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.

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.

In both cases, this relates to the Stelvio, a beloved tire that is now gone:

  1. We’ve got new 451mm Stelvios but they’re not called the Stelvios.  The Duranos have the same specs only with a seamless Dual Compound tread that’s supposedly super long lasting.  Sorry, only wire bead.  406mm versions exist in wire bead and folding bead but we’re not going to be stocking those until we get through our stock of last year’s Stelvios, which it seems that they’re still making.
  2. The Kojaks are going to replace the 349mm Stelvios.  They are 1.25″/32mm rather than 1.125″/28mm but they are slick and still pump up to 115 psi.  And don’t worry:  they’ll fit with clearance on your Express tikit with fenders.  We’re only selling the folders.  We may get the 406mm versions later in the year.

Some other contenders that may have gone unnoticed are:

  1. We’ve got your balloon tires for those of you with 406mm tandems, Pocket Llamas, or Pocket Gnus:  406mm Big Apples in a 2.0″/50mm width.  Wire bead.
  2. Hate flats?  Problem solved for every wheel size except the 451mm bikes.  You can get the Marathon Plus in 349mm in 1.375″/35mm width or 406mm in 1.35″/35mm or 1.75″/47mm width.  The latter will get up to 70psi whilst the others get up to 95psi.  Wire bead.
  3. The lightweight version of the Marathon, the Racer, comes in folding or wire bead in 406mm in 1.50″/40mm width and 80psi max.

Sometimes I don’t find out about things until it’s too late.  Paul Webb, being the kind soul he is, alterted me to the fact that Rob‘s been working on a series of new dropouts that will interface with the system created for the One Way and the Season tikit.

You can see them here from left to right: disc brake version, Rohloff disc brake version (uh oh, Vik‘s in trouble now), Rohloff version, and standard derailleur version.

Technically there is one kink left to be worked out of the Rohloff version, but it’s a minor adjustment and we should have the new version shortly to test out. Still, we’ve managed to fit it to a bike as you can see here. Within the week this one should be ridable at the factory, so if you want to come down for a test ride, we can do it.

As for the disc brake version, we’ve just put it on a really blinged out Alfine Season tikit and it worked without a hitch. It’s only too bad it’s got hydraulic discs on though because the standard brake line is way too short. There’s going to need to be some extra work done on this one, so don’t get overly excited about the concept of hydraulics! Still, the proof is in the pudding: it’s ridable. This one’s going out to a customer; can’t wait to see what they think!

The disc mounts in front, by the way, are two threaded posts mounted to the back of the fork.  Just in case you’re curious.

The coolest thing about all of this is that if you have this system (say, you already have a One Way or a Season tikit), you can easily switch to any of the others without making any frame changes or anything. What’s even crazier than that is that if you have the derailleur version (which can be useful even if you have a internally geared hub or single speed with a chain tensioner–  which, by the way, is bad on a fixed gear!!) you have a somewhat adjustable wheelbase.  How cool is that?

Those of you that have really been keeping track of things may wonder how Paul Webb managed to get these on his standard tikit. He bought a new frame and changed all the parts over, which is an option to all you other folks. Get in touch with the service department to make that happen. Being that this is the down time, this is a perfect opportunity for that!