Ford's engineers have focused their efforts on building the bike for travelling 'the last mile where cars can't take you to', and the collapsible frame means it can be easily stowed away and then called into action when your forward destination is up a beaten track. When inflated, the frame is "sufficiently rigid to support the weight of the cyclist", according to Ford engineer Johannes Huennekens: "The inflatable segment that extends between the seat and rear wheel may also be inflated to a lower pressure to tune the suspension characteristics of the frame."
The bike will take standard wheels, head tube, forks, saddle and pedals, with just the top, down and seat tubes having blow-up sections. The concept suggests that a pump concealed inside the boot of its cars will be able to pump the frame up, but can also be inflated by c02 or a standard pump. As us cyclists have to suffer enough with punctured tyres, will the Ford blow-up bike owner now have the headache of a possible punctured frame? Not so, according to Ford, as the Kevlar outer that conceals the rubber tubing hardens when the frame becomes rigid. While a bike frame is less likely to come into contact with sharp objects, Kevlar sheath is the same material used to make bulletproof vests, so is pretty much puncture-proof.
We're not sure that Ford's design will prove as practical or popular as the already burgeoning selection of folding bikes out there that don't require inflation of the frame, but we'll be keeping a keen eye on further developments...
After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since. He joined road.cc in 2017, having previously worked for 220 Triathlon magazine. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake.