While simplicity is often the game, commuter bikes can still employ some pretty nifty gadgets – Where else in the cycling realm will you find folding frames and components? If storage or transit is a concern, folding bikes are a viable option, but if you don’t want to go quite that far a folding stem and quick-release pedals can reduce your ‘normal’ bike’s footprint too.
Flatbike.net is based in Kirkland, Washington, and acts as the US distributor for the UK’s Change Bikes. This UK-based company’s folding commuter, hybrid and MTB bikes are equipped with full-sized wheels and weigh in at some pretty reasonable numbers.
The site also offers some clever aftermarket accessories like folding stems, quick-release pedals and a euro-style frame mounted wheel lock. Read on for details and pics of the bikes and components…
Change’s DF-702 folding commuter is a tall-geared, skinny tired city cruiser that folds sideways at the seat mast to shrink down to 34” for easy storage in your car’s trunk. The DF-702’s frame is made from double-butted 7005 aluminum, and the fork is chromoly. The bike rides on 700x25c Mavic rims, and is equipped with a 24-speed Shimano Claris drivetrain and Tektro C Clip caliper brakes.
Despite its EN 14781 road-certified folding mechanism and full sized wheels, the complete bike is fairly light at 23 lbs. Frames are available in 18” or 20.5” sizes, and come in white or black. The DF-702 sells for $1280 USD and comes with a carry/storage bag.
Change’s folding hybrid weighs the same as the commuter model at 23 lbs, but boasts some beefier components and an off-road suitable EN 14766 safety certification to handle curbs, speed bumps and rough unpaved terrain. The hybrid folds down to a tad larger than the commuter at 38”.
The DF-611 is made from double-butted 7005 aluminum, and favors a lightweight carbon fork over front suspension. Mavic supplies their 26×1.5” Crossride One wheels, but the slick-treaded Kenda tires lean the bike away from any serious off-road riding.
Component wise, the hybrid is equipped with Shimano Deore cranks, an Alivio/Acera 27-speed drivetrain (with lower gearing vs. the commuter model), and Avid BB5 disc brakes. DF-611 frames come in 17”, 19” and 21” sizes and in black only. The complete bike costs $1580.
For those venturing off-road, Change offers their DF-609 folding hardtail MTB. With a double-butted aluminum frame manufactured to the off-road suitable EN 14766 specification (something Change says only their folding mechanism can achieve), a 100mm Suntour suspension fork and disc brakes, this is a trail-capable machine that still easily folds down to 38”.
The DF-609 runs a Shimano 27-speed drivetrain with a mix of XT, Deore and Acera components, comes to a stop via Avid BB5 disc brakes, and the Suntour 14-XCR-LO fork features a lock-out function. For an off-road bike, the tires are a bit narrow at 26×1.5” and the Innova treads don’t look too knobby.
The complete bike hits the scale at 28.6 lbs. The DF-609 sells for $1380, and comes in white or black. 17”, 19” and 21” sizes are available. A carrying bag is also included.
Satori’s folding stem uses a quick release mechanism in place of the steer tube bolts, making it easy to rotate your bike’s handlebars 90 degrees and slim down the bike for storage or transit. The rotating stem allows bikes to fit against walls, in tight spaces or on bike racks easier, with no tools required. The stem is made from forged steel, and the quick release mechanism locks shut to ensure safe cruising. The stem’s rotating mechanism swings between two fixed positions for riding or stowage.
Satori’s stem comes in 90 or 110mm lengths, clamps to a 1-1/8th steer tube, and accommodates either 31.8mm clamp bars or 25.4mm bars using its included shims. Upright the stem has a 12 degree rise, but it can be flipped over for a lower front end setup. The folding stem weighs 293g, comes in black only and sells for $55.
The ability to pop your pedals off really slims down a bike, and is also likely to save your shins some damage as you cart around your folded bicycle. Flatbike offers a set of tool free quick-release pedals to keep things compact.
The platform pedals are made from steel and alloy, can accommodate toe straps and are suitable for road or off-road use. They weigh in at 351g, and sell for $85 in raw alloy only.
Flatbike also sells Abus’ European Frame Lock, which mounts to the bike’s frame and prevents your rear wheel from turning. While these aren’t exactly a maximum security solution, they will prevent ‘hop and go’ theft while you run into the coffee shop. The locks weigh 400g and cost $45. You’ll have to contact Flatbike if you’d like to know any details about tire clearance, frame mounting options, etc.