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Read what our customers SAY about Bike Friday

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

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Pocket Companion - 5
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Overall Experience Rating:
Date: February 23, 2015
Posted by: Douglas Curran
Email: dougcurran@shaw.ca
Close, but could be better

I love the look of my Pocket Companion, but a few things about it irritated me. The seat mast hardware pops off when you loosen the Allen bolt to remove the mast. Fitting a quick release clamp, secured with a 3 mm. screw means that i don't have to juggle two parts and hold the seat mast at the desired height when replacing it on the bike.

Bike Friday doesn't make clear that the Pocket Companion doesn't have a replaceable chain ring, so changing the overall gearing meant buying a new crankset.

While the Pocket Companion is their lowest cost bike, it should still not be built around under-spec'd components such as a chain ring that can not be altered without unnecessary expense.

Combined with fenders, rack, tires and bell the bike still topped out at over $1,150 - not cheap to my thinking. The factory-equipped 48 tooth chainring was simply under geared. leaving me constantly 'spun out' on any slight downslope, at the end of the 8 gears. Fitting a 54 tooth ring makes a better overall range and cruising in 6th gear.

Overall Experience Rating:
Date: July 7, 2011
Posted by: Yeoh Chee Weng
Posted by: Cheeweng
Email: yeohcheeweng@gmail.com
Review of Pocket Companion

Review of Bike Friday Standard Pocket Companion, medium frame (56cm. top-tube), Black color, USD1173 bought from OneBikes shop, authorised dealer, in Jakarta.

Upgrades & accessories: USD586 2) STI Sora 9 speed shifters 3) Cassete 9 speed 4) Chain 9-speed 5) Travel agent (adjuster to use STI Sora brake levers with V-brakes) 6) Bar tape 7) Front rack 8) Removable pedals Specifications: Bars Flat Bars - Kalloy MTB, polished aluminum 22" 5 degree (dealer did not accept trade-in, so I have them too).

Upgraded to drop-bar. Stem Bike Friday Ahead style on adjustable riser Cranks Vuelta Alloy Triple, square taper 170mm Bottom bracket 113mm BF Sealed Cartridge Bearing Tires 20 x 1.75 Kenda Kontact 20 (406) 40-65psi blk. hybrid Brake levers Tektro V-brake levers, upgraded to STI Sora brake levers Brakes Tektro "V" Brake Shifters SRAM MRX grip shift, 8x3 speed, upgraded to Shimano STI Sora 9x3-speed shifters Rear derailleur Shimano Deore SGS Front derailleur Shimano Ultegra Chainrings: 30-42-52 (Shimano Ultegra Triple crankset 6503 comes with three matched rings; 52 - 42 - 30 teeth) Cogs: SRAM 9 speed 11,12,13,14,16,18,21,24,28 Front hub External sealed - BF Select 32o 100mm Rear hub External sealed - BF Select 32o 130mm Rims Alex X-DM18 (406) 32o 20x1.5" silver and black Headset 1 1/4: OS Alloy Chain 8 speed, upgraded to 9 speed Seatpost Alloy micro adjust Saddle Velo Plush gel padded Pedals Removable pedals Weight: less than 12kg. complete bike with upgraded parts

Foldability: The claimed folded size - 34 x 33 x 12 in. After changing to drop-bars my rough measurement was 37 x 27.5 x 14 in. The seat-post and stem riser with the drop-bar had to be removed by turning the levers to release and then pulled out before they could be put into a soft travelling bag. A more expensive customisation would be fitted with the seat-post and stem that could be folded without removing from the bike. (See picture: BF folded with detached seat-post and stem riser) Packing: With seat-post, stem riser & wheels removed the bike with all its parts could be packed into a regular-size luggage measuring 31 x 22 x 11 in. without additional charge for oversize luggage imposed by airlines. (See picture: Luggage Bag with BF 1 & 2)

What I like about my Pocket Companion: Excellent construction (all BFs are hand-made) of its chromoly carbon steel frame (warranty for life) which is stronger, lighter and more rust-resistant than ordinary steel. I also like its simple design with most components (handle-bar, front & rear derailleurs, shifters, brake, seat-post, stem) that can be upgraded with third-party brands like Shimano & Sram)

The monocoque frame is very sturdy and there is no perceptible flexing when ridden. The ride is comparable to that of a regular MTB or road bike (without suspensions). I chose not to have additional joints that allowed the stem riser and seat-post to be folded because each joint added more weight and was more susceptible to vibration giving a "wobbly" ride and the bike tended to shimmy when descending fast down-hill. I have so far ridden the bike for about 120km. and tested it on the Genting-Sempah road in Kuala Lumpur (a long gradual uphill ascend of 25km).

I had ridden this road before on my Raleigh Elite MTB and could say that the BF performed just as well without much difference in effort thanks to the 27-speed (the same as that in my MTB). However, the max. speed of descend, without applying brakes, was definitely slower (48km. vs 68km) due to the smaller wheels. The 20in. wheels could climb hills as well as 26in. but again, slower, when pedalling at the same cadence and using both bikes on the lowest gears.

What I dislike about it: 1. The Shimano STI Sora shifters was below my expectation. There was a peculiar shifting from the big to the middle chainring when I had to click twice. All the other gear shifting required only one click. The rear derailleur shifting was smooth and easy but not the front derailleur which required me to press harder on the shifter. Perhaps the STI Sora shifter was not completely compatible with the front Shimano Ultegra derailleur. 2. When folding one had to be careful to shift the chain to the smallest chainring and the smallest cog otherwise the tension cable would pull too taut. However, when the chain was in this position (smallest chainring & smallest cog) the chain tended to drop off when the bike was folded. I saw a video which demonstrated how to avoid this but I was not able to keep the chain on which required me to manually reattach the chain after unfolding the bike. 3. Accessories from Bike Friday are very expensive. Furthermore, the authorised oversea dealers do not keep stock. I had to pay a 50% deposit to order a rear folding rack (USD139) and a soft travelling bag (USD79) from the Singapore dealer and was told that delivery would take 2-3 weeks. Conclusion: So far I have enjoyed riding the bike, in spite of its smaller wheels. I shall be using my BF for touring and commuting. The stiff shifting of the front derailleur is something that I can get used to until the Sora shifters wear out and I can upgrade to a better shifter. The foldability is not as easy nor as quick as that of other folding bikes but this wasn't my priority when I decided to buy a folding bike as long as I can pack it into a regular-size luggage bag for overseas travel. Performance, sturdiness, less vibration and less shimmy was what I preferred. In these respects the Pocket Companion passed the test. Pictures at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cheewengyeoh/sets/72157626948415881/

Overall Experience Rating:
Date: September 6, 2009
Posted by: Blake Cook
Email: polybeerist@gmail.com
Above and beyond.

I was recently in Eugene on a motorcycle trip. I've always wanted a Bike Friday. I walked to their location to see the bikes in person. Walter let me take one on a test ride on the bike path behind the shop. 10 miles later, I was hooked. I bought a Pocket Companion, with the provision that I could ride it while in Eugene and have them ship it home when I left. I don't yet have a great way to carry it on the motorcycle. I tore around the Eugene's excellent bike path system and averaged 20 miles a day. The day before I left, I dropped it at the shop. I drive a small car that my other bikes don't fit into, so I'm looking forward to taking this one on my adventures. I was amazed how fast and stable the little bike was. It was also nice that it fit nicely in my hostel room.

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