The Folding Bike

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We live in an era in which the savvy CEO is more likely to turn up at a board meeting on a bicycle than in a chauffeur-driven limo. The bike, after all, projects agility and all the fresh, un-starchy energy of a start-up. And folding bikes are emerging as a particularly popular way to get about, especially for commuters. They’re not as cumbersome as regular bikes; most train companies let you board with one, folded up; and they’re small enough to tuck under a desk at work. The problem with most folding bikes, until now, has been the time they take to unfold (several minutes) and their weight (mostly between 20 lbs and 40 lbs). In the past year, however, buoyed by the popularity of bicycles in big cities, several manufacturers have put their minds to creating the perfect commuting bike. Which is what? According to online magazine, a bicycle with tires between 1.7 and 2 inches wide, which grip the road well; internal hub gears, which cut down on maintenance; good brakes and easy-to-fold parts. The new Hummingbird (photographed here) ticks all the boxes. Launched via Kickstarter, and available since May 2017, this is the lightest folding bike on earth, at 16.5 lbs. Made of carbon fiber, it was manufactured using techniques created for professional motorsport – this is a bike that its designers can justifiably claim is made to Formula 1 standards. Its folding mechanisms allow it to be unfolded in five seconds, its Hummlock “safety pin” keeps it all together, its four-speed gears allow it to be ridden on varied terrains and its Tektro brakes are powerful enough to stop quickly in a city. The only extras one might ask for are mudguards and a carbon belt drive – but those, Hummingbird says, are in the pipeline. We didn’t ask about a bell.