April 19, 2009 There are more than 130 folding bike manufacturers and all of them produce bicycles designed as supplementary transport – designed to be carried in a vehicle for last mile transport, or on a train, plane, boat or bus as ground transport on arrival. Accordingly, most come with their own carry bag, but the latest prototype concept from Airnimal promises a new level of functionality. The concept involves the hard carry case doubling as a bike trailer with a significant carrying capacity. It's a perfect solution for the traveller … almost. We'd like to see another suitcase which clips onto the trailer so you can carry your other stuff.
The bike pictured in the concept drawings is an Airnimal Chameleon, one of the most competitive folding bikes available – the ultimate version of the Chameleon, the Ultima, has been ridden to placings at international level in open bike racing and triathlon competition – no other folding bike can claim such a competitive pedigree. The Chameleon is an extremely high quality machine.
It's probably time to take stock of the folding bicycle carry case concept and consider the role of the folding bicycle and how the Airnimal concept might function. Most folder bikes are used as transport for one person and have very little consideration for luggage – luggage racks can be purchased as accessories for the more complete, more expensive solutions. The Airnimal concept is one of the best we've seen. It offers protection enough for the bike to be packed as airline luggage, but neglects the obvious need for another suitcase for all the other things you'll need when you're travelling.
We're really keen to see the prototype become reality, because we believe that it will kick off a whole new level of human-powered two-wheel travelling.