After trying the Bike Friday Tikit, I’ve settled on a Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Pro to answer my needs for a folding intercity road bike.
But before I show you the pictures and specifications, I’d like to explain the thinking behind my choices.
I got a new, custom-sized 2009 Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Pro in April 2009. I continue to customize the bike to suit my needs and tastes.
Photo: current Anatoly IVANOV’s unfolded Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Pro (without accessories)
Photo: current Anatoly IVANOV’s unfolded Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Pro (with lights, GPS, bottle, tools)
Photo: current Anatoly IVANOV’s unfolded Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Pro (with lights, GPS, bottle, tools, fenders)
Photo: current Anatoly IVANOV’s unfolded Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Pro (with lights, GPS, bottle, tools, fenders, Tubus Airy customized titanium rack)
Photo: current Anatoly IVANOV’s unfolded Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Pro loaded for self-sufficient touring (with lights, GPS, bottle, tools, fenders, Tubus Airy rack, Ortlieb Back Roller Plus panniers)
Photo: current Anatoly IVANOV’s folded Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Pro (without accessories)
Photo: current Anatoly IVANOV’s folded Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Pro (prepared to fit inside custom shoulder carrying bag: cranks immobilized, chainwheel teeth covered by aluminum protector, exposed greased headset parts covered with kid’s socks)
Photo: Jean-Christophe LEBEAU and Anatoly IVANOV ultralight 398 g (14 oz) Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Pro shoulder carrying bag made of Dyneema Cross-Rip Gridstop fabric (fits with or without rear rack)
Photo: Anatoly IVANOV’s folded Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Pro inside a standard check-in luggage Samsonite Termo Spinner 84 cm (includes Sidi shoes, Giro helmet, lock, tools, clothes) for air travel
|Main frame:||Bike Friday custom, double butted, chromoly steel.|
|Front fork:||Bike Friday custom, chromoly steel.|
|Rear triangle:||Bike Friday custom, hinged, chromoly steel.|
|Stem:||Bike Friday custom, chromoly steel “straight riser for ahead stem”, combined with Ritchey Comp aluminum 90 mm / 6° / 31,8 mm stem (2009). A quick release detaches the combination from the main frame.|
|Headset:||Chris King GripNut Silver 1 1/4 in (2009).|
|Handlebars:||FSA Omega Compact 42 cm / 31,8 mm aluminum (2009). 2 cut-to-size Fi’zi:k Gel pads on top of the drops’ sections. Shimano PRO synthetic handlebar tape.|
|Brake / shift levers (brifters):||Campagnolo Centaur Ultra-Shift 10-speed aluminum Ergopower (asymmetric, 2009). Inverted cabling: right hand controls front brake and left hand controls rear brake.|
|Front brake:||Campagnolo Centaur Skeleton dual pivot caliper, aluminum (2009). Campagnolo brake pads.|
|Rear brake:||Campagnolo Centaur Skeleton single pivot caliper, aluminum (2009). Campagnolo brake pads.|
|Cables:||Inner cable: Jagwire Hyper stainless steel. Lining: Nokon fiberglass reinforced Teflon liner running whole lengths, from brifters to brake / derailleur cable stop, sealing the inner cable from outside elements (runs without Nokon cable housing pearls on straight stretches under main frame and rear triangle). Cable stops: modified Jagwire Rocket II adjusters. Outer cable housing: Nokon aluminum konkavex pearls. The system compensates for the convoluted Bike Friday cable routing and achieves the same level of friction and precision as that provided by a traditional cabling system of a full-sized diamond frame road bike.|
|Bottom bracket:||Campagnolo Centaur Ultra-Torque bottom bracket, 111 x 68 mm English (1.370 in x 24 TPI) (2009).|
|Front sprockets (chainset):||Campagnolo Centaur Ultra-Torque double (53 and 39 T), aluminum (2009).|
|Cranks:||Campagnolo Centaur Ultra-Torque 170 mm, aluminum (2009).|
|Pedals:||Shimano XTR SPD PD-M970 pedals, aluminum body and chromoly steel spindle (2010).|
|Chain:||SRAM PC 1091 PowerChain, 10-speed, with PowerLock connector (2010).|
|Front derailleur:||Campagnolo Centaur STD braze-on, aluminum (2009).|
|Rear derailleur:||Shimano Ultegra RD-6600-SS short-cage, aluminum (2009). Connected to Campagnolo brifter using the Jtek ShiftMate #2. Shifts as well as an all-Campagnolo setup.|
|Rear sprockets (cassette):||Shimano Capreo CS-HG70-S 9-speed cassette (9, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17, 20, 23 and 26 T).|
|Front wheel:||20 inch (14 x 451 ETRTO) Alex Rims DA22, 32-hole, semi aero profile, silver, with wear indicator, aluminum (2013). Shimano Ultegra hub (2013). Double-butted 212 mm spokes.|
|Rear wheel:||20 inch (14 x 451 ETRTO) Alex Rims DA22, 32-hole, semi aero profile, silver, with wear indicator, aluminum (2009). Shimano Capreo FH-F700 hub (2009). Double-butted 212 mm spokes.|
|Tires:||Schwalbe Durano HS 399 20 x 1 1/8 in ETRTO 28-451 slicks and Schwalbe SV 7A inner tubes with Presta valves.|
|Gear ratios (inches):||
|Gear ratios (meters):||
|Seatpost:||Bike Friday custom, chromoly steel quick-fold mast. Uno SP-267 27,2 x 250 mm, aluminum (2009).|
|Saddle:||Fi’zi:k Aliante Gamma (2009).|
|Bike Friday custom.|
|Bike Friday custom.|
|Folding-specific features:||Velcro wrap on the seatpost bottle cage attachment point (used to hold bike parts together when folded).|
|Bottle cage:||Cateye BC-100 flexible plastic (to act as a seatpost retainer when the bike is folded) with a 650 ml (22 oz) Nalgene ATB (All Terrain Bottle).|
|Pump:||Zefal Xtra Light 22,5 cm carbon fiber pump with bottle-cage holder.|
|Tools pouch:||Fi’zik Saddle Pak, size small.|
|Rack:||Tubus Airy titanium rack with custom 29,2 cm (11.5 in) (edge to edge) aluminum roundstays and Tubus rotateable holders.|
|Front light:||Busch & Müller Ixon IQ LED (4 AA batteries).|
|Rear light:||Busch & Müller IX-Red LED (2 AA batteries).|
|Computer:||Sigma BC 1606L DTS Cadence wireless. Still experimenting with cadence sensor mounting.|
|Navigation:||Garmin Dakota 20 GPS receiver.|
|Weight of the bike plus:||kg||lbs|
|bike computer, 1 empty bottle, pump, tools pouch||10,34||22.80|
|bike computer, 1 empty bottle, pump, tools pouch, lights||10,63||23.44|
|bike computer, 1 empty bottle, pump, tools pouch, lights, GPS||10,80||23.81|
|bike computer, fenders||10,11||22.29|
|bike computer, fenders, 1 empty bottle, pump, tools pouch, lights, GPS||10,98||24.20|
|bike computer, fenders, rear rack||10,48||23.10|
|bike computer, fenders, rear rack, 1 empty bottle, GPS||10,74||23.68|
|bike computer, fenders, rear rack, 1 empty bottle, GPS, lights||11,05||24.36|
Photo: Anatoly IVANOV’s unfolded Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Pro (without accessories) 2009-08
Photo: Anatoly IVANOV’s unfolded Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Pro (with accessories) 2009-08
Photo: Anatoly IVANOV’s folded Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Pro (without accessories) 2009-08
|2013-02-27||Updated to current state.|
|2010-10-19||Added links to my Bike Friday touring gear list.|
|2010-10-03||Updated pictures, components, weights.|
|2010-03-26||Updated components, weight, link to my Garmin Oregon GPS review.|
Very nice, this bike looks great and I’m certain the ride is fabulous!
Nice looking PRP. What was your thinking behind the custom stem? Looks pretty nice but is there more to it than that?
I have a similar bike coming to be built out of my previous PR. but with 105 shifters/brakes/derailleurs, ultegra hubs, and a chris king headset, Alex rims.
What is your total weight with this set-up? Nice photos of the bike – of course a professional I know but they are really striking.
Thanks Mike and Adam!
What was your thinking behind the custom stem? Looks pretty nice but is there more to it than that?
There’s only 1 reason to choose the “straight” riser + ahead stem instead of the “curved” all-in-one custom-built by Bike Friday after returning them the adjustable one. The reason is the handlebars’ clamp diameter.
Bike Friday’s curved system is 26 mm. They also drill, cut and sleeve the handlebars so you can split them when packing.
The handlebars that work best for me now are the FSA Omega Compact. They come only in the 31,8 mm oversized version. Non-anatomic, 125 mm of drop, 80 mm of reach. I ride in the drops most of the time and have what is considered “medium to small size” hands. So, to get these handlebars on the Bike Friday, you need an oversized clamp, and so the straight riser is the only option. Unfortunately, Bike Friday don’t cut and sleeve 31,8 mm handlebars, but you can still pack them after unscrewing the stem plate.
Both the curved combined and straight riser + stem have the same amount of flex.
Tim LINK of Bike Friday was very helpful to explain all the stem issues: big thanks to him.
What is your total weight with this set-up?
As mentioned above, it’s approx 10 kg with all accessory mounts. The electronic scale was reading 10 050 g. I’m still working on details, so it’s not definite. I could of course reduce the weight to 9 kg, but then I’d have to switch to carbon fiber for components and weaker wheels.
Nice photos of the bike – of course a professional I know but they are really striking.
Thanks! I really appreciate your comment, because it took me about 2 days to make these 3 pictures. Clean the bike, move almost everything to the kitchen (1-room flat), wait for the perfect outside light as I still lack the pro neon lighting I have in Paris, shoot, develop the RAW files, adjust all 3 pictures to match almost exactly color-wise despite cloud and sun movement…
Thanks for the reply, Anatoly. That makes perfect sense about the handlebars. Also 10k weight is perfect as far as I am concerned. Light enough to be enjoyable to ride but not excessively costly to maintain. In this series the dynamic aesthetic qualities of the Bike Friday PRP shine through. The final photo in this series is reminiscent of a tasteful nude – naked but not exposed.
Adam, I’d say the folded Pocket Rocket Pro, or any Bike Friday, for that matter, looks more like a Frankenstein than a tasteful nude. But of course the Bike Friday team would fustigate and disagree. ;-)
Your bike looks really sharp. Did you take the Bike Friday decals off of your bike or did it come that way? If you removed the BF stickers how did you get them off without harming the paint?
I have Shimano 39/53 chain rings and a 11-34 10 speed cassette. This is a bit low on the top end but it gives me plenty of low end gearing and it works beautifully.
Thanks for any info.
I should have mentioned, I also have a PRP
I’ve simply pulled off the Bike Friday decals myself and stuck them on a piece of paper as a souvenir. I’ve rubbed the frame with alcohol to eliminate any glue residue. No damage to the bike paint. Bike Friday uses high-quality, long-lasting, tough, powder coating paint.
Removing the name plate “made in Oregon for Anatoly IVANOV” was trickier and required a flat screwdriver with the blade covered by electrical insulation tape.
The printed elements on the components, the “Ultra Shimano Campagnolo Super Duper Mega Torque” branding, required rubbing with sugar cubes imbued in acetone. Wear Park Tool MG-1 nitrile rubber mechanic’s gloves to protect your hands and work outdoors!
You can see the ageing difference between the pictures. The luster has gone mostly because of rubbing with a dish-washing brush.
Ideally, I’d be riding an 11-speed Campagnolo rear mech. What I really miss with the Capreo cassette are the intermediate steps for optimal cadence. But 11 + 53 is too low for me with those 451 ETRTO wheels.
26 + 39 allows me to climb 2 000 m mountain passes from sea level to the top even when loaded with touring gear.
You have a rather nice setup with the PRP. I’m wondering about the durability of the bike. How much do you weigh and how far have you ridden the bike so far? Also when touring how much do the loaded panniers weigh?
I weigh 190 lbs and am wondering if I’m too heavy for a folding bike.
Thanks Ted. I guess most of your questions will be answered by my other post on Bike Friday PRP loaded touring. It contains my body weight as well as the detailed weight and contents of the panniers.
Otherwise, Bike Friday makes more robust folding bikes that can handle much, much more weight. The PRP is the “light” variant.
Regarding distance, what do you mean? The total cumulative? In any case, my Campagnolo front hub bearings need changing, but the rest of the bike is as good as new.
Thanks for your link to the touring info, that was very helpful. Actually I am considering the Pocket Rocket and not the “Pro” version. The distance I was referring to was the total accumulation on the bike. How far while touring? I’m mostly concerned about the durability of the frame.
Ted, sorry for the lag. For me, there’s no distance limit for the frame if I stay within the designed weight limits. The other parts wear out much faster.
If it’s a concern, get the non-pro version, there’s not a huge difference. Bike Friday’s Rob has been touring “like forever” on his Pocket Rocket.
Anatoly, an interesting and familiar journey. Likewise I have done this with the sister bike – the Crusoe. I guess I have a couple of years of newer components to play with and eBay as a play ground and source.
Anyway – fun to compare. I have my Crusoe down to 20.9 lb kerb weight without the lights but including the computer accessories: http://drrw.smugmug.com/Sports/Bike-Friday-Crusoe
MD Biker, your Crusoe sure looks good! I like the idea of green accents and bi-color handlebar tape! And Nokon is the way to go on Bike Fridays.
Anatoly, thanks for your very detailed reviews which I’ve read through several times. I’ve just moved to a small London flat and it’s not convenient to manoeuvre a full-sized bike in and out every day for my 8 km commute (flat, often bad-quality tarmac). I’ve tried a Brompton (Brompton run the Brompton Dock in various UK cities with the folded bikes in lockers at railway stations) but can’t quite get over the skittish ride. In your experience, do you think you could fold/unfold the Pocket Rocket daily? The fold on YouTube looks less than straightforward, with a danger of the chain coming off. To be clear, the fold for me would only be for storage at home and to take the bike on holiday, not for regular intermodal transport/taking into the pub with me. Many thanks!
Thanks for reading, Michael.
Yes, you can fold / unfold the Pocket Rocket daily, but, as you understand correctly from the videos, it’s not a pleasant, optimized process. The chain can indeed fall off if you’re not paying extra attention, you can scrub metal parts… Not ideal.
However, why are you even considering the Pocket Rocket for your “often bad-quality tarmac”? The PR is made for good asphalt roads, where it definitely can take speeds over 100 km/h.
Have you considered the Bike Friday Tikit? or the Silk? Both ride great.
Thanks, Anatoly, I was cautious about 16″ wheeled bikes after (a) the Brompton and (b) bad feedback from a friend who’d tried the Tikit in the US and (c) some bad reviews of the Tikit ride generally, but I’ll take a closer look at the Silk (which also seems to solve the Pocket Rocket fold problems).
Wheel diameter difference between 16″ and 20″ isn’t great enough to hugely affect ride quality. I was quite surprised how close the 16″ Tikit feels compared to 20″ Pocket Rocket. Other parameters, like geometry (especially fork rake) and rigidity / flexibility (overall frame flex, head tube load transfer) are much more important.
In any case, the best is to ride-test yourself.
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