Everytime I ride my strida I always get the occasional stare of confusion and or someone that actually stops me to ask " What is that thing?" I always reply it's a Strida. Designed in UK it's basically a triangular foldable bike.
I first saw an advertisement for the Strida in a "Monocle" magazine in 2010 and thought to myself "this is an amazing design, how come no one else thought of doing a folding bike as a triangle?" A few weeks later I saw the actual bike on display at the moma design store in soho and thought to myself "oh no these little bikes are gonna be all over NYC, better wait for the hype to be over and maybe they'll get a bit cheaper." Do you remember when the Razor scooter was THE thing to buy in the early 2000s and every kid wanted one? I swore that was what was bound to happen to the strida. But it didn't. When the moma design store no longer stocked the strida which was then sold by "Areaware" I immediately knew it didn't gauge enough interest.
I hadn't thought about the strida for about 2 years after that until I came across a first generation strida 3.0 on craigslist. I had hesitated to jump on it after recently riding other comparable foldable bikes ( the brompton and dahon to be specific ). My experience with those had put me off a little on foldable bikes mostly because of the poor riding posture ( I have long legs so my knees would hit the handle bars quite often ). I decided to pick up the little strida and ride it all the way to the subway station to get home. I was so surprised on how easy and intuitive the bike was to maneuver. Apart from the steering joint being at the top of the triangle frame; riding felt super natural. My legs could bend freely and my back was dead straight 90 degrees which gave my neck a much needed break from when I used to ride a road bike with drop bars. The strida is much larger than it looks; I don't feel at all too large for it even for being 6'-2" no feelings of toppling over. Nothing. Could it be possible that a foldable bike is more comfortable to ride than a normal road bike?
Designed by Mark Sanders in the UK, the strida went through many iterations until they finally got to the LT their latest iteration which I bought last month quite randomly. You don't see many stridas on the street so coming across one for sale at a very reasonable price was equally unusual. I picked up the LT thinking it would be a secondary bike but soon became my favorite one to zip around the city. The main improvements to the LT are front & rear disc brakes, five spoke aluminum wheels over the older generation plastic ones and even better gearing optimized for acceleration and torque for steep hills. Folding is very simple with a couple clicks and the whole bike turns into a stick that you can wheel around with ease. It's hard to beat the convenience, quality and comfort all in one foldable bike. If I could only have one bike this would be the one. Unfortunately it's quite hard to find these new online. I believe there's only a handful of sites that do sell them new and for sure it's leftover stock from areaware. Keep a look out for used ones on the market and you'll be able to pick up a good condition one for about $400.
Just to clear the air on all the FAQs:
The wheels are so small can it even go fast enough? The strida's main chainring is proportioned much larger than a normal bikes to offset the difference in wheel size. While riding in traffic it's more than fast enough and it has great gearing to go up hills with ease as well.
Why does it have a plastic belt instead of a chain? Two words: efficiency and durability. The strida actually has a poly urethane belt that resists the stretching tendencies of a conventional steel chain (which causes chains to loosen until they pop off). Also without the need to lubricate the belt chain theres no mess to deal with no more right legged pants grease marks. And if you get your hand caught in the chain; you're fingers won't be paying the ultimate price.
Can I ride the bike if I'm too tall or too short for normal bikes? Yes! the seat mount is height adjustable the only other variable that will change is the horizontal distance from your seat to the handlebars.
Why is the front and rear fork asymmetrical? The front and rear forks are asymmetrical about each other meaning laterally speaking they balance out one another. I believe the front is left biased and the rear is right biased about its axel. Aside from being very interesting to look at this design allowed strida to change tires, tubes and wheels without the need to remove the hub from the fork as most conventional bikes do. When the bike is folded it also prevents the forks from banging into each other.
Will the folding frame get loose over time? Never. The bottom horizontal tube used to unfold the bike also has the pedals and crank welded onto it so rest assured it's very solid. The actual locking mechanism to secure the bike operates on a locking ball pin joint so it requires you to depress the lock then lift the bottom tube at an angle to unlock it.
Can I bring it with me on a crowded nyc subway? Yes! I've done it many times with the bike folded up no hassles no drama. When I used to transport my road bike I usually get the boot from the train conductors to either move to another cab or wait for another train. The strida stands vertically and doesn't take up anymore room than a rolling luggage. I've never gotten any warnings from the train conductor and other people don't seem to mind it either. I get more stares of confusion more than anything else.
What if the tire pops? Where can I find a replacement? Don't sweat. The tires are actually a standard 16" x 1.5" that you'll find on many children's bike. Almost all bike shops will have the tires and tubes in stock.
Where can I buy one? Currently they're being manufactured by Ming Cycle Industrial where you can find more information on the Strida. Lick Bike seems to have some left over stock at $575. Stock is very limited.
I plan on putting this bike through it's paces at this year's Tour de Bronx 25 mile loop. I hope to see those participating there. Be on the lookout for my dark blue triangle!
Special thanks to my talented girlfriend who operated behind the camera for this post ( she's better with the Sony A7 than I am ). See more of her work here: https://instagram.com/jae_alexandra/