Onipax R6: Best Cross Foldie?

Vince Wong | 28th Apr 2015 | PRODUCT REVIEWS

The Challenge

During the Taipei Cycle Show 2015, the Togoparts Editorial Team had the chance to meet up with the designer of the Onipax R6. It was during our chat with him that he shared his inspirations and design goals for the Onipax R6.

Said Onipax designer, “We wanted to make foldable bikes lighter, stronger and more convenient to use. Traditional foldable frames use hinge and clamp mechanisms that are welded on, and that means the top tube has to be cut in half to weld the hinge mechanism. This makes the top tube not as strong as that of a traditional frame. Or if you could make it strong enough, it would be far too heavy.”

The Solution

A typical folding bike hinge. Note the weld-on clamp and hinge mechanism.

To solve this problem, in 2010, Onipax, which has more than a decade of experience in the bike industry, spent three years on research and development to develop a top tube with an integrated hinge mechanism.

This innovation means the whole of the top tube can be made from forged 6061 aluminium, and allows the bike to retain the strength of a traditional top tube, while taking advantage of all the lightness and stiffness of alumnium.

As a result, compared to other frames, the R6 frame is lighter, stronger, and easier to fold and unfold. The frame weighs within the region of 1.5kg compared to most 20” foldable bikes. With lightweight components, the bike becomes easier to pick up and place in a car boot, or carry upstairs, for example, without sacrificing strength.

And strength it has. To prove the design’s ruggedness, Onipax sent the R6 for European standard certification, receiving that region’s safety standard for city and trekking bicycles, DIN EN 14764.

This is a safety standard with extremely detailed safety and testing specifications covering all components of the bicycle. To put you in mind of how rigorously the certification process is, the brake tests alone span 11 pages of its 85-page volume, covering the security of screws, strength tests, crack detection methods, specification of maximum protrusions, brake-lever positions and dimensions, adjustment mechanisms, and braking distances.
So when Shain, Togoparts’ features editor told me to do a review of the Onipax R6, I was stoked.
For quite some time now, I have been searching for the foldable equivalent of my 4 mountain bikes and 3 BMXes. What appealed to me right away was the fact that the R6 is marketed by Onipax as a ‘cross’ bike – with its low profile tyres putting me in mind of similar tyre profiles used in cyclocross – with the implied durability.
The R6’s promise of durability, versatility, and portability, means I can ride in more places than ever before, wherever I want, whenever I want. How would it perform in real life?

Build quality

From locked-and-folded to ready-to-ride, the Onipax R6 takes less than 15 seconds, and requires just 4 steps.

Fold down the steerer, fold the top tube in half, lower the seat tube and turn down the handlebars. When folded, the bike rests on a stand fixed to its bottom bracket. With a little tilting, you can push or pull the R6 around on its own two wheels, like a suitcase.

Onipax markets this bike for ‘cross’ use, and a close look at the frame shows why you can take it off road like a cyclocross bike.

Heavy-duty gussets reinforce the top and head tube junction, with another hefty gusset at the seat tube and top tube on the other end.  The head-tube is tapered/flared at both ends to accommodate what look like mountain-bike standard 1.5” internal headset races.
In addition to the rear gusset, the entire rear half of the bike has a multiple-truss design that adds even more stiffness and strength where needed, giving it a resemblance to classic GT hardtails

The wheels spin freely with no drag, and the freehub has a pleasant Shimano-esque buzz. Welds are thick, bold and plentiful, giving the R6 a rugged, do-it-all serious sense of purpose you don’t get from purely road-oriented foldies.

The quick-releases also fasten up securely without much effort; even with some of the quick-release hex nuts on the looser side, safety is never an issue.

In summary, this bike’s build quality is way above average. Even the braze-ons for the rear rack exude sheer quality – close examination reveals tapering for weight-savings. And look at the how the paint job goes all the way inside the threads!