Di Blasi R7E Folding Motorbike


The Di Blasi R7E folding motorbike design has remained mostly unchanged for the last 25 years. While that's a indicator of simple, solid engineering, it also means very few improvements have been made—I'm looking at the 50cc 2-stroke engine, specifically, and its need for a 50:1 ratio of fuel and oil. (Two stroke engines tend to cough out a lot of dirty exhaust, as well as noise.)

But there's no denying it's a cute and clever little runabout, capable of being folded down into a block that takes up less than five cubic feet of storage. It still weighs about 60 pounds, but I bet it's one of the only bikes you can have shipped to your door for under $100.

While they're built in Italy, an American company, Folding Motorbike, Inc., has taken to importing them, although they don't list their prices on their ridiculous flash website, nor do they discuss street legality. Another company is selling them on eBay for three grand, which seems like a lot of money when you can buy a slightly used one in the UK for well under that. Considering how inexpensively one can pick up the far more stylish Honda CT70 Trail Bike on eBay, albeit in various states of disrepair, the ability to fold your little two-stroke down into a block will need to be pretty important. Which is why there is also the R7ES model, I suspect, which replaces the carbon steel frame with one of stainless, the better to resist corrosion when stashed aboard a boat.

Folding Motorbike's Noisy, Gaudy Company Page [FoldingMotorbike.com]
Another, Cheaper American Importer [DiBlasi.com]

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  1. Very nifty design. With a little updating such as some carbon fiber or aluminum alloys to reduce the weight and a plug-in electric motor I could see them expanding their market a bit.

    BTW Joel, is there a separate link for submitting stuff to BB Gadgets? I sent a link through the main form intending it to reach you, but I couldn’t find an option for sending it to Gadgets.

    1. Pork, there currently isn’t a separate “Send a Tip” form, although there will be one any day now. You can always email me directly, though: joel@ bb.net (but not bb.net, of course.)

  2. I wonder if this is the bike used by the UK “Scooterman” service. Their idea is:

    • You drive to the pub
    • You become drunk, and call them at hometime
    • They send a man round on a motorbike
    • He folds the bike up, wraps it in tarp or something, and puts it in the boot (trunk) of your car
    • He drives you home in your own car
    • He unfolds the bike and drives off into the night

    Advertised in pub toilets across the land.

    1. I bet this is the very same bike. When I was poking around I found a few references to “drunk services”; I bet that’s what they were referring to.

  3. I think it would be fun to call the drunk driving service while totally sober, just to see what it’s like. I don’t think I’d be able to let a stranger drive my car unless I was hammered, though.

  4. Not anonymous: FoldingMotorbike (I logged into your crappy BoingBoing system, took the time to do so, then it wouldn’t let me log in. ????? Wait, not crappy, gaudy.)

    A couple of things:

    -How do YOU know it craps out due to exhaust systems Joel? Have you ridden one thousands of miles?
    -Prices are listed clearly on the website
    -Bikes are street legal in US, otherwise HOW COULD I SELL THEM HERE.
    -Regarding buying them in UK, you forgot to mention a few things. 1) It’s illegal to bring in foreign motorized vehicles into the US without written authorization from the NHTSA. 2) Did you calculate the Euro into your equation?
    -Regarding the Honda, How can you compare the two? It doesn’t fold. Not a fair comparison. Oh yeah, they don’t make them anymore.
    -Regarding the cheaper US Importer you mentioned on the links at the end, he is currently being sued for tortuous interference of business affairs by Folding Motorbike, Inc. for falsely claiming he has the product (he is the old importer).
    -You also failed to mention the primary use for Di Blasi’s, and that is the Designated Driving business. Over 30 businesses use the Di Blasi day in, day out to get people home safely in their cars. I would think that would have gotten some mention…

    Problem I see with your blog is that you don’t do enough research before you write your reviews. I learned as much in the single journalism class I took in college. I would at least recommend one phone call to get your facts straight.

    Jim Valentine
    Folding Motorbike

    1. Christ-on-a-folding-motorbike, Jim! I didn’t slag your product; I just said that two-stroke engines are dirty (they are), that your web site is ridiculous (it is), and that it seems like a lot of money for a motorcycle unless you need one that folds.

      The problem I see with your reading comprehension is that this wasn’t a review, but a simple write-up pointing out your product to potentially interested customers. I’d thought they’d have explained the difference in Journalism 101, but perhaps you were too busy finishing up your homework from “How to Sell 30-Year-Old Products By Getting Angry on the Internet.”

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