World's smallest and lightest foldable bicycle
By Mike Hanlon
June 25, 2006
June 26, 2006 Fold-up bikes are certainly not new though none to date have deserved the moniker “portable”. Most use the same heavy chain sets and bulky 16 to 20 inch wheels and traditional materials and are at best luggable. The A-Bike is a folding pushbike that is claimed to be small enough so that you can take it on public transport with a no-bicycles policy. The US$300 A-bike utilises automotive grade, engineering polymers for its structural components, saddle and handlebars and has a level of stiffness, fatigue and impact resistance comparable with aero-grade aluminium. By using these new materials, the A-bike’s weight has been reduced to just 5.5 kg (12 lbs), which is manageable for even slightly-built individuals. Whatsmore, it can be folded inside 10 seconds into a compact 26” x 12” x 6” (66 x 30 x 15 cm) package and has pneumatic tyres, so riding it will not dislodge the fillings in your teeth. In our opinion, the A-Bike looks to be the first viable foldable bike for those who wish to mix modes of transport and we see it as invaluable for yachts and motorhomes and campers where a simple vehicle for short-distances is a boon but storage space is limited.
The A-Bike offers many advantages over existing folding bicycles, the key being true portability. With or without its carrier case, the A-Bike can be hand-carried anywhere – on public transport, taken into stores or stored in school lockers. It is also easily stowed on boats and yachts, fits into standard luggage and takes up minimal room in a car trunk. A glance will tell you it was designed inside a computer, and it truly is an innovative design that uses high strength engineering polymers fused with aero grade aluminium to achieve its weight goals without sacrificing strength and durability. Accordingly, we rate the A-Bike a genuine breakthrough product.
Targeted at the urban consumer and weighing only 5.5 kg (12 lbs) the A-Bike folds into a compact volume of less than 0.03 cubic meters (1.1 cubic feet) and takes a mere ten seconds to unfold or fold. Importantly, the design of the A-Bike is such that it adjusts to fits all riders. There’s even a compatible high capacity lighting system available that doesn’t compromise the folding.
It also has a highly efficient, two-stage chain transmission that incorporates a high quality freewheel and is totally enclosed to protect clothing from grease. It also has very small pneumatic tires which, based on recent valve developments, offer an extremely comfortable ride. The tire's inner tubes can be removed and repaired in the same way as a larger bicycle tire.
Jointly developed by legendary English inventor Sir Clive Sinclair (Sinclair Research Ltd ) and Hong Kong-based Group Daka Designs, the A-bike is due for release in the UK and Japan in the next month.
Daka has been working together with Sinclair Research since 1999, when it obtained a world-wide exclusive license for Sinclair patents relating to motor-drive technology. Since then, the companies have jointly taken to market products like the wheelchair drive unit and the sea scooter.
Height: 37 inches / 94 cm Length: 35 inches / 89 cm Width: 16.5 inches / 42 cm
Height: 26 inches / 66 cm Length: 12 inches / 30 cm Width: 6 inches /15 cm
Unfolded: 12.5 cu ft / 0.35 cubic meters Folded: 1.1 cu ft / 0.03 cubic meters