Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tikit 2 Pannier Front Rack First Impressions


Installation of the prototype front rack was easy. It attaches to the brake posts and to a braze-on on the bottom of each fork leg. The whole process took less than 3 mins. The rack itself is nicely welded and blends into the rest of the bike when not being used.

My first test of the 2 pannier Tikit front rack was a mission of necessity. I was all out of food and needed to resupply. I put some Ortlieb front panniers on my trusty stead and headed to the grocery store. Throwing caution to the wind I decided to restock my supply of canned goods. I'm not sure how much weight I had in each pannier, but it was in the 12-15lbs range. Riding home the Tikit's handling was predictably slower than normal. For a touring bike that's a good thing and it changed the feel of the Tikit considerably. A couple time I was going into a corner and had to readjust my line at the last minute when the Tikit didn't dive into the turn as quickly as usual. It didn't take long to get used to the new more sedate Tikit and I think I'll really appreciate the slower more stable handling on tour. I'll be interested to see how the bike handles with some weight in back to balance things out. The rack proved stiff enough that I could wiggle the bars without inducing any pannier sway.

The ability to carry two panniers up front when needed and still fold the Tikit [note - you can leave the right side pannier on when folding the bike] without having to remove the rack is really useful. I'm glad I went through the trouble of getting this rack made and really appreciate Bike Friday taking the project on. I'll keep putting the rack through its paces and report back during the summer.

I should note that Bike Friday built this rack for me as a custom order and it isn't a production item at this point. Bike Friday wants to make sure they've got the design dialed before deciding to add it to their line up of Tikit accessories. All my comments refer to the rack mounted on a large size frame. The smaller frames have less clearance between the front and rear wheels when folded so there may be some issues that I am unaware of.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

It'll fold with two panniers? I'd like to see a photo of that! (Or are you saying simply that you can fold it with the *ability* to carry two panniers, I suspect the latter, but it was a bit ambiguous).

Vik said...

Good point - I changed the text to be more specific. You need to remove the left side pannier to fold the bike.

Also I'm riding a large frame and I'm not certain how this rack will affect the fold on the smaller size Tikits as they have less clearance between the front wheel and rear wheel when folded.

Anonymous said...

When you go into the grocery store, presumably you take the Tikit with you. Do you put it in the bottom of the shopping cart, or basket part? Do you still have room for your shopping in the cart? I suppose you wouldn't want to load up on too much anyway, if you're hauling it on the bike.

Vik said...

I just fold the Tikit and toss her into a cart. There is lots of room around the bike for more groceries than I can fit into the panniers and a backpack.

See a pic here:

http://tinyurl.com/3f7cvc

Dominique & Jonathan said...

Hi, nice blog.
Could you post a picture of the rack without panniers?

Thanks
Jonathan

Vik said...

Jonathan - here you go:

http://tinyurl.com/4m3fn2

There are quite a few more front rack photos if you scroll through my blog entries.

Neil said...

Vik, is this rack now the standard front rack for the Tikit?

Vik said...

Neil - BF sells a production 2 sided rack now....not exactly like mine, but very similar. They also still sell the one sided front rack. So you have a choice.

Neil said...

Vik - can you fold the bike while leaving something strapped to the top of the front rack? That way I wouldn't have to carry stuff on my shounder while rolling the bike folded.

Vik said...

Hmmm....I don't recall to be honest. I've been in Mexico over a month and I've never tried that before so my memory of where the parts of the folded bike go are fuzzy.

You can definitely leave a right side pannier on when the bike is folded.

cheng-hsien said...
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