Has anyone ridden the Bike Friday SILK? - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 05-16-2014, 01:36 AM   #1
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Has anyone ridden the Bike Friday SILK?

Has anyone ridden Bike Friday's SILK folding bike with the nylon v-belt drive and 11 gears in the rear hub? With no derailleur, chain, chain lubricant, or bike rack needed, it seems like a good choice for trailer camping.

We've ridden our friends' derailleur BFs, and like them a lot. They're not cheap, but seem nicely-made, and hold their value well.

Here's BF's pitch for the SILK:

"SilkTour Afine 11 (406)
Bike Friday's Silk Tour combines the elegance of Gates Carbon Belt Drive CenterTrack system with an 11-speed Shimano Alfine internal hub. It has mountain bike style flat bars with trigger shifters. With gear ranges from 25" to 88", it gives you a wide enough range for most riding. It's great for commuting, too. The drivetrain is weatherized and low maintenance, and when combined with Avid disc brakes it will handle all weather. Carbon Belt Drive is smooth, quiet and clean, with no grease applied. It weighs 25 lbs / 11 kg without saddle or pedals. It is custom built to fit your body, anywhere from 48 cm to 60 cm top tube equivalent.

About The Frame - Hinge forward Silk frame technology makes belt drive 20 inch Bike Fridays a reality. Crank and cogs retain constant distance when folded on the new Silk."

Bike Friday - Configure your SilkTour Afine 11 (406)
Attached Images
File Type: jpg SILK.jpg (42.1 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg SILK2.jpg (248.1 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg SILK3.jpg (15.1 KB, 183 views)
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Old 05-16-2014, 03:30 AM   #2
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You might wish to visit this site.
http://forum.bikefriday.com/forumdisplay.php?fid=2
Have a great weekend!
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Old 05-16-2014, 09:14 AM   #3
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I have not ridden the SILK, but if I was in the market for another folding bike it would be a serious contender. My friends who have Gates Belt Drives swear by them (except in the snow). My Tern Eclipse s11i has an Alfine 11 speed hub, and while it is heavy, it is also smooth shifting and I haven't had any problems with them. I think internal geared hubs make a lot of sense for folding bikes because there isn't a derailleur to get bent or twisted.

I know that disk brakes are very popular right now, but I am not sure why. The tern has hydraulic disk brakes which are a pain to work on, and really, rim brakes work just fine on bicycles, and seem much simpler to me. But maybe that is because I have been using them for 40 years.
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Old 05-16-2014, 10:39 AM   #4
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I really like the ideas of the toothed belt (which is not a V-belt, by the way) and geared hub, both especially for a folding bike (for several reasons including the one Leon listed). I was not aware that Shimano was up to 11 speeds, so I appreciate the update, and the real-world experience report.

Has anyone tried a NuVinci continuously variable bike transmission?

Maybe it's time for a folding bike...
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Old 05-16-2014, 11:14 AM   #5
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Just curious, what is the main purpose for going with a folding bike? They would have to be stored in the tow vehicle somewhere, as there is no storage in the trailer big enough. The exterior storage box if you have one, maybe?

Using the receiver on the rear of the trailer keeps the bikes right out of the way, and then you can bring along full sized bikes. They can then be locked and stowed out of the way when not in use too.

I only rode on a couple. One was real heavy, 50% heavier than my 29" MTB (with full 5" suspension), the other just slightly heavier. Both were fine for toodling around on, but not meant for any serious road or trail riding.
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Old 05-16-2014, 11:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
Just curious, what is the main purpose for going with a folding bike? They would have to be stored in the tow vehicle somewhere, as there is no storage in the trailer big enough. The exterior storage box if you have one, maybe?
Folding a bike can make it small enough to reasonably get into the trailer - not into a storage compartment, just into the main floor area, from which it needs to be removed at each campsite.

With our van, a folding bike or two in the van is possible, and would mean the bikes would go where ever we take the van, without moving the bike rack between the trailer and van.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
Using the receiver on the rear of the trailer keeps the bikes right out of the way, and then you can bring along full sized bikes. They can then be locked and stowed out of the way when not in use too.
A rack on the rear also gets the bikes really dirty, unless a cover is used. A cover is more hassle, and tends make the problem of blocking the trailer's tail lights worse. For balance and stability, adding mass to a rear rack is undesirable; bikes in the middle of the trailer interior are ideally placed for balance and stability.

There is no perfect solution to transporting bikes, but there are a few viable options.
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Old 05-16-2014, 12:47 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
There is no perfect solution to transporting bikes, but there are a few viable options.
You make some good points, Jim. We currently own very heavy "beater" bikes, though, and want to upgrade anyway. For us, the advantages of the folding bikes make the extra cost worthwhile.

Also, there are two destinations to which we fly each year, and we would like the option of taking the bikes in their Samsonite suitcases.

We'll be towing with an SUV which will have room for the folded bikes in their cases while we are travelling. When we're off hiking or sightseeing or shopping, the unfolded bikes can rest on their stands in the trailer (unless, of course, we've ridden them to our local destination).

Trailering seems to offer infinite opportunities for shopping, but these bikes look like unusually good stuff.
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Old 05-16-2014, 02:11 PM   #8
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We have a couple folding bikes-they travel in the back of our Escape truck and when we are camped we often leave them locked up to the front frame of the trailer... They weigh close to 25 pounds each. Nice Dahon bikes--bought used from a bike rental place in Vancouver a number of years ago...

At home they fold up nicely and put in our outside storage shed.

We have done nice rides with them up to 12 miles...In fact after the rally we are doing the "Myra Canyon" trail and I believe the part we'll do is about 12-15 miles return...
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Old 05-16-2014, 02:23 PM   #9
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I would definitely not want them inside the trailer. Having them handy in the tow would be nice, if you had a good spot to keep them in.

I have thought of using a cover, but really have never had much trouble with the bikes getting dirty on the rear of the trailer, but imagine if it were on a wet gravel road the dirt would build up fast.

I have even considered a roof rack, but a bit afraid I would forget the extra height, and they add a lot of drag, plus I want the flexibility of toting a canoe there.

Yep, like everything, no one perfect solution, as usual most things are always something of a compromise.
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Old 05-16-2014, 02:32 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Catchlight View Post
For us, the advantages of the folding bikes make the extra cost worthwhile.
I must have been looking at cheaper folding bikes then, as most of the ones I have seen have been quite cheap, well under $500. Could be I haven't looked far enough.
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They weigh close to 25 pounds each. Nice Dahon bikes--
That is even lighter than my full suspension MTB, which is 28 lbs. More evidence I should look further. I will check yours out at the rally.

Maybe someday, but why I still am able to pound the single tracks, I just can't see not having a full sized bike. Even a short ride on my road bike is at least 25 miles. A regular route we do in the evening is 35 miles, about a 90 minute road ride.
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