Genius or bonkers? The Somerset folding bike + video

Folding bike features circular-shaped frame which acts as a sliding rail

The folding bicycle really appeals to industrial designers, and we’ve seen all manner of contraptions over the years. The latest is the Somerset, which features a circular-shaped main frame section that acts as a rail for the other parts of the bike slide along, and fold away. Well, sort of.

When unfolded, it looks like a fairly regular small-wheeled bicycle, albeit one of the most distinctive we’ve ever come across. The unique trick that sets the Somerset folding bike apart is that the module attaching the front fork to the main frame can slide around the circular frame until the two wheels roll alongside each other. The bike can then be wheeled along the train platform. 

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“The main frame uses oval-shaped tubes as a slide rail, making the front fork slide down along the frame about half of the circular frame to combine the two wheels and finally become a handcart,” says Kaiser Chang, the designer behind the project. 

There are so many folding bikes available on the market and many are able to fold away into a much more compact form than the Somerset. It doesn’t look like the Somerset can be carried either, and it still appears to take up a fair amount of space when it is folded. 

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An e-bike version has been designed, with the battery nestled inside the main frame. A custom designed bag has also been designed as well if you need luggage capacity for riding to work. The bike also features a belt drive and disc brakes. 

The bike is still at the design stage at present, and it’s not clear if there are any plans to put it into production yet. We’ve contacted the designer to find out.

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While it’s undoubtedly beautifully designed, is it a case of form over function? What do you think? 

More details here.

David has worked on the tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

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