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Top 5 Unusual Folding Bike Concepts

FoldingBikes

Folding bicycles seem to be gaining popularity of late. The added versatility of putting your bike in the trunk of your car, carrying it on the train during rush hour, or just storing it in your ultra-efficient apartment seems to be more appealing than ever. The technology and aesthetics too seem to have leaped forward. Folding bikes seem to have come a long way in a short time yielding a panoply of choices for different functions, budgts, and styles.

LOCUST FOLDING BIKE

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Pictured above is a concept design called the Locust by Czech designer Josef Cadek. The unique feature of the Locust is its circular frame and overhang mounted wheels that would allow for a more compact and visually pleasing folded state. Because folding requires severing the drivetrain, Cadek replaces the conventional chain with a toothed belt system that can be disengaged.

Design offers a full-valuable bike that can be folded, stored in small spaces (cases, car trunks). Main feature is the circular frame allowing unusual folding. Both wheels have overhung mounting. After releasing safety lock nuts, wheels are turned around relevant axis into frame. Because rear wheel folds, momentum transfer from crankset to rear wheel must be divisible. Common chain system is replaced by belt system with outer toothing. Belt is mounted on two rollers. Both “Chainwheel” and pinion have outer toothing, ensuring right direction of turning and divisibility of the whole system.

Rear hub contains internally geared hub similar to Shimano Nexus system. GripShift type shifting. Red safety lock releases saddle support to fold saddle down towards frame. To fold handlebars, first release revolving safety lock nut on top of head set. Handlebars can then be moved back towards frame. Bike is equipped with disc brake in front and clamshell brake at rear, preventing blockage of wheel folding mechanism. This bike will be welcomed by people in traffic-ridden cities, young people, students on campus.

THE ‘ONE’ BY THOMAS OWEN

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The ‘One’ bike is a design concept by industrial designer, Thomas Owen, a recent graduate of the UK’s University of Derby, from whence he departed with a B. Sc. (Hons) in Product Design, Innovation and Eco-design. Seems he studied subjects like Eco-design Methods and Strategies, Eco-design Management, Eco-design Applications and Appropriate Technology. Some of which must have lead him to take on the not inconsiderable challenge of redesigning the world’s most efficient means of transporting humans. A prototype ‘One’ bicycle was made, but it doesn’t look like it was quite road-ready. We do however like that Thomas did think outside the diamond (frame), though wonder if he was influenced by the Locust by Czech designer, Josef Cadek? Either way it’s an interesting take for a cute looking city bike.

CANNONDALE JACKNIFE

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Have started going through a long backlog of tips that haven’t yet seen the light of day. And noticed this one. Dutchman Philippe Holthuizen (who sent the information) and Spaniard Rodrigo Clavel were Masters students studying transport design at the Elisava Design School in Barcelona. (We noted Elisava in a post of ecodesign university courses). The guys were selected to design a bike for Cannondale that would appeal to urbanites within the 20-35 years bracket. The Jackknife resulted. “For clean aesthetics and low maintenance the drive system is hydraulic, and for storage and easy handling in elevators and on public transport the bike is also foldable. The folding mechanism shows a unique and highly innovative approach, with the central tube twisting through 180°. (The hydraulic drive sounds more radical than the folding aspect, but seems glossed over a bit.) The bike has integrated lighting and other details were in keeping with signature Cannondale aesthetics. The two wheeler has been doing the rounds of transport trade shows as a ‘concept’ bike, with the students sponsor indicating it may not be produced, but its ideas incorporated into future designs.

SUITCASE BIKE

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We’ve had bikes that fold up small enough to fit into suitcases before, like the classic Bike Friday. And we’ve had intriguing bicycling creations from student designers previously too, such as the much coveted Cannondale Jackknife. The two come together here in the Suitcase Bike. Gosha Galitsky, a Israeli designer (now living in Italy) developed the concept (see pic of working prototype after the fold) while studying at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. He felt that, although there was a whole pelaton of folding bikes on the market, they were, “cumbersome, often heavy and difficult to carry.” Yet, he was quite taken with wheeled luggage, which he considered could be transported with “(relative) grace” and little effort. So he conceived the Suitcase Bike to blend the ideas. The dirty and delicate components of the bike are enclosed within the case for moving about on public transport. It can be pulled along by the front handle, with the front wheel converting into a dolly wheel. No indication is provided of any commercial uptake on the idea.

THE BRIEFCASE BIKE

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From China comes this bike that can transform itself into a suitcase. There was some doubt whether this bike would actually be produced, but now we’ve heard that it’s in production (see photos below) and will be available sometime later this year. A prototype of the bike was on display at the Canton Fair in China. The prices will probably be $399 USD.

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