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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..

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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.

The tikit, in all its glorious quick-folding ability, is a relatively new thing. It was mainly inspired by customer requests for a quicker fold. However, the tikit is not without its caveats. For example, at present, there’s no way to put rear panniers on the bike (though we are still working on a folding rack). There are other limitations with regards to which components you can put on the bike. A good example: no triple chainring will ever fit. And then there’s the people that just don’t like 16″ wheels.

It’s a great bike (I love mine!) but the other bikes have not become irrelevant because of it. I, for one, would much sooner pick up my Pocket Llama than I would the tikit for fully loaded or expedition touring. Certainly any mountain biking. I would probably be more inclined to use the Llama for more competitive riding, as well, though a tikit can perform well.

The only thing that darn Llama is lacking is the quick fold ability which makes it the bike I, inevitably, pick up the least when it comes to fitting it in a car, bus, train, etc. etc. Suitcase travels are one thing, as both bikes are essentially the same, but certainly not folding.

If you’re in the same boat as me, there is now a solution: a retro-fittable folding stem somewhat like the tikit’s for any Bike Friday with an 1.25″ headset and handlebars that will do well with either an ahead or a quill stem (see our chart here). $160 will get you the goods on any pre-existing bike. I should also add that any custom bikes from here on out can have the stem installed at the time of building.

P.S., yes I am alive! I have plenty to put up here but time has been lacking lately. Soon.. One thing I will say is that we are still working on the e-tikit as well as the folding rack aforementioned. There may be some other new things looming in the horizon, but it depends more on parts manufacturers than us. More as it comes.

Ok, first off, a disclaimer:  this is what we’re working on.  This is not a finished product.  You are about to see a prototype.  We do not know when they’ll be ready (hopefully taking pre-orders for delivery near the turn of the year, but not certain), we do not know how much they will cost (but hope for something around the $2000 mark), and we do not know exactly how much they will weigh (though our prototype medium was about 37 pounds).  Please do not call to make your order tomorrow.  When they’re ready, please do not admonish us for not meeting any of the aforementioned metrics nor for having the final product differ from what you’re about to see.  Please do not complain that it’s not perfect, because it’s not.. yet.

That being said, I am EXTREMELY excited to say that Bike Friday is on the road to developing an integrated electric tikit.  That’s right, unlike some of the other solutions out on the market, like Electric Cyclery aka Bikefold‘s self-made electric remixes of our standard Bike Friday models with BionX motors, this will not be an afterthought, but a completely integrated solution.  This is not to say that an aftermarket solution won’t be available (we hope), but that that’s not where our focus is.  We’re focused on making a whole package that you can simply buy.

We won’t be the first, but if you take a look at the eZee or EcoBike Vatavio folding electric bikes, you can see that we’re dramatically different in a lot of ways.  And not just the usual Bike Friday ways, either.  Check out the weight.  Because we are so grossly different and because the weight is not tremendous and the ride is so great, I’m surprised to say I’m very excited about this.  I always figured that electric bikes were sort of a waste:  not portable or too heavy or bad riding without the motor or some combination of the above, but this really nips that in the bud.

Don’t believe me?  Check it out for yourself.  Click on the pic above for some more pics and check out the videos below.  One of them is from Power In Motion, who have been really instrumental in helping us with this project.  So to Ken and Molly and Andrew, thanks.

Like what you see?  Get in touch with me so I can keep you on the list and let you know as soon as they are available.

Incidentially, the major change is that the safety upgrade will be integrated into the seatmast as was previously suggested.  Also the seatmast is also going to be one piece rather than the two-piece arrangement consisting of the upper “riser” and the “aardvark” as we liked to call it.  For obvious reasons this will affect two tone color schemes.  No other changes planned.

For those with older bikes, we will not be replacing the frame members on a warranty basis.  The safety upgrade is perfectly functional, but making it this way will make it easier to produce the bikes.  If you still want one for your bike, they cost $220 and the labor to install one here is at least that, perhaps much more.  They *SHOULD* go on easily to bikes built from January 2008 on.   If you had any problems installing the tikit brace, they’ll need to come back home.  Anything earlier needs to come here, too.  Needless to say, if that’s the route you’re going, it may be more cost-effective to consider a trade in!

These guys should be rolling off the production line October 1st.  Since our promise dates are currently beyond that date, now’s the time to order!

Bike Friday Fall 2009 Catalog

Get in touch and we’ll get one right out to you!  The 15 page, full-color 5.5×8.5″ catalog includes our usual offering, the new standard bikes, ALL of the built to order tikit models, a chart to help your decision making process, and more great stories.  I hope to have a PDF up on the website shortly but it may take a bit as we are in the process of improving the website (yey!).  Within a week I’d say.

Things have been busy here in the Bike Friday showroom!  So busy we’ve actually been selling some of our demo bikes.  Luckily, some of the re-ordered ones are starting to make their way back into the showroom.  Just recently, we finally had our new Season tikit delivered.  I’m really excited about this one because I thought the Season tikit was a really good idea anyways.  However, this one is extra special because it is the very first bike we have ever equipped with a SRAM i-Motion 9 speed internal hub.  The end result is very good.  Shifting is smooth, disconnecting the cable is easy (unlike the Shimano Nexus), the gear range is wider (a standard tikit is 79-31 gear inches, Nexus 88-29, i-Motion 101-30 — make that 81-24; see below) and the price is only $200 more.  Sound too good to believe?  Get in touch and let me know when you’d like to schedule a test ride and you can find out for yourself! 😀

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