tikit


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.

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!

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! 😀

the team that found the bike: Rainey, me (though I didnt do much), Paul, and Torrent

the team that found the bike: Rainey, me (though I didn't do much), Paul, and Torrent

I’ve received a lot of support over the past month or so from all sorts of people regarding my stolen bike and I’d first like to say thank you.  I had hope– even certainty– that the bike would return, but your kind thoughts soothed my questioning mind from wondering how humanity has come to this.

Those of you that did not notice (and this would be surprising considering how impatient everyone’s been to hear this dan story!), my bike was snatched Monday, March 24th.  Anyone paying attention to my Facebook page surely noticed me rejoicing at its return two days later.

It’s taken me so long to share the story of its trip back home because of my workload as of late has about doubled, due to external factors (good weather means cyclists come out of hibernation) as well as internal ones (Paul Adkins leaving us!).

It turns out though that we must forgive Paul as he was instrumental in the safe return of said bicycle.  And it should come as no surprise that I was at work on Wednesday, March 26th trying to bust out some after hours emails when I get a call from him.  See, Paul and his family of six are carfree and so their Family Triple Tandem is like a Eugenian Escalade.

Paul and his olde kids, son Torrent and daughter Rainey were on the way from their Whiteaker (Eugene’s “ghetto” to the clueless, this is the hip, happening “heights” to the true Eugene downtown) home to Cosmic Pizza to see a performance by Uncle Bunkle.  The kids noticed a tikit riding by– in fact, one that looked a lot like a certain salesperson’s recently stolen bike.  An alarm sounded through the chain of command until, at last, the captain was notified.

BRING ABOUT!  FULL SPEED AHEAD!  The stokers cranked hard whilst the captain steadied the wheel and at last, they were upon her.  Paul explained the situation and the lady who was riding it seemed generally compliant.

She explained that someone, perhaps being chased, had jumped the fence around her relatively quiet southwest Eugene (where the bike was stolen) property and ditched the bike!  She didn’t see it but, her grandma apparently did.  She called the cops and they told her to hold onto the bike until the odd chance happened that they found the owner (really?! this seems fishy).

She was excited that perhaps a free bike had appeared on her doorstep and her husband seemed even more thrilled.  He stripped the bike, removing the decals (again, fishy), the headbadge, even the little plastic logo plate on the FMF cranks.  He then proceeded to remove every accessory except for a white blinky light, including a bar end bell, a Planet Bike light, a Detours seat bag, and a Soma coffee cup holder, an adjustable wrench, a Crank Brothers multi tool, a Quik-Stik tire lever and a Crank Brothers pump, my beloved Park glueless patch kit, my BF double sided front rack, a couple rack bungees, and even my CatEye bottle cage and tikit handle!  Seems like a lot of time and effort to put into making a distinctive bike all the less distinctive, no?

Well, it gets weirder.  So Paul calls me while detaining her and I rush down there with the showroom’s Travel tikit and a BikeRev heavy duty trailer big enough for another.  We agree to meet at a certain location she dictates off Blair and 5th.  Worse yet, when I arrive, no one is there.  I guess they had to move.  Paul almost thought he might need to go into pursuit mode, he later tells me, as she takes off real fast at first but either decides it’s futile or just calms down.  Anyways, I call Paul’s home after wandering around a bit and get redirected to an apartment on North Grand.

At long last, there she was!  I could barely contain myself.  Paul’s magnetic personality had drawn a crowd of interested local folks who were as much amazed by the bike’s engineering genius as its price.  In between appeasing the masses with folding demonstrations, I checked my baby for signs of abuse.  The aforementioned rape and pillaging notwithstanding, she was in as good of shape as when I last saw her.  I made some adjustments to the sizing to better fit her to me.

Well, I was hoping to stick her in the trailer and take off but we had to let the lady ride the bike to some other place where her husband was or something (never quite could make sense out of the story) which interestingly enough was on W 5th Alley, right nearby the locale I thought we were first going to.  Along the way, she road all over the road, in the other lane, no helmet, lackadaisically telling us a tale about how when she first tried the bike she almost got bucked off by the fixed gear.  Then when we get there, as collateral and proof that she would get back to me all the accessories, she gave me her phone number and the holder to her MP3 player.  In retrospect I probably should have demanded the MP3 player, but oh well.

I say this because at first she said she would come visit and never did.  Then when I called she said she was busy and would have to call me back.  Then she hung up on me.  Then I left messages on her voice mail.  Then her voice mail message became a generic message.  When I called the police to report the bike found, I explained the whole story and told them about this so clearly they tried to call the number, with the same results.  I have, to this day, never seen the stuff returned.  But I still have the holder to the MP3 player for evidence, if I could ever convince the cops to do any sort of fingerprinting.  Unlikely, sadly.

There was good that came out of this whole experience.  For one thing, I learned to take seriously everyone’s caution to lock the bike up, despite how short of a time you expect to go in the store or how visible the bike is.  If I’m going in for the long haul, I make sure to fold the bike up before locking it, but I always lock it, even if it is just to itself.  As suggested by one of the folks on the Bike Friday security page, I bought a set of Master Lock Street Cuffs (I use the single link version).  What’s really cool is that fitting it onto the tikit, just ahead of the piece that holds the seatmast when folded, it does not get in the way of folding, and it means that one half of the locking process is already done.

neat pump mount; click for more pics of the change

neat pump mount; click for more pics of the change

Secondly, I got a bunch of new bits, including a hyperfold cable again (I think she tweaked the stem clamp when she almost bit it), Dimension moustache bars (WAY cheaper than Nittos), a Detours Digi Midge stem bag, which is perfect for the garage door opener, an Arkel seat bag, and a cool SKS Revo Alu pump with an integrated gauge.  I had some lights kicking around that I fit on and got all the rest of the other bits.  Still trying to figure out what I’m going to do as far as covering the bars is concerned.  That electrical tape kind of stinks.  I’m thinking of getting, despite the vegan in me screaming “NOOOOOO!” the Ciclo Di Cuoio leather sew-it-your-self tape.  We’ll see.

As a final touch a few days ago I finally fitted on the tikit Aardvark Safety Upgrade Kit.  You can see it here in a highly polished version so as to stand out and make it clear what the final product will look like for all you people wondering.  On that note, the kits are currently in production and are relatively simple, so don’t sweat it.  No machine shop or even bike shop needed.  They are currently being installed on all bikes being shipped out.  I believe the plan is to eventually make the upgrade a permanent member on the frame, but Rob’s on vacation and even discussion about that will have to wait until he returns.

Another change is planned:  the new Sturmey Archer S3X three speed fixed gear hub!  At long last it is finally going to be made again.  I talked to the guy who distributes for them in the US and he says they’re going to make a freewheel driver for them first at request of some of their bigger OEM buyers, though I’m not sure why they don’t just get a standard three speed.  In any case, it will be nice to share the joy of some new exciting bike part with my best bike buddy.

Never had this happen to me before, especially since I’ve had the tikit.  I mean, come on, who needs a lock anymore? You just fold it up and wheel it inside.  Today, though, I had to bring the trailer along to carry some bigger stuff. On the way back to work, I stopped by for a brief moment at the bank. Since the trailer sort of messed up the convenience of it all, I left it outside.  Came back and well, ended up walking back to work.

A long time ago I learned that sometimes having nothing is better than being wealthy, that to be truly rich you don’t have to possess a darn thing.  Some of the richest moments of my life were spent in total poverty, with nothing more than a single backpack to call my own.  I remember the day I sold my music collection (I had probably close to 1000 CDs) just to fund my way out of Ohio. I worked tireless hours for those CDs and spent countless more enjoying them. Yet, I felt a remarkable sense of freedom, like a weight was lifted off my shoulders.

Sadly, though, that’s not what I’m feeling. It’s a funny thing about bikes: they’re like old friends. You spend that much time with anything and they start feeling like that. Worse yet if it’s a bike you built yourself. Then when it’s stolen, it not only feels like a lost friend, it feels like child abduction, a brutal kidnapping. You’re left plagued with thoughts of how they might be torturing, molesting, or abusing it.

I’m not without a certain amount of grace. Like Paul of Tarsas, I know what it is to be in need.  I don’t wish revenge by any stretch of the imagination. I feel sorry for the poor soul who is in such dire straits as to have to resort to such behavior. How foolish, too, that this person stole such a distinctive bike. They won’t be able to go anywhere without it being noticed. Hell, *I* can’t. This surely won’t bode well for their well-being.

Surely, too, I will find peace (and likely a new bike!) should it never return. I suspect, though, it will, as there are countless stories of people regaining their Bike Fridays. They certainly outweigh the ones of people NOT recovering their Fridays. I have hope in the power of a community-based effort. It has certainly worked in other cases.

Which is why I implore you, friends, to help me. Watch Craigslist, eBay, the Internet in general, pawn shops, bike shops. Spread the word. Be on the lookout. Speaking of friends, I am most grateful to Vik Banerjee whose wonderful pictures of my bike show it in nearly its exact present form.  The only differences are the lack of the Power Grips and rear light (fell off) and the addition of a Made In Oregon sticker next to the Made In America sticker on the right hand side. There are older pics here.

For those that can’t tell, it’s a Racing Green/Black Diamond two-tone, a true one of a kind. It should sparkle all the way around, just like Cream Soda Blue does.

And yes, it is a fixed gear on both sides of the rear wheel.

If you have any leads, thoughts, questions, concerns, feel free to comment away or get in touch with me through the many other options available. I ultimately just want my bike back, no questions asked. Thanks in advance for all of your help!

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