ABOVE AND LEFT: The folding sequence is fast and easy, and can be carried out with the bike standing on its end. The result is a rather long but thin and tidy package which fits easily inside the carry-bag – a heavyweight fabric design with full zips for easy access. It folds into its own end pocket and can be attached under the saddle.
at the rim. Sealed cartridge bearings are visible either side. ‘Chain tugs’ serve to position the rear wheel and so tension the chain, which is a small-pitch industrial type. This is necessary to work smoothly around the very small, 14T back sprocket, which is in turn needed to provide the huge step-up gearing to give a sensible (48") gear ratio. The matching chainring, with 84 fine-pitch teeth, fits onto a standard five-arm alloy crankset. A trouser protection ring is also provided. Brakes are side-pull callipers, with quite a long ‘drop’ from mounting hole to braking surface. This means a certain amount of flexibility is inevitable, but you’re unlikely to achieve huge speed anyway except perhaps downhill. I’d take great care, or walk, on any serious descents. Weight as tested was around 8.16 kg. As several accessories were fitted, the claimed weight of 8 kg for the bare bike is quite believable. Not ridiculously light like a 5.7 kg A-bike, but still pleasantly easy to carry.
THE FOLD The CarryMe folds into a fairly long, thin package. It’s going to take longer to explain it than it does to achieve. There are two main parts to the fold: first the front section, then the seatpost support. You finish up by folding handlebars and pedals. The front end’s mechanism is rather ingenious. The hefty aluminium collar around the head tube pivots on the frame. So when you undo the thumbscrew, that releases the collar to slide up the shiny, machined surface of the head tube. As you slide it up, the connecting rod at the top of the tube pushes the whole assembly round, so that eventually it lies along and below the main frame tube. A stainless steel spring plate (with rubber-coated finger tab) then hooks over a bolt head to keep everything secure. You may have dropped the stem before doing this, though the sequence is flexible. A simple quickrelease unlocks it. The stem can be positioned lower than shown in
VELOVISION ISSUE 32 DECEMBER 2008
the pictures if required, although everyone who rode it preferred it as high as possible. A stop prevents you pulling it out further than is safe. The next stage is the seatpost support structure. To release this you have to slide up a small stainless steel tab, just above the back reflector, so that the linkage can move. I found this slightly fiddly – it would be better if the catch was a little further up above the reflector, as my large fingers struggled sometimes to get in between. Anyway, the seatpost then simply swings forward. Again, you can drop the saddle either before or after. You need to turn the saddle sideways before locking it in its lower position, to clear the stem. Finally, fold the pedals and handlebar. The bars have simple quick-releases which secure the bar ends. A neat plastic rail, anchored at the centre of the bars, lets them slide out and fold without dropping off completely, and it also keeps the brake levers more or less in the right orientation when you reassemble. Incidentally the whole bike stands
neatly on its back wheel and casters while you fold it. You can also roll the folded package around on the caster wheels to avoid lifting it. The optional dust cover is a simple bag to conceal the bike, in a rather thin fabric. It weighs just 121 g – so maybe good for carrying with you. But I was much more taken by the (also optional) carry bag, a heavier (661 g) fabric item which folds away into its own end pocket. Long zips mean it opens up along its whole length, making it very easy to put the bike inside. And unlike some, the bike really is entirely inside, without any wheels poking out to give the game away. When folded up, the bag attaches under the saddle and onto the seatpost. The bag measures around 91 x 30 x 27 cm – Pacific say they have customers who have had it accepted as carry-on luggage for many airlines, and it’s hardly larger than, say, a violin case. I’d be happy taking it onto a bus, for example – not the case with many folding bikes. And it’s robust enough to wear well, I think.