Thursday, December 20, 2012

Folding Bike Trend Watch - 2013

Wither the folding bike? 

The folding bike trend will continue to dominate the urban cycling scene. Well, at least for another year or so before it tapers off and becomes a norm in most major cities in Malaysia.
Since 2008, the folding bike has been steadily making its way to the heart of the urban cyclist and the weekend adventurer.
We've seen the benefits and examples on how these bikes are used.
 So, I guess with the growing number of folding bike users, demand for better bikes will continue to rake-in profits for the retailers.
But, like any other activity, the trend is sustained by promotion and marketing, something that we rarely see these days.
Although there are one or two dealers who go all out to please and paint a glamorous image of the foldie, much needs to be done.

What's new?

Dahon

With 30 years in the business, the 2013 line-up of Dr David Hon's bikes are already in the market.
Noteworthy, is the Dr Hon Vybe, an 8-speed urban folding bike (The Dahon trademark has been replaced by 'Dr Hon') and a couple of Dr Hon's Boardwalk featuring the company's 30th anniversary logo.  


2013 Dahon Vybe
I doubt that we will be able to see the 30th anniversary bikes and replicas in Malaysia due to its limited quantities.
So, as it is and in the year ahead, Dr Hon's bike will continue to enjoy a steady sale in the Klang Valley scene. Spare the QC issues and availability of parts, most beginners would opt for a Hon folding bike.

Tern

I believe that 2013 will be a great year for Tern bicycles.
Their line-up clearly shows some vast improvement to the year-old company.
Its very tough to get out of Dahon's shadow, but I think Tern bikes under the leadership of Joshua Hon will surge further ahead.
Even in its infancy, the company had bagged several awards for their innovation.
My watch-list would be the soon-to-be released Eclipse 'Pirate-Ninja' X-20.
Way I see it, Tern is the way to go if you demand for a better and high-performance folding bike...


Way of the Pirate-Ninja: Tern's Eclipse X-20
Other observations...

Birdy/Pacific Cycles Reach

A touchy-feely subject, I doubt that there are gonna be anything exciting about the Birdy or the Pacific Reach.
Way things are going, there are a lot of potential for the Pacific Reach, but it still needs exposure and a good deal of awareness.
But, with a pricetag of RM6.8k, it would be an uphill task to sell these bikes.
That said, you will continue to see the birdies and Reach at social rides and other cycling events in and around the Klang Valley..

Java 


This bike will continue to surge for its price-point factor. Not sure if any new models are going to be introduced in 2013

Oyama

Perhaps one of the better brands around, Oyama has been in business for a long time. Their flagship Skyline-18 is a value for money bike. Its just too bad that the people who are importing these bikes are not really interested in selling them.

Brompton

From the few that you can count with your fingers, the Brommie community had grown in leaps and bounds. And they will continue to breed like rabbits as demands are flourishing for this brand..

Moulton

Alex Moulton's bikes are here. 
Question is: "How deep is your pocket?"

Bike Friday

Yep, the famous Bike Friday is here. Question is this: With a prices ranging from RM4k - RM11k, will it sell? 
I favour the Bike Friday Pocket Llama. But at RM8.8k, its way too expensive and with inferior components, it needs some tweaking before it could really be 'tropicalised' for the riding conditions here.

New entries: Is already too late and too costly? 

Retailers are continuing to introduce new stuff in the market. The latest folding bike to hit our shores was the Tyrel bikes from Japan.
Claiming to be "Number 1" in the land of the rising sun, it would be a daunting task to move these bikes as the asking price is RM7k a pop. My only hope for the people who brought these bikes in is for them to be humble, not snobbish.

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