Here are the Togoparts Cyclist's Choice Awards 2016 Winners!
Lime green and bright yellow, the Flamingo looked citrus to begin with. The ostentatious colours are aesthetically pleasing, loud but fashionable. The slight indent at the fore of the top tube is a neat touch to add detail to the HS-F6. One slight aesthetic oversight, though, became evident when I homed in on the Flamingo Crest at the front. It was hidden behind a silver reflector. Of course this aesthetic injustice can be easily undone by removing the obsequious reflector, but it did seem like a funny detail to overlook. Nit-picking aside, the HS-F6 did strike me as a beautiful bike. It exemplified the neatness of foldies and the utilitarian stoutness of a commuter bicycle.
Flourescent coloured, hub-geared, and small-folding
Up to the point I picked the bike up, I never had the chance to try out a Flamingo. I was excited to see how different Taiwan-based bicycle products would be. The HS-F6 fit into the car boot with relative ease, although there was a minor snag with the brake levers brushing against the roof. It would have helped if the pedals could be folded in, as I had to realign the crank so that the bike would go low enough for me to close the boot. The claimed 78x40x59 cm folded dimensions did come across as slightly larger than other foldables, but I think the added volume is due mainly to the brake levers sticking out. The rubber catches that held the bike in the folded position were stiff, but I wonder if prolonged use could wear the rubber thin. We also all know what happens to rubber when left under the sun for long periods of time. It cracks. A quick check with My Bike Shop confirmed that they do carry plenty of rubber catches in case of them wearing out. Replacement of these due to wear and tear is free.
Assembling the bike was easy work, and I like the idea of using screw-in clamps to hold the joints. The clamps provide added stiffness for the aluminium frame. The only issue I had with the clamps was that they required me to use both hands to fasten: One to hold the metal clamp so that the joint fit the groove, and the other to turn the knob and tighten the screw. This was a bit tedious for me, and I imagine more so for the speed-obsessed cyclist. But once in place, the clamps were assuring fixtures that promised security even at high speeds.
Adjustable comfort... press plus or minus to find the sweet spot
The saddle struck me as an interesting gimmick because of the air-pump technology it boasts. There are 2 red buttons on the saddle, one with a plus sign, and the other with a minus. Basically, pressing the plus sign repeatedly would pump the saddle up with air. In all honesty though, I did not feel much of a difference riding a pumped up saddle. I removed the saddle cover to reveal a plastic base and a non-slip 3M material blanketing the air-pump technology. I saw the buttons and it occurred to me that while riding the bike, I would inevitably depress them with my sit bones. This saddle technology might be all air, but don't get me wrong, it was still very comfortable to ride.