Archive for the ‘Alfine’ tag
Interesting development from Raleigh USA. A belt drive Alfine equipped utility bike, the Raleigh Alley Way. Not quite sure about the colour coded handlebars, but nevertheless it looks like Raleigh USA are taking the concept of low maintenance bicycle transport seriously. Nothing quite like it on the Raleigh UK website.
Just under a year since I got it, I’ve reached a 1000 miles on my Alfine Tikit. It has been a cold, icy winter and at times it has felt like you were cycling along the beach with the amount of grit and salt that has been spread on the roads. The bike has been out in the salt spray then back into a warm office and then back in the spray and back into a warm house on a daily basis since mid December. Ideal conditions for corrosion. Let’s start from the road up. Read the rest of this entry »
My usual response to this question is that it doesn’t actually rain that often and anyway it doesn’t really matter if you are well prepared. This month I have seen the first part of this answer severely tested. Apparently the wettest November since Novembers began, it did start to get a bit tiresome.
However it give the opportunity to test out my preparedness. And full marks go to:- Read the rest of this entry »
On 9 September, my Seasons Tikit deposited me on the road. Following emergency braking, the left fork blade snapped, the front wheel twisted until the tyre jammed against the right fork blade and I went flying over the handlebars. This is what the bike looked like after the incident.
Luckily because I was on an organised ride I was quickly attended to by a doctor who treated my injuries. If you really want to see them, there is a photograph here.
When I returned home I emailed a set of photos with a description of the incident to Rob English at Bike Friday. Read the rest of this entry »
There has been some discussion on the Bike Friday Yak list about the best way to fit the Tikit rear rack. I am not sure if this is the best way, but I found that in addition to the issue with the mudguard (fender) stay identified by other Tikit owners, I had a second barrier to mounting the rack caused by the disc brake mechanism.
A Mini-review to mark the first 100 miles on my Alfine Tikit.
The initial impressions are certainly confirmed – the disc brakes work like a dream and are completely silent (none of that frightening pedestrians with squealing rubber), the gears shift perfectly and getting the right size Tikit makes a huge difference to the feel on the road; from a cramped position on a Medium Tikit to a suitably stretched position on the large model improves not just the aerodynamics but also the sense of control. The H bars provide a variety of comfortable handholds and the disc brakes are so effective that at low speeds braking can be effected with one finger tip from the ‘bar end’ part of the bar.
I did wonder about the choice of a Shimano 105 chainset. This is well made and gives me the 172.5mm cranks that match my road bike, but the bottom bracket is narrow. The Tikit design puts a lot of gubbins around the bottom bracket with one of the main hinges in the folding mechanism and the various stops and releases associated with the hinge. Initially I thought this was a problem. The bike would work fine on the flat, but when climbing there was a loud metal spring-like noise. In consultation with Bike Friday I looked for the cause. There was a bit of chain rub going on:
As can be seen above the chain was just touching the spur which buttresses the frame tube. A bit of careful work with an adjustable wrench sorted it out but not the noise. Today however silence is restored. The culprit was one of the small washers that are clenched by the jaws in the rear triangle. The left hand washer was damaged:
Loosening the bolt and rotating the washers slightly and click…problem solved. Now I can get into some serious training for Paris….
The Alfine Tikit is slightly heavier than a standard Tikit. This is not an issue, the hub gears are well spaced and it is easier to get up Sheffield’s hills than its predecessor. The concentration of the extra weight in the rear hub does have one unintended effect however. The standard Tikit fold technique – thump the saddle forward and yank the bike upwards – doesn’t work quite as effectively. The rear triangle doesn’t swing round and latch onto the frame. The weight in the hub (combined possibly with the resistance to bending in the rear brake pipe) means it tends to stop halfway and hang down from the hinge. This is not a major issue however as I have developed a technique involving a leftwards nudge with my right foot.
Yes, in a fit of Friday afternoon web surfing I have signed up for the 2009 Folding Bike Challenge. That’s right, the Alfine Tikit is on its way to Paris. 240 miles in 4 days. Not a tall order on the Campaged-out road bike, but my longest trip in one go on a Tikit is about 7 miles. Time for some training methinks.
Got my new Bike Friday Tikit on the road today. It is a large Seasons Tikit hyperfold frame with disc brake fittings on the back and a special wider set of forks to accommodate the front disc. The Hubs are Shimano Alfine, including a dynamo front hub. The brake levers are Shimano SLX fitted on Bike Friday H bars. Goodridge stainless brake hoses keep the brake oil in, and should be robust enough to stand the folding and unfolding. The chainset is Shimano 105 and there is a Chris King Headset. All other pieces are Bike Friday standard issue.
Have fitted Time ATAC pedals, a Selle Italia saddle, a Cat Eye wireless computer and best of all a B&M Lumotec IQ dynamo front light.
There were three tests I wanted to run to start with:
1. How is the gearing for ascending Sheffield hills?
2. Do the brakes work descending Sheffield hills?
3. What is the light output like at low speed?
There was only one place to go, the unimaginatively named Alpine Road. This residential road is only about 100 metres long but averages about 10% and kicks up nastily at the end.
The Alfine hub shifts effortlessly and with a 52×16 combination the lowest gear was able to propel me up the hill at just about three miles an hour. The look is one of concentration rather than effort, at this speed and on this incline pedaling is a mental as well as physical activity. However the pedaling was pretty effortless, considering the gradient – which can be judged from the base of the green telecoms box on the left.
Julia agreed to sit in the road and watch as I descended – I promised to miss her if I couldn’t stop. Actually I wasn’t worried about the ability to stop, more about the ability modulate the brakes to stop the bike with me still on it.
I needn’t have worried, smooth, silky smooth braking and the pads are not yet worn in.
It was too early in the afternoon for a genuine test, but as it got darker I tried another ascent of the the hill. Again I am impressed, the light is clearly strong enough even at 3mph. How much of this is coming from the standlight facility in the IQ unit and how much is coming from the hub dynamo is difficult to tell however.
So tomorrow the bike gets roped into service for the commute – looking forward to it – am really impressed with this bike. Just need to fit the rear rack and I’m ready
I’m excited. After a bit of a wait this little beauty is on its way to me from Eugene, Oregon.
With hub-gears and disc brakes it addresses all of my quibbles with the standard Tikit as an everyday commuter in hilly rainy Sheffield. The photo here is from the factory. The final article will have a front mudguard and the saddle and pedals swapped in from the standard Tikit which will be passed on to Julia (Happy Valentines – have a second hand bike!) once it has been well and truly cleaned of salt and grime.
I hadn’t thought of it before but the new Tikit could also run a dynamo front light – reducing the need for batteries – a further green improvement.