The Project

The present FP7-SST research deals with the possible synergy of the bicycle and all other forms of transport, public and private, for a sort of "fluid", seamless, individual urban transport.

It is an idea circulating at least from the seventies, gaining popularity in recent years, but not yet matched by a bike technology able to deliver on the "vision".

Currently available models, some excellent products, fall into a weight and dimension bracket that hasn't improved in over thirty years: 12-15 kg and in average over 150 cubic decimeters (litres), as a large suitcase.

BIKE INTERMODAL has set out to challenge those two parameters, aiming to improve significantly on them, seeking a "threshold level" of weight and volume below which the original "vision" would be met, possibly expanding the number of the "intermodal bikers".

Halving, for instance, the weight with respect to the average would make the bike appealing also to women, for which the current weight is well above the pain line, and help men, too.

Cutting down to "briefcase size" the volume, could in turn allow a care-free storage everywhere. In addition the public transport operators could consider this bike a "quantité négligeable", without limit to its admmittance onboard, whereas the current "suitcase size" poses a serious threat if more than a certain number of passengers would carry one aboard.

The crucial innovation of the project is a completely original, new way of making a hinged bicycle frame which combines light weight (due to a precise allocation of material), strength (through a pre-tensioned space-frame), high compactness when folded down (by means of members that adapt to one another) and automatic opening-closing (drawing from modern robotics, automated car tops, landing gears and suspension linkages).

The resulting improvement over the state of the art is double. A factor of 5 in the compacted volume of the bicycle, that is, 30 cubic decimeters (litres) vs. an average of 150 litres. A factor of 3 against the average of 12-14 kg folding bicycle. This including our power assist module by Maxon Motor.



















Bike Intermodal: the complete program  

A "Personal" E-Bike, by process evolution

Making available -realistically- a bicycle working "intermodally" with all other types of transportation. Provide an elegant tool for a fluid and pleasurable individual urban mobility, condensed in a volume and a weight a fraction of the current "folding bicycles".

Freeing a Frog Prince.
Express all the technical and economic potential hidden in a market sector of poor appeal, giving it new life producing a modern Personal Vehicle.
The key: severing all ties with the straitjacket of the bicycle industry -a modular supply chain- in favor of a contemporary, vertically integrated, automotive-type supply-chain, economically efficient, scalable, environmentally certified, low-maintenance and technologically reliable.

An innovative model of bicycle, ultralightweight, electrically assisted, super-compactable.
The structure unfolds-folds automatically, in the style of convertible car tops, or landing gears, expanding into a rigid space-frame. A process innovation in the service of a sustainable -and cool- urban mobility experience.

1. A 30-litre compacted volume, in spite of a normal bicycle ergonomics usable by 155-192 cm-tall cyclists (5th Woman to 99th Man percentiles).
In comparison the current most compact-folding bike (1% of world folder's market), folds in 90 litres. Most other products fold in 150-210 litres.
2. A powerful, miniaturized power-assist module, custom made by Swiss Maxon Motor (
3. A weight around the HALF of the average of current, non-power-assisted folding bicycles.
4. Its easy and user-friendly operation, storage and handling, lowers significantly the "ownership burden" of a bicycle for the urban dweller.

The innovations implemented to reduce weight and volume also fit the Industrial Greening objectives:
• Integrated design
• Hyerarchical assembly / Lean manufacturing
• Reduced Material and Part lists for "Waste minimization" and end-of-life factory recycle
• Halving of the material per-product unit
• Short value-chain and logistics
• Better assembly of small parts
• Small package warehousing and shipping
• High Value-per-Volume shipping ratio
• Modern logistics in distribution
• First Bicycle using Product Lifeycle Management" (PLM).

• It constitutes an "open development platform", a new "product archetype", particularly suited to incorporate the new materials (bi-dimensional, graphene-like) and technologies (3D printing) of the impending "Third Industrial Revolution".

• BIKE INTERMODAL assumption:
technologic advancements - providing newer, better, higher performing products - can do as much and sometimes more than persuasion, obligation or deterrence to change behaviours and life-styles.
• The project aims at establishing the intermodal cycling as a synergic "third pillar" along Policy-making and Infrastuctural development to promote bicycle use.
• It also represents, in a scenario of ever growing metropolitan areas everywhere in the world, a form of flexible, near-zero energy, micro-mobility, empowering the individual.

The product targets several market segments::
• Urban commuters
• Car range extender (OEM/Aftermarket)
• Fleet sales: Car Rentals, Cruise ships, Hotels
• Bike Rental services
• Corporate Mobility Managers
• Nautical accessories
• General Aviation
• RV accessory (OEM/Aftermarket)
• Emergency Mobility Module (Civil Protection, Military etc.)

Marzotto Start-Up competition "From the idea to the enterprise" prize
Marzotto Start-Up competition "Talent of Ifìdeas" prize
EU Grant "The Minimal Vehicle", LIFE Program
EU Grant "Bike Intermodal", 7th Framework Program
"Signalled Project" XXI° Compasso d'Oro
Philip Morris Science & Technology Prize Italy



A comparison in folding volume between Bike Intermodal and other models available on the market. 

The shapes have been modeled accurately using the official data provided by the producers.


A comparison between Bike Intermodal and one leadind model available on the market.
















The BikeIntermodal project has evolved through various stages of development.








Tecnologie Urbane s.r.l.

 Florence - Italy