5LINKS 169 Folding Bike

NICK EE | 13th Dec 2016 | PRODUCT REVIEWS

The concept of a folding bike is essentially to reduce the overall size of a bicycle to make it easier to store and transport, so whether you need a folding bike just to save precious space in your home or office, or whether you need a bike that is light and compact enough when folded so that it can be carried or lugged around when folded, such as when taking public transport, or some may even call it ‘Bicycle Commuting’, where the folding bicycle plays an integral role in the seamless transport modes of combining public and personal and private commuting, such as a daily commute to and from the home and the workplace.  Even in a very space constrained country like Singapore, the government is starting to promote the use of ‘Bicycle Commuting’ by allowing foldable bikes and personal mobility devices (PMDs) onto public buses and trains.

5LINKS is a Japanese folding bicycle that started development way back in 2008 with the purpose of more than just inventing a smaller and lighter foldable bike, emphasis was also placed on the necessity of reducing the entire world’s carbon footprint while promoting a healthier lifestyle as well.  The 5LINKS Personal Urban Vehicle (PUV) was born, with the name 5LINKS stemming from the links between five possible modes of transport, being the plane, train, car, boat and walking, another wish of 5LINKS is that this urban tool will be used throughout all the five continents in the world as well.

The 5LINKS2 169 is a 9-speed foldable bike that features a lightweight aluminium alloy frame that utilizes 16 inch wheels, a good choice that enjoys both cycling stability and compactness in size.  The most unique feature of this folding bike is the way in which it is folded. Most of the folding bikes in the world have a folding mechanism that is located in the bikes’ main top or main tube which enables the bike to be folded in the middle, essentially halving its’ overall size, the 5LINKS bike instead has the ability to slide the whole bike frame up the steerer-tube and then having both wheel locked together by a very strong magnet.  The end result is a whole package that although slightly lengthy in size, is offset by a very easy and fast method of folding, and since there is no break in the middle of the frame’s top or main tube, the bike’s structural strength and integrity is maintained because the folding mechanism has been shifted all the way to the front where the stem and headtube is located, since there has to be a pivot there anyway to enable the bike to have steering, a very ingenious design indeed.  Even when folded, this bike is able to stand upright on its own with the usage of the bike stand, reducing its’ footprint to an area that is only marginally larger than the area taken up by the two small 16 inch wheels, this is also a breeze to carry and bring around when folded due to it’s light weight, it reminds me very much of a kid’s umbrella stroller with its’ similar size when folded. At a claimed 10.3kg, it is a breeze to transport when folded.

The 5LINKS2 169 is fitted with Shimano Capreo componentry, with a 9 speed cassette and derailleur controlled by a grip shifter on the handlebar and mated to a DRIVELINE crank at the front with 53 teeth, resulting in 9 possible gearing ratios that is more than sufficient to handle any daily commute.  Stopping power comes from the F&R dual pivot caliper brakes that grab onto double walled aluminium rims with 20 spokes for the front and 24 spokes for the rear and both wrapped with Kenda Kuest tyres.

The 5LINKS2 169 is distributed and available at Wize Rides.