IF-Mode folding bike

Every once in a while you see product that just looks like it's going to be a hit: Areaware's IF Mode folding bike has that spice, especially when you see its folding mechanism demonstrated. Unfortunately the things that makes it top shelf—the full-sized wheels, the hidden chain, the disc brakes—also make it expensive: $2,250. Hang tight, cheapskates; counterfeiters are standing by. [via Core77]
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15 Responses to IF-Mode folding bike

  1. Anonymous says:

    I have a cheap folder, so I have some basis for comparison. This one looks nice: no poky things sticking out, no exposed grease are both major wins. Rollable when folded is cool. Weight I’m not so worried about: I don’t tend to carry mine around, just fold it and lift it into a car trunk. Real world ease of folding I worry about: you could shoot a video of someone folding my bike in <60 seconds, but in actual use, struggling with the finicky bits takes considerably longer than advertised. Mine has 20″ wheels, and yes, it gets flats. For commuting, lights and mud flaps are required.

    Cost, though: my bike was 8x cheaper.

  2. atomicAdam says:

    I got to play with this bike at the Pacific Cycles factory in Taiwan last Dec. It is really an awesome bike, amazing lines, and solid feel, even the folding bars felts good. Lets face it, your not downhilling on this thing, so folding bars are no more a safety concern than a folding bike in general.

    It is big when folded up, with 26″ wheels and all. But this bike isn’t for the normal folding bike market.

    Most Americans see a folding bike as a commute tool. In Asia this bike might be the bike you ride around on during the weekends with your friends, or maybe the bike you ride all the way to work on, not just ride, bus, work.

    This obviously isn’t for everyone, but it is for some, and I think a lot of Asia will enjoy and buy this bike.

    And to the poster above: “A chain guard is hardly rocket science. What you’re paying for is boutique design.” – No dude, it is completely internal. Which is awesome, no chain grease on your pant leg, no pant leg getting caught in gears. Very little dirt can get on the inside. It isn’t just a chain guard smarty.

  3. chimera says:

    hmm… I have a folder, this one looks nice, but I would be concerned about the weight (14.5kg) and the gears: 2 – what if there’s a slight incline!

    On the plus side, it looks like it has fairly big wheels (bumpy ride for smaller ones, believe me) and it does look the business.

    Haven’t seen the video, it won’t show up :( but looks pretty thin when folded, as long as it fits in the boot of a car or a hallway cupboard then it *might* be worth it *

    * If I had money to burn and only 1/2 a flat mile to travel :)

    My holy grail is a folder that you can ride as a 21 gear mountain bike and folds up to the size of a pocket handkerchief :D

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’d rather have a Montague Paratrooper.

  5. rosyatrandom says:

    A few weeks ago I was on a teamworking course and our group had to come up with a Dragon’s Den style product/business plan. My idea, which wasn’t used, was something along these lines… with one extra feature:

    Snow Crash-inspired retractable spoke wheels.

  6. Aaron says:

    Sure, it’s more sexy than practical (full-size wheels are great for riding, but kinda defeat the purpose of a folder), but I want one anyway.

    That said, my Bike Friday Tikit is half the price, has 4x the gears, and folds even faster.

  7. sknarf says:

    An alternative (folds down to 11 inches) is the Stowboard skateboard. A good cruiser for transportation, stashes in a pack or bag, not for tricks. http://wwww.stowboard.net

  8. Marshall says:

    It’s almost perfect – if only when folded it had a unicycle option. Now that would be perfect for the commuting clown or juggler.

  9. Gronk says:

    @atomicadam: I agree. This is not just “boutique design”, it is a beautiful and clever bit of design and engineering.

    Compare, for example, this concept for a folding skateboard that made its round a week ago: http://ngboards.wordpress.com/2009/05/01/foldable-skate-deck-concept/

    Please observe how the skateboard thingum looks like it was dreamt up by a 10 year old and how the bike doesn’t. Look at the left/right wheel half-fork, at the folding mechanism, at the drive assembly … just beautiful.

  10. PrettyBoyTim says:


    But in my opinion it could really do with mudguards (fenders) and a pannier rack.

  11. spazzm says:

    If I had money to burn and only 1/2 a flat mile to travel

    Is 1/2 mile (about 800 meters) enough to require a bicycle?
    I walk 4.4 miles (7200 meters) to work every day*, and that’s hardly difficult.
    Have people really gotten that lazy?

    (* through the snow, uphill both ways, get off my lawn)

  12. jim says:

    im wondering about ride height for taller riders…

    will the lengthy seat post provide proper fit and accommodate 6ft riders

  13. Mark Lloyd says:

    I saw and rode this bike at the Taipei bike Show – it really IS awesome. It folds down to the size of most 20″ folding bikes, but the cool thing is it rolls on its wheels !!

    The gears are operated by a button on the crank, and seem well chosen, low for starting and hill climbing and high for cruising.

    The frame is super stiff – felt like any mountain bike. The folding action has to be seen to be believed it is so neat – one action, no tools, and it doesn’t look like a jumble of tubes, spokes and bits like most of these folders tend to do. I would love to get one when its widely available, they were only just selling in it Taiwan.

  14. andygates says:

    That’s huge when folded. The reason for the little wheels is to fit on buses and trains and under tables: full-size wheels make for a smallness fail. There’s a mistaken idea that small wheels are a sucky ride: I’ve taken a Brompton 120 miles*. Overnight. For fun. They roll just fine.

    “the things that makes it top shelf—the full-sized wheels, the hidden chain, the disc brakes”

    Hmm, full-size wheels are pretty cheap, every bike has them. Mechanical disk brake come in at £40 a pop. A chain guard is hardly rocket science. What you’re paying for is boutique design.

    Plus: folding handlebars scare me. I’ve had bars fail on me. Never again.

    * The Dunwich Dynamo is a happy-mutant-tastic overnight bike ride from London to Dunwich. Hundreds of riders, lots of blinky lights!

  15. Anonymous says:

    A full sized folder at last, that folds up small. If it rolls on its wheels that is more the better. I’ve got a brompton, which folds quite small, but man is it heavy to carry any distance, it has some tiny little roller wheels which are next to useless, and although it works OK it has a sort of dorky look about it.

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