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   Folding bikes                                                                                                                  New LC product editor
                                                                                                                                  Matthew Moore will be
   As more people turn to cycle commuting, there’s been                                                                           organising our ongoing
   a resurgence in interest for that perennial favourite –                                                                        reviews schedule.
                                                                                                                                  Contact: m.moore@lcc.
   the folder. We look at six current models…                                                                           

        Pinnacle Journey 2.0 £400
    THE JOURNEY 2.0 is part of              highly is in its swift fold, and
    Evans Cycles’ own-brand range           you’ll quickly master the simple
    and, like the Dahon Curve S3,           mechanism based around a
    it delivers good performance            hinged frame. In folded form, the
    at a budget price. It’s actually        Pinnacle isn’t the smallest or
    the least expensive here,               lightest around (at 12.5kg), but
    costing a fraction of the most          it’s still a manageable unit that’s
    expensive models.                       perfectly acceptable to use on
        Riding the bike, you notice         your commuter train or to stash
    the smooth and even ride from           in a cupboard.
    its 20-inch wheels. Flicking                The excellent package
    through the nine-speed cassette         includes a rack, chainguard
    using the thumb-shift gear              and mudguards, and coming
    changer is a breeze. Steering is        from one of the UK’s leading
    very responsive, and though the         bike retailers means you’ll
    overall feel isn’t up to that of the    always be able to get parts
    bikes at the top end of the             and servicing easily.
    range, it still makes for a             Definitely a folding bike to
    satisfying experience.                  consider if budget’s tight.
        Where the Journey 2.0 scores        ■ Evans Cycles 01293 574905

    Dahon Curve D3 £470                                             Brompton M3L £600
                                                                                  It says much for the quality and        offers rigidity and strength, and
                                                                                  longevity of this London company        while the 16-inch wheels suggest
                                                                                  that the name Brompton is almost        less stability than larger-wheeled
                                                                                  synonymous with the words               rivals, that simply isn't the case:
                                                                                  ‘folding bike’. The company's           our M3L showed excellent poise,
                                                                                  strong identity is helped by the        with zippy manoevrability to boot.
                                                                                  fact that, though every bike is             The M-type features
                                                                                  hand-built to order, they all share     Sturmey-Archer's reliable
                                                                                  the same distinctive chassis.           three-speed hub gear and
                                                                                      Indeed, the Brompton shape is       mudguards come as standard.
                                                                                  so ubiquitous that it doesn't attract       Brompton also makes two-
                                                                                  the envious gazes the Birdy and         and six-speed derailleur models,
    Dahon is the world’s largest              The three-speed hub gears           Airnimal elicit; rather a quiet         but if you're looking for a superb
    folding bike manufacturer by           keep maintenance to a minimum,         respect. But then the Brompton          workhorse which may well last a
    volume, and the D3 is one of its       and sensible gearing means you         design is something of a                lifetime, this could be your bike.
    16-inch wheel models. There’s          should be comfortable on both          masterpiece. The steel frame            ■ Brompton 020 8232 8484
    also a large choice of 20-inch         the flat or London’s hills. A rack
    wheelers, ranging from single-         and mudguards are standard,
    speed to 18-speed options.             plus there’s even a convenient
        Aimed at the cost-conscious        kickstand. If you want a little
    commuter, our D3 came in an            extra comfort, Dahon’s extensive
    eye-catching scarlet, though it’s      range of bike accessories
    also available in pink or white. The   includes a suspension seatpost.
    bike folds using a hinge in the           If you’re on a budget and want
    chassis, which is easy to learn        a good all-round bike, the Curve
    and, with a bit of practice, you’ll    D3 should be high on your
    have it folded in seconds. The         shortlist. Otherwise, you might
    resultant package is compact and       find what you’re looking for
    light enough to carry, making it       among the rest of Dahon’s stable.
    suitable for busy trains or stairs.    ■ Dahon 01727 798345

   32    London Cyclist        June-July 2009

Airnimal Joey Sport £800
This Cambridge-designed bicycle
will fold to a reasonably compact
form considering its size and its
(near mountain-bike diameter)
24-inch wheels. However, the Joey
Sport isn't a super-compact folder
in the style of some, so don't
expect it to fit in smaller luggage
racks or cupboards. The fold is also
slower and demands the removal
of the front wheel, though straps
mean you can still transport it as a
single item.
    Yet if you do have a little extra
space and time, this is clearly
the bike to ride. Large wheels,
11kg weight and crisp Shimano
nine-speed transmission make it a
beautifully balanced affair. Chrome
details and neat graphics mean it's       spend a bit more. Other options     low-maintenance riding.                 position cleverly. If you can
a bit of a head-turner too.               include an eight-speed Shimano         All folding bikes are a              handle the Joey Sport's extra
    Our bike wasn't equipped with a       Alfine hub gear model (£975),        compromise between comfort and          bulk, it's a superbly rewarding
rack or mudguards, but there's a          which will add some weight, but     compactness to some extent, and         machine to ride.
reasonable range of options if you        promises years of hassle-free,      Airnimal has chosen its market          ■ Airnimal 01954 782020

Mezzo D10 £845                                              Birdy C2W £999
                                                                               The ‘Cycle 2 Work’ is a new model          An 8-speed Shimano
                                                                               in the Birdy range, the cheapest in    transmission lets you accelerate
                                                                               this brand’s range of premium          swiftly to a fast commuting pace,
                                                                               models, though the most expensive      while a crisp twist-shifter makes
                                                                               reviewed here. And of all the bikes    for rapid gear changes.
                                                                               shown, it's the sporty lines and           The C2W weighs just 12kg and
                                                                               gloss finish of the Birdy that draw     folding to a compact package is
                                                                               the most admiring comments.            quick once you’ve familiarised
                                                                                   The one-piece aluminium frame      yourself with the process; you just
                                                                               and 18-inch wheels combine with        need to remember to put the bike
                                                                               front and rear suspension (the only    in top gear first. Assembling the
                                                                               bike here with that feature) to give   bike is easy too, and you’ll be able
                                                                               an excellent ride. While some          to stash it unobtrusively on a train.
                                                                               folders require a period of                Overall, the Birdy’s attractive
                                                                               acclimatisation, the Birdy             design, comfy ride and simple
                                                                               immediately feels natural and          fold make it an attractive product
Mezzo is a British company              derailleur, which is a Shimano         balanced, and soaks up bumps and       if you have a grand to spend.
based in East Sussex, with              105 unit of the sort you’d find on      obstacles with ease.                   ■ Bikefix 020 7405 1218
designs by Jon Whyte, the man           decent road bikes. The range is
responsible for dozens of classic       very practical, able to tackle
mountain bikes. Though British          tough hills and put on a good
designed, the bikes are actually        spurt along the flat.
built in the Far East.                      Learning to fold monocoque
    The D10 is the most                 bikes can be tricky, but with
expensive in Mezzo’s range, and         practice you really will be able to
its neat touches are immediately        do it ‘quicker than you can tie
appealing. The dogleg ‘steering         your shoelaces’ as Mezzo
column’ is a noticeable                 claims. The D10 folds to about
departure from other designs,           the size of an airline hand-
but certainly has no ill effects on     luggage bag, and is comfortable
the handling. The one-piece             to carry at 11kg. It makes this
aluminium chassis is stiff and,         sporty model eminently suitable
allied to the responsive steering,      for train commuting, an idea
makes for a comfortable ride            reinforced by Mezzo’s useful
despite its 16-inch wheels.             extras including a rear rack-bag      NEXT ISSUE
    A slick thumb-shifter is            and mudguards.                        We review hybrid and commuter bikes, a couple of new singlespeed
mated with a 10-speed                   ■ Mezzo 01424 753566                  designs, plus highlight some more summer gear worth trying.

                                                                                                           June-July 2009        London Cyclist           33