It has been about a year since I ordered my Bike Friday Pocket Llama and I think now would be a good time to reflect upon my feelings towards this bicycle. Seeking a sturdy, high quality packable bicycle that could support a +200 lb rider and 50-60 lbs of touring gear can only lead to one place – Bike Friday. The ordering process by telephone was a pleasure thanks to Walter Lapchynski and before I knew it my Bike Friday was on its way.
Nine weeks later the bike arrived neatly packed in its Samsonite case and within an hour or two it was assembled and ready to ride. Never having ridden a Bike Friday, I quickly realized there are differences in riding this bike compared to “normal” bikes. Mounting and dismounting the bike felt a bit awkward at first but became second nature very quickly. I also discovered to my dismay that when you are straddling the bike not to let it go otherwise it will end up laying on the ground!
Even though this bike was custom built to my dimensions and with a fit similar to my diamond frame touring bike.......it definitely felt different. Not bad different, just different. The ride, like the fit was also different. The bike feels smooth and solid even on rough surfaces. Looking at the long stem one would think there is a lot of flex.....the stem is rigid and there is no more flex at the handle bars than any other bike... My impression is that the bike is very well engineered in terms of its structural integrity as well as its performance on the road.
After riding the Pocket Llama a couple of thousand miles in various locales in the U.S. and on a variety of road surfaces...I am convinced you can take this bike anywhere in the world and have a great time riding it. The bike has been ridden on rough gravel roads in mountainous Utah, the carriage roads of Acadia National Park, paved roads and paths of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and California. In every case the bike was a pleasure to ride.
When I ordered the bike, I thought it would only be ridden when I traveled....I now find myself riding the bike 5-6 days a week with it being my first choice as my commuter. With racks, panniers and large saddle bag there is very little I can't take along. Even better, I can do a quick fold and put in the trunk for easy transport to riding spots not so close to home.
Bike Friday would be a good choice even if you never intend to pack the bike for travel.....I ride mine all of the time.