Bicycle Life Hack: Folding Bikes

Posted: November 24, 2013 in Bike Culture, Science
Tags: , , ,

As you have probably gathered I love riding bikes and I am all about cool bike technologies. You’ve already seen some photos of me with my Montague X50 but you may not have realized that it was actually a folding bike. Most people look at it and ask if it is an electric bike, to which I reply not yet. Even though it isn’t electric assisted my Montague is still pretty nifty. Having full-sized 26 inch wheels I can pull a consistent 20mph out of it on city streets sustained for over 5 miles. Also, since it is full-sized, it is much more stable for a taller rider like myself (I am told that smaller wheels make it harder to balance).

The best part about folding bikes for me in San Francisco is that the folding means I can bring it onto lightrail trains like the N Judah that normally do not allow bikes on-board. Many local transit agencies have rules like the SFMTA, but not all. The VTA down in Santa Clara is perhaps the least bike friendly transit agency I have had experience with. Though many drivers and ticket agents in SF are not used to seeing folding bikes on trains and I tend to get hassled on a weekly basis at least SFMTA has a standing policy protecting my right to bring my folding bike on trains.

While I love my Montague X50 and the Paratrooper that gave birth to it, they don’t fold up that small and they weigh a ton. In case you were wondering the Paratrooper got its name because it was designed to be dropped out of planes into remote locations with paratroopers. They are both rugged, tough build bikes that weigh as much as a Hummer, by bike standards. The X50 weighs in at a staggering 32lbs with the Paratrooper Pro being a “sleek” 27lbs. My bike with lights, a back rack, fenders, and other add-ons is probably closer to 40lbs.

If you want the power of a full sized bike but want something that folds smaller like a Brompton, check out the new FUBi Bike. The main draw of the FUBi is that it folds up small enough to fit into a tennis racket case, save for the wheels. Not even Bromptons fold up that small and they aren’t full sized bikes. The FUBi is in a class of its own, but does not look remotely as user friendly as either a Brompton or a Montague. I’m eagerly awaiting more polished designs based off this prototype.

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