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Simple clever design points to urban bikes of the (near) future

Here's one of those ideas that's so simple and yet so clever you wonder why no-one has thought of it before*, the Thin Bike. It's the brainchild of of Treehugger founder Graham Hill and it's designed to help those, particularly city dwellers, who have to accommodate bikes in confined spaces, but anybody who parks their bike in a hallway would find it useful too. We'll let Graham explain the concept in the video below.

Graham, who's other bike is a Strida wanted a bike that was faster and more fun to ride, but which again didn't take up too much space in his sixth floor apartment. He got in touch with German bike maker Schindelhauer who specialise in fixed and singlespeed machines, (we saw them at Eurobike last year) and asked them to custom build him something.

At first sight the resulting looks pretty close to the Schindelhauer belt drive but it has a few extra refinements that turn it in to the Thin Bike – well two, a really cool Speedlifter rotating stem and some MKS folding pedals which immediately turn the bike into a much slimmer storable package. Because it's oil free the Gates Belt drive adds extra in-house friendliness meaning you can park the bike up in a hallway or wherever without he belt side against the wall without fear of marking it - which is the problem with a chain driven bike… the downside there is of course that that the chain and more particularly the chainset are likely to leave their marks on unwary passers by.

As he explained to Treehugger, Graham had been working on his own design for a rotating stem when the guys at Schindelhauer found the Speedlifer and suggested that.

Given that all of the parts that make the thin bike, thin, are available off the shelf and the Speedlifter is retrofittable it will be interesting so see how long it takes other bike companies to come up with their own thin bikes - who knows maybe some already have? We'll be on the look out at Eurobike when cycle companies from across the world get together to show off their wares.

Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.

10 comments

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MikeyF [3 posts] 6 years ago
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Nice but not exactly a new idea. The Airnimal Joey and Mike Burrows' 2D bike are both made for narrow spaces.

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David French [50 posts] 6 years ago
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He goes, "I designed it last year." Followed by saying all the individual parts were already made by other companies.

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miffed [162 posts] 6 years ago
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Thats pretty ace. My bikes take up loads of room in my flat and for a commuting bike would be brilliant. As for did he design it who really cares, its a good idea and if it means that its possible to buy a thin bike i for one would be impressed. I just hope you can get it as a fixxie

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Tony Farrelly [2871 posts] 6 years ago
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David French wrote:

He goes, "I designed it last year." Followed by saying all the individual parts were already made by other companies.

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yes, got to say I did think 'designing' was maybe stretching things a tad, but fair dos for putting both those things together on one bike, as I said in piece the Schindelhauer doesn't look that different to the one we saw at Eurobike but hey! Let's be generous  1

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Tony Farrelly [2871 posts] 6 years ago
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As far as I can see miffed there's nothing to stop you turning your current bike into a thin…ish (maybe a slim) bike, you can't retrofit the belt but that only adds cleanliness in to the mix, there's a link in the story to the Speedlifter faq page, think you can buy one of the stems direct and you should be able to source a pair of folding pedals fairly easily. If you do, send us a pic

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Mr Sock [155 posts] 6 years ago
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Designed or not, it's a helluva a lot more useful to a heck of a lot more people than the Copenhagen Wheel

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scook94 [40 posts] 6 years ago
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Looks like a ghost bike...  2

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Tony Farrelly [2871 posts] 6 years ago
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yeah, apparently that occurred to him too afterwards, but it was too late + the range of colours on the Schindelhauers I saw on their stand at Eurobike ran from white to ball burnished alu to, er that's it. So maybe he didn't have much choice. I'd have gone the ball burnished route myself though

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Kim [238 posts] 6 years ago
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Another silly solution in search of a problem. As some who lives in a third floor flat with three bike I know that this is not the solution, what we really need is more secure cycle parking at ground level.

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Pub bike [174 posts] 1 year ago
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An alternative solution that is not quite so convenient (but a lot better if your stem is almost slammed) is to get a 28.6mm steerer clamp and put it under your stem.

28.6mm steerer clamps are quite hard to find but it is possible to get a 28.6mm seat-tube clamp and file away the flange that normally sits on the top of the seat tube so that the inside is flush.

To fit it, insert under the stem, adjust your headset, and then tighten the bolt on the collar and then the stem bolts.

When you need to twist your bars, loosen the bolts that tighten the stem to the steerer tube, and twist your stem out of the way. It is not necessary therefore to adjust your headset.

I think I read this on Sheldon Brown. It is great for touring when your bike has to be packed down.