A-bike

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A-bike
A-bike folded

The A-bike is a folding bicycle launched by Sir Clive Sinclair in the United Kingdom on 12 July 2006. It was designed by Hong Kong design agency Daka, in collaboration with Sinclair Research, over a 5-year period. It was announced to the public in 2004. Clive Sinclair envisioned the A-bike, and Alex Kalogroulis was the main designer. It weighs 5.7 kilograms (13 lb) and folds to 67×30×16 centimetres (26.4×11.8×6.3 in), small enough to fit in a rucksack. The first version had 6-inch (15 cm) wheels, which was increased to 8 inches (20 cm) in later models. In 2015, an electric version, the A-Bike Electric, was introduced to the public as part of a Kickstarter campaign.

A-Bike[edit]

History[edit]

The A-bike was designed by Sinclair Research, in collaboration with Hong Kong design agency Daka, over a 5-year period.[1] It was announced to the public in 2004.[1] Clive Sinclair envisioned the A-bike, and Alex Kalogroulis was the main design engineer.[2] It was released on 12 July 2006, and was priced at £199.[2] The official Europe distributor, Mayhem UK, hoped to sell 25,000 units in the first 12 months.[3] By 2007 it was being noted that a "large number of counterfeit" A-bikes were appearing in China and elsewhere.[4]

Early reviews praised the A-bike for being lightweight and easy to fold, but noted the flexing frame, an uncomfortable saddle, and criticised the tiny wheels for being unsafe on uneven roads.[2][5]

In 2008 the Mark-II version was released: officially known as the A-Bike Plus.[6] This version had strengthened aluminium tubing, a new air-sprung cushioned saddle, and an upgraded drive mechanism.[6] The Mark-III version was released in 2010, and was officially known as the A-Bike City.[5] The main changes were larger 8-inch (20 cm) wheels and it was priced at £299.99.[5]

Characteristics[edit]

The A-bike is a small wheel bicycle with 6-inch (15 cm) wheels, increasing to 8 inches (20 cm) in later models. The original model weighs 5.7 kilograms (13 lb), and folds to 67×30×16 centimetres (26.4×11.8×6.3 in) reducing its volume to about 25% of its original size. A twin-chain system enables the bike to travel about 3.2 metres (10.5 ft) per crank rotation despite the bicycle's small-diameter wheels (6 inches or 15 centimetres). The crankcase housing almost completely encloses the drive mechanism, protecting it and preventing oil stains on clothing or floor surfaces.

Media appearances[edit]

In November 2006, A-bike was featured on UK television programme The Gadget Show, alongside the Strida.[7] The distribution company behind the A-bike was featured on the UK Television programme Badger or Bust broadcast on the 5 June 2007. In the Top Gear epic race Car vs. Train 2. Richard Hammond and James May carried A-bikes in their suitcases and unfolded them to bike from a ferry dock to a cable car.

A-Bike Electric[edit]

In 2015, an electric version, the A-Bike Electric, was introduced to the public as part of a Kickstarter campaign. The design featured 8-inch wheels, as well as a larger seat and sturdier frame.[8] The funding campaign was successful and production began before the end of the year.[9]

See also[edit]

  • Sinclair Zike - Sinclair's earlier attempt at a portable electric bicycle
  • Mini125 - a similar Italian-designed small-wheeled bicycle

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Sir Clive launches folding bike". Bike Biz. 8 July 2004. 
  2. ^ a b c "A-bike, no less". BBC News. 12 July 2006. 
  3. ^ "Bike unfolds to tackle the urban jungle". IOL. 13 July 2006. 
  4. ^ "Beware of counterfeit A-bikes". The Official A-bike Support Network. Archived from the original on 28 March 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c "Sinclair A-Bike v Mobiky Genius". A to B Magazine. Retrieved 15 April 2016. 
  6. ^ a b "The A-Bike Plus (Mark-II)". Canadian Wind Rider. Retrieved 15 April 2016. 
  7. ^ A-Bike & Strida Folding Bikes Tested - YouTube
  8. ^ Lloyd Alter (July 21, 2015), "A-Bike Electric is the smallest lightest folding e-bike ever," Treehugger. accessed September 10, 2015
  9. ^ Kickstarter

External links[edit]