DE­SIGN

They’re made to fold first and fore­most, so just how well do they do it?

Australian T3 - - STATE OF THE ART -

With its award-win­ning frame, Vello’s Bike+ adopts a unique de­sign that es­chews the nor­mal fold in the main tubes. This means it’s quite long when folded, but looks neater when rid­ing, and aids rigid­ity. The fold­ing process is sim­ple - a sin­gle mag­netic point con­nects the rear to the main frame, while the front forks have a turn key con­nec­tor, with an, ad­mit­tedly fid­dly, pin lock. Swing the wheel around and mag­netic points on forks and frame al­low them to con­nect to­gether se­curely. The stem can be low­ered quickly thanks to a quick-re­lease col­lar; ditto for the bar ends which, re­moved, give the Bike+ a long, but nar­row stance. A lack of proper stand makes it clumsy to un­fold, but it gains points for be­ing su­per light (13.9kg!), so it’s easy to carry around.

With its chunky looks, the Tern Vek­tron looks a beast to han­dle, but it’s very friendly to op­er­ate thanks to huge levers at each break, which are quick to undo. The Vek­tron has a stand built into the bot­tom of the frame, so it’s easy to fold with­out fear of the bike top­pling, while mag­netic points on the frame and fork al­low you to se­cure the bike to­gether in sec­onds. A bungee on the rack neatly tethers the han­dle­bars. At a mighty 21.8kg, you’ll need some mus­cle to carry it around, though. Folded, it’s a whop­per too.

Brompton has been mak­ing fold­ing bikes for a long time now, and it shows. The Elec­tric acts like a reg­u­lar Brompton, which of course means it folds beau­ti­fully to a su­per com­pact shape, though its not the quick­est to break down be­cause you have to un­screw each sec­tion. Still, there are lots of nice touches, like a hook on the rear sec­tion and con­nec­tor on the front forks, which make the bike feel su­per solid when folded, and the ad­di­tion of rub­ber wheels on the stand makes it easy to move around. Clev­erly, the Brompton has a pad un­der­neath the sad­dle, al­low­ing you to carry it com­fort­ably - even when you take into con­sid­er­a­tion its slightly portly weight of 14.5kg (17.5kg with bat­tery at­tached).

There are lots of nice touches on the Brompton, like wheels on the stand

The Vek­tron of­fers a lux­o­ri­ous rid­ing feel when un­folded, but the down­side is that it’s the big­gest and heav­i­est bike to lug around when folded

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