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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.