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TPE16: Bickerton Portables shows that really nice things can come in small packages

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Bickerton P1100419Through an inventive mind, in 1971 Harry Bickerton built the first light-weight folding bike using (uncommon at the time) aluminum. Over the years, they sold over 600k folding bikes. While they closed the doors in the 90’s, Harry’s son Mark started things back up in 2011 and their current line of folders look stunning.

Check out the details on their Bickerton Sterling and some of the unique details that make it a standout among the folding bike community…

Bickerton P1100410

Bickerton had what I thought was the best looking booth at the Taipei show. With a rustic British theme, the booth had a welcoming atmosphere with pieces of the company’s history distributed throughout. They were showcasing their nicest model due out this Fall, the Sterling. An alloy folding bike with “city riding” geometry, the Sterling is designed for daily riding comfort and has some well thought out features.

Bickerton P1100411

There are 3 build levels available: The 1707 starts at $499, the 1808 is $650 and the 1909 is $999. The bike folds in to an impressive little package but how it folds is one of its coolest features.

Bickerton slide-010Bickerton Hinge

The hinged latch on most folding bikes was actually invented by Harry Bickerton and though still the same basic design, Bickerton has taken it up an notch… literally! Out of sight are “buttons” inside the tubing that create a better hold when closed. This allows them to use less material and have a more solid bond at the same time when clamped shut.

Bickerton magnet

Unlike many other’s, Bikerton’s folding bikes fold with the drivetrain on the inside keeping the more vulnerable pieces protected and eliminating any chance of a dirty chain marking your pants. The bikes use a magnetic stopper that holds the bike into its folded position when you need it to, but easily detaches without having to use any sort of mechanism.

Bickerton P1100421

One of the ways to make a bike portable while still making it ride-able is to put a really long, jacked up seatpost on it. However, once folded, if you want to collapse the bars and seatpost, the seatpost will bottom out on the floor keeping you from lowering it all the way. Bickerton has a telescopic seatpost that allows it to be lowered the maximum amount possible, (see pic above of bike folded).

Bickerton front mount

Lastly the Sterling has a front headtube mount hidden under the head badge. This allows you to attach various racks and carriers to the Bickerton without affecting the steering since it is independent of moving parts.

Bickerton Portables

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Phil Jones
Phil Jones
8 years ago


8 years ago

So, It’s a tern that folds to the drive side.

8 years ago

Actually I’d say it’s a modified Dahon KA-series frame. It is used on the Vitesse and Formula models, while it also has a steel sibling frame used in the Speed, Boardwalk and Mariner. A KA-series bike folds its main frame tube to the left, so it has the drivetrain exposed, but tucks in the handlepost in the middle.

Dahon’s version of this frame predates Tern’s, which is called the Link. What Tern did is to basically fold the handlepost to the outside.

For the Bickerton version of the frame, it looks like they went one further and reversed the main frame hinge so it folds to the right, covering the drivetrain, but actually used the Dahon handlepost and reoriented it to fold outward, as on the Tern Link.

Mark Bickerton
8 years ago

Actually it is a totally new design….

We are using a brand new frame tubing, and a completely new hinge assembly. Unlike all the hinges seen on Tern and Dahon bikes, this hinge is an internal structure that inserts inside the frame tube. Terns and Dahons use a bulky hinge assembly onto which the frame is welded.

Yes the Right fold is a change from previous models, but that feature, together with the box section frame tubing and the internal abutments for the hinge are all inspired by the original design from Harry Bickerton in the 1970s….. longe before Dahon, Brompton or Tern!!!

We at Bickerton are pretty excited about this design, so please excuse the passionate defense! Anyone is welcome to contact me by email bickerton@bickertonportables.co.uk for more details.

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