The perfect bike for private pilots?
June 7th 2023
Lately, at Flatbike, we’ve been getting calls from a lot of private pilots. They like to fly into public use airstrips near national parks, tour scenic trails with a spouse but no crowds, and then fly back to civilization.
But how do you get a 3′ x 5′ mountain bike into your plane–or take two of them if it’s a couple’s trip?
A common way, apparently, is to disassemble your favorite mountain bike into all its component pieces–frame, wheels, handlebars–much like the tin man in The Wizard of Oz. And it takes just as long to put back together.
So there’s a lot of appeal to the idea of a rugged touring or mountain bike that can just fold small and be ready for action without all that work.
But first, can it really handle the adventure you need it to? Let’s take a look.
And then… we fold it in half.
How small do you want it to be?
Often, retailers or manufacturers will fudge on this point. They’ll choose the smallest size and say that represents the folded size of that model. Not helpful if you are tall and your cargo space is limited!
So we went the opposite direction. We picked our absolute largest CHANGE 812 mountain bike, folded it, and took two measurements: height and length. Width doesn’t really matter much, because you can take the quick-release-removed front wheel and put it any place in the plane.
We’re going to fold this 21″ CHANGE 812.
Here is the fastest folding and unfolding job for a CHANGE 812. It takes about 40 seconds:
Overall length is determined by the length of the handlebar. This is with a standard handlebar of 680mm, but a 780mm carbon fiber bar can be swapped in upon request at ordering.
If you’re willing to spend a minute with a 4mm hex wrench, you can fit a CHANGE 812 into much smaller spaces. Now, the minimum length is a hard number, determined by the frame and crank.
This is pretty much how your bike arrives in the original box. For all CHANGE mountain and rugged hybrid bikes, we undo these four bolts and include a 4mm hex wrench in the box. Total box size is 35″ long x 30″ high x 14″ wide, with both wheels included.
What’s the value of portable adventure?
This is the whole reason you got your plane in the first place. To go off the beaten path, set your own course, and have your own adventures, wherever there’s a landing strip. And now you can extend those adventures three different ways:
- Explore further from your landing zone, reaching more towns and recreational areas.
- Take more equipment in the same cargo space. When your bike takes up half the space, you now have room for more of anything else–photography equipment, camping comfort, beer…
- Also when your bike takes up half the space, you can fit two bikes in the same space. Share your adventures. Make memories together.
We can’t put a price on the value of all that, but we can put a price on the bike needed to make it all happen. The CHANGE 812 off-road folding MTB is $2,150, with free shipping in North America and no taxes outside of Washington State.
And there’s one more thing…
There’s never been a better time to buy.
While supplies last, our build team at Flatbike is including a special deal for private pilots. It’s the opportunity to avoid remote flats entirely.
Unlike the well-known—and sometimes notorious—method of avoiding flats by inserting anti-flat slime, refreshing it every 3 months, and replacing it yearly, a Tannus Armour insert is a “set it and forget it” solution against goathead thorns, sharp rocks, and other sources of remote flats.
Normally, Tannus Armour would run you $60 per tire insert, plus the bike mechanic’s time to install it. But for a limited time, on our current stock of 15 CHANGE 812’s already in stock, we are offering both Tannus Armour and the time to install it, all for free. Just use the coupon code NOFLATS when ordering the CHANGE 812 off-road folding mountain bike.
And happy riding…anywhere your plane and bike take you.
(Photo credit: Disciples of Flight)
Got photos of your latest Camping/CHANGE adventure? Send them our way!
Bob Forgrave is president of Flatbike, an
ecommerce company offering full-size folding bikes
and kits to make any bike take up half the space.