Tuesday, May 29, 2012

First impressions: 2012 Bike Friday Pocket Llama Select

A brief note
The Bike Friday Pocket Llama is synonymous with Heinz Stucke, a famous Bicycle Tourist who traveled the world on this folding bicycle.
Today, Mr Stucke's Pocket Llama is on display at Bike Friday's headquarters in Oregon, USA.
Its also a small and nippy little fella that has enough ground clearance for bikepacking in the jungles of Malaysia.


Riding the Pocket Llama
The brief test-ride
I met Doc Andy of My Family Cycle Services at the Bandar Utama Clubhouse yesterday.
Introduced him to my buddy Ed Foo of Atmosphere Outfitters.
Foo is the official distributor of Ortlieb products in Malaysia.
Together, we checked out three new Bike Friday models at Doc Andy's new showroom.
On our plate: there's the BF Nuvinci 360 New World Tourist, Future Tikit and the 2012 Select Pocket Llama.
I must admit that I am a BIG fan of the Pocket Llama.


A solid ride: The Llama
The 2012 Select model is made entirely in the US.
It comes with a pricetag of RM8,338.
I love the built-quality of the bike, but since this is something that Bike Friday selects for their customer, there were some shortcomings.
For long-distance hauls, I wouldn't go for the handlebar grips. It would be better to bolt-in a pair of Ergon GR-2 grips.
The handlebar and stem components too can be improved.
Since the version that came has a 'take down' stem, would prefer a folding piece for ease of use and transportation.
The Select model came with a 27-speed drivetrain. Shifting is smooth and this is something that you would need when it comes to hauling your gear in a set of panniers or simply towing a trailer.
No issues on the quality crankset and Schwalbe Big Apple 2.0 20" tires which I endorse for riding in any condition.
The Llama comes with a set of Avid mechanical disk brakes. This is better than a V-brake, but is inferior compared to hydraulic disks brakes.
Another thing that I would discard are the cheap pedals.
For this, a pair of MKS Exim Superior would do the job.


Summary
For the pricing package, the 2012 Pocket Llama Select is a bike that you would acquire as a second bike for touring and offroad bikepacking.
It certainly has the features to transport you to and fro to your destination.
What's readily available is decent enough. All you need to do, is to tweak it a bit.
In short, the bike is for cyclists who are already experienced with folding bikes and are looking for a more reliable ride that is custom-built.
RM8.3k is a lot of money, but this one is backed with a lifetime warranty, so, if there is a crack on your frame, BF will make it good.


An offer you can't refuse
Doc Andy is throwing a special discount as a pre-launch offer to customers seeking a Bike Friday. You can find out more about this at Doc Andy's website and word has it that a new Bike Friday ambassador for Malaysia has been chosen. This also includes the Malaysia Bike Friday Club which Doc Andy says: is open to all cyclists..
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