Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Standard Tikit Rear Rack 2 Month Review

The most telling thing I can say about the standard Tikit rear rack is that I can't imagine owning a Tikit without it. The rack looks like a natural extension of the bike and is light enough that when you don't use it it is hardly noticeable. I've carried all manner of items strapped to the rack, but I haven't gotten around to fitting any panniers to it. My Ortlieb panniers are too large and I don't feel like investing in any new panniers specifically for my Tikit. Regardless with two panniers up front and anything else attached to the rear rack I can carry quite a load with the Tikit.

Surprisingly the most useful aspect of the standard rear rack isn't what it can carry, but rather the supreme stability it gives the folded Tikit. With the addition of this rack the Tikit went from slightly wobbly when folded to rock solid. I wouldn't own a Tikit that didn't have this rack & fenders installed.

So far the largest package I've carried was a boxed Radical Designs Trailer I was taking to the Post Office. The most demanding has been attaching a tow rope to the rack so I can haul my friend Kurt around on his longboard - I can just imagine the folks at Bike Friday cringing as they read that!

If you are keen on putting rear panniers on your Tikit the FUCAWE Blog has a pic of the Detours TEECO panniers mounted to the standard Tikit rear rack. The same post reports that Bike Friday won't be releasing the Tikit touring rack [that will accept full size rear panniers] until 2009. That's unfortunate as I was looking forward to trying out my Ortliebs with the Tikit, but given the size of the BF staff and the work they have done on the Tikit so far I can't really be too unhappy. At least I know what I'll get myself for my birthday in 2009 and then I can try out touring on the Tikit.

As far as negatives go with this rack there aren't too many. I don't love the blue PVC tubing used to protect the rack when the Tikit is folded, but it hasn't bothered me enough for me to do anything about it yet. I will eventually sit down with some black electrical tape and a beer to make my Tikit stealthy again. The production racks come with clear tubing which looks a lot nicer. The tubing is taking some wear and tear so it will eventually have to be replaced. I would estimate I'll get at least the rest of 2008 & 2009 out of it before I have to think about that.


kenf said...

I agree with Vik about the rack. I can't see the bike without it.

BTW-black shrink wrap tubing might work better than electrical tape. I'm planning to look for some blue tubing, so it will match my tikit :-)

andy said...

1. the plastic tubing on mine is a kind of re-inforced clear not blue

2. something strange about the way you have this rack mounted - I remove the rear stay and blot the fender to the rack through the hole the fender was in. -andy

andy said...

I made a mess of that comment.

it should read

".. bolt the fender to the rack through the hole in the fender that the stay was fixed in." -andy

Vik said...

Andy I just left the fender strut in place and added the rack. This hasn't caused any issues and if I want to pull the rack off for some reason I don't have to mess with the fender.

andy said...

In fact I had to stretch things a bit to get the rack to fit wtih that hole on the top of the fender - Green Gear said it should fit that way. Also its extra weight the way you did it (not much I know). On my recent Japan trip I wasn't able to pack the bike with the rack on and having it fixed the way I do meant extra work to take it off and put it on again. Another downside to the way I fixed it is that I can't just whip it out of the case and ride it and put the rack on later.

Given these difficulties one thought I had was to get a Carradice SQR Tour


to use instead of the rack at all but then the rack is soooo useful in stabilising the back when folded.
Still working on it.

One idea I had is that maybe the fixing of the rack at the front could be a tiny quick-release which goes through the piece that it currently screws in to - I have loads of ideas but dont have the skills to fabricate them.