Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Tyrell IVE - First Impressions

It has been quite a while since I upgraded or got a new bike. Reason is that I have tried many different bikes, and I already know what I want. From there, the remaining bikes that I own are those that are really useful and are really what I want.

However, sometimes I do want to try riding a new bike, even though I don't need to own it. The best way to do this is to borrow a bike, preferably for an extended period of time, so that there is time to test it comprehensively.

For this year's OCBC Cycle, I wanted to try riding something different. Last year I rode the Brompton M6R for OCBC Cycle, so this year I want to test another bike. I asked MyBikeShop to see if I could borrow a bike from them, for me to try out for about one month or so. A folding bike is more ideal as I can transport it more easily to the start point of OCBC Cycle.

A Tyrell IVE was available for me to borrow, and it was actually what I had in mind! By coincidence they had a spare Tyrell IVE that I could borrow, and it was something that I could try for an extended period of time. I did try it when it was first launched in Singapore, but it was too brief to form any judgement.

From the point when I borrowed the bike, to the date for OCBC Cycle, I had about one month to test ride the bike, with the final test being the OCBC Cycle 42km Sportive Ride. It is also a great chance to study the Tyrell IVE in detail, and to compare it with my other two folding bikes, the Dahon MuEX and the Brompton M6R.

As this bike is new to me, there are many details that I am seeing for the first time. In order for me to give a detailed account of the Tyrell IVE, I will need to split the blog post into a few parts, so that the post does not become too long.

Let's start with the introduction of the bike, which is also my first impression of the bike.

Tyrell IVE, the first 18" folding bike by Tyrell, with less focus on speed and more on urban practicality.

IVE logo displayed prominently on the top tube. This bike also comes in a dark red colour which looks good.

Triangular mainframe made of chromoly steel means that the ride will be stiffer than other folding bikes with just one big top tube, such as Dahon or Brompton. The tube shapes are also special, as they are not round tubes like most other steel framed bikes.

Front luggage truss mounting point is available, if you choose to mount a basket in front.

Handlepost design is similar to that by Tern, which clamps onto a long section of steerer tube. This should give a stiff handlepost, which Tern is good at.

Interesting looking clamp that links the horizontal handlebar to the vertical section of the handlepost. After measuring, I found that you can actually mount a regular stem on the handlepost, with the handlebar offset forward like a regular full sized bike.

You can't miss this big red lever installed on the handlebar!

This lever releases the rear catch that holds the rear triangle to the mainframe, allowing you to fold down the rear triangle easily. Brompton uses a lever on the rear suspension for the same function.

Normal Tektro V brake levers

Shimano Sora 9 speed shifter, for road flat handlebar. 9 speeds should be sufficient for an urban bike.

Sora 9 speed road rear derailleur, with a medium cage length.

9 speed 11-30t cassette

Tyrell branded front and rear hubs. Smooth spinning but not the lightest.

Tektro V brakes, with slightly shorter brake arms compared to regular V brakes.

Tyrell branded crankset, with a 53T chainring but a 58T chainguard. Allows you to upsize the chainring while using the same chainguard.

Left crankarm and bottom bracket cups.

Seatpost clamp. The lever feel is not so nice as the shape is not ergonomic. Besides, the tip of the lever will scratch the top tube when you close the lever.

Another Tyrell branded component, the aluminium seatpost. It has the same diameter as Dahon/Tern seatposts, at 33.9mm.

Normal saddle, slightly wider than usual.

Another view of the full bike from the non-drive side.

This bike is equipped with 18" tires, 40-355, or 18" x 1.5". Although it says 18", it is actually almost the same size as the Brompton 16" wheels, which has a size of 37-349. The rim diameter of 349mm vs 355mm is very close, the inner tubes are actually the same, although the tires are still different.

The gear range, with 18" (16" actually) wheels, 53T front chainring and 11-30T rear cassette, will be 28.3" to 77". The actual gear range might be slightly higher due to the relatively fat tires. Even so, this gear range is still quite low, which is why some people upgrade to larger chainrings on this bike.

From my first impression, this bike has a nice frame design, with a sensible choice of components and parts. What is not so ideal is the weight, as it comes in at 11.5kg (without pedals) in stock condition. It looks lighter than it actually weighs, which I am not sure is a compliment or not. A regular Brompton M6R will weight about 12kg.

The chromoly steel frame and rear triangle probably contributes quite a bit to the overall weight. If those parts are made of aluminium, it will definitely be lighter, but the folding design might not work, as will be explained in the later posts.

How does it fold compared to Dahon or Brompton? How does it ride compared to the Brompton? These will be analysed in future posts.


  1. curious what your other impressions are on the ride and the fold... just bought the same recently and posted a video in YouTube

    1. It will be in a separate post, but here is the gist of it.

      It is stable at speed, even rolling down at 50km/h. 9 gears are good for range and cadence even though the default gear range is too low. Can shift under load compared to Brompton internal hub gears. Shifter is intuitive unlike the Brompton. But the Brompton has a more compact fold.