Why spend time folding your bike in half when you can just jump on half a bike and ride? A unique last mile solution, the German-designed Halbrad (that's "Halfbike" in English) packs the two wheels, pedals and handlebars of a bicycle on a reengineered rear triangle. This half-bike actually looks more like a third of a bike, and it pedals the streets and carries and stores easily thanks to those compact dimensions.
We've become fairly numb to odd-looking creations of the bicycle (and tricycle, quadricycle, unicycle) variety, but even we had to do a double-take when we first saw the Halbrad. It looks like designer Felix Kruschardt literally sawed off the rear triangle of a regular bike, welded a second seat tube with handlebars behind the first seat tube, and secured a small wheel at the bottom. It's a more literal interpretation of the half-bike than others, like the Halfbike and Halfbike II.
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,500 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
Clearly aimed at the ever-growing personal urban mobility market, the Halbrad is a simpler commuter bicycle that looks perfect for the smallest city apartments and tiny houses. To ride the super-compact bike, you sit on the saddle, grab hold of the handlebars that run below the saddle, and pedal away – it's not unlike the tiny Burke 8. It looks more similar to riding a unicycle than a bike, but the Halbrad website says that it only takes minutes to learn. The bike features a two-speed drivetrain and a coaster brake. It has a 35-in (90-cm) turning radius and can stand by balancing the front wheel and pedal.
At 39 in (99 cm) high by 31 in (79 cm) long and just under 20 lb (listed at 9kg), the Halbrad is designed to be easy to pick up and carry – perfect for taking on a train or or inside an office. Its compact size also makes it easier to store than a full-sized bike. It's not quite as light as the lightest folding bikes we've covered, such as the 12-lb (5.5-kg) A-Bike, 14-lb (6.5-kg) Hummingbird or 18.75-lb (8.5-kg) Ultra X, but it's definitely lighter than the average folder. It's also a lot simpler since you just get off, grab it and start walking – in a pretty seamless motion if you get as good as Kruschardt himself.
Kruschardt and his team are busy raising money on German crowdfunding site Startnext and touring German bike shows like last month's Berliner Fahrradschau and this month's upcoming Spezialradmesse. A numbered prototype is on offer at the €1,250 (approx. US$1,425) pledge level – so while we're talking half a bike, we're not talking half the price tag. But if your lifestyle only has room for a tiny bicycle, the Halbrad looks worth checking out. There are also a number of lower pledge levels and rewards for those that might want to support the project but not go all in on a Halbrad.
The video below shows the Halbrad in action on both the road and some light off-road terrain. For the next video, hopefully they'll hand a Halbrad over to a BMX or bike trials master to really show what a light, compact half-bike can do.