The Bike Friday pakiT

right side by fenceMany of you are perhaps somewhat familiar with the Bike Friday line of bicycles. Perhaps you do not own one, but you do know that they make folding bicycles that can be placed in an airline-suitable suitcase, enabling you to take your fun with you!  What you may not realize is that they have a new model out now, the pakiT, that while it shares many features with other models in their lineup, is also unique in other ways. For example: this bike is available with a carbon belt drive with an 11-speed internal hub. The result is a folding bike that does not have a derailleur, no messy chain, and more than adequate gear range.  I have had one for a brief time now, and I have to admit that the recent rains have kept me away from riding more than just a few times. Regardless, I have had fun exploring some of the aspects of this new bike.

Such as: this bike is light! The single-speed version is around 15 pounds, and this one with its 11-speed hub is only a few pounds more. It’s very easy to carry up stairs, put in your car, and so on. Acceleration is quick, and the flip-lever style of the shifting is smooth and quiet. And, speaking of quiet, that is really the perfect way to describe the bike in general, what with the carbon belt instead of a chain. No mess, and no noise! As expected with a Bike Friday product, it folds quickly and easily, and there are little “legs” that will keep it upright when folded.

My initial favorable impression did have a slight blemish, though: where am I going to carry my stuff? I thought about getting a wedge-style seat bag, which is a good idea, so long as you’re content to just carry the necessities, such as a CO2 cartridge and some spare tubes, with perhaps your wallet and car keys rounding out the load. I, however, seldom go anywhere with my rather large cell phone, camera, a light jacket, and … well, you get the picture: I needed more room!  I thought, maybe I should order that rear rack Bike Friday does sell for this bike, but I wanted to see if there were any other options. Other than wearing a back pack while I ride – that’s not my style of riding!  What I wanted was an inexpensive way of carrying one of my favorite bags, the TailRider from Arkel.  I can carry all of my usual things in that bag, with room to spare for things I might find along the way, pick up at the store, etc. I was looking at the bright yellow bag and then I thought: Arkel’s Randonneur Seat Post rack!

I did some research, studied the information and pictures on their website, and thought: this should work! And, as though the photos show, it does! It installed quickly, handles the bag with no problem, and is easy to remove when necessary.   There is a weight limit to what can be carried on this seat post rack, so I won’t be loading it down with heavy panniers, but that’s OK.

I will be writing more about my experiences with the Bike Friday pakiT – the rain can’t last forever! But at this point, I am very happy with this bike – it has more than lived up to my expectations. And, the addition of the Arkel products has made it even better!

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