I’ll admit, until writing for Bikerumor I never realized how many companies made folding bikes, and how many different designs have been created from all over the globe. The Splitbike certainly takes an interesting approach, with a double-diamond frame that separates at the top and down tubes using quick releases.
Despite their urban practicality most folding bikes aren’t suitable for riding rougher terrain, and let’s face it, they still look pretty goofy most of the time. The Splitbike provides relatively compact storage from a full-sized frame with full-sized wheels, built around normal bike components. If you’re willing to sacrifice a bit more space, you can travel with a bike that feels familiar and can be easily customized with non-proprietary parts…
The Splitbike comes in two models, one intended for urban riding called the S1 City and one for off-road action dubbed the S1 Terrain. Both ride on double heat treated, hand-made aluminum frames that the company says are designed to take a beating. Cleverly spec’d with durability and low maintenance requirements in mind, the bikes feature carbon belt drive systems and the option of either single-speed drivetrains or Rohloff 14-speed internal rear hubs.
For transportation the frame splits at the top and down tubes by using two quick-release clamps, thus no tools are required to take apart or reassemble the bike. The top tube quick release looks just like a seat clamp, and the rear half of the top tube protrudes into the front section inside the clamp. On the down tube, the Splitbike uses their unique CNC machined coupling which they call LOCtube technology.
With the exception of the Wellgo quick release pedals, all of the Splitbike’s components are normal bike parts that would be easy to replace, service or swap out for customization. The frames are built with tapered head tubes, and accommodate the now-standard 27.5” wheels. The Splitbikes have a solid component build with some reputable parts including Easton Haven 35mm handlebars and stems, Race Face SIXc CINCH carbon cranks, Magura MT8 hydraulic brakes, and Schwalbe Rapid Rob tires.
Really the only difference between the City and Terrain model is the fork. The City uses a Split full carbon rigid fork, and the Terrain rides on Magura’s 120mm travel TS8 DL02 with a 15mm thru-axle. Although they look like a decent multi-surface tread, it’s somewhat odd that the company chose to equip the two bikes with exactly the same tires. They’ve also put a higher rise handlebar on the MTB model versus the commuter bike, which seems a bit backwards.
These bikes clearly won’t fold down as small as a more typical folder from Brompton or Dahon. In travel mode it measures 47″ long, 31.5″ tall and 16″ wide. I can’t quite see it being carried on a subway car to and from work, although the company suggests it could. However, for world travellers who want a solid ride on a bike that looks and feels normal and uses common components, a Splitbike could be an ideal choice. A custom designed, multi-layered travel bag will be included with the bike, but will appear different from the one pictured above.
The S1 City sells for $3295.00 USD, and comes in small and medium frame sizes. Color options include charcoal or chrome, and the complete bike weighs 21.4lbs (with single speed gearing). The S1 Terrain sells for $3595.00, comes in the same sizes and colors, and weighs in at 29.8lbs (with the Rohloff rear hub). Splitbike offers a five year limited warranty on the frames covering any defect of the materials or manufacturing. Splitbikes are only available online, and free worldwide shipping is included.