I should begin by saying I applaud innovation, however zany it may be, and that I’m in favor of both entrepreneurship and capitalism. In that respect I applaud the designer’s efforts and wish him nothing but success. However, at the same time, I’m also a cyclist, and as such it’s fairly obvious when a new take on the bicycle is a failure in the making. This isn’t to say he won’t succeed in funding his project, but it is to say nobody who buys one of these will actually ride it. In fact, the sheer folly of this bike is apparent from the opening seconds of the video, which begins thusly:
“They say don’t reivent the wheel. But what if we said…”
Fewer bike-themed Kickstarters have begun on such an ominous note. They may as well have said:
“They say don’t stab yourself in the eye. But what if we said…”
The name of the bike–“Tuck Bike”–is also disquieting, and whether you’re prepared to admit it or not, this is probably the first thing you thought of:
And if it wasn’t…well, it is now.
So what’s wrong with all the other precision-engineered folding bikes on the market? Well, according to the inventor, “The wheels are too darn small:”
So? This is a problem why? I’ve ridden a Brompton all over New York City’s pothole-ridden streets, and even after taking on the fabled pavé of DUMBO you can see there wasn’t a hair out of place on my person:
Oh, sure, I’ve completely fallen apart since then, but it had nothing to do with the bike:
Looks familiar, doesn’t it?
Meanwhile, the Tuck Bike has full-sized wheels–no gears, mind you, but you do get disc brakes:
Which you’ll no doubt appreciate when you’re wringing all that high performance out of those air-free tires:
So let’s review:
A Brompton (the world’s best folding bike in my objectively correct opinion) has pneumatic tires, can be configured with gears, accepts a wide range of accessories, and folds down to a size smaller than a pizza box in about 10 seconds. The Tuck Bike has airless tires, no gears, and works like this:
I admit I was puzzled as to why someone would design a bike with these attributes…until he explained his background:
“...I’ve spent my whole career in manufacturing and automotive engineering…
Then it all made sense. (Though even the automotive world seems to have spurned run-flat tires, go figure.)
As for his automotive bona-fides, he cites working on “the Jaguar driven in the Bond movie ‘Spectre,’ and the hybrid Range Rover.” Here is the Jaguar driven in the Bond movie ‘Spectre:”
Cool, but I’d be more impressed if he’d worked on the folding bike in the Bond movie “Spectre,” since, you know, he’s trying to sell us a folding bike. Then again, to my knowledge, there are no folding bikes in “Spectre” or indeed any of Bond films, though it does seem like the sort of contraption with which Q should have furnished him. Alas, this was the only bicycle-adjacent Bondian spy gizmo I could find:
Sounds badass, can’t wait for the Kickstarter.
But perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of the Tuck Bike is that, while the cycling industry is abandoning the quick release, he’s not only sticking with it, but using it on the rim:
Incredible. He found the one place a quick release makes absolutely no sense.
Regardless, I applaud his video, which is quite endearing, and if the Wagon Wheel Foldie (that’s what I’ve had called it to avoid the genital associations) turns out to be more successful than I expect it to be I will be happy to be proven wrong. Maybe it’ll even have a major role in the next Bond film.