One of Britain’s leading companies in the motorsport sector has joined forces with the creators of a successful Kickstarter campaign to launch what is claimed to be the world’s lightest folding bike – tipping the scales at just 6.7 kilograms.
Banbury, Oxfordshire-based Prodrive works alongside car marques such as Aston Martin, Mini and VW in rally sport and motor racing and, with Subaru, helped Richard Burns and the late Colin McRae win World Rally Championships. It is also active in sectors such as composite materials, where it supplies the automotive, aerospace and defence sectors, among others.
Now it is helping bring the Hummingbird folding bike, originally designed by London-based Petre Craciun, to market, with its composites division re-engineering it ahead of it entering production.
Conceived to minimise weight to make it more portable than other folding bikes, the Hummingbird also has what is said to be a unique folding mechanism that keeps the chain in tension once folded, and also allows it to be wheeled along the ground.
Hummingbird has a unique and simple folding mechanism in which the trailing arm pivots around the crank. Unlike other folding bikes, this ensures the chain always remains in tension, even when fully folded and also allows the bike to be wheeled along the ground.
Our tech editor Mat Brett explains how it al works in this article published when the Kickstarter campaign launched last November.
By the time the Kickstarter fundraising campaign finished last year, it had raised £ 52,487 through 103 backers, and it was in May that Craciun first announced that Prodrive would be brought on board as manufacturing partner.
He said: “Most folding bikes are at least 12kg, which is a lot to carry up and down stairs or on and off trains.
“I wanted to design something really different, not only half the weight of existing folding bikes, but a product with distinctive styling that would be eye-catching, instantly recognisable and something people would be proud to be seen riding.”
Prodrive says that the initial test bikes will be produced next month and that production models will be available in early 2017.
The company’s founder and chairman, David Richards - former team principal of the Benetton and BAR Formula 1 teams and ex-chairman of Aston Martin, said: “We are always looking for interesting and innovative projects where Prodrive can inject its technical and engineering expertise.
“Since I first met Petre last year and saw his concept it’s taken us about 12 months to bring it to fruition.
“The Hummingbird combines all the key attributes of style, innovation and technical excellence that Prodrive stands for and we’re very proud of the end result,” he added.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.