Trawling the halls of this year's Eurobike trade show on the lookout for developments in the world of folding bikes, we found no groundbreaking new designs – but plenty of incremental changes, as companies try to balance foldability, performance and weight.
Dahon's designs seem to be getting more space age by the season. Their new Vector series of bikes use hydroformed aluminium tubing that they say allows them to make stiffer and lighter frames by putting extra metal where it needs to be to give strength (for example near the hinges) and making it thinner in other, less stressed areas.
Of course, shaving grams off already very light bikes comes at a price – the 9.2kg (20.3lb) Vector X20 has an RRP of €2,499, although it does feature SRAM's top-end Red drivetrain (the X10 comes in at €1,399 and and the X27h at €1,599).
There's also a new bike, the Dash, to add to the range of mini-bikes (bikes that don’t fold quite as small as most of Dahon's monoframe models but retain a diamond frame and feature Lockjaw technology, where the frame folds in half with a half-turn of two 6mm Allen key bolts).
Dahon's Dash X20 'mini-bike' features the company's Lockjaw folding technology
Dahon’s range of Biologic accessories is gathering pace too – bits and bobs aimed specifically at making urban riding easier. New introductions for 2010/11 include Arx handlebar grips with a built in 4/5/6mm Allen key. There’s also a Blast cycle air horn smaller than similar versions we’ve seen that operates at 115 decibels.
Montague bikes emerged from a US government funded project some time ago, with the 26in-wheeled Paratrooper actually being designed for military use. The basic fold is a frame that swivels on itself and a front wheel that removes. It's certainly not the most compact of folds, but then these are performance bikes, not quick hop folders.
This Montague folder comes complete with an eight-speed hub and 700c wheels
Over at Brompton,the long-awaited Pod flight case is here. It looks strong and light, and internal straps keep the bike secure but suspended so that it doesn’t knock around inside the case. Small wheels and a pull-out handle mean you can easily roll it across concourses and station platforms.
A good addition would be some means of converting it into a bike trailer so you don’t have to leave it somewhere once you’ve arrived at your destination. There are new colours added to the ‘mix and match’ frame choices too.
Brompton's Pod flight case should protect your folder from damage when in transit
Pacific Cycles still have the iF range of very-quick-fold bikes, and the remarkable Carry-Me which we’ve reviewed and liked. It now comes with the addition of a small motor and battery, driving the rear wheel via a chain.
If you look at the bike’s rather Heath Robinson appearance and are then told that the motor comes from a remote control helicopter, it might not give you a lot of confidence. However, hop on and turn the throttle, and you'll be pleasantly surprised.
It’s speedy and comfortable, and surprisingly rideable for a bike with 8in wheels! Pacific's CEO is keen to promote the bike in
Even with its electric motor, the iF Carry Me is said to weigh just 12kg (26.4lb)