For many commuters, there’s nothing more pleasant than breaking free from their crowded, sweat-inducing transport of choice — whether underground or overground — and hopping onto a bike for a breezy final leg of the journey.
Yet doing so is rarely straightforward. It may not be safe to leave a bike locked up, forcing travellers to lug their two-wheeled companion onboard and grimace apologetically as other passengers squeeze past. Not all offices have secure bike parking facilities, meaning commuters may have to play on their colleague’s goodwill when leaving their bike in a visible, but out-of-the-way, space.
Folding bikes are one solution. But it may be that the mechanism is too fiddly to be practical, or that the bike is too difficult to pick up and move around while jostling for space in public areas. Worst of all, it could be that the folding bike has sacrificed wheel size and, therefore, comfort in pursuit of compactness.
Taiwanese company Tern has come forward with an innovation that it hopes will tackle all such problems: BYB (short for ‘Bring Your Bike’), the newest—tri-folding—entrant into the folding bike market.
Forbes reports that the company has spent four years working on the bike’s folding mechanism, which is so complicated that it could only be described in a set of patents with a new mathematical formula. The site also reports that the folded product is slightly larger than the current folding hegemon, the Brompton, and takes slightly longer to manipulate into place.
So…where’s the innovation?
“The BYB is designed for mixed-mode communiters who do a stretch of their daily journey on a train or bus, or might grab a taxi home of a rainy day,” the Tern website reads. “The BYB stands on its rack, and its built-in spinner wheels let you trolley the bike with one hand while the other holds your coffee.”
This is the key. The bike folds up, through the three folds in the frame and the handlebars, into a sturdy shape that can be wheeled like a suitcase through public spaces. No more straining to pick the transport up: Simply wheel it out, unlock it, and go.
Equally, the bike can be slid, rather than awkwardly placed, into cupboards and storage spaces in home and office environments.
In addition, the bike fold includes space for 20 inch wheels, which are larger than many competitors (Bromptons have 16 inch wheels). The components have led some reviewers to claim that the frame is sturdier than other folding options.
The bike will retail at just under €1,200 ($1,350) for the 32.5 pound version, and just under €2,300 ($2,600) for the 27.9 pound version. Accessories are also available, including a hard-shell suitcase and a PopCover, a pop-up tent-like covering that protects fellow commuters from any of the bike’s dirt.