Is The AMiiVA More Than a (Folding) Bike?
The AMiiVA was officially introduced to the world last month. Though contrary to what your eyes might lead you to believe, the "AMiiVA is a more than a bike, it's a Personal Mobility Assistant (PMA)." Where's an airline sick bag when you need it? Come on guys, sure it's snappy, small wheel, folding bike, but let's not complicate things with another silly three letter acronym. The name itself is derived from the initials, Assistant de Mobilité Individuelle, indicating it's French origins.
Setting aside my language conniptions, I should point out the good things the AMiiVA has going for it.Made in EuropeFor starters, not only was the 10 -11 kg AMiiVA designed in France (apparently using the same CAD software that help create the Airbus A380 superjumbo aircraft), but it also manufactured there. Which might just qualify it under John Laumer's buy local, durable goods push, at least for Europeans. A little like the Made-in-Italy Bigfish folding bike we mentioned just a few days ago.
Fast FoldSecondly, it does seem relatively convenient to fold and unfold, as the exercise only takes about 10 seconds, as the video below demonstrates. Fast folding bikes have the potential to reduce the excuse people put up for not riding a bike--"But I've no where to store it!" (See here for folding bike speed competition across different brands.)
The folding is accomplished through the frame bending around two proprietary 'Hingenious' hinges--on the main frame down tube and handlebar head tube. Once folded all the bits stay locked together, and set of roller wheels, similar to those used by the classic Brompton, allow the AMiiVA to be easily towed about the place.
Standard Size ComponentsThirdly, the bike uses 20" wheels, a size readily carried by bike shops the world over, being the same diameter as that favoured by BMX bikes. Smaller wheels might allow for a more compact fold, and are often even stronger, but as a Moulton AM 7 owner I can personally attest to the right royal pain it is to source irregular sized components.
Hub GearingFourthly, the the three or five speed gears are all hidden inside a virtually maintenance-free rear hub, that's protected from the weather. Again this reduces neo riders concern about upkeep and damaged hanging derailleurs. Plus the rear has suspension, which yet again can only enhance it in the eyes of potentially new city cyclists.
The three models of AMiiVA, the Smart, City and Quartz are due to become available this month, though at time of writing they online store was not yet in operation. But The Folding Cyclist website reckons they'll go for €825, 999€ and 1,240 respectively.
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