Folding History: The Bike Friday Pocket Rocket


Invention of the Pocket Rocket

In 1993, Bike Friday Leapt into the Pro Circuit with the Pocket Rocket

Phil Liggett, the famous voice of the Tour de France, with his Pocket Rocket Pro

Hanz & Alan combined their love of road riding and travel to create the Pocket Rocket Line

Bike Friday Co-founders Hanz and Alan loved racing bikes with their friends on the plains of North Dakota as youngsters. As the two got older, they became increasingly serious about training and competing in all the races they could find around North Dakota, Manitoba and Minnesota. In 1971, Alan won 2nd place in the USA Road Nationals, and by the age of 20 ,Hanz had won over 25 state championships.

Their combined love of sport riding led the Scholz brothers to design and build some of the world’s first racing tandems under the name ATP (Advanced Training Products). True to form, the two also spent lots of time riding and racing the tandems they built, racing in the Duet Classic Tandem Stage race 7 times.

In 1990, Alan on the front and Hanz on the back, racing in the Duet Classic on one of the racing tandems they built. They got 2nd place this time.
After launching Bike Friday, it was only a matter of time before Hanz and Alan set their sights on creating the world’s premier performance travel bike, the Pocket Rocket. The first one was built around 1993.

“For Hanz and I, whether we were touring or racing, we used a road bike. That is why when you look closely at the Bike Friday logo you will see that the bike is a drop bar Pocket Rocket.” -Alan Scholz

The first Pocket Rocket had the original diamond frame design.

The main frame design was changed to a mono-tube after a little competition in the production shop inspired one of the builders to make a simpler and lighter frame for his personal Pocket Rocket.  This is one of the first production models.
The Pocket Rocket took off like, well, a rocket. Roadies everywhere did double-takes at the sight of a serious performance bike with 20″ wheels, especially when it smoked them!

They said, “how can those little wheels go so @#%!fast??”.

“Hanz and I realized the look of the little wheels was the best decoy trick to start the race with (see the quiet grin here). On a bike that’s built right, its about the legs and the lungs, not the wheel size…” – Alan Scholz

In the first two years Pocket Rocket sales soared to 30% of our business. The success of the Pocket Rocket was initially fueled by early adopters like Ed Pavelka, an editor for Bicycling Magazine.

An article by Ed in Bicycling Magazine is what put the Pocket Rocket on the map. He wrote “A Bike Friday rides as good as your best bike.”.

Prominent cycling figures, like Tour de France’s Phil Liggett and Bicycling Magazine’s Jim Langley, recognized the value of a performance road bike that could travel with you anywhere:

“I’ve always told people that Bike Fridays ride just as good as your favorite bicycle, and that you can do all the same things on it, too. If you’re looking for the ultimate portable flyer, this is it.” – Jim Langley.

Jim has ridden every day for 23 years with help of his Pocket Rocket –read more on his website

Alan racing his Pocket Rocket years later in one of the local events.

Oh, the Places You’ll Train…

The ability to easily travel anywhere with a high-performance, custom-built road bike opened up a world of possibility for elite riders everywhere. From the Swiss Alps to Kona, we continue to be amazed by the places that people have ridden their Pocket Rockets.

“Having ridden my bicycle since I got the cycling bug at age 11, I have learned over and over that best bike is the one I can have with me every time I want to ride. Bike Friday has brought a dream into reality for me and many others.” – Alan Scholz

Meanwhile, back in Eugene…

While serious sport riders were enjoying their newly discovered freedom, the Scholz brothers were hard at work designing their next big thing: travel tandems. Stay tuned for our next installment of Bike Friday history all about the Family Tandem and the Tandem Two’sDay!

Find out what Alan did with a hacksaw and his first Family Tandem!

Alan Scholz and his daughter, Sarah, on a weekend ride together.

Inspired by the desire to ride with his third daughter Sarah, Alan invented the Family Tandem. The most size adjustable tandem in the world. It can really fit the whole family!


3 Responses

  1. Its a pity I cant source Bike Friday bikes in Australia.

    I am still interested in the Pocket Rocket…but that is but a dream unless I stay in the US long enough for you guys to make one to fit me! ( I am just short of 5 ft). I was in New Orleans last yr, but that is a long way from you guys! and nothing in the Eastern states.

    Had been writing for a while in the past to Robbie Dow of Bike Friday . He was very helpful.

    I might just have to day dream about this bike!

    Elvira , Brisbane, Australia

    1. Hi Elvira,

      You can absolutely have a Bike Friday delivered to you in Australia! Plenty of people have and continue to. We are very skilled at building custom bikes for people at a distance, in fact, the majority of people we build for never actually ever set foot in our shop! We’ve built 1000’s of bicycles this way and we have a great track record. And to top it off, we have a 30 money back guarantee, no questions asked- so if it doesn’t fit you just the way you want it to, you can send it right back to us at 0 risk to you.

      Robbie doesn’t work here any longer, but we’ve got a solid team that can help you get the perfect bike for you. Can I have one of our reps reach out to you? Let’s make that dream a reality!


  2. Hi Elvira,
    I live in Sydney, Australia and ordered my Pocket Rocket late last year. I gave Bike Friday my normal bike measurements and they custom built it for me. It arrived early in March ’18 and after putting it together, it fitted beautifully and I am very pleased with my Pocket Rocket. The courier service will handle the custom clearance for you.

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