BikeCommuters.com

Review: Abio Verdion Folding Bike

Back in March, I previewed this bike when I first received it at my door. Over the past few months (with only a minor technical setback), I’ve put a few miles on this bike around Chicago and its suburbs.

Product: Abïo Verdion
Abio Verdion
Price: $790

Weight: 29 lb
Load Capacity: 220 lb
Folded Size: 76 x 61 x 36 cm (30″ x 24″ x 14″)

What makes this folding bike company stand apart from the rest? Abïo Bikes is a New York City and Vancouver-based company that brings two models to the folding bike mix – both offering a “clean”, portable, and stylish look for the urban commuter.

Abio Folding Bike Advantages:

* » chainless bikes!
* » internal gear hub (Nexus 3-sp & 4-sp)
* » safety fold locking mechanism (patented)
* » high quality craftsmanship
* » internal routed cables
(cables hidden)
* » portability

And the Verdion Belt Advantages:

* » chainless and very low maintenance
* » no grease
* » quiet ride
* » smooth power transmission
* » weight savings
* » rust free
* » unique pedal feel – seamless power transmission
* » longer life

For the urban/suburban dweller who occasionally likes to pop on public transportation (or even catch a ride from a friend), the biggest advantage of this bike is its portability. Back in the spring when I first rode the bike, the weather was still cool and I decided to take public transit home. With relative ease and little intrusion on space, the Verdion folded down nicely (and squeezed with me through the turnstyle that I would not have fit through with a full size bike).
Verdion on the train
On the CTA platform

Once I got used to the folding process (video on the site), I could fold and unfold this bike within a couple of minutes.
folding process

I even popped the Verdion in the back of my car to ride along some suburban trails on a leisurely Saturday morning ride with a friend. Usually only my standard bike will fit in my car unassembled, but the Verdion and a full-size mountain bike easily fit in the back of my car.


Ride along the trails

I even took it home – where my dad enjoyed a short test ride (better test of this bike’s handling for a 6-ft man).

As of the time I began reviewing this bike, the manufacturers at Abio found out from Shimano that Shimano had discontinued their 4-speed Nexus hub. The Verdion model that I reviewed is stocked with the Nexus 4-speed with thumb/button shifter, while the other model (the Penza) is the Shimano Nexus 3-speed.
Nexus thumb shifter
see the shifter on the left, bell on the right

If the Verdion ends up with the 3-speed as well, I think it will more than suit the needs of any commuter in a relatively flat urban area (like Chicago). I rarely found myself changing gears – and hardly ever used all 4, except for test purposes. However, for the purposes of this review, Abio Bikes approved the clever swap to fit the Verdion with a 5-speed grip shifter (set to work with the 4-speeds). Luckily I’ve got some friends who work as bike mechanics (thank you!).grip shifter
Grip shifter

This bike does ride quite smoothly and quietly as claimed. I did note a bit of slippage in the shifting, but I can’t be sure if this could be fixed with some minor adjustments. But for easy riding, without the fuss and mess of chains and grease, this bike performed remarkably well. I get so used to the hunched over position of my road bikes that I really appreciated the more upright riding position on this Verdion. It’s Kenda Kwest 1.75″ tires even absorbed all the road shocks I could offer it on some of the more potholed stretches of roadway.

For the commuter, I would recommend an investment in a rear rack and fenders. I did try riding the Verdion in the rain, but without the fenders, the spray got to be annoying. But, without the chain, there was no chain to lubricate after being exposed to the elements; I’d like to see how it holds up through a Chicago winter. Luckily fenders & rear rack come standard on their other model – the Penza with a shaft driven system – OR any Dahon accessories should fit on the Verdion.

When this bike first arrived, it fit compactly within a sleek shipping box and Abio even sent the carrying bag with it for additional padding and ease in transportation. Please note that the bag is an accessory and does not come standard with the bike. According to the Abio website FAQ,

Abïo bike can fold & fit into the luggage with dimensions that falls within most airline’s “check-in” requirement (total linear dimension of 62 inches or 158 cm or less). Abïo bikes also weigh less than the weight limit (of 50-70 pounds; 23-32 kg).

I never did test this claim with my own luggage, but the bike does fold down to be quite small. I’ve stored it conveniently in a corner of my dentist’s waiting room when I rode it to my appointment; it was tucked completely out of the way.

Out of the box, this bike was 90% assembled and ready to go. With all of the cables running internally and no chain or derailleurs to worry about, this bike is clean (no grease as claimed) and perfect for the rider who’s not maintenance savvy. I did have a mechanic look it over when it arrived – as recommended – for the “minor tightening and adjustment” tuning that is required.

One thing I will note about unfolding the Verdion: make sure to properly secure all of the quick release latches – especially on the frame, the seatpost, and the handlebars (adjustable height on the Verdion). Let’s just say I learned the hard way about securing all those latches nice and tight. abio latch

If you need help deciding which Abïo is right for you, the company offers a convenient side-by-side comparison chart listing the features of their two models.

I received multiple compliments while riding this bike! It certainly is a head-turner. The folks at Abio carefully (and wisely) selected the Pearl Chervil color on the Verdion and the Pearl Wine on the Penza. If you’re looking for a sleek addition to your commuter fleet (or for your first commuter to nimbly get around the urban jungle), consider Abio, the latest comer to the folding bike line-up of bikes.

13 Comments

  1. Rantwick

    Very nice, complete review. I’ve never really wanted a folding bike, but I sure can see how it would be a good fit for lots of urbanites. Thanks for the writeup!

    PS- The back of your car looks much like mine… got a kitchen sink in there?

  2. Trisha

    Very comprehensive review! I’m intrigued by this bike. It looks like it’s easy to maneuver when folded, unlike the Dahon I tried out.

  3. Yangmusa

    The lack of a greasy chain is a nice feature on a folder (or any city bike). But it still seems very overpriced for what it is, especially compared to other brands. It’s very heavy and all the components/frame look low end.

  4. Ghost Rider

    Yes, very nice review…a folder is one “gap” in my commuting fleet. While I never take public transport, having a folder might help make that an option. Particularly, though, there are times when my wife drives me to work in the rain, and it’s nice and sunny when it is time to go home. Having a folder to stash in the back of her car would be a nice thing!

    Now, can someone please explain to me why this (and many other folders) are so dang heavy? It’s a smaller bike, so where’s all that extra weight?

  5. Elizabeth

    @Rantwick – sometimes I feel like I have everything but what I actually need in my car. 🙂 And since I live in the city, I try to minimize what I keep in it.

    @Ghost Rider – there is some weight from the internal gearing. I really didn’t feel like the bike weighed much. I easily hauled it up and down the stairs to my apartment.

    @Yangmusa – the lack of grease is one of the best features! I love the ease of maintenance, especially that these components wouldn’t be damaged by foul weather. It’s really not that heavy — and it looks sleek!

    @Trisha – this was the first folding bike I’ve ever ridden, and I enjoyed it. I’m not one to fold it down often. I like my seat and handlebars at certain heights and don’t like to alter those much (or have to worry about tightening those latches all the time). But it was great to pack down and squeeze it through the “El” gate that one night.

  6. Iron Man

    I have absolutely no need for a folder and oddly feel a loss because of that. Folders are so gadgety cool that I want one just because.

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  8. Dean Peddle

    Ghost…I guess beefier frame, extra long seatpost and stems and cheaper components. Bikes are under $1000 so they don’t have the light carbon bits. But maybe you need this.

    http://www.dahon.com/us/musl.htm

    Only 18 lbs. I test rode this when I purchase my Hon Solo….it was a rocket. Really fast and felt like a fast road bike. I’ve heard of some people tricking it out with carbon components getting the weight down even more but stock 18lbs is pretty good and nice to carry.

    Your point if funny though….all super high end light bikes you ride but never carry….the fold up bikes are heavy but you have to actually carry them…go figure.

  9. RL

    Another great folder is Xootr….fantastic and fast!

  10. Elizabeth

    The latest issue of Bicycling Magazine just recommended the Abio bike (the Penza that comes stock with fenders and rack and a rear light built into the seat) as a side review story 9http://www.bicycling.com/article/0,6610,s1-3-11-20583-1,00.html) to a feature article specifically about folding bikes. (http://www.bicycling.com/article/0,6610,s1-3-11-20582-1,00.html).
    Great reads….

  11. Conor

    What 5-speed twist shifter was refitted onto the bike? I’m looking to do a similar conversion, but I don’t know what will work. Any info would be great. Thanks.

  12. Powerful Pete

    What Iron Man said LOL. I don’t need one, but oddly feel the urge to purchase one anyway.

  13. Pingback: Abio Verdion Folding Bike « Alex Torex Blog

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