Custom folding kickbike

Almost four years ago, John approached me to see if I could build him a lightweight, compact kickbike. Not ever having ridden such a vehicle, I wasn’t sure if I could build a good one, but by asking John enough questions about his experience and expectations, I was able to come up with a bike he was pleased with. This year the project was revisited with a twist – could I build a folding version? And could it be lighter than the original?

The answer to both those questions ended up being ‘yes’ – the bike folds down to a package not much bigger than the wheel diameter, and it is over a pound lighter then the first one, at 7.8lbs. Hopefully it will perform well too, I look forward to the feedback on that.

To shorten the wheelbase and to allow the ‘downtube’ to pass through during folding, the ‘seattube’ is actually two tubes, running either side of the rear tire. With kickbiking, the lower the foot platform can be to the ground the better – although of course clearance is required for bumps and cornering. To make the platform as thin as possible I asked Ruckus to make a custom one from a carbon-honeycomb sandwich; the resulting piece is stiff and strong but only 1/4″ thick and under 100g. It attaches to the frame via slotted aluminum brackets and three bolts – loosening these bolts allows the platform to be removed and the frame to fold at the hinge on the toptube. Once folded, there is an additional set of dropouts on the seattubes for the wheels to be attached, keeping everything together.

The 20″ (406) wheels feature Alchemy ELF hubs, Sapim cx-ray spokes and Kinlin rims, with Schwalbe Ultremo tires. The front brake is from ee cycleworks, with a single Paul’s brake lever. The one-piece barstem can be removed with a 5mm hex key without disturbing the headset adjustment.

Thanks to Tina Buescher for the pictures, and Custom Powderworks for the paint.

 

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