History of Folding Bikes

T
he earliest folding bicycles were deployed in the 1890s for military use by the French Army and others. The patents for the folding bike were eventually sold to a consortium of Peugeot, Michelin and the French Army. The folding bike first appeared in the 1899 Peugeot sales catalog.

History of folding bikes

History of folding bikes

Folding bikes were extensively used in many countries as part of the military. Some of the manufacturers of these bikes were – Styria (Austria), Dursley-Pedersen (England), Faun (England), Seidel & Naumann (Germany), Fongers, Burgers (Holland), Peugeot (France), Bianchi (Italy), Leitner (Russia), Katakura (Japan) and of course British Small Arms or BSA (England). BSA made thousands of bikes for use in World War I and Worlds War II.

During World War II, BSA made folding bicycles featuring an elleptical frame as opposed to a diamond one which was considered too weak for a parachute drop. The bicycle was used by British paratroopers in the D-Day landings and the Battle of Arnhem.

More recently, folding bikes have been used by the American army in Iraq and Afghanistan. The particular model deployed in this case was built by Montague and was called the Paratrooper.

In the 1950s, folding bikes were less in demand due to the advent of the automobile and the motorcycle. However, they were revived in the 1960s and by the 1970s, many manufacturers were producing them. The famed Raleigh Twenty was introduced in 1971 as the Stowaway model and production continued till 1984.

History of folding bikes

History of folding bikes

In 1981, Andrew Ritchie started producing the Brompton folding bike and in 1982, David Hon began production of the first Dahon folding bikes. Today, these companies are among the world’s largest folding bike manufacturers.

 

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