First look at the ultimate campus bike.


January 13th 2020

This Winter and Spring at Flatbike, the discontinued CHANGE 702 (shown below) will formally be replaced by two full-size folding bikes: a new folding road bike and a new folding hybrid.

CHANGE 733 folding frame

The CHANGE 702: Somewhere between a road bike and a simplified hybrid–23 lbs with 3 x 8 gearing and a straight bar.

Some folks were always asking if we had the 702 in a drop bar, while others asked for simpler gearing on a flat hybrid bar. Essentially, they were asking for two bikes. So we discontinued the CHANGE 702 in favor of two other bikes.

As we approach the official launch of the Flatbike Century, the new folding road bike designed for comfortable 100-mile rides, let’s pause a moment and consider an important point. Drop bars aren’t for everyone. What’s the lightest full-size folding bike that Flatbike has with straight bars instead?

Introducing the ultimate campus bike

The complement to a fast, 100-mile drop bar bike is a quick-trip, super-simple, low-maintenance bike. The kind that fits right at home in a campus environment (college or corporate), where you’ve got quick trips from building to building and just want rapid transportation to always work with no fuss.

Picture this college student as the ideal candidate for a simplified, low-maintenance hybrid:

  1. Wants a fast bike for quick sprints across campus, which may or may not be flat.
  2. Often arrives at a sidewalk bike rack that is already full to overflowing.
  3. Has no time to keep tires pumped and ready (and doesn’t own a pump).
  4. Has no patience for a front derailleur (or learning how to use it most efficiently).
  5. Won’t carry a big, heavy bike lock.
  6. Wants to keep the bike securely out of the rain in a small dorm room overnight, but there isn’t space.
full campus bike rack

A typical campus bike rack is full of flat bar bikes taking up lots of space…and left outside 24/7 to rust or lose parts.

A bike that solves all of those would surely be the ultimate campus bike! The Flatbike Road Scholar has these amazing features:

  1. A 23-lb aluminum bike with narrow wheels that’s easy to go fast on.
  2. Includes a folding THINstem to flatten itself and fit into already-packed bike racks.
  3. Includes Tannus airless tires that never get flat or need pumping up.
  4. Features Shimano 1 x 12 gearing with a wide range of speeds and no front derailleur. Just one lever.
  5. Features a Pitlock rear axle so your rear wheel never needs locking. Just lock the frame and front wheel with a smaller lock.
  6. Folds in half to fit easily in stairways, elevators, small rooms and cubicles.
Flatbike Road Scholar ultimate campus bike profile

The Flatbike Road Scholar ultimate campus bike–now in Development First Use.

A step-by-step walk-through of the Road Scholar:

CHANGE 733 frame close-up

First, we start with a CHANGE 733 aluminum folding road frame, with carbon fork and second-generation pop-off pedals.

Then we add top-quality components, many from the Flatbike Century, but others optimized for quick-trip use in a campus setting.

Tannus airless tire on a Flatbike Road Scholar

We use the same Shimano R2 700c wheels as the Century, but add 28mm Tannus airless tires, rated at 5,000 miles between replacements.



Flatbike Road Scholar ultimate campus bike folding stem

We use the same folding THINstem as on the Century, but combine it with a flat bar and Ergo comfort grips.


Flatbike Road Scholar ultimate campus bike Alfine crank

Unlike the Century, we use an Alfine 42 chain ring with no derailleur. Note the chain ring cover extending beyond the chain ring–no shredded pants legs there!


Flatbike Road Scholar ultimate campus bike gearing

A Pitlock axle means nobody can take off your rear wheel but you. And Shimano SLX 40-11 gearing gives you a huge range of quick-shift gears with just one lever.


If you’ve been following the gearing numbers, you may already have done these calculations. But for everyone else, this math describes the bike’s performance as well as anything. The crank has 42 teeth. The rear cassette ranges from 40-11 teeth. That means the following:

  • Flats and downhills: Your highest gear ratio is 42:11, or 3.8 wheel revolutions/pedal revolution. That’s nearly 28 feet of travel in just one pedal revolution. Fast!
  • Uphills: Your lowest gear ratio is 42:40, or 1.05 wheel revolutions/pedal revolution. That’s just over 7 feet per pedal revolution for strong, easy climbing.
Flatbike Road Scholar ultimate campus bike satori seat post

Rounding out the specs, we’ve got the perfect complement to airless tires–a Satori shock-absorbing seat post–and an Axiom rack with spring-loaded clamp.

Put it all together, and you’ve got a bike that fully owns the quick-trip space. The ultimate campus bike.

Is it available yet?

It’s close. “Development First Use” means that we’ve got the reference model built–shown in all the photographs–and will be moving to Early Adopter phase as soon as we’ve put some all-weather miles on it out here in the Pacific Northwest. Is it the right gearing? Is it comfortable? How do the tires perform in the rain?

That means we’ll be getting it gunky with road grit and then cleaning it up for the Seattle Bike Show in March and Bike Expo NY in May. And yes, I’ll be personally riding it in all 40 miles of the 5 Boro Tour, plus that cobblestone street in Manhattan, if I can find it again.

We anticipate moving the Road Scholar into Early Adopter phase just after the Seattle Bike Show in March, so we’re lining up early adopters now who would like to start riding this bike then, with a discount for timely feedback. If you’re interested, let me know directly at

The really good news is, all our component vendors are already lined up. So as soon as we’ve got a thumbs-up from our Early Adopters, we’re just a month out from launch for the Road Scholar ultimate campus bike.

Happy riding, and get ready for an exciting Spring at Flatbike!

Bob Forgrave's Signature

Bob Forgrave




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