Alfine Tikit: First Impressions

Got my new Bike Friday Tikit on the road today. It is a large Seasons Tikit hyperfold frame with disc brake fittings on the back and a special wider set of forks to accommodate the front disc. The Hubs are Shimano Alfine, including a dynamo front hub. The brake levers are Shimano SLX fitted on Bike Friday H bars. Goodridge stainless brake hoses keep the brake oil in, and should be robust enough to stand the folding and unfolding. The chainset is Shimano 105 and there is a Chris King Headset. All other pieces are Bike Friday standard issue.

Have fitted Time ATAC pedals, a Selle Italia saddle, a Cat Eye wireless computer and best of all a B&M Lumotec IQ dynamo front light.

There were three tests I wanted to run to start with:

1. How is the gearing for ascending Sheffield hills?
2. Do the brakes work descending Sheffield hills?
3. What is the light output like at low speed?

There was only one place to go, the unimaginatively named Alpine Road. This residential road is only about 100 metres long but averages about 10% and kicks up nastily at the end.

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Test One

The Alfine hub shifts effortlessly and with a 52×16 combination the lowest gear was able to propel me up the hill at just about three miles an hour. The look is one of concentration rather than effort, at this speed and on this incline pedaling is a mental as well as physical activity. However the pedaling was pretty effortless, considering the gradient – which can be judged from the base of the green telecoms box on the left.

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Test Two

Julia agreed to sit in the road and watch as I descended – I promised to miss her if I couldn’t stop. Actually I wasn’t worried about the ability to stop, more about the ability modulate the brakes to stop the bike with me still on it.

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I needn’t have worried, smooth, silky smooth braking and the pads are not yet worn in.

Test Three

It was too early in the afternoon for a genuine test, but as it got darker I tried another ascent of the the hill. Again I am impressed, the light is clearly strong enough even at 3mph. How much of this is coming from the standlight facility in the IQ unit and how much is coming from the hub dynamo is difficult to tell however.

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So tomorrow the bike gets roped into service for the commute – looking forward to it – am really impressed with this bike. Just need to fit the rear rack and I’m ready

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8 Responses to “Alfine Tikit: First Impressions”

  1. Ian Says:

    wow, nice! Thinking of getting a very similar settup.
    So, can you say how much this beaut cost?
    was there a standard paint job involved in addition to all the other customizing?

    • Gareth Says:

      Well there was a big difference between the factory price from Bike Friday and the cost to me, what with the shipping and the incredible taxes. This was technically a ‘prototype’ – Bike Friday had to create a jig for the wider front wheel and do the calculation on where to put the weld ons for the disc brake. So my advice would be to ring them up and negotiate. It is going to cost more than a standard hyperfold Tikit but I think you should be able to get it for considerably less than I paid now the set-up work has been done.

      Also, having realised I was going to have to pay a premium for the frame, I had a ‘what the heck’ thought and specified the 105 chainset, which is great, but probably not strictly necessary on an everyday commuter.

  2. bikefridaywalter Says:

    Well, as Gareth said, it all depends. Not everyone is going to want EXACTLY what Gareth wants and many, like Ian, will likely be able to do without a lot of things. I would say that we can get you a disc-brake (non-hydraulic) equipped Season tikit (impulse fold, no accessories, no saddle, no pedals) for $2299. Hydraulics are a much more special scenario. In any case, since there are so many options, it would be ideal to get in touch with a salesperson (AHEM!) to discuss the options with you.

  3. chrisrust Says:

    The question is whether Alpine Road is tougher than Hunter House Road (Hunters Bar)?

    I can do it on my Brompton with Mountain Drive but you have to remind yourself to calm down and take it slow if you want to get to the top without overheating

    • Gareth Says:

      From memory, I think Hunter House Road is significantly longer, and therefore probably tougher. Going to get my Tracklogs mapping software out and compare gradients and total elevation 🙂

      Of course, you have to get to the foot of Alpine Road, which can be tiring…

  4. Alex Says:

    Hi Gareth, that is one sweet ride!
    I cannot judge by the photos, is there a rear dynamo light attached? If not was there any issue in getting one as well?

    • Gareth Says:

      Hi Alex

      I don’t have a rear dynamo light attached – largely because I use blinkies which seem to last for ever on two AAA batteries. I don’t think it would be very difficult to thread a lead from the terminals on the front light to the rear rack – just so long as you went under the bottom backet – the direct route is no good as it separates when you fold the bike.

      More recent postings on my use of the bike are at http://www.combingmyhair.com

      Cheers

      Gareth

  5. Alex Says:

    Thanks for the reply Gareth,
    having read your blog, i hope for trouble free miles from now on.
    cheers.

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