I love it when the UPS Store calls me and lets me know that I have a box to pick up. Usually if it’s a big box they want it picked up right away as they don’t have a lot of room. You don’t have to twist my arm! I rode right over and grabbed a box from Bike Friday. As per usual the box was expertly packed and the bike in perfect condition. Unpacking a Bike Friday takes a lot more time than a typical bike, but the benefit is you have some time to appreciate all the fine details of your new bike as you remove each individual piece of packing material. Funny thing is I keep all this stuff and when I sent my Tikit back to Bike Friday a couple years ago I tried to repack it like they do and totally failed! I bet you when the shipping dept folks opened that box they were horrified!
One Way Tikit Specification:
- large Tikit frame [~58cm TT]
- steel frame hand made in Eugene, OR
- heavy rider option [stiffer frame]
- hyperfold quick fold mechanism
- Dutch World Cup Orange powder coat
- Gearing 54T x 14T [fixed] = ~ 65″
- 349 wheels [unbranded]
- Greenspeed Scorcher tires
- Tektro V-brakes & levers [front and back]
- 165mm cranks
- chain ring guard
- 3/32″ 8 spd chain KMC
- MKS EZ Promenade QR pedals
- Carrying Handle
- 80mm stem
- flat MTB bar
- saddle currently Selle Anatomica…eventually Brooks B-17
- front rack [not yet installed]
- rear rack [from my old Tikit]
Why fixed gear?
First off I gotta blame Kent Peterson for planting the seed many years ago. As I read about his fixed gear rando adventures I had to admit that clearly a bike with one gear and no coasting was capable of some great things. That didn’t make me run out and get a fixed gear, but it did take away some of the disbelief that riders actually gave up their gears willingly. The next nail in my gear coffin was Tarik’s blog…I remember reading a post of his about a fixed gear folding bike and why that was a good idea. The final fixed gear role model I had was Walter from Bike Friday…he showed me his One Way Tikit when I visited Bike Friday HQ. Walter is a guy who knows his bikes…so I pay attention to what he rides!
This spring I built up my first fixed gear bike, a Surly 1×1, and confirmed that I really enjoyed the simplicity of a fixed gear. I also confirmed there was little to no performance difference for my general city riding. I climb as well as my geared bikes…actually faster since I can’t shift down. I am fast riding in stop and go traffic. My knees don’t mind the fact I’m often riding a higher gear than I might on my geared bikes.
For a folder in particular there are a lot of good reasons to go fixed:
- no shifter req’d
- no rear brake req’d
- no rear derailleur
- no cables running to rear
- no delicate parts to damage in transit or while shipping
- lighter bike
I don’t ride my Tikit as much for pleasure as I do for errands, commuting and work. These are all uses that favour simplicity and reliability…..which makes fixed gear a logical choice.
I should also note that there is something really fun about riding fixed. There is not much to think about as far as your bike goes so you spend more mental energy experiencing the ride itself.
Keep in mind my old Tikit is a 2007 model so I wasn’t sure what tweaks Bike Friday may have made over the years to their 16″ wheeled commuter bike. They’ve got a culture of continuous improvement and upgrading so even bikes made in the same year may be slightly different. Climbing aboard the One Way Tikit I felt right at home. One of the major reasons I ride Bike Friday folding bikes is I can get a bike built to fit me [~58cm TT] rather than try and fit myself on a one size fits some product. Let’s face it if that worked we’d all be wearing the same size shoes, pants, etc… The handling of this new bike feels very similar to my older Tikit – which is to say nimble, but stable. If you have never ridden a small wheel bike and are test riding a Tikit give yourself 5 mins to adapt. I find that if I am away from my Tikit for a few months and climb back on it takes me to the end of the block until I feel at home…after that I can ride with one hand or no hands and bomb around town with total confidence. In particular I think the Tikit’s handling shines in busy city riding conditions. When you are dodging obstacles and continually stopping/starting the nimbleness of the Tikit puts a smile on your face.
The gearing at ~65″ is right around what Sheldon Brown recommends for general purpose fixed gear riding and that’s about what I have on my Surly 1×1. So far it’s working well for me on both bikes. I would describe the feeling as never wishing I had a bigger gear or a smaller gear…I sort of forget about my drivetrain and just spin the pedals. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Sheldon nailed it once again.
I ordered this bike with the heavy rider upgrade [good to 260lbs] simply because I like the feel of a stiff folder and weight is not my primary concern. To be honest the bike feels really light when I pick it up which surprised me, but I haven’t added the racks yet…I’ll try and track down a scale and weigh it, but it definitely feels lighter than my old Tikit. As expected the frame feels stiff and solid when I get out of the saddle to hammer – as one must do with a fixie since there is no low gear. The bike feels tighter than my old Tikit…that may be the heavy rider upgrade or just the fact it’s brand new.
All my folding bikes are running on Greenspeed Scorcher tires. They rock. Seriously…I was happy to see Bike Friday started carrying them…that saves me immediately taking off the stock tires and putting Scorchers on my new bike. Without a doubt good rubber is the fastest, easiest and cheapest way to improve the performance and comfort of your bike. The best thing is with a larger volume supple tire like the Scorcher you get both – the supple casing acts like suspension, which your body appreciates, and it makes your bike roll faster which everyone likes.
The hyperfold works a lot like my old Tikit which is to say super fast and easy….effortless. This is another reason why I ride a Tikit vs. another model of folding bike. Nobody makes a folder that comes close to the lack of hassle of the Tikit. See the video below…that video got me well and truly hooked on owning a Tikit. The One Way Tikit features a new version of the rolling handle that is easier to use and provides stronger support for the long seatmast above it. My only quibble with this handle is that the bare metal is slippery and not as comfortable as I’d like. I’ll be tracking down some black bar tape and wrapping this handle shortly.
The folded bike stands on its wheels and a small rubber “foot” when you put it down. It can be knocked over though. Once a rear rack is installed the folded bike becomes uber stable.
- the One Way Tikit ships with front and rear Tektro brakes which are totally functional, but won’t make anyone swoon with component envy.
- welds are clean and look excellent to the naked eye.
- powdercoat is bright and well done.
- the MTB bars are really wide and I’ll have to cut them down a bit.
- the rubber grips are better than the old style foam grips, but they won’t last more than a few days on this bike.
- MKS pedals are nice and grippy, but if you don’t install the safety clips they have a tendency to eject at an inopportune moment – on a fixed gear that spells OUCH!
- GS Scorchers just barely fit the front fork with no extra room.
One really cool thing about getting a Tikit with modular dropouts is that you can buy it one configuration and then swap it over to another fairly easily. For example this One Way Tikit can be changed into a Season Tikit by swapping in an IGH or into a derailleur Tikit with the addition of a cassette rear wheel. That gives you a lot of flexibility. You might enjoy riding a fixed gear for your around town commute, but want gears to tour. It’s to know you have choices and a great reason to get a Tikit with modular dropouts.
I’ve got some upgrades in mind for this bike to dial it in for my needs:
- remove rear brake [no cables running to back end and it's not needed on a fixed gear]
- cover naked rear brake studs
- shorten front brake cable
- install racks front and rear
- cut bars by 2cm each side
- install Ergon grips
- install bar ends
- install Power Grips on pedals
- swap in a Brooks B-17 saddle
- install Planet Bike Superflash to rear
- install bell
- add Dinotte 200L-AA headlight when night riding
- install seatbag with tools and spare tube