Folding bike specialist Dahon, with a little help from Ritchey and MTB pioneer Joe Murray, have created a great looking well equipped MTB in the Flo, that almost completely disguises the fact you can break it in two and put it in a 80x70cm carrying case. Okay, 'break' is a poor word choice here...
Ritchey's 'BreakAway' concept involves a very simple Allen key coupling ring joining the down tube to the bottom bracket and twin seat post clamps fixing the front and rear triangles together: the seat post is an integral part of the frame design. Three cable joining devices allow you to separate the front and back of the bike for packing. After a couple of practice runs, where you feel like you need an extra hand, it's surprisingly quick and easy to dismantle/reassemble.
Joe Murray is responsible for frame geometry on the Flo, and the Reynolds 631 air-hardened steel tubing, make for a predictable and neutral-handling ride, comfy and lively enough to make you appreciate the value of quality steel and good design. Dahon says its design team wanted this as a 'travel anywhere in the world' ride. It does the job. The complete bike weight is 24lb, but still tough enough to totally forget about its foldability until you need it. It rides as well as a similarly spec'd high performance MTB, but rack mounts, Avid cable disc brakes and NVO's adjustable stem emphasise a low maintenance and adaptable do-itall character that few well-spec'd MTBs offer these days.
You'll pay a premium for this, but you could save lots in airline baggage fees on normal bikes in bags. Dahon's own nicely partitioned 'Airporter' bag weighs 11.5lb, costs £170, and most airlines will accept it as a conventional suitcase.