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The tikit makes its Capitol Hill debut

Posted by on March 14th, 2007 at 3:52 pm

National Bike Summit

On my way to Capitol Hill

Today we met with Congressman Peter DeFazio at the Rayburn House Office Building.

The other folks in our group took a taxi from where the Summit is taking place (which is just a mile or two down Pennsylvania Ave.). I of course hopped on the tikit and made my way over in the increasingly warm and humid DC air.

It’s quite a sensation pedaling down the middle of Pennsylvania Ave. with the Capitol in the distance. I try not to get lost in the view of that regal building because I’ve also got tour buses and DC taxi-drivers to think about. Suffice it to say I use the cool twisty grip bell on the tikit a lot.

As I pulled up to the Rayburn building the thought crossed my mind that I did not bring a lock. Either they would let me take it through the security checkpoint or I couldn’t attend the meeting (not an option).

National Bike Summit

Would the tikit make it
through security?

The security line was long (as usual) and full of dark, serious suits.

At first, I wrapped the bike up in its “shower cap” bag. But, as I got closer to the x-ray and conveyor belt, I thought that looked like I was hiding something, so I decided to unwrap it.

When it was my turn, I just put it up there like it was totally normal. They stared. It went through…and they were smiling on the other end! I didn’t want to push my luck and go for a photo near the security area.

So there I was, wheeling my bike through the halls of Congress. I even brought it into DeFazio’s office.

Back at the Summit location (the Reagan Trade Building), I finally got them to let me photograph it on the conveyor belt.

Here it is:

National Bike Summit

OK, more to come. Have you checked the recently uploaded photos?

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toddChristopherScott MizéeTodd of Bikestation Recent comment authors
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Todd of Bikestation
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Todd of Bikestation

Hi Jonathan, Good to see that you are having better weather for the Bike Summit than we had last year.

How about taking a Brompton on your next urban trip? You can borrow mine, if you can not get one from a Brompton distributor. This would give you a head to head comparison vs. the Tikit.

I am amazed you got to take a photo of security at the Ronald Reagan building. (I guess it cannot hurt to ask. I have not yet asked TSA if i could do the same when my Brompton goes through the scanner too.)

Scott Mizée
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Yes, I’d love to see an objective head to head comparison of the Tikit and the Brompton. Great idea!

Christopher
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Christopher

Aren’t you glad you didn’t have a “This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb” sticker on the Tikit?

todd
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Clever Cycles (opening May) will carry both Bromptons and the tikit.

I’m a longtime Brompton user and big fan, and I’ve had only about 5 minutes on a tikit whose seat was several inches too high for me, so I’m not qualified to compare them fairly. I will generalize that the tikit rides quite a lot more like a typical quality big-wheel bike than the Brompton. I’ve learned to really like how Bromptons ride, but you don’t have as much to learn to like the tikit if you’re coming from more normal bikes.

Basically the Brompton’s got very low-trail steering that’s a good match for the extensive front carrier options, and that suits it well for precise maneuvering in very tight urban spaces. The tikit’s got more typical higher-trail steering that supports no-hands riding; it steers itself while the Brompton has a lighter neutral/aimless feel that some newcomers and most detractors describe as squirrelly.

Tikits use more standard parts throughout, so customization for various personal needs and preferences should be less tricky than sometimes is the case with Bromptons. The tikit is available in many sizes against the Brompton’s one, making fitting a less compromise-addled affair than it can be with Brompton, especially for very big or small people. And I’m guessing you can get a tikit somewhat below the weight of even a Ti-option Brompton, with wider gearing to boot, at lower cost. But would it be as tough?

The tikit’s got basically unbeatable fold time, very slick with a little practice, but the Brompton folds quite a bit smaller, and this is not a trivial advantage I think for the stated use cases of multimodal transit and “don’t lock it, bring it.”

The Brompton design is old, which is to say highly refined by now. The tikit I rode had some slightly rough edges, like a late-stage prototype.

What I’m most curious about isn’t Brompton v tikit — they are different enough not to make the other redundant — but tikit v the better Dahons, many of which seem to offer similar strengths as the tikit, at lower cost.