Tikit – where it all started

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12 months ago I bought a Bike Friday Tikit from Condor Cycles in London. I had a new job about 17 miles away and two weeks of driving had convinced me that commuting by car was a stressful boring experience (I already believed it was environmentally unsustainable). The idea was to do a bike-train-bike commute during the winter and on bad weather days during the rest of the year and use my road bike to get fit otherwise. As the bike was going to be used as the bad weather ride I expected it to take some hammer. It had to cope with Sheffield’s wet climate and the copious amounts of salt which spread on the road during the winter. More than that it needed to cope with the hills. Sheffield is built around a valley and part of the return trip from the station would include a short 14% gradient.

I was attracted to the Tikit by the number of positive reviews on the web, the wide gear range, and the speed of fold as illustrated in this video. Straight out of the shop, the impression was highly positive. A quick flat ride to St Pancras and onto the train without a second glance at the ticket barrier. Arriving in Sheffield the impression was slightly different, coming up the hill the bike creaked like crazy and it felt as if the handlebars might fold towards me at any moment. Still I was home in a fraction of the time it would have taken to walk and still feeling positive.

The next day I decided to try a trip to the shops. A high speed descent to Waitrose, the bike folded and in the trolley I was free to wander around with no worries about whether I would be walking home. Free to take my time I chose the museli and red wine, chatted to the guy next to me in the queue about how impressed I was with the bike and was outside ready for the trip back. The unfold proved as simple as the fold and I was happy. However the ride back up the hill revealed the same problem. It just didn’t feel secure.

A quick investigation on the web revealed the underlying problem. Condors had sold me (at full price) a 2007 twin wire hyperfold Tikit, a model Bike Friday had phased out for a far more robust version. Faced with a 150 mile trip to take it back, I decided to email Bike Friday. They were back to me the same day offering a free upgrade kit. Hugh said I may need to take it to the LBS to have the upgrade installed, but when the kit arrived a week later I was pretty pleased. Great customer service Bike Friday. The upgrade needed the front mudguard hole re-drilling and then tapping and getting this bit right was essential to both the headset staying together and the fold. I knew this was beyond my capabilities but my Dad has an engineering background so offered to do the business. Soon I was effectively in possession of a 2008 model and the uphill handling was transformed.

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