In white, it must be rideable: Bike Friday tikit

full size tikit

Bike Friday’s recall on the tikit stem, what I call a folding riser, temporarily sidelined the entire 2007 to 2012 tikit production run. But with a warranty riser in place (which includes the portion of the frame in white, above), my personal tikit is now safely back on the road.

One thing I learned during the recall was that a tikit is a fairly unusual animal. In five years, Bike Friday has built 3,800 of them, ranging in price from $900 to $5,000. (In comparison, another folding bike company, Tern Bicycles, planned to produce 100,000 machines in 2012 alone.)

My bike is one of the more modestly priced tikits. I spent a little extra for the heavy-rider frame (don’t ask), and spec’d Civia Colfax handlebars with Ergon grips, but that was about it.

tikit before

This is what the bicycle looked like before I disassembled the front end. The frame is all red. Note the Grip Shift on the left side of the picture and the rotary bell on the right.

8-speed paul thumbie

I used this opportunity to get rid of the Grip Shift and the original bell. In their places, I mounted a Shimano eight-speed bar-end shifter on a Paul’s Thumbie (shown, above) and, on the other end of the bar, a more traditional above-bar bell with a thumb-operated striker. These changes allowed me to install full-width Ergon grips instead of the original shorties.

before and after

On the left, the original riser in red. At this point I hadn’t transferred the head badge to the replacement. I could have asked for a red replacement part, but I thought I’d mix it up a bit so I could accurately date my photographs of the bike.

tikit fork in 2 pieces

What I call the riser is also the fork steerer column (the unfinished section of tubing, above). It’s secured to the lower fork (on left) by the two bolts behind the fork “crown.” Another bolt fits into the trumpet-shaped fitting in front of the crown. That bolt indexes with a slot (originally, a hole) in the steerer to ensure proper alignment of the steerer and the fork blades. Note the white tape left behind after I removed the head badge using a hair dryer (a tool that I haven’t otherwise used in years).

headbadge transfered from old stem

And there’s the new stem, or riser, in place. I used 3M emblem tape to reattach the head badge. Unscrew that black knob in front, and the handlebars fold down. (I have an Impulse-fold tikit; the more sophisticated Hyperfold-style tikit dispenses with the knob in favor of a cable system that releases the handlebars when the back of the saddle is tapped forward.) A nylon nut on the red bracket assembly indexes with a slotted, frame-mounted holder when the bars are folded. The bag behind the riser is an optional frame-mounted Quick Transit Cover that, once deployed, conceals the folded bicycle.

Interested in the repair process? Here are the instructions on stem replacement from Bike Friday. These are the steps a mechanic will follow to get your tikit healthy again.

If you have a tikit and haven’t replaced your stem (riser) yet, contact Bike Friday for a warranty replacement immediately. There’s absolutely no need to take a chance with your safety.

And if you’re considering the purchase of a new tikit, I heartily recommend upgrading to a Chris King headset from the start. Having taken the standard DiaTech headset apart and reinstalled it, I think we can all do better in terms of bearing quality.

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About 16incheswestofpeoria

Former bicycle mechanic, current peruser of books, feeder of birds.
This entry was posted in Bike Friday tikit, Equipment and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to In white, it must be rideable: Bike Friday tikit

  1. Micheal Blue says:

    I ordered a Tikit just a few weeks before the recall. So my Tikit had to be one of the first ones with the new stem. It’s a great ride, though I wish I could have went for the more expensive one with the IGH; I got Just The Tikit with the basic drive train. I’m having issues with having it shift properly. It works great on the lower 7 gears, but doesn’t want to shift to the 8th one (it was even worse before). As I don’t use the highest gear much, I’m leaving it like this for now. I didn’t want the hyperfold. I had the brakes, brake levers, and tires upgraded, and BF H bars installed. I also got the trailer and folding rack. You can see it here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/89721835@N05/with/8161577710/#photo_8161577710
    Too bad they don’t make studded winter tires for 16-inch wheels.

    • Neat bike.

      If it shifts the seven cogs okay (the indexing is spot on), sounds like either the cable has too much tension to reach the eighth cog or the high limit screw needs to be backed off. Have you checked the gear shift indicator on the Grip Shift against the actual chain position? I’m wondering which gear the Grip Shift indicates after you advance the shifter one click and the chain engages the seventh cog.

      I love how individual so many Bike Friday models become. It looks like you’re riding an Easyseat 2. Have you ridden this, or something similar, before? What’s your assessment of the saddle’s comfort/usability?

      Looks like you’re set for some airplane travel. All I’ve done is haul my tikit around in the car. Good flying to you.

  2. Micheal Blue says:

    The gear shift indicator is correct – in the 7th gear it shows “7”. The limit screw may be the issue. I will eventually check that. I can do a lot of bike maintenance myself, but adjusting the derailleur is not my strong point. The bike seat is called “Spongy Wonder Bike Seat”. This is my third one. I couldn’t ride without them. I’ve done a 160-km ride on it and felt great (well there was some numbness in the butt after sitting for so long, but that’s normal).
    I would like to airplane the bike to some place and then spend a week or two riding around, or even undertake a shortish tour.

    • Good luck with the derailleur. I find it easiest to get the rear wheel off the ground, disconnect the cable and shift the derailleur by hand to check the limit screw position high and low. Then, with the chain on the smallest cog and the Grip Shift indicating the same gear, reconnect the cable.

      Sounds like you’ve got a fun trip in the future. Enjoy, and stay in touch.

  3. Micheal Blue says:

    BTW, I like the shape of your handlebars. Are they normal (full-size bike) width, or are they narrower? The H bars on my tikit are fairly narrow, They fit the profile of the bike well, but the space for large hands (like mine) is tight.

    • They are full size handlebars. If I were folding the bike constantly (heavy commuting), I might go to a short stem and narrower flat bars. My set-up adds to the width of the folded bike, but I find it very comfortable.

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