Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Folding Fixie

I just got my fixed-gear folding bike from Bike Friday. It's based on their Pocket Rocket Pro frame, but instead of the normal gear system, it has a simple single gear. There are various kinds of "fixies". Some some have brakes and some have a gear on the other side which allows you to flip the back rim so you have two gears, although switching gears involves removing the back rim.

Because of the mechanics of a folding bike, the dropout where back rim mounts into the frame is slightly different from a normal fixie, but in principle it is the same. I was going to try to be badass and get it without any brakes (you use your legs to brake) but Stephen, my sales guy at Bike Friday, convinced me to get at least a front brake... that I could always remove it if I didn't need it.

After taking it around the block, I'm glad I have it. I don't think I have the legs to control myself down steep hills yet.

Fixies are getting more and more popular these days. They seem to have a slightly culty image, but I think more and more "normal" people are riding them and even major brands are starting to release fixies. The reason I got it is because it's supposed to be a good workout with the high cadence and the variety of weights you end up having to pedal. Also, because of the significantly fewer parts, it's more durable and less likely to break. Wikipedia has a pretty good article on fixed-gear bikes.

The bike folds so you can take it on the train or stick it in a cab and it also easily dismantles and fits in a airline checkinable suitcase.

This is my second Bike Friday. They're hand-made and high quality and the service and support has been good. I'd recommend them to anyone who wants a high quality bike that they can travel with.

Kudos to Sean for turning me on to fixies and to Markoff for turning me on to Bike Friday.

UPDATE: Here's a picture of it folded.

Folded Bike Friday Pocket Rocket Pro Fixie


looks very nice! makes me kind of jealous. was wondering how long it takes to fold/unfold the whole thing...

Yeah! Do you have a "folded" picture to post?

Confused. Is it a fixed gear or a single speed with a flip-flop hub (i.e. flipping the rear wheel gives you the chocie between fixed and free-wheel single gear)?

Fixies are teh sex0r.

Hot! I can't wait to test drive it. I just picked up my new singlespeed this weekend (here's a pic) - I threw brakes on it and switched the flipflop hub to a freewheel because after test driving it fixed I knew I wasn't ready for that just yet. I'm still totally psyched to not have all those gears cluttering it up!

Joi, how about a pic of the bike in a folded position? I'd like to see how compact it is.

I'm a bike freak and if its portable enough to my liking, might actually pick one up soon.

Kim says, "Sick bike, man!"
(I think that means it's nice, awesome, and cool.)

Here's an overview of the folding:

basically, it takes a less than min to do a quick fold that will let you throw the bike in the car. You basically release one thing, pull seat up, fold the rear of the bike under the bike, fold the seat post forward and remove the handlebars and mast. You can stick this in a carry bag in another min or less.

To break everything down to fit in a suitcase requires a bit more time, skill and tools, but probably can be done in

I had the option of a 2 gear flip-flop hub, but I got a single gear one. I'm not sure yet if that was the right decision. I just wanted to make this minimal as possible.

Thanks Kim!

That is a nice looking bike, something that I could see myself wanting two own myself although I would miss having gears and I haven't read a fixie since I was a kid. I still have the scars.


Nice bike, but for easier urban transport & riding, take a look at one of Laneo's partners (, MOBIKY; really innovative biking !


Andrew ;-)

Andrew: That looks convenient. The reason I picked the Bike Friday is that a friend recommended it as a replacement for a real touring/road bike. His friend rode a Bike Friday across the US in 15 days and himself took his Bike Friday across Europe. I agree that there are bikes that are easier to fold and folder smaller.

Also, if one wants to 'replace' a car with a bike, one can get a Danish Christiania bike. The production started in the 70s in Freetown Christiania in Copenhagen, a place which was carfree already then.


BTW, Sean, that bike is hot.

ville: very cool

loving your folding fix Joi. I was wanting a Xooter Swift Fix for a while but resisted the urge. check out..

& for the hell of it...

Je découvre votre blogue. Il est très bien et le contenu aussi, surtout.
Très intéressant, merci pour l'information.

Beautiful bike. What is the gear ratio on this bike? And how much of a hassle is it to have to loosen the rear wheel every time the bike gets folded, still okay for commuting?

Very elegant bike. But I am quite happy with my one - it seems even a bit more compact when folded ;)


So, are you gonna get one with foldable wheels as well, when it reaches the market? :-)