Folding Bike News
FUBi Fixie - A Fast folding Full-size Folding Bike
Several years ago, FUBi, a Finnish company founded by Ulf Laxström introduced a full-size folding bike with a relatively compact fold but it did require a bit of disassembly to fold it. The original bike has been redesigned with a new patented quick fold frame and will be introduced via a Kickstarter campaign as the "FUBi Fixie". As the name suggests, it is designed as a fixed gear bike though since it uses a flip-flop hub, it can function as a freewheeling single-speed by turning the rear wheel around. The frame will use 4130 chrome molybdenum tubing and keep as much of the traditional diamond frame design as possible. The folded size will be 95x80x35cm (37.4x31.5x13.8in) and if used as a single gear (with freewheel) it will roll on both wheels while folded. Other specs include 700c wheels, Shimano 105 brakes, SRAM S100 crank set with a 170mm 48t chain ring and will weigh-in at 11kg (24.2lbs). Pricing will be competitive at 450-500€ for the bike and 250€ for the frame only. Further details can be found here.
Montague Updates Product Line
Montague, the largest manufacturer of full-size folding bikes, has updated and refreshed its product line for 2016. New bikes added to the line are the Allston, a high-end commuter bike with a Shimano Alfine 11-speed gear hub and belt drive, the Urban, an affordable 21-speed pavement bike, the Paratrooper Express, an entry level addition to the Paratrooper family, the Paratrooper Highline, a mid-range, and the Paratrooper Elite, a high-end folding mountain bike. Both the Highline and Elite feature 27.5" wheels. All the new bikes as well as previous models now incorporate Montague's DirectConnect folding system (shown in the photo above) that removes the quick release from the top tube creating a sleek look as well as providing stronger clamping between the two halves of the frame. Several models also feature RackStand, a patented cargo rack with a built in fender that rotates under the rear wheel to serve as a kickstand, workstand, and folded bike display. The 2016 Montague folding bicycle product line is quite wide and deep now and spans all price ranges and capabilities for those looking for a full-size folding pavement or mountain bike.
The Hummingbird - A 6.5kg Folding Bike
The Hummingbird Bike Company, based in the UK, announced the launch of its Kickstarter campaign for its new folding bike, touted as the lightest folding carbon fiber bike in the world. Weighing 6.5 kg, the Hummingbird utilizes a patented folding system that keeps the chain in tension when folded. Entirely designed and made in Britain, the Hummingbird will be offered in two versions: with 16" wheels or 20" wheels, the latter weighing slightly more at 7kg. The Hummingbird will be available either as single speed or 5-speed with 4 color choices: yellow, red, black and raw carbon fiber. Discounted Kickstarter pricing begins at £990 ($1500USD) with expected retail pricing starting at £1550 ($2360USD).
Tern Cargo Node - A New Folding Cargo Bike
Tern introduced the Cargo Node, a full-sized cargo bike that folds, at Eurobike in Germany. Tern teamed up with Xtracycle to design this longtail cargo bike. Not many specific details were released other than its weight - 24.5kg (54lbs) and cargo capacity - 160kg (352lbs). Tern will launch the Cargo Node during a 30-day campaign on Kickstarter.com in mid-September when more information will be revealed. Kickstarter campaign backers who pledge larger amounts will receive the first Cargo Node bikes that comes off the production line for hundreds less than the eventual retail price.
Update - Tern's Kickstarter campaign has begun. Update 2 - The Cargo Node was successfully funded raising $153,638.00
Dahon Introduced the Curl - Again
In what has become an almost perennial product announcement, Dahon issued a press release at Eurobike introducing the Curl, again, since it had been displayed at several trade shows around the world in years past. Dahon stated that the Curl would go into mass production for the Spring of 2016 for "test marketing" which sounds like they may be equivocating a bit yet again. Dahon claims that the Curl has taken 16 years of nonstop R&D to complete and contains 6 patented technologies. One of which is the “V” coupling of the rear to the front triangles (see photo above). Dahon says this "turns the Curl into a hard-tail bicycle without the bounciness and inefficiency during pedaling notorious for some bikes." Obviously this is a not so subtle swipe at the bike's target competitor, the Brompton, which uses an elastomer suspension block. The Curl will feature 18" wheels as opposed to Brompton's 16" wheels. Time will tell if Dahon finally rolls out the Curl world-wide.
Birdy's 20th Anniversary
For its 20-year anniversary, Riese & Müller unveiled the 3rd generation of the Birdy folding bike. The completely overhauled design focused on making the bike stiffer, lighter and more compact. A criticism of the old Birdy was the chain falling off when folded, now solved by a chain tensioner on the new Birdy. Four new models were introduced, the Birdy City, Birdy Dualdrive, Birdy Speed, and Birdy Rohloff, all include disc brakes, are offered in four colors and range in price from EUR 2,199.00 to EUR 3,499.00. Rounding out the product line is the existing World Birdy, consisting of two models, the World Birdy Sport and World Birdy Comfort.
Fat Bad Electric Folding Bike
Here's something you don't see everyday, a fat tire folding bike, and an electric one to boot! The Fat Bad from Italy's Bad Bike is touted as the world's first of its kind, which is likely indisputable. Sporting 20"x4" tires, this pedal assisted bike features a 250w drive powered by a 36v Li-Po battery that's good for a 55 to a 70 km range, depending on speed and terrain. A 48V/500-watt version is also available. Gearing consists of a Shimano Altus 7-speed with a Revo shifter. Front and rear Zoom hydraulic brakes are standard. Weighing in at 25kg (55lbs), the portability factor isn't too high but if you need an all-weather, all-terrain commuter bike, this would be it. The 36v/250w version is priced at €1,598 and the 48v/500w model is €1,998.
A-bike Redux - Electric Version
The original A-bike was invented by Sir Clive Sinclair in the United Kingdom and introduced to the market in 2006. It was a very compact folder that weighed only 5.5 kg (12 lbs). Due to its small 6" wheels, it had a fairly rough ride on uneven terrain. A version with a bit larger 8" wheels, the A-bike City, was introduced later in an attempt to overcome the ride quality issue. Fast forward to today and a Kickstarter campaign has been launched to bring an electric version of the A-bike to market in the fall of 2015. It will feature a detachable lithium battery and a brushless DC motor that is said to give a 15 mile (25 km) range and a top speed of 12.5mph (20km/h). Touted as the "the world's lightest and most compact electric folding bike" it weighs 26lbs (12kg) and has a folded dimension of 8.3" x 15.8" x 27.6" (21cm x 40cm x 70cm). Retail pricing of the A-bike Electric is projected to be £699 / $1089.
Target & Sports Authority to Carry Folding Bikes
Target and Sports Authority have entered into a retailing agreement with Durban Bikes, a Brazilian company, to sell their folding bikes. Target will carry Durban Bikes full line with prices ranging from $249.99 to $499.99 and will feature them with sale pricing during National Bike Month in May. Sports Authority will carry a more limited range of models in select stores across the U.S.
Helix - New Crowd Funded Folding Bike
Helix, a Canadian bicycle start-up based in Toronto has designed a new titanium folding bike with a novel fold. Starting with a design premise that it should fold down to the most compact size possible (essentially the size of its wheels) it does achieve a fairly compact fold size of just 23"x25"x9". This is with 24" wheels which are larger than most compact folding bikes. For comparison, a Brompton, widely considered to be one of the most compact folders, folds down to 23"x21.5"x10.6" but is uses 16" wheels, considerably smaller than those on the Helix.
As one would expect, the use of titanium does result in a fairly lightweight bike - 21 lbs or 9.5 kg. The bike has a 9-speed gear train, disc brakes, and employs a patent pending locking mechanism with a secondary safety. Due to the fact that the fold isn't in the main frame, this should allow for a more solid feel to the ride. Helix will be coming to Kickstarter soon with an opportunity to order at a price starting at $1199 USD.
Update - Helix's Kickstarter campaign was one of the most successful bicycle funding campaigns ever - raising over $1.7 million USD!
Dahon Announcements - Eurobike 2014
Dahon made quite a few product announcements to coincide with Eurobike 2014. New for the 2015 product line will be the Clinch (shown above), the Qix, the EEZZ 3-speed, the Ciao Electric, and at long last, the Curl. The Curl has been in development for several years and has been available in China but it will finally get wider distribution. The Curl is Dahon's answer to the Brompton as they are very similar in the way they fold and in the compactness of the fold. A video of these new bikes follow below. Also announced was the doubling in size of manufacturing facilities in China, due to a growth rate of 15-20% per year over the last five years, and the entrance into the traditional full-size bicycle market which will include "Ford" branded bikes through a partnership with the Ford Motor Company.
Graziella Celebrates 50 Years
In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of one of the most iconic folding bikes ever made, Graziella has produced a special edition version with a 24-carat gold plated frame and walnut burl powder-coated varnish trim. Conceived by noted Italian designer Rinaldo Donzelli and introduced in 1964, the Graziella became synonymous with folding bikes since it was the first one most people had ever seen before and they were exported to dozens of countries. Many are still ridden to this day. Brigitte Bardot helped bring notoriety to the bike by starring in an advertising campaign proclaiming Graziella, "The Rolls Royce of Brigitte Bardot". Salvador Dali was known to ride a Graziella as well. The bike's simple U-shaped design inspired many other copycat folding bikes that proliferated in the 1970's. While the special edition is not for sale, an updated homage to the original can be purchased for 699.00€. One of the new models is named the "Brigitte" another the "Salvador" in honor of these two famous folding cyclists who helped popularize the original Graziella.
Bike Intermodal Announces Folding Bike Prototype
Bike Intermodal, a European Union funded project to study the multi-modal integration of cycling mobility, has developed a new folding bike prototype that weighs as little as 7.5kg (16.5lbs) and folds down to a size of 50 cm x 40 cm x 15 cm. The bicycle is designed with a pre-stressed frame that opens and closes like an aircraft landing gear made of die cast aluminum or magnesium and sailing-grade cables. The bike is also designed to accommodate an electric assist motor. More »
IFMove Nominated by the Design Museum
The IFMove folding bike from Pacific Cycles was nominated as the Design of the Year in the transport category by the Design Museum in London. A previous Red Dot Award winner, the IFMove has 20" wheels, disc brakes, 9-speeds, weighs 11.8kg (26lbs) and retails for $1930.00.
Bike Friday Launches Bike Builder
Bike Friday has launched a Bike Builder to help its customers design and order a customized folding bike that best fits their needs. The on-line configurator, still in beta, can be found here.
The Most Compact Folding Bike?
FUBi, a Finnish company, has designed what it claims to be the world's most compact, full-sized foldable bicycle. This was achieved by having the bike's tube frame components all fold as parallel to each other as possible. With the design finished, FUBi has launched an Indiegogo campaign to put the bike into production in both aluminum and titanium.
The Kwiggle Bike, seen below, claims (unverified) to currently be the world's most compact small-wheeled folding bike.
Return of the MicroBike?
Innovations are exactly what the word says, new things and functions. Often this creates a problem for the inventor with the ambition to become an entrepreneur. It is not unusual that it may take many years or even decades for others to adopt, especially if the innovation seeks to alter the behavior of the customer.
Now the inventors behind the MicroBike, invented 1986, feel that the timing may be good for its revival. Between 1987 and 1993, they manufactured and sold some 16,000 MicroBikes in Europe, USA, Japan and other markets. The reason for contemplating a revival is that they are getting more and more contacts from people still using their MicroBike and those people meet other people that also want to buy one.
The special thing with the MicroBike is that it was invented and designed exclusively to optimize a person's transport with buses, trams and the subway. This takes special considerations which resulted in an unconventional design to allow extremely quick folding and unfolding and to allow the user to sit in a seat with the bike. It is also quite effective for use with trains and cars.
For those interested in seeing a revival of the MicroBike, pay a visit to www.microbike.se and let them know that you want one.
New French Folder
The French bicycle company B'TWIN recently introduced a new folding bike called the Tilt. The Tilt features an innovative patented folding mechanism, in-frame headlight and a belt drive. As can be seen in the video above, the bike folds very quickly and they tout it as "the one second bike". The Tilt comes in 3 models and 8 colors ranging in price from 399.95 € to 699.95 €.