I called by one of the largest folding bike dealers in the UK today, Avon Valley Cyclery (www.foldingbikes.co.uk). This is an unusual shop based at the rear of Bath's historic railway station inside of the arch. Such a cool shop and helpful professional staff!
A few photos from my visit:
A mezzo folded in front of some Birdy's. Nice bike but similar footprint to the Birdy, not a Brompton beater in that respect.
For the Moulton enthusiasts. Not cheap at £1250 if I remember rightly but a lovely bike.
The one I came to see:
I test rode this today and it folds very neatly and quickly as many people on this forum have pointed out. The amazing thing is it unfolds into a bike with a big feel and very fast ride, especially the one in the photo with combination of SRAM hub and derailleur for 24 speed. Gear change was so smooth. Could easily tour as well as commute on this bike. I was very impressed. This beauty was over £1200 because of the gearing option. a base 8 speed is £870. Perhaps next year when my Brompton's istalments are paid off on the cycle scheme with my employer! Finally I can confirm it wheels beautifully on the free wheel in my opinion for carting around. Te fold and unfold is superfast too. I was very impressed overall. Bike Friday have introduced one of the most innovative folders in years with this beauty. I also love the range of frame sizes available and the big choice of colours.
The photos never did it justice it looks great in reality. In the case of this frame all the small Bike Friday font spoils this one a little, otherwise its a looker.
Finally I snapped the Pacific Carryme. I know it's unusual and well built but I can't see how the fold is better than the Bromptons for commuting. It has a taller vertical fold (as all of you know) but didn't seem as compact and easy to balance as the Brompton in transit on trains or buses. Not an alternative to the Brompton for me but I'm sure some people would argue differently! Having said that, it is unusual and really good quality construction.
QUOTE "but I can't see how the fold is better than the Bromptons for commuting. It has a taller vertical fold (as all of you know) but didn't seem as compact and easy to balance as the Brompton in transit on trains or buses"
I have both the CM & the Brommie and can vouch that the CM is way easier to handle than a Brommie in a packed bus or train. Its footprint vertically is the smallest and it can sit between your legs when you are seated. Also, it rolls folded so much better. That said, the Brommie wins hands down when it comes to ride quality.
But this is my cup of tea as a multi-modal bike for short commutes. And yes, the quality is very impressive.
Thanks for sharing those pic Mul. Now I know where my Brommie came from I got mine used with the Avon Decal.
Surly LHT, Surly Big Dummy, Surly 1x1, Surly Pugsley, Bike Friday Tikit x 3, Bike Friday NWT, Bow Cycle 24, Santa Cruz Nomad
Thanks for the photos....I'm terribly jealous you have access to a LBS with so many cool folding bikes. I'm glad you liked the Tikit. The fast fold and ability to get it in several sizes is really nice.
I'd love to try a Birdy and see what they are like to ride. All the talk and photos online have piqued my interest, but a test ride is unlikely in my part of the world.