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The Last A-bike of Wild?

February 6th, 2008

It was just before Christmas shopping season 2007, A-bike.co.uk had sold every single A-bike they had and gone out of stock. Only god knows how many people out there got disappointed to find that there weren’t any much-wanted A-bike among their Christmas presents. (I don’t like people get disappointed, but I hope there were many people wanted A-bike for Christmas though.)

A-bike.co.uk said they are expecting more stock coming in April 2008. For those waiting for the new stock probably could get paid for their paitience. some source suggests the April batch will come with improved parts design.

So, the monumental original A-bike got wiped out from the market already? The answer is no. Just not yet.

Apparently Currys Digital is still selling A-bike. There was a user at A-bike official support net, reporting he bought his A-bike form Currys Digital at Charing Cross, central London in the end of last month, and I also witnessed one display model at Currys Digital, Oxford Street, central London last week. The poor A-bike was already put besides the dark corner of the shop, gathering dusts… I couldn’t tell whether they still intend to sell the one, but when I went back there yesterday, the Currys Digital was now selling the very same A-bike (as an ex-display model) for just under £75!!!! (see photo)

I bet it’s still sitting in the same corner at this moment. Can’t wait till April? Then here is your chance. It’s time to go out to high street and do some hunting.

last A-bike

Becoming famous

December 17th, 2007

About one month ago, our HK friend Amuro introduced an interesting site to me. When I visited the site(a fake sales site), I had to shout “Thank you!!” because they were trying to make me and my friends famous with our photos. We owed to you, the fake guys!!

What I’ve done

September 8th, 2007

A-bike Stunt
Click on picture to play the YouTube video.

London A-bike Meeting. 28th July!!

July 17th, 2007

Attention everyone! We will have the first A-bike meeting in London with Sir Clive Sinclair!!

Date: Sat. 28th July
Time: 12:00 (Noon)

*I need to know how many of you will come in order to prepare food for the picnic, so please let me know your intention of attendance via PM or This topic. Don’t be shy.

Meet in front of the National Gallery @ Trafalger Square.(see pic.)
then we do A-bike Rally in Central London for an hour or so.

Picnic with A-bike inventor Sir Clive Sinclair and the chief designer Mr. Alexander Kalogroulis in a royal park.
(Wine and refreshments will be provided by Mayhem UK, but it would be nice if you could bring food along. It’s a picnic! )

meeting point

Tour de France in London.

July 8th, 2007


7th of July 2007, London hosted Grand Depart of Le Tour de France for the first time in its 104 years of history. I went to see the prologue with my A-bike. This time I made A-bike back to basic by equipping its normal saddle and pedals, but it looked odd with the inverse brake lever & black bar tape, I must say. The yellow bag in the picture is the official “Tour de France kit” contains T-shirt, cap and other little bits — a nice addition to the festive atmosphere.

Road blocks and police cars reminded of the sad day two years ago. However, this year had a lot of sunshine and smiles all over the city. Ironically the 7/7 bombing boosted the numbers of cyclist in London.

London commemorated the two years anniversary of the bombing quietly in the morning, partly because of security concern. It was just a week ago London had a failed attack, and too many big events were already held in London on that day (i.e. Live Earth, Wimbledon Tennis, and Tour de France.) 45 French police officers were posted to London for Tour de France. Interestingly, they all looked cool and like fashion models… It seems somebody in French Police knows how to promote themselves to the public in Britain. (A beautiful officer featured above is from British Police though.)

Many came with their bike and some were also with their agenda to appeal to the public. I wonder if somebody did ride around representing A-bike… It will look like a joke to Tour de France Fans, but at least it’s a funny one.

Special stage and screens were set up at Trafalger Sq. for the event.

Prologue is a time trial session. From start to finish just over 7.9km, from Whitehall to The Mall. This photo was taken at the end of The Mall showing rather relaxed participants right after their goal. The overall atmosphere of the prologue was a kind of polite one. Could it be because many people in London were new to the Tour and didn’t really know how to cheer for riders, and those from France somehow reserved their attitude at this foreign turf?


The next day (8th July) was Stage1. The riders start from Trafalger Sq and finish at Cantebury for over 203km. I rode my A-bike (with Thudbuster&Eggbeater) to Greenwich, where the race really began. (From central London to Greenwich was just a mass ride for show and not counted.)

When I got there at 9:30, there were reasonably many people along the race course, but it was nothing compare to the crowd later on. Some had to climbed up the fance of Greenwich Maritime Museum and Royal Naval College to get the view.

Among the spectators at Greenwich, those construction workers on the scuff folding structure caught my eyes. What a nice auditorium that was! Look at how they kept themselves away from the sweaty crowd down there.

The riders were gone in a few seconds and actually, not much of a drama happened just yet at Greenwich since it was just a begining. Near the center of the picture, you can see Fabien Cancellara who won the time trial yesterday and got an honour of wearing the yellow jersey. He also managed to keep the yellow as over all top scorer after the stage1, but the day really belonged to Robbie McEwen who won the stage by his amaging sprint.

I only watched it on TV, but it was truely exciting to see how he revived from his late crash at the race and suddenly appeared to the top right before the finish line. Nobody expected that to happen, so ITV’s commentator shouted “I don’t know how this happened!” and their slow-motion camera couldn’t even catch McEwen on frame. If you missed it, I’m sure you can find the video at somewhere like youtube, so check it out. It’s a good stuff as McEwen said that was his “the best and most special win.”

I rode A-bike on the race course for short while to head back home, and I got many cheers from the crowd.

A-bike in Currys.

June 29th, 2007

A-bike made its debut to London’s high street at Selfridge’s department store and Hamleys toy store sometime ago. These venues provided A-bike to have good amount of exposures to shoppers who had never heard of the fantastic bike before. The downside of these bigshot stores is their premium price tag. It’s £10 to £30 more than the A-bike distributer, Mayhem UK. And now, another bigshot joins the club. It’s UK’s major electrical appliance retailer Currys (and Currys digital). Surprisingly, they don’t ask for the premium. It sounds a good deal. Well, at least from consumer’s point of view.

If you look at Currys online shop, it says we cannot reserve and collect at your local store, and A-bike is only available for home deliverly. However, some Currys stores actually do have stock in store. I heard a report from a Japanese girl bought her A-bike at Currys (digital) near Bank tube station. So, why don’t you give a call to Currys branch near you to find out? You might get lucky and be able to bring one back home on the day, who knows? (Oh, don’t forget to buy shock-pump with meter.)

If you are ordering your A-bike online, by combinig those cashback services (e.g. quidco), you can get it even cheaper.

While real A-bike slowly spreading its market in UK, Asian fake counterparts never waste any moment. For example, A-Ride, one of the biggest players in chinese fake A-bike market, manages to infiltrate Japanese Amazon before real one does.(see above pic.) By the way, In the photograph in the amazon dipicting a pair with A-Rides in a train (pic below), can you see the girl is carrying the bike naked? Um…. It’s not allowed in Japan. Over there, folding bike has to be carried in a bag when the rider takes public transport with it. The boy’s doing alright in that sense. (I’m not sure about the thing in his bag though.)

Not sure about authenticity of the A-bike your saw in online shops and eBay listings? Ask in A-bike Central Forum. A-bike owners from all over the world will help you to figure it out!!

Blazing Saddles.

June 27th, 2007

Difference in philosophy. Bigger the better and Smaller the better.

If you are happy with the original saddle comes with your A-bike, you are blessed. Well, I’m not. The day, I went for 30mins ride for the first time with A-bike, became the last day I sat on the tiny saddle. It knocked my bottom so good, I couldn’t properly sit on any sort of chair for two days afterwards. This made me to get my Cane Creek Thudbuster LT, but let’s look at more generic saddle upgrade this time.

My girlfriend asked me to change her A-bike saddle to more comfortable one. she is a casual A-bike rider and mostly each riding time wouldn’t exceed 10mins. According to her, the saddle was not very comfortable, but not too uncomfortable either for her use. In fact, she never strongly complain about the saddle until we went to Lock Ness Trip, where we rode reasonably long distance.

The clamp and the rail.

A-bike’s original saddle and seatpost are not in any standardised format, which is used by conventional bicycle. If we want maximum flexibility with saddle, it’s best to go for a saddle with ‘two rail system’ and seatpost with ‘seat-rail clamp’ and the clamp better be ‘micro-adjustable’ to get the comfortable saddle angle and position.

The A-bike’s seatpost size is 25.0mm diameter according to official data, but it is actually around 25.2mm to 25.4mm. Since the seat-tube (=where seatpost goes in) is made of thin metal tube, a little difference in diameter can be forgiven by tightening seatpost clamp (=the silver alminium clamp on top of the seat-tube), but anything more than 25.4mm would not even goes into the seat-tube. So, I would say seatpost diameters compatible to A-bike are: 25.0mm, 25.2mm, and 25.4mm. 25.4mm is the most common size among these.

I bought a saddle and a seatpost off eBay UK. The saddle was Velo Plush branded soft comfort saddle with center hole (£8 including postage) , and the seatpost was 25.4mm unnamed black colour seatpost (£10 include postage). Then I found I made a mistake. They didn’t fit together!!

Too bad he was 9mm. I liked him, you know?

The reason was simple. There are two different size for seat-rail. one is 8mm and the other is 9mm. Most of saddles (including the velo) in the market uses 8mm, whereas 9mm is used by some BMX saddle system. Yap, the seatpost was for 9mm and the eBay listing clearly stated “for BMX”. Well, it was a good lesson.

I bought 8mm seatpost again from eBay for less than £10. This time was Kalloy alminium seatpost 25.4mm, the common product we can find it on eBay all the time. As above picture shows, it did fit to the velo saddle nicely…. but my trouble continued. It was fat…

Look at how much dust I had to bite for doing this ‘supporsed to be a simple’ job. haha.

It seems that cheap seatpost often miss its supporsed size. This is why these are cheap. My kalloy was slightly more than 25.4mm. I could put the seatpost into A-bike’s seat-tube, but it was very tight and it was obvious once it goes in, it would never come out again. It needed a bit of sanding with sanding paper to slim it down.

Sanding process was straightfoward. Wrap a bit of sanding paper around the seatpost and rub, then sometimes wash the paper and the post with water. (This should prevent heating up and clogging of the paper.) Phew, it was tiresome, but if I could save £20 or so by going through this, it’s not too bad, is it?

Tube Cutter in action.

Can you see what happened to the cut section?

The kalloy seatpost got right size, but this isn’t the end of the story. I still had to cut the length of the seatpost. My girlfriend is about 155cm (5foot 2″), and she demanded the seat to be positioned as low as possible.So, I had to cut the seatpost shorter.

The lowest position with conventional saddle has to be higher than the one with A-bike’s original saddle. It is because conventional saddles has ‘nose’ and the point this meets A-bike’s top frame is the lowest it could go. (see pics) If we want saddle to go even lower, we have to get one of those ‘noseless saddle’.

Cutting seatpost can be done simply with metalwork saw, or tube cutter, which I used this time. I bought a tube cutter (for tube up to 30mm) for £8 from UK’s big DIY store, B&Q. Cutting was easy. Just clamp on the seatpost with the tube cutter, and rotate it as tightening the black screw at the bottom little by little. However, the thickness of the seatpost and the capability of the tube cutter probably didn’t match — A strange bump appeared around the cut section. Yes. It grew fat once again!! This time I used mini rotary kit to grind down the grown edge. I guess this extra work could be avoided if I’ve used the cutter to only mark and used metalwork saw for the rest.

I refer this A-bike as ‘Hip-Heavy’. My girl isn’t happy with the nickname though.

Anyway, as you can see in these pics, it’s all set and done!! Don’t you think the velo saddle goes well with A-bike?

The ‘Velo plush’ name is used by several different product actually. They have more slim and sporty looking one named same and also in same colouring (other colour also available) too. (pic below.)

My Velo Plush is comfort model and weight about 520g. The Kalloy seatpost weight about 200g after cutting it down, so it makes 720g in total. The A-bike original seat assy is only 330g, so it’s good 390g weight gain. Adding to that, the shape of the conventional saddle doesn’t fit with A-bike’s folding mechanism and spoiles its portability. This is a shame.

Having said that, this saddle upgrade does gain A-bike’s mobility so much by providing comfort to its rider. In my opinion, this is worth sacrificing size and weight for. A-bike is smaller and lighter than any other folding bike even after the modification in the end of the day. I also tried her A-bike with the new saddle for short while. Obviously it was too low for me, but besides that I couldn’t feel any bump of the street at all! It feels even smoother than my Thudbuster. haha. The velo saddle might not be a looker, but this is the power of puffy comfort saddle.

If my words aren’t enough to convince you, hear what the girl said.

“I cannot believe your reaction was so calm when you changed your saddle! This is almost like a different world!! Now I feel like I’m riding a conventional leisure bike. It’s sooo comfortable!!!! Ah, I won’t go back to the tiny saddle anymore.”

Hear that? It’s good.

I heard the stories of A-bike owners gave up A-bike because of their bottom compatibility issue with the saddle. Before you give up, try changing the saddle and think again! It’s not difficult to do! (well, I just went to bothersome path by accident, so don’t take my case as a model.)

There are many other ways of make your A-bike ride comfy. We shall feature them some other time.

Check out saddle/seatpost related topics in A-bike Central Forum for more info!