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  1. #1
    Senior Member overbyte's Avatar
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    Rare and Unusual Folding Bikes

    Folding bikes have tickled the imagination and creativity of bike designers. Here are some unusual ones that I found today. Please add more as you find them.

    This one reminds me of the tilting motorcycle trike called the Carver One, but with the single wheel in the rear and dual wheels in front: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLmhYS6Fm9o.

    This one brings a new dimension to the idea of packing your bike in a suitcase for travel on public transport: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZiQ1jPw4I0.

    Now, this one doesn't fold, but it has all folders beat when it comes to portability:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPBwuP73SK8 . Brompton owners, eat your heart out.

  2. #2
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by overbyte View Post
    Folding bikes have tickled the imagination and creativity of bike designers. Here are some unusual ones that I found today. Please add more as you find them.

    This one reminds me of the tilting motorcycle trike called the Carver One, but with the single wheel in the rear and dual wheels in front: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLmhYS6Fm9o.

    This one brings a new dimension to the idea of packing your bike in a suitcase for travel on public transport: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZiQ1jPw4I0.

    Now, this one doesn't fold, but it has all folders beat when it comes to portability:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPBwuP73SK8 . Brompton owners, eat your heart out.
    All three of those are fabulous finds. Well done.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member overbyte's Avatar
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    Here are a couple of videos showing the Smartcog Mint folding bike, which I have not seen advertised anywhere. It seems to be available only in Asia. The product of a Japanese inventor, the Mint seems to have a faster fold and more compact folded size than a Brompton. It has 14" wheels. The folding design seems to have been licensed by Dahon for their 16" Jifo folding bike.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvwC9YXaUSI shows the 1-speed model being taken on a subway ride.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SexPOYl6b-E shows the 3-speed model with custom derailleur.
    The Brompton has the option for a 2-speed external derailleur and a 3-speed internally geared hub, giving 6 speeds, but maybe the smaller hub width precludes internally gearing in the Mint's hub.
    You can read more about the Smartcog Mint at the company's website: http://www.smartcog.co.jp/Products/mint.htm. It's in Japanese, but if you use Google Chrome browser, the browser will offer a translation from Japanese text to your own preferred language.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Still Pedaling's Avatar
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    All of those were great. You have to hand it to some people. It takes quit an imagination and some technical know-how to design this stuff.
    "It's best to remain silent and be thought the fool, then to open your mouth and remove all doubt" -- Mark Twain

  5. #5
    cpg
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    Its been the subject of threads on this forum before but I think its worth a mention here.

    4-130.jpg2-176.jpg

    Video: http://s1095.photobucket.com/user/gy...001-1.mp4.html

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...s-one-of-these
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  6. #6
    Senior Member overbyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpg View Post
    Its been the subject of threads on this forum before but I think its worth a mention here.

    4-130.jpg2-176.jpg

    Video: http://s1095.photobucket.com/user/gy...001-1.mp4.html

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...s-one-of-these
    This guy (gydha88) has been advertising the bike on eBay for a long time. I contacted him in the last few days to ask about the exact tire size (to be sure I could find replacements) and what kind of hub brake it has on the rear. If you look carefully, you'll see that the rear wheel does not have a rim brake like the one on the front wheel. The seller was evasive or indifferent and gave incomplete or faulty answers, including his claim that the rear brake is a "pad brake" like the one on the front. When I confronted him twice about the rear not showing a rim brake caliper and asked him to send me a photo showing only the rear wheel so I could see the brake, he said he didn't have time to do it.

    I don't know if this is a scam and the guy never actually delivers any of the bikes that people order, or if he's just too busy selling trinkets and other stuff on his eBay store to answer, or what. Has anyone on this forum actually received one or seen one up close and personally in the US?

    I also contacted the manufacturer's representative in Hong Kong, which is selling the bike through Alibaba's eCommerce site. They haven't gotten back to me with an answer to the question about shipping cost and whether the bike has been tested by an accredited testing company registered with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, which is required in order to import a bicycle into the US. I doubt that it has been tested and issued a Certificate of Conformance. If anyone in the US would want to become a distributor or reseller of this bike, he or she would need that Certificate to let the bikes clear through US Customs for entry into the US at the port of entry.

    All of that aside, I do like the bike's clever folding mechanics. If they can be legitimately (lawfully) imported, I'd buy one just to see how it rides. The eBay seller's video shows someone riding it leisurely even up a nice incline and over rough terrain. I'd have someone sew a coat for me with a huge pocket (like Captain Kangaroo, the children's TV entertainer of generations ago) so I could pull this thing out once in a while and flip it into shape when I'm downtown. (Just kidd'n of course. It weighs 13 Kg. But the video does make it look easy to carry.)
    Last edited by overbyte; 03-03-14 at 10:05 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member overbyte's Avatar
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    Now, here's a folder of a different sort, not what we mean on this Folders forum, but it does fold in a rare way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJ2udFXsyhA . Watch the beginning carefully and you'll see the rider's head just above the traffic and then he does something to fold the bike from a semi-recumbent shape into a tall-bike shape, where he rises high above the madding crowd and can survey the situation far ahead. Then he decides it's hopelessly congested and weaves through the traffic to make a U-turn and unfolds the bike into the low-riding configuration again. It's rare and unusual.

  8. #8
    cpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by overbyte View Post
    This guy (gydha88) has been advertising the bike on eBay for a long time. I contacted him in the last few days to ask about the exact tire size (to be sure I could find replacements) and what kind of hub brake it has on the rear. If you look carefully, you'll see that the rear wheel does not have a rim brake like the one on the front wheel. The seller was evasive or indifferent and gave incomplete or faulty answers, including his claim that the rear brake is a "pad brake" like the one on the front. When I confronted him twice about the rear not showing a rim brake caliper and asked him to send me a photo showing only the rear wheel so I could see the brake, he said he didn't have time to do it.

    I don't know if this is a scam and the guy never actually delivers any of the bikes that people order, or if he's just too busy selling trinkets and other stuff on his eBay store to answer, or what. Has anyone on this forum actually received one or seen one up close and personally in the US?
    It defiantly has a hub brake on the rear but not a rim brake. The video clearly shows it with two brake levers and cables. At 1 min 9 seconds into the video you can see the rear end of the bike and hub brake. Some time ago I emailed people who had bought the bike from the ebay seller and left feedback. The responses I got were very encouraging but most agreed it was not a bike for long distance rides. So I don't think it is a scam but agree that it is unlikely to have been tested and certified.
    Mezzo I4 (converted to dual drive), Whyte PRST-1, Trek 1200, Dahon Jack, Bickerton (work in progress)

  9. #9
    Senior Member overbyte's Avatar
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    The bike brand name is "Freeride" as shown in this video: http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMjU4NzY0NjYw.html.
    Here are photos comparing the size with a 20" folding bike by loading them in the trunk of a car:
    http://liuyingduan.1688.com/page/alb...tm?imageNum=15.
    It makes a nice compact package for train travel: http://liuyingduan.1688.com/page/alb...htm?imageNum=8.
    Last edited by overbyte; 03-04-14 at 08:31 AM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member overbyte's Avatar
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    Well, I did it. I ordered one of these 12" ultra-compacting bikes, not from the eBay seller and not from the Hong Kong distributor, but from a seller that I found on the Chinese eCommerce web site called AliExpress. Here's the product page there: http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Frees...842690448.html. The title says "Freeshipping" but that's only to some areas. To the United States, there's a modest $30.94 shipping charge for FedExIE, which is very cheap. My total cost is $263.16 including shipping. For that price, I figured what the heck, I'll give it a try as another toy in my bike collection. At the listing page, you'll see lots of nice close-up photos. The listing says "black" but if you read the fine print it says that the other colors except white are also available, so I requested blue in the comments to seller. We'll see how this works out. I'll report back here once I've given it a good tryout on flat and hilly routes around my home. In specs on the listing, it says that the load rating is 100 kg, which is 220 lbs. I weigh about 160 lbs, which leaves plenty of leeway (60 lbs) for cargo in a backpack or somewhere hanging on the bike such as on a seatpost-clamp-on rack. By the shine of the metal seatpost on the photos of the listed bike, the post seems to be steel, but the steering post looks like aluminum alloy. Some of the other photos show a black seatpost, which might be an aluminum post on some upgraded model.

    This should be interesting.

    Here's a video link from the listing page, which is a short TV clip where the bike is demonstrated, I think by the inventor: http://v.ku6.com/show/ctWlha_DDL2FZkLg.html .
    Last edited by overbyte; 03-04-14 at 12:37 PM.

  11. #11
    cpg
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    I am looking forward to reading your views of the bike. The photos on the AliExpress site are the best I have seen so far. I didn't realise until seeing them that the final drive is a belt. It is a great piece of engineering and design, if you don't like the ride when you get the bike, just hang it on the wall and look at it.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member overbyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpg View Post
    ... if you don't like the ride when you get the bike, just hang it on the wall and look at it.
    I agree. This thing is a piece of mechanical cleverness. I'd just leave it in the living room as a stool and unfold it to behold once in a while.

  13. #13
    Senior Member overbyte's Avatar
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    How compact is it, you ask? Here's the volume comparison.

    In a posting on the Folders forum at At a loss: Brompton vs Ori M9 #38, I mentioned the volume comparison of 3 small folders. There I said: "Notice that the Brompton has the smallest volume when folded (86 Liters), Ori middle (135 L), and Birdy the largest (173 L)." The folded size of the Dahon Jifo, which is a 16"-wheel 1-speed folder, is (60.7 25.5 59.5 cm) = 92 L.

    Based on the measurements shown on the seller's listing (25 cc x 30 cc x 40 cc = 9.8" x 11.8" x 15.75"), the ultra-compact folder has a volume of only 30 Liters. (I'll confirm these dimensions when I receive mine. They may be the size without the pedals being considered, but I could replace the pedals with folding pedals to bring them within the width of the rest of the folded bike.) That is, it occupies about 1/3 of the volume of a folded Brompton or Jifo.
    Last edited by overbyte; 03-04-14 at 08:45 PM.

  14. #14
    cpg
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    Quote Originally Posted by overbyte View Post
    Based on the measurements shown on the seller's listing (25 cc x 30 cc x 40 cc = 9.8" x 11.8" x 15.75"), the ultra-compact folder has a volume of only 30 Liters. (I'll confirm these dimensions when I receive mine.
    So there is a good chance that it will fit in a medium sized holdall bag or rucksack and therefore no need to buy a special bag for folding bikes.
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  15. #15
    cpg
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    Not so much unusual but fairly rare - the Microbike. I have only ever seen one come up for sale on ebay.

    http://microbike.se/


    microbikeswe0_resize.JPG microbikeswe23_resize.JPG
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  16. #16
    Senior Member overbyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpg View Post
    So there is a good chance that it will fit in a medium sized holdall bag or rucksack and therefore no need to buy a special bag for folding bikes.
    ... or perhaps in a hardshell suitcase so it can be flown as ordinary luggage, without any disassembly. Watch these for comparison:
    Unpacking and re-assembling a Bike Friday Tikit and trailer at the airport https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwStL94Xudo
    How to pack a Brompton for airplane travel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjZ7eRn0UD4
    Brompton going into a special hard case (B&W) designed for Bromptons: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMhMKAIoQ0w
    Brompton disassembly and packing in an ordinary suitcase: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVQVwpOeY4k
    Removing Bike Friday steering stem to fit bike into a suitcase: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Y0e0b2DEnE
    Unpacking a new Bike Friday from the travel case: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wO8zlSGv4FY

    The suitcase would need to be deep enough to allow some padding around the bike, so you'd need to search for just the right one or perhaps use a case designed for a Brompton or Bike Friday or other folding bike and just have room to spare inside for clothing. A hardshell case would ideally meet the 62 linear inch maximum for airlines and the overall dimensional limits of Amtrak (28"x22"x14" except the Pacific Surfliner 28"x22"x11"). Of course, these bikes are not all equivalent, but convenience of packing is a factor to consider when choosing a bike for travel.

    Regarding a suitcase which converts into a bike trailer, I like this guy's idea but don't know where to find the parts he used: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOrusRCth6g.

    Regarding a rucksack to carry the ultra-compact folder -- I have a US military surplus heavy-duty ILBE backpack which was designed for the US Marines and can carry up to 120 lbs of equipment on a soldier's back. It has a volume of 4500 cu.in. (about 74 liters) with a divider flap about half-way down inside. I'm going to try putting the little bike into the top compartment and clothing in the bottom compartment. (When carrying loads in a backpack, experts advise putting the heaviest part on the top of the pack for better carrying angle and easier load bearing on the body.) I don't know when I might want to put the bike into a backpack, but it would be good to know it can be done. However, carrying the bike separately would be easier since it could be rolled. Luggage weight limit for Amtrak is 50 lbs per piece, so putting a 28 lb bike into a 9.4 lb backpack would leave 12.6 lbs for other items in the backpack.

  17. #17
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by overbyte View Post
    However, carrying the bike separately would be easier since it could be rolled. Luggage weight limit for Amtrak is 50 lbs per piece, so putting a 28 lb bike into a 9.4 lb backpack would leave 12.6 lbs for other items in the backpack.
    Looking at the measurements on the link where you bought the bike it's extremely tiny and you might as well throw it into a ikea blue bag on amtrak. At that size no one would even think it's a bicycle and think you just went shopping.

  18. #18
    Senior Member overbyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Azreal911 View Post
    Looking at the measurements on the link where you bought the bike it's extremely tiny and you might as well throw it into a ikea blue bag on amtrak. At that size no one would even think it's a bicycle and think you just went shopping.
    I agree that it's not necessary to pack the bike for Amtrak unless you want to check it as checked-baggage. The photos and videos show that people have used a sort-of skirt rather than a bag, so that the bottom remains open for rolling and the top has an opening for gripping the bike to carry it, and still the bike is covered. Amtrak allows carry-on folding bikes and I've taken mine even without any covering, but of course it has to be a clean bike. I could just take a re-usable shopping bag with the carrying straps removed, turn it upside down so the opening is down, cut a hole for the handle access, and slip the bag over the bike rather than putting it into a bag in the normal way. That way the adjacent luggage won't contact the bike itself and the rolling features can still be used.

    At stores and restaurants, the bike could be covered and brought right in, perhaps in the shopping basket at a market. I've seen people doing that with Bromptons. One of the seller's photos shows a man at a restaurant with this bike folded and resting next to his feet under the table. Very do-able. Covering it with a slip-on cover would be more courteous to the restaurant management and patrons.

  19. #19
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Pingus of origami bike bought some of these. Might be worth pm him.
    Dual drive Mezzo (GOLD), Dual Drive Mezzo with bullbars (black), White Brompton thingy with Dahon Androes stem and bull bars. Birdie (old sytle) 7 speed. Downtube NS8.

  20. #20
    Senior Member overbyte's Avatar
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    I'll contact him by email through his company. Thanks for the suggestion.

  21. #21
    Senior Member overbyte's Avatar
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    I did reach Paul Pingus by email. He said he didn't like the way the bike rolls when folded, and due to the small wheels he didn't like riding it for more than 1 mile. He also said that the shipping cost was very expensive when he bought one to try directly from the factory. He feels that a 16" wheel bike is compact enough and is a better riding bike.

    I'll add my own opinion in this thread after I've tried the one I ordered, which hasn't been shipped yet.

  22. #22
    Senior Member overbyte's Avatar
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    I found another advertisement for the ultra-compact "Freeride" folding bike.
    http://item.taobao.com/item.htm?spm=...d=15869152247#

    It has more photos, including this comparison of 2 of these bikes versus a Dahon 16" bike model kt510 folded:
    T2aYLmXotXXXXXXXXX_!!696292724.jpgT2AQHlXhxaXXXXXXXX_!!696292724.jpgT2E2tOXedeXXXXXXXX_!!696292724.jpg
    http://dahontec.en.made-in-china.com...es-KT510-.html

  23. #23
    Senior Member overbyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by overbyte View Post
    I'll add my own opinion in this thread after I've tried the one I ordered, which hasn't been shipped yet.
    It's on its way to me now, by FedEx International Economy shipping. FedEx says it will arrive at my door this Thursday, 3 days from now, right after which I have a 3-day weekend trip scheduled to Napa, California, for a conference. If the bike comes when it's supposed to, I'll take it to Napa and ride around there to see how it performs. I'll post my first impressions and photos when I'm back home.

  24. #24
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    porta-cycle Katakura Porta-Cycle

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by overbyte View Post
    Well, I did it. I ordered one of these 12" ultra-compacting bikes, not from the eBay seller and not from the Hong Kong distributor, but from a seller that I found on the Chinese eCommerce web site called AliExpress. Here's the product page there: Freeshipping by Fedex/UPS /12'' inch mini folding bicycle/folding bike the special gift/ various color /portable bike-in Bicycle from Sports & Entertainment on Aliexpress.com. The title says "Freeshipping" but that's only to some areas. To the United States, there's a modest $30.94 shipping charge for FedExIE, which is very cheap. My total cost is $263.16 including shipping. For that price, I figured what the heck, I'll give it a try as another toy in my bike collection. At the listing page, you'll see lots of nice close-up photos. The listing says "black" but if you read the fine print it says that the other colors except white are also available, so I requested blue in the comments to seller. We'll see how this works out. I'll report back here once I've given it a good tryout on flat and hilly routes around my home. In specs on the listing, it says that the load rating is 100 kg, which is 220 lbs. I weigh about 160 lbs, which leaves plenty of leeway (60 lbs) for cargo in a backpack or somewhere hanging on the bike such as on a seatpost-clamp-on rack. By the shine of the metal seatpost on the photos of the listed bike, the post seems to be steel, but the steering post looks like aluminum alloy. Some of the other photos show a black seatpost, which might be an aluminum post on some upgraded model.

    This should be interesting.

    Here's a video link from the listing page, which is a short TV clip where the bike is demonstrated, I think by the inventor: С۵г ߹ۿ - 6Ƶ .

    Every time I browse through this site, I end up spending money. Clicked on the link and found the bike is now $195.06 + shipping (special 16% off sale).

    Can't wait to add to my collection.

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