DEMO belt drive tikit
Belt drive tikit in the urban jungle
Silent, clean drivetrain
I can’t say we’re ready to sell these yet, but we’re close: the long anticipated belt drive tikit. Using the Gates Carbon Belt Drive leaves us a bit limited on gearing so we are inclined to wait until later in the year when the Shimano Alfine 11 speed hub comes out before release.

So the one you’ll see in and around the Gates booth (thanks, Jeff Linder, for delivering it!) at Interbike (now you’re going, right?) has a normal old 8 speed Alfine. I would still buy it, though. There aren’t going to be any road races on it, but it was a usable flatland gear on the high end. So plenty of low :)

Another stumbling block for us on the belt drive is how stiff to make the frame so that flex doesn’t result in belt slippage. So we increased the chainstays from 1/2″ to 5/8″ and brought the chainstay bridge closer to the rear wheel for better triangulation. If anything, it’s overbuilt.

Missing clip braceClamp on latch pinImproved stand and seat latch
Other interesting frame features include some ideas that Rob English has been kicking around. One is the lack of a clip brace (between the rear end and the back of the main frame). Another is the integration of the stand into the seatmast latch. Both of these are for simplicity’s sake, but the former one makes for better function and easier repair of the rear end latch: a clamp on pin. There is also something going on with the latch pins to simplify things, too, which will provide more clearance.

Split seatstay
Then there is the cool split seatstay Rob came up with to deal with split seat stays. Because, as I told Juan Díaz Díaz, a regular on the Bike Friday IRC channel, elevated chainstays are so late 80s ;)

Civia Colfax 25 degree bend bars
Did I mention these bars? I think I found the first flat bars I like. I am stoked about that! They are Civia Colfax 25° bend multiposition bars. All the clearance and compatibility of a flat bar but so much more wrist friendly.

And am I stoked about the bike! I, for one, plan on pushing hard to release it with the 8 speed. All of us were surprised that the gearing really wasn’t that bad after all. But if you want to be on the list for the official release, get in touch.

Oh and we’re looking for good names. I like Traffic tikit. In typical Bike Friday fashion, it’s a play on words. The Season tikit is a great commuter but this is the übercommuter and in that sense, it really conquers the traffic. What do you think?

UPDATE 15 February 2011: As I’m sure you all know, it’s out now. We opted to give it a relatively lame name, in my opinion, but at least it tells you what it is: Carbon Drive tikit. At the time of writing (yes, I realize this differs from the link above), the 11 speed is $3175 and the 8 speed is $2595. Please note that the use of Phil Wood belt drive cogs allows us to get reasonable gearing with the 8 speed. You also might note the special offer on a Phil Wood hub upgrade..

Josh Mitchell's fixed FridayI am pleased to announce that we are now able to offer the Sturmey Archer S3X three speed fixed gear hub. It is available on any Bike Friday, but the Pocket bikes (not the tikit or the Air bikes) will require removing the chain to fold as all models will come with adjustable vertical dropouts. It is operated by a propietary bar end control, though an old style thumb shifter mount is available. Cogs get down to 12 teeth. Direct drive is the highest gear so calculate gearing from your given cogs and then 2nd will be 75% of that and 3rd is 62.5% of direct. Also possible is the installation of a freewheel on the threaded cassette body but why would you do that? :) À la carte, price is $249 for the kit and a tikit with it on would run about $1498.

Is it worth it? Heck yes. I had one before it was stolen and loved it. It seems like an oxymoron but in practice it really extends the possibilities of a fixie. You do have to hesitate, even under the slighest of loads to get it to shift and there is no brifter (like the Versa for Nexus), and there is no disc brake option, but these are minor quibbles. You can now have all the advantages of a fixed gear without sacrificing your knees. That’s a GOOD THING.

Get in touch if you want to order one up.

As far as I’m concerned, having Hanz and Alan on the front cover of Time as the world’s most influential people, seeing Sylar and Luke Campbell from Heroes continue their journey on a Family Tandem, or having U2 do a continental tour on a fleet of Pocket Rocket Pros equipped with Shimano’s new electronic shifting Dura-Ace 7970 Di2 wouldn’t be half as cool as this.

Nope, the Bike Friday has made it to the big time:  on the greatest (cycling) comic strip of all time, Yehuda Moon. of which I have blogged around at least once.  Anyways, marvel at the profound glory of the tikit sandwiched neatly between witty word-balloons and careful caricatures of cyclists we surely know:

What a perfect bike the tikit is for this subject of drivers’ attitudes towards cyclists.  Indeed, though the law extends cylists the right to ride, it doesn’t not give us the right to respect and certainly does not demand drivers’ to give it to us.  No matter how much we have tried to follow the rules of the road (hopefully we are) and tried to act calmly when the poor sap getting 10mpg yelled at you for being on his road, we have not yet got to the point where there is mutual respect among different forms of transportation.

There is a solution though:  fold it up and stick it on the bus.  Bring your iPod and enjoy some good tunes while you catch up on your reading.  And get some fresh air, too.  You may think this can be done with a normal bike and the answer is just– in some places at some times.  Even in sleepy Eugene, though, the busses are getting crowded and bikes are getting turned away.  Every bike except folders.

Indeed, there’s a reason we made it to the Big Time, folks. :D

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