After raising more than $68,000 through a successful Kickstarter campaign, London start-up Hummingbird Bike Company and British motorsport company Prodrive have officially begun production of the world’s lightest folding bicycle. With an ultra-light weight of 6.9 kg (15.2 lbs), Hummingbird says the bike is half the weight of other traditional bikes.
The bike features a three-step folding system that allows the seat post to be lowered and back wheel and handlebars to be folded under the single arched frame in five seconds.
The bike’s frame is made using the same carbon fiber manufacturing process as Prodrive’s race cars. Sheets of carbon are sliced into accurately measured strips before being aligned to make the frame. The layers are then fused together into one piece, under high pressure and heat. The frames are hand-made – in your choice of four colors or a clear-lacquer finish – and individually numbered, by Prodrive Composites in Milton Keynes, UK, and each bike is hand-built, with your speed of single or four-speed gearing.
Hummingbird chose carbon fiber for its high-performance qualities. Carbon fiber is five times stronger than steel, twice as stiff and one-third its weight. It is also lighter than aluminum and stiffer than titanium.
“[Carbon fiber is] one of the strongest and most lightweight materials available on the market today,” the company wrote on its Kickstarter page. “It also absorbs the vibrations, which makes for a smoother ride. Its compressive strength is greater than all the reinforcing materials.”
Like all Prodrive composites, the Hummingbird is manufactured to ISO/TS 16949 standards, a certification reserved for high-precision components that have successfully passed the ISO quality assurance tests.
Currently, Prodrive is working on an electric boosted version of the bike, which is undergoing evaluation now and should be available in 2018.