Originally posted on my Tikit Blog – April 2008
Installation of the prototype front rack was easy. It attaches to the brake posts and to a braze-on on the bottom of each fork leg. The whole process took less than 3 mins. The rack itself is nicely welded and blends into the rest of the bike when not being used.
My first test of the 2 pannier Tikit front rack was a mission of necessity. I was all out of food and needed to resupply. I put some Ortlieb front panniers on my trusty stead and headed to the grocery store. Throwing caution to the wind I decided to restock my supply of canned goods. I’m not sure how much weight I had in each pannier, but it was in the 12-15lbs range. Riding home the Tikit’s handling was predictably slower than normal. For a touring bike that’s a good thing and it changed the feel of the Tikit considerably. A couple time I was going into a corner and had to readjust my line at the last minute when the Tikit didn’t dive into the turn as quickly as usual. It didn’t take long to get used to the new more sedate Tikit and I think I’ll really appreciate the slower more stable handling on tour. I’ll be interested to see how the bike handles with some weight in back to balance things out. The rack proved stiff enough that I could wiggle the bars without inducing any pannier sway.
The ability to carry two panniers up front when needed and still fold the Tikit [note – you can leave the right side pannier on when folding the bike] without having to remove the rack is really useful. I’m glad I went through the trouble of getting this rack made and really appreciate Bike Friday taking the project on. I’ll keep putting the rack through its paces and report back during the summer.
I should note that Bike Friday built this rack for me as a custom order and it isn’t a production item at this point. Bike Friday wants to make sure they’ve got the design dialed before deciding to add it to their line up of Tikit accessories. All my comments refer to the rack mounted on a large size frame. The smaller frames have less clearance between the front and rear wheels when folded so there may be some issues that I am unaware of.