Hey, did you charge your bike?
If Shimano — and now Campagnolo — have their way, this might become a more common question with the introduction of electronic shifting.
With battery life extending several months, charging will be a very infrequent occurrence.
For folding and travel bikes this actually makes a lot of sense — electric wires don’t care about tricky routing and potentially getting kinked during packing.
We have installed Shimano’s Ultegra Di2 on several Bike Fridays and it works very well. It even plays nice with the Capreo cassette.
We have done builds with a 56T chainring for a tall 56×9 top gear, and also with a compact 34/50 crankset for more mountain friendly gearing.
The frame does require a few special modifications.
First, we add braze-on mounts for the battery on the back of the seat tube. The battery then sits neatly tucked out of the way between the seat tube and rear wheel.
There is a mount for the junction box on the front of the seat tube.
The front derailleur requires additional bracing for the motor to push against, so we add some reinforcement to the hanger.
And finally we can leave off the gear cable loops on the mainframe, as there is only the rear brake cable to run.
Once it is all setup, shifting is perfect; the front derailleur even trims itself as the chain moves up and down the cassette.
Do we NEED electric shifting? Probably not, but it is pretty neat!
12 comments September 23, 2013
Bike Friday owner Randy Comer has been riding his new <i>Silk</i> all over the South, and everywhere he goes, he’s pretty sure his is the first <i>Silk</i> there.
Randy rode the bike tour at the Chickamauga Battlefield near Chattanooga, TN.
He then took his <i>Silk</i> to the site of the headquarters for Gen. Longstreet and Hood of Gettysburg fame.
‘It was a great day for a bike tour and the rangers took an interest in my bike,” Randy said.
Add comment September 20, 2013
By Rich King
[EDITOR'S NOTE: Last fall when Bike Friday faced the challenge of our tikit stem recall, Richard King appeared out of nowhere to lend his assistance. An independent engineer with experience in failure analysis and stress analysis, King came up to Eugene at his own expense, and visited Bike Friday.
He reviewed our testing procedures as well as our solution, and gave us valuable independent confirmation that our solution was sound. Shortly after that, Richard became a Bike Friday owner. He recently sent us this note:]
Instead of “what did you do on a Bike Friday,” this post is in its own category: “what did you do to your Friday?
I had a very nice Bike Friday Pocket Companion, minding its own business, serving me well as a travel and utility bike. I used to have a Rans Rocket recumbent, a double 20-inch short wheel base, which was fun to ride. They don’t make it anymore.
I now have a Bacchetta Strada, with bigger wheels and an aerodynamic laid back position. It was fast but not as manueverable as the Rocket had been.
Also ‘bents are not the best to travel with, of course (except for those fortunate enough to own a SatRDay).
I don’t remember when the seed got planted, but it occurred to me that if you removed the seat post on my Companion and put on a recumbent seat, then clamped a boom on the front for the cranks, the Friday’s geometry would be similar to the Rans Rocket’s. By angling the boom a little higher and reclining the seat more, you’d get a more aero position similar to the Bacchetta’s.
I’m not a machinist. I am a mechanical engineer, but a theory guy.
I can analyze things on a computer just fine, but actually working with metal in practice is more of a challenge (to put it kindly). Also the tools at my disposal are the typical suburban garage stuff.
So out came the hacksaw and I cut the boom off the Strada, after she served me faithfully for about 8 years. Sorry! I was able to recycle the steel from her frame and sell some of the components, and reuse the recumbent seat for my project.
I squished the end of the boom in a vice to mimic Friday’s ovalized main tube. I took an aluminum tube and also squished it, cut in half, and used it to splice the boom to the Companion with tube clamps from McMaster-Carr (a good source for general-purpose mechanical stuff).
Some “mending plates” from the hardware store served to improvise a clamp for the bottom of the Strada’s seat. The back support tubes (known in the ‘bent world as “sprint braces” — a bit of exaggeration if I’m the rider) fit nicely into the threaded eyelets Green Gear provides for a rear rack.
To finish it off, I used the Strada’s rollers and chain. “Chain management” is a big issue on recumbents in general. When you’ve got to replace your chain you use three conventional bike chains hooked together. The humongous length of chain flops all over the place and rubs on things if you don’t “manage” it. The x-roller system Bacchetta uses worked well for this purpose.
So here’s a picture of the finished prototype.
It rides great! Nimble like the Rans Rocket, but fast like a Bacchetta if I recline the seat enough. I rode it for a few weeks around my home in Morgan Hill, CA, and it did just fine. I got cocky and decided to enter the Oregon Human-powered championships, held May 24 and 25 at Portland International Raceway. That should be no problem with a suitcase bike!
Before you get to the Friday packing part, here are the extra steps: remove the seat, undo the master link on the chain, put it in a plastic bag so it doesn’t get grease all over everything, then unclamp the boom. Not too bad, about 10 minutes worth.
Now go through the usual Friday packing procedure. Then work the boom in around the bike. Dang, it won’t fit with the cranks attached. OK, undo the cranks from the boom and fit them in separately. Almost done, just fit the seat in on top of the bike and close the lid!
There’s no way the lid going to close without separating the seat in two. So out comes the hacksaw again, and off to the hardware store again for some more mending plates. The result works from an engineering standpoint, if not too aesthetically pleasing (nothing a little black duct tape won’t hide).
Now the two parts of the seat go in and the lid closes! With me kneeling on it while I strain my fingers working the latches, hoping I’m not bending anything critical inside. There’s a good chance if TSA pops this open to inspect, they’ll never get it closed again. All right, so it’s a two suitcase bike. Thank goodness Southwest Airlines lets you check two. The seat goes in the bag with my clothes.
I flew to Portland a day early so I could show it off to my friends at Friday in Eugene. It took less than 10 minutes to reassemble the bike! That’s aside from the recumbent part, which took a further 90 minutes, much of which was spent on reassembling the blankety-blank seat.
I finally made it to Friday’s facility. Now, I was a bit embarrassed showing off my kludged-together contraption to professionals, but it was warmly received. Alan Scholz and a couple of other guys took it for a ride and came back smiling. My favorite was when I tried to explain that the seat didn’t adjust, so only people with about the same leg length as me could try it out. Someone took one look at the bike, laughed and said “Rich, you don’t need to explain why the seat doesn’t adjust”.
So feeling nicely reassured that the folks at Friday didn’t mind too much what I did to their creation, I headed up to Portland for the event. I had scratched the decals during the conversion process, so they steamed them off for me at Bike Friday and gave me new ones to replace them with. But I managed to promptly lose them!
So I showed up at the Portland raceway with an unidentified bike, but at least I was wearing my Bike Friday Jersey. It was well received, and more than one person who fondly remembered the SatRday said they liked it. As I was zooming by (at least it seemed like zooming to me) in the time trial, I heard some “go Friday!” shouts.
I must say in this crowd I fit right in, in fact this was one of the tamer of the homebuilds. I think my favorite was a front wheel drive recumbent where you pedal with both your hands and feet. Quite a good workout, the rider was quite fast on it, but man was he huffing and puffing afterward.
As far as the racing results, the bike did pretty well, although it could do with a better engine. I’m working on that, but with a vintage 1953 engine there’s only so much you can do.
In the racing class of recumbents without fairings, the bike got soundly whupped by the “low racers” which are super-aero with the rider very low and almost horizontal — it’s a bad sign when you can see them balancing themselves by laying a hand on the ground while they are standing still.
The ‘bent Friday held its own, though, against more upright (and practical) “high racers.” So if you like a fast practical bike like the performance bikes by Bachhetta, Volae, etc, I think this design could be a travel worthy equivalent (if we can get the packing time down from 90 minutes).
Since the Portland trip, I’ve also ridden the bike in a human-powered vehicle event at the Hellyer velodrome nearby in San Jose. It was exhilarating riding it on the banked turns, which I had never tried before. I even played with swooping down from the banks into the straights like the track cyclists do in match sprints. I was glad to have brakes, though, unlike track bikes.
But I must say that, like most ‘bents, this bike shines the most as a comfortable cruiser. Lazyboy on wheels!
2 comments September 15, 2013
[Editor's Note: We recently got this note from our Angel Investor, Jeff Linder]
“I just finished Rebecca Rusch’s first annual “Rebecca’s Private Idaho Gravel Grinder.”
“It’s a 100-miler on unimproved back mountain roads. I have never been so “jack-hammered” in all my life.
“The memory of Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix are too blunted by time to make a substantive comparison, but I’m thinking this might have been the most gruelling century of my career.
“I can’t begin to tell you how many people, all with sincere motives and concerns, tried to talk me out of doing it on a Bike Friday.
“I don’t think I saw but one or two bikes out of the 230 or so that weren’t either ‘cross bikes, mountain bikes or a smattering of Roubaix’s with disc brakes and ‘cross wheels.
“My concession to the course was to drop my gearing to a compact crankset with the standard Capreo hub (9-26) and a 1 3/8 BMX tire on the front and an 1 1/8 BMX tire on the back.
“I heard more than one tale of woe centered on five flats. Even the SRAM service car got two flats out on the course.
“I haven’t seen my official time, but my running time according to my Garmin was 7:58 hours. So I’m guessing that my pedalling was under 7.5 by a fair amount.
AND no flats! Praise the Lord and pass the ammo.”
Add comment September 15, 2013
My nephew is on a business trip to Germany, and caught a glimpse of a Bike Friday parked in Pfortzheim Germany.
Add comment September 13, 2013
We get calls every day. From people all around the world.
Sometimes the names sound kinda familiar. Like really familiar.
Sometimes we have to ask, “Are you THE [fill in the blank]??”
Guess who called in to order the Triple above?
HINT: Look at the nameplate!
Add comment September 11, 2013
Denny Fuhrman looked out across the tarmac at the Independence Airport, splattered with a decent number of airplanes and declared that was only a nibble of what’s to come.
“This will be packed with planes,” Fuhrman said in the wee hours of the morning as cooks began preparing flapjacks for the pancake breakfast at the Independence Fly-In and Van’s Homecoming. “Just wait.”
Sure enough. One by one, small planes descended upon Independence, Oregon, under clear skies and a bright morning sun.
Most of them were Van’s kit planes. Usually hand-built by the pilot at the controls.
“They take about 2000 hours to build,” Fuhrman said, “and usually cost around $70,000 — or more — by the time they are finished.”
Van’s has been a great promoter of Bike Fridays over the years, and has one on display at their facility.
Eventually a pilot came to the booth and wanted physical proof that the 2014 Pocket Companion could fit into the storage area of his RV4.
I’ll be honest. The owner of the plane pulled the seat back, looked at the folded Companion and shook his head.
The pressure was on. But …
5 comments September 9, 2013
I got up early Sunday to run some errands.
Early to rise, early to bed.
My goal for the day was simple: Chill in my chair.
I had no other plans. Nor designs.
But I made a huge mistake when I finished my errands. I didn’t close the back hatch on my SUV.
As I settled into my chair, my wife walked in with disturbing news.
“You know Ridgely is in the truck,” she said.
Dang that dog.
If we are ready to embark on an adventure, she goes nuts. Like a caffeine addict at a Starbucks Grand Opening.
The only solution is to open the hatch, and let her in. She’ll sit there for hours if she has to. Her message is clear: You ain’t leaving without me!
Only this time, I wasn’t planning to leave. Period.
I tried to ignore her. I really did. I wanted to rest and relax. It’s been a long month.
No such luck. So after cursing her under my breath, I folded my Aerospoke Llama and put it in the back of the truck.
Suffice to say, Ridgely was pleased.
We headed out near Oakridge to ride the Middle Fork Trail.
It has been ages since I rode the Middle Fork Trail. It’s a mountain bike trail, but extremely well groomed.
I’ll tell anyone who listens that you probably wouldn’t want to ride a Llama on a real technical mountain bike trail. On well-groomed trails, well, it’s a blast. Kinda like BMXing with real mountain bike gears.
The last time I rode the Middle Fork was on my regular Llama. The big difference on this ride would be the disc brakes.
I haven’t spent a huge amount of time on disc brakes. And fewer miles off-road with them. The question is what impact they have.
Since I haven’t been mountain biking in a long time, at least not serious, push the limits mountain biking, it took a while to get adjusted.
The disc brakes take a little adjusting, too. They stop you in a hurry.
Once I got the feel for the brakes, they were super.
In and out of water crossings, the brakes were there, ready to respond, the same way they did the first time.
Not hearing a little grinding of sand and dirt mixed with creek water on my rims helped showcase the value of the disc brakes.
Wet or dusty, they stopped me the same. Everytime.
Maybe it’s just me, but on a very steep descent, I felt like I had much more control over the braking.
This particular descent usually turns into a no brake let’s walk, or drag the back tire affair.
Instead, with the discs, it was a sweet, slow, controlled event.
And listen, control and mountain biking aren’t two things that often come together for me. I’m average at best.
As Ridgely took a couple of dips into the Willamette River to cool down and hydrate, I snapped a couple of photos.
It struck me that it has been a really, really long time since we’ve ridden this trail.
And I LOVE this trail.
So I started searching my memory. When was the last time we rode this.
Oh, yeah, the LAST TIME!
It was an early spring ride. Since I wasn’t sure how folks would handle it, I never published the photo of why we turned around.
We came up a hill and, whoa, check it out!
[The photo appears at the bottom for those of you who would prefer not to look.]
A half-eaten Bull Elk was down in the middle of the trail.
Suffice to say we turned around at that point, and headed home.
This time? No Elk. No worries.
We’ll be back. Sooner than later.
Add comment September 9, 2013
The fact of the matter is that you just never know.
You never know what evolves from anything.
Take, for instance, this example.
Ed Poll is the friend of a consultant who helped us out last year.
Ed stopped by and got a tour from Co-Founder Alan Scholz.
Ed wasn’t interested in buying a bike.
They got to talking, and Ed decided to write a blog entry about Bike Friday and Customer Service.
Now that story continues to pop up in Law magazines around the U.S. The latest was in the Wisconsin Law Journal.
Thanks for stopping by, Ed. That story is pretty cool.
Add comment September 4, 2013
OK, that’s a lot of letters. Alphabet soup. What’s it mean?
Well, it means that the Bike Friday OSATA [which stands for One Size Adjusts To All] was a smashing success at the SRTS [Safe Routes to School] National Conference in Sacramento.
On Tuesday morning, LeeAnne Fergason of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance in Portland, and our local Eugene Safe Routes to School Coordinator Shane MacRhodes took a number of cycling advocates on a ride around Sacramento to share some of their teaching techniques.
MacRhodes brought five of his fleet of 40 OSATAs for some to ride. When they were still short of bikes, Dan Allison from the San Juan School District just outside Sacramento loaned eight more OSATAs from his fleet of 30-plus.
After some quick adjustments, the group of more than 20 was off and riding.
With Shane leading the way in his top secret prototype Bike Friday.
Judging by the response of the riders, the OSATAs are just the type of bike they are looking for to use as fleet bikes.
For educational fleets, the OSATA offers a simple design with 8 speeds and front and rear hand brakes.
In the Safe Routes to School programs, instructors got into a school with bikes and teach an entire class how to ride safely. MacRhodes says it’s very beneficial to have a fleet of identical bikes, to avoid the fight over who gets which bike.
3 comments September 2, 2013