THE CONVENIENT CYCLIST

Will a CHANGE bike fit in a SmartCar?

A couple of weeks ago, I started to wonder about putting CHANGE bikes in small car trunks. A CHANGE bike folds down to 30 inches x 35 inches x 13 inches. But that’s just a bunch of numbers; what does that really mean about usability? How small a car can you use with a CHANGE bike?

The ultimate, of course, would be to fit a CHANGE bike in a SmartCar. But fitting a full size bike inside half a car is kind of unrealistic… right?

First, a SmartCar is a really tiny car.

We’ve all seen these little nuggets on the road, but have you ever seen one up close? I visited a dealership to do exactly that.

From the outside, a 2016 SmartCar Passion has roughly zero trunk space. Clearly, this idea was not going to work.
But open the trunk, and you’ve got a spacious 14 inches deep (check!) … by 36 inches long (check!) … by 28 inches high (bummer!)
A folded CHANGE 702 commuter bike is 30 inches high. And I really didn’t want to remove the seat to get it down to 28 inches.

And yet, a CHANGE bike fits with no problem.

It turns out that 28-inch height is just a lip. Lean the bike forward and everything fits great!

It’s even driveable, because I never had to move either seat forward.

SmartCars are getting smaller?

Then I learned that the 2016 model actually has LESS trunk room (and more legroom) than the earlier models. If a squished trunk can hold a folded CHANGE commuter bike, I started to wonder what an older model could hold.

Ever try to rent a specific model of car? Most places don’t offer that level of precision. But thanks to an amazing rental service service called Turo, I was able to rent a specific car–Lynn’s Smart ForTwo in Seattle.

First, I had to put a CHANGE commuter bike in it–and not a black bike in a black trunk. It already knew it would fit, and sure enough, no problem.

This is where it really gets weird…

The logical next step, with all this extra trunk room in an older SmartCar, would be to put a CHANGE mountain bike in one, right? After all, the mountain bike handlebar is about two inches longer on each side, and the difference between 35 inches and 37 inches can make a big difference, right?

I even had a mountain bike conveniently as one of several CHANGE bikes in my truck.

But no, I didn’t do that. I was pushing limits already, and felt compelled instead to do this…

Two CHANGE bikes in the trunk of a SmartCar!

Honestly, this isn’t practical. It took me about 10 minutes just to place the 4th wheel, and I needed to move the driver’s seat up too far for my 6’4″ body. So even when I was done, I couldn’t drive the car safely. I just looked at it admiringly, said “Wow”, and returned to the super-easy single bike configuration.

Bottom line? If you’ve ever looked at those Car2Go rentals and admired how you just have to find half a parking spot in the city, things just got a bit cooler…

You can find half a parking spot and use it all day because now you’re totally mobile on a CHANGE bike.

Happy touring!

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Bob Forgrave
President, Flatbike.com

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