Ford's engineers have focused their efforts on building the bike for travelling 'the last mile where cars can't take you to', and the collapsible frame means it can be easily stowed away and then called into action when your forward destination is up a beaten track. When inflated, the frame is "sufficiently rigid to support the weight of the cyclist", according to Ford engineer Johannes Huennekens: "The inflatable segment that extends between the seat and rear wheel may also be inflated to a lower pressure to tune the suspension characteristics of the frame."
The bike will take standard wheels, head tube, forks, saddle and pedals, with just the top, down and seat tubes having blow-up sections. The concept suggests that a pump concealed inside the boot of its cars will be able to pump the frame up, but can also be inflated by c02 or a standard pump. As us cyclists have to suffer enough with punctured tyres, will the Ford blow-up bike owner now have the headache of a possible punctured frame? Not so, according to Ford, as the Kevlar outer that conceals the rubber tubing hardens when the frame becomes rigid. While a bike frame is less likely to come into contact with sharp objects, Kevlar sheath is the same material used to make bulletproof vests, so is pretty much puncture-proof.
We're not sure that Ford's design will prove as practical or popular as the already burgeoning selection of folding bikes out there that don't require inflation of the frame, but we'll be keeping a keen eye on further developments...
Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.