The A-Bike leaning up against a brick wall.
City wheels

How About A-Bike?

Light. Compact. Portable. These were all the requirements I was looking for when I decided to purchase the A-Bike. I looked at many models from different brands, with wheels ranging from sixteen inches to twenty inches. It was tough to choose from all the amazing brands, due to all of them having their own unique strengths.

Life before folding bicycles

Before I discovered Folding bicycles, I rode around on a twenty-four speed hybrid with 700c wheels. This was my Regular commuter used to get to work, to stores, and restaurants. It was a great bicycle with plenty of gears to tackle hills, wind, and plenty of speed for longer distances. The problem was that I always had a tough time finding a place to lock it. One time I went to Wegman’s to pick up a pizza, and unfortunately all the bicycle racks were taken.

Eventually when I did find one, I had to remove my panniers, lights and others accessories in order to keep them from getting stolen. Another time I was on Park Avenue having lunch with a friend, and I had to lock my bicycle to a street sign. Every few minutes I had to let people know that my bicycle was there. Otherwise they would of smashed it with their car doors.

The day I discovered folding bicycles

The day I discovered folding bikes was when I entered a drawing and actually won. I’ll never forget the phone call from the guy who worked at the grocery store telling me that I won. At first I thought that folding bikes were a new invention. But with further investigation I learned that they have been available for years, with the quality in the last few decades improving dramatically.

The folding bike that I won was heavy and didn’t fold too well. Still, it rode pretty good and was a great folding bike to start with. Eventually I sold it to my dad and bought a much better one from Nycewheels in New York City.

Rear view of the tiny A-Bike.
Rear view of the tiny A-Bike.

 

Meet the A-Bike

I eventually got rid of my hybrid bicycle, and switched over to riding the one I got from Nycewheels. I’ve never have a problem with bringing it into stores, work and even restaurants due to its amazing folded size. Even the buses allow it on board due to it not being a very common form of transportation.

The problem is that the bus is usually too crowded to put my folding bicycle anywhere. Many times I’ve had to stand the whole time while riding. And when there’s a seat, rude patrons won’t give me room to get to the seats. Carrying a twenty five pound bike to the very back of the bus is no easy feat.

It was too much trouble riding the bus downtown, and finishing less than a mile to my desired destination. If only there was an easier way. Fortunately there was a lighter, and more compact folding bicycle available.

The tiny A-Bike folded up in the tiniest spot ever on the bus.
The tiny A-Bike folded up in the tiniest spot ever on the bus.

The A-Bike is the lightest folding bicycle

Created by Clive Sinclair in the United Kingdom, and weighing fourteen pounds, it’s the smallest folding bike ever made. With eight inch wheels and a single gear, it’s made specifically to go on buses and trains. Then used to finish the rest of your trip. I can easily carry it to the bus stop, hop on the bus, and fit on a packed bus. Unlike my other folding bicycle, I can carry it much farther without getting a sore arm.

Folded A-Bike at the RTS Transit Center.
Folded A-Bike at the RTS Transit Center.

When it first came out it was bashed for having an unstable ride and slow speeds. My experience has been, that this bike goes around twelve miles per hour. That makes it about four times faster than walking. A twenty minute walk now turns into a five minute walk. This can mean all the difference between missing the bus, and having to wait almost an hour for the next one. The ride is unstable at first, but after a few minutes, you get use to it and it actually becomes a lot of fun.

Unfolded A-Bike against wall at Sibley Square.
Unfolded A-Bike against wall at Sibley Square.

The A-Bike is meant for buses and trains

Quality has also been a concern for those who purchased the A-Bike, and to them I say, it was not meant to replace your regular bicycle. You’re not going to do touring or mountain biking. Or racing in the Tour De France, but that’s not what it’s meant for. It’s not fair to compare it to other bicycles that are meant to go considerable distances.

The A-Bike is meant for short distances and to be easily carried when not in use. Plus the average city commuter usually rides a few miles over-all for round trips. Many folding bikes have too many gears, and weighs too much, making them way too big for most commutes.

Surprisingly it’s really solid for such an affordable and lightweight bicycle. The band brakes stop it really well, seeing that you’re not going extremely fast anyway. And about climbing hills, I hardly ever use second gear on my sixteen inch folding bicycle, because the city hardly has any hills that are too steep to climb.

Front view of the tiny A-Bike.
Front view of the tiny A-Bike.

If you’re looking for a lightweight, affordable, but still solid folding bicycle I’d highly recommend for the city commuter that has a multimodal commute with a short ride at the end.

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