Bike Friday Tikit Touring Rack Review…

25 07 2010

Tikit Touring Rack extended...

I’ve been testing a prototype full size pannier rack for the Tikit for a few months and wanted to share my thoughts.  I should offer the standard prototype disclaimer…the rack in these photos is a prototype so the production models may be slightly different.  I know Bike Friday was keenly working to make the rack better and better so any changes will be good things!

I was really excited to be able to carry a standard touring pannier on the rear of my Tikit.  The front racks already offered by Bike Friday allow for full sized panniers on the front of the bike so it’s nice to get that functionality on the back end of this bike.  Of course the big question is will the new rack hinder the famously fast and effortless Tikit fold?

Tikit Touring Rack folded down...

The short answer is no – you’ll be able to fold the bike just as fast if you don’t have panniers on the rear and if you do it only takes a second to push the rack down into its folded position.  The Touring Rack uses a clever hinged design to allow it to pop up and fold down without tools.  In the folded position the rack has about the same profile as the standard Tikit rear rack.

View from the top rear...

I’ve used this rack with my Ortlieb panniers and an Arkel shopping pannier.  Both fit and worked great.   Other than folding the rack works just like a standard rear touring rack.

View from the rear...

I didn’t weigh the rack before I installed it…sorry I got carried away!…=-)  Obviously it will weigh more than the standard Tikit rear rack, but I certainly haven’t noticed the difference when riding, rolling or carrying my Tikit.  I also think the versatility of being able to carry a full sized pannier and fold my Tikit makes it well worth adding a few ounces to my bike.

Going shopping?

I have size 11.5US men’s feet and didn’t experience any heel strike on my large Tikit.

Rear view with pannier...

With the height of the extended rack you get sufficient ground clearance for large panniers.  I don’t have a maximum weight capacity for this rack.  I carried all sort of loads up to about 30lbs without difficulty.  I tend to carry my bulkier lighter items in the rear and the more compact heavier items in front. I’m sure I could carry more weight if needed.

The folded Tikit with folded Touring Rack...

Things I didn’t like:

  1. the folded touring rack looks a bit busy compared to the simple standard Tikit rear rack.
  2. the silver arms vibrate against the rest of the rack frame.  I’m going add a bit of electrical tape to pad the rack and solve this issue.
  3. the top of the rack gets abraded against the ground when the folded bike is put down.  I need to add some padding in key spots.

Note issues 2 & 3 may well have been resolved on the production rack.  I’m using a prototype.

Front of the folded Tikit...

Overall I’m really pleased to have this rack on my Tikit.  I don’t always need to carry 4 panniers, but I like being able to when the need does arise.  If the Tikit is your only bike and/or you tour on your Tikit this rack is a no-brainer.  It really transforms the bike into a hauling machine with very little downside.

This rack should be available from Bike Friday shortly and will sell for ~$189.00.

I’ll keep hauling with this rack and report back when I’ve had it in service for 12 months or so.


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22 responses

25 07 2010
Wes

Thanks for the review. I’m eager to see the production rack

26 07 2010
Gareth

Very clever design and a neat solution. What sort of weight can you carry on the back without adversely affecting the steering?

26 07 2010
thelazyrando

@ Gareth – I carried up to 30lbs max so far…I’m sure you could carry more in a pinch. Having said that handling issues and weight really depends on the specific bike and rider. The weight distribution for a light rider on a small bike will be a lot different than a heavy rider on a big bike even if they are carrying the same loads.

If you want to carry a lot of weight on your Tikit I’d split it up into 4 panniers and balance the weight for your specific situation.

27 07 2010
cliff

Does it make rolling folded any easier? From the picture it looks like the inline skate wheel is a bit off-center from where the front wheel touches the ground when rolling.

28 07 2010
thelazyrando

@ Cliff – this prototype wasn’t made for my Tikit. It was all BF had for me to test. The roller wheel isn’t in the correct spot for my big bike so it doesn’t touch the ground when folded and essentially has no use in my case. So my Tikit rolled just the same as with the standard rack. The production racks are sized for your bike and that wheel will have some impact on the roll – I understand there is a new useful rolling mode, but I can’t comment on it as I couldn’t test it.

28 07 2010
dawn

Hi
i’d like to know if it’s possible to use the rack in it’s folded position? Say if you only wanted to carry a trunk that day and not necessarily use panniers?
thanks

28 07 2010
thelazyrando

@Dawn – that would work fine.

28 07 2010
thelazyrando

@ Dawn – you could also simply extend the rack and attach the trunk bag on top…that would add 2 or 3 seconds to the process.

1 08 2010
Gary

I think that the silver arms would look better painted the same colour as the rest of the Tikit. Also, did you take one of the rolling wheels off?

1 08 2010
thelazyrando

@ Gary – painting the silver arms would only take a moment if you want to have them black. I don’t mind them so I won’t bother doing anything about the colour. I haven’t pulled the rolling wheel off. It does help when I fold the bike to keep the rack from rubbing the ground so it’s serving some purpose on my Tikit.

6 08 2010
Paul Baker

Hello Vik

Can you tell me whether you think my Ortlieb Rear Roller panniers will fit the new foldable rear rack for the tikit. I have the variety with the moveable clip on the bottom half – if that makes sense.

Thanks.

Paul

7 08 2010
Tikit Folding Touring Rack Video… « The Lazy Randonneur

[...] video shows how easily the touring rack for the Tikit pops up and down.  I posted a review a few days ago here, but I think this video captures the ease of use better than static [...]

7 08 2010
thelazyrando

@Paul – keep in mind I have a prototype rack so my answer may not be 100% accurate. But with my Ortliebs I found the best mounting method was to move that lower clip all the way forward and use the front strut to secure the bag. One of the guys at Bike Friday uses his Ortliebs on this rack and attaches the lower hook to one of the rear struts – this requires bending the pannier in a bit as those rear struts and further in.

Does your movable clip slide just back and forth or does it ride in one of two curves tracks? If you let me know I’ll take some pics with that style Ortlieb mounted and show you. I would also chat with BF as my rack may not be 100% the same as the production model.

7 08 2010
Paul Baker

Hello Vik

I have sent a response to your email address.

By the way do you know iif it is possible to purchase the newly designed seat mast and assembly to replace my earlier designed onne with brace attached? Yuk!

7 08 2010
thelazyrando

@ Paul…yes a new seatmast can be made and installed on your Tikit.

7 08 2010
thelazyrando

@ Paul..I haven’t rec’d an email from you.

7 08 2010
Paul Baker

Hello Vik
I received your messaages above in my email inbox so I replied from there.
I have Ortlieb Rear Rollers with the two curve tracks – so yes photos would be much appreciated.
I’ll contact BF about the possibility of purchasing a new seat stem
Thanks.
Paul

10 08 2010
thelazyrando

Hi Paul I took two photos [sorry not my finest photography!] of my Ortliebs in two different positions on the folding rack.

Keep in mind I use these bags on 4 different racks so I leave the hooks set in a middle position to work on every rack, but not necessarily ideal on any rack. If I was going touring with my Tikit I’d spend a few mins and adjust the hooks to be in the best position for this specific rack.

ort2

ort1

3 04 2011
mary

Hi, I just purchased a used Bike Friday NWT (circa 2008/9) and I plan on taking it on a self-supported tour (camping and light cooking). My BF dealer installed a rear rack for me, but had no front rack. BF’s site doesn’t list a front rack anymore either (I’d want it to carry 2 panniers), plus, it’s way pricey from what I’ve read. Much googling has shown that the Arkel AC low rider front rack will fit and I’m hoping, but not sure that the Jandd’s low rider front rack will also fit.

I stumbled across Dahon’s 20″ Traveller front rack. Do you by any change know whether it’ll fit the Bike Friday? It’s smaller than either of the racks mentioned, so I assume will be easier to fit into a suitcase if necessary. As a bonus, it also looks easier to install and I like the flat platform instead of the inverted V. So if this fits on a BF NWT, it’s a no brainer for me! I’m going to fire off emails to both BF and Dahon, but not sure if they’ll know off-hand.

I’m leaving for my tour on Apr 15th, so have to decide quickly, especially if I have to have it shipped!

TIA, Mary

3 04 2011
thelazyrando

Hi Mary I don’t know if that Dahon rack will work. Dahon and BF may not know since they are unlikely to try each other’s products.

The benefit to the BF rack is that it packs flat in a few mins to fit in a suitcase if you fly with your bike.

4 04 2011
Paul

Hello Mary. I have owned a travel tikit for a number of years. It has a front and rear rack installed. I have noticed from BF web site that both those racks are not offered for sale. I wonder if that is because no longer made or if they are being re-designed. The newly designed folding rear rack looks so much better than my original non-folding version.

Why not speak to Alan Sholz at BF and I’m sure he will be able to advise you about all options.

As a follow up to my earlier postings about the tikit seat mast I am told by BF staff that newly designed seat mast cannot be fitted retrospectively – and a whole new frame would be required.

5 06 2012
Bike Friday Tikit Porteur Rack… « The Lazy Rando Blog…

[...] the front PR rack provides, but the whole rear of the Tikit is empty for carrying another box or a couple full-size panniers on a folding touring rack. The PR rack off the [...]

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