BigFish Folding Bike FAQ
by Larry Lagarde
With the North American launch of the BigFish folding bike taking place in about a week, interest in this new, European folding bicycle is growing. To help answer these questions, I've posted the following FAQ. As I receive additional questions concerning the Bigfish bike, I'll post them here.
Q: What colors does the BigFish come in?
A: Black, Orange, Gold & Pink.
Q: Are the pedals plastic or simply painted black?
A: Black resin with rubber grips on pedal surface.
Q: Why does the BigFish weigh more than some other small wheel folders?
A: Ride geometry is one of the primary features that sets the Bigfish apart from most other folding bikes with 16" or 20" wheels. The Bigfish rides like a normal sized bike because the wheelbase, distance to the handlebars, etc. is the same as on a full size bike. Since most other folding bikes have shorter frames, they can feel cramped or less steady - not the Bigfish. Also, the Bigfish uses a drivetrain with the gears inside the rear wheel hub. Internal gear hubs are a little heavier than a gear system with exposed gears and a derailleur BUT internally geared hubs require far less maintenance and last much longer. Thus, a more comfortable ride, better longevity and less maintenance are worth the small weight gain.
Q: Is a rear rack available?
A: At the moment, Bigfish does not offer a rear carry rack. If you would like to have a rear rack for carrying light luggage, an aftermarket seat post rack like the Topeak Beam Rack MTX can work well. It attaches to the seat post via a quick release and is easy to remove when you need to. Please be careful using one, and keep in mind that the bike's maximum carry capacity (including luggage) is 242lbs. A heavier load may lead to accident and injury of the user or damage the bike.
Q: Is there a carry or storage case to put the bike in?
A: Not from Bigfish; however, I offer a custom carry case that works for the Bigfish. Made from cordura nylon, the soft carry case has an inner padded pocket to store the seatpost/saddle and a padded shoulder strap. When not in use, the carry case folds into an outer side pocket and attaches to the handlebars or the back of the saddle: Price: $39.
Q: Is there a shopping bag for the bike?a carrying case available?
A: Yes. It's called the Klickfix Mini Shopper bag but Bigfish isn't stocking them yet in the USA. The bag and attachment adapter are @ 57 Euros (currently @ $80 USD) and shipping is additional. You'll need to email BigFish to order this. An alternative would be to mount an aftermarket basket to the handlebars or handlebar stem.
Q: Are the front brakes necessary or is the coaster break sufficient; if so, can the front brakes be removed?
A: Coaster brakes provides ample stopping power & could do the job alone (many beach cruiser bikes only have coaster brakes). Naturally, if you wanted to remove the front brakes, this is easy enough. Unbolt the front brake lever from the handlebars, unscrew the cable from the front caliper assembly and remove the caliper assembly from the front fork.
Q: Would you characterize the BigFish as expensive?
A: Not by a long shot. In fact, for a bike made in Europe, the price is surprisingly reasonable. There are cheaper folding bikes but these are made in mainland China and none fold as narrowly as the BigFish or roll easily when folded.
Q: What's the warranty?
A: 2 years. The warranty covers problems in the material, the workmanship of frame and all mounted parts not subjected to wear-and-tear.
Q: Is the BigFish a brand new bike or is there a quality track record for the bike?
A: BigFish launched in 2008. Management team is small but dedicated. Bike is produced under contract by large Italian bike company. Design is fairly simple so there's little to go wrong.
Q: How long will the bike be available at the promotional $549 price?
A: That's up to BigFish. Chances are the promotion will end once Bigfish begins receiving mainstream press coverage in the USA. Given my experiences riding the test bike 7 months and the support I've received from BigFish, I doubt that will take very long. It's a good product.
Q: How does the BigFish ride?
A: Very stable. See the video I shot riding the BigFish on the Mississippi River levee; the entire time, I was holding the camera in one hand and steering with the other... http://ridethisbike.com/2009/05/bigfish-on-levee.html
In comparison to other folding bikes, the BigFish cruises slower than a CarryMe DS, DownTube Mini, Strida SX or Zootr but faster than a CarryAll, Dahon 1 spd, Kent trike and a variety of 6 speeds (like the Kent Compact). I'd rate the ride as similar to a Giatex and more comfortable than an unsuspended Mobiky or run of the mill Dahon. Unlike other small wheel folders with long, adjustable height handlebar stems (some Dahon, DownTube Mini, Mobiky), there is no handlebar flex. Turning radius is wider than a CarryMe, E-Z Pack or Mobiky but equal to other bikes w/16" wheels. The full alloy fenders are great if you're caught in the rain. Folded, the BigFish touches the ground at 4 points, making it the least likely to fall over & get scratched of any other bike (be it folding or non) out there.
Q: What's the folding/unfolding process like?
A: Initially, folding/unfolding the BigFish can be confusing so it's best to watch a video (like this one) first. Once a rider gets the folding sequence down (about the 2nd to 3rd time trying), it becomes easy to fold/unfold the bike in less than 10 seconds (translation: folding process deters opportunistic bike thieves & amazes bystanders).