Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Pro

I unpacked my custom Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Pro today.

This is a high-end road bicycle that uses 20" wheels and fits in a Samsonite 31" F'Lite suitcase.

I have Shimano Ultegra-level components on the bike with a few customizations:
  • I use the Shimano Capreo rear hub and 9-26T 9-speed cassette in conjunction with 53x39T dual chainrings to provide wide range gearing.
  • I use an Oval stem with the R910 Aergo Carbon Road Bar which has a flat top wing section. The regular 4-bolt Oval stem cap is replaced with the R910 aero front cap which provides for easily removable under-the-bar aerobar extensions.
  • Not only do I have the hard shell travel case but I also have the soft travel bag (needed for travel on trains and subways in countries like Japan that require bikes to be bagged). Partially folding and unfolding the bike is a 11 step process.

The bike is not as simple as it looks in the first picture above.

First time, It was quite fiddly and took me at least and hour to unpack and assemble it from scratch.

For protection against scratching etc., there are lots of specifically-labeled plastic tubing and color-coded pieces of felt. The bike comes with a booklet with photos illustrating how to unpack and pack the bike. Unpacking is a 37 step process.

Starting point (open the suitcase): The suitcase is surprisingly full. I don't think I could fit too much more in there. For example, I'm not sure there is room for a helmet. But shoes, a small pump and seattube bag will fit.

Take the front wheel out: The front wheel quick-release is separately attached to the fork and holds a spacer for the fork blades. There is also a crush protector for the suitcase.

Take handlebars (cables still attached) out: The handlebars were upside down and the cables required a little thought to untangle properly.

Stand the frame up in the suitcase: Pivot the rear triangle out: Pivot the seattube out (one quick release secures both the seattube and the rear triangle at the same point): Take the frame out of the case: Attach the separately packed stem and handlebars (also install front wheel): Attach and level the my Selle Italia SLR saddle using the electronic spirit level on my iPhone 3G: Phew! All done except for the pedals (which I didn't have with me):