Two experimental one-off bikes for sale…

Innovation

December 10th 2021

Bob Forgrave

Can a bicycle be the answer to a question?

It can if you’re Flatbike; That’s the way we approach all of our bike designs:

  • If there were a rugged, full-size bike for truckers that fit into a cab easily, what would it look like?
  • How is that different from an urban bike that gets carried up three flights of steps to live inside at night?
  • Do private pilots accessing remote airfields and RV owners exploring remote campsites need the same or different bikes?

And sometimes, when we’re waiting our our Shimano inventory to show up for building bikes in volume, and all we can do is one-offs, our experimental questions can get oddly specific:

  • What’s the perfect quality bike for someone who never maintains a bike?
  • After telling folks that the CHANGE 702 street hybrid can’t be converted quick into a road bike without changing all the components…can new technology make it possible anyway?

And that’s how we got to these two actual bikes, built and tested, and in our showroom today… but only as these specific one-off bikes.

The Road Scholar

Who relies on a bike a lot but never has time (or inclination) to maintain it? College students.

So we built a bike just for them–a bike that has super-good gearing for going across even a hilly campus, but also… only one derailleur to mess with, tires that never need pumping up, a rear wheel that cannot be stolen (you you can use a smaller lock), and flattening technology to roll up to any full bike rack and fit in anyway.

Road Scholar side view

Road Scholar: Ready to ride.

Road Scholar flattened

Road Scholar: For fitting in small rooms or full bike storage racks.

And it weighs only 24 pounds–perfect to carry up to a 2nd-story dorm room.

Road Scholar folded

Road Scholar: Folded in half for easy transportation.

Road Scholar techy details

While you may not need to understand all the technical stuff, we’re kind of proud of how our choices support the goal, so here are some key highlights to share with any bike-nerd friends who share our enthusiasm for details:

  • Wheels: Shimano R5 rim-brake wheels. You’ll need to take the front wheel off to fold the bike small like above, so there’s a quick-release axle on the front, and a theft-proof Pitlock axle on the back that removes with a key. Never care about locking up your rear wheel again!
  • Tires: Tannus airless tires, combined with a Satori shock-absorbing post to smooth out any difference in feel. Never pump up another tire!
  • Drive train: Shimano Alfine 42-tooth chainring (with pants guard), combined with an 11-speed Shimano SLX long-arm rear derailleur and 11-42 cassette. This gets you everything from a high gear of 3.8 (turns of the rear wheel for each pedal revolution) down to 1.0 (for climbing hills), all with no front derailleur to maintain.
  • Pedals: Shimano M-111 pop-off road pedals.
  • Seat & bars: This is all about upright riding comfort. GRM split seat combined with FMF riser bars and Ergon GP3 ergonomic grips.
Road Scholar cassette

Road Scholar: Nice Granny Gear! (in Grey)

There’s also a kickstand that doubles as a bike latch, holding the folded bike shut.

And now for the (potentially) bad news…

There’s only one of these bikes, in black, size Large, for riders 5’8″ to 6’1″, with at least a 30-in inseam. Price: $1,680.

If you need this bike and you’re the right size to enjoy it, let me know and we’ll find a way to make it orderable. 

 

The 702 Road Bike Edition

At the other extreme is this bike. In Asia, the standard CHANGE 702 is called a “road bike” because it has narrow, low-resistance road tires. But in the US, it’s not a road bike unless it has (drop-style) road bike handlebars…

…which leads to the obvious question for more experienced riders. Can you just turn a CHANGE 702 street hybrid into a road bike by swapping out the handlebars?

In a word, No. When we swap out the flat bars for road bars, we also need to move to road shifters and road brake levers, which gets us away from 3 x 8 gearing toward another derailleur system like 2 x 11 with matching 11-speed wheels, and before you know it, we’re talking about a whole different bike at a different price point. That’s how we got to the CHANGE Century road bike for 100-mile rides.

And yet, maybe we weren’t trying hard enough with the CHANGE 702. Suppose we scoured the entire globe for a 3 x 8 road shifter set?

Then one day…we found it. The MicroNEW road shifter set, which works much like the Shimano 105 shifter set, but with separate brake and shifter levers. 

702 road bike edition unfolded

And just like that, we’ve got the CHANGE 702 Road Bike Edition

 

702 road bike edition folded

The brake lines track under the bar tape, but the shifter lines swoop out. By design.

 

702 road bike edition lever

Unlike Shimano 105 shifters, this has separate up, down, and brake levers. The inventor says that this is a safety feature, so you never accidentally upshift when braking before a corner.

 

The techy features here are….well…they’re the same as a folding CHANGE 702 street hybrid, because that’s what it is, with only the bar and controls shifted out, the way we said was impossible just a few months ago.

For a limited time, the price is the same as a standard CHANGE 702: $1,420. We’ve got only one of these, in white size Large, but we also have a couple more MicroNEW units, so if you’re less than 5’8″, there’s hope. If you need this bike, let me know and we’ll find a way to make it orderable.  (NOTE: Changebike, LTD isn’t shipping any XL frames right now, so that’s an issue for anyone over 6’1″. )

Happy riding, on one-of-a-kind bikes.

Bob

 


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