Sunday, May 10, 2009

Touring on my Tikit - now possible!

Pics borrowed from Vik's Blog

While being here downunder in Perth is great, I've developed an itch to tour Asia again. I have missed my Bike Friday tikit tremendously (O why did I leave it in Singapore?) and wondered if its possible to take her for an extended tour across Borneo this Oct. The plan is to ride from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan. Scratching this itch with me is Dr Mike Khaw, a fatherly GP and a passionate foldy enthusiasist.

I was very glad to read Vik's positive experience of his twin pannier front touring rack on his tikit and contacted Bike Friday's ever enthusiastic evangelist Lynette Chiang to get one. Recently, I got this email from Nicole that got me dancing... Those folks at BF are truly a pleasure to deal with.

Dear Alvin, I just got word that your tikit rack shipped last week!We sent it to your address in Singapore - via US international global priority mail.
Thank you again for your enthusiasm for Bike Friday - we really appreciate helping us share the joy of little wheels!
Cheers, Nicole Tiffany

This touring rack takes 2 Ortliebs easy and expands its mission as an Urban Assault Weapon to a competent Touring Foldy just like that. Stay tune to see how the city tikit takes on the mountains and jungles of Borneo, home of the Orang Utans.

Pic from Sydney Morning Herald


jerrys88 said...

I'm thinking of trading in my Brompton for a Tikit because I'm not happy about the Brompton's limited gear range. I need REALLY low gears because I have bad knees and I live in a hilly area. Do you have any tips/suggestions about which Tikit to consider?

Oldyonfoldy said...

Hi Jerry. Thks for visiting LTF.

Yes, many have expressed that the std Brompton's climbing gears are rather limited. That is what I feel about my Brompton too but it is nevertheless, a very fine foldy.

The tikit that has the best gear range is the Travel tikit.

But a cheaper alternative is to decrease the front chain ring of a std Model T tikit to 42t. I've done this and love it. Top end suffers but its good up to 30kmh. Enuf for commuting with hills.

Hope that helps!

Nat said...

what a beautiful route that is.

Tropical weather, great bird watching site, nice food (Heard sea food is very very good, I cannot comment, am vegetarian :) ), exceptional people.

Sandakan itself is a bit boring, though there is a lot of cheap accommodation. If you can make it, you should go down to the villages off Sandakan. Places like Sukau are not easy to reach, but if you like bird watching, I cannot imagine a better place...

It is really sad to see much of the rain forest being converted to palm plantations. The damage being done to the local ecosystem is awful and on top, it seems like the local people are not enjoying the economic benefits. I cannot appreciate the exploitation...

jerrys88 said...

Thanks so much for the info, OOF. I was hoping I could somehow configure a Tikit to have a gear range between about 86" and 20". I see the Travel Tikit's range is 23"-107". 23" for climbing is great, but I certainly don't need to go any higher than 86".

Your solution is very interesting - very similar to the one option left to me with my Brompton - reducing all gears by 12% which is an available Brompton option. Just like your solution, I'd be sacrificing my high gear and getting a lower low gear, but even with that modification I don't think I'd be near 20" on the Brompton. The fact that it only has 6 gears really limits its range. I know the 2009 Bromptons now have a wider range, but gear spacing is just as important to me as range.

I fitted my Brompton with a second front chainring which I shift to and from manually and it works great for steep long hills, but shifting manually is enough of an inconvenience that I only use it for long hills - very annoying to constantly want a lower gear for short-lasting inclines.

I've written to Bike Friday asking for their suggestion for a roughly 20"-86" gear range Tikit - I'm eager to hear their response.

Do you know what your highest and lowest gears are in gear inches with the 42t front chain ring, OOF? I might be willing to sacrifice in the high range to get the low I'm looking for if it's going to save me a lot of money.

Two more questions - cool that you have both the Tikit and Brompton - can you tell me, OOF, is the Tikit significantly more troublesome on public transportation, i.e. buses and subways? I love the way the Brompton wheels - I keep the seatpost up, rotate it to face backwards so the seat front becomes a convenient handle, and use a homemade velcro strap around the main tube and front wheel to keep the bike locked (since seatpost is up). This way the bike has its smallest footprint. How do you find wheeling the Tikit in comparison to the Brompton?

Thanks so much, OOF.

Oldyonfoldy said...

Hi Jerry,

You did the right thing enquiring with BF.

The std gear range is 31 - 79.5" so reducing to 42T = 20% less. 25 - 64 approx I think. So that is nowhere near the 80" you are seeking.

Brompton is a smaller package so technically its easier to travel on trains etc. But in reality, I don't think its that big a deal from my experience. Others may disagree...

Which one rolls better? Hard call. Tikit is easier over undulating surfaces like stairs, steps etc but the Brompton with roller wheels is impressive. But hyperfold makes the tikit so convenient!

Keep both the tikit and Brompton. They different enough to offer distinct pleasures. But if I had to choose one, the tikit is my ticket!

Rides better, faster, can tour, can commute and unbeatable after-sales service. With BF, you dont own just a bike. You join a community.

jerrys88 said...

More really useful information, OOF. How I wish I could afford both bikes! The Brompton is a really neat bike and it's served me well. I think at this point I'm going to try out the 12% reduction on it before spending a whole lot more money, but it's good to know what the alternative is. On the other hand, I will be test riding a Tikit this coming weekend - that may change my mind.... It's all very tempting! I appreciate all your input, OOF - thanks again.

Duval The Duvmister said...

Hi all, it's great reading the posts of discovery and also the joys of riding a foldy. I had done some reading on the good bikes that does not burn a hole in your pockets. e.g. the entry levels Dahon models, the Flamingos, and Mini Velos. well, I must say I like the Dahon Eco C6, and Bike Friday's Tikits look absolutely fantastic and highly portable but it is quite a buy for a newbie commuter. I am going to bring it on trains and probably just weekend rides in Singapore's undiscovered locations.Do you guys suggest anything good yet not too expensive? I guess Bromptons are out for me. Thanks!

Oldyonfoldy said...

Hi Durvel

TU for reading LTF. Entry level foldies are plenty. I heard the new Tern C8 or D9 are pretty good value. Also, KHS F20 series, if you can get them from Taiwan sneaks in under 1k. Can consider Swift Xtoor as well.

Duval The Duvmister said...

Thanks dude. ;) yeah probably heading to MyBikeShop this weekend to take a look. I'll be sure to keep a lookout for your recommendations!