The 2013 Pocket Rocket with the Select Group includes a couple of enhancements from last year's offering based on customer input to bring the Rocket more in line with its drop bar, road performance heritage.
The Pocket Rocket 2013 Select Group includes an upgrade to the new Bike Friday cartridge threadless headset.
The Rocket Select Group includes an upgrade to the new Bike Friday cartridge threadless headset, a 20-speed SRAM Apex derailleur, Apex Double Tap integrated shifters, Apex cranks, Schwalbe Durano tires, FSA brakes and 4-bolt ahead stem with unsplit drop bars.
With the Select Group, you select your frame size from three basic options (50 cm, 56 cm and 60 cm top tube equivalents), choose a frame color (Flag Red, Green Gear Green, Cream Soda Blue and Ink Black are no charge) as well as one of seven decal/cable housing color options.
A Bike Consultant will take your body measurements to help determine what frame size will fit your body. You can compare frame color and decal/cable housing color combinations by viewing our Color Module.
The Select Group makes ordering so simple that you can submit a basic order by filling out the Select Order Form.
NOTE: Saddle and Pedals are not included.
If you are not certain which Bike Friday will best fit your needs, you can look at our Comparison Chart for more information, but the best way to know that you are getting the perfect Bike Friday for your dreams of adventure is to contact a Bike Consultant for an interview.
|2a Main frame:||05.2 PocRocket ck / mast 1 1/4 - mast std - 2"x.035|
|2d Seatmast:||01 .1 Left Fold Mast 2010> Silk/NWT/ PR / PL std .055 CrMo|
|2e Stem /BF Made:||BF Stem Riser, Adjustable for / Ahead,1 1/4" SVS|
|Accessories:||Engraved Name Plate -bike comes w/custom engravd name plate|
|Bars:||Kalloy Anatomic CHOOSE - Un-split Drops CHOOSE|
|Bar Tape & Grips:||Black Cork Bar Tape|
|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|
|Brakes:||SRAM Apex road brake set|
|Cables:||Cable - Housing Black std w/ Decals Black or White|
|Cassette:||11-28 10sp SRAM PG1050 11,12,13,14,15,17,19,22,25,28|
|Chains:||KMC X10.93 10sp 116L chain|
|Cranks:||SRAM Apex GXP 130b 39,53 (165,70,72,75,80) CHOOSE|
|Derailleurs Front:||SRAM Apex FD Brazed On|
|Derailleurs Rear:||SRAM Apex road short 28 max/33 total|
|Headset, Threadless:||1 1/4" BF Threadless cartridge, alloy, black|
|Hub Front:||BF Hub Cartridge Bearing 32o front Black|
|Hub Rear:||Chosen 32o 130mm FH rear, black (sealed bearings)|
|Pedals:||yNone supplied as std - Choose if you want us to supply|
|Rims:||Alex DA22 (451) 32o 20 x 1 1/8" Silver|
|Saddle:||None supplied std. Choose if you want us to supply|
|Seatpost:||Kalloy Uno 28.6 x 350mm SP, black|
|Shifters/Controls:||SRAM Double Tap Apex Integrated Shifters|
|Spokes:||Spokes DT 14 ga. Stainless w/ brass nip SPECIFY LENGTH|
|STEMS F:||BF Ahead style(60,75,90,105,120mm) we size or- CHOOSE|
|Tires:||Schwalbe Durano 20 x1 1/8" (451) 85-120psi tire|
|Travelcases:||Shipped to you in box OR Choose Travelcase|
|Tubes:||20x1 1/8- 1 3/8" PV (451)|
I have been cycling for more than 20 years and ride around 8,000 miles/year. I live about 30 miles from where I work in New York City and enjoy commuting by bike, in all four seasons.
I wanted a folding bike that I could ride to work in the morning, and easily take on the train to get home in the evening. I also wanted a folding bike that handled as close as possible to my usual 700c bikes.
I chose Bike Friday because of the reputation for quality and the all the custom options. I've had my Pocket Rocket for about 3 weeks now have ridden it to work almost every day during the week!
It has been a great pleasure to take on the train in the evening without having to worry about getting stares from the conductors or fellow passengers that I normally got when schlepping a full-size bike.
I expected it to ride well, and it absolutely has not dissapointed! It seems to be just as fast as a "normal" bike on my commute and it is easy to forget about the small wheels.
The ordering process was very easy and quite a lot of fun. The guys at Bike Friday where able to reproduce the positions of the saddle and handlebar from my other bikes and so the fit is virtually identical to what I'm used to.
It was clear the salesperson was truly interested in what kind of cyclist I was. He picked parts similar to my other bikes which would satisfy my expectations.
What are the disadvantages? Not that many, really. Because of the small wheel size, the gearing is not 100% identical to a 700c bike, although it is really, really close. The gearing is more than adequate on both the low and high end. Braking is also a bit different, but again not necessarily bad -- just different. The longish cable runs affect shifting and braking a little bit. But these are very, very small compromises that enable the bike to fold.
In comparison to my "normal" bikes, the Bike Friday is indeed different, but it is not as different as I would have thought. The biggest difference is acceleraion from a complete stop -- the 20" wheel bike slightly better.
I don't think climbing on the Bike Friday is any better, although I am riding a 700c bike that is around 5-6lbs lighter than the Bike Friday so it is not a fair comparison. Handling of the 700c bike is superior in high-speed corners and over rough surfaces. The 20" bike handles better at slower speeds and is more manueverable in tight spaces such as heavy traffic (we might have some of that in NYC...).
On balance I would not endorse the statement that the 20" bike is better all-around, nor would I agree that the 700c bike is better in all situations. I would agree, however, that both are great bikes to ride. If the Pocket Rocket were my only bike, I could be happy.Submitted by: Scott Bernstein November 23, 2012
I will be reviewing my Bike Friday custom Pocket Rocket in this article.
I should start by saying a bit about myself. I am a 36-year-old male residing in Korea. I have been riding recreationally for several years; it started as weight control but then it became just fun.
To date I have slowly taken off 25kg (55lbs) through occasional cycling and diet control. I still need to drop weight, but I plan on doing it the same way, slow and steady.
I'm not very serious about training. I just try to have fun and expect that if I have fun on my bikes and try not to eat too much I'll eventually get to an ideal size.
I usually ride casually and I enjoy mid to long distances. I'm interested in longer distance rides in the future. It would be hard to call myself a bike tourist as I rarely have the time to ride more than a couple of days in a row and I don't like camping that much :)
Although I am not a strong cyclist, I have a decent understanding of bikes and own a few. I own a carbon road bike and a touring bike.
I bought the Bike Friday partly out of pride as they are one of the nicer folding bikes made and it's always fun to have nice toys :)
But I also bought it specifically for weekend sports touring. In Korea, we have what I would consider very good public transportation. I can't put my big bikes in taxis or on some buses and trains. Some people don't allow bikes in hotels.
A folding bike takes care of a lot of these problems. In places like the subway, where a full size bike can be brought, a folding bike is that much easier.
A folding bike is also easier to bring into a restaurant and get up stairs or an elevator. This is a rather in-depth review, so I'll get to the point then expand.
I am happy with this bike. It does what it is supposed to do well. But there are things about it that I do not like. Overall, however I would recommend this bike to someone looking for a folding bike that performs extremely well.
Although I was skeptical about someone using this bike for touring I no longer feel that way. As hard as it is to believe, I feel this bike would be a great companion for a fully-loaded tour (although I would use a slightly different set up; notably wider tires and perhaps even lower the gear range slightly).
I would not be scared to use mine fully loaded as is, provided the roads were of decent quality.
A Bike when?
So what is a Bike Friday Pocket Rocket? It's kind of hard to say.
Every Bike Friday pocket model uses the same frame (unless it is a petite or ultra thin tubing frame). They can all be custom and probably somewhat hybrid.
You start with templates but you can really build it however you like. Want a touring bike with disc brakes, drops, off-road tires, Dura-Ace gearing and an aggressive riding position? Need a fixie folding MTB? They will send one to you.
You can make it fold a little easier with some options, you can make it lots of colors. You can put lots of different handlebars. They will use Campy, SRAM or Shimano.
They are all folding bikes that no matter how set up will break down in someway into a smaller size for transport. They are all secondly (with the exception of ultralight Rocket frames perhaps) full touring bikes.
Dealing with BF is an interesting experience. The first time I called I made an error, it was 5 a.m. but they answered. I think I accidentally called the emergency hotline.
They are really good about communication (well the American company, the Seoul BF dealer is not like that I'm afraid). They are a kind of small company known for friendly service.
I can honestly say not only has everyone from the American branch I talked to been extremely helpful and knowledgeable but just generally cheerful and kind.
We had conversations about non-bike related things a few times. They tried to get my cost down. They are all really friendly. I should make this clear: They REALLY want you to get the right bike.
This is probably because they offer a full money back on custom bikes and also because as far as I can tell, they don't advertise. But it's also because they are all cyclists themselves and love their jobs.
How do they do this?
Well first you are given a consultant to talk to and bike homework. Then you need to provide measurements and numbers and information about your riding position and skill level.
The more information you give the better. After you do this they will start designing your bike and asking you lots of questions.
I already knew what I wanted, but I think my consultant and I exchanged around 20 emails. Even after the sale I have kept in touch with them. I hope to meet the Asian rep [Ruthy Kanagy] sometime if she does some touring in Korea. She's really nice.
If you want to purchase something from them ask me for my reference card please. I get a couple of $ towards part credit.
Overall they get 10 out of 10 for customer service from me.
The ride and performance
A lot of people have asked me about this so I'll cover it first. I really don't feel the twitchy sensation people talk about. I just got on it and rode it like any bike.
Just like a big bike, if you set the stem up short it will be twitchy; if you set the stem up long it's going to feel pretty steady.
I measured my Spec. Roubaix and used that as a starting point for the stem then went lower. It feels very similar to the Roubaix on a flat road.
Which one feels better? The carbon road bike of course. But the BF isn't uncomfortable. The BF is more agile than a big bike though, it takes corners like it's a roller-coaster on rails.
That said, if you lean the bike or try to hop at an angle you instantly feel how bottom heavy the bike is, you could drop the bike if not careful.
Gearing is an interesting thing for small wheels. A couple of things change when you drop wheel size. Firstly, you lower your gear inches. That's not so bad if you aren't racing.
In fact, I welcomed the fact that my 26t was a climbing gear. But smaller wheel also mean a smaller gear range. So basically the shifts are going to be cleaner on the same cassette with smaller wheels.
So my crazy 9-speed 9-26t feels like a tight 10 speed. Now that I know that I would have no qualms using an 8 -peed wide range cassette on one of these bikes.
One problem with gearing is that there seems to be way more adjustment needed as each fold has the potential to knock your gearing out a little.
This bike falls short on bumps, traction and road buzz. A bike without a top tube just can't take potholes like a bike with a triangle frame.
I have to really be careful on bumps with this bike. I'm adding a Brooks saddle to help a little with the buzz and bumps. The little tires are responsive and have a low rolling resistance. You take off a little faster.
There is flex on bumps but the crank on up through the seat tube is very stiff. But the little tires also loose traction fairly easy on even a small amount of irregularity and in the case that you encounter an obstacle don't expect these tires to roll over them like a 700cc.
You can forget about riding this bike on gravel. But on a decent road this bike shines. I'm faster on this bike ... I'm not sure if it's the smaller, lower bike size, the more aggressive riding position I used to design its fit or because it's red; but I seem to be a little faster on her than my other bikes.
Basically though, the Pocket Rocket does feel like an aggressive road-bike as advertised. You will forget you are on a miniture folding touring bike if you ride it long enough.
I have a very tough competent touring bike already. I bought this bike for weekend sports touring, short tours, and faster rides. I wanted to take advantage of mass transit to be able to ride in new places.
While Bike Friday is famous for its New World Tourist, I built this bike up like a mini sporty road bike, it's even candy apple red. I did get a rack for sports touring or long distance rides.
I won't be bringing this bike to ride on dirt roads in China. This is a speedy asphalt bike. I went with a road design created by BF, the components all made sense. I
t's the same frame as all the rest but has a slightly bigger wheel size. The tires do not have wide options. It is a 9-speed 9t-26t rear cassette and a 52t, 42, 30t crank. The components are nothing fancy but they all seem durable.
The gear range is 23 to 115 gear inches. In laymen terms that's really close to a standard touring bike gear set. You can hit 50 kph (30 mph) with 90 rmp, anything faster than that requires gravity :)
I have not weighed this bike but it's heavier than my carbon bike. I'm guessing 25 pounds. The petite models come rack and tour ready with standard components at less than 20 pounds (pedals included) so I think those are really good options for shorter females.
But it also has rear and front rack mounts and fender mounts.
Here is a summary of the options I went with:
Custom fit Custom ultra stem
Front rack painted to match
Cut drop bars for easier packing
Touch up paint
Soft case Samsonite flight case with packing material
Candy Apple Red paint job
A chain retainer (added in Korea after I saw how difficult it was to keep a chain on the bike)
I did not take the fenders and I wish I had. I thought $60 was too high, but not I'm faced with double that in Korea.
I did not buy the kit that turns the case into a trailer. I think it's a great idea but I have read the trailer is a bit weak and I have no current plans to travel long enough to need a huge trailer. It was tempting though; a little bike towing a suitcase looks pretty rad.
Maybe in the future I might regret that but for now I'm really happy with it. I'm actually lower on this bike than any other bike I ride. If I have my computer set up right I'm just a little faster on it as well.
So it is playing the sporty bike role fine.
The 2012 Select list can be found on Bike Friday's website. I used this component list. My afterthoughts on components are: While their component selection was good the component upgrade cost was way too high.
I could basically buy a 105 setup for what they were asking to upgrade it to 105. So I didn't see much of a reason to do so. the capreo 9t-26t cassette is an expensive cassette and requires a special hub. I'm locked into that cassette unless I purchase a second wheel really.
I had been warned by people that it is hard to maintain high cadence on a small bike. This is not true in my case and I don't see why it should be as my legs are the same distance from the crank on all my bikes.
Before climbing in Jeju I thought I probably should have gone with a Shimano standard hub and a 9-speed 11-28 or 11-32. But I managed to climb well enough and could stand to train in climbing quite a bit.
I also maxed out the gears a couple of times. It's not often I need to pedal more than 50 kph but it's useful if you are trying to maintain speed to propel yourself over an incoming hill. I should have upgraded my shifters to Tiagra. I do not like the weird Microshift shifters that came with the bike as I cannot shift from the drops.
The hand-built wheels are really nice. I wasn't expecting such a nice wheel-set on that little bike. The brakes work very well. The Comet tires have a low rolling resistance. But it is so low and the circumference so small they do tend to drift a little easier than I'd like.
All in all I think they made good choices on the components, but wish there was another option that allowed me to have the same gear range without putting on a special cassette and hub that aren't compatible with anything else.
I would say there are really three kinds of collapsable bikes. Those that the most important design goal is the fold performance. Those that the most important design goal is on bike performance. And lastly, there a lot that are a hybrid of the two.
A Strida or a Brompton are examples of the first. There are a lot of bikes in the middle, most cheap bike fit in this category but there are nicer ones as well.
The Bike Friday pocket bikes are the last category as would be a big Surly LHT Deluxe. I knew that going into the buy. This bike is not for commuting with lots of folds or for someone that wants a neat little bike folded under their desk.
I was very interested in Bromptons for a while; they are much different kind of bike. The fold is elegant and fast. You never get dirty with those little things. The Bike Friday looks like a broken bike when folded; it's a slower process.
It's also not that easy. And you have to watch the chain or it can get caught in two areas when unfolding. I had to add a chain retainer to keep the chain from dropping every time I folded the bike. To be honest it's a bad fold :)
If folding is really important to you buy a different bike. My wife's $200 little kid's bike folds 5 times better. But it's not really designed to be the best fold. However, after doing it for a while I am not pretty fast at folding this bike, I can sometimes perform a quick fold in less than 10 seconds (considerably longer if I'm strapping it together using the velcro strap that holds it firmly in place).
I'll give it a 4 out of 10 for folding. The only reason it gets a four is the designers built a bike that could fold but also kept it to a reasonable weight and made it a durable ride; the fold is also smart when you look at it.
The hard case pack
Bike Friday bikes break down into sturdy Samsonite travel cases for transport. This requires some practice, a couple of tools, a rough knowledge of how a bike works, some common sense and a little time.
People complain about the packing but I can't see why. You get faster every time you pack it. Even the first time wasn't bad at all. I watched a video in which a man took over an hour to pack his bike on YouTube.
The first time I did it I was reading an instruction manual and it took me maybe 30 minutes. I have packed this bike about 6 times now. I have done it in around 20 minutes. If I made some changes like a removable water cage and those quick disconnect pedals I could probably do it in 10 minutes.
I can reassemble it in like 5 minutes if the pedals thread fast and I don't have racks to put on. Is the 20 minutes worth the money saved on airline fees? For sure it is. But what is even better is a complete peace of mind you get once it's safely packed and locked away. you can forget about it, the only way something is happening to your bike is if it's dropped from the plane or something.
Also, the case has room for lots of extra stuff. I got quite a lot in on my trip to Jeju island. I had my bike, three water bottles, extra cages, two sets of clothes, cycling shoes, a full tool set, a saddle bag with tubes, patches, a lock and a pump; and there was still room in there (but I was reaching my weight limit).
If you were packing a touring model with wide tires and two racks it might get tight I imagine though. The case also has a special TSA key slot so you can lock it and not have to worry about TSA agents busting your lock.
The hardcase pack gets a 9 out of 10 from me.
I got the Candy Apply Red paint job with matching rack paint. It looks great. But there is a reason the bike comes wrapped up with a million protectors. This paints scratches really easy. To be fair they warned me this paint chips but if you look at it wrong it will come off. Touch it with your shoe, bye bye paint. Hit it with a water bottle, there's a scuff.
I wrapped it with protective coating to keep it decent looking and so I could throw it around while packing (this speeds up packing and folding). It was sure to get scuffed up during packing. I'd suggest going with a black to future buyers. I'd suggest to Bike Friday to offer a 3M wrap option.
It was a bit difficult for me to do along and by the time I got around to it the bike already have several chips in the paint. Also, where the masting folds into the tube area the paint comes off the first fold. No doubt there is a better design idea out there for this, perhaps some thin rubber between the two areas.
A lot of the pictures don't do these little bikes justice. These are pretty bikes. They look sleek. They don't look silly to me. They are eye drawing to people that don't ride. Most people never notice my carbon bike, really only other cyclists. Everyone wants to look at a little BF, especially with panniers on it.
The drop bar versions look a little more serious and sleek than the flatbar BFs as well. The Pocket Rockets look like miniature racing bikes.
Considering buying a Bike Friday Pocket rocket? Review these pros and cons:
Feels like an aggressive roadbike.
Extremely compliant steering
Can't get a better fit than a custom fit
Looks good and quite unique
Lots of color and gear options
Very comfortable in the drops
Feels like crosswinds are less of an issue
Smaller wheels climb better and accelerate a bit faster
Can fold and be packed into soft and hard cases
Easier to mount than a big bike because the there is no top tube
Strong well built wheels
Can be used for fully loaded touring
Very supportive consulting service
Emergency Bike Friday parts service anytime worldwide shipping
American made and a very green company (if you care for such things)
Poor paint durability presently
Fold is kind of difficult and cumbersome
Rough ride and obstacle clearing
Heavy for a road bike of that cost
Harder to secure as there is no TT and anyone with a socket set can completely disassemble the bike.
Perhaps harder for drivers to see
Looks a bit toyishSubmitted by: Gareth Barker August 22, 2012
I'm new to cycling. I'm a recreational cyclist who started six months ago for weight loss and now find myself addicted to the sport.
I started on a MTB and then moved to a Specialized Roubaix after dropping 30 pounds and consistently hitting 30+ miles on my rides.
I live in Korea but spend half my time traveling to Japan and the U.S. for work. I needed to find a way where my travel schedule would not interfere with my ability to get 100 - 200 miles in each week.
I had seen and tried all the usual suspects for folding bikes but they just didn't feel anything like my road bike. The Bike Friday Travel System seemed like the perfect solution.
I remained highly skeptical about the claims around performance but figured if it was half as good as people claimed, it would still be better than the folding bikes I had seen and tried. I received my bike while in the U.S. and for my first few rides I consistently destroyed my previous times and averages for my normal routes.
I chalked it up to favorable winds on my routes because I just couldn't wrap my mind around the Pocket Rocket being faster than my Roubaix.
The Bike Friday truly rides like my road bike. I was expecting a folding bike to feel loose and unstable but it's incredibly tight and rides with precision.
Returning to Korea (travel on the airlines was a non-issue) I continue to blow away my previous times on my road bike. It's still difficult for me to accept but I've got the Strava history to prove that I'm faster on the Bike Friday than I am on my Specialized Roubaix.
I'm training for the Gran Fondo in Vegas in September, my first event. I'll be running the event on my Pocket Rocket because there is nothing easier than traveling internationally with a Bike Friday and so far, every indication points to the Pocket Rocket as being the best bike in my stable for helping me put in my best possible time.
Peter Berra did a great job to make sure that the bike I ordered would match my needs. Everything was delivered as promised, on time with incredible quality of craftsmanship.Submitted by: Jason Schern June 20, 2012
Lots of Bike Friday owners have stories about riding all over the world. Me--I ride the rollers on my porch. I commuted to work by bike for about 30 years, a good number of them on my red Pocket Rocket Pro or my candy-apple red Pocket Rocket fixed gear (my current ride). My company relocated me to Shanghai in June 2009. My wife and I live right in the heart of downtown, a 20-minute walk from work. It's worth noting that Shanghai is the second-largest urban area by population in the world (after Mumbai). Although I'm familiar with the skills needed to handle a bike in traffic day in and day out, the street scene here has me, shall we say, a bit intimidated. Although the Chinese people I've encountered and befriended are invariably kind and gracious, my company discourages us expats from driving cars, and there are horror stories about foreigners getting into unfortunate encounters with locals on the streets, even on bicycles. Therefore I generally restrict my riding to a set of E-Motion rollers on the balcony of our 23rd-floor apartment. These rollers are great--very user-friendly. I've only been out on the road once in the last seven months. It's not so bad, really. I'm doing OK on my goal of riding four or five days a week. It's mainly a mind game convincing myself that my iPod is a good substitute for changing scenery. Good riding to you. February 2010Submitted by: David Miller February 4, 2010
The Bike Friday (custom Pocket Rocket single speed) you helped set up for me has been quite a wonderful surprise.
The bike has provided a range of unexpected practical benefits. Here are some of the impressive features of the whole project as it developed over several months:
1. The amazingly thorough and secure packing job in that big box the bike arrived in. Carefully protected almost to a fault.
2. Came complete with manual and tools and every conceivable thought-out kind of packing material. (I may eventually learn how to use all those pieces of plastic and felt!)
3. Packs easily into the Samsonite Flite suitcase that I bought separately. Also fits easily in the carry bag. (I did add some cardboard to protect the inside of the bag.) No problem carrying it on the Amtrak train.
4. Complete custom sizing with the Fit Stem system. After finally adjusting for my low, far forward reach, (to accomodate my long arms), I felt a more stable, faster athletic ride. The drop bars were essential for that. (Your split version of the bars is great for packing.)
5. Seat mast raised sufficiently high for my long legs and big feet provides some comfortable flex. Though racers seem to prefer stiff frames, at least according to the magazines, some research suggests flexibility allows greater efficiency by allowing greater speed on rough road surfaces.
6. Single speed light weight and chain path simplicity. I think it beats the usual derailleur arrangement when ascending steep hills mainly because it eliminates all the extra weight and friction-adding components. It's a clear advantageous trade-off. (Other factors in your design surely are at work to make the ascents easier also, but they are less obvious to me.)
The last 3 items eventually proved that my Bike Friday performed better than my fine hand-made titanium conventionally-shaped racer equipped with Campagnolo triple crankset (not quite a pure racer with that one) and Campy components.
Even after replacing the big bike's wheels with more modern lighter ones having fewer and streamlined bladed spokes, hill climbing was still easier on the Bike Friday. That advantage has been true on long (45 mile) rides, on any ascent, after repeated comparisons all summer.
I depended on the bicycle because I had no car so the bicycle was almost essential. And climbing steep hills was always unavoidable if I wanted to get back home, living on Longhill Road! I had thought at first the Bike Friday would be fine mainly for quick hops to the grocery store and back, or for riding in the city, especially with the easy-to-accelerate small wheels.
But I learned that my Bike Friday out on the highway just got up the hills faster, with less effort, despite having only one gear. Long rides were always easier. Climbing the hills convinced me that my otherwise lovely titanium racer was by comparison a kind of a sluggish tank, almost always too heavy.
Its 24 speeds provided a limited advantage, primarily when acclerating on descents to achieve maximum speed. I eventually rode that bike only as an occasional break from riding the Bike Friday, and just for sentimental esthetic reasons.
Conclusion: As graceful, well-designed and solid as a traditional full-sized lightweight bicycle may look, optimal functionality depends more the physical advantages of lower weight, simplicity of the chain path, frame resilience, reduced rotational inertia and reduced rolling resistance of the wheels that the Bike Friday single-speed can offer. Your design is a big success! Very nice to have discovered that. You surely have helped to improve and even to re-engineer the efficiency of the modern bicycle.
Sincerely, Sam LambertSubmitted by: Sam Lambert November 23, 2009
Just returned from a trek from The Bay Area to visit family / friends in Portland, Oregon. Riding north inland (avoiding the wind along the coast) my PPR (Purple Pocket Rocket) tackled Lassen and Highway 89 with no problems whatsoever. Continuing north on 97 I finally got to Multnomah Falls and finished my northern trek along 84 into downtown Portland (NE).
The Pocket Rocket has the capability of carrying plenty of gear, a small sleeping bag and tent, yet still maintaining it's excellent handling characteristics. After a thorough cleaning and rest I got a lift out to the intersection of Highway 26 and 6 before heading for Tillamook and then south along Highway 101 / 1. Even with drizzle and fog the Pocket Rocket took everything in stride and delivered me safely back to San Francisco without worry.
A few thoughts:
1) Capreo gear is OK for most roadwork but for touring an XT 11 x 32 cassette / derailleur makes a lot of sense.
2) Carry at least two spare inner tubes!
3) The Bike Friday solicits a lot of comments. Plan on stopping a lot and sharing experiences.
4) Purple is a great color and easy to spot!
5) REI's cheapest sleeping bag works great.
6) The northern part of Highway 1 (California) is much nicer then the southern section . . . not so many motorhomes.
Would I take my Bike Friday anywhere? You bet . . . and that's not even considering it's folding / packable capabilities. Green Gear . . . Nice Job!Submitted by: James Thurber June 27, 2009
After nearly 40 years riding a couple of early PX10E Peugeots for everything from club rides to commuting (Frame No. 1 purchased Nov. 1967 and Frame No. 2, an early '68 serial number, acquired in the late '80s), Peugeot 2 suffered a cracked head tube. The prospect of no road bike for 10 to 14 months while the frame & refurb gurus fixed my old friend sent me bike shopping for myself for the first time since I was a teenager and left my favorite-gal-buddy & life-companion free to shop too. The field was wide open, but with a couple of limitations: a 700C, 650 or 26" wheel bike won't fit in our airplane without dis-assembly. And good luck trying to jam in two of them. Also regular bikes had to be rack-carried on the car, something that neither Diane's VW Bug Convertible nor my '67 911S tolerate well. With those factors in mind and since we were starting from scratch -- at least until my old favorite returned -- my gal-buddy and I settled on folding bikes.
But could anything match the ride of a vintage lugged, double-butted steel frame road bike? I was skeptical. But heck, it would only be for a year . . .
Acquisition Diane opted for a brand new bright yellow Travel Tikit. I took measurements off her town bike, Peter Berra ran the numbers and did a fit and, presto: perfect for her! In years of buying and adjusting bikes for my sons (and most of the neighborhood BMX race team) I can't recall ever seeing a bike as perfectly adjusted. And the Tikit suites her beautifully: Diane doesn't ride much more than 50 miles a day, takes her bike shopping and to the private school where she teaches, and keeps a nice "Townie" cadence whether riding uphill or down. Her choice was great for our rides in the Giant Sequoias, through Kings Canyon, in Yosemite, and on the annual Portland Bridge Pedal. But what about a "temporary" road bike for me?
The Red Bike The answer was a used Flag Red Pocket Rocket with full Shimano 105 "Hollowtech II" equipment: brakes, STI shifters, hubs, and derailleurs, and FlightDeck computer. The bike had some neat 3TTT split drop bars that reminded me the 3Ts on my son's vintage Bianchi Reckord. A good steel frame? Vintage-sounding bars? It seemed pretty good! I bought it sight-unseen, hoping for the best. I swapped out the saddle for a Brooks Imperial, wrapped the bars in black Brooks leather, and gave the folks at Bike Friday a call to discuss fit. Peter Berra found a Flag Red stem in the communal Bike Friday Spare Parts Bin that raised the bar height and reach into "perfect" territory. Price? "No Charge!" Despite the fact my bike left the factory a decade earlier, Peter & Tim Link in Customer Service joined forces making upgrade recommendations for my "new" bike, all of which work so well together I can't conceive of it as a used bike anymore. They recommended reflective sidewall, 110 PSI Primo Comet Kevlar tires to replace what looked like the original Schwabes that came with the bike. Tim also made some wise suggestions for wider 451-compatible tires for fire trail riding that I'd previously handled on the Peugeot with Mavic MA2 rims & low pressure clinchers.) Peter, Tim, and BF Crew also put together everything I needed swap out the Red Bike's Super-Macho 60/48T double chain ring crank set up for a more old-guy-friendly 54/42/30 triple. They supplied new cables; MKS EZ-AR 2 quick release pedals with (appropriate) old-school cages; a gorgeous Chris King headset, a new Bike Friday Headbadge; a replacement custom frame plate with Red Bike's frame number; fenders (a first for me on a road bike); and even a Bike Friday water bottle!
I installed the parts (with help Craig & Rudi at Sierra Cycle Werks pressing in the new headset bearing cup), a new 105 triple front derailleur, & some 175mm Shimano 105 crank arms, reset the computer (from a total of 1620 miles shown)and suddenly: I was riding a real 21st Century road bike without the cautions of a carbon fiber ride or the worries of buying a used aluminum frame. Wow: Cycling has come a long way in 40 years!
Impressions The Red Bike sits in the Peugeot's old spot in my office as I write this. It's carried me to work and to court now for a little over three months, long enough for my sit bones to make peace with the new Brooks saddle and for me to form some early first impressions.
Here they are:
1. Factory support is incredible. If every business were run with the customer care, empathy, environmental concern (Peter: "Dispose of of your old tires properly!"), and willingness to make sensible suggestions as Bike Friday's Peter Berra & Tim Link have shown me, we would have a lot brighter future as a civilization.
2. Parts are always at hand and shipping is generally overnight, even in Green Gear's busy Spring season. One of the really nice things about a bike that uses off-the-shelf components from Alex, Sun, SRAM, Shimano, etc.; if your town has a quality Local Bike Shop, you've got experienced help when you need it. And if you're away? I saw a New World Tourist owner on Yak who busted a 506 rim in Poland. My bet: A new rim complete with spokes to fit, spoke wrench, and nipples were probably on their way by overnight air before the rider went to bed that night either from some Yakster who had the parts or from what Tim or some of the other folks in Eugene found in Bike Friday's Spare Parts Bin. Peter Berra summed it up well when I first talked to him about Diane's Tikit: "You pay to join this crazy club and we give you the bike free."
3. Quality, finish & fit are astonishing. The powder coat on Red Bike looks brand new even though it's aging into double digit territory, pretty unusual for any red finish. The rapid fold seat post puts the Brooks saddle in a perfect sweet-spot when folded, the chain stays on even when I don't put it on the "small" chain ring & cassette sprocket, the chain stay assembly goes where it's supposed to without scratching anything, and the stem comes off quickly with the flick of the wrench tool that goes with us, nestled in a Brooks tool bag behind the seat with a spare tube and some tire sticks. (Yeah: I'm old-school!)
4. Daily use. Step over height is wonderful. I hadn't realized what a drag it was hoisting my bum right snowboard-knee over the top tube of the Peugeot until recently. The 451 rim-spec Primo Comet Kevlars are softer riding than the sew-ups I'm accustomed to. . . and they're a WHOLE lot less expensive! I don't notice nearly as much glass and road-FOD as I used to see. Think there's a correlation?
5. Portability. With everybody sweating the economy, the Red Bike's been in and out of Lindbergh Field in San Diego for enough "airport commutes" to State and Federal Court appearances to pay for itself in rental car and gas savings.
6. Acceptance. I'll cop to it: I'm a guy and image is important. Frankly, I was timid that somebody would laugh at me if I rode a "little bike." Instead, just the opposite has been true. Veteran riders and young guns alike have grabbed Red Bike for demo rides and have all come back grinning. "Hauls ass!" "Sweet!" "Nice Ride!" So much for a late-middle-age rider's fear of not being one-of-the-boys anymore. . . The Red Bike is becoming a weekly fixture at our little Central California Valley town's Farmer's Market where it goes to shop once a week (in company with an attention-getting girl on an attention-getting yellow Travel Tikit!). It's also becoming a fixture at our town courthouse bike rack, where it's U-Locked and Cable-Locked the same way its white predecessor stayed. (Small Town Note: I leave the U-Lock on the courthouse bike rack instead of hauling it around & keep another one for out-of-town use.)
A big question remains, though, "What will I do when the Peugeot comes back?" Truthfully, I'm enjoying the Red Bike so much that I suspect the Peugeot's days as my primary ride are over. For the past 90+ days and 445 miles, the Red Bike has hauled my bones around with the same-or-better snap, agility, and good nature that its predecessor did. It weighs a little more than its vintage French cousin (25.1 lbs/ 11.38 kg vs. 20.3 lbs/ 9.21 kg.). But the zip added by smaller wheels makes it seem like a much lighter bike. And "little wheels" notwithstanding, Red Bike rides softer than my old French buddy, something that's becoming increasingly important as I turn the corner on age 60. It will be a hard choice this time next year. But right now I'd be surprised to see my old white bike retake its parking space where my Bike Friday Pocket Rocket now sits waiting for me to finish this so we can go someplace.
From a guy who has ridden basically the same bike for over 40 happy years, that's saying a lot.Submitted by: Merl Ledford May 15, 2009
So, here is the updated review two years on! As I said in 2006, my Pocket Rocket is a commuting workhorse, with a 3-day a week commute involving a 15 mile bike ride and a train commute in the middle. Over the last two years I've covered about 7000 miles on my rocket and have just completed my first major overhaul. I still love it - but one or two issues have arisen that potential customers should think about... From a folding perspective, the bike continues to perform well. Not as neat or as rapid as a Brompton, but much smaller than an Airnimal. A reasonable middle compromise that works fine on my commutes (although mudguards may be an issue for some - see below).
The ride continues to be fantastic - fast, positive and great fun. It remains my bike of choice even on day rides and longer. There is no better ride available with a folding bike so if ride is your priority then you should seriously consider this bike despite its flaws.
Generally, spares and servicing are no problem. I do struggle to get anything other than Schwalbe Stelvio tyres in the UK - and whilst this is not a problem for most of the year, a little more tread through the winter would give greater riding confidence. I wish we could still get IRC in the UK.
I still remain fed up at the cabling which, frankly, needs a rethink by Bike Friday. Folding the bike ruins cables fast and causes the bike to loose adjustment. When placed against the unified rear triangle of the Airnimal the cabling on the Rocket is agricultural at best. Also, the cable routers along the frame are too large for a stripped cable section meaning that all cables must be complete with routers along the entire length of the cable. This adds a small amount of weight, but it is becoming almost impossible to buy spare Shimano gear cabling with full outer casing! I've had to resort to turning up some custom ferrules in a metal lathe to overcome this annoyance. In addition, full cable outers rattle against the frame causing the paint to scratch (more on this gripe later...).
On a positive note, the concerns I had over the durability of the frame pivots and dropouts in my previous review have been unfounded. Perhaps the biggest lesson I have had is that, for daily use, this bike needs the mudguards fitted as the spray from the wheels drenches the pivot area on the frame causing durability problems unless dried after every wet ride (not realistic for a day-to-day commuter). But at £60 (about $120) these are a complete rip off (and there seems to be profiteering going on over the fact that only Bike Friday guards will fit easily). After spending a lot of money on a custom bike I am pretty miffed at being taken advantage of over the price of these essential items. Also, note that the mudguards make folding a little more of a nuisance, rather reducing the versatility of the bike.
So, to the biggest issue - the paint job! I took delivery of my bike in standard black, not wishing to pay even more money for a flashy paint job. On delivery the paint was fine, but after about 500 miles I noticed that the underside on the downtube was badly scratched and chipped and, on further investigation, this was a result of grit in the spray from the front wheel during wet rides, and the rubbing of the cables on the frame due to the way the cables are routed and the need for cable routers along the entire cable length. Over the coming few thousand miles the paint deteriorated badly. Large flakes came away on the rear of the seat tube for no obvious reason and rust began to appear around the braise-ons. Things got so bad that in December 2007, just two years after buying the bike, I had to send the frame in to ARGOS in Bristol for an overhaul and respray at a cost of £200. Whilst I accept that my Rocket gets reasonable wear and regular use, I am dedicated to its maintenance, take care to touch up and I have never had a bike that has suffered in this way. I can only surmise that Bike Friday's paint shop is not producing finishes that are up to the rigor required by a daily-use folder. Perhaps they could look at this. Certainly, if you buy a Rocket, be prepared for an expensive respray at some point in the not-to-distant future.
So, to summarize. I love my Rocket to ride and it works adequately as a folding commuter. However, it is necessary to buy the rip-off mudguards. The cable routing needs sorting by Bike Friday and it WILL be a thorn in your side if you fold the bike. Given the cost of the bike, I am disappointed by the finish of the frame and only after an additional outlay of £200 on a hard, baked finish spray job am I confident about its durability.
We're working on mudguards - we have to get them custom made locally and in small quantities - two factors which make any non-offshore-mass-produced product expensive. However, it looks like you paid a premium for yours. We sell them for $60USD, it is not clear why yours were marked up so high - check with your dealer. Feel free to buy direct from us in the future for a variety of parts.
Regarding your cabling issues, we have chosen full length housing as a way of minimizing issues introduced by folding. You should be able to get cable housing in any length that you desire. Most bicycle shops buy the housing on a role and it is cut to fit. If you continue to have sourcing issues with the housing, we also sell the housing in any length.
We are sorry to hear that you have experienced significant wear to your powdercoat finish. We choose powdercoating because the environmental benefits (while liquid paint contain solvents which have pollutants known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), powder coating contains no solvents and releases negligible amounts, if any, of VOCs into the atmosphere) and durability considerations (powder coated surfaces are more resistant to chipping, scratching, fading, and wearing than other wet finishes). Please contact our service department for touch up paint - Jordan, Customer Service Manager
My Pocket Rocket (Shimano 105 / ultegra) arrived about 4 weeks ago and I've managed to clock up about 200 miles. I'm using the bike for a 3-day-a-week train commute to work (involving about 15 miles cycling each day) as well as for recreation, so the bike goes through its paces both as a folder and a quality road bike. It is accommodated easily in the standard luggage racks of the Midland Mainline Turbostar trains in its foirst fold arangement and folds quickly and easily. The loose handlebars are a nuisance but a tradeoff worth accepting for the excellent ride that they provide. In my quest for the perfect folding commuter bike I tried them all - Bromptons, Dahon, Airnimal Chameleon, Birdy etc... The Bike Friday was the best (and most expensive) by a long way (only the Airnimal came close in both regards). However, the key trade off is that it isn't the world's best quick folder. For a daily London commute on crowded trains it might not be the best equipment. For my uses (a long ride either side of a quiet train journey) it is proving to be excellent. The fit of the bike is exceptionally good and the frame is stiff and positive. I've had a number of custom frames over the last 10 years and this is by far the best. In fact, I'm a little worried that I'll get very little use out of my new ARGOS custom frame, bought last year following much persuading of my wife, and that this could have serious implications for future chances of new bikes!! As this bike is a workhorse I chose to equip it with mainly Shimano 105 components. These are as expected and provide a refined yet sensibly priced ride. I wouldn't recommend spending less on components though as a bike this good really does need decent components to back it up. As a folder the bike is great but I do have some reservationms for the longer-term. I have some concerns about the robustness of the hinges and will be interested to see how much wear they experience over the next 12 months. I also have one minor gripe about the cable routing (others have commented on this I know). The rear brake and gear cables experience considerable stress when the bike is folded. Indeed, my rear brake cable sheathing failed after only about 150 miles and about 10 folds. To solve this I've re-routed the cable through the tubing joining the seat tube and cross tube and this gives a much neater and more durable routing for frequent folding. It also avoids the annoyance of cables hitting the chainset after folding. My only other concern is the exposure of the rear-triangle dropouts the connect to the seat post. When folded these are very exposed and I am concerned that one clonk by a careless fellow commuter could ruin their allignment. I guess we'll see!Submitted by: Nick Mount January 4, 2006
An old mate of mine used to do duathlons with me in Japan on an Air Friday years ago. We all had a good laugh at him, but he always had the last laugh by beating us soundly. Strangely, that didn't stop us having a go at him for his bike. Human nature I guess. I always thought he was an amazing athlete overcoming this handicap of a bike he had. Then one day, years later I was looking for a new commuting bike. I commute every day in Tokyo 7km each way 5 days a week, all year, and the old clunker gave up the ghost. Tested the Pocket Rocket at Amanda in Tokyo, and I was completely sold. Your bikes are light, responsive and lively. Mr. Chiba of Amanda is an amazing frame builder himself, with the most awesome wooden racing bike you have ever seen (it even has willow wheels!). He designs and makes his own folder, but even he was in awe of your bikes. Congratulations.Submitted by: P Ryan December 20, 2005
Walter, I cannot thank you enough. My Fixed Gear Pocket Rocket is awesome. It rides like a dream and has become MY FAVORITE RIDE. I've had it for almost 2 weeks now and I cannot get enough of it. I've been using it at least twice a week as my commuter (25 miles one way. Manhattan to long island). It's quick, nimble and handles the various NYC potholes like a champ. Keep up the great work! Regards, Joe. Read about Fixed FridaysSubmitted by: Joseph Gravier October 17, 2005
Thanks Rob English for introducing me to the BF as a serious
bicycle through his entertaining web site , I have just completed my first 1000 kms on my new retro Pocket Rocket, financed by selling my cherished Eddy Merckx (Litespeed, or is it the other way around?. As I travel a lot I got sick of the hassle of bike bags and the inevitable damage incurred by bagge handlers. The real bonus is that the bike itself is so much fun to ride and as good to ride as any high end racing bike, with the bonus of acceleration that you really notice when you get back on a 27 inch wheeler. Thank you Rob English you are a great advocate for the product and Epic cycles in Brisbane are very enthusiastic agents.
I'm a long time Campy rider. I made some changes to my PR with a 105 setup. By using Campy Veloce shifters and a Centaur rear D, I am able to use the Shimano Capreo rear hub and Cassette. Thus saving large amounts of money. I swapped out the Kalloy bars for Deda bars, just sent the bars back to BF and they cut and shimmed them for me. I went with the King headset. 105 crank. Speedplay pedals. The bike rides like a dream. I travel for work about once a month and the PR goes with me. I have had no problems with the airlines so far and I manage to pack everything I need into the case. I am hoping to the be able to communte to work soon, thirty mile trip, about 20 of it will be on the train. I can't think of a better way to get to work than a BF. Just have to survive the South Florida drivers.Submitted by: John Mason October 8, 2004
My Pocket Rocket has been in the bike stable for about a decade now. It has replaced the other road bikes for first choice in many events (general riding, club races, the Bicycle Ride Across Tennessee (BRAT), and - of course - for travel). The fit is good, handling good, packing in the older Samsonite suitcase is not a problem either.Submitted by: Trip Bowers October 5, 2004
The best thing I like about my Pocket Rocket is its handling - better than virtually every standard wheel bike I have ridden. It's brilliant for descending Alpine passes - not a hint of a wobble at speeds of 40mph-plus and goes round hairpin bends as if it was on rails.Submitted by: Peter Johnson March 11, 2004
I started out buying a used Pocket Rocket. I really enjoyed the speed, handling and it was fun to ride. But the Pocket Rocket was set up for a lighter weight person than I am. I live in Portland (rainy) Or. I am into bike commuter and touring. I needed a bike that would handle 300 lbs, me and gear, and stop in the rain. I finally decide a custom built bike was the only way to meet all my requirements . My new bike would have to have disk brakes (to stop in the rain) plus braze-on for v-brakes (available almost anywhere), frame able to handle 300 lbs( my 225lbs and up to 75lbs gear), strong 36 spokes wheels( 20406 bmx tires found almost anywhere), bar-con shifters( reliable), a low gear around 17 inches ( for hill climbing with loaded touring gear), plus a frame that allowed large tires. The pocket Llama seemed to fit the bill. But I wanted front suspension to take out some of the road jar but because 6 or 9 extra lbs was too much extra weight for a suspension fork I decided against it. Until Mike at BF said that the Gnu front suspension add only about 21/2lbs to the bike. I decided to order the Gnu with narrow tires and rims because I already had a spare set of wide rims and tires. That way I would have a narrow set for commuting and a wide set when I went off on gravel road. The Gnu was designed for my body and riding style. When I got, it sure felt good and fit right. My test track is Skyline blvd a mountainous road near my house, The Gnu climbed very well and in its lowest gear the front end did not rise up like I had happen on other bikes( like my Dahon). With the narrow wheel set it felt as fast and fun to ride as my Pocket Rocket and with the disk brakes it really stops in the rain. It took me a while to learn to adj. my disk brakes correctly so they don squeak. But in the rain I would not leave home with out them. I have customized my fenders and add mud flaps to keep the spray down when out in the rain. At least 2 nights a week I meet my wife (who drives to work ) at the fitness center and fold up my Gnu and put in the trunk for the trip home. I fold it up and put it inside my small RV when we go on trips instead of on the back getting dirty and wet. This summer I am biking the Oregon coast with my son and will fold it up and Greyhound it back from Brooking. To say I love my Gnu is an under statement. It is meeting all my needs.Submitted by: Mac Mclain May 21, 2003
Jim Langley, Lord of Headbadges among other talents,
has written an excellent piece about his Pocket Rocket on his website. Click here to read it.
In 2002, I purchased a Bike Friday. The model I bought is a Pocket Rocket. Some of the specs for my bike are as follows: drop handlebars, 3 ring road 27 and most importantly, it's yellow. When I purchased the Bike Friday, the only BF I'd ridden was a NWT. I didn't know what to expect but have been very pleasantly surprised. I currently own 5 bikes and the BF is tied with my Cannondale R800 for the position of my favorite bike. And that's saying something. The Pocket Rocket "felt" heavy at first. However, I've ridden it with friends who were riding their road bikes and I kept up quite nicely. I'm considering riding it in a 2-day 200 mile bike tour later this summer. As far as packing and unpacking the BF, unpacking is a cinch. I'm an engineer and have been fascinated with the fit and finish of my BF. I can assemble mine easily in 10 minutes. Packing is another story ... it takes a good half hour + to do it right and to get it in the carrying case. One side note here - I purchased the pedals that BF sells that "pop" out of the crank arms. Very worthwhile investment. I love those pedals. Another item worth mentioning is when I received my BF, one small item was missing. I contacted them on a SUNDAY - expecting to get an answering machine or answering service. Well, the BF operator put me on hold and after waiting on hold for a while ... guess who talked to me about the problem? ONE OF THE OWNERS! Yeah - one of the owners. Try calling Cannondale or Trek or Schwinn and getting THAT kind of service! All in all, I'm hooked. If I ever buy another road bike, it'll probably be a BF.Submitted by: Jim Knepper May 19, 2003
I really like the way my Pocket Rocket rides. It's responsive, has a nice feel and is stiff enough to do out-of-the-saddle sprinting and climbing. Actually, apart from my recumbent racer, it is my favourite bike.
Folding is okay for travelling, but not for commuting, alas. The hinges will not stand up to folding four times a day (in and out of trains) without developing some play.Submitted by: Kees Jan Heyboer May 25, 2001
I have used my Pocket Rocket around town and in the country on short tours. I really enjoy the speed of it compared to my previous New World Tourist.
I have not had a bike with drop bars for years since I had a Viscount Aerospace Pro back in 1978 in Tasmania. I enjoy the STI levers for shifting as well as the general feel of the bike. I can cruise around Canberra above 25kph no worries.Submitted by: Nic Gellie October 14, 2000
Like everyone else, I'm out of town two-thirds of each month.... loosing my riding legs. I was a little afraid to get a "foldable" bike since it was hard for me to find the right sitting position on my road bike.
What a surprise with my new Pocket Rocket! Not only did it fit right from the first ride but now I'm even riding it while I'm home (keeping my regular bike on the rack).Submitted by: Luis Tueme August 28, 2000
I've had at least two people tell me that the Pocket Rocket looks better for real than in the advertisements. Makes me look good!Submitted by: Preston Tyree July 12, 2000
I purchased a Pocket Rocket with Campagnolo Athena components without knowing quite where I would use it. One advantage I've noticed that's not highlighted in the material is how much quicker airport check in is with a BF - no taking your bike to the freight dock or picking it up at remote corners of the airport.
My first trip was to my parents' home in Toronto. Having a bike to get out on for the day made it easier to enjoy my stay. I had a great time riding around the area where I grew up and checking out my old haunts (my first apartment, first home, etc.).
After the success of this trip, I decided to take Friday to France starting with a Breaking Away tour of Provence and the Southern Alps and moving on to three weeks of riding from a rental home in Provence. The bike worked great on such climbs as Mount Ventoux and the Col de la Bonnette (highest paved road in Europe!) - although I did cheat by substituting 54/42 gearing for my stock 58/46. I climbed as well as I had in prior years on my deRosa or Colnago and found the Bike Friday extremely stable and easy to maneuver on the many switchback descents. At the end of the trip, Friday was able to fit with our family of four and all our luggage in our Peugeot 406, the TGV to Paris and a taxi to our hotel. Try that with anything else.
Next year, bring on Haleakala in Hawaii (0 to 10,023 feet in 37 miles) and the Dolomites in Italy.Submitted by: Jim Smith December 15, 1999
In late October I was going to a 4-day meeting right next to Central Park in NYC. Normally, I would not take a bike along as trying to lug the case through the airport, fitting it in a cab, and lugging it through the hotel lobby are not worth the hassle. With my Pocket Rocket, these problems are all solved.
I was able to enjoy two early afternoon rides around Central Park during lunch breaks (when the park is closed to traffic), and met some fellow cyclists who invited me to a 7 p.m. group ride in the park after dark. I almost never ride at night due to concerns about traffic, but at this time of day Central Park is closed to autos and has enough street lights to make this ride a blast.
Only negative of the trip was getting kicked off a beautiful 8-mile trip along the NJ shore of the Hudson River on Henry Hudson Park Road. To keep kids off the road they require bikes to have a minimum wheel size of 24". I tried to explain that my bike was the equivalent of a 27"-wheeled bicycle, but arguing with a cop is neither easy nor wise.Submitted by: Keith Olbrantz December 7, 1999
One of the things I like best about taking a Bike Friday on trips is how little space it takes up in hotel rooms and cars. Even when fully assembled, it's smaller than a conventional bike and is much easier to deal with in small hotel rooms, tiny Parisian elevators, etc. And when folded in half, forget about it: we fit two Pocket Rockets into the tiny luggage space behind the back seat of a Renault Twingo, leaving room for four adults in a miniscule French car that's about the size of a large sofa.Submitted by: David Fahrner December 3, 1999
I purchased a used Pocket Rocket about six months ago. The support from Bike Friday has been super! Not that I've needed a lot of support, the bike has been outstanding. I travel a lot in my job and take my Bike Friday everywhere. In fact, I've even found myself using it at home to commute to and from work rather than my "regular" bike. I've let quite a few people try it and all of their comments have been favorable.Submitted by: Bruce Mackey December 3, 1999
I rode El Tour de Tucson on what was actually the first Pocket Rocket ever released by Green Gear. This happened when I was executive editor of Bicycling magazine and in the bike-testing biz. El Tour was my first serious ride on the Pocket Rocket, and it helped my cover the 113 miles in just 5 hours. Most of my ride was solo because riders I caught couldn't keep up! After averaging 22.6 mph that day, I was convinced that the Pocket Rocket was as good as my best conventional bike. Since then, I've ridden a Pocket Rocket at events and training camps around the country. The longest ride has been a 300km brevet (186 miles) in which the bike rode great with a rear rack and trunk, and lighting system. I can heartily recommend a Pocket Rocket to any cyclist who wants performance without sacrificing convenience.Submitted by: Ed Pavelka December 1, 1999
Last week I was in Denver on business; unpacked and set up my Pocket Rocket and spent the week-end exploring the bike trails in Denver. There are numerous well-marked trails that you can use to get around the city and out to the mountains. I'm 6'5" 225lb, and do get some looks on what one of my friends call "your circus bike, the one like the bears ride!"Submitted by: Doug December 1, 1999
Because of a back problem I had to change my 700c from drop bars to an upright "longhorn" style bar which made me feel unstable being so high. The Pocket Rocket allows me to have a lower center of gravity with a resulting feeling of stability. That's the practical side. It's pure fun and rolls right along and now I can take my bicycle on vacation with me instead of renting some well worn "gas-pipe-special" that doesn't fit. The H bar is great and I can still sit almost upright. It's a well-designed machine. I haven't been on my 700C since the PR arrived.
I would like to see more attention paid to pre-delivery checks and packing (in the suitcase). Details on request.
FloydSubmitted by: Floyd Kessler December 1, 1999
I recently rode Cycle NC on my pocket rocket; 720 miles in 14 days. The rear hub noise stayed with me the entire ride. It's random, comes and goes at will (mostly comes) and just about drove me crazy. I called tech support and was told to put a few drops of oil in the rear hub. That didn't help. I was planning to do Bike South 2000 on Pocket Rocket next June, but I can't listen to that noise for 30 days. I need help with this problem. Any suggestions? Thanks.Submitted by: Robert Davis November 30, 1999
I bought my Pocket Rocket in the winter of l999. It took me about six months to learn to ride it and get the right things on it. For example, the Sachs hub will not shift under a load, so you must hesitate while you pedal when shifting to a lower gear.
At the top the of hill, likewise shift down quickly and listen for the click, then do the fine tuning with the regular derailleur.
I also found the following: seat post shock absorber makes the bike much more comfortable. Those small wheels do not absorb much of the road shock. A round mirror on the left drop bar is the best. Do not wrap a mirror around the left hood as that somehow interferes with the Sachs shifting. A Topeak rack that mounts of the seat post is more convenient than the heavy duty rack sold by Bike Friday--you can put a day pack on the Topeak.
The rear tire wears out a lot faster than the front. Before you take a long trip, try changing the tires in your own driveway--it is a challenge to get the bead off the rim. Be patient and you can do it. Be sure to let all of the air out of the tube when you take off the bead.
I had great fun with the bike in Vermont. I took it in the case up to my room, assembled it, then brought it down the stairs. The manager was dumb-founded that I had managed to "sneak" the bike up-stairs. Having this bike gives you a lot of extra time to ride, and not worry about calling around to rent a bike in a strange city.
Give the Pocket Rocket a try. It is great fun.Submitted by: Mark Wheeler November 30, 1999
For the last three Septembers, my wife and I have gone to France and cycled. The first two times we rented bikes at four different locations, often finding the equipment not up to the distances we are accustomed to riding.
This year we took two Pocket Rockets, and it was a fantastic experience. No extra charge on the plane, handled the Metro in Paris and the train down to the Dordogne without a hitch. They are smooth riding and fit us perfectly. My wife's has now become her favorite bike. We traveled inn to inn carrying all of our belongings in two small panniers per bike. The bikes handled this load and the steep terrain of the Dordogne without a whimper.
While I was initially hesitant about the Sachs internal hub gearing, I am sold on it now. The learning curve was short and gradual. I had an unfortunate tire cut on the second day, but had been warned that tires would be hard to find and so had brought a spare. Changing the rear tire, which I did three times, was easy. Two of our companions had full size wheel folding bikes that they had to lug in large body bags. It took two of them to lug one bike, and in Paris they had to take two taxis because they took up so much room. My wife and I could wheel our suitcases around easily ourselves. Another companion had shipped his bike from the States via UPS. It arrived three days late and cost him hundreds and hundreds of dollars.
If you enjoy seeing the world at bicycle speed and don't mind looking a little geeky, Bike Fridays are the way to go. My wife and I look forward to many return trips to France over the next decade.Submitted by: Wil Wilkoff November 30, 1999
I have had a Bike Friday Pocket Rocket for six years and as a member of the cycling press, I've had plenty of chances to ride it in memorable events.
In my tenure as Training and Fitness Editor for Bicycling Magazine I did rides like the Hotter'n Hell Hundred. In my present incarnation as Senior Editor for Asimba.com (a fitness lifestyle Web site with free training plans for cycling and other sports) I rode Lon Haldeman's Desert Camp in Tucson, hammering out 550 miles in six days. It even handled eight consecutive days of rain in Ireland on what the local racers called "hard roads"-bumpy, barely paved tracks through the bogs and over the Connemara Mountains. With fenders and slightly wider tires, Bike Friday proved the equal of everything the leprechauns could throw at it.
But my most memorable ride on Bike Friday didn't take place in an exotic location. Instead, it was a prosaic 100 miler in Ohio. You see, I grew up in northern Ohio but moved to Colorado in 1970. So when I go back to the Midwest to visit relatives, I always pack along my Pocket Rocket. On this occasion I left Cleveland at dawn, picked my way south through the urban sprawl and headed west into Lorain County where I grew up. The air was clear, a light mist rose from the fields and the summer humidity had been washed away by a cold front. I cruised the flat farm roads, meandered through tall fields of corn that shielded me from a pesky west wind and marveled at how the hills of my youth had been dwarfed in my perceptions by years of riding real mountains in Colorado.
Outside of Elyria, I turned onto a newly-paved bike path, part of a rails-to-trails conversion. It led to my old hometown, Kipton, a hamlet of several hundred people. If you've never tried it, I highly recommend riding a bike around the town where you grew up. The last time I had ridden the streets of Kipton, I was a kid on a balloon-tired Roadmaster. Now I was older-quite a bit older-and the bike was lighter, faster and much more sophisticated. But I could still feel something of that sense of freedom and possibility that is the essence of cycling and, come to think of it, the essence of youth as well. Down by the old railroad station, past the house we lived in, through the tiny downtown, a side trip to the elementary school, now closed. A bike is the perfect nostalgia machine and if you don't have an easily packable Bike Friday to tote on your homecomings, you'll miss the ride of a lifetime.Submitted by: Fred Matheny October 18, 1999
Bfa TravelBag, Standard 34"x 29"x 9" (Black)
Part No. 35
Low Mount for bar height over 37 inches
Part No. 8170
CatEye Strada Wireless CC-RD300W Cyclometer
Part No. 11913
Bfa Fender Set for PR, PRP, XL451
Part No. 7129
BF Rear mnt kickstand - PR, PRPro. PL &, pre 2000 BFs
Part No. 596
Direct mount, black, alloy kickstand (NWT,PT,FT, Cr)
Part No. 6519
BF Alloy Rear Rack & Underbag - 40 lb limit Black
Part No. 15437
BF Folding Rear Rack Cro-Moly tube - Black 65lb limit
Part No. 9461
Terry Mens Cite Y Gel
Part No. 10343
BFTravTrailer Alu-Frame,Whls w/CS hitch, fits Travelcase
Part No. 972
BF Flite TravelCase Black + BF packing system (Pocket Bikes)
Part No. 10968