UK bike designer wins top engineering award

See his rapid-fold IF Mode at Cycle Show 09

Folding bike designer Mark Sanders was named 'Design Engineer of the Year at the first annual British Engineering Excellence Awards.

The awards panel was made up of 10 judges selected from the great and the good in the world of electrical and engineering design, and included the likes of landspeed record pioneer Richard Noble and science broadcaster Kate Bellingham.   

Sanders designed the rapid-fold Strida (initially a 1986 postgraduate project), which is hugely popular in Asia – the Strida Cafe forum in South Korea has 25,000 members and is said to have produced several marriages between enthusiasts. It was also one of the first bikes to use a Gates belt drive.

More recently, Sanders designed the IF Mode 26in-wheeler – another bike featuring a super-quick fold. He also has numerous non-bike patents worldwide, for products including one-touch tin openers and lightweight golf trolleys, but the judges were equally impressed by his programme of engineering design workshops.

Earlier this year, the IF Mode folder won the coincidentally-named and much-coveted gold iF award (International Forum for design in Hannover),  being selected from over 2,800 products.

Sanders says the IF Mode was based on research that showed people strayed away from small-wheeled folders because they perceived them as hard work to pedal ('athletes use bikes with bigger wheels so they must be faster').

Consequently the IF Mode is designed to be the first 'full-size' quick-fold, compact and truly portable bike. Rather than being carried around it is designed to be easily wheeled, even when folded.

The IF Mode is making an appearance at this weekend's London Cycle Show, on the Fisher Outdoor Leisure stand. 

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