Living

Reinventing the Wheels

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Avid cyclists living in cramped quarters need not conform to the Lilliputian dimensions of their studio apartments when it comes to finding space for their bicycles. Let’s face it, you already sleep on a sofa bed and use your computer desk as a dining table when you have guests, so a folding bike is the logical next step. Plus you can take it on the train without provoking other commuters, then neatly stash it in your cubicle at work. Here are a few to consider:

Dahon, the largest manufacturer of folding bikes, caters to every type of rider and budget. And with a little extra cash you can pimp most models with halogen lights, chromium fenders, and aluminum racks. The HELIOS XL [$800] —a luxury silver number—weighs 25.3 pounds, folds in 15 seconds, and comes with a suspension seat post that helps your booty withstand city potholes. Perfect for the urban commuter, this ride lets you look stylish while peddling away.

Dahon’s Helios XL , shown folded

Bike Friday makes bikes for travel near and far; they easily fit in a standard suit-case and unfold in 30 seconds. Some models, like the NEW WORLD TOURIST [$1,050-$2,600], are custom-built to match machine to rider. At Bike Friday they scorn mass production, and instead forge a one-to-one relationship with each customer. They even want you to keep in touch after you’ve ridden off into the sunset: Bike Friday owners are encouraged to send photos of themselves and their wheels as they discover the world. Ideal for those looking for a little community, the company even sponsors local Bike Friday Club of America (and Beyond) chapters.

The dark horse of folding bicycles, Puma’s UM BIKE [$775] is the bastard child of an interesting threesome: Puma, Biomega, and Vexed. Built for city dwellers who don’t have time to bother with gears while tooling around town, this single-speed model has a built-in locking mechanism that renders the bike useless if the lock is broken. Available in “Dragon Black” or metallic silver, the bicycle comes equipped with BMX handlebars and nubby tires for instant street cred. You can get decked out in head-to-wheel Puma gear starting in May, when the bike premieres in a limited quantity.

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