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Reviews

Read what our customers SAY about Bike Friday

It’s all here. Raves and rants, kudos and krankiness from Bike Friday owners everywhere. We want to hear it all. And we share it with anyone who is interested.

The opinions expressed here are from Bike Friday owners who have chosen to share their views. Many are clearly thrilled with their bikes. Some offer us insight on possible improvements.

But everyone is sharing their experience. And we are grateful for the opportunity to learn.

Simply select a Bike Friday model from the list on the right, and you'll get reviews specific to that model. If you want to read it all, just dig in.

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Pocket Llama - 19
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Overall Experience Rating:
Date: December 11, 2012
Posted by: Greg von Buchau
Pocket Llama

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.

Overall Experience Rating:
Date: August 28, 2012
Posted by: J Paul Lang
Enjoying My Llama

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.

Pros:
-- 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
 
Cons:
-- 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.

 

Overall Experience Rating:
Date: May 31, 2012
Posted by: Don Koch
Email: chip9@mac.com
Pocket Llama 5 Year Review

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.

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