We looked at a couple of new folders from Dahon yesterday, but not all folding bikes have to fall into the typical small wheeled commuter style. There are also a number of companies that make what are effectively standard full-sized bikes that can still break down small enough to make them still easier to travel with. Change Bike builds folders for either mountain or city riding that essentially make the front triangle big enough that the rear end can swing around inside, then all you need to do is pop the wheels off and go. The FUBi Fixie goes about it a very different way by starting with what looks like a more traditional diamond frame design, but hinging all of the joint in the front triangle and then adding an extra detachable diagonal tube to give back stability. Pedego’s Latch sticks with a more conventional small wheel folder design, but throws an e-bike drive in the mix, combined with an internally geared hub, to add a bit more range to your commute…
The Change Bike mountain bike was developed to be “not a folding bike, but a bike that folds.” That is some strong marketing-speak, but is born out in a bike that does a pretty good job of staying focused on trail performance. The bike’s solid rear triangle means that drivetrain stiffness and power transfer are solid, while the oversized front triangle also does a good job of giving the bike a pretty normal look and feel.
Since you are working with a frame that is actually typical at all of its contact point, you can build it up however you want with standard components. The bike comes in four standard sizes from 17-21″ and three build kits. The entry DF-609 gets a budget Acera build with a Suntour fork for just £800. Jump up to the £1500 DF-612 and you get a proper Deore 3×10 kit and a 100mm Fox fork. The top of the line 11.3kg DF-602 is fully capable trail bike at £2000 with a full XT groupset and 100mm Fox 32 fork.
The folding bike is a 7005 aluminum double-butted construction made in Taiwan. It is designed for 26″ wheels and spec’ed with 2.1″ tires, or 28mm tires in the 700c variants. A £1000 flat bar 700c disc brake commuter version of the bike is also available, as is an £800 flat bar 700c road commuter with a lugged crown fork and rim brakes. Frames are also available individually for £600 to build a bike to suit.
The FUBi Fixie is a unique approach to the folding bike. Instead of trying to develop a completely new folder, the Finish designers behind the project wanted to build a frame that you could use to rebuild your existing city fixie commuter into something more portable. The result is a full-sized 700c frame, whose front triangle can be collapsed to take up less space in your city life.
We’ve seen a more extreme example from FUBi in the past that broke the frame down into a pile of tubes, but this one sticks to tool-free folding of the front triangle, with the wheels still attached. The hinged folding system is based on their previous proven design, which for the Fixie here adds hinges at the top and bottom of the headtube and seattube, and a new stabilizing strut that keeps everything in place when riding.
Once it is folded the Fixie can be rolled, or rather strolled, along on the front wheel making it easy to maneuver at home, in the office or on public transport. It even fits i the trunk of most cars without having to remove the wheels.
The bike was successfully brought to life via crowdfunding earlier this spring. Now that it got funding sorted out you can pre-order a complete fixed gear setup for just 470€ or a 3 speed internal bike for 580€ via Indigogo now with delivery anticipated in October of 2016, making this one of the most affordable ways to get on a folding bike.
The Pedego Latch starts with a twin-tube 6061 aluminum main frame and a large single latch for folding. Its base drivetrain is a Nexus 3 speed hub driven by a Gates belt, but its selling point is the 250W motor in the front hub and either a 10 or 15Ah battery under the integrated rear rack. That motor gives the rider the choice of 6 levels of pedal assist, plus a throttle override when you are in the most aggressive mode.
The total bike comes in at a whopping 22.7kg/50lbs, with just over 3kg/7lbs of that being battery. An LCD display lets you know status of the e-bike system, and even includes a USB port to charge your phone on the go. Integrated into the battery circuit are also a set of front and rear lights to keep you safe on the ride to and from work.
The Latch stops with Avid BB7 disc brakes, comes set up with self-sealing inner tubes to prevent flats, and is available three colors in one frame size. The $2600 bike folds down to 84 x 46 x 81cm without having to detach the wheels.