- by Christopher Jones
- Published: 5 September 2009
The bicycle manufacturer Giant bills its Accend and Enlight models as “the new definition of urban lifestyle”.
What makes these two newcomers so unique? Their sporty frames conceal suspension elements for the front and back wheels – barely noticeable at first glance. On these two eye-catchers, their LOHAS (Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability) target group will not only ride through the city in style, but also in comfort.
Folding bikes have become a popular form of urban expression: When these bikes are not being used, they can be folded into a compact shape, easily manageable in an apartment, in the subway or in the luggage rack on an Inter City Express train. When unfolded, they are practically the same as conventional bikes.
Dahon in 2010 will offer a special feature in this segment with the new models of their new IOS line. Due to their comparatively large 24-inch wheels, there is practically no difference between riding these bikes and “full-fledged” bikes.
However, when folded, these models are as compact as a conventional bike with 20-inch wheels. On top of that, the new Dahon folding bikes are masterpieces of integration: their clean design accommodates a pump, a light system and even a dynamo-powered charger for an iPhone or GPS, for instance. Dahon has announced that, it will debut its new folding e-bike called the Boost. Weighing just over 18 kilograms, it should be one of the lightest bikes in its class.
However, in 2010, the title of “most compact folding bike” will probably go to the German bicycle manufacturer Riese and M?ller for the most recent version of its “Frog” model. The award can be worn on the lapel – or rather, on the handle bars! With 16-inch wheels, the folded bike should be 28 percent more compact than the visually similar 18-inch Birdy model. According to the manufacturer, the riding characteristics of both models are almost identical.
Although not folding but nonetheless very compact, the Eagle by JD will roll onto the market in 2010. With it, the Taiwanese manufacturer has brought two exciting trends together: The Eagle belongs to the still new category of compact bikes outfitted with a Pedelec electric motor. This new model is a prime example of system integration: The engine components, like the motor and battery, have been so skillfully integrated into the frame and the aluminum wheels that the electric aspect of the bike is not discernable, even to the trained eye.
The new Leader by American manufacturer Zigo also conceals its capabilities at first sight. Similar to designs seen among Danish manufacturers, up to two children sit next to each other in front, while an adult steers (and pedals) in back. What’s unique about the American family carriage? By detaching the child pod, you can turn the tricycle into a bicycle and the child pod into a bicycle trailer, a jogger or a baby stroller.
At some point, most children reach an age, when a child’s bike is no longer appropriate, but a youth bike or adult bike is still too big. This fall, Puky will address this demographic, which might be referred to as 8+ in marketing jargon, by offering its new Crusader model. Kids think it’s “really cool” that it looks like a mountain bike with fat tires, removable fenders and a carrier (that is sturdy enough to carry a heavy school book bag). And parents find it “very practical” that, even in its disassembled state, the Crusader comes with a complete set of equipment officially approved for use on public roads, including a hub dynamo and LED lights. The equipment itself is also very rugged and dependable.