Ultra Review of a Pocket Rocket Pro
EDITOR’S NOTE: Douglas Hoffman, executive director of the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association, recently reviewed a Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Pro for their January Newsletter. Here are some excerpts from his review:
“I ordered from Bike Friday a bike that would perfectly match the fit of my most comfortable bike for long distance riding. I ordered a Pocket Rocket Pro, as I wanted the bike to be something that, if I needed to, I could ride in races and other events. I wanted the controls to be familiar, and as much as possible the set up to be identical to that of my most pleasant race bike, a titanium Serotta built to fit me in a few years back. So, when I ordered the bike from Bike Friday, I measured everything exactly to the nearest 0.5mm, confirmed this against my fit measurements on file and provided them with all of the information they requested.
“90 days later, a box arrived, and though I was anxious to get it all together, I very carefully clipped each zip tie and went through all of the parts one by one, before beginning assembly. I have a default approach to putting things together. I figure things out, try a few things, if something doesn’t work, I try something else, but it took only a moment to realize what care had been put into building this bike and I felt it deserved more respect. So instead of my “when all else fails read the instructions” technique, I sat down and read the very clear paperwork that came with the bike and laid out each piece with great care. Then I began to put the bike together. Having done the necessary reading, everything was easy. The bike had been well packed and each piece was well protected. Of course, Bike Friday makes bikes for many purposes and that includes bikes that come together and break down in seconds, but this was not that. The Pocket Rocket Pro is designed to be the best possible combination of a fully functional race bike and a bike that packs easily and efficiently. And what a combination it is.
“As the bike came together I continued to be amazed. The fit and finish was impeccable. There was one detail I did not think was a masterpiece, and that is the little plate with my name on it that they added at no cost to me. The adhesive had peeled off a bit and so it was a bit loose. Nothing necessary or even useful, it was just a cute add-on, done in my opinion too cheaply. I would rather not have it. Again, the overall fit and finish is excellent. Rather than providing me with a fixed and ultra light stem, they included an adjustable one, so that I could dial in the precise fit and then send it back for them to use as a template for the final. Frankly, for me I do not think this was necessary as I have all of my fit numbers precisely logged and ready to go. I assume that this is not the case for most people, and as such, the adjustable stem process is a good step. It was a non-issue for me, however, as they make the process so easy. There is a next day air box, label, and packing material included, and once I had confirmed my fit, I had the new stem in hand in less than a week. Well done!
“So, I got the bike all set up, did some local riding and packed the bike up in a rather spacious suitcase (provided) with all of my riding gear including helmet, shoes, pump, etc., as well as my garment bag, and hopped on a plane for Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. …
“Each day for the next week, after I had done what I was there to do, I got on the Bike Friday and took off. As I rode off the property of the ashram, I rode into a world to which I have limited exposure, a world that I would never have seen without the bike.
“I rode the bike hard at times: standing sprints up hills (trying to keep up with 3 young people on one Honda Rebel Motorcycle, yelling, “Come, come we race!”) and braking hard (on a descent a water buffalo, easily 1000 pounds, burst forth from the bushes on the side of the road). I also rode the bike on familiar roads here in the Catskills, climbing Meads Mountain and descending McDaniel, roads I have ridden many, many times on bikes I know well. There is nothing this bike does not do well. It would not be the first bike I would reach for if the only factor were the ride. I own beautiful bikes built for me by Spectrum and Serotta. For most days I would reach for one of them. But the fact that I can consider this bike, which weighs under 20 pounds and fits in a suitcase, against them at all, the fact that I give up so little in handling, braking, climbing, and descending, as compared to bikes that are arguably the best in the world, is an astonishing testament to the abilities of Bike Friday.
“I would recommend a Bike Friday to anyone who is looking for a folder and would urge them to do as I did, contact Bike Friday, tell them what you are looking for, listen well and then make choices. The people at Bike Friday know what they are doing, and the engineering work behind their designs, much of which was done by legendary bicycle builder Rob English, simply works.”