Folding wonder – Prefeel, the “automatically” foldable folding bike

The fastest folder - Prefeel folding bike (image: kickstarter/ © prefeel.com)

The fastest folder – Prefeel folding bike (image: kickstarter/ © prefeel.com)

Again an interesting folding bike concept: The Prefeel claims to be the first automatically foldable folding bike. Of course we have to take a closer look at it.

As an old Foldy fan, interesting folding bike concepts in my german blog are already a good, old tradition. But since we have already seen there yarious ideas it is not easy to astonish me. But the Prefeel has some fresh ideas, which are absolutly worth talking about. But one after anonther.

In the unfolded state, the Prefeel looks like a normal folding bike. However, a few attachments and the frame curving forward to the side quickly fall into the eye. The attachments are castors and a handle, which in the folded state allow the owner to push the wheel like a trolley upright through the area.

Prefeel, wonder of precision mechanics

The marvel starts when you loosen a lever on the seatpost. During the folding process, not only the rear body is inserted. The previously retracted rollers pivot outwards and even the pedals are folding flat. This looks very impressive, of course, and ensures that at least the width of the folded bike is quite small. In addition, the hands remain clean. The normal folding pedals are nevertheless rather uncomfortable to fold. The comfort gain should therefore be out of the question. Only completely automatic it is unfortunately not. The handlebars have to be handed over by hand. But I can live with that.

The Prefeel is available in two sizes. There is a single-speed 16 “version, which should weight  without fenders under 10 kg. With 95x63x30cm, however, the folding dimensions can not keep up with a brompton (57 x 59 x 27 cm). In the expected nervous driving behavior I would recommend the 20 “version.

The 20 “version is still waiting with an 8-speed chain shift and weighs only 1 kg more. Is also with 97x70x30cm also somewhat larger.

(image: kickstarter/ © prefeel.com)

(image: kickstarter/ © prefeel.com)

Wrinkle or fold?

As cool as the folding mechanism in the video looks like, it also makes me a little worried. Folded over a system of bowden and deflection pulleys. I’m a little bit worried about whether this really works so smoothly and is robust enough to work well even after two, three years of regular use. At latest at the rear wheel for the upright sliding, a doubt about the durability should be appropriate. Looks very like the role of an office chair to me.

The effort, which is mechanically operated here, can be described as ambitious. In the case of a rather low price, the question may also be asked as to whether the complicated construction can be installed at all profitably.

As an early bird you have to pay for the 16 “version Prefeel One only about 400 $ plus additional costs. The 20 “version Prefeel Speed X is only $ 600. Whether the machinist does not pass at the latest during the assembly? Also the delivery date April 2017 makes not a realistic impression. Especially when you consider that the campaign is still active in January 2017. The delay until the payout by kickstarter and the Chinese New Year festival must also be considered.

So sexy the mechanics of the Prefeel are, so questionable are still the conditions around it. I would wait and drink a cup of tea instead. If the bike really reaches the market I would rather be patience and wait. The backers will certainly have to do that, too.

Tl; dr

The Prefeel is a folding bike, with which the pedals even fold with a handle. Looks cool. Can it be implemented? Who knows?