We’ve tested folding bikes from Brompton, Tern and Dahon, and appreciate their portability and versatility for many reasons. Nearly every bike we’ve ridden has been made from steel or aluminum with the occasional titanium thrown in to lighten the load. But our world was rocked a bit when a 18.69-pound, carbon folding bike arrived from Allen Sports USA, a company best known for its innovative automobile racks since the mid 1970s.
“After nearly 50 years of manufacturing rear mounted bicycle carriers, and more recently bicycle trailers and joggers, Allen introduced a full line of folding bicycles in Spring 2014,” said company president Alex Allen. “We partnered with a German-owned folding bicycle manufacturer in Taiwan on the design and development of this line.” There are seven folding models, ranging in price from $499 to $4,999.
The flagship $4,999 Allen UltraX is designed around 20-inch wheels, and when we say there’s plenty of carbon used we’re not kidding: frame, fork, crankset, handlebars, handlebar post, rims, seatpost, brake levers, even the saddle! Allen has placed a 240-pound rider weight limit on the bike, which adjusts to fit riders up to 6-foot-5.
We’ve taken the UltraX out of the box and monkeyed with opening and closing it to understand the engineering behind the design (we’re still not down to the reported seven seconds it should take to fold it), and plan on a few excursions downtown once the Northern California deluge ends.
Look for a First Impression report soon…