Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I'm a wuss when it comes to cold weather. I'll stay inside as much as possible or better yet I'll escape to a warm spot on the globe for an extended holiday. This year I couldn't get away and worse still my truck is out of commission. So any getting around I do is by foot, bike or taxi/rental car/carpooling.

As you can imagine I was not thrilled to have to make the trek 50kms to my office in the middle of a deep freeze. The temps were below -40 deg C today when you factor in wind chill - yikes! I bundled up well and grabbed my Tikit to meet my carpool ride. Lucky I have a folding bike as her rear hatch was frozen shut and the opening through the side door was really narrow. The ride out was uneventful, but you know it is cold when a car's heater is running full blast and you need to keep your coat, hat and gloves on to stay comfortable.

The fun began when she dropped me off at the end of the day. Rolling my Tikit into the train station I got lots of incredulous stares. Just walking across the parking lot to the platform I was getting really cold. If you have any weak spots in your armour at -40 C you'll find out really quickly. In this case my single layer of long underwear just wasn't cutting it nor was my exposed nose having much fun.

As the train arrived at my destination I put on every bit of cold weather gear I had and braced myself for the ride home. The Hyper-fold Tikit is nice because with no QRs to deal with you can fold/unfold your bike in full-on winter gloves. A definite plus in the Great White North - metal and exposed skin is not a great idea. Riding was a bit awkward in my bulky clothing - especially my huge insulated boots, but I was prepared to sacrifice elegance for comfort under these conditions.

I got several cheers and waves from commuters heading towards the station. I'm not sure if it was the small bike or the crazy weather that made them so stoked about seeing me pass. My nose took a beating with the added cold generated by my speed. I had to stop and adjust my hat and buff so that only a silver of skin was exposed around my eyes.

I could feel the shifting get sloppy as everything cooled down. I hoped my ride was short enough that my hub wouldn't freeze up. I really didn't want to walk. I hadn't ridden my Tikit for over a week due to my visit to Ontario. I knew the tires would be a little low on air, but figured that would be a good thing on the icy roads. I was happy with the Marathons in their soft state. I slipped a few times, but nothing short of studs would solve that on glare ice. The small 16" wheels and thick soles of my boots meant that I could put a foot down and stay on the saddle which was very confidence inspiring on icy patches.

I can't remember being so stoked to see my apartment building before. I rolled up to the door with a big smile on my face and savoured the first blast of hot air as I entered the building. The Tikit is no Pugsley, but it isn't afraid of a little taste of Jack Frost....=-)

Does Bike Friday sell snow chains for 349 size wheels?...=-)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Upgraded Stem Hinge

Bike Friday has changed the Tikit hinge design to make the stem stiffer. The silver clamp in the picture above is larger than the older design.

The hinge plates are also larger.

Instead of two brake cables a single 4mm aircraft cable is used. You can see the cable routing in the pic above leaving the bottom of the steerer tube and following the underside of the frame to a termination just behind the BB.

Cable tension can be adjusted by a nut where the cable terminates. The new design seems to have solved the flexing problem some earlier Tikits had and can be retrofitted to Tikits with the old hinge/cable system.

Update: I tried out an older style Tikit without the upgraded stem hinge @ Urbane Cycles. I finally understand what all the hubbub about flexing was about. The new hinge system is 100% better. Personally I wouldn't buy a Tikit with the old system unless the LBS did the upgrade as a condition of purchase.

Dahon D7 Roll Review

As I noted in an earlier post one of the Bike Forums members suggested that you can roll a Dahon pretty well - going even as far as saying he preferred it better than rolling the Tikit. I had tried rolling my Dahon D7 when I first got it and was underwhelmed so these statements surprised me. Since I was in TO I decided to give it another go now that I have more folder experience and I can compare it to the Tikit.

On the positive side:
  • I was able to set it up and roll it better than before. I chalk that up to more experience and taking some time to really play around with the bike.
  • resting the bike on both wheels I had to lift less weight than the Tikit.
  • I was able to rest the whole bike on the rear rack with the seat post horizontal to the ground when I wanted to put it down for a moment.
  • It was much easier to move the bike around like this than to carry it.
On the downside:
  • the whole rolling procedure was not very easy. You had to reach down and hold the bike with one hand while you operated the seat post QR and then raised the seat to deisred height. Then you could use just one hand to roll it around. It also required two hands to put the bike back into its compact folded mode when you needed it to be as small as possible.
  • While you don't have to lift as much weight as with the Tikit when the D7 is rolled on two wheels the bike is tilted to one side and rolls awkwardly. Not a huge issue in a wild open space, but it is not very nimble moving around obstacles like in a busy building.
  • I learned the hard way you can't roll it backwards on two wheels. I wasn't paying attention and I managed take a big gouge out of the paint as the crank spun around.
  • Rolling the D7 by the saddle is not very ergonomic. Obviously the saddle wasn't made for this so you have to do your best and grab it awkwardly.
  • The D7 with the seat post extended to roll it is a pain to deal with if you just want to put it down for a bit. Normally the seat post is one "leg" of the tripod and the D7 will stand on up nicely. With the seat post extended the bike wants to fall forward. You can rotated in backwards and lean it on the wheels and rear rack. This position is stable, but now the seat post sticks out a long way horizontally which won't make you popular in a busy shop.
Overall it is worth playing around with how you can roll a D7. Given the more complex fold/unfold procedure you may well prefer to roll it a couple blocks than bother riding it. However, I can't see myself rolling it nearly as much as I would my Tikit.

A good example of the difference between the two bikes came when I was leaving my mom's apartment. I had my backpack on and my laptop in one hand I needed to get the D7 down to the basement storage locker. If it had been my Tikit I would have just reached down, grabbed the handle and rolled it to the elevator. Looking down at my D7 I weighed the hassle of putting down my laptop so I could extend the seat post and roll it. It just seemed more bother than it was worth so I reached down and just lifted the whole bike and carried it folded.

I think in this case you really get what you pay for. The D7 is an inexpensive folding bicycle that performs capably in all respects, but doesn't knock the ball out of the park. The Tikit is quite a bit more expensive, but has a lot of great design features that just make so much sense when you use the bike. Talking to one of the sales people at Urbane we both agreed the Tikit was a bike that you could take with you all day and not have to think about the way you would with most folding bikes. If you need to fold or unfold it the process is so easy you don't even factor in the hassle as you go about your errands. The rolling feature is so well refined that it nicely fills in those gaps where you aren't going far so it would be nice to just keep it folded.

Folder Frenzy @ Urbane Cycles

Urbane Cycles Sub $1000CDN Hyper-Fold

I was in Urbane Cycles in Toronto Canada Saturday and spoke with Chris, one of their helpful staff, who pointed out they are selling Hyper-folding Tikits for $999CDN to get under the local sales tax exemption for bikes under $1000. The spec is slightly changed to lower the cost - I don't recall all the changes, but they seemed like a reasonable trade off. The tires were not Marathons - I think they were Primo Comets.

Anyway I just thought I'd post this in case anyone in the area was interested in a Tikit.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Paul Webb's Tikit

From the Yak List:

"I visited my old home town of Perth (Western Australia) over Xmas and got some good rides in so it's time for an update.

Packing: I found I could pack the Tikit into suitcase in an easy 15 min. Unpack probably slightly less.

Tikit plus necessary tools plus two changes cycling clothes, helmet, pump, pair cycling shoes, battery lights in Samsonite Flite. Total 19.5 kg at airline check-in.

Over ten days I did four rides of 60km+. These rides were mostly with my old racing buddies. Now, in the last six months my riding has been restricted to a 30min commute and that not on every day. I'd have ridden for more than an hour about about six times in the last year. So for me to keep up and mix it with these guys confirmed that I'm not giving much away by riding the

For the riding that I'm doing right now, the Tikit is pretty close to one bike for all purposes.

I have popped the head clamp open once, during an uphill start. It was a little strange (!) but, despite being in heavy traffic, I didn't feel particularly endangered. Having done my share of track racing, I am probably more physical with the front of the bike than many other riders.

I have now taken to keeping the tension of the cables a bit higher. If I unfold the bike, the tension in the cable just stops the bike unfolding full under its own weight. As you unfold it is sort of "bounces" just short of the stop and latching it with the seat post holds it unfolded.

I'm not rapt on the twist grip, particularly with wet hands I find it hard to get enough grip to change gears - a different (softer?) grip on the shifter would no doubt solve this, but I'll probably put a 9-sp rapid-fire style on.

I notice that the fittings on the monotube for the carry handle / "shower cap" are similar, but not the same spacing as for a bottle cage. I'm not sure if a cage (even a flexible one) would interfere with the fold, but I wouldn't mind the option of being able to put a bottle there.

I'd like a little less movement in the head hinge: the clamping mechanism (what's now called the "hyperfold") is pretty good, but there seems to be a little looseness in the pivot of the hinge.

Paul Webb

The pic above is Paul's latest setup. Note that he has the older style stem hinge not the new stiffer design accounting for the play he is experiencing.

He has some very cool bar ends [Tranz-X JD-886] that allow you to store tools inside.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tikit - 1 Month Review

I've had my Tikit about a month now and considering it is winter I've been able to ride it almost everyday. Let me correct myself - I've been able to come up with reasons to ride it almost every day! Mostly short trips around downtown, but I have done a few 13km rides to visit friends. In the same period I pulled down my touring bike twice to carry recycling to the depot since it has racks front and back.

Has the Tikit lived up to my expectations? In short yes. It is both fun to ride and very practical. It definitely has some limitations and I wouldn't replace my other bikes with the Tikit, but the Tikit fits into a gap that none of my other bikes could. The Tikit really is a mobility enhancer. My other bikes are great at what they do - hauling cargo, going very fast, etc..., but they can't touch the versatility of the Tikit. I use it to run errands and now don't have to haul a lock as I just take it in with me. When I need to pick up a rental car I ride the Tikit there and then throw it in the trunk until the car goes back and I ride home. I'll ride to the train station with the Tikit and meet up with a co-worker for the drive to our office outside the city. If a different co-worker is heading back into town when I want to leave the Tikit fits easily into any vehicle without drama. How good is the Tikit? Well I'm at the point now where it is so integrated into my lifestyle I couldn't imagine not having it close at hand.

Here are the things I love:
  • quick effortless fold
  • enjoyable ride/great handling
  • smart effective design
  • fits like a full size bike
  • robust/quality feel
  • easy to roll while folded

Surely there must be some downsides? Yes there are the Tikit is not perfect.
  • Schwalbe Marathon tires are a bit harsh and not very fast - although they are quite tough which is a plus for commuters.
  • the single sided pannier rack is of limited utility as it disturbs the bikes great handling
  • no rear rack available yet
  • no internal geared hub option yet
  • limited tire selection in 349 wheel size
I have several friends now shopping around for a folder after seeing how practical the Tikit is...=-)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Hyper-Fold is it Hype?

Now that there are two models of Tikit available the obvious question is - is the Hyper-fold worth the extra $$$? At the moment the difference in price is about $200 between the two. The Hyper-fold Tikit comes with fenders [worth $50] and the cable actuated stem release. The Model T comes with a manually operated stem QR and no fenders. In my world fenders are essential so the real cost for the Hyper-fold is $150. Is it worth it?

Well let me say first off Bike Friday kept all the important aspects of the Tikit in the less expensive Model T. It rides the same, it comes in 3 sizes, it folds without having to adjust anything and you can roll it easily using the built in handle. The only change is having to reach down and undo a QR hinge manually - something common to just about every folder.

So back to my original question - is the Hyper-fold worth $150. The answer for me is yes - for two reasons:
  • Since I live downtown my typical Tikit trip involves 3 or 4 stops a short distance apart. At each stop I fold up the Tikit and bring it in with me. Quite often as I'm riding around I'll make an extra stop or two I hadn't intended. The effortless fold means I never hesitate to fold the bike. I just do what I need to and the bike adapts without giving it a second thought. By comparison the fold on my Dahon D7 is enough of a hassle I'm always evaluating if the effort to fold/unfold it is worth the hassle. I probably wouldn't stop and fold/unfold the D7 to run into a shop looking for a magazine - too much trouble.
  • My second reason is that I really appreciate a clever industrial design. The Tikit Hyper-fold is a great idea that has been well executed. Using it gives me pleasure the way someone else might enjoy looking at an exquisite painting. You can't really put a price on this type of feeling, but I'll pay $20 to see a good movie that lasts 2hrs so $150 extra for my Tikit isn't out of line given how much use I get from it and its lifespan.
I think Bike Friday made a good choice pricing the Hyper-fold $150 more than the manual folding Tikit. The Hyper-fold is nice and I appreciate it being worth more [to me], but it isn't a revolutionary upgrade to the Model T Tikit.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Closet Case

By storing my Tikit in the closet and moving a couple full size bikes to my office I'm able to fool visitors into thinking I don't have a serious bicycle problem...cunning eh?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Rental Car Run

I needed a rental car for the weekend. The Tikit was an ideal bike for the ride to the rental car office downtown. Once there it disappeared into the trunk until it was time to return the car and ride my Tikit back home.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Rush Hour

I rode my Tikit 12kms to Deanna's place and got a ride into the office with her this morning. At the end of the day I got a ride into town with Sean and jumped on the C-train into downtown and then rode the last 2kms home. It was rush hour so bikes are not allowed onto the C-train, but I folded my Tikit and rolled it on with no problems. I didn't use the cover [haven't used it yet] as I don't want to bother with that level of covertness unless necessary.

So far so good.

Pimp My Ride

I put some LEDs on the valve stem of my Tikit's wheels for this AM's dark ride. No practical reason for this, but it was fun to ride my pimped out Tikit through the crisp morning air.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Chick Magnet

I rec'd a gift certificate for MEC at Christmas so I rode over there to spend it on some outdoor bling. I bought a titanium alcohol stove...=-) On my ride home an attractive girl walking by yells out "...nice bike!..." I was laughing so hard I nearly fell off the saddle. I ride my bikes around downtown all the time and I've never had that reaction before so I'm pretty sure it isn't because of my rugged good looks....LMAO. It had to be the Tikit...who would have guessed? Uber fast fold and chick magnet all in one bike....=-)

Update: riding over to Deanna's this AM in the dark I was passed on a quiet stretch of the bike path by a guy on a mtn bike who also said "...nice bike..." I guess the Tikit is just too cute not to comment on....=-)

Green Tikit Stolen @ UC Berkley

From a post by Lynette Chiang on the Yak List:

"My *brand new* Bike Friday Tikit was stolen yesterday (12/26/07) on the UC Berkeley campus. It was locked with a U lock to the bike racks on the south side of the Valley Life Science Building. It is GREEN, and the serial number on the frame is 446. Attached is a picture of a green Tikit. Paul at Bike Friday said he’s pretty sure it is the only green Tikit in the Bay Area.

I would be so appreciative if you could forward this information to any Bay Area Bike Friday folks, or cycling groups, or whatever you think would be useful. It is such a distinctive bike, that the chances of it being noticed would hopefully be better than 0.

I was barely able to afford this bike, and purchased it for an upcoming international bike tour (and hopefully many more after that).

My contact info is:
Eric Berlow

209-625-6700 (cell)

Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.

Sincerely, Eric"

Update from Eric [looks like his insurance will cover the cost of his stolen Tikit...=-)]:

"Hi Lynette,

A number of people have emailed me with the same question.
I’m still a bit confused exactly how it happened.

I locked the main frame of the bike (the thick cross bar) to a u-shaped bike rack with a Bull Dog U-Lock (the stubby model).
There was no sign of a broken lock or anything.
In fact, I kept staring at the spot wondering if I had indeed locked my bike there.

It was a very quiet day on the UCB campus (26 December) – not many bikes in the parking area, not many people walking around.
Quiet enough of a day that as I locked my bike, I thought, hmmm this bright green new bike sure does stand out here.
I considered folding it and bringing it inside, but had recently been reprimanded for bringing a bike in the building, so I didn’t.

I guess the lesson there is to always listen to the little voice in your head that says, “hmmm not a good idea.”

Other news folks might be interested in:
If you purchase your bike with a credit card, it is very likely that you have insurance on the card that will pay the deductible for your property insurance.
In my case, my property insurance has $1000 deductible, and the Mastercard folks said they will likely pay all of that.

Hope that helps.

e. "

Update #2 - Eric got his Tikit back! click here to read about it......=-)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Tikit Take Out

mmm...lemon grass chicken [in the backpack]....=-)

On the move...

Monday, January 7, 2008

Airport Mission

I had promised to pick up a friend at the airport, but I have no vehicle at the moment. So I rode my Tikit 9 blocks and borrowed a car. Drove to the airport picked up my friend. Then returned the car and rode home.

I love it when a plan comes together...=-)

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Friday, January 4, 2008

Tikit "Hyper-fold" vs. Model T

If you were keen on a Tikit, but didn't want to spend the $$$. Now they have a cheaper model I thought I'd clarify the differences with BF so I could compare the different Tikit options.

Stock Tikit 8spd = $1195
- comes with cable activated stem hinge
- comes with fenders

Model T Tikit = $999
- comes with knob activated stem hinge
- no fenders

All other features/options/components are the same and the Model T is available in any of the three sizes [SM, Med, Lrg]. I think the only colour option for either version of the Tikit detailed above will be black, but I'm not 100% on this.

Fenders typically cost around $60 for Bike Fridays, but I haven't confirmed the cost of the Tikit specific fender set yet. If the metal support strut is part of that set it might be more than $60.

The price differential between the Model T and the Hyper folding stock Tikits is now in the range of $100 - $135 depending on the cost of the Tikit fender set.

Note that there is a promotion on at the moment until the end of January 31st.

If you order a NEW Bike Friday by January 31st:

* You'll receive 10% off the 2008 price (even on the models that didn't exist in 2007)
* We'll double your Returning Customer Discount - making it $100!
* We'll extend the Best Trade-in Program in the industry to you (up to 40% of the original invoiced price of your Bike Friday)!
* And of course, the Bike Friday 100% money back guarantee if for any reason you are dissatisfied with your Bike Friday.

Of course you can spend a lot more on a Built To Order Tikit, but these two models are the best values.

Yeah right!

My last stop on today's morning errand run was at a local doctor's office. The building has a no bike policy so naturally I rolled my Tikit right in and made an appointment. So far I haven't had to cover it to get it into any buildings. No one has complained or even asked me what the funny contraption I am rolling around is.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Tikit Model T

Bike Friday has come out with a $999 Tikit Model T that doesn't have the cable activated stem QR. You have to open/close a QR knob at the stem to fold/unfold the bike, but the process isn't too bad and they've cut $300 off the price.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Rear Fender

The Tikit's rear fender takes some abuse when you fold and unfold the bike on rough sidewalks. BF has installed a clear protective strip on the wear area, but I've already worn through this strip in spots. It would take a long time to actually do enough damage to the fender to render it unusable, but if you like to keep your bikes showroom new you'll want to be very careful when folding/unfolding the rear triangle.


I received a digital SLR for Christmas so be prepared for far too many bike porn shots on all my blogs while I figure out how to use it.