

Small cog is offline  
Old 01-18-24, 06:26 PM
  #32  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2022
Location: The Ring of Fire
Posts: 1,086
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 547 Post(s)
Liked 659 Times in 417 Posts
Originally Posted by tcs
BF tikit. I bought another bike with the same sized wheels and the same wheelbase that folded in about half the size.

Good on you! 👍🏿
Ron Damon is online now  
Old 01-20-24, 04:16 AM
  #33  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 2,325
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1064 Post(s)
Liked 571 Times in 460 Posts
Tourist in MSN:

Good points. I have not yet toured in areas with repeated hills. I remember in my youth, my dad bombing down hills on straight freeway in his truck and camper, to get speed for going up the next.

IGHs are in general, very reliable. Until they are not, usually at the worst time, and any weakness or wear usually shows up on a tour, unless starting with a new hub. The IGH I used as a youth (Sears bike made in Austria with a Steyr 3-speed hub, probably a SA copy, as the bike shop in the 70s had parts), it sheared a pawl pin, and broke a pawl spring. I could easily see someone who does not do their own bike repair, much preferring an IGH. Me, I do all my own wrenching, and external gears is the way to go. I should be able to service anything on a tour, except replacing a freehub body, and if much looseness in it, I would replace before a tour. However I will say that with an IGH, there might not be a need to remove the drive sprocket(s) to replace a drive-side spoke. I'd love one of those tiny cassette tools that work against the dropout, but reviews on them are mixed, and vary with the dropout geometry.

I last toured decades ago on a long wheelbase recumbent with rear panniers and a B.O.B. trailer holding a giant rubbermaid container, so easy, tons of volume, just toss everything in, didn't even have to compress the sleeping bag, a plus for durability of a down bag. Terrain was mostly flat, but in one area where it wasn't, that setup was awful on hills, low gear was not low enough (can't stand on the pedals), needed to push it up, what I needed was a "limbo spider adaptor" that allowed mounting a rear cog as a 4th chainring for an extra low (these days I could find a wider range cassette). The LWB 'bent with underseat steering was super comfy, but I vowed to never again use it on hills. I'll go conventional, with aero bars to take pressure off my hands when needed (the motivation of getting the 'bent).

I have not full-toured with my 20" folder, only a moderate test of taking it fully loaded on the train to meet family for a week stay, and just for that, I needed front and rear panniers, trunk bag full of tools and tubes, AND a 2000(?) cubic inch backpack to carry, among other things, my CPAP machine, which was AC powered on that trip, staying at a house. The CPAP is my big challenge for self-contained touring, I'll need good sized lithium battery to run it, which, with no humidifier or tube heat (which is how I normally run it anyway), so lowest power consumption, the lithium battery will power it for 2 or 3 nights I think. Then, how do I recharge it? Solar panels and dyno hub have nowhere near the power to do it. Thing about it: This battery will be perhaps half the size of a battery on an e-bike; Now think about the power output of the e-bike; No way you are going to recharge that with a dyno. It'll need AC power. If I find a campground with a bathroom with power, no way I'm gonna leave an expensive battery charging in there overnight, it'll get stolen. Big challenge. I need a fuel cell that can get topped up with hydrogen or propane every few days.
Duragrouch is offline  
Old 01-20-24, 04:31 AM
  #34  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 2,325
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1064 Post(s)
Liked 571 Times in 460 Posts
Originally Posted by Small cog
I have done several trips that involve trains and planes with both full size bikes and a folder, a Brompton with a 20" wheel conversion to be precise and having the Brompton made life so much easier, I have only ridden a Bike Friday briefly but found my Brompton to be so much more rideable with bigger wheels compared to 16", I did 100 miles in a day on it last year in India and its packed size is not much larger than a standard one.
I continue to believe that 20" wheels have a lot going for them, just large enough to not need an IGH, but otherwise compact and strong. 20"/406 tires are more commonly available and in much larger section sizes, versus 451. Schwalbes are best, but in a pinch, any place that has BMX bikes will have tires that are usuable in a pinch.

A 20" Brompton conversion... My guess is just needing a new fork, as the rear triangle has the clearance, or did that need a new part as well (if only for new brake mount location?)

My perception is that a Bike Friday 20" is not a frequent folder, takes a lot of time and mess to pack as a "travel folder". My Dahon 20" is a much neater folder for small transits, but also would require extensive disassembly for airline cargo. I believe a Brompton 20" would be faster and neater on both counts, though a Brompton 16" has been known to be taken as carryon baggage, if well disguised, but I think less than ideal for serious heavy-loaded touring, for dynamic handling, tire traction, etc.
Duragrouch is offline  
Likes For Duragrouch:
Old 01-20-24, 07:33 AM
  #35  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 11,334

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1966 Perfekt 3 Speed AB Hub, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad MkII, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 48 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3523 Post(s)
Liked 1,500 Times in 1,172 Posts
Originally Posted by Duragrouch
...
... I'd love one of those tiny cassette tools that work against the dropout, but reviews on them are mixed, and vary with the dropout geometry...
...
... The CPAP is my big challenge for self-contained touring....
The Unior cassette lockring tool, I bought one of those a couple years ago. I do not want to damage my Titanium frame or dropout, so I tried it with a five inch vice grip as a wrench. In the photo you can see the metal on the left side is bent downwards, that part of the metal is where I put the vice grip.
https://uniorusa.com/products/pocket...remover-wrench

Prior to buying that Unior tool, I used the Park lockring tool which takes a 1 inch wrench. With a hacksaw I cut a cone wrench to 1 inch so I could use that on the Park tool.

You need a chain whip to use a lock ring tool if you use a wrench on the tool, several years ago I posted a substitute for that here. Wow, I had not realized that was over a decade ago.
Chain Whip for Travel

Bike shops sometimes put on cassette lockrings much tighter than the above tools can loosen, so if you do something like I did, I suggest you make sure the lockring is loose enough that your tools will work on it before a tour.

But, realistically it probably is easiest to use a Fiberfix emergency spoke, no cassette removal needed. I built up my own wheels and from that have spare spokes, but I bought my road bike as a complete bike and instead of trying to measure the spoke lengths for that bike, I bought the FiberFix.
https://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fiberfix.php

***

CPAP machine. Major bummer. On this forum over the years people will compare notes on the best reasonably sized batteries, I have no suggestion on that.

Last edited by Tourist in MSN; 01-20-24 at 11:58 AM.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 01-20-24, 07:53 AM
  #36  
Junior Member
 
Small cog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2023
Location: Wessex UK
Posts: 120

Bikes: Vintage Raleigh and more modern Roberts

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 58 Post(s)
Liked 169 Times in 66 Posts
Originally Posted by Duragrouch
I continue to believe that 20" wheels have a lot going for them, just large enough to not need an IGH, but otherwise compact and strong. 20"/406 tires are more commonly available and in much larger section sizes, versus 451. Schwalbes are best, but in a pinch, any place that has BMX bikes will have tires that are usuable in a pinch.

A 20" Brompton conversion... My guess is just needing a new fork, as the rear triangle has the clearance, or did that need a new part as well (if only for new brake mount location?)

My perception is that a Bike Friday 20" is not a frequent folder, takes a lot of time and mess to pack as a "travel folder". My Dahon 20" is a much neater folder for small transits, but also would require extensive disassembly for airline cargo. I believe a Brompton 20" would be faster and neater on both counts, though a Brompton 16" has been known to be taken as carryon baggage, if well disguised, but I think less than ideal for serious heavy-loaded touring, for dynamic handling, tire traction, etc.
The forks and wheels are actually off of an old drum brake model Raleigh Twenty I rebuilt with 406 rims, I modified the stem and experimented extending a damaged rear triangle I bought cheap before doing a better job with the original, it has flown a few times and I found fits nicely in the overhead luggage rack of an Amtrak train and under the seat on Indian railways.
Small cog is offline  
Old 01-20-24, 09:40 AM
  #37  
tcs
Palmer
 
tcs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Parts Unknown
Posts: 8,698

Bikes: Mike Melton custom, Alex Moulton AM, Dahon Curl

Mentioned: 37 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1706 Post(s)
Liked 1,900 Times in 1,099 Posts
A 20" Brompton conversion...
In Asia, there are a couple of different factory (not conversion) 20" trifolds on the market. Discs, derailleurs. Correct BB geometry, too, not just jacked up with bigger wheels stuffed underneath.
tcs is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.