Read what our customers SAY about Bike Friday
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Posted by: Diane Pittman
On to a review of the New Sat R Day Tour after two hundred miles, 3 unpack, pack, cycles, twice blessed by TSA, and dozens of fold and carries:
Walter helped me with my set up. I've got Ultegra components, Chris King front hub and headset, and the Capreo. Shifters are Shimano bar end on Paul Thompson mounts for the best thumbies you will ever use. Avid brakes. Everything works flawlessly in the drive train except for the chain idler. My only concern about my component choice is that the disassembly and reassembly of the Ultegra crank requires traveling with a torque wrench (provided by Bike Friday even though I didn't order the tool package with the bike.)
The new SatRDay has a single long chain that crosses ahead and behind a single idler. The idler can move in and out on its mount which is a really cool way of keeping the chain line optimal in the variety of gears. There are two guards above and below the idler. They are all mounted on a bracket with clamps and may be adjusted up and down relative to each other and rotated. If they are not adjusted correctly you will get chain rubbing on them and lots of noise. My problem has been at times the chain on the power side of the idler jumps to the non power side. It seems to happen when I release tension on the chain and reapply or back pedal a bit. I've managed to adjust the idler for some improvement and it looks like things may wear in since the problem seems to be improving with time. When things are adjusted well the drive train is very quiet for a recumbent with such a long chain!
My main bike is an Optima Lynxx so the euro seat (carbon, made by Optima) is perfect for me. My strong preference for the rigid seat was my major motivation for trading in my old Saturday. The problem of fitting the seat into the suitcase was a challenge for the Friday folks. They finally just cut the top of the seat off straight across and finished the edges. The part they cut off has no support function for the rider. The only problems are you can't use standard Euro seat bags and the seat cushion extends beyond the seat. If you were to cut the cushion down it wouldn't fit well into the cover. Adjusting the seat is easy with a quick release for sliding it fore and aft, and two clamps allowing for adjustments in incline by telescoping the seat tubes. It is important to make sure that the quick release is very tight to prevent slippage. It took me a while find my optimal position, mostly because I was having trouble with the rear rack (BFs folding one) contacting the seat tubes and the seat itself. Finally gave up on the rack until I can get a modification.
The ride is cushioned by elastomers between the main frame tube and the back end. They allow a lot of movement (added to the problems with the rack) and do their job on the bumps though I am having some trouble with ponging up and down in some situations.
On the tour model there are two bottom bracket positions, mine is set at and I've always preferred the higher bottom bracket setting so haven't messed with it at all though it looks easy enough to change.
With the Lynxx I am used to the "begging hamster" handlebar position so the out to the side design of the SatRDay bars (similar position to "high racers" like the Volae) has required some getting used to. At first it felt less stable to me but as I am becoming accustomed I am liking the position more and more. There is a lot of adjustability and the sweep of the bars allowing for folding and accommodation of the pedalling knees is elegant. I've had some problems with one bar not being held securely enough by the quick release clamp, and I'm thinking there might a better way to regain handlebar position after folding than the clamp rings provided. Removing and adjusting bars through the stem clamp really chews the finish on them.
The folding stem that allows for dropping the stem and folded up bars to the side of the bike for quick fold at first glance looks rather funky. The bottom line is that it works quickly and reliably and really improves the ability to get a folded bike into the trunk of a car or other tight space. Folding and carrying have been a bit of a challenge and I still haven't found a consistent method that gets me an ideally consistent result. That said I always get seem to get a result (without too much angst) that allows me to respond to the problem at hand, getting on the Metro, carrying the bike up stairs, riding an elevator, getting it in the trunk. (I found that sometimes a less that fully compact fold made the bike easier to carry) The problem mostly centers around getting the rear derailleur to give up its slack at the appropriate time and keeping the chain from getting hung up in the idler guards. I've had some trouble with cable management relative to folding, especially with the front brake cable. (The angle of the cable when the wheel is rotated causes release of the brake)
Speaking of cable management; BIG improvement over the old SatRDay. Elegant use of a segment of inner tube does the trick!
Packing is pretty straight forward though placement of the front wheel is really touchy. I got to watch the first TSA inspection at our Bemidji Airport. The agent selected my bag for a 4 quadrant sweep with the little explosive detector wipes. After pulling the bike up to swab the corners it was a real challenge to get it seated correctly so the front wheel could rest lower than the crush protector. Fortunately she let me help or it never would have gotten repacked. On the return trip I deflated the front tire and used some velcro straps to hold the wheel to the frame. I only had two, three would have been better. The purpose was to keep the wheel in a fixed relation to the frame in case TSA moved it around. There was no damage to the wheel on return though there was some evidence on the inner part of the case of the rim rubbing. Weight was a problem. Initially I had my folding tool, a BF headset/pedal tool, a cable lock, the torque wrench, and the folding rack, in addition to the bike and packing materials. No trailer hardware. I came in at 52 pounds (Samsonite Flite case). Had to take out tools and lock and got down to 48. Not much leeway. No room for a helmet that I could find.
This bike is very responsive. In DC I did a lot of riding in crowded conditions with lots of pedestrian traffic. It required a lot of manuverablity and variation in speed which even though the bike was unfamiliar and I was still working out my ideal riding position was not difficult. I felt stable on the down hills, and climbing is a joy.
Despite the rack problems I used it quite a bit with a fair amount of weight in an Arkel Tail Rider. (Haven't used it with panniers yet). The bike handled well with the weight but the back end had a tendency to fold forward in situations where I was walking the bike. A bungey between the upper seat tube and the rack should prevent that.
I've used the word elegant a number of times here and I guess that is my bottom line assessment. This bike offers a comfortable ride, excellent performance, and the ability to go anywhere with you. Bike Friday has a winner here.
I have a trip to Vermont planned later in the month and will post an update when I get back. Feel free to email if you have any questions.
Diane Pittman, Bemidji, MN (218) 751-8134 Home In Brrrrrrrrrrmidji. The roads are clear, a little snow in the woods, and ice should be off the lake any day now......
Posted by: Larry Varney
I reviewed the new SatRDay for BentRider Online magazine (http://www.bentrideronline.com/reviews/srd2006/srd.html) And since then, I rode 350-400 miles on Bike Florida. I like this new SRD even better than the first one. Lighter, faster, more expensive (can't win them all!). If you're looking for a recumbent that quick-folds and can also be put in an airline-legal suitcase, look no further.
Posted by: Tom Thompson
I now have over 400 miles experience, and don't notice the steering so much. The new seat provides better support, and I really feel quite comfortable with the recumbent. It just took a while to adjust to the new position and the way it works. I am slower uphill than before, but then I have been slowing down for some years now!