(Pocket-lint) - Taiwanese bicycle manufacturer Pacific Cycles is bringing its full-size folding bikes to these shores for the very first time, after opening a new European office in London. For all intents and purposes, the iF Mode and iF Urban 700 bikes look like their non-folding equivalents, with full-sized wheels and form factor, yet feature the company's proprietary Integrated Folding Technology.
Designed by British engineer Mark Sanders, both bicycles sport a patented hinge system with three-dimensional 4-Bar linkage allowing the frame to fold and the head stock to pivot. The wheels are guided together during folding. The company claims that this system allows anybody to collapse and rebuild the bikes easily and without the need for specialist tools.
The iF Mode is more for the inner city worker, being made of a lighter aluminium monocoque frame. While the iF Urban 700 has a conventional, rigid aluminium frame, and apes a more conventional bike. It is aimed at the more serious cyclist who place a priority on performance, yet can benefit from its folding properties.
When folded, both bikes can also be wheeled along - handy if the weight is too much for you to carry them over long distances. The iF Mode's 26-inch three-spoke wheels can also be detached, for storage or in order to place the whole bicycle in a suitcase. It features a two speed enclosed transmission with gear selection enabled by the push of a heel.
The iF Urban 700 has an 8 speed Sturmey Archer hub transmission, front and rear disc brakes and 700C lightweight wheels (hence the 700 suffix, presumably).