Bickerton, Brompton and Dahon were the early starters. But in this field, modern day challengers arrived in the form of Bike Friday Tikit. With the advantage of modern day design and innovation, many after riding a Bike Friday Tikit would say it’s got the fastest fold and the ride of a big bike.
But this is not a review of 16 inch wheeled foldables. It’s a focus on two brands who took the challenge of attempting to give you a better small wheeled commuter.
Both have chosen the 18" wheet format (ERTRO 355) - which is only marginally bigger in diameter than 16".
This article is a focus on the cromoly steel Tyrell IVE (watch out for the second article on the all-carbon Chedech)
Commuter Bike Must-Haves
Folds small and is light weight
Can be pushed and stays stable when folded
Sufficient gear range for long straight runs within the city
Decent low gears for some small climbs
Fits pannier racks
The TYRELL IVE
Hirose Masahito, the ecletic designer from Tyrell Japan gave rise to the preferred mini-velo design pitting his rigid frame “slant” design (the Tyrell folds around the frame not through the frame for maximum rigidity) against the likes of Dahon and Tern.
In the end, his well regarded FX and FSX (both leading lights of the 20” category), are now ridden by men and women alike who not only want to go fast but look good.
From this obsession of design, great ride, looks and quality, he set to design a bike that would give riders a new experience with the goal of achieving ride performance and yet folding innovations that rivalled compact dimensions of early commuter brands. He took 2 years as he wanted to offer more to his buyers and so the IVE was eventually born.
IVE: means “the simple one”, even the logo resembles a budding plant, ready to grow in prominence.
First look of the bike, compact in fold and can be pushed around after being folded, 11kg, 9 speed Shimano Sora with a 53T chainring (Upgradable to 58T), 18 inch wheels with Schwalbe Marathon Racer.
Kadowaki powder coating painting. Front truss mount. Mounting holds for rear rack and front racks.
Innovation: Tyrell calls it Swift Folding Technology where at a press of a button, your rear lower triangle is released for folding.
USP: Metal fenders with a roller. I guess Hirose wanted fenders that would last even if you had an impact.
The ride feels firm, no flex exhibited even by a heavy rider like me – 89kg, 1.78m tall. I was told that the current wheelsets are rated for 85kg and if I put on weight, I could upgrade the wheels to Wheelsport Sunny series and that would push the limit to 105kg.
It has an aggressive feel and riding posture and the 9 speed Sora does the job well.
Personally I would swap the Marathon Racers for Kojak to get better acceleration.
Comparing with other bikes that fold small but bear in mind that the IVE is 18 inch wheeled, I felt Tyrell made progress here while not sacrificing ride quality. Hirose is obsessed with ride quality and when I had a chance to speak with him in his first visit to Singapore, he shared with me about his design philosophy and also how he would not sacrifice ride quality and not achieve his goal for improvements.
The IVE has now even made its way to USA and Germany and I am sure we will are going to see more people take to its modern, quality looks with a bike built for speed at the commuting category.
In PART TWO, we look at the latest challenger in a category that is rapidly increasing in popularity - the Chedech, all carbon folder from Korea.
Reviewer: In his 40s with 2 young kids. When not doing his 9 - 5 job, finds time to cycle and explore Singapore. Walks and jogs too. Have owned foldies and also now a really fast Roadbike. Have done RIs and have an interest in anything Technology.