Bike Intermodal: The World’s Smallest, and Most Impressive Folding Bike?

Bike intermodal smallest folding bike  (3)

Imagine a folding bike that was so small and light weight that it became more of an accessory rather than a vehicle. That’s the folding bike that Bike Intermodal is designing which they claim will be the smallest and lightest folding bike ever – and by quite a margin. Thanks to a €1.58 million grant in research funding from the European Union, the team behind the Bike Intermodal research project is well on their way to succeeding in producing a folding bike that may way as little as 7.5kg (16.5 lbs) and folds up to the size of a brief case.

If that wasn’t enough, the project is also developing a pedelec or electric assist version with one of the most compact direct drive motors we’ve seen. And it will be fully recyclable…

More after the fold…

Bike intermodal smallest folding bike  (1)

While weight is a big concern, the other major design feature of the Bike Intermodal is the volume of the bicycle – or how much space it occupies while folded. Cutting down on this volume makes it easier to transport, to store, and more importantly actually use. The key to the Bike Intermodal seems to lie in the pre-tensioned space frame design, sort of a Slingshot meets a Moulton type of aesthetic made from die cast aluminum, magnesium, and “sailing grade” cables. The finished product is estimated to have 5 times less compacted volume and 2-3 times less weight than other folding bicycles.

For reference, the front wheel shown above is a 16″ which should also mean the bicycle will handle better over bumps in the road. The rear which will house the electric motor looks to be about a 12″.

Bike Intermodal: The World's Smallest, and Most Impressive Folding Bike?

Perhaps even more impressive is that they plan to also offer an electric assisted version of the Bike Intermodal with an insanely small direct drive motor and battery unit. To be produced by Maxon Motor company, the drive is said to be a radically new direct drive motor housed in the rear wheel.

Bike Intermodal also hopes to offer an automatic opening and closing system – think convertible top or jet landing gear. Even if that never pans out, from the computer animation it looks like the Bike Intermodal should be very simple to fold up.

Bike intermodal smallest folding bike  (1)Without disclosing the competitors directly, Bike Intermodal compares the packaging dimensions of the folded bike to the others on the market.

Just to prove it’s not all just pretty 3D renderings, the early Bike Intermodal prototypes are actually being ridden. Above, one of the earlier prototypes is taken for a cruise in Piazza della Signoria in Florence.

If all goes according to plan the Bike Intermodal will be lighter, more compact, easy to fold, and easy to ride so what’s next? Currently with a commercially viable prototype, Bike Intermodal is looking to take the folding bike into production. When that happens, they estimate the pricing could be as low as €800 for a non-motorized version, and €1,300 for the electric assist model. There is even the possibility of a fixed gear or single speed version for even less.

bike-intermodal.eu

Comments

NASH - 06/02/14 - 11:10am

Not bad, least the wheels are kept to a functional size. Seen some of these things with wheels off a shopping trolley.

David - 06/02/14 - 11:19am

Slingshot meets Moulton indeed!

dorkdisk - 06/02/14 - 11:52am

LOLing at the 3d models. The girl´s boobs have more vertices than the entire dude. Well done

Peter - 06/02/14 - 11:52am

€1.581.000 grant and a total project cost of €2.118.460 for a very average student project. There are so many things wrong with this thing, I am sure commenters below will let you know.
And this was the EU budget for ‘cycling’. Just to make another Go-cycle, A-bike clone.

nightfend - 06/02/14 - 12:07pm

The price is good, the weight is good. I’m actually rather impressed with this folding concept.

der_hasi - 06/02/14 - 1:23pm

What about the A-Bike? http://www.a-bike.co.uk/

thor - 06/02/14 - 3:35pm

and here we are working for 8 bucks an hour in a bike store …. or in my case running from desc to warehouse all day long….

sailing aproved wires…lol ..I just replaced the last actual wire on my sailboat with synthetic rigging ..lol

Let me get a grant like this and you will actually get a folder which is needed and will ride nice …. for example one which can be ridden by a 300 lbs person.

Thor

MaLóL - 06/02/14 - 8:18pm

Strida is a better bike than this one, also it’s been in the streets for years. I see it in Dutch trains day in and day out. I agree with peter, shame they spent all that public money in this. Also, a target budget should be 300€ for production units, not 800€. the only problem with these bikes is the price. Current models already do the job.

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