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So, you want a portable bicycle?

"I take my portable bicycle everywhere", Connor

Don't let the name fool you, a portable bicycle doesn't have to mean compromise.  With all of the various options out there you can have your cake and eat it too.  Take a look at the exceptional work that Leonard Zinn does on his bikes. The photo is property of Zinn cycles and is copyrighted by them.

portable bicycle

          Zinn 4 Travel Bike(patent pending)                            Zinn KGS Travel Stem (patent pending)

The bike pictured above is a fully functional road bike that rides with the same feel and responsiveness as a bike that does not have the ability to come apart.  The secret to this is the use of S&S couplers.  The coupler provides a, to say the least, very solid connection that won't interfere with your ride.  This bike can be taken apart and packed into a case (or optional backpack) in about 20 minutes.

Let's start off by looking at one of the two basic types of portable bicycles on the market, the portable bicycle.  The other type is the folding bicycle and that will be addressed on this page.  A link will be included below to take you to the folding bicycle page so you don't have to find this link up here later.

Why a portable bicycle?

Just as there are many different types of people, there are many different needs for a portable bicycle.

Your schedule might require you to travel for work yet you're an avid cyclist. Perhaps you like to travel overseas but don't want to pay the oversize luggage charge that a standard bicycle travel case will ding you for.  You have looked at folding bicycles and decided that a folding bicycle just isn't your style, you'd rather have a standard shaped, full sized frame bicycle with 27" wheels.  Well, you can have that and still have a super high quality bike.  Just be prepared to pay for it.

The standard bicycle really doesn't offer easy options to travel.  When you use an standard bicycle case you are making a pretty big committment as far as space, extra cost and specialized luggage.  You can go "commando" and just put a luggage tag on your bike and hope for the best but you'll probably get pinched eventually. 

A portable bicycle, like those sold by Zinn, can be packed away in a specialized luggage case that will fit easily in the trunk of nearly any car that doesn't have a nosebleed price.  The bike comes apart and packs up in the case in 20 minutes or so.  Quick enough that you can do it on a regular business type trip but isn't a chore.  Compare this to the hour it will take you to disassemble your regular road bike, mark everything so it goes back exactly just so and you can see the portable bicycle is really a good way to go for the frequent traveler. I know because I have taken my regular bike overseas many times and it really is a production to take the bike apart, pack it and then reverse the process once you get there.

So, how does this work?

Take a look a the photo tutorial below to see how a portable bicycle goes into the case. Really ingenious once you see it.

Here's the empty box.  You'll see later the box is the same size as a standard bicycle wheel.

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The next step is to begin putting parts in the box:

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You basically just continue putting the parts in the box until you get to the rear wheel

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Close the lid and you are all packed.  The bike will be able to be loaded into your car or cab with no problem.  It checks as standard baggage so you save the $150 (or more) each way that the airlines are adding to check a bike.  Get to your destination and reverse the process. You could easily be on a ride 30 minutes from when you open your door at your desitnation.  It is that easy.zinn 4 travel bicycle

These bikes use S&S couplers like I mentioned above.  Here's a closeup of one of those couplers. This is from the upcoming Zinn 4 travel bike (patent pending).  These images are courtesy of Zinn Cycles. 

Zinn 4 travel bike

Photos used with permission of Zinn Cycles. 

You can see these couplers add to, rather than take away from the looks of the bike.  The coupler is turned with a specialized wrench that ensures you don't have to worry about someone taking your bike apart by hand when parked at a bike rack and secured with a cable or other lock.





Click here to read about the other type of portable bicycle, the folding bicycle.

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