By Adam Newman
Part of the arduous responsibilities of a world-renowned cycling journalist is frequently traveling to visit exciting locales. Ok, maybe it’s not so bad, but it’s not always easy to bring a bike or get a ride in on the road. I was lamenting this fact at the Sea Otter Classic back in April when an opportunity to test ride a Bike Friday came along.
We’ve tested and written about folding bikes before, but what caught my eye about the Bike Friday is that it can fit into a retrofitted Sampsonite suitcase that doubles as a trailer. With it, there’s no need to rely on ground transportation or storing a bike box at your destination. Fly in, unpack, ride away.
The way things go, I haven’t been able to fly with the Bike Friday yet, but I’ve been riding it quite a bit as a commuter. The first thing I’ve noticed is that it rides like… well, a bike. The contact points are the same as a "normal" bike, and the wheelbase is long enough that it handles like a normal bike too. Sure, you’re going to feel a little different with those tiny 20-inch wheels, especially when they fall into potholes, but it’s far more adept than folders that emphasize a compact folded size.
The model is the New World Tourist, but Bike Friday goes to great lengths to build a bike that is perfectly suited to each customer. There are "stock" builds, but Bike Friday would prefer you work with one of their Bike Consultants to customize the build and even model selection to suit your needs. I told them what I wanted – a versatile commuter and road bike with drop bars – and they did the rest.
My full review of the Bike Friday is scheduled to appear in Issue #14 of Bicycle Times, going on sale November 22. Read it for my travel impressions after I take it to the Interbike trade show in September. Order a subscription and you’ll never miss an issue.