By MICHAEL HSU
The appeal of foldingbikes goes beyond the fact that they're easy to transport and store. One minute, these bikes are cruising down the street. The next, they've contorted into an impossibly tight space with a bit of mechanical sleight of hand that can be as mesmerizing as seeing Optimus Prime turn into an 18-wheeler.
Despite, or maybe because of, their acrobatic prowess, owning one has always had a certain nerdiness attached to it. Like a calculator watch, they're just too convenient to be fashionable. And because early foldingbikes were created by engineers rather than designers, many have been pretty clunky looking.
But foldingbikes are now mainstream (many of the major bike manufacturers offer at least one model). Some have co-opted the style of their more respected full-sized brethren. Others, like the classic Brompton, have become icons themselves.