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High-end carbon fibre folding bike with a Gates belt drive and hydraulic disc brakes

The Nano, launched today in London, comes from British company Lios, and it’s billed as the “world’s finest carbon fibre folding bicycle." That's debatable, but one thing is for sure, it’s one of the lightest folding bikes we’ve yet seen.

The Nano has been developed by former Royal Marine Steve McCulley who aims to “completely change people’s perceptions of a folding bike.” The Nano, the company tells us, has been extensively tested with input from Brompton inventor Andrew Ritchie.

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Carbon fibre is used to construct the frame and fork, and it’s fitted with a Gates carbon belt drive and has hydraulic disc brakes. Lios has gone to town with the carbon fibre, with the wheels made out of the black stuff, along with the handlebar, seatpost and saddle. 

- Buyer's Guide to folding bikes

That all helps reduce the weight. It weighs 8.2kg in its lightest build and 9.2kg with gears. If those figures are accurate, it’s lighter than a Brompton (9.3kg) and even the titanium Helix (9.5kg) we featured a little while ago.

Such lightness doesn’t come cheap, though, the Nano is priced at £3,250 for the singlespeed version, and £3,500 with an 8-speed hub gear.

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The company was founded by Steve McCulley, a former Royal Marine who was struck by an explosive during active duty in Afghanistan. Steve picks up the story:

“In 2011 I was commanding a company of 175 men in Afghanistan, when I was struck by an Improvised Explosive Device, which resulted in very serious injuries. I owe my life to the quick thinking and professionalism of my Marines and the amazing skills of the Medical Emergency Response Team who fly in to evacuate injured personnel.

“My last memory of Afghanistan, before losing consciousness, was the Trauma Consultant crouching over me with a cordless drill, in the back of a Chinook helicopter, saying “this is going to hurt but it will save your life”. The doctor drilled directly into my sternum (without anaesthetic) to administer life-saving drugs as quickly as possible as the helicopter skimmed, at tree-top height, back to Camp Bastion.

“I was then flown back to the UK within 24 hours and spent three weeks in a coma and three months at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in Birmingham, before being transferred to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court in Surrey. In total I spent almost three years in rehabilitation.

“I have always been a keen cyclist, including competing for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines at national level; however, it was clear my injuries were going to mean an end to my military and cycling career so I decided to turn my passion for cycling into a business.

“Therefore, during the breaks in my rehab and with significant support from Help For Heroes, the Royal Marines Trust and Heropreneurs, I created LIOS which is named after my children Lily and Oscar. The LIOS Nano is a new and totally different product and alongside my business partner Wayland Austin, we have created something special which we think is going to completely change people’s perceptions of a folding bike.”

You can take a look at the Nano folding bike here www.liosfoldingbike.com

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com 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.