The 2022 Bike Friday pakiT folding bicycle

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In 2022, I bought a Bike Friday pakiT folding bicycle directly from Bike Friday in Eugene, OR. The pakiT is their urban-centric, multi-modal folding bike, positioned as a competitor to Brompton’s line of folding bikes. Their marketing material promises a sub-30 second fold into a compact package. I had high expectations that it would let me incorporate a bike into my daily life in new ways, like going to the store. I’ve had bikes stolen multiple times and I put a lot of care in how I equip bikes, so I’m never comfortable leaving them locked up outside.

This was the most expensive bike I’ve purchased for myself, as I got the lighter-weight version equipped with a Gates carbon belt drive and a Shimano Alfine 11 speed hub. However, almost immediately after opening up the box and unfolding it, I was disappointed in the bike:

That being said, I’ve found a use for this bike as my wet weather commuter because of the following features:

The main benefits this bike advertised over the Bromptons were the full-size bike components 1 Brompton is notorious for custom parts on their bikes, in an industry that already has fractured component options. Very few common bike supplies will work with a Brompton, with the primary exception being wheels, tires, tubes, and pedals. and a much nicer ride feel. These were accurate claims, but end up not mattering too much to me. The first is a non-issue since I work on my own bikes and don’t mind ordering special parts for bikes. And the second is less important than a bike I can use to run errands. I don’t think I’ll go on any rides longer than an hour with this bike in any case.

A few days after receiving and riding the bike, I contacted Bike Friday with these concerns and issues I was facing. They were responsive to many of the points I brought up, but didn’t offer any solutions to the fundamental problems with the bike. The bike came with some fit and finish misses that I’ve had to fix myself, too: the gear hub was wildly out of adjustment and the front fender mounting bracket wasn’t fashioned properly.

If I didn’t already own a tandem bike, I would still consider Bike Friday’s folding tandems. Owning a tandem bike is sort of like owning a boat – you need to structure the activity around the constraints of the vehicle. The main issue is that every ride on a normal tandem needs to start at my house because there’s no way to carry it in a normal car. A folding tandem avoids that limitation because it fits in the trunk of a car, like an inflatable kayak or stand-up paddleboard does for boating.

In any case, I’m still looking for the bike that I can pop in a grocery store cart or take on the train. I’ll probably buy a Brompton in 2023 to fill that role.