Ariel Schwartz

Contortionist Folding Bike Rolls Up Smaller Than a Wheel

by , 08/05/09
filed under: Green Transportation

sustainable design, green design, transportation, contortionist, bike, folding bike, james dyson, dominic hargreaves

There’s a reason you don’t see too many people toting around folding bikes; many have small wheels that make for an uncomfortable ride, and the ones that don’t tend to be too clunky when folded up. Enter the Contortionist, a sleek folding bike that uses full-size 26 inch wheels. Designed by Dominic Hargreaves, a student at the Royal College of Art in London, the bike contains pivots in its frame and a lockable universal joint in the front fork that let it roll up to an ultra-compact size that fits within the width of its wheels!

The Contortionist features an aluminum frame, chunky mountain bike tires, and a unique design where the front and rear wheels are slightly misaligned to make folding easier. Once the bike is folded up, the wheels rotate so that it can be easily wheeled along. In designing the bike Dominic Hargreaves decided to eschew messy chains altogether and opt for an internal hydraulic system that uses oil pumped through tubes in the frame to spin the back wheel.

The design was shortlisted for a James Dyson Award, and could go on sale for as little as $675, since all of the bike’s pieces can be mass produced in a normal bike factory. Hargreaves is already in talks with potential production partners. If he wins the $17,000 Dyson award, this slick folding bike may be on the market soon!

+ Eye To Hand

Via U.K. Guardian

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12 Comments

  1. KIMIHIKO TAKANASHI April 8, 2013 at 6:35 am

    Can I buy this one . How much is it? (from Japan)

  2. thefaceplace December 30, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Check out Montague Bikes at http://www.montaguebikes.com/ for another full size folder. They put no hinges or breaks in their frame and use all industry standard components while still making a bike that folds compact in about 20 seconds.

  3. banditpatel August 7, 2009 at 5:25 am

    where are the pedals?

  4. gamsim August 7, 2009 at 3:48 am

    maybe a belt drive system could work with this? wouldn’t be as messy as a chain unit.

  5. gamsim August 7, 2009 at 3:27 am

    yeah no drive train so the bikes basically a scooter. i think you can get scooters to pack up smaller than this thing.

  6. davidwayneosedach August 6, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    How much does the contortionist weigh? I’d love to try one for travel to work.

  7. bethkart@yahoo.com August 5, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    No chain or chain ring to make this bike functional !!!!
    Amazing idea none the less.

  8. Sally August 5, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    Mmmm, it’s clever. Very clever. But I can’t help but worry the shear number of folding components (ie, hinges and joines) means there is just so much that can go wrong / fall apart. It’s an attractive idea, but for full-size comfort and dependability I’d probably stick with one of the leaders like Montague, or stay with the smaller Bromptons.

  9. tomrik August 5, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    yeah what’s up with this NO chain bike, this will highly compromise this folding mechanism…

  10. fredvg August 5, 2009 at 10:17 am

    has anyone noticed how you never see him pedaling the bike in that video? i wonder if the hydraulic system isn’t functional yet?
    nice design though…

  11. karen August 5, 2009 at 7:43 am

    Anyone who says that small wheels make for an uncomfortable ride has never tried a Brompton. This looks like it takes an age to fold and unfold and when folded it looks too large easily maneuver on trains, up stairs etc.

  12. modular buildings August 5, 2009 at 6:17 am

    This will take off in a big way!

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