How light can folding bikes go? A small UK company called LIOS Bikes is having a good crack at finding out with its new Nano Superlite.
It comes in at just 8.5kg, thanks to the liberal use of carbon: there’s a carbon monocoque frame with internal routing, carbon forks, carbon rimmed 18in wheels, carbon handlebars, carbon seatpost and carbon saddle. Oh and a carbon belt transmission.
It’s singlespeed and comes with Shimano SLX hydraulic disc brakes. The asking price? A cool £3,250 (about $4,895 / AU$6,760 – no US or Aus pricing was available at time of writing).
LIOS Nano Performance
If you like the sound of the Nano Superlite but want something with gears then check out the LIOS Nano Performance. It rocks an eight-speed internal geared hub, and moves up to 20in tyres – bringing total weight up to 9.25kg.
Don’t worry though, it still has the carbon monocoque frame, forks, wheels, handlebar, seatpost and saddle. Plus carbon belt drive transmission and Shimano SLX hydraulic disc brakes. As you’d expect, when the price is £3,500.
For comparison, the classic Brompton in standard configuration without mudguards or luggage racks weighs 10.3kg and costs £785. You can also spec a titanium frame on your Brompton for an extra £600, bringing the weight down to 9.6kg.
But they’re both bested by the Hummingbird, a Kickstarter project we covered earlier this month. That weighs an astonishing 6.5kg – lighter than two cats, say their marketing team – and will cost £1,550 for the base 16in model when it goes on sale next year.
There’s an interesting story behind LIOS: the company was founded by ex-Marine and keen cyclist Steve McCulley, who nearly lost his life to an improvised explosive device (IED) in Afghanistan four years ago. After a year spent convalescing at Headley Court Defence Medical Rehabilitation Unit, he was finally given the all-clear to get back on his bike.
“Getting on a bike for the first time in two and a half years was hard work,” he told our sister title Cycling Plus magazine. “I only have a fraction of a normal person’s lung capacity but my physio has taught me to use it all.
“After my injuries I knew I’d be medically discharged from the Marines and so I needed a new career. I made the decision to start my own bike building business and I’d describe myself as a bespoke tailor for bikes.”
Steve launched LIOS Bikes in August 2013, aimed at people who want a quality product but don’t have the time to research and buy one. The range also includes road bike the Bullet (from £3,500) and TT bike the Javelin (from £3,750).
“The sport has given me hope and focus,” says Steve. “If things continue to progress then I will be making my living out of it for the next few decades. Plus because it’s low impact it’s the only way I can do any strenuous exercise to get and keep fit.”
Order your LIOS Nano from www.liosfoldingbike.com.