Review: Mobiky Genius Folding Bike
By Larry Lagarde
If you crave attention, the Mobiky Genius is a must have. It's both fun to ride and an eye catcher.
Due to the popularity of RideTHISbike.com, the USA distributor of the Mobiky Genius folding bike (Mobiky USA Selectron) asked me to test and review their revolutionary folder. Given the buzz that the Genius generated at Interbike and the fact that I couldn't attend (due to factors relating to Hurricane Katrina), I jumped at the opportunity to ride this bike and asked them to send it.
The Genius arrived in a box similar in size to that of my first Dahon from several years ago, albeit it slightly taller. Upon opening the box, I found the bike packed in the black, nylon carry bag that comes with the bike at no extra charge. I pulled the bag out of the box by the carry handle and set it down upright on the pavement. Slowly, like peeling a banana, I unzipped the bag and glimpsed the bike for the first time.
Although I'd seen a variety of photos of the bike online, I was awestruck by the beauty of this machine's design and finish. For several minutes, I simply studied every facet of the bike, from the uniquely patented frame and folding mechanism to the gleaming, multi-position aluminum kickstand.
Frankly, other than having 2 wheels, a seat, handlebars and pedals, the Genius is unlike conventional bikes. The tires are 12" low pressure/wide aspect to absorb bumps. The drive train is separated into 2 chains so the bike pedals like a traditional bike (and to simplify the mechanics of folding). The seat post base has 2 supports; grab both supports with one hand, clench them together, pull up on the carry handle and the bike folds instantly. Like the Giatex folders, the bike can be rolled when folded by holding the handle bars. The multi-position kick stand supports the bike in both the folded and unfolded positions. Flip the quick releases for the seat post and the handlebars and they both collapse tightly. Even the handlebar ends and the pedals can be folded in.
The Genius is outfitted with a Sturmey Archer internal 3 speed transmission with a lifetime warranty. The Sturmey Archer performed flawlessly and the gear ratios were sensible (1st gear for hills, 2nd for accelerating, 3rd for cruising). Despite all the folding joints, the Genius rode solidly on pavement. With the small wheels, I wouldn't ride it off road and would suggest steering clear of large potholes. The brakes also performed well, no doubt due to the 120mm disk brake on the front wheel.
According to Mobiky's corporate headquarters in France, over $1 million and 2 years in R&D was spent developing the Genius. The bike has won a variety of international design awards and is certainly elegant to behold. The bottom line though is that this is the ultimate commuter/city bike; it's ultra compact, weighs under 30 lbs, is easy to store, takes 3 seconds to fold/unfold, rolls by your side, is designed for minimal maintenance, has a carry handle for hauling up the stairs or escalator, has fenders and chain guards to keep you clean, a bike bell to warn of your approach and is almost completely made of rust proof, aircraft grade aluminum.
In other words, if you want a bike that people will gaze upon in wonder (whether you're riding it or it's parked at your side), if you don't mind being asked time and again "where'd you get that bike" or don't mind hearing "Cool! I want a bike like that", if you're looking for a bike to ride to work or school that you can store by your side in a minimal amount of space and (last but not least) if you have $699 to plunk down for a bike, the Mobiky Genius is THE bike to have.
Mobiky Genius Specifications:
Weight: 13.5 Kg / 29.7 lbs
Folded Dimensions: 63.5 x 30.5 x 81 cm / 25 x 12 x 32 in
Unfolded Dimensions: 127 x 45 x 102.5 cm / 50 x 18 x 41 in
Frame and Fork Materials: Aluminum 6061
Rims: Aluminum Rims 12"
Chains: Rust Preventive, Self-Lubricated
Front Brake: 120 mm disk type
Rear Brake: 80 mm band type
Maximum Rider Weight: 245 lbs
Transmission: 3 Speed Internal Gear Hub Sturmey Archer
Folding Time: Folds and unfolds in 3-15 seconds depending on whether handlebars & seatpost are fully folded.
Transport Method When Folded: Rolls By Your Side
Storage: Upright In The Supplied Carry Bag
Accessories: A quilted (more heavily padded) carry case and suspension seat post are available for purchase.
Price: $999 US but currently available at the promotional price of $699
Writer's Note: When I initially wrote this review, I was not selling the Genius; however, I loved the bike so much that I became a dealer. If you're a commuter, live in an apartment in a major city or like to pack a bike for travel, this bike could be ideal for you and hopefully, this review provides useful information. Ultimately though, you must be the judge regarding what works best for you. Best regards, LL.