Posts Tagged ‘Tikit’

Fitting the Tikit rear rack

August 4, 2009

There has been some discussion on the Bike Friday Yak list about the best way to fit the Tikit rear rack. I am not sure if this is the best way, but I found that in addition to the issue with the mudguard (fender) stay identified by other Tikit owners,  I had a second barrier to mounting the rack caused by the disc brake mechanism.

Rack mounted with mudguard secured to underside of rack

Rack mounted with mudguard secured to underside of rack


Back on track

July 26, 2009

The Folding Bike Challenge training is back on track with a 50 mile Tikit stint. Joolz was on her road bike and could drop me on the hills…

She's got a gap now and Dent's in all sorts of trouble

She's got a gap now and Dent's in all sorts of trouble

…but by ‘turning myself inside out’ to quote the Liggett/Sherwin terminology I was able to wind her in and could tell she was suffering from (more…)

FBC Training Plan

July 5, 2009

An excellent long ride out to Ashbourne last weekend – some 90 miles door to door. This was my first ride with the local CTC District Association and an excellent ride it turned out to be. The Peak District can be a busy and unpleasant place to cycle in mid-summer on main roads, but this was a well thought out route through quiet roads.

The plan now looks like this:

1. A further ride out to Holm Moss next week (60+ miles)
2. A long flat ride in Lincolnshire on the Tikit (50+ miles) – largely to test comfort after long hours in the saddle
3. Phil and Friends on 2 August (100 miles)
4. As many miles to and from work as possible, including a couple of Tikit rides (round trip 34 miles)

FBC Training Ride 3

April 13, 2009

24 miles. Again the longest so far for our Tikits.

Why there is a phonebox full of coloured balls in Elsecar no one knows.


Woke up this morning feeling like I had been suspended from my heels all night – the backs of my calves and upper legs felt like they had wire running through them. The position on my Tikit appears to be very similar to my road bike, but I think the different shoes may make a difference to the effective saddle height.

FBC Training Ride 2

April 5, 2009

The Folding Bike Challenge is 240 miles in four days. This requires some training. Not so much getting the miles in, I am fairly confident that by September I could manage that distance. Rather it is getting the folding miles in. Getting the legs and backside used to sitting in a different position for an extended period.

So today Julia and I set off on the Trans Pennine Trail to build a few miles. We made it to Brinsworth before I felt the need to turn round and get a takeaway coffee from Meadowhell. !7.4 miles. The longest Tikit ride to date. Quite pleased.

The Trans Pennine Trail isn’t exactly a cycle path, its a trail. I am remended of the words of Ronald English.


Adventure Cycling (1959)

‘There is an association of cyclists known as the ‘Rough Stuff Fellowship’. The main object of their members is to take their bicycles over mountains and hills, along rough and little known tracks and almost everywhere that the ordinary person would say a bicycle could not be taken.

You may not wish to join the fellowship; but if you do any exploring you are certain to find plenty of rough stuff.’

True, too true.

104, 105….smile

March 27, 2009


A Mini-review to mark the first 100 miles on my Alfine Tikit.


The initial impressions are certainly confirmed – the disc brakes work like a dream and are completely silent (none of that frightening pedestrians with squealing rubber), the gears shift perfectly and getting the right size Tikit makes a huge difference to the feel on the road; from a cramped position on a Medium Tikit to a suitably stretched position on the large model improves not just the aerodynamics but also the sense of control. The H bars provide a variety of comfortable handholds and the disc brakes are so effective that at low speeds braking can be effected with one finger tip from the ‘bar end’ part of the bar.

I did wonder about the choice of a Shimano 105 chainset. This is well made and gives me the 172.5mm cranks that match my road bike, but the bottom bracket is narrow. The Tikit design puts a lot of gubbins around the bottom bracket with one of the main hinges in the folding mechanism and the various stops and releases associated with the hinge. Initially I thought this was a problem. The bike would work fine on the flat, but when climbing there was a loud metal spring-like noise. In consultation with Bike Friday I looked for the cause. There was a bit of chain rub going on:


As can be seen above the chain was just touching the spur which buttresses the frame tube. A bit of careful work with an adjustable wrench sorted it out but not the noise. Today however silence is restored. The culprit was one of the small washers that are clenched by the jaws in the rear triangle. The left hand washer was damaged:


Loosening the bolt and rotating the washers slightly and click…problem solved. Now I can get into some serious training for Paris….


The Alfine Tikit is slightly heavier than a standard Tikit. This is not an issue, the hub gears are well spaced and it is easier to get up Sheffield’s hills than its predecessor. The concentration of the extra weight in the rear hub does have one unintended effect however. The standard Tikit fold technique – thump the saddle forward and yank the bike upwards – doesn’t work quite as effectively. The rear triangle doesn’t swing round and latch onto the frame. The weight in the hub (combined possibly with the resistance to bending in the rear brake pipe) means it tends to stop halfway and hang down from the hinge. This is not a major issue however as I have developed a technique involving a leftwards nudge with my right foot.

I’ve signed up

March 20, 2009


Yes, in a fit of Friday afternoon web surfing I have signed up for the 2009 Folding Bike Challenge. That’s right, the Alfine Tikit is on its way to Paris. 240 miles in 4 days. Not a tall order on the Campaged-out road bike, but my longest trip in one go on a Tikit is about 7 miles. Time for some training methinks.

Reduce – Reuse – Cycle

March 15, 2009

Finished the original Tikit refurb for Julia.

It is a medium Tikit so always was a bit too small for me. Sawed a chunk off the seat post and head tube so that it would fit and still fold. Put the original Bike Friday wide saddle back on and replaced the ATACs with SPDs.

Replaced chainring, chain, cassette and jockey wheels. Upgraded the brakes to Deore and finally got to add the Ergon grips which had been sitting in the carrier bag since December. Well actually Chris at Tony Butterworths did most of the work. As might be expected from Sheffield’s best bike shop, the end result is pretty pleasing.


Time for a test ride



Pretty pleased with the result, time to head into town for some coffee…and in Julia’s case a short doze.


The couple that folds together stays together!

Alfine Tikit: First Impressions

March 1, 2009

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.


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.


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.


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.


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

So that’s why Bromptons are so popular!

February 20, 2009

My Alfine Tikit arrived yesterday. Superbly packaged, it was out of the box and assembled within an hour. It looks the business. The disc brakes will no doubt take a little care getting used to as they seem mega powerful. Tomorrow I may get a chance to get a quick ride although as luck would have it I am working this weekend at the Focus on Imaging show. Just when the weather turns warm, still I will get to spend some time with Jose Navarro whose photography I love (check out ‘Across Mali on a bicycle‘)

Anyway the main observation for today is that the Tikit arrived with a bill from Revenue and Customs, not for 15% VAT but what appears to be 47%. Now I don’t mind paying taxes, that how we can afford an NHS for goodness sake. But 47%? It appears I am not the only one to notice and it seems quite a few cyclists have asked Gordon Brown if he might do something about it. And it seems Gordon would love to, just that he can’t. Over to you Gordon to explain why

Hmm, well British jobs for British workers then Gordon, at least for the time being. The trouble is I personally do not mind whether the worker who builds my bike lives in the UK, the US, Taiwan or Italy. I do rather care that he or she works in a safe environment and gets a decent wage. And I am not sure how taxing bicycles helps.

In the meantime, it would appear the best way to import a folding bike rather than ride a Brompton would be to fly out, ride it around a bit to get a bit of dirt on it, fold it up and fly home as if you have had it for ages.

[Combing my hair warning: The last suggestion is illegal]
[Combing my hair warning: The last suggestion would rather defeat the carbon dioxide objective which may be why your are cycling rather than driving.]