By Dave Minter
I expect VeloVision or A to B will be doing an in-depth roadtest (measured dimensions, weights and analysis) in the future and have just presented some impressions from a few days with the Mobiky.
With everything set at the maximum limits, the position (Note: photos around 300K) approximated my elderly, short wheelbase Brompton. The distance between handlebars and saddle is virtually the same and the saddle height is slightly higher than is possible with the Brompton extended seatpost. The bottom bracket is a little further forward though. There is virtually no opportunity to adjust the saddle further forward as it would interfere with the carry handle when folded. The telescoping seattube has height stops but the seatpost can be pulled out, as with a standard bike.
Folding is quick with my only problem being folding the handlebars. The handlebars occasionally stuck in the riding position and I tended to tangle the various cables with brake levers and quick releases. I suspect that would change with some lubrication and a little more familiarity. The handlebar stem has a keyway, ensuring the handlebars line up with the front wheel (can be a pain with Dahon and Birdy adjustable stems). The folded width is reasonably narrow and the carry handle is close at hand for lifting. The Mobiky is a little heavier than my T5 Brompton but can easily be rolled on its wheels when folded, without stooping. The stand is a little untrustworthy and the folded bike has a small 'footprint'. Best to lean the folded package in a corner, certainly when using public transport.
Riding the Mobiky is reminiscent of the Airframe with a fair amount of flex felt through the front end, though not in the Bickerton range. The rear end feels quite solid and I didn't notice too much extra drag from the two-stage drive. The fat low-pressure tyres give a comfortable ride. Clothes are fairly well protected with a chainring protector on the cranks and a decent chainguard on the final drive but the mudguards are not very effective. There is no provision for luggage or a water bottle and lights would be restricted to miniscule LEDs. You could probably fit bar-ends without increasing the folded size significantly.
The tiny front disc brake is powerful. There is minor grabbing felt through the lever (probably a slightly warped disc) and occasionally some brake squeal. The rear band brake must be there just for legal requirements as it doesn't contribute to stopping.
The Sturmey-Archer 3 speed hub works as well as ever, controlled by a twist-grip. The overall gearing is fairly low with top gear for flat ground and middle for hill climbing. I didn't find a use for bottom gear but then I didn't hunt for steep hills. It looks quite difficult to increase the gear size, something to keep in mind if you like to pedal with tailwinds or downhills.
Overall, I would be happy to use this bike for short-distance, multi-mode commuting. Our thanks to the importer Gemini Bicycles and Epic Cycles for the opportunity to roadtest the Mobiky.
Originally published: 10/03/2006
Last updated: 29 August 2006
Copyright ©2006 Dave Minter