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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 06-28-08, 12:31 AM   #1
chainstrainer
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Outside the box folding bike ideas anyone?

Folding bike designs have clever variations of fold and/or pivot but essentially the components of most - the tube frames, geometry, wheels. etc. - are still largely similar to non-folding bikes in that they look and ride like regular bikes if just smaller (of course there are some notable exceptions - Moulton and Strida come to mind). That is not bad, of course, but I'm interested to see what this group has found on-line for truly unusual folding bike designs of the future, even if only conceptual in nature, unrealistic to manufacture and totally outlandish. I'm thinking of "from the ground up" re-thinking of the frame material and shape, drivetrain and gear systems, wheels, etc. with the specific idea of starting folding bike design without pre-conceptions of regular bikes. Yeah, I know that would make them impractical because of non-standard bike components, tooling issues, image alienation - but once free of those shackles, what Einstein ideas have been proposed? What have you found? Maybe you have your own?
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Old 06-28-08, 01:25 AM   #2
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Ever seen the Locust?

http://www.mobilemag.com/content/100/102/C8525/

(The link above is an article from 2006, with pictures.)
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Old 06-28-08, 05:37 AM   #3
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Bamboo, inch for inch, is stronger than a foot.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


The Kirk Magnesium Bicycle was made from seawater in a shed in Essex. The story of its rise and fall is similar to products of the fevered mind of Sir Clive 'Whacko' Sinclair', inventor of transistor radios you could hide up your sleeve. Sinclair went on to make lots of things that nobody wanted, but the Kirk Bicycle Company folded (geddit?) with a truly remarkable product almost perfected...



The Kirk was groundbreaking, beautiful or crackpot, depending on your sense of the ridiculous, and everyone with an IQ above room temperature wanted one.

Alas, these machines did not really function as bicycles. Bottom Brackets fell out when they got wet. Brake bosses fell off if you tried to slow down, and being magnesium, if you left a Kirk out in the sun, it could self-combust.

By the time Mr Kirk ironed the bugs out, investment cash had dried up, and the bike was dead. When the factory was finally cleared, hundreds of naked magnesium frames were piled up in the yard like so many corpses, to be shipped off to the scrapyard.

Remarkably, the magnesium frames were not much lighter than steel ones, but Kirk's innovative design, aided by early CAD technology, freed the designer from the constraints of welding bits of pipe together, and produced the first real advances in bicycle design for several decades. Kirk's marketing techniques included driving over a frame with his Mercedes, to prove the inherent strength in the girder frame.

The Kirk is still alive- just - as a desirable retro bike if you can find one that hasn't self-destructed. Later ones were much improved, but too late to save the company.

And yes, if you find one - I want it....

There are other examples of out of the box thinking, perhaps in the Dahon Jack, designed by MTB-er Joe Murray. The top reBar looks a little Kirkish, as does the bottom bracket, proving that designing a better bicycle has probably already been done, and that major innovation is going to come from component and material improvements.

However, the latest lines of serious downhill MTB's are showing some quite nuts design about as far away from 'two triangles with a wheel at each end' as it's possible to get.

Few, if any of them fold. Bring on the bamboo


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Old 06-28-08, 01:43 PM   #4
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Tinker toys
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Old 06-28-08, 02:03 PM   #5
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Tinker toys
Thank you for your positive contribution. Try and get your word count up, though. Nobody loves shy people.
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Old 06-28-08, 03:26 PM   #6
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There are plenty of outlandish folding bike designs out there. However, what I find much more interesting are all the practical deviations from conventional bicycles which have been rejected as poor compromises in terms of riding, but have a lot of potential to be good compromises for folding bicycles.

For example, a conventional unicycle is, even without folding, usually more compact than even the smallest folding bicycles. The drawback of course is that unicycles are difficult to steer, but with some stabilization (perhaps training wheels) and a folding wheel I think unicycles have the potential to be the pinnacle of compactness when it comes to barely ridable vehicles.



I also think that, by eliminating the need for parts that perch the rider high above the wheels, recumbent bicycles have a lot of potential for ultracompact bikes. While sitting so low may not be a practical solution for riding in traffic, I don't think it's hard to imagine how a dedicated smooth cycleways could make a folding version of the following bike very useful:


Lastly, I see tons of folding potential in replacing each larger wheel with several strategically placed smaller wheels. While the following bike (called the Streetsurfer) does not fold, the way it's tiny suspended wheelsets can simulate the stability of much wider and larger wheels (even going so far as riding down steps...on wheels less then 8" in diameter!) is nothing short of amazing and I think it's easy to see how almost any of the conventional folding bikes we are used to could receive large improvements in their compactness without much compromise in ride quality, simply by replacing their large cumbersome spoked wheels with smaller multiple suspended wheelsets like these:

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Old 06-28-08, 05:12 PM   #7
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Ever seen the Locust?

http://www.mobilemag.com/content/100/102/C8525/

(The link above is an article from 2006, with pictures.)
Yes, I have. This is an example of the idea stretching I'm referring to. Here's another:

http://www.yankodesign.com/index.php...y-thomas-owen/
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Old 06-28-08, 06:22 PM   #8
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I have in my photo gallery a bike that fits your bill of being conceptual in nature, unrealistic to manufacture and totally outlandish is the Dubike.

I have had some designers send me some concept designs for my input that do show out of the box thinking but are of a more practical nature that are intended for manufacture. Hopefully I will be able to share some of them with you soon.
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Old 06-28-08, 06:33 PM   #9
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What if the Swiss Army knives people built a folder?
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Old 06-28-08, 06:34 PM   #10
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Thank you for your positive contribution. Try and get your word count up, though. Nobody loves shy people.
This is why I love bike forums. You get a real sense of community, when old-time posters like this give key tips about how to post more effectively. I hope that when I've been here for two months -like snafu21- that I can achieve his level of posting-awesomeness.

-Taser
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Old 06-28-08, 07:24 PM   #11
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I posted this a while back. It's from a 1970s magazine.





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Old 06-28-08, 07:46 PM   #12
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There is/was a really strange looking bike on ebay, in fact there were 4 listed. 8" wheels, folds like an accordian and has 2 chain rings, 1 drove the other. Looked as sturdy as a wet noodle and could fall to pieces on the first unfold.

I am starting to like the carryme ds, as the company had the forsight to include a 2 speed model which goes to show the company is reallly trying to appeal to more than those that consider more than just reaching the last mile.

Ixi breakaway is kinda neat, multi speed belt drive.

A-bike is certainly different, but I don't think it could do more than a mile at a time.

There are others... I'll return after a googling.
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Old 06-28-08, 08:16 PM   #13
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I still haven't seen anything weirder than a Strida.

If Calfee Design made a bamboo folding bike, that might do it.
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Old 06-28-08, 09:09 PM   #14
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ebay unleashed!

this is what happens when you stray away from conventional thinking


not good.

http://cgi.ebay.com/a-cool-bike-Acce...QQcmdZViewItem

i don't even know how it folds.... i'll leave that to my imagination.

next up,
the picnica..




then the ixi..


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Old 06-28-08, 09:51 PM   #15
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I posted this on the general board. Not a folding bike, but it uses a radical new material cardboard, which could probably be modified to fold.

Fully recyclable, the bike made out of cardboard
Fully recyclable, the bike made out of cardboard

Another area to look at is bikes with hydraulic drives. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydraulic_bicycle
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Old 06-29-08, 11:09 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dynocoaster View Post
What if the Swiss Army knives people built a folder?
The concept of the folding knife is a good analogy. Hinging, collapsing and flipping ideas have resulted in the pantographic, balisong, gravity, switchblade, etc. designs. In some ways the world of folding bikes is similarly branching out, if only in the last decade or two, whereas folding knife development has been on-going for centuries.

I think Victorinox has put their label on a bike or two but I don't recall whether they fold or not.

Maybe Samsonite should have jumped on this one, though:

http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/gadgets/t...-it-255639.php

Think of the marketing potential!
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