Banbury-based motorsport and automotive engineering company Prodrive is diversifying from four wheel to two with the launch of the world’s lightest folding bicycle.
The Hummingbird weighs in at just 6.7kg, almost half the weight of current fold up cycles.
This drastic reduction in weight has been achieved by the ingenious use of carbon fibre in the construction of the frame, seat post and forks.
The frame was designed and is being manufactured by Prodrive Composites in Milton Keynes with further parts production and final assembly carried out at the company’s headquarters here in Banbury.
Innovations continue with the unique design of the Hummingbird’s folding mechanism which allows the trailing arm to pivot around the crank.
In addition and unlike other folding designs the chain remains taut allowing the bike to be wheeled along the ground when folded.
The Hummingbird was the brainchild of keen cyclist and London-based designer Petre Craciun who found existing folding bicycles on the market too cumbersome for the daily commute.
Mr Craciun said: “Most folding bikes are at least 12kg, which is a lot to carry up and down stairs or on and off trains.
“I wanted to design something really different, not only half the weight of existing folding bikes, but a product with distinctive styling that would be eye-catching, instantly recognisable and something people would be proud to be seen riding. “
Prodrive will start testing the bicycles in October and will have the first models on sale to the public early next year.
David Richards, chairman of Prodrive, said: “We are always looking for interesting and innovative projects where Prodrive can inject its technical and engineering expertise.
“Since I first met Petre last year and saw his concept it’s taken us about 12 months to bring it to fruition.
“The Hummingbird combines all the key attributes of style, innovation and technical excellence that Prodrive stands for and we’re very proud of the end result.”
Carbon fibre and innovative design will not come cheap and the Hummingbird will be aimed at the top of folding bike market.