Inventor's bike folds into its own wheel!

Aug 4, 2009 at 13:09
by Jordan Holmes  

A student has designed a bike which can be folded completely into the space of the wheel's 26in circumference.

Click here for more info...

Dominic Hargreaves's bike, The Contortionist, has been shortlisted for this year's James Dyson Award for innovation.

It may bag the young inventor £10,000.

Views: 21,342    Faves: 53    Comments: 20

The 24-year-old, from Battersea, London, said he wanted to create a decent folding bike after the one he was using collapsed.

"I couldn't find a folding bicycle I liked," he added.

"I wanted something that could take a bit of punishment and that you could have fun with, so I made one myself."

All folded up

All folded up


Mr. Hargreaves has been in contact with various manufacturers and hopes to get the bike into production soon.

Competition founder James Dyson said: "The clever bit is how the front wheel can be rotated and repositioned so that the whole of the bike's frame fits into its circumference."
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96 Comments

  • + 21
 WOW.... that's just innovation and pure awesomeness
  • + 22
 shame you can't pedal, where is the chain?
  • + 25
 Great! Just don't bunnyhop it as you may end up seriously folded.
  • + 5
 It´s a driveline inside the frame, based on the same techniques that you can find on a car.
  • + 11
 While it's definitely a very nice design, I don't see that much of a point to such a folding bike. It's not like it fits in a backpack or in a locker once it's folded. I feel like this is just something to say be able to go around and say "Hey look, my bike folds and not yours!"

I guess it's easier to store in your office or something like that, but the "commuters who store their bike in their office and need more room and are willing to pay X $ for a folding bike" market is pretty small.

But, as I said, excellent design!
  • + 7
 I like the fact that he used bearclaw pedals, 26 inch wheels and hydraulic disk brakes
  • + 8
 k domster how can you even say that there's a small market, this is an amazing design, the reason why so many people drive is because they have no storage when living in a big city or working in an office, this is a great design to fit into a vehicle for a recreational rider or in a cubical at work. i think if he gets this up and going hes going to make a killing off of it and especially because of how nice it looks compared to other folding bikes
  • + 4
 "I guess it's easier to store in your office or something like that, but the "commuters who store their bike in their office and need more room and are willing to pay X $ for a folding bike" market is pretty small."

Actually, this market is quite big, and getting bigger. Just go into any bike store in any large urban city and you'll find folding bikes everywhere. Or open a copy of Momentum or DandyHorse magazine. It's not just the office either - when you're paying $1500 for a 400sq.ft. apartment, every square foot counts. And locking your bike up outside is not an option.
  • - 4
 its generally for boats or if you own a small plane.
  • + 3
 Another major innovation with this design is not only the compact size when folded, but the fact that it uses full sized wheels and an unfolded frame to match - which means it will ride like any other full sized bike. Most folding bikes use much smaller wheels (not to mention BB height, centre of gravity, HA and SA angles), which very adversely affects pedaling efficiency and handling.
  • - 2
 "k domster how can you even say that there's a small market, this is an amazing design, the reason why so many people drive is because they have no storage when living in a big city or working in an office"

Oh come on, that's bullshit. The reason people drive is because they're lazy asses that miss their TV the instant they put a foot outside. Where I work we have a place to store our bikes and there is also a bike locker in my apartment building, two locked doors away from outside. The move should be done on the building's part to have bike storing access instead of us having to buy that kind of bike.
  • + 5
 Domster;

The purpose of folding bikes is not only for urban life/space & storage issues. There are many people in the world who travel frequently for business (by plane) and would like to bring their bike with them. Being "recreational" cyclists, they don't necessarily require a high end bike, they just want something to pedal around on. They also don't have the time to dissassemble and box up their "at-home" bike just to bring along on the plane, and so the folding bike is a convenient option.
  • + 2
 "The move should be done on the building's part to have bike storing access instead of us having to buy that kind of bike."

Are you kidding? Not all apartments in cities are modern apartment buildings. Many are just parts of old houses. You're just lucky you have a place to store your bike at work and at home. Would you then say it's more practical to change the place you live and work, instead of changing your bicycle? Or wait until your apartment building (if you live in one) makes appropriate storage for your full sized bike? Hell, even many HOUSES don't have room for bikes inside!
  • + 5
 I guess this one didnt make try-outs for the new Transformers movie? lol that thing is WILD!
  • - 1
 to be honest that thing looks completly unsafe to ride , but its sooo sick lol
  • - 2
 Yeah, drop a curb and the whole thing folds under you :S
  • + 1
 you should try living in london. its ok for you canadians with all your open space and no people but this guy lives in london and this is a commuter bike. being able to fold it up so small would mean you can take it on the tube making it easier to get arround london and other big cities, also getting it in lifts would be a bit easier. i think its an awesome design and wish the guy luck in gettting it into production.
  • + 0
 thats like awsomeness in a 26'' circle!
  • + 0
 BIKESBEFOREBABES someone working in a cubicle could not afford this bike.
  • - 1
 how do u pedal it doesnt have a chain
  • + 1
 I don't think Domster understands that students like myself would love something like this. I hate having to trust my bike to a 30 dollar lock every time i go to class. i could bring this bike in with me and it would barely take up any space. We need more people who have this kind of innovation. Major props to this guy!
  • + 0
 domster;

you are definitely right on abt lazy ppl missing their tvs and such. however, the part abt the building changing to fit bikes cant and wont happen. cities are built around the car. all the modern cities are very spread out, like miami and la. but take a look at the oldest sections of places like paris and ny; everything is close together, and places for cars are a retrofit, so to speak. so we the cyclists need to be the ones fronting up an anti-car movement. this bike is a wonderful idea.

HOWEVER- to those who are dumping on domester, realize that ppl can ride to work and lock their bike up somewhere pretty easily in most places. u just need to take the appropriate steps to theft proof it.
  • + 2
 not in the uk. i heard about loads of locked bikes getting knicked. youre bike is only a safe as the lock holding it, and as a rule most locks can be cut with a good set of bolt crops. there are people who drive around in vans looking for locked bike to take. the only solution is to have a crap bike that no one would want to steel, and im guessing like most on here riding a s**t bike is out of the question lol.
[Reply]
  • + 18
 sickest non dh thing ever
  • + 2
 ^^

great work!!!!
[Reply]
  • + 5
 That fork looks flimsy. You can see the fork flexing when he rides it, its not perpendicular to the bars at all. I would need to see one in person to be truly impressed. they also edited out the part where you need to remove one of the crank arms, it wont fold with the left side installed.
  • + 1
 Wow, youre right about the crank... weird.
  • + 1
 Right you are!
  • + 2
 I'm sure if it gets into production all that issues will be solved... it is just a prototype, no more. Maybe it will need thousands of hours of development.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 The Dyson Innovation award is to recognise young designers achievements.

The award is for RCA (Royal College of Arts) uni students and their major project work whilst at university.

So, this is the prototype of a design CONCEPT. Its not a production model, its just a tangible object that the designer can take to bigger industry players so they can get an understanding of where he's coming from and what his CONCEPT is!

This is not a retail product as its not in production. The bike you see in the video is simply a prototype of his concept.

The designer would still need to go through a huge amount of further and detailed development before you'd ever likely see this available to buy.

As it is though, its a bl**dy good design concept that could be a great product if anyone decides to help him develop it further..

He's in line for that award for a reason! - Nice work!
[Reply]
  • + 3
 He probably Did it for a Design Coarse at Uni. I did Porduct Design At Bournemouth Uni a Couple of years back, and wish i did something like this! you dont have to have a fully working prototype, just a fully working principle. The rest can be finialized later on in the design stages. You only get about 8 months to do all the design work, AND manufacture, so your breif has to suit the project. So i owuld guess that his breif was "create a fun, strong folding bike which will fold into the size of the wheel, no larger, and which can roll on the wheels when folded." keep it short and simple, otherwise you would of had to finish the brakes, drive etc and that would have been a lot more hassle. Really good concept and looks really good too. hands down the best folding bike I've seen.
  • + 1
 [offtopic] the uni or the arts institute? [/offtopic]
[Reply]
  • + 2
 This thing will sell like mad in big Asian and European cities. People who live in small flats and commute on public transportation are going to eat this thing up. Something tells me this is not going to do that well in North America. Nice work.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Nice, really. I dig the fact that I could use such a thing to do my 30km to work and still pack it under my desk. That would be a way different from Abikes and those little city maschines. I am just not sure if I like the joints. Thumbs up!
[Reply]
  • + 6
 can anyone see a drive train? Because I can't
  • + 1
 ye, and it doesnt show you the guy pedalling either
  • + 3
 Maybe Jackson started a pushbike revolution! But yeah...I don't see a drive train anywhere...
  • + 0
 Next, where’s the chain? There isn’t one. Actually, check the video again and you’ll see that Hargreaves doesn’t even pedal, but a production version will use pipes and hydraulic fluid to transfer power from leg to wheel. Yes, production. Hargreaves is in talks with three car manufacturers to actually make this bike. It shouldn’t be too hard to guess which they are: they’re all German.

taken from another online article on the bike Smile
  • + 1
 if you watch the crank, it moves side to side like a screwed bb as well.
[Reply]
  • + 6
 looks like he is pulling a smashed up wheel chair Razz
[Reply]
  • + 1
 What a fantastic design, now folks that want a bike to takeup next to no space and not look like a circus show have an option. Great lines on the bike. If it was made reasonably affordable I don't see how urban people would not line up to score one of these babies. Genius
[Reply]
  • + 3
 man some of you need to pull your heads in...some, it is a great bit of bike design, but im sure all of you pinkbike hero's out there could do better. i think it is great.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 this is a brilliant idea and has my full support but the main issue I see here is that if its going to be bought by a german car company then I don't see a very bright future for it. Bmw and other car brands have bikes out and although they are generally ok they are hugely overpriced and are not in the pricerange of the general public,then again they are marketed to rich people who have to much money and don't know what to spend it on so maybe its not a bad thing ...
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Hey rikRider I did PD at BU too...makes you sick when someone comes up with such a sweet concept dunnit! Bet this would have been tricky without CAD Smile
Love the fact it's so easy to push around when it's folded up. Pisses me off you can't take bikes on buses or trains easily so until you can something like this would get it sorted.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 So yea, the bike dosent have Brakes fitted and the bike dosent have any sort of prepulsion or drive..but thats whats design is all about...solving problems. Im sure that if this guy can build a bike that fits into a 26inch wheel size and be rolled along he can solve the simple problem of adding working breaks and some sort of drive. I dont think the likes of James Dyson would be shortlisting this for a design award if it wasnt going to work.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Some clarity on whether or not the left crank has to be removed would be nice, looks like the pedal MIGHT fit over the top of the tyre, but I dunno, pretty sucky if it does have to come off.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 it looks like this design would be a good candidate for those belt drive drivetrains (Like the new one Norco is releasing in 2010) The belt would be more flexible for folding up, then a chain.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I think it does have some kind of drive, if you watch closely at 16-17 seconds the cranks are moving as he rocks the bike backwards and forwards, could be belt driven inside the frame??
[Reply]
  • + 1
 As for the no chain bit, I test rode one of these shaft drive bikes there kinda cool.

www.engadget.com/2006/06/21/dekra-d-drive-bike-trades-the-chain-for-direct-drive
[Reply]
  • + 0
 to all those who are puzzeld about a drive chain its a prototype and theres a second one going to be made for just rolling like a childs bike there probs will be a single speed small gearing like 25 - 9 or 25 - 10 soomthing small cog size
[Reply]
  • + 2
 thats really well designed compared to the other shitty folding bikes on the market
[Reply]
  • + 0
 what about the bicycle chain??? how is that configured? it looks like a coaster bike as i didn't see how the bike is pedaled....almost premature to post something like this without a finalized design, eh?
[Reply]
  • + 1
 haha and how does the front wheel just collapse like that, looks like he reversed the video maybe? (like he actually pulled the front of the bike up, rather than put it down)
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Maybe it's smaller but this one seems very convienient.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJr7JRAe70c
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Thing looks like it should be produced by Cannondale, with the Lefty shock. that actually doesn't look that bad, either.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 hu sed this is crap come on u guys.... this is just the beginning of a new era
[Reply]
  • + 1
 a belt could go inside the chainstay, and the hub could be a sram I-9.... cool invention!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 how would the chain fold round? very good invention, and looks pretty cool and futuristic
[Reply]
  • + 1
 im wondering if this wouldnt violate cannondales lefty patent, it looks just like one
[Reply]
  • + 2
 just a prototype gee the guy a break lol
[Reply]
  • + 1
 small gear box maybe?
hydraulic gears maybe?
they could be internal....
good luck.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Thats totally brilliant! that would be fit into a special thick wheel bag which would be awsome!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 Its a transformer!!!!!!!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 When the options for folding bikes are those Dahons and BikeFridays with tiny wheels, I'd go for that 26" any day.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 clever man and design, could see it big in japan etc. Good luck.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 would have been uber cool if that was an actual Cdale Lefty
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Extension on the bar for a pull handle - and make it belt drive please!!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 where is the chain and sprockets?
[Reply]
  • + 2
 thats fucking amazing
[Reply]
  • + 1
 no chain, and he never actually pedaled the bike
[Reply]
  • + 1
 watch out people, it might be a robot in disguise!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 awesome bike :O
[Reply]
  • + 1
 no gears or brakes how are u ment to go fast
[Reply]
  • + 0
 thats stupidly sweet. nothing but respect
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Good concept,but........
[Reply]
  • + 1
 That fork is sick Big Grin
[Reply]
  • + 0
 that is fucking awesome. sorry for swearing, but it's needed!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Battersea lad done good!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 needs a new seat
[Reply]
  • + 0
 bro wheres the chain?
[Reply]
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