LEFT: A stainless steel spring catch holds the folded bike together: lift the rubber-coated end tab to release.
BELOW LEFT: When folded the handlebar ends are kept captive by a plastic strip which runs through the central section.
ACCESSORIES A quick word about the carrier racks. The front one is seen fitted on the photos: it bolts securely to a boss on the head tube, and the load bed folds up flat when not in use, secured by a small Velcro strap. I guess it could be useful if you want to strap on a waterproof or something, but I’d imagine most riders will be carrying a small rucksack or courier bag anyway. I don’t really see the need for a carrier on a bike this small. The back rack is similarly tiny
BELOW: I'm not sure how useful the Carryme's tiny luggage racks are in practice: most riders will just carry a bag instead.
– and with your heels flashing past it too, you’ll struggle to find a load to challenge its 10 kg capacity. The optional rack extension attaches using the trolley wheel pivot bolts, and increases the length of the load bed by about 6 inches. Again, I couldn’t see much point. Perhaps with small feet and a custom bag… One adaptor we didn’t receive is the arguably rather more useful bottle cage adaptor. This bolts onto the front carrier mount – perhaps a good option for longer trips. We also didn’t get to see the mudguards.
THE RIDE Riders pushing the height limit will first notice that the seat extension is limited – it was a few inches short for
me at 6' 2" (an inch over-height for the bike). Shorter riders will have no problems. The bars are in a fairly sensible position – fairly close to you, but at a good height. And they turn as you’d expect – not like the Strida, for example, which has the pivot very close to your body. So, having sorted the fit, set off and ride! With memories of the A-bike ride still unpleasantly vivid, the CarryMe is a very agreeable surprise. It’s very much a get on and go bike, with none of the unpleasant squirming, sticky steering and other quirks which plagued the A-bike. Every rider who tried it just got on and rode comfortably up the street. On my first ride I was happy to take a hand off the bars to indicate after just 100 yards. The frame is fairly stiff – sure, you can make it flex, but it’s more than solid enough for a decent ride. The transmission feels solid too, with the ratio just about right for a decent top speed without overly compromising acceleration. I found it best to scoot forwards a bit pushing with a foot and then start pedalling, to ease pressure on my legs and the transmission. I didn’t notice a propensity to do wheelies – often a problem on short-wheelbase bikes where your weight is close over the back wheel. Top speed isn’t fantastic (you’ll need the two-speed for that) but Debz kept up a quite reasonable speed as I rode alongside on a conventional bike taking photos. 10 mph (15 km/h) or so is no problem at all. You’d have to adapt your riding style if you’re used to keeping up with the traffic on a full-size bike, but that’s enough to be useful on the road. And it’s more than twice as fast as walking… The 8" wheels coped surprisingly well with the minor bumps of roads and junctions. I bumped up easily enough over (at a guess) 20 mm steps where two surfaces joined, and ran it over several speed bumps and drain covers. No problem. Maybe 8" is the practical minimum for street use. The brakes are reasonable if not spectacular – all you need really from low speeds, and anything more
powerful might risk either locking wheels or an over-the-bars incident. Overall, the CarryMe was a surprisingly capable ride. Its range is certainly longer than the A-bike; it’s also more suited to use in traffic. But like all minibikes, its natural environment is probably away from main roads, on either cycle paths or quiet streets where it can offer a faster, more convenient alternative to a journey on foot. If it fitted me I wouldn’t have a problem doing a five-mile ride or longer on it – given a reasonably flat, smooth surface.
CONCLUSIONS For the average-sized or shorter rider who needs a very public transport friendly folder for fairly short, flattish journeys, the CarryMe is certainly worth considering. It’s not particularly expensive as folding bikes go, and the bad reputation which other micro-bikes have given to tiny wheels is rather refuted by the CarryMe’s performance. It’s generally well designed and built – only the (optional) carrier racks seemed a little pointless to me. But the carry bag is a very worth while option, to protect and conceal the folded bike. I’d say the CarryMe deserves rather more recognition in the folding bike world. I can’t think of any other roadworthy bike which is as light without spending hugely more, unless you get a much more bulky Strida or more expensive Airframe. Very few bikes are as small, unless you completely disassemble an Airnimal, for example – and again, that’s much more expensive. Sure, the wheel size and speed do inevitably compromise the CarryMe compared to larger machines, but not to the extent that it’s not useful for practical transport, at least in the right conditions. So if you get the chance, take the CarryMe for a test ride. It might surprise you! Peter Eland
AVAILABILITY Manufacturer: Pacific Cycles. See www.pacific-cycles.com. UK Importer: Airnimal Europe. Tel 01954 782 020 or see www.pacific-products.co.uk
ISSUE 32 DECEMBER 2008 VELOVISION