Monday, March 31, 2008

Rob English on the Tikit's Latch

Rob English [one of the Tikit designers] posted the info below about the Tikit's latching mechanism and some differences between 2007 & 2008 Tikits to the Bike Friday Yak List. I thought I would throw it up here as a reference.

"Hi all,

Just thought I should jump in and give a little explanation on the tikit rear end latching mechanism. The latch arm is made from cromoly steel plate which we heat treat to make it hard. This gives it the 'springiness' to function as the latching arm. However, it must be set to only move a minimal distance, otherwise it will permanently deform, and as Andy has discovered, not longer do it's job. To ensure this minimal travel, the wiper on the seatmast should /just/ barely lift the latch arm enough to release it from the pin. This is worth checking in case the wiper has been knocked in transit - it's position can easily be tweaked with an adjustable wrench if required. Now, when the bike is 'overlatched' to put in the suitcase, the latch arm is by necessity sitting on top of the pin and thus can end up being permanently deformed - as Andy finds. In this instant he is quite right just to tweak it back to the functioning position.

The 2008 bikes do have a slightly different design - we triangulated the base of the latch arm to make it stiffer, and changed the slot to a single hole which enabled us to eliminate the overlatch bolt - there is now a simple stop instead. Unfortunately this isn't something that can be upgraded to '07 bikes, but hopefully the notes above will enable folk to keep their tikits functioning well.


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Tikit Talk

I've setup a Google Group called Tikit Talk for anyone who wants to drop in and talk about the Bike Friday Tikit. We'll be able to discuss Tikit trivia without boring the members of more general folding bike forums/groups to death!

Not only will it be nice to have a spot on the web to talk about the Tikit 24/7 - the group archives will provide a useful resource as the discussions grow.

New Look

I've added a Flickr slide show and links section to the right of the page. If you know of any high quality Tikit links I should list and/or have any Tikit pics you'd like to see posted please drop me a line.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Leaning Tikit Solved

I rode my Tikit to visit my accountant today and had a lot of trouble getting it to stand upright when folded. After it fell over twice I vowed to figure out how to solve the problem when I got home.

On the right side of your Tikit just in front and above your bottom bracket there is a bolt that controls how much the Tikit folds. Mine [shown on the left above] was seated all the way so I replaced it with the longer bolt pictured above. Note you only need a slightly longer bolt. I used the one shown simply because that's all I had in my spare parts bin that would fit.

In the picture above you can see the post and latch that keep your rear triangle in place when the Tikit is folded with the new bolt sitting below. You just have to adjust the longer bolt until the post and latch are able to close fully, but no more. This forced my rear triangle to stay a little bit more open which leveled out the bike nicely. No more falling over for this Tikit!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ergon Grips

I bought a set of Ergon Grips for a different bike and had them laying around my office waiting to be installed. During this time it occurred to me that I loved the grips on my Tikit least of all the handle bar interfaces I own. So I threw the Ergon Grips on my Tikit instead. Having used them for a couple weeks now they get a hearty thumbs up. They are much more comfortable then the stock grips. Their claim to fame is that they give your hand a much larger surface area to spread the weight of your upper body and thus reduce the pressure on any one spot. I can report that they do indeed do this effectively. They also don't interfere with folding the bike.

You can get them in small and large sizes depending on what diameter grip you'd like. You can get a version specifically made to work with gripshifters and they also offer a version with an integrated bar end.

The only negative review I've heard so far mentioned they fade quickly in harsh UV conditions - think So Cal or Baja, but I don't think that affected their functionality - just their appearance. I liked them so much I bought a second set for another bike.


I'm contributing to a little project of Kent Peterson's called Veloquent. If you haven't had enough of my inane ramblings feel free to check it out. Actually come to think of it there are lots of great contributors to Veloquent so don't worry you can just ignore my posts and only read the good ones...=-)

My first post is Tikit related and discusses the power of the folder.

MKS EZY Pedals 3 Month Review

Read my initial impressions of these pedals here.

I used these pedals all winter on my Tikit because I found the stock pedals too slippery when they got wet. I recently switched back to the stock pedals as conditions are much drier now. So how did they work? Well on the plus side they are well made and gave me zero issues all winter. They are reasonably easy to remove when needed and they are certainly less slippery when wet than the stock pedals. On the down side I did not find them particularly comfortable to use. They are curved so that one side is curved up and the other is curved down. I didn't find I liked either side much and it forced me to pay attention to which side was up every time I stopped and started. If these pedals just had a flat platform I would probably still have them on my bike - too bad!

I will keep them for next winter, but I'll be on the look out between now and then for another folding/QR pedal option that will be more satisfactory.

Having used the stock pedals again for a few rides I REALLY like having a flat platform on both sides of the pedal. I find I don't think about my pedals anymore. I just ride my bike - which is the way it should be.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Tikit 3 Month Review

It has been a little over 3 months since my Tikit arrived from Bike Friday. The most telling statement I can make about it is that I have used it more than all my other bikes combined if you count number of trips rather than distance covered. Living downtown the Tikit is ideal for the myriad of short hops I need to make. Since I can take it inside buildings with me I don't bother with a lock and make all sorts of extra stops when I am out and about. I have used the Tikit for several multi-modal commutes. It works very well for getting onto public transit or carpooling with a co-worker.

The Tikit's cockpit is sized like my non-folding bikes and is quite comfortable for moderate distances [up to 20kms]. I haven't gone much further than that yet so I won't comment on it as a long distance ride. The small wheels have not been an issue for me at all. The ride isn't rough and the bike is fast enough to keep pace with other riders in town. The handling is fairly quick - which in town is a plus as it makes the Tikit very nimble. The small size of the bike makes getting it in and out of my apartment very easy and it can be stored in the bottom of a closet.

Mechanically all the components have worked well and not needed much attention. The gear range has proven practical and even on the steepest hill in my area I was able to get up without needing lower gearing. I have replaced the stock grips with Ergon Grips. The stock grips were functional, but not fantastic. The Hyper-Fold continues to work effortlessly and has only needed to be lubed once. I had replaced the stock pedals with metal MKS EZY pedals for better grip in wet/snowy conditions, but have since gone back to the stock pedals since they are more comfortable and it is dry now.

What don't I like?

  • the single sided front pannier rack is of limited use as any weight in the pannier has a negative impact on bike handling.
  • the lack of a useful front rack and no rear rack limit the Tikit's ability to carry cargo to: backpack, trailer or seat bag. Hopefully BF will rectify this situation soon.
  • when folded the Tikit leans over quite a lot when standing up. This makes it a bit unstable and it wants to fall over if it is on a moving vehicle or gets bumped lightly. Not a huge deal, but something that could be resolved.

Planned Upgrades:
  • replace stock Schwalbe Marathons with Greenspeed Scorchers. Stock tires are a bit slow and provide a harsh ride - although they are very durable/flat resistant.
  • install 2 sided front rack if and when BF makes me one.
  • install a rear rack when BF makes one available.
  • other than that I'll just enjoy riding my Tikit.
If I was doing it all over again I'd buy another Tikit with essentially the same spec. I'd probably ditch the single sided front rack though. For my use it is the best folder on the market at the moment.