The Airnimal Explore Elite is the ultimate collapsible touring bike, or as Airnimal describe it, "the bike for the connoisseur with a thirst for adventure". Featuring at its heart the astounding Rohloff 14 speed hub gear, the bike delivers an impressive range of 20 to 100 gear inches, almost matching the range offered by the 27 speed derailleur system. This achievement using the virtually maintenance free simplicity of a hub gear is a huge advantage and accounts for the high premium attached to the Rohloff hub. The list of cycling achievements made using a Rohloff-equipped bike is very long, and includes both of the recent round-the-world record cycle rides by Mark Beaumont and James Bowthorpe. That's 18,000 miles or so through some very isolated and inhospitable terrain by each hub, without a problem.
Incidentally, James Bowthorpe used a Brooks saddle on his record ride, whose B17 saddle features on the Explore Elite. Serious intentions are further confirmed with Schwalbe Marathon 40mm tyres fitted as standard.
Fine equipment with proven pedigree throughout indeed! We'd all love one!
Airnimal folding bikes set out to give true full-size bike performance in a compact collapsible format. Driven by the desire to be able to take your best bike with you wherever you go, be it bus, train, car or plane, the concept was brought to the market. The brand offers two basic road-based models, which are both available with a variety of different specifications: the Chameleon and the Joey.
Both bikes are classed as collapsible rather than folding because they involve a level of dismantling. However, within 30 seconds they are ready to be carried aboard a bus or train in carry-on size. Within 3 minutes, they are packed into a case ready for airplane travel.
It comes with two wheel sizes: sporty 520 rims with thinner high pressure sports tyres and rims, or the versatile and slightly smaller 507 size. The latter come with thicker tyres, better suited to touring and more varied road conditions. Due to historically varied wheel sizing standards both are nominally "24 inch" but the 507 is the more common (24x1.75). Essentially, the Joey will deliver large wheel performance in a foldable package but at a more affordable price than the Chameleon. Racks and mudguards are available for all models (but do complicate the fold).
We love these bikes because they offer a very practical solution to a classic conundrum: how to bring your best bike with you on your travels. We think they've succeeded.