Quirky Kwiggle folding bike reaches the last mile
Designers are finding some pretty creative ways to fold bicycles down to a carry-on size, and the titles of most compact and lightest are thrown around pretty loosely. The Kwiggle Bike, which first caught our eye back in 2013, still appears to be in line to be called the most compact folding bike out there, and after an additional three years of development and tweaking, it's finally heading for Kickstarter.
Looking like a cross between a bicycle, a scooter and a unicycle, the Kwiggle is a head-turning last-mile commute option. The rider is positioned almost completely upright, with a small seat providing some support rather than a place to sit – and while it may look awkward, the creators say the unusual stance is good for the back by preventing tension building up in the shoulders and neck.
When it's time to stow it away or carry it on a train, the Kwiggle folds down into a 55 x 40 x 25 cm (21.7 x 15.7 x 9.8 in) package, and tips the scales at 8.5 kg (18.7 lb). That means it hasn't actually shrunk down any since its original design – and it's actually put on a little weight. Yet it's still more compact than other self-proclaimed "smallest" folding bicycles, like the Helix, although it's not as light as options like the Hummingbird.
To make the production model a practical, portable human powered vehicle, the Kwiggle is constructed with wrought-alloy aluminum, which brought with it some extra design challenges, according to the team. As a result, the bike now has one-piece wheels, one-piece forks, and a curved rear frame with different cross sections, all of which are wrought-alloy aluminum. It also now has bigger air tires, integrated wheel guards, brakes and levers – all things the prototype was sorely lacking.
Worried that it might be uncomfortable? According to the 250 test riders at this year's Eurobike expo, the Kwiggle is understandably weird at first, but only takes a few minutes to get used to. While we can't see anyone doing a full day marathon ride on it, the quirky Kwiggle might be handy in short bursts from the train station to work.
To fund the bike, Kwiggle is launching a Kickstarter campaign on December 1. There's no word yet on how much the team is shooting for or when it may ship, but it should be available for a pledge of €1,500 (US$1,580).
Watch it in action in the video below.