Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, the world's lightest folding bike, by London start-up the Hummingbird Bike Company, has gone into production with British motorsport company Prodrive.
Weighing just 6.9 kilograms, the carbon fibre Hummingbird bike features a three-step folding system that allows the seat post to be lowered and back wheel and handlebars to be folded under the single arched frame in five seconds.
The bicycles are now manufactured in Banbury, Oxfordshire by Prodrive, a British motorsport and advanced engineering group that designs and constructs cars for companies such as Aston Martin, MINI and Volkswagen.
The bike's frame is made using the same carbon fibre manufacturing process as Prodrive's race cars. Sheets of carbon are sliced into accurately measured strips before being aligned to make the frame. The layers are then fused together into one piece, under high pressure and heat.
"Working with Prodrive has been amazing, helping us have a perfectly engineered product, as well as a beautifully designed one," Hummingbird founder and designer Peter Craciun told Dezeen. "We worked closely with Steve Price, Prodrive's chief mechanical engineer, to make sure the bike is safe and would pass all the safety requirements for the British and ISO standards."
"We also looked at improving the ride quality through analysing the geometry to create an optimum design," he added. "We're very proud of the end result."
Since Hummingbird presented its prototype in a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign in 2015, which raised £52,487 and was featured on Dezeen, the company has made a number of other improvements to the design.
This has included optimising the frame's carbon layout so that the minimum number of layers are used to provide maximum strength. The company also used CAD simulations to reduce the weight of the bike's swingarm by 50 per cent, while retaining the same strength.
Craciun told Dezeen: "The bike has also changed quite a lot in terms of 'aesthetics'; it's now sleeker and more modern. Of course, there are many other changes but none that will be obvious to the naked eye; we've been working on perfecting the design rather than changing it."
The Hummingbird also went through a full test run at Prodrive's factory, examining frame fatigue, curb drop and frontal impact.
The frame is available in four colours (yellow, black, blue and burnt orange), and prices start at £3,495. Hummingbird is aiming to launch an electric version of the bike at the end of the year.
"The folding bike market is very static at the moment," Craciun told Dezeen. "There isn't much change compared to the fast-paced competitive cycling market where we continually see innovation. We are trying to bring the same racing performance to the urban commuter."
The Hummingbird's electric version will follow in the footsteps of fellow British folding bike brand Brompton, which launched its first battery-powered version earlier this month using Formula One racing technology.