The Tuck Bike is a full-size folding bike with a feature that its inventor claims is a world first: folding wheels.
It is designed by British-born, Oakland, California-based engineer Alex Animashaun, who has previously worked for Jaguar Land Rover and a vehicle startup in Kenya.
“After a trip home to London, I returned to Nairobi, Kenya thinking about all the folding bikes I saw,” says Animashaun. “Why did they have to have tiddly, dinky little wheels? I realised that they have small wheels so that they can be folded up to a small package. The wheel is the last indivisible item on a bike, and therefore is the limit. So then I wondered, what if you could fold the wheel?”
Animashaun’s patent-pending 700C wheels use six carbon-fibre tubes instead of spokes, and break down into three segments. Each segment, braced by two ‘spokes’, slides sideways on the hub and stacks once a QR on the rim unlocks each of the three break points.
“Imagine a pizza cut in three slices. You stack the pieces up and that’s how it folds,” is Tuck Bike’s explanation.
“We reinforced the rim at the ends and hold them together with wedge clamps, so the joints are actually the strongest part of the wheel. Each third of a wheel is independently strong and true and when assembled together, they’re even stronger. There's a final clamp at the hub, and you need at least three clamps to open before any segment can fold.”
Tuck Bike says the wheels have been designed and tested to meet the highest safety standards in the industry and are ISO 4210-7 certified.
The 700x27c tyres use foam-filled Gecko Rubber, which Tuck Bike says supply great comfort, low rolling resistance and exceptional grip.
The handlebar and aluminium frame then fold more traditionally, with casters at the rear dropouts making the Tuck Bike, which weighs a claimed 14kg, easy to roll.
The folding process takes under two minutes - in the YouTube video above, Animashaun completes it in 1:37 - and the bike folds down to 61 x 83 x 37cm, which Tuck Bike says is as small as a typical small-wheeled folder.
Of course it doesn’t have to be fully folded each time - just the handlebars can be folded for storage in a narrow hallway, or it can be folded in half at the frame.
As for the spec, the Tuck Bike uses Tektro Aries mechanical disc brakes with 160mm rotors operated by Avid BB5 levers. It runs a 42x18 singlespeed gear. The saddle is a WTB Comfort ProGel and it comes with Wellgo folding pedals.
There are two sizes - medium and large.
The Kickstarter campaign aims to raise £115,899. Early bird backers get a Tuck Bike at a limited price of $1,695, which is $300 cheaper than the full retail price of $1,995.
Don't forget to check out Cycling Weekly's guide to the best folding bikes.
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Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor on the magazine following an MA in online journalism (yes, it was just after the dot-com bubble burst).
In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends a bit more time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
What's in the stable? There's a Colnago Master Olympic, a Hotta TT700, an ex-Castorama lo-pro that was ridden in the 1993 Tour de France, a Pinarello Montello, an Independent Fabrication Club Racer, a Shorter fixed winter bike and a renovated Roberts with a modern Campag groupset.
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