Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Banned
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    2,296
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Alessandro Belli Bike (a real folding bike)

    Since everyone likes to make threads on concept bikes I thought I might as well make a thread about a great looking bike that has actually been built. It's the yet unnamed bike by Alessandro Belli.

    It folds to a mere 48x36x12 cm (19x14x5 inches), weights a scant 4 kg (8.8 lbs), boasts standard "big bike" geometry, has three speed gearing, can be equipped with an optional electric assist that only adds two extra kilograms to the weight (for a total of 6kg...for a folding electric bike!), and can supposedly be sold at a price point of 75 euros (~$100).

    Prototypes have apparently been built and the only thing holding this baby back from the market is an investor to fund the manufacturing. I sent Mr Belli an email asking him how much investment was needed and he said about 2 million [correction: 3 million] euros.

    Hopefully it will come to the attention of the right person because it looks like a great bike. I found out about it from Mr Belli's reaction to the A-bike:
    Quote Originally Posted by Alessandro Belli
    Our solution to the same problem.

    I think that Sir Clive's work is trying to address one of the most puzzling problems of modern engineering: why is the bicycle one of the few products that's remained failry unchanged through at least three technology revolutions? And why in the world shouldn't, in the age of miniaturization and "personal"-ization, the bicycle be grafted upon the public/private transportation means as a tool for "fine distribution" intermediate between the car or the bus or the tube and mere walking?

    I am a product designer, and as many others (including design superstar Richard Sapper) I have tried to contribute a solution. The first concern of our study group was, true, to make sure that our project "didn't invent anything" in terms of ergonomics. That is we have tried to stay as close as possible near the standard biking parameters, in order to avoid the "circus monkey" image that some were mentioning.

    Our work was supported by the European Commission's program "LIFE" and by engineering polymer concern Ticona-Celanese: http://www.ticona.com/index/news/new...ghtbicycle.htm

    It may be interesting to compare our project with Sir Clive's:

    - HALF the volume and more compact when folded: 48x36x12 cm vs. 70x30x20 (as declared by the Sinclair website).

    - Twice larger wheels with Pirelli tubeless tyres.

    - Super-stiff pre-tensioned space-frame frame, as stiff as a "normal" bike (or more).

    - Larger size, 100% regular ergonomics and handling (relationship between seat, handlebars, pedals and wheelbase) for people up to 1,92 cm (US male 99th percentile).

    - Totally automated, pushbotton, "landing-gear style", folding/unfolding

    - Belt traction (no chains), normal gearing, 3 speeds, normal 170-mm cranks.

    - Much lighter than the A-Bike, all plastics, engineered by Ticona-Celanese: 4.0 kg.

    - Electric kit that brings the total to a mere 6.0 kg.

    I believe that our solution is a more advanced one, more realistic and industrially sound. But my respect to the fact is that Sir. Clive had the ability to bring his to the market while we still are not there.

    Best regards,
    Alessandro Belli




    http://www.minimalvehicleproject.com/
    http://www.ticona.com/index/news/new...ghtbicycle.htm
    Last edited by makeinu; 03-09-07 at 01:20 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Fear&Trembling's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    London
    Posts
    637
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I remember a press release for this a couple(?) of years ago. Shame it does not seem to have progressed to the production phase.

    It looks like the spawn of a Moulton and Strida.

  3. #3
    Radfahrer Rincewind8's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    653
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    2 million Euros investment?!?! That's a lot of money for a (new/unproven) line of folding bikes, I would think. I mean how many would he (or a company investing that much money) have to sell to break even?
    TH 1.81 (133kg*62)

  4. #4
    Banned
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    2,296
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Rincewind8
    2 million Euros investment?!?! That's a lot of money for a (new/unproven) line of folding bikes, I would think. I mean how many would he (or a company investing that much money) have to sell to break even?
    Actually I just checked the email again and he didn't say 2M euros. He said 3M euros.

    I have no idea how that compares to other bike startups. I wonder if Yan would know?

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    391
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    It reminds me of an odd marriage between a Sinclair A-bike and a Pedersen style.
    +

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    526
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Either he's unwilling to start out with a really small operation (which is probably the only way he could get his company started) or for some reason he can't get the different componants of his bike built inexpensively? 2-3 million euros is nothing to sneeze at and I would hazard a guess that it is quite a bit more than what Yan started with,

    juan

  7. #7
    Banned
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    2,296
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by juan162
    Either he's unwilling to start out with a really small operation (which is probably the only way he could get his company started) or for some reason he can't get the different componants of his bike built inexpensively? 2-3 million euros is nothing to sneeze at and I would hazard a guess that it is quite a bit more than what Yan started with,

    juan
    Maybe he can't start with a a really small operation due to the manufacturing of the thermoplastics? Maybe he's unwilling to compromise on the 75 euros per unit price and he can only achieve it with economies of scale?

    There are a lot of standard components on Yan's bikes. This bike looks like it has no standard components at all.

  8. #8
    rhm
    rhm is offline
    multimodal commuter rhm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    NJ, NYC, LI
    My Bikes
    1945? Fothergill, 1948 Raleigh Record Ace, 1954 Drysdale, 1963? Claud Butler Olympic Sprint, Lambert 'Clubman', 1972 Fuji Finest, 1983 Trek 720, 1984 Counterpoint Opus II, 1993 Basso Gap, 2010 Downtube 8h, and...
    Posts
    12,306
    Mentioned
    30 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    The Belli folder looks interesting, and I'd be willing to try it, though I can imagine many ways for it to have a catastrophic failure.

    Putting all that aside... assuming it's The Perfect Folding Bike, the last word in this forum, etc. Where someone like Belli going to find that kind of money? The only think I could think of is: find a billionaire who thinks it's a good idea. Unfortunately billionaires are in short supply, and I have a suspicion the number of billionaires who would like this idea will be smaller still. But there's something about this bike that suggests to my mind the word "Ikea," a company owned by one of the world's richest men. Ikea makes a big show of being environmentally friendly, and their interest in folding bikes was recently demonstrated by their gift of blue Raleigh folders to european employees last Christmas.

    So my suggestion to Mr. Belli would be: ride your bike into your local Ikea and ask to speak to the owner. Hmm, well, it's probably not quite that easy, but you get the idea.

    Makeinu, did Belli indicate to you how many of these have been made?

  9. #9
    Banned
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    2,296
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by rhm
    Makeinu, did Belli indicate to you how many of these have been made?
    nope

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    118
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I want to see how this folds, and I want a clearer illustration of the driveline.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •