Some 2 years back, the British TV series The Gadget Show tested the A-Bike and the Strida, two popular English folding bikes that have been bringing portable bike commuting to the masses. In the head to head test, the show's main presenter Suzy Perry really liked the Strida over the other and it wasn't hard to understand why. Lets review that video again, courtesy of Sk8erboi600 :
However, the famous Brompton was left out of the competition then.
So in a sort of a revisit of folding bikes, the show's other famous host, Jon Bentley (also former producer of BBC's Top Gear) recently tested 3 folding bikes - the Brompton M3L, Strida 5 and the Swissbike LX. However, this time he gathers the help of Beijing Olympic gold medal winning cyclist, Rebecca Romero (Individual Pursuit). The idea was that an olympic cyclist could give a more "thorough testing of the bikes" as opposed to the show presenters themselves alone.
Key design elements for the basis of the test were weight, ease of folding, portability, price, looks, robustness, sitting posture, and riding quality. "G Ratings" were then allotted to the results.
Well, this time the Strida couldn't simply cut the show's 'G-spot' and took some hard critique from both Rebecca and Jon.
The Brompton emerged winner, and interestingly there's even a whole Brompton World Championship Bike Race behind it.(Spain's Roberto Heras was 2nd in this year's race) To be considered even for racing must say something about it being a sort of a faster package.
But was the testing fair towards the Strida 5? I encourage fellow reader Mark Sanders, designer of the Strida, to give a response to this video. Bicycle Design may also be interested in pitching in since James has apparently rode on the Strida on more than a single occasion. Others are more than welcome to comment, as always.
P.S : Someone asked in the last post's comments whether disc brakes have more braking power. You may get an idea after watching the video of the brakes on the Strida (cut from the original video above).
Note how it can also be slightly unsafe sometimes, since the rear wheel now lifts off the ground and then bounces rearward, threatening to unseat you and perhaps throw your things off the bike. This could be dangerous in high traffic city conditions. However, all this depends largely on the rider's common sense, among other things.