British motorsport company Prodrive announced this week that testing of the Hummingbird folding lightweight bike would begin in October, with anticipated production and sales starting early in 2017.
The Hummingbird is the concept of London based designer Petre Cracuin. Petre along with co-founder Ligia Stan has a passion for bikes and the project was born out of their desire to have a lightweight folding bike that was not only a pleasure to ride but was also easy to carry around and looked good. Despite having multiple bikes themselves, they realised there was nothing out there that fitted the bill so Petre set to work to solve the problem and the Hummingbird was born. A folding bike that is comfortable to ride, looks good, is easy to fold and carry and weighs in at an astounding 6.7kg. To put that in perspective, that’s the same as two normal weight domestic cats!
In November last year a Kickstarter project was launched to raise funds to get the bike produced and manufactured. It was at this time it caught the eye of motorsport and advanced technology company Prodrive who became the official partners of Hummingbird in May this year.
Chairman of Prodrive David Richards said ““We are always looking for interesting and innovative projects where Prodrive can inject its technical and engineering expertise. Since I first met Petre last year and saw his concept it’s taken us about 12 months to bring it to fruition. The Hummingbird combines all the key attributes of style, innovation and technical excellence that Prodrive stands for and we’re very proud of the end result.”
The Prodrive team have fine tuned the bike, refining the design and key component parts to get it to the final version ready for testing. The frame is manufactured by Prodrive Composites in Milton Keynes with other parts and final assembly being carried out at their Banbury headquarters.
The ultra light weight is mainly the result of the carbon frame and forks. The unique folding mechanism in which the trailing arm pivots around the crank ensures the chain always remains in tension. This means the bike can be wheeled along the ground even when folded.
Folding bikes are hugely popular with commuters and with the average weight of folding bikes currently at 12kg, the Hummingbird at almost half that weight is bound to create a stir in that community. The look and image of the folding bike has not however tended to appeal to the wider cycling community. But is that set to change? The look and image of the Hummingbird has been a major factor in its development. The aim of Petre and Ligia was to have a bike that was not only lightweight and practical but one that appealed to people; a bike that people see and want to own. Judging by the response to the date, that objective may well have been achieved.
Are we likely to see fewer bikes travelling on the back and top of cars and more being folded and placed in the boot?