Read what our customers are saying about Bike Friday
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Posted by: Phil Keys
Tikit with NuVinci Hub
For this review I will share briefly my background as a customer, my initial experience, the purpose of my search, my concerns, limitations and advantages a couple of tips, and my now experience.
It is important for the reader to know that I write this review as a 56-year-old male returning to cycling after 40 years. The last time I did some serious cycling was when I collided into the side of a car coming out of a service/gas station. I went flying over the front bonnet. I came off OK but my bike was finished. So I make no claim to expert or professional knowledge.
Well 40 years later I took delivery of my tikit 2 Infinity NuVinci CVT 360 hyperfold bike. My first ride was the most incredible smooth cycling experience I have ever encountered. There was just an effortless transition of gears. The only issues or concern was the conditioning of my legs for the uphill run.
The bike is so different in all points and exceptionally well made down to the last detail. It felt comfortable to ride.
I started this bike journey looking for a bike with an easy to use gear system and I found a Bike Friday and an incredible transmission. Prior to taking delivery I test rode a number of bikes at every bike shop I could find, read every bike review and technical paper.
My aim was to have a bike that I didn’t have to relearn how to change 27 gears but still able to climb the hills. I wanted a bike that I could just enjoy riding and commuting to work and use for a Saturday ride.
I researched and came across the NuVinci hub from Fallbrook Technologies Inc. I contacted them and they provided me a list of bike manufacturers that were using the NuVinci but there were no bikes coming to Australia. I also learned that the Nuvinci hub could be installed on existing bikes. I asked many bike shops and they weren’t interested. No one had the time or interest to custom-build a bike.
That is when I found Bike Friday a bike company that makes a bike for you.
I have been riding the bike for two months and it is still great to ride. The only concern has been with the stem. Within the first two weeks there was considerable movement and squeaking in the stem. I contacted the service team at Bike Friday and discussed a few possible causes. After carefully observing the mechanics of the bike I realized that the cable on the hyperfold needed to be tightened. I found that the cable could be adjusted by rotating the nut at the end of the cable. I first marked the original position of the nut with a permanent marker then turned the nut about 5 mm – tested it and found that it made a difference. I then turned another 5 mm and it worked-no more movement and squeaks.
Weight, gear range and wheel size. Don’t expect to keep up with the Lycra crowd. Overall the bike is heavier than non-folding bikes. The NuVinci’s hub adds an extra kilogram. It is one kilogram heavier than other internal hub systems.
The gear range is good but as shown on the Fallbrook web site it has a range of about 10 gears. The smaller wheels are good for a quick start and to move away from or around the traffic but not good on soft or uneven road surfaces. You feel the bumps and are more careful climbing the curbs. As a commuter in the city it is perfect.
The longest ride for me so far has been about 50km around Sydney and averaged about 20km per hour. That would likely be the furthest distances I would travel on this bike. I like it as a good form of exercise, recreational ride and commuter for work.
I can take it anywhere. The hyperfold option on the tikit makes it so easy to fold and really defines the bike. I highly recommend the hyperfold.
1. Choose carefully the chain ring and sprocket size. It will make a big difference on the gear range. I live in a hilly location so I went for a large chain ring.
2. Chain or Carbon Belt – I chose chain. Peter the BF bike consultant told me that the bike would lose about 30% efficiency in the gear range. This is because of the limited chain ring sizes available for the carbon belt drive. I needed that 30% for the hills.
3. Bike Saddle - If you are going to spend this sort of money on a bike buy a decent good quality leather saddle. It’s worth it. I bought a Sella Italia.
4. Handle bar grips – The bike came with soft spongy grips. If I had known I would have requested firmer grips. When these get a bit old I will change them.
I am mapping out all the interesting bike rides in Sydney. I am re-discovering Sydney and the joy of riding. And yes, I am more careful to look out for cars coming out of service/gas stations. I highly recommend Bike Friday. They have excellent ongoing customer support, which is critical in buying a bike.