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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.

How could I have missed posting this? Edi, who’s been commenting the heck out of this blog (well, he’s the only person who leaves any comments!) has a fixed tikit, too. His is really special, though, in a lot of ways.

For one, unlike a lot of fixits here, he’s got a production One Way tikit.

And then there’s the Phil Wood track cog. Drool.

I love his nameplate: “Major Taylor – miles ahead.”

Lastly, Edi’s simply a good guy, with an awesome-looking Pocket Rocket Pro.

Talk about accessorizing, huh? It comes as no surprise to me that he has a B.U.B. from Momovelo, as they were like the boutique of bike shops. We were hoping that he was going to come out with a special version of the Bike Friday and then *POOF* he was gone.

Oh well, you got to see what Edi’s done with the tikit. He really outdid himself this time. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves but Edi did provide a poetic script to this visual masterpiece:

1930 era Lauterwasser handlebars
Nitto lugged stem
Paul’s brake lever connected to a Mrazek v-brake for super stopping power
Brooks saddle w/ Nitto seatpost
Sogreni bell and lights
Tioga spyder pedals.

P.S., check out Mrazek’s 20″ bike! And he’s in Portland now!! Is everyone up there now?

Just a quickie here as it’s been really busy (last post 3 months ago? Yikes!). Anyways, I’ve taken possession of a new tikit. This one features the slower Impulse fold technology relative to my old one and has a really slick Racing Green/Black Diamond finish.

It’s fixed as usual and basically has the same parts as the old ones with a few exceptions. I’m running a 165mm crank (boy have I missed that) from FMF BMX (I won it at a Bike Friday Christmas Party a few years back) with an FSA ISIS bottom bracket. It’s got a Dimension hub– sealed cartridge bearing non-quick release but hollow axle hub in a double fixed variety. I’m running a TA 54 tooth cog up front and a Dura Ace 15 tooth cog and a Surly 13 tooth cog in the rear.

The thing that makes this one really unique is the rear dropouts, a proprietary design that Rob worked out. It is an adjustable vertical dropout with stops, making wheel changes an absolute breeze once you get everything set up just right. Most exciting is the fact that the hub spacing is easily adjustable just by using– wait for it– different chainring bolts and spacers. Yep, that’s how it all attaches and it works great. So with it set up for 135mm a la double chainring bolts, I used triple chainring bolts and 7.5mm of spacers on both sides and now I got 120mm spacing.

This could potentially revolutionize all of Bike Friday’s offerings giving us replacable dropouts assuming of course that we can make them with derailleur hangers and disc brake mounts and such for the right price. This we don’t know but if this prototype passes the test we’ll have a great platform with a fixed gear (most of the other Bike Fridays won’t allow for a rear brake, can’t do 120mm spacing, need to have the chain slacked to be folded, etc. etc.) and we’ll be on our way to release the ultimate all-weather commuting bike– the Season tikit. More to come!

I’m not going to sleep until I finish this, darnit! That being said I’ll probably make this one brief.  Our good customer (a long time New World Tourist owner) from downunder, Peter Frey, contacted me a while back to order himself a fixed gear.  I believe his is the first and perhaps the only fixed Pocket Crusoe and the only fixed Friday I know of in the land of Oz.

Despite the simplicity of the drivetrain, he’s got it jam-packet full of features including a carbon handlebar with Cane Creek Ergo Control bar ends, a ThudBuster suspension seatpost (with the elusive CrudBuster cover), a Brooks saddle, MKS AR-2 EZ quick snap pedals, a Phil Wood flip flop hub, Surly Tuggnuts (two, yes, two of them), and Schwalbe Big Apple tires.

And then there’s the accesories:  bell, kickstand, front and rear lights.. and Polar wireless cadence computer, of course.

Who said a SINGLE speed had to be SIMPLE?

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Well, that New Year’s Resolution isn’t coming along very well is it?  Here we are almost two weeks late but I’m actually glad I waited because I have a real treat.  Imagine this:  a Pocket Rocket Pro fixed gear frame with a titanium Easy Pack seatmast, a Chris King headset, and a set of fenders for $200.  Well, it’s true.  More info, how to buy and more components for it here.

The current owner, one Geoff Huber, is the general manager and mechanic at the local independent bike shop Life Cycle as well as the drummer and vocalist to local "2-piece hardcore-hillbilly-hip-hop circus rock" band Back In The Dark

Life Cycle is a pretty neat place in that it has a lounge, publicly offers free cycling advice (everyone expects it but it’s usually given reluctantly), offers professional fittings, offers racing sponsorships, focus on women’s specific bikes and clothing and accessories, and has personalized coaching.  They’re the new guys in town, but they seem to be doing very well and I’m sure this is due in part to creating a community around the shop that is centered in great service.

As for Back In The Dark, I don’t know what to tell you.  Their description seems fitting: "comedy stand up meets metal punk dude and they fight till the death while having a really good time."  Listen to the samples and go see them play in Eugene at Diablo’s this Saturday.  Maybe you can even arrange for Geoff to let you pick up the bike there!

Just make sure to let me know if you snag this one!  I want to see pics.  Maybe I can get that resolution back in order. 😀

P.S.  The pics are from last summer (yeah, I know, I’m a slacker!).  Not consistent with how it looks now.  Ask Geoff for pics.

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New Year’s Resolution:  Post Bike Friday First Friday Fabulous Fixed Gears on time!

This time:  Red Bull is reborn.

Selling her to pave the way for the fixit, she was picked up by one Jesse Ratzkin.  Currently serving as a serial math geek, Jesse also invests his energy heavily in cycling. 

Jesse’s struggle up the academic ladder has taken him from California to Washington to Utah to Connecticut and lastly to his current position as a assistant professor at the University of Georgia.  He spends a fair bit of time, as one would expect, traveling about, doing lectures and presentations and seminars and conferences, and this is where the interest in a Friday comes in.

As far as his academic interests, Jesse’s field is that of geometric analysis, which, very roughly speaking, uses differentiation to study complex shapes.  This is exciting stuff, but well over my head, as it took me a few hours of research just to understand his research statement.  He does do some really interesting things, though, like studying Brownian motion, the random walk of particles.  He gets excited by things like showing "almost all triunduloids are nondegenerate."  I’m sure that sounds ridiculous but realize people are applying these studies to everything from CAD programs to the study of black holes and of the curvature of space-time, which interestingly enough has its application in satellite positioning.  So thank your lucky iPhone for people like Jesse.

Despite his multidimensional interests in math, though, he prefers his bicycles a bit more single-minded.  Previous to his Pocket Rocket Pro, he mainly rode an IRO Jamie Roy but shows three other submissions to the fixed gear gallery:  a Miyata for winter riding and an Alpina (recently replaced by a Voodoo Dambala)  for mountain biking.  All fixies, of course.  He even wrote an article (with pix of the Voodoo) on riding off-road fixed.  But he’s an advocate for all sorts of human powered transportation, having co-founded the Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective and being yet another Critical Masser.

So what will the next step for Jesse be?  Who knows, but I’m sure his Friday will be in tow.

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I think I might change the name of this “regular” column to iBFFFFF.  You know, “i” as in “infrequent.”  I guess I’m just too busy with work and family to sit down and write about work and family.  Hey, at least I’m not bored.. 😀

Anyways, a LONG time ago I said I was going to fix my tikit.  I was thinking we’d be doing stock “just the tikit” models for a long enough time that I could have found some time to do it when I felt like.  Well, I did manage to create the impetus and sold my fixed Pro to math geek Jesse Ratzkin.  I had been riding my Pocket Llama a lot, though, since I found I really couldn’t stand the flat bars on the tikit (a personal problem– even on a mountain bike I find myself longing for Dirt Drops or something), so didn’t find the need to do the switchover.

Well, after there was some concern expressed about the stem hinge on the tikit, Rob and Hanz went back to the drawing board and came up with new beefier stem hinge plates, stem latch, and connecting cable.  I heard we were going to retrofit some of the old ones and see what just switching the cable would be like.  So I volunteered, and excited to test it, I had to get it ready to ride.

By late in the day Friday, I had a retrofitted tikit and a wheel with a White Industries Eric’s Eccentric ENO hub, so while I made some phone calls, I disconnected the cables, shifters, brake levers, rear derailleur, rear wheel and brakes.  I installed the new wheel with a fresh chain and put the bar back on so I could ride it home.  I used Ted’s discarded rear Reelight which he could never get to work consistently, but fit on the tikit no problem and worked perfect.

I rode it home and put on my old Nitto track drops (the narrowness here is perfect for this thin urban folder) and adjusted the position up and out a bit, which needed to be done anyways.  I threw on my High Tail bag for the tools and spare garb and was all set.

It’s a joy to ride, the cable making a significant difference to the stem stiffness.  No problems with the ENO whatsoever with shifting chain tension.  I’m impressed that the rack holds on so good to the bare canti studs.  I need to figure out where to put the lock.  It was a bit annoying attached to the stem riser.  I’ll probably make a clamp to fix that problem.  Folding is unaffected by any of the change, though the width has increased a bit because of the reach on the bars.

This is the ultimate practical bike for commuting– super simple, rugged, extremely portable, sporty, takes your stuff, doesn’t get flats, fends off the rain.  I do miss the “hyperdrive” as I like to call the grip shift bell that only works with flat bars, but a brass bell will work fine since the bar diameter is so narrow.  I’d like a Chris King headset but the stack height is incompatible with the way we’ve designed the bike so it will be a while (if at all) before that problem gets resolved.  Maybe in the meanwhile we can find a good sealed cartridge bearing threadless headset with the right stack height (which is about 25mm) .  The only other thing I think it really needs is one of the new constant front Reelight SL150 lights.  And one of the soon-to-be-introduced Detours panniers with integrated suspended laptop sleeve and super-fast/sturdy attachment system.

So here is the second “just the tikit” converted to a “one way tikit” but of course then you end up with a bunch of parts you don’t want.  The parsimonious and better solution would be to just get a one way and get with it built to order sizing and a choice of saddle, pedals, color and tires.  The tikit line has pretty much caught up with the demand, so we can get them out pretty quick.  Give a call in so we can get some pics of a one way up here! 😀

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