We’ve spotted a new folding bike design on Kickstarter: the Pop-Cycle city bike with a sliding frame. This rather unusual design, that Pop-Cycle is claiming to be a world first, slides and folds up to about a third of its rideable size, and also ticks the eco box due to the die casting manufacturing method.
Like many other folding bikes, the Pop-Cycle has been created to solve the problem many urban cyclists face: a lack of space for a full-size bike and issues with how heavy they often are.
Details about the company behind the bike, 'Popcycle US INC', are fairly scant, and although the Kickstarter page says the company is "located in New York", a click of the logo links to a Korean company called Bokyong. We've asked for more information...
Anyway, let’s dive in and see what this popsicle bike could offer…
Of course, the first point to cover is the actual folding design - or I should probably say, sliding design. The main quirk of this bike is the way the rear of the bike - the rear wheel, seatpost and the drivetrain - slide forward on the single tube that connects the two parts of the bike.
The sliding is controlled by a clamp at the bottom of the seat tube, and Popcycle says it takes three seconds to adjust. The whole folding process should take a mere four seconds, which is considerably faster than competitors’ folding bikes, says Popcycle.
The bike frame is made with a die-casting method to avoid getting involved in any welding (which can be unsustainable) and to manufacture the bikes in a time-efficient manner. So instead of welding, Popcycle assembles the frames with bolts and nuts... well actually, you will get to assemble it, as the bike gets delivered in bits, leaving you with a DIY process that Popcycle hopes “gives you the joy of building something up from the ground”. Inspired by a certain Scandanavian furniture conglomerate, perhaps?
The fully assembled Pop-Cycle is a relatively wee thing, measuring 145*115*60cm, and weighing 13kg. The company says it has “78 per cent folding efficiency”. In practice, this seems to mean that the length and height of the bike reduces by about a third when the bike is ‘slid’ together. This still leaves the sliding tube sticking out above the rear wheel, but the overall wheelbase has been reduced.
The pedals and handlebars of the bike fold away as well, further reducing the footprint of the bike. The handlebar and saddle height are adjustable, the former from 80cm to 115cm and the latter from 77cm to 93cm.
Onto the components. The Pop-Cycle is rolling on 16in wheels (the same size as Brompton bikes). The gearing has not been specified very clearly, but Popcycle says the average speed for the wheels is 12mph(20km/h).
It also encourages riders to “not be disappointed with the application of the 16in wheels on POP-CYCLE. We maximised its gear ratio with the "dual speed gear" through our own mechanism.” How exactly this mechanism works, feel free to share your expertise in the comments but for me, the Kickstarter page gifs did not make much sense...
Later on, in the spec sheet, there is also a note saying that the bike comes equipped with a ‘7-level Shift’ gearing.
The handlebars are flat and have unbranded grips, and the saddle seems to be an SMP one. All of the prototype bikes seem to come with rim brakes, but the Kickstarter page suggests that there is a disc brake option available.
Popcycle Inc has said the retail price for the Pop-Cycle is 468$, and they should be shipping in June 2023. The backers of the campaign get to choose a frame colour for their Pop-Cycle, and also get a personalised engraving on their very own sliding bike.
The Pop-Cycle Kickstarter campaign is open for another 46 days, and has already passed its funding target. Will it prove to be a crowdfunding hit, or slide into the cycling Kickstarter and Indiegogo abyss? We're intrigued...
Suvi joined F-At in 2022, first writing for off-road.cc. She's since joined the tech hub, and contributes to all of the sites covering tech news, features, reviews and women's cycling content. Lover of long-distance cycling, Suvi is easily convinced to join any rides and events that cover over 100km, and ideally, plenty of cake and coffee stops.