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Read what our customers SAY about Bike Friday

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. Simply select a Bike Friday model from the list on the right, and you'll get reviews specific to that model.

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Tandem Traveler XL - 9
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Date: April 29, 2010
Posted by: Rod Harwood
Tandem Heaven

It came yesterday.  I spent the afternoon putting it together for the first time.  The instructions were good.  I made a few wrong turns along the way but finally figured it out.  I was impressed with the care you took in packing it up, by how well everything fit together, that brakes and shifting were in perfect adjustment out of the box, tires inflated ready to go.  The purple paint job is spectacular!  It rides superbly (solo).  So far, I am one very satisfied customer.  Now all I have to do is learn how to ride the thing w a stoker!  That's going to be Jim Black's assignment.

Thank you for helping me create this beautiful machine.  I hope you got to see it in it's final form.  Perhaps I'll get by there sometime with it; I'd love to take you for a ride.

Rod Harwood

Overall Experience Rating:
Date: February 23, 2009
Posted by: Greg Illes
Email: illesg@yahoo.com
Tandem XL - first 500 miles report

We've had our Tandem XL since last September, "Pumper", a bright orange mid-range model with SRAM 3x9 gearing. With a mega-cassette (11-34) and 42T front ring, we're getting gearing from under 20 to over 100, depending on tires. For our purposes, the Schwalbe Marathon 1.75x406 are superb, offering low rolling resistance and a decent ride over the rough stuff. We've got it set up with front and rear cargo bags for day-rides, plus 5 water bottle racks, and fenders. Full of tools, spares, first-aid, water, food, and camera/batteries it tips the scale right around 55 pounds (41# empty and bare). It takes down in less than 15 minutes, and (for the aviation crowd out there) it packs into the luggage bay of our tiny Van's RV6 two-seater. We've ridden it pretty much every weekend, 20-50 miles, until the really bad weather set in, and have stacked up nearly 500 miles of everything from flat pavement, rutty fire-roads, 10% hills (VERY short ones), and a couple of sewer grates (ouch). No flats, no problems, not a squeak or a creak or an issue of any kind whatsoever. Finally got around to lubricating the chains this (rainy) weekend. As when we got it, the bike handles like it is on rails. We can crank up the gruesome hills at 3mph, then howl down the other side (our max speed to date is 46mph). No trace whatsoever of any wobble, weave, or instability - it's just simply one of the most rock-solid bikes I've ever ridden. The one thing I've added is an Arai drum drag brake - I would not even THINK about running a tandem in the hills without this or something like it - it was clear we would fail a brake or blow a tire for sure. Before we got the Arai, the rims would get too hot to touch even on a short 200-300 foot descent. Since we got the brake, we've done 1500-foot non-stop descents with ease and peace of mind. As for BF support, well, I've had outstanding support from BF in working on my other bikes, getting ideas and parts and advice. But there hasn't been any trouble with my XL, so I can't say they've helped me with it because they just built it right in the first place. It's a great team. Bottom line - a fabulous bike, great company, and superb way to spend time with my beloved friend/wife/stoker Karin, watching the redwoods/beaches/fields go by. Here's a pic of a couple of months back, in Santa Cruz along Sea Cliff Drive: https://www.bikefriday.com/node/1955?imageId=7843 What incredible fun, Greg Illes

[Read more about BF pilots - LC]

Overall Experience Rating:
Date: October 5, 2008
Posted by: Greg Illes
Email: illesg@yahoo.com
Beyond my expectations

After some flak on the YAK forum about BF quality, I confess to having been more than a little concerned. In fact, I had conversations with both Dave Seybert and Tim Link about the company's quality control and overall reaction to all the recent growth. This posting is to let everyone know how well BF is actually doing.

Friday, my new pumpkin-orange Tandem XL showed up, in 100% perfect condition and operating order. The bike is a DD 27-speed with a huge rear cassette (11-34), and it will climb a redwood tree when we get our legs in shape. Set up with everything, the bike is 41 pounds naked and about 50 pounds with all of our gear and water for a full day on it. The fit, finish, workmanship, component quality, and overall results are simply outstanding. The packing was light, economical, and perfectly protected the bike during shipment. I am a really picky guy, and during assembly I went over every piece of the bike with high scrutiny - perhaps higher than normal due to my previously mentioned concerns.

What did I find wrong? The rear wheel was out of true by 0.020" (told you I'm picky). I didn't like the style of the stoker's bar mount, so I swapped it with one I had in a drawer. There were a couple of typos in the instruction manual. In short, things were about as perfect as it's reasonably possible to get.

Today, Sunday, my super-stoker/spouse and I went on a carefree 40-mile ride through the California redwood forests of Santa Cruz County, without a single concern or mishap (well, there was that one little moment where I dumped it in the dirt during a faulty U-turn, but we won't dwell on that). Our new steed performed flawlessly.

The bike rides like a dream. It tracks, turns, shifts, and stops with a gliding smoothness that decries the tiny wheels and unusual construction/design. We had it cranking up 10% grades in second gear, and howling down the other side at almost 40, spun out in top gear, and every speed in between. For the whole ride, it tracked the turns like it was on rails. The frame has a little spring to it (vertical), but we quickly learned how forgiving that made some of the imperfect road's jolts. Tires are 406-1.75 Schwalbe Marathons at 65psi, a very nice combination of big-tire softness and small-tire low rolling resistance. Special note on the DD setup: fabulous. Thought-quick shifting, many times totally forgetting to remind ourselves to back off the power while shifting - it doesn't seem to care, but we'll do it anyway to extend the lifespan.

It's also QUIET, no chain noise or clattering between gears. You can feel the slight stretchy-ness in the longer tandem cables, but it's just an idiosyncrasy. We always had a gear to use with this setup, and it never complained about any combination of course, because there aren't any bad combinations on the DD setup. In short, a marvelous bike, a fabulous day, we're both just blown away by how much fun we had and how great a product we bought. Best money ever spent. Many thanks to Dave and Tim for their patience and attention. Greg Illes

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