The Pocket Llama was designed to expand your horizons.
We took the classic frame design that made the New World Tourist Bike Friday's king of touring, and built the prince of the mountain. The Llama has added bracing to beef up its sturdy frame, a raised bottom bracket to help you clear a rock, root or curb, and wide forks so you can slap on a pair of wide knobbies or cushy cruisers up to 2.25 inches.
As a result, the 26-pound Pocket Llama is for riders up to 220 pounds, with a Heavy Rider Upgrade for riders up to 260 pounds available as a Customized choice.
Our designers searched the globe to come up with the best group of components for the price to create the Pocket Llama with the Select Group and for 2012 have added FSA Gossamer cranks to a group works well together, and gives you what you need to hit the road or trail with no worries.
The Pocket Llama with the Select Group is designed with its mountain bike lineage front and center. It begins with a 27-speed SRAM X4 with trigger shifters.
Riding the off-road wave, we added front and rear Avid disc brakes to handle whatever elements you want to endure -- the mud and sand of the trails, or oil and grit of the city.
The Thudbuster suspension seat post combined with Schwalbe Big Apple tires give you comfort when the road gets rough. It is available in four standard frame colors (Flag Red, Cream Soda Blue, Ink Black and Green Gear Green), with all colors available with a Customized upgrade.
You can Personalize your Pocket Llama with seven cable housing and decal accent color choices (Red, White, Blue, Black, Gray, Yellow and Green) to add your own flair.
Like all Bike Fridays, the Pocket Llama quick-folds in seconds for easy storage and transport, so you can throw it in the trunk and head for the hills or fly it out to the Divide in a TravelCase.
|2a Main frame:||CHOOSE Bike size >S, M, or L - CHOOSE|
|2d Seatmast:||01 .1 Left Fold Mast 2010> Silk/NWT/ PR / PL std .058 CrMo|
|2e Stem /BF Made:||BF Stem Riser, Adjustable for / Ahead,1 1/4" SVS|
|BB bearing:||x-Comes w/crank set on some External bearing cranks|
|Bottle Cages:||Bottle Cage , Cateye Flexible|
|Bottles:||BF 21oz. water bottle white w/black lid - black logo|
|Brake Levers:||Avid FR-5 Brake Lever, black body / lever for flat bars|
|Brakes:||Avid Disc Brake, MTB F/R BB 7 w/160 Cable -|
|Cables:||Cable housing & Decals (stickers)-Black Std + 6 colors|
|Cassette:||11-28 9sp SRAM PG950 11,12,13,14,16,18,21,24,28|
|Chains:||KMC X9.93 9sp 116L, NP/DARK SILVER chain|
|Cranks:||FSA Gossamer Mexo trple(165,170,175 mm) CHOOSE 130 w/BB|
|Derailleurs Front:||MicroSHIFT triple long arm FD-R438 braze on|
|Headset, Threaded:||z 1 1/4" BF Threadless loose ball Alloy headset, black|
|Hub Front:||SRAM 406 32o front disc black|
|Hub Rear:||SRAM 406 32o Rear disc (135) Black w QR|
|Pedals:||yNone supplied std. Choose if you want us to supply|
|Rims:||Alex DM18 (406) 32o 20 x 1.5", black|
|Saddle:||y Std Spec. - NONE SUPPLIED - add if you want us to supply|
|Seatpost:||ThudBuster 3G ST 27.2 x 350mm w/shim to 28.6|
|Shifters/Controls:||SRAM Trigger X-5 9x3 shifters (compat. ESP 1:1 only)|
|Spokes:||Spokes 14 ga. Stainless w/ brass nip SPECIFY LENGTH|
|Stems F:||BF Ahead style(60,75,90,105,120mm) we size or- CHOOSE|
|Tires:||Schwalbe Big Apple 20 x 2.0 (406) 30-70psi tire|
|Travelcases:||Shipped to you in box OR Choose Travelcase|
|Tubes:||20x1.9- 2.125 SV (406)|
No Relevant Support Articles found.
I bought this bike in 2007 and still think it is a blast. It travelled in the suitcase from California, where I live, to Maryland, where I rode it on the C&O Towpath from Cumberland Md to DC.
The Towpath is packed dirt and it rained some. The Llama handled it all very well and I never used all 27 speeds because it is a flat 180 miles.
I have also ridden it on the Trail of the Coeur' d Alene and Route of the Hiawatha in Idaho on a 180-mile loop.
I stay in motels every night so I travel light and I have not pulled the trailer on any long trips. On the C&O the trailer would have been difficult to pull as the path was basically a double track with grass in the center. This was three years ago, things might be different now.
I also have a Walkie Dog setup on the bike so my dog can run alongside me plus a trailer hitch for the dog trailer when she gets tired of running.
The only downside is in the packing into the suitcase. The chain gets grease on pretty much anything it touches, which leads me to my next purchase. A belt drive with an internal hub.Submitted by: Greg von Buchau December 11, 2012
It's now been a month since I drove down to Eugene to retrieve my custom-built Pocket Llama from Green Gear, Inc.
After having been out of the saddle for nearly three years, I decided it was time to get back on two wheels, firstly for financial savings during my daily commute, but secondly for the exercise. And I've been pleasantly surprised on both accounts: I'm not spending nearly as much on fuel in my truck; and I'm already starting to reap the benefits of routinely exercising again.
So, why a Bike Friday? Or more generally, why a folding bike?
Convenience of transport, more than anything. To be able to fold up the bike and stash it in the back of the SUV; to fold it up and take it inside the bus when the bike racks are full; or to fold it up to store it in the corner of the shed during the winter months (instead of taking up most of the shed).
Secondly, size and weight are a big factor as well: my last bike was a European city bike that weighed more than 50 pounds, and with 28-inch wheels it was quite literally too big to fit in the rack on the front of the transit bus. Despite being made of chromoly steel, this Pocket Llama is surprisingly light.
But why a Bike Friday? There are a couple of bike shops here in Victoria that sell folding bikes, but none of them fully met my requirements.
The Dahon is aluminium (which I'd just tear apart due to my size); the Moulton is simply too expensive; and the Brompton doesn't have gearing options other than a 3-speed internal hub (which I simply despise for a gearing system).
Also, once I tried folding each of them, I found they all folded the same way: everything collapses and then folds. To have to reset the handlebar height and the seat height each time after folding -- aaaagggghhhhh! My OCD starts me a-twitching just thinking about it.
So, to have a bike that is custom built to my body specifications (inseam, upper body size, weight), has gearing options that I like, is made of steel, and folds without having to collapse first -- the decision became clear.
My Pocket Llama has the "heavy rider" upgrade, which although it sounds like it's going to make the bike look like it has the frame of an old BMX racer of the 1970s is still very light.
The single main tube becomes a triangle and the rear triangle for the wheel is the same except the tubing is the next size up. Again, not a huge overall increase in weight, and compared to bikes I've had in the past, still ridiculously light.
The handlebar stem and the seat post, although nearly 24 inches extended out of the frame are firm and don't flex as much as I feared they might. One might think the bike was going to respond like a half-cooked lasagna noodle, but it is tight and responsive.
In fact, the whole bike handles extremely well, and coupled with the small wheels is quite nimble on city streets. The smaller wheels means it gets up to speed very quickly, but it also means the bike spills off speed quickly climbing a hill or after transitioning from smooth pavement to hard pack or gravel. Shifting and spinning is essential (good thing I ride like that anyway).
To finish up, some might ask what I rode in the past 35 years? Starting with a 3-speed-shifter-on-the-main-tube-banana-seat bike, a BMX racer, mountain bikes I always converted to road bikes (I was hybridising bikes before there were hybrids), a hybrid, a recumbent phase for a few years (even built one of my own), and most recently a city cruiser.
This folding bike definitely responds more differently than any of those, but it's fast becoming my favourite bike. I like how it handles, its size, its portability, and its uniqueness (everybody wants to know more about it).
I'm really liking the 11-speed Shimano hub in the rear: lots of range, and the gear spacing is just right (even better than the 8-speed I've had previously). Only thing I would change from my initial order is I'd include the BFC Folding Stem right from the start.
Thanx guys, I'm really enjoying my very own Bike Friday. The tour of the factory was an added bonus, as was meeting Hanz (or was it Alan?) -- I'm glad I drove down to pick up my bike. I'll have to come by another time for a visit.
-- lightweight and very portable
-- small wheels make for great acceleration
-- response, the small size of frame makes for great response to body weight, and the centre of gravity is low so I'm not fighting against it
-- internal hub is great, gear spacing is good, shifting is smooth
-- price (but it IS a custom, hand-built bike)
-- handlebar doesn't "fold," it's withdrawn and placed alongside folded frame
-- small wheel size makes for less rotating mass assistance on the hills and the rough
-- 11-spd hub is more particular about cable stretch and needs to be adjusted more often during break-in.
Submitted by: J Paul Lang August 28, 2012
My Pocket Llama is entering its fifth year of service since it emerged from the factory in Eugene on a rainy July morning in 2008.
That summer it went with me from the west coast where I live to Montreal and allowed me to explore the city and island that it sits on.
The following summer it travelled to Toronto and gave me reliable transportation to explore Canada's largest city. As I write this, it is in transit back from a second trip to Toronto for more exploring and touring around the shores of Lake Ontario.
Last summer it travelled back to Oregon when I had an opportunity to house-sit for a friend who was travelling to Alaska.
Many a kilometre of riding led to the one and only "mechanical" issue I have had as the owner of this bike; that being a worn out tire that gave up the ghost.
Luckily I didn't have to walk too far to get a replacement.
This bike has been flawless in every other aspect. After 10 to 15 minutes of riding, my muscle memory quickly shifts into "406" mode and the bike feels comfortable and solid.
It rides smoothly on its 40 mm tires over pavement, gravel, cycle paths and any other terrain that I care to travel. The Capreo hub and cassette gives me a nice range of gears and I have yet to wish I had done anything differently in the build of this bike.
I have ridden it with small panniers mounted on the front and rear racks, with a transverse saddle bag, and simply stripped down to just the bike and fenders. In all of these situations the bike performs above expectations and I wouldn't want to part with it.
While I don't claim to be a packing wizard, I am able to pack and reassemble the bike with relative ease and I think it is safe to say that this bike will outlive the suitcase that it travels in.
Thanks for making such a great product. I am pleased to recommend Bike Friday to anyone -- and there are many -- who asks about the bike with the little wheels.Submitted by: Don Koch May 31, 2012
I purchased a Mini Cooper and did not want to put racks on the roof. I saw an ad for Bike Friday so I stopped by and having never been there, was very impressed with their products.
I ride both road and mountain bikes and after discussions with the sales person, decided on the Pocket Expedition [the equivalent to a Pocket Llama].
Initially, the most important part was that fit in the back of the Cooper. When traveling, I love getting to my daily destination early, jumping on my bike and exploring the area.
I find the Pocket perfect for the task. I really enjoy riding it and now ride it from my home for workouts. It is just a fun bike to ride.
Because it is a mountain oriented bike, I have no concerns about riding it over rough surfaces, jumping curbs and covering whatever comes across my path.Submitted by: Ronald Wardman May 31, 2012
Three weeks into a six week cycling holiday in Japan and the Pocket Llama has handled almost everything thrown at it. These first three weeks were spent in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, one week each. Rode to all city tourist sites and travelled to outer town sites up to 60 klm return on some occasions. The first thing that cropped up as a downside to a small wheeler was mounting Japanese kerbs, they are slightly higher than driveway entances back in Australia. Did not take them at right angles and loaded went down twice in quick succession.Now learnt to stop and wheel over driveways. But one recurring problem that no amount of bicycle shop attention can solve is the headset coming loose all the time. On first tightening it everything seems ok then in a short period of time it comes loose again this has happened every day of the tour. This happens much quicker on the rough roads and sidewalks of some regions and takes a little longer on clear bitumen. This shows up when cycling as an extreme amount of flex when braking and very dicey steering at low speeds. But other than that the llama has performed well and is a blast to ride around inner cities and performs reasonably well on rough un paved roads.Submitted by: paul evans January 7, 2012
Last Fall (2010), after doing a lot of web research I decided that BF would be the best travel-bike choice for us. I’m a big fan of steel, I appreciate custom fitting and building, and BF uses standard components. When something other than a frame part needs replacing you can get it from a local LBS. And these bikes could fly with us as standard luggage.
The buying experience was pleasant. Our sales rep (Walter) talked with me about how we wanted to use the bikes and recommended Llamas because they would be our only travel bikes and would have to serve in a wide variety of conditions.
We were planning to be in Oregon for Thanksgiving, so I sent him our measurements and set up an appointment. Walter had a variety of correctly sized bikes ready for us to test ride. There was no rush and no pressure to buy. For some things, he recommended lower price options than what I leaned towards.
We did get some pricey upgrades like folding stems and internally geared 3-speed rear hubs instead of front derailleurs. We got Shimano 105 or equivalent components, expensive seats, computers, rear racks, extra bottle cages . . . . By the time we were finished each bike cost near $2800 sans suitcases. (We got those too.)
I received both bikes as promised and started test-riding them mid March, as the snow began melting along our local Rocky Mt. Roads. Their first real trip was in April, where I rode 125 miles though the Hudson Valley over 2 days, meeting my wife in Manhattan for 4 days of riding all over the city. It went well but not entirely problem free. In spite of the protector, my wife’s chain ring was bent en-route and the chain skipped terribly.
When I called BF Tim knew what had happened immediately and encouraged me to straighten it myself, but I didn't feel up to the job. A local shop took care of it, costing us a ½ day. Maybe I have to pack better but I’m inclined to blame it on unavoidable TSA inspection. The click box covers came off both bikes when I reassembled them. The bike mechanic who worked on my wife’s chain ring had the whole click-box come off.
I had him call Tim again, who explained how to reattach it. I believe the click boxes are vulnerable -– especially the little rods that do the actual shifting. I now travel with an extra box and 2 rods, just as a precaution.
By the time I arrived in NYC I had climbed about 4500 vertical feet of steep rollers on country roads, major highways, town streets, paved and unpaved bike trails, and several miles of single track.
Then I arrived in the Bronx and made my way through 2 boroughs dense with colorful drivers used to local (NYC) traffic etiquette. My Llama handled all of it with aplomb. It didn’t handle the single track quite as well as a true Mt. Bike, and didn't go quite as fast as a true road bike on flat pavement. But it climbed steep hills like a Goat and in NYC traffic it turned, stopped and started quicker than any bike I have ever ridden.
Strangely though, by the time I arrived in NYC my lower back hurt. I didn’t know why –- biking never hurts my back, but on this bike it did. I checked the various dimensions and BF had in fact delivered a bike with the precise relevant dimensions of my comfortable, custom fitted touring bike. So why did I hurt?
Once home, I took the touring bike and the BF to a bike fitter. He saw the problem immediately. The BF has H bars with rapid-fires, the touring bike has standard drops with STI levers, and some aspects of the 2 bikes geometry varies slightly. Add it up and my position on the BF was more cramped.
He recommended a longer stem and maybe slightly wider bars to make it right. I spoke to BF, who sent the stem immediately and that proved sufficient -– wider bars were unnecessary. My BF had ordinary new-bike problems: minor creaking problems that a little grease fixed that easily enough and a loose head set that I tightened myself.
Locally, I’ve mostly been riding my other bikes this summer, but I have put a few hundred more miles on the BF to make sure my position on it is correct. We plan to take our Llamas on a 5-week car trip this fall to ride them around parts of Texas, CA. and Oregon. Spring 1012, we will ride them around England. Here's the long and short of my experience so far.
The Llama is becoming my favorite bike. It is certainly my most versatile bike. It is not specialized for any one type of riding, but can go just about anywhere a bike can go and can handle a variety of conditions well. As a city-bike, I’ve never ridden anything better.
The company is responsive to questions and complaints and makes things right. They are not inexpensive but they build excellent machines and stand behind them. Phone support is superb.
Still, when you have a highly engineered bike that frequently folds, that gets disassembled into a suitcase, is vulnerable to mistreatment by luggage handlers and then gets reassembled in small spaces with minimal tool availability you will likely have more problems than with bikes that stay in one piece, waiting for you on a ceiling hook in your garage.
I’ve already dealt with a bent chain wheel, a loose headset, a bent shifter rod and a loose click-box. An acquaintance had trouble fitting his seat post into the seat tube after reassembling from a trip. (We straightened the tube with ordinary household tools –- the beauty a bike made from steel.) I would certainly buy another bike from this company, but would recommend them only to people willing to pay a premium for engineering, quality and service and willing to deal with the inevitable challenges of a highly engineered folder one can travel with.
Where I think BF can improve is in bike fitting. Their “we’ll match your most comfortable bike” system is flawed. It should be replaced by professional fitting in their factory showroom and working with local fitters for customers who can’t get to the showroom.
If one is going to pay upwards of $2000 for a custom bike, another hundred or so to have it fit correctly from the outset seems a worthwhile option to me.Submitted by: Ron Kokish September 17, 2011
I chose the Pocket Llama (mountain bike version) for the smooth ride and the versatility. The thickest Schwalbe Big Apple Tires fit my Llama fork and frame. It is supposed to be an efficient tire. I don't feel like I'm losing much speed with the low rolling resistant tires. I don't feel the bumps in the roads and found out by chance that the tires will soak up a lot. It probably doesn't have the precise handling of a road tire. But the 20" rims keeps the handling predictable. Although, I usually ride on decent trails, I will probably need the semi off-road capability when I go back to Switzerland. Of the many bikes that I own, I always ride the Bike Friday. It has been reliable and comfortable. Add ons: Brooks B17 Saddle, Origin 8 Drop Bar Ends.Submitted by: Sunny L December 5, 2010
I've had my Pocket Llama since 2006. I have a Pocket Crusoe as well, but if I could only have 1 BF it would be the Llama for its flexibility. I've taken it to Vietnam (road and off-road), the Danube Cycleway, bike/camping around Alaska, and the roughest trip of all - Lhasa to Kathmandu. I just change the tires depending upon the road conditions. It's also my favored summer commuter bike here in Anchorage because I can take short cuts through the trails. If I don't feel like riding home I can throw it into the back of my husband's Prius, folded up. I also like the low step-over of BFs. It came in handy when I was hit by a right-turning vehicle and was able to hop off the bike and avoid a fall. I have the Samsonite suitcase which has taken a beating but is still functional with the help of duct tape. My Llama has H-handlebars with the brakes mounted on the vertical part (very comfortable and ergonomic), twist shifters (very reliable), and the Thud Buster seat post. Despite the frequent packing/unpacking, I haven't had any issues with parts knocked out of alignment. I made a spacer from PVC pipe to hold the bike in place in the suitcase to prevent the chain ring from hitting the suitcase and getting bent. I highly recommend the Llama.Submitted by: Yvonne Goldsmith March 9, 2010
I've owned my Llama since early 2005 and it has enriched my travel experiences throughout the world. It's been to Alaska, New Mexico, Minnesota, Japan, California and currently in Afghanistan. I love the ride and it has never let me down. It came with the Cane Creek Thudbuster seatpost from the Pocket Gnu and the 27 speed drivetrain with SRAM shifters. I've added road, mountain, touring and studded tires, fenders, seat post rack & pannier trunk, lights, handlebar bag and a GPS/heart rate monitor with exercise logging. I usually use a Brooks Conquest saddle on a basic alloy post, but the conditions here in Afghanistan (rain, heat, dust) convinced me to use the Thudbuster with a WTB saddle. My future plans include turning its Samsonite suitcase into a trailer.Submitted by: Tom Diaz May 25, 2008
I just finished a 10 day bicycle tour by myself the first two weeks in mid-coastal Maine.
This was my first bicycle tour on my BF Pocket Llama and I used the suitcase trailer system for the first time. I brought a milk crate as a carryon for the airplane, fashioning a shoulder strap with my bike cable lock. I could carry the trailer wheels in it and lighten the load in my luggage. It also made a great stool to sit on while assembling and disassembling the bike. I have toured using panniers in the past with other bikes so the trailer was new for me. I LOVED IT! the bike handled better, no fish tailing or sluggishness particularly when I got out of the saddle to ride. Was very nice and easy to detach for those days I stayed in one place and took day trips.
My milk crate made for a great basket on the rear rack, securing it with Zip ties. By the way, keep lots of extra heavy duty zip ties with you - saved me. Some of the rutted roads rattled some of the screws out of my rear rack and the zip ties came in handy (my extra screws are itting on my dining room table at home...) and worked well.
I got a flat on one of my trailer wheels within the first 6 miles - big shard of glass. Took some time to figure out how to get the acutely angled tube nozzle out - one must twist and turn the tube perpendicular to the rim for it to get out. But glad I had an extra wtih me. I felt the trailer sucked up rough roads pretty well considering no suspension so that was not an issue at all. I only felt tugging with heavier load and usually only on climbs or dips, but certainly nothing to stress about - ended up mailing all my camping gear home as the campsites were mostly closed this time of year; those that were not were quite far from biycle friendly roads, grocery stores and restaurants. Made a huge difference!
I took a leg strap that was all yellow reflecting tape and velcro-d it to the rear of the suitcase/trailer across which I am sure saved me one nite I ended up riding in the dark for an hour after finding camping areas closed along the way. I did have a rear red flashing lite on the back of the milk crate as well.
I had no squeaks, or creeky sounds come from my bike on the trip. The trailer system made for ease of putting the bike and suitcase onto a train fully assembled (people were unbelievalby friendly in Maine - I had a bike shop give me a free t-shirt asking me to wear it for advertising) - to bypass 40 miles I had already done, so I could tour elsewhere. I was also glad I had the very lite weight fenders.
My BF has also become my bike of choice for commuting. If ever I get caught somewhere later than planned, it is easier to cram into a friend's car if need be. I look forward to more adventures on my Pocket Llama. A very comfortable ride!Submitted by: Audrey Crawford October 20, 2007
I have had my Pocket Llama for 21 months now. I bought it mainly because the people I work for decided to close our local, Lancaster office (5 minutes walk) and move us to another one near Preston, about 30 miles away by freeway, or 35+ miles by quieter roads. However, there is an array of cycle-routes between Preston station (15 minutes by train from Lancaster)and the new office, so as a duathlete with an aversion to the pollution caused by driving, I thought that I'd combine commuting with training, instead of driving all the time. Travelling with full-size bikes on trains in the UK can be a hassle or impossible, whereas folders are accepted as luggage. So I wanted a proper-sized, high performance folder - Bike Friday obviously met that need. Mt commuting/training goes like this - I'll get the train, cycle in one day, often extending the ride to 10 miles. Then I run back to Preston station in the evening, to run back to work next time. Depending on the weather and other things (eg time), I either then do a short ride (eg up to 10 miles) or go all the way home, which can be anything from 35 to 50 miles. On some days I'll get the train, do a short ride to the office and then cycle home - having the Llama gives me a lot of options and when folded, it sits happily at the office overnight. I have a couple of road bikes and a shared MTB at home as well. In terms of performance, I'd agree with the view that an aerodynamic position, tyres and overall weight make the biggest difference to performance, and not the latest components. My Llama, with fast tyres, is not significantly slower than riding even my best, carbon-clad road bike, when riding in a similar position. I have used my Llama for training rides with racing cyclists too, and they all express surprise that I can keep up with the Llama. So when we travel as a family, I take my Llama rather than any other bike. Also a quick switch from slicks to MTB tyres means I can play on the dirt and on the tracks with the children and their MTBs. I have made a couple of significant upgrades in the past 21 months. First, if you fold and lug the bike several times a day, I have to say that front mechs and folding don't always mix. So I switched to a SRAM DualDrive and put double chainguards on the triple spider - Pete Berra at BF made these metal chain guards for me, by removing the teeth from a larger chainring, and the new set-up is great. The DualDrive has its own merits and it could have been made for folding bikes alone. Secondly, high pressure slicks can make your arms buzz after a while - I found this on my racing bike as well, so I'd disagree that it is a small-wheeled issue. So I had a Pantour Prolite suspension hub put on the front wheel, which gives you the cushioning of a fat tire with low inflation, but without any loss in speed. Pantour hubs spoil you, though - I had a 700c wheel made with one as well. Meanwhile, the original, excellent BF sealed hubs are now part of a full size MTB's wheels. Overall, it is the most versatile bike I have owned. And I haven't even toured on it yet.Submitted by: Rick Gould April 27, 2005
Dear Alan and Hanz Scholz, It is not often that I write to a company, let alone to praise one of its employees, in this case one of your sales team, Dave Seybert. In my 41 years I can only remember writing two complaint letters and one other praise letter, and it too was for outstanding customer service. A little background: Having lost my only brother in the WTC on 9-11, he was FDNY, along with a cousin and 19 others I knew in the WTC and Pentagon, my wife and I have been making and updating plans if another disaster should strike us, God forbid (but it is a fact of life in NY and DC now). She has been concerned with my working in the DC area and how it took many of our friends 3 hours to exit the District on that morning. Having ridden bicycles since I was 4 or 5, raced on road teams in college and law school, and commuted to downtown 1 to 3 days a week while working for the federal government, she thought I should look into having a “bug-out” bike in the back of my car at all times. (We also have two friends that work for The World Bank that have put bikes in their cars since shortly after 9-11.) This, along with the fact that she knows how I love to rent bikes on trips no matter where in the world we travel, but I am either complaining about the fit or taking 20-30 minutes to adjust the seat and handlebars while upsetting the bike rental staff and not having my seat, shoes, and pedals for a good ride. So, this past May, after very little internet research I came across Bike Friday and was immediately impressed. I decided to talk with the two stores in the DC area that carried your, and your competitors’, equipment, one very close to my present work location and the other a distance away but a shop which I have used since may college days. The other companies’ equipment (only 2 or 3 real competitors in my mind) was interesting but it kept coming back to that recommendations that Bike Friday was the best, the welding was better than anyone’s, and that Bike Friday would work with me to customize my bike. That last part was key, since I am not a small guy even though I swim ½ to 1 mile a day. I filled out one of your online contact forms and submitted it and was assigned a sales person. I went online to research your products and read about your staff, an item I find very informative. I was glancing through the sales staff bio’s when I read about Dave Seybert and that his hometown was Bethesda, Maryland, where I have lived for the past 15 years and where my wife grew up. Knowing nothing about the sales person to which I was assigned, and who happened to be out that day, I took a shot and called Dave. Dave was great and very easy to talk with. He answered all my questions, he asked a few key questions, said that a Pocket Llama would fit what I was looking for and started taking information on building up a bike. I have strong preferences and ideas on certain things and Dave worked right along with them. He even pointed me towards certain items I might not have considered. After a few e-mails and a little research on parts I wanted or Dave recommended I placed the order. I can only say that Dave made the whole process a very pleasant experience. I purchase a lot of items online and this is the fourth bike I have had built over the past 19 years and only wish that other shopping and build experiences were half as easy and enjoyable as my dealings with Dave. I have read most, if not all, of the articles I could about Bike Friday and Green Gear. I have read the reviews and epinion postings, many mention the outstanding customer relations and satisfaction. If Dave is an example of your staff you must have some crew that is unmatched almost anywhere, in my opinion. I have become one of your biggest fans and advocates. I will be singing the praises of Bike Friday, and if you knew me that is high praise. My wife and I are known for researching everything we purchase. We buy only the best since it tends to last the longest and you get satisfaction and value from the purchases. Many of our friends come to us for recommendations and will buy what we have purchased because they know we have done our homework. I only hope that I can send business your way. You have a great product, great staff, and I wish the best for the company and employees. Oh… my requested, fire engine red (BF flag red), Pocket Llama was delivered right when Dave said it would be. I have already ridden over 100 miles on it and LOVE IT ! ! ! ! I have donated my old road frames and equipment to Pedals for Progress but I am holding onto one Trek mountain bike for some real mud rides and when a visiting friend or relative needs a decent ride. Keep shipping those incredible small wheeled bikes. The word will spread and I'll be singing your praises. Sincerely, BertSubmitted by: Bert August 3, 2004
I wanted my travel bike to be my everyday bike too. So I bought the Llama with an eye toward durability that would stand up to commuting underneath my (then) 260 pound body through the rains of Portland, Oregon winters. As I approach the 1000 mile mark on this bike my experience has been comfortable and dependable. The comfort was reinforced last weekend on a four hour ride that left me tired, really hungry, and ready to go ride some more. As to dependability, the bike has carried this 260 to 240 pound rider, frequently carrying 15+ pounds of baggage, through a mucky, rainy winter with only (not frequent enough) chain lubes with no problems or signs of wear. OK, I have replaced the brake pads. And I did have one flat - in my living room. After I pulled a thorn out of the tire. Yes, I highly recommend the Schwalbe Marathon tires! And I getting really good at explaining that "No, you don't have to pedal faster because of the small wheels. It's all in the gearing. Yes, it rides like a normal bike. I'm not even aware of the difference while riding." An unexpected benefit of a BF bike is folding it up to put into the car for a quick trip to wherever. Folding is not just for flying! Forget the rack on the back or roof of your car. Just pop the bike into the back seat or trunk and go. I'm looking forward to centuries and Cycle Oregon ( http://www.cycleoregon.com/ ) this fall and riding the llama through Hell's Canyon. Background: The llama was the first bike I've owned in over 12 years. I bought it in November 2002 and immediately started commuting to work on it. This review was written after over four months of consistant commuting.Submitted by: Michael Rasmussen March 31, 2003
I have owned my Bike Friday (a Pocket Llama) some three months and cycled over 1300 km (800 miles). To say the least I am impressed. Last weekend I completed a 100 km (60 mile) day ride. This bike is as easy to ride and as comfortable as my full sized bike and much more responsive and maneuverable. In fact it is fun to ride and I reckon anything I do in my life needs to have a component of fun attached. I bought this bike as a present to myself for my forthcoming 60th birthday. The service from Bike Friday was good (I am in Australia but the sales person, Peter Berra, was most helpful and everything I ordered arrived). Packing the bike in its travel case is a challenge but I am slowly perfecting the art! I live some 20 km from the town where I work in rural Australia and frequently use my Pocket Llama to commute. This bike is great on both sealed and unsealed roads but a bit airyon loose surfaces. This may well be because of the small wheel size but the tyres (Schwalbe Marathon) probably don help either. In summary I am rappedwith this bike and am increasingly using it over my other full size bike. I will be off on my first tour (in Tasmania) in January. I reckon Bike Friday is a great company and the product top class. Keep up the good work.Submitted by: Trevor Caldwell December 11, 2002
I have used the Pocket Llama in the same singletrack as my friends in the deserts of Mexico and the performance is great!
I have been able to take it along in a tour of Tabasco, one of the states of Mexico, and with the aid of a trailer (which I made myself), I've been able to tow my camping gear and an inflatable kayak through the state.
I was able to put the bike into the suitcase and into the kayak to cruise the Grijalva River, one of the most important rivers of Mexico, and when I reached my destination, Villahermosa, I did the opposite: deflated the kayak and put it into the suitcase with the camping gear.
Try that with a normal bike!
A customer wrote on June 17, 2001
Gripshift /Rapid fire 58/48/39 chainrings
My Pocket Llama came with a 130 high--with 58/48/39-tooth chainrings. It was very diffcult to adjust the front derailleur using GripShift and Rapid Fire shifters.
To solve this problem, I installed Deore thumb shifters (top mounted).Submitted by: Eduardo Vazquez June 23, 2001
In addition to my Bike Friday, I own or have owned a recumbent single, a recumbent tandem, an upright tandem, a full-suspension MTB, a rigid MTB, a road bike and a folding bike (and one day a unicycle!). If I could only own one bike, it would be my Bike Friday AirLlama. It offers the best all-round riding experience of any bike.
Sure, it isn't as comfortable as a recumbent on a 200km ride, and sure it isn't as good as a full-suspension MTB on technical trails, but it is damn comfortable for an upright and it is surprisingly good on moderate off-road trails. It eats up small bumps, accelerates from a traffic signal like a bat out of hell, and handles as well as any bike. And because it allows me to take a bike to places I otherwise wouldn't be able to, it enhances my riding experience like no other bike can.Submitted by: Richard Drdul December 16, 2000
I prefer using my Bike Friday for short trips with train and bike. I don't have to get a ticket for my BF and I can take every train. My Pocket Llama is good for road and off-road trips (depending on the tires) up to 150 km a day. My BF is also first choice when I travel with small luggage for journeys with longer distance. Until now, I never used the TravelTrailer for my luggage because I like to ride faster with my BF (80 km/h downhill on roads in the Pyrenees) and less luggage on my rear rack.Submitted by: Rainer Tribowski December 12, 1999
My first trip with my Llama that I had set up for touring was my best biking experience to date. With my trailer loaded with snorkel gear and a soft cooler, my first stop was a nearby open market to stock up on the island's excellent food. Throw in ice, juice and water, I then would pedal off in any direction of paradise I pleased. After two weeks of heaven I am now back in cool wet and windy Seattle. I am open to any ideas for some more budget oriented biking adventure this winter ASAP! Happy Biking.Submitted by: Jim Nash December 2, 1999
I have the Pocket Llama, customized to my request which means a 54/42 front sprocket and a 12-28 rear cluster (rather than the internal 7-speed rear hub). In gear inches, with the 20-inch wheels, this gives me a 30-98 inch range, which makes the bike a great "climber" but not much for "down hill" speed. I prefer not too high downhill speeds with the small wheels, so I consider my Friday an excellent, all around, bike.Submitted by: Hank Hermes November 30, 1999
BF Folding Rear Rack Cro-Moly tube - Black 65lb limit
Part No. 9461